Persistence is sometimes pestering, especially when it involves boundary busting

Sometimes we mistake a person’s boundary busting pestering for tenacity, when they’re actually being persistent at doing the same thing and expecting different results. What they’re also doing is trying to bulldoze or act like a battering ram until they achieve their goal. They’re forceful and it’s important not to mistake it for assertiveness. Aggressive people try to own other people’s behaviour and their feelings, but not in the same way that a People Pleaser does. What they do is try to change a person’s feelings or behaviour with force so that they can get what they want, need, and expect. A People Pleaser just tries to please their way to change.

When we mistake a person’s persistence with tenacity, we forget that for it to be the latter, they would actually have to be paying attention to ‘feedback’ from their own responses as well as the other party and the experiences, so that they could adapt their behaviour and thinking. In a situation where they’ve already treated us without love, care, trust, and respect, by being persistent pests, they’re not learning from the insights that they would have gained, if they weren’t so busy being single-minded while possibly claiming that it’s in our interests.

I’ve had a few people remark on the ‘tenacity’ of their exes who like a cockroach that survives a nuclear bomb, they’re still ‘there’ circumventing blocks and in some instances, disregarding restraining orders. Sometimes we mistake a person’s pestering as flattering and ‘determination’. We don’t recognise that as a basic, that person has boundary issues and lacks empathy, operating with a sense of entitlement that can be staggering at times.

With a very persistent, pestering person, it may feel like an almost full-time occupation to keep them at bay or to re-explain yourself.

It’s exhausting to be in a situation where no matter what you say, no matter how stressed or upset you appear, no matter the past evidence, that person, now that it suits them (and possibly because they’re rattled by not being in control and you’re resisting complying), that person is persisting in trying to get your attention and to do what they want. What do they want? What does this all mean? They’re trying so hard and I feel so mean, we wonder.

But focus on something: They’re persisting at trying to get what they want. You don’t have the same goals and if you mistake what they’re doing for tenacity, you will cave because you will assume that their actions represents a mutual goal that they’re going about in a cack-handed manner.

Their behaviour doesn’t make a good audition tape for having mutual interests. You could stamp their application with, Does Not Respect Boundaries and Pursues Their Aims By Any Means Necessary…Even At The Expense of My Wellbeing. Maybe even, Restraining Order Needed. Even if your goal is peace and to move on, theirs isn’t.

When they show you a pattern of blowing hot and cold with their efforts, if you plotted it on a timeline and noted what they do each time, you’d see that they’re doing the equivalent of trying to figure out which key to use or which code to press so that they can bust through. They reason that even if you blank them twenty times, that if you respond in some way on the twenty-first occasion, the bottom line is that you will respond and that if they pull the same move again, then you will again. This is where many slip up because they think they’ll get the person to back off or that if they’re nice, that the person will do as they want. The ‘pesterer’ just reads the response as having been successful.  Then it becomes a gamble and a game, even if they don’t admit it or lack the self-awareness to recognise their behaviour for what it is.

Their goal is to win and to get their own way, even if it means that you lose your peace of mind in the process. That’s not love, care, trust or respect.

The thing is, being persistent is a positive quality in certain contexts. If you have a goal and you’ve identified what it is that you need to do and are not giving up, knock yourself out. The question to ask though with persistence, is whether the means is the appropriate or best way to go about it.

As children, we learned how to ride a bike and we had to persist even though we may have found it tough and scary because by persisting with the technique and self-correcting, we knew that we’d eventually learn to ride it. Yes, there are circumstances where we shouldn’t or don’t have to take the first no as the final answer, such as when we’re working in sales. In those situations and in fact in any situation where another human’s needs, wants, expectations, opinions, and feelings are involved, we have to be willing to recognise that person’s position and whether there’s a level of interest in what we’re putting forward, as well as where we may need to positively adapt. That’s also where the tenaciousness kicks in.

When a person is persisting by any mean’s necessary and in fact, their means are far from appropriate, that is pestering and it’s not going to result in a mutually respectful interaction. Even if they try to change things up to meet their goal, their ‘tenacity’ represents finding new ways to bulldoze and play battering ram in order to achieve their goal when the old methods don’t work. Yep, still a pest, and as anyone who has ever had an ex who was abusive, hunting them down and professing all sorts of change and remorse, pretty damn manipulative too. In these situations, we must be careful not to forget that this person is effectively looking for new ways to meet their own needs, expectations, and wishes at the expense of ours. The way that they go about it may appear to have changed which we can confuse with them actually having changed, but the shady goal has not. Don’t try to please them because just like they’re not the boss of your feelings and behaviour, you’re not going to change them by complying. Take care of you first with boundaries (and law enforcement if needed).

Your thoughts?

PS I made my monthly appearance on my local community radio station last night and you can listen to the show here.

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118 Responses to Sometimes persistence is boundary busting pestering

  1. lynn says:

    you just nailed one of the biggest traits of my ex-ex eum. I never realized how big of a boundary buster he was until I read your articles and looked back on situations.

  2. Karen says:

    When you’re dating a cheater and you can’t take it anymore and dump them, they ALWAYS try to stay friends so they can test their skills and see if they can seduce you a second time. And they usually can. Mine did that so often to me I’m embarrassed to admit how many times she got away with it.
    Now she’s on NC, and if she tries again to ignore my NC boundary I’ll see that she stops, because God knows she wouldn’t want her wife to find out what an assclown she is. (I wouldn’t actually tell on her, but she doesn’t to have to know that.)
    Tenacity is not a positive trait when it’s used to manipulate and further a creep’s dishonest behaviors.

  3. milk says:

    Well I joined and met a bulldozer. I stated I am looking for men over 40-55 so was not interested in a 32 year old in my first email.

    8 emails later (me being polite) and him giving me his phone number I finally go ghetto on him lol and tell him he has no respect (he claimed he had) and that they were 55 million users online go bother another one!!!

    Yes potential future stalker.

    Had real experiences too, stick to YOUR gut feelings and personal requirements.

    • Allison says:


      I think he continued because you kept responding. It may be best to completely ignore, and shut it down early.

    • Mymble says:

      There are loads of them online. Of course they will keep sending messages while you keep responding. My rule is, if I get a message from someone I’m not interested in, I politely explain that, and then a day or two later, whether they reply or not, I block them. It may sound harsh but if you’ve made up your mind there’s nothing more to be said. If they don’t ever write again they won’t know they’re blocked , and if they do write again that proves they are a bulldozer. If you’re still responding to communications it shows (to them ) you are indecisive.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Absolutely listen to Allison and Mymble. I had the online experience with a guy half my age! I knew he just wanted the experience of sex with an older woman. I tried to be friends since he had a pregnant gf, and advise him on doing the right thing and being faithful in his relationship. It didn’t work. He kept trying to turn it into more (sexual). I told him in no uncertain terms to leave me alone. He did.

        • Allison says:


          My friend, I had to laugh!!!!!!

          Not only did he think you were a cougar, but also his personal psychologist. I feel for the baby and the GF!!! What a creep!

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Yeah. Isn’t that a trip? The way he would talk made me really curious for the experience but my conscience would let me do it.

  4. Abby says:

    Timely post. Here’s a relevant story….My daughter is a teenager and I haven’t been with her father since before she was born. Because he thinks he is still in love with me for years he has made comments about us having another child together, going on trips together and other nonsense. Mind you I have been in several relationships since then breaking up with him 15 years ago.

    I have ALWAYS told him “no thanks I’m not interested”. Recently, he literally stood over me during a bake sale at my daughter’s school. I was creepy and stalkerish. Unfortunately, my familiy is sympathetic with him saying things like…”oh don’t pay attention you know he still loves you.” All this despite the fact that all I ever wanted was for him to leave me alone. I swear I felt bad telling him no sometimes because “oh, he just loves me.” Finally, recently I ran into him one night while out on a date with another man. He proceeded to walk up to me, hug me in front of my date, then proceed to call my date names. After I left the venue with my date, my child’s father proceeded to send me horrible text messages telling me “f***k my date, I should be with him etc etc.” After 15 years, this was the worst it’s been and the last straw. I seriously considered a retraining order but settled on sending him an extremely stern email warning him to stay away from me and not to talk to me unless it explicitly concerns our child. So far, so good. I think he was shocked that I finally told him to step off. I know his behaviour is not my fault BUT had I been more stern his crossing my boundaries he might have backed off sooner and certainly would not have humliated me in front of my date.

  5. stephanie says:

    You know what is funny I remember when my ex use to pick the lock when I was using the bathroom! Even though I told him not to do it he didn’t care. Should have known that he had issues! Lesson learned.

    • I am free says:

      Omg, so did mine. Like it was him expressing that it wasn’t ok for me to have a bit of time by myself to have a shower or use the loo…where do they learn these behaviours from I wonder.

      • Stephanie says:

        I think in the bigger scheme of things it showed how little they cared about what you wanted. It showed how inconsiderate they were of you wishes, no respect for your feelings and their selfishness. When you start to piece everything together you realize why things turned out the way they did.

        • Julie says:

          Exactly, Stephanie. My ex-hubby was like this. For 18 years I put up with invasion of my thoughts, wants, needs and space. Now, three years after leaving him and the divorce, he still hounds me every day, leaving up to 30 voicemails at times. He will try the kind and understanding tactic, reel me in, and then become mental man and it starts all over again. I am finally wise to it. His “tenacity” has never been formally dealt with through a restraining order, and I doubt it would even help.

  6. Selkie says:

    I remember the abusive ex who would sit in my back yard in the dark for hours because I wouldn’t let him in my house or answer his calls. I’d see the tip of his lit cigarettes in the dark as he chained smoked and called me over and over. Sometimes he would throw a rock through my window, or break in if he was drunk ( which was most of the time). He stabbed holes in all my patio cushions with a knife. To get a tiny break from the harassment, I would park my car around the block and hide in the dark in my bedroom, eating take out under my covers, hoping he’d think I wasn’t home. I used to journal a lot back then and have many entries that start “The terrorist is in my back yard again.” I eventually had to move to get away from him It’s been over three years now and I see him around and he says hi and some small talk but he leaves me alone, thank God, but I had to hide from him for a good 6 months to a year once I moved. Funny thing, everyone used to tell me what a nice guy he is. Yeah, right. I found BR over this guy. Natalie was a godsend. I feel nothing for him now, but at the time I thought my heart was going to break into a hundred pieces. He pleaded and begged, but this post is so right, he was only torturing me and he did not care. He was just chapped because he was losing his hold over me, it had nothing to do with love. Too many times I did let him in hoping he really meant it that he was sorry, and it always ended the same. Me in a heap on the ground crying and him telling me what a loser I was. His pestering was about control.

    • Stephanie says:

      Control is their mantra! I think they are so consumed with being in control they don’t even realize how warped they are. It’s must be a sad lonely place to be when you have to feel like you have to be in control all the time to be happy Thank God you got away!

      • Selkie says:

        Then if we are sucked in enough, we get warped over time too and mistake their attempt at control as genuine interest or love. The struggle for validation ensues. What a tangled web.

    • oregongirl says:

      Absolutely. One thing for sure I have learned here is this: after a break up, if they keep pestering you it is about them wanting to CONTROL you, not about LOVING you. Girls, pay attention! This is a form of bullying! When my ex mm eum would not stop bothering me I had to get really really tough. I told him 1) any email or text he sends me will be immediately forwarded to his wife, 2) any time he calls or emails me from work, I will report him to his boss, and 3) if he continues to stalk me I will call the police. Guess what? He stopped. You have GOT to get serious with these guys…if you don’t get serious, ask yourself if you secretly love the attention you are still getting from him…don’t go there. The pain is not worth it.

  7. Nadia says:

    This article is so spot on. I wish I learned this so much earlier. I wasted so many years getting flattered by a guy who was ignoring my boundaries. Instead of taking it as an offense, I took it as his strong desire for me and kept caving in. Of course, I was alreadydoing half the work for him because in my heart and mind I believed I loved him/wanted him.

    But that’s only because I couldn’t see what he was REALLY doing, just trying to crack my code, so he could get what he wanted from me. And he used to always get it. I’d give him my time, energy, attention, thoughts, support, love, sex – all in the name of love. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy having him in my life, but at the first sign of real conflict he’d be gone! And I’d be left all alone with a broken heart, and sometimes, I’d be just waiting for him to hopefully come back and regain his senses!! Talk about somebody needing senses! (me)

    Guys are naturally more aggressive than girls so it takes us a little longer to figure out what’s really happening.

    A guy pursuing you should not feel like you’re making a life or death decision. You should not feel like the entire relationship’s future is weighing on your shoulders alone. If he really loved you, he’d try to make you happy/smile not feel pressured or stressed.

    • rewind says:


    • lynn says:

      Nadia – mine story with my ex-eum is a lot like yours. He was really good with words. And even though he was very honest, he was a good bs’er. He may have looked like he was doing something for my best interest – and I am not even sure he knows how to have someone’s best interest at heart – but nonetheless, when looking back I can see how he used words where I would believe that he was looking out for me etc but really he was just trying to get what he wanted. I gave him all that you gave – even as friends when he knew how I felt. He never disappeared…he just would always give me some speech about how I am everything he wants in a relationship, best friend, great chemistry, etc but felt something was always missing. I finally had to tell him to not keep telling me this unless he was going to do something about it. He finally did something about it when I started seeing someone and told him that I thought it could go somewhere. He then laid on heavy…ugh…I really want to believe he was geniune but he’s a future faker who only cares about himself.

  8. Jazz says:

    @ Abby. I feel for you. I have been going through this type of situation for only 5 years and it is horrid. Lucky for me though I have my families support. I wish you all the very best.

    However I would suggest that you block his mobile number. I have kids also with my ex and we communicate via email. l no longer receive the “I love you” & “I hate you” sms 24/7 and it has made my life so much better.

    @nat. Your articles are fantastic and I thank you so much.

  9. Carol says:

    OMG…I’m literally going through this as we speak! I told him I wanted to take a break from him. Never officially broke it off but I haven’t gone back either. I tried to stand my ground when he said, “if things don’t work out with us. I could see us as good friends.” My reply? “If we don’t work out, I don’t want to be your friend.” He’s wormed his way back into my life via text msgs since Nov. I’ve enabled him by responding (not in too much detail – trying to keep it short & succinct). He texted me this morning and asked, “wanna grab lunch” Mind you, he did this 2 wks ago, at that time I broke down & said, “sure, okay.” It took me almost 45 mins to finally give a reply and it was yes. He texts me back an hour later saying “sorry. left the city.” Come to find out not even 20 mins later he was on Facebook liking ano. woman’s page and commenting “hot” on a pic w/she and her friends! This FINALLY told me and many other previous uncomfortable comments and awkward moments later what he really was about. AND you solidified it even more what he’s all about with this article! THANK YOU for letting me see the light!

    p.s. I did reply to him today when he yet again asked me out to lunch. I said, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I’ll have to say no.” He responded almost immediately “k” but several hours later is now asking “why?” How do I respond?

    • grace says:

      you’re sending mixed messages.
      “taking a break” can be misinterpreted. You do respond to his texts. You accept his invites.
      You can either
      a) stoically ignore every contact from now on or
      b) gradually do the BIG FADE – respond more and more slowly, respond more and more intermittently or, probably the more mature option:
      c) tell him “I think it’s best we don’t contact each other anymore. We both need to move on” and then ignore every subsequent contact. I find it can take a year or more (!) of consistent non-response for them to get the msg though. Even then the odd contact will come through which I … ignore.

      • beth d says:

        You can’t give these control freaks an opening. I tried to be nice to my ex after our going NC for almost a year after our initial break up. He blew that with mind fuckery above and beyond until I had to NC him again. It took me a few more times after much begging by him to at least be friends but I finally got it right. He will hoover any chance I give him even though he has a gf and 10 backups I’m sure. They especially do this when you leave them in the end. I found out I can’t be nice early in the game. Like Nat says you have to shut the door or they will continue. It isn’t about still loving you as they will profess. Its about control and winning the game! Hard to accept and I have to thank BR for knocking that into my head. Mine hoovering recently (5 years out) on the guise of doing business with me. I had to quite business like explain to call another person in my company because I really don’t want to deal with him. He was insulted beyond belief and he hasn’t contracted for the project nor called who I recommended. It was all a ruse! They never stop their bs and it is boundary busting at its worst! Shut the door tight and close out his options or he will try and manipulate you to your dying day!

    • Stephanie says:

      You should say because I don’t like you! LOL. These guys have amnesia! Just tell him you are not interested anymore. He sounds like he is playing games and testing to see if you would go if he asked knowing full well he is probably going to back-out! passive aggressive twit. Tell him no and hang up.

    • Allison says:


      I think you need to ask yourself why you are sending so many mixed messages. I think in a way you like the attention from this guy, and are not quite ready to let go – checking his FB page. You’re not doing anyone any favors, either you’re in with this guy, or your out, but it/s not fair to string him along.

    • Carol says:

      Sad thing is I “took a break from him back in Feb ’13″ and here I am STILL contemplating being in contact w/him & seeing him. I used to think I was so strong and we had NC for several months. That is, until he reached out to me back in Nov. thinking, “oh, he misses me!”

      Thank you again Natalie for this article and to all who supplied advice, encouragement and comments. I’m using Grace’s wording “I don’t think it’s best you contact me anymore…”

      I can do this and not feel guilty or be labeled the bad person. I am worthy…I am worthy of better, as are the rest of us out there going through this struggle!

    • Pauline says:


      You don’t have to give a reason or excuse because if you do it will give him an excuse to get nasty or pretend to get offended and the next thing it will be your fault.
      Went through the same thing with the ex AC and all I said to him was “No, that doesn’t work for me”. I had to repeat it at least 3 times before he let it drop.
      He had no argument or comeback to that small sentence as I wasn’t giving him the ammunition to twist anything I said.
      Give it a try.

      • Carol says:

        Pauline that is very sound advice you’ve given me. As I was afraid of that exact reaction/response (him getting nasty & blaming me) if I did supply a reason/excuse.

        My response to him is: silence.

    • lynn says:

      carol – my ex when he was breaking up with me said I see us as really great friends and I hope you see in the future that i am doing this for you. COME ON!!!!!!!!!!

      • Carol says:

        Lynn…what are they thinking when they’re saying this!? I realize now he probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Here’s the definition: Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others.

        I was in disbelief when he said we could be friends too! I look back and I’m so glad that it was I who took a stand and backed away. Oh, and get this the 2 times that I wanted to break it off b/c of his ways. He says to me, “you wanna call it quits? I wanna work this out!” YEAH, RIGHT!!!

        So glad I read this saying, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.”

        Thanks to BR I can walk away with my head held high!

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Most of these bozos cannot stand rejection, though they want to reserve the right to do it to us all the time. When we do it, they’ll do cartwheels to get you back. But, it’s not because they want you. They want to leave you wanting them. Screw that!

          • jewells says:

            That is so true Tink, that’s exactly how the MM tried to exit the relationshit when he realized that I was starting to figure things out. He declared how he can’t do this, we must depart, how could he hide me for two years, that it wasn’t fair for me, whaaa come back to me! Where, up to that point it was ALL about HIM. That’s what tipped me – it was the 180 turn after a comment I’d dropped that lead him to go radio silent for almost two weeks before trying to break off with me via text AND in such a way to leave me wanting him. UGH! THEN, the last I saw him – a year after the debacle, he had the nerve to propose ‘friendship’ sometime in the future. Bahahahahaha, lameass thinks that a potential future friendship with him is somehow a prize… I asked “sooo, what’s in it for me?”

            • Tinkerbell says:


              I understand that picture so well. Initially, it’s all about what they want. You’re so irresistible. Ha! But if you get a bit too demanding or wanting more of their time (which is limited with an MM) they’re ready to run, or else start behaving so badly you have to flush them to save your own self respect. MM’s are the slimiest of them all. I wish intelligent women like us would realize that and refuse their attention. It’s just a long slow road to hell.

              • jewells says:

                In a way it’s like a right of passage, I entered into the relationshit with blinders on as I hadn’t experienced it before. I came out the other side with sooo much knowledge and experience that I cannot fault now – it brought me here and propelled me into other learning that is only making my life better. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me…

                • Tinkerbell says:

                  I agree. My experience with the MM brought me to BR and consequently, I have been opened up to learning so much that I never would have been so acutely aware of. Sometimes a bad experience can have a positive effect once we have learned never to go there again.

            • Paula says:


              Couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing when I read the question you asked him when he thinks he can crawl back with his – um – irresistible offer of friendship after a year…

              Loved it, well done!

              • jewells says:

                The lamest aspect of it was that it wasn’t ‘friendship’, but ‘I would like it if we could be friends in future’. Hmmmm, I already had a taste of his future faking, and because he was busted, all he could offer was the prospect of a friendship in future. I also asked what that would be based on, and he responded with ‘we’d have to start over’. Hmmmm, future faking a friendship based on nothing….wow, how could I resist? What it did was really exposed to me how he really doesn’t have anything to offer but ideas with nothing behind them – just like he offered in the relationshit…I love that I found BR and could see his offer for what it was

                • jewells says:

                  Oh oh oh, here’s an analogy based on BR reading: He gave me a fake rolex and now he’s back with an offer of a questionable seiko he thinks should make up for it…cause, really, he had no idea the rolex was a fake, so he would like an opportunity to make a show of how he’s actually a good guy with the best of intentions…

        • lynn says:

          the Narcissistic personality disorder sounds like my ex too. He contacted me a few weeks ago telling me that his relationship had ended (to a separated woman no less) and if I was ready to be friends as he thought the whole reason we stopped talking was because he was seeing someone. I did respond and told him that is not the only reason. They got back together after she ‘worked’ things out in her head after a week. He also told me that relationships will never be the same to him since his marriage but that he keeps trying because he wants to share his life with someone. He needs to be alone and work on his crap is what he needs to do but he won’t. I still care about him…he was my good friend for a long time but right now I don’t want anything to do with him. I still get hung up on the fact that he is with someone who hasn’t worked on her crap, isn’t even divorced yet and they already broke up less then 2 months of being in a relationship. I can only imagine more drama will ensue and I will get more texts….sigh. I have come a long way – but I still hurt.

    • Mephista says:

      You don’t. Ever.

  10. Confused says:

    Ok…I don’t know where I fit into this type of scenario, but maybe y’all can tell me if I crossed a line. I hope I’m not a stalker type.

    I dated someone for only a month…6 weeks to realizing I was the dumpee though. The first two dates were awesome and she was super interested in me and we could talk into the wee hours of the night. Then she asked me to go to the annual Christmas party she has with her friends. It was a great evening, I enjoyed her friends immensely. Then she wanted me to sleep over. Nothing happened sexually, but I was becoming very attracted to her. Plus, she’d already introduced me to her family also so I thought she was feeling serious toward me too. She was making plans for us to go to the symphony, see a broadway play…but strangely enough, she wasn’t seeming interested in my life at all. No interest in what I liked, my friends or what I was giving up to spend every weekend traveling to her town 60 miles away.

    I was being expected to always travel to her because she was so busy with friends and family (and it appeared she really was …due to the holiday commitments) After one month though, I started to have my doubts.

    Then I made apparently a major mistake. I called her on a random Tuesday evening at a time that most people aren’t eating or into evening chores. She seemed a bit put out, but promised she’d call back at 9pm. She missed it…got a text at 10:30. She promised to call the next two nights…missed them both.

    I asked her what was up and told her that it looked like she was losing interest, but I also knew that she was really busy. She never answered. My mistake was that I continued to chat with her (and yes…my bad…kept telling her I was confused and asking her about her intentions), go out with her and she continued to flirt with me and act like I was special …*while* I was there.

    Bottom line, it took me two weeks to figure out that I’d been dumped, but just not told about it. Afterward, I reached out about 1 time per week for 3 weeks to try to be friendly (no reason other than I have other exes that while they aren’t friends, I can be friendly to them. It gives me closure to end a “relationship” cleanly and with no ill will). She never acknowledged my messages (which I sent via the dating service instead of text or email since I thought it would show her that I was not going to use her personal information), but to top it off, she deleted her account. I was mystified…and saddened.

    Ok…did I behave like a stalker? If I did, I’m going to be super sure I don’t do it again. I’m mortified if I made someone panic because of my behavior. I’m already embarrassed that it took me so long to figure things out.

    • grace says:

      You’re fine. She’s not behaved very well and you wanted clarity. You have it now. Silence speaks volumes.
      To continue contacting her for more information would be questionable though (not least to your self-esteem).

    • Allison says:


      I think if you had been in a relationship or she had been an ex, it would have been OK, but you only went out with this girl a few times, so I can understand why she was a bit uncomfortable.

      She should have been honest with you, though!

  11. Lorraine says:

    I just had to share this with all you ladies tonight. My ex EUM continues to break boundaries. I’ve fallen for it for the past 5 years, thinking I was so madly in love and he was going to change, blah blah blah.

    I finally had the Aha moment tonight! After him contacting me a lot in the past two weeks, (he needed my help) I hit rock bottom in trying to get over him and crying, dying over him and the loss of us. He went back to his ex three months ago and still won’t admit it to me.

    He takes care of his mother, she lives with him. The ex hates his mother. I am friends with his mom. I warned her months ago that the goal of the ex was to get rid of her. I told her to be very careful.

    She called me this evening in tears. Her son wants her out! This woman has no where to go except the street. She also told me that he is cheating on the ex with someone new. (What a suprise) Apparently, the ex started a huge drama about how she is telling her other son that my EUM doesn’t take care of her and she needs money, etc. It didn’t take much for him to go insane and now wants her out.

    So sad, I don’t know what to do for her. I’ve finally realized though what a huge assclown, despicable man he really is. Like I’ve been waiting to say for months, “I am miraculously done being in love with him”. Honestly, nothing, I feel nothing anymore. This has shaken me to my core.

    I’m so done, this man and his ratchet girlfriend are so low class, to do this to his mother. She is a wonderful woman who is so Godly and prays for him even though he treats her with no respect.

    Maybe it takes a jolt like this to push us into acceptance and reality. I feel like someone has slapped me in the face and said, “snap out of it”. I feel free, finally free!!! But I don’t know what to do about his mother. I’m sick about it. Being the Florence Nightingale that I am, of course I want to fix this for her but I can’t. I could just listen and give her advice.

    Amazing, how things happen isn’t it? Everything can change in a heartbeat, a blink of the eye and your whole perspective changes.


    • Stephanie says:


      That’s how epiphany moments happen! One day you care and then something clicks and then you just stop caring like that. You took off the rose colored glasses and saw him for what he really was and it didn’t look good at all.

      This is how is happened with me. I was obsessing over ex one day and then after seeing him with another women again, I said that’s it I’m done. That was it just that quick. Funny how things happen.

      • Lorraine says:

        I know… It was literally, one minute I was crying and the next, wham! I got it.
        You have no idea, the weight that has been lifted off me.

        I’m almost embarrassed that it took so long to see him for who or what he truly is.

        I woke up this morning with energy and happy to get my day started for the first time in months. I’m ready to be out and about again. Picked my son up from school this afternoon and took him shopping for cool outfits for upcoming parties that he has. I had fun with it.

        I feel good, so thanks,

        • LovefromNel says:

          Lorraine, I’m really happy for you that you’ve reached this point. No turning back now! You’ve seen the light, and he has shown his true colours. I too feel sorry for his Mum. What a horrid way to treat someone that has only shown love and care for him. Disgusting, really. But it has shown you his capacity for appalling behaviour. If he treats his own mother like that, what hope is there for anyone else? Best wishes to you, stay strong, and keep those rose-tinted glasses in the bin, where they belong. Hugs, Nel xo

          • Lorraine says:

            Thanks, I really do feel good again! It is appalling, I can’t believe I was so in love with someone who would treat his mother this way.

            I just received The No Contact Rule Book. Already started reading it. Should be no problem now…

            I’m just so ready to actually start living again. I will be so careful in the future should I ever meet someone I like. I’m learning so much from Natalie and this site and all you ladies.

            Thank you and big hugs,

        • oregongirl says:

          Write it all down. Write down everything you have learned about him. Write down all the things you do not like about him. I can guarantee you that in two or three weeks you will get lonely, get sad, and wonder what he’s up to. You will need to get your list out and re-read it so you stay strong. I also think you should phase out the friendship with his mother. You don’t need to be involved with his family.

    • Pauline says:


      It’s amazing when you get that jolt and in one breath to the next you just stop caring.
      Happened to me with ex Controlling AC on the last date we went on and I haven’t seen him since.
      We went to the beach and as I was sitting on the sand I looked at him and thought “I really don’t like you, what the hell am I doing here with an ass like you”.
      It was the end.

      • Stephanie says:


        This is so funny! Mine was touching me and I felt like I was going to vomit! That was the last time I slept with him.

      • Lorraine says:

        LMAO. I love that!! I feel happier today than I have in months. It’s like the black cloud has been lifted and I can breathe again.

        He’s a despicable beast and although I feel so bad for his mother, I’m done.

        Feels so good to be free from this, you have no idea.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          I don’t want to burst your bubble but don’t go thinking you can now go back to your former running regimen in which you end up seeing him. It’s way too soon for that. Sometimes we overestimate how strong and aware we’ve become, and can be made to feel badly again when we run into them. Avoid him at all costs, for a long time yet. Okay?

          • Lorraine says:

            I know, you are so right. I just got the No Contact Rule Book, perfect timing as I’ve never been more ready to receive its message.

            I still have a lot of work to do on me, but I know I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel with this AC.


            • Tinkerbell says:

              Good girl, Lorraine. You’ll be smarter than ever soon. All the best.
              And, by the way, it is possible to find the right man AFTER you’ve done the work on YOU. I know.

        • Paula says:


          Really happy for you, all the best and onwards and upwards.


    • simple pleasures says:

      Your ex ,who is back with another ex, and seeing another lives with his mother he hates. He and his lovers and mother are no longer your concern. You are not her daughter, you are not her daughter-in -law, you are an ex-lover of her son. She has adult children. Remove any temptation to get embroiled in this drama. It’s not your business, and you won’t be able to change anything.

      • Lorraine says:

        Simple Pleasures,
        I know. Although its hard because I’m one of three people she has in this country that she can count on.

        I have faith that it will work out for her and this bottom dweller will have such god awful karma coming at him for all he’s done to her. I told her that he should be bracing himself because the karma of putting your mother out on the street will cause a typhoon of misery for the rest of his life. He deserves nothing more.

        I’m free, I feel nothing for him, except maybe disgust. Time for me to move on.
        Thanks for your thoughts,

  12. Sparkle says:

    Me exAC has a GF that he had while I was his GF. I recently found out about all this. YET, he still hoovers, stalker style on occasion. What a douchebag. He doesn’t want me. He lost control and wants to return to cause more hurt. Man, would I love to let his GF know what hes doing. But, remain NC, cuz I know its my best revenge. Karma will get his ass one day.

  13. noquay says:

    Yep, this is the #1 reason the “old guard” ex miner dudes here are considered the personae non grata of dating. Zero boundaries themselves, zero respect for boundaries. A lot of the more successful, professional, women here have had to take out multiple restraining orders (thus far, the record among women is multiple orders on four guys) on these gems. After I dumped local dude, for a number of weeks he’d park atop my hill (i.e., a really big back yard) and sit there and watch me drive in. When I tried to confront the vehicle by circling round or directly climbing the hill, he’d take off. As he was in the possession of numerous guns, it scared the bejeebers outta me. He would never approach, was spying on me.

  14. Ms jl says:

    Readers people like this are IDIOTS! I thank God for this website. My STRENGTH and ENCOURAGEMENT shows clear from the write ups. This very situation happened to me in the past few weeks. I ONLY didn’t let the IDIOT into my boundaries. You’ve read the write up the only reason they keep texting/calling is because they keep getting a REPLY! No from this person! I activated caller ID and I’d IGNORE their incoming call. They’d leave a VM on my cell and I’d delete the VM if it didn’t sound as though it was a distress call about our son! Did you read the latter! So we must stay encouraged as a people and stop letting people CONTROL us. They mean us NO GOOD. Love yourself and have peace so that when a good person comes along you are EMOTIONALLY available and your mind is CLEAR if EVER you need to say….you’ve crossed the wrong boundary! LATER!

  15. What an insightful piece. Persistence and tenacity is a strength in the professional world, but in the personal world it needs to be slowed down so feedback (aka – a relationship) is allowed.

  16. Sandy says:

    Very timely Natalie as usual, after changing my numbers so he can’t reach me, he lies in wait down the street so he can wave out to me then calls at work wanting to meet and talk, so after a year I agree to meet and talk…he promised he would not let me down and hey ho I spent an anxious night knowing that he probably would (cos that’s who he is) and yep 15 minutes before due to meet for lunch he rings to cancel, apparently doing firewood was more important.
    Anyway I tell him that I would give things a miss, he says thanks for giving me a chance…ya gotta laugh at that one, after a year apart I actually was giving him the chance to meet and talk but as usual I am just not a priority, so I end up feeling guilty and wondering whether yet again I did the wrong thing in telling him I am not interested if he can’t even make the effort to turn up but I know I am not wrong, I have asked him to please not contact me..can hear the sadness in his voice when he says ok, so I end up spending the last two and half weeks feeling guilty, feeling sad all over again but knowing I just can’t play his games anymore.
    I actually thought his persistence meant he really did still care for me but after reading the above I now know it’s because he has lost control of me and control was one of his specialties through the 5 years I spent with him. He doesn’t still love me like he says I realise that now…and as soon as I agreed to finally meet him he felt back in control so he could do his usual and ditch me because turning up to actually see me would mean he would feel less of a man…I don’t know how else to phrase that, but I hope you realise what I mean.

    • Sandy says:

      I actually thought meeting and talking could resolve a few things, how naïve was that!! But I realise when he thought it was okay to cancel that he will never least something good came out of this, my boundaries are much better and he made me remember one of the many reasons why I broke up with him in the first place :-)

      • Tinkerbell says:


        What’s going on? You were doing so well not so long ago. He keeps trying to get you back because even though you’re making it a bit difficult for him by changing your number, you’re still giving in. That tells a man that you simply want him to chase you harder, not that you’re finished with his sorry ass. When you are through there’s NOTHING he can do for it to have an effect on you. C’mon Sandy. No backsliding. You KNOW he’s not worth it and he is NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

        • Sandy says:

          Welcome back Tink! PC going well now? As you know I know all this…just got caught by surprise I guess, didn’t think he would resort to ringing work. kind of got swept away in the aw he must really miss me crap..back on level land now though, although a lot of my friends are worried for me cos of his extreme behaviour, bit worried for myself as well and have been on edge waiting for him to do his appearing act again. I can’t help that I still have feelings for him which still make me react but at least I KNOW I deserve better and I am not going to beat myself up about the lapse, one step back but two forward!
          Hope things are well with you :-)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Thanks Sandy. The PC is a little better, lately so I’m using it while the going is good. Try to concentrate on the negative stuff in the relationship with him, not the good. STRICT NC works wonders as TIME passes. Get out with friends and put yourself in social situations that take the focus off of him. I wish you well. I doing very well, thank you. Continuing to learn and grow stronger every day.

  17. Revolution says:

    When it feels like you have to fight for yourself or your “no”, then it’s not love or interest. It’s about control. I’ve had to say to a few guys in the past, “You need to back the fuck OFF.” That has always worked, though I’m thankful that I’ve never had to get more aggressive. A male that doesn’t take a woman’s “no” is not a man, but a pouting boy. And that’s never attractive.

  18. Peanut says:


    You are my hero. And a hero to any of us who deal with this and need honest approaches.

    After every inner hell I come out of, I am reduced to tears at the gratitude of your resources. You have no idea how much you have helped me. Thank you.

    And, yes, when someone disregards what you say your needs are, they are not being loving; they are dangerous.

  19. Revolution says:

    P.S. Miss Nat,

    LOVED your radio appearance! Especially you going to bat for all of us who have had relationship problems as NOT being discriminatory based on how beautiful, or how accomplished, etc. we are!!!! Woooohooo! PREACH IT! :)

  20. Peanut says:


    You are not a stalker.

    She’s not interested. She’s not into it. She lead you to believe she was (future faked you/overestimated her interest).

    You appear to be a level headed guy. Which is lovely. Some women aren’t into that. I used to be one of those women. Trust me you don’t want those women.

    You have to let go of the wanting closure if it has it do with contacting her.

    You are thoughtful and observant.

    You deserve something better. Don’t get dissolutioned, start blaming you, and definitely don’t chase/or pursue her, and you will find it.

    If she comes back around like a charming kitten in any way when you forget about her — No Contact.

    Best of Luck to You,


  21. Still Standing says:

    I feel a bit weird posting this after reading the heinous stories above, about people ex’s.

    Mine is not an ex, it’s my parents. For over 15 years, intermittently, I have been telling them that I am an adult, I make my own decisions and to treat me with the respect I believe any law abiding adult deserves. I start no contact, then (usually) 5 weeks later my father makes contact, says sorry, promises it will be different.

    I adore(d) my father. Yep, Daddy’s girl….though I don’t believe I was spared any of the ultra-high standards my sisters got also. But oh how I adored him, and tried to be the son he never had.

    My sisters seem better balanced, so I keep thinking it’s me. And maybe it IS. But through this site I’ve learned that’s MY truth. The endless, relentless criticisms…..I’m a poor speller, I speak too loudly, my voice is too coarse, I pull my jumper sleeves over my hand, my house is too messy, I complain about certain workmates, I don’t service my car enough………they break me. For my whole life they break me.

    This time we are in nc again. But I gotta hold. I gotta take my life, my mind, my self esteem back. I feel so guilty and bad, cos I hear this is ‘they way parents are’ and it’s just because they ‘care for me’. But I can’t bear it anymore. It’s them or me, in the most literal sense.

    • grace says:

      Get control over the situation if they contact you. Be civil but as soon they say anything out of line, you just brightly say you have to go, even if you just got there, and leave, or put down the phone. And repeat and repeat. Hopefully, they will learn to behave for thirty minute stretches, which is plenty of time for a phone call or a cup of tea,
      Don’t go on holiday with them.

      • Still Standing says:

        omg they paid for me to go on holiday overseas with them. I was excluded from any of the discussions making plans, just simply told the next day what would be happening…often with very little time to get ready. But because they paid I was supposed to be grateful. It was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made.

        They help me financially as I am on a low income. I’m on a disability pension, but have had a part time job job for 4 months. So I am now taking over what they pay for (internet) and paying them back for the overseas trip. I believe this takes away any entitlement they have to criticise me. Their financial support is less valuable than my self esteem.

        But they suggestions you make on the phone calls (we live a state apart) is where I fail. I can’t seem to do that….I immediately start to defend myself and argue. Later I replay the conversation and ask myself why I can’t do what you’ve suggested. But it seems in the heat of the moment my brain doesn’t work. So I’ve said I won’t take phone calls now. Maybe I need to put signs up min my house with things to say when I start to get upset? I don’t know. I just feel like a failure right now.

        • Furry White Dogs says:

          *hugs* You’re not a failure at all.

          Your parents are the way your parents are but not all parents are like that. Parents can be amazingly unhealthy and ‘we care’ can just be code for ‘we want to control you for whatever screwed up reasons we have’

          I’ve been NC from my Mother for over 10 years. She’ll never understand why and that’s a big reason why I stay NC. If I thought she had the capacity to go to counselling and work it through and build a relationship on mutual respect I’d be speaking to her. But she simply doesn’t have that capacity and at the end of the day it’s up to me to look after me so that’s what I’m doing.

          You are to be applauded for the steps you’ve been taking to become more independent. Well done for making decisions that put your well being first. That makes you a success :-)

        • grace says:

          lay the phone down on the table. Take a few breaths. Pick it up and say “Okay, thanks for your input. I have to go now. Love you! Bye!” I agree with your idea to write it down (or similar). You need to change your part of the script.
          If you really can’t deal with them, NC.

  22. NoMo Drama says:

    One thing to keep in mind, whether it helps in any way or not, is that in many cultures in this world — not pointing at any one in particular — including the Western tradition of the RomCom, persistence and stalkerish behavior are considered “manly,” “romantic,” “proof that he really cares,” and in far too many films and TV shows, these tactics that we find invasive and scary actually win the woman’s heart. Yecch! (then again look at who WRITES this tripe.)

  23. grace says:

    I’ve had this problem for several years with a female colleague who refuses to take no for an answer. For instance inviting me x times to certain events to which I say no, no, no. Then inviting me again! I finally “snapped” (as in asking her please to leave it) and now she isn’t speaking to me anymore.
    Must say, I’m enjoying the peace!

  24. Deepend says:

    My ex-gf is a boundary buster. It started early on in our relationship when she wouldn’t go home. If i wanted privacy for a phone call i went outsidevor to my car. When i broke up with her the first time i highlighted the fact that she never leaves. After saying she’ll do anything to make it work, she says “how can i date you if i can’t live with you?”

    That said so much about her early on i should have kept walking away then, but continued for another 3 years, and many more boundaries busted. She added all my friends as her own friends on Facebook. I was a little worried when she took interest in my co-workers after a Christmas party.

    After i broke up with her she still wanted to put my daughter in music lessons. I told her that she isn’t the person to do that anymore. She raged on me for not letting her stay at my son’s birthday party. She raged at me to get my son a bed because i gave back to her the one she gave me for him saying i don’t think of my kids till the last possible second. She told me my kids bring their hopes and dreams to her, which made her feel pretty fuckin important. All of this speaks to her grandiose sense of entitlement, which i shut down every time, but it didn’t stop there.

    About 2 months after our breakup, she meets a new guy and starts telling my kids all about him and how wonderful he is, what he bought for her, and how they’re moving in together. I took this all like a kick in the face with steel toed boots because this was exactly what i feared would happen with her. What i didn’t expect is what came next.

    To my dismay, i let this carry on for about 5 months until my kids told me something that made me so fucking angry i could finally respond with resolve. My kids told me that on two occasions I let her take them out on play dates, she brought her boyfriend along without asking me if it was ok. WTF?! WTF?! That was the final straw!! My kids told me it happened around xmas when she barely knew this guy, and that it was so awkward for every one that the only person talking was her. My daughter specifically said “it was so awkward me and brother didn’t even talk to each other.” And the fact that it happened twice?!

    Unluckily for her i found out the same day she had planned another play date with my kids. When she arrived i confront her face to face. When i asked her who the fuck she thinks she is bringing her boyfriend around my kids she said “he’s my family now. If the kids and I are going to be friends you are going to have to accept my family” to which i replied “i don’t have to accept anything!” i told her that if she wants to see my kids she’s going to have to respect my wishes, to which she replied “I’ll respect what the kids wishes are” thinking that she’s so important to them that they would accept the awkwardness of having the boyfriend along. As if!! I told her if she doesn’t respect my wishes she won’t see my kids again, after which she muttered a half hearted apology, and i let her see them. They haven’t see her since that day. The boundary bustin train doesn’t stop here though.

    3 weeks later and after telling my kids that they will not be seeing her anymore, she texts them asking if they want to fo on another play date. They never responded, so she texts me and asks “are the kids not allowed to see me?” to which i told her it no longer made sense for us to maintain contact with her, and that it isn’t fair to my kids, or our new partners for contact to continue. I can only imagine what kind of spineless jellyfish the new boyfriend must be for going along with her to see my kids. She appealed to my ex wife track record of mistakes and said i still let her see them, but i reminded her that my ex wife is their mother and she isnt. After appealing to what my kids want, pulling all the guilt trips that formerly worked on me, begging that i not cut ties with her, and telling me that she hates me with every fiber of her being, and her *promising to see my kids again even if she has to wait till they’re old enough to make their own decisions*, i closed that door firmly.

    A day later my best friend who was still her friend on Facebook shows me a status of hers that she posted “my life is dimmer today because my sunshines were taken away” and she posted a picture she took of them at the beach. It still pains my heart to think it has come to this because she was really close with my kids, almost closer than she was with me. She gained a lot of support from her friends and family, including one of my pseudo friends, who i also ditched as a friend.

    Then a day after this post of hers on Facebook, her fucking mother messages my 10 year old daughter on Facebook and says “my daughter is sad that she can’t see you, but she respects your dads reasons. She changed her profile pic to a picture of you and your brother. Have a nice life, and when you’re old enough to make your own decisions, my daughter will be waiting.” WTF?! WTF?! Now i know where my ex gets her boundary bustin ways from!

    After the message from her mother i decided a restraining order was called for, and prepared a 12 page statement of clsim against her, showing all the boundaries she busted and all the anger and rage she sent my way. I filed the statement with the court, but she never left the office the day i went to serve her. Good thing she wasn’t there as it probably would have taken this thing to a whole new level of intensity.

    To my surprise I haven’t seen or heard from her since, and as she promised that she’ll see my kids again, i fully expect her to pop in again at some point. She’s in for a huge surprise though, because my daughter who was her biggest fan doesn’t want anything to do with her after reading the things she said to me after the breakup.

    After all this bullshit and a year and a quarter after the breakup, more self aware, and thanks to BR i am a whole lot happier. I still think of her every day. She’s still with the same guy, so i guess rebound relationships don’t affect her like they affect every one else. Considering the amount of rage she sent my way about everything I’m surprised she is still with the guy, or that he is still with her but i guess she’s a nice piece of ass, so she’s worth putting up with.

    And i think about breaking 9 months of no contact with this boundary bustin bitch? Wtf am i thinking?! I must like PAIN!!

    • Ms jl says:

      You’ll be fine! Just find your INNER strength and ONLY you can decide when ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Stay encouraged, Sir.

      • Deepend says:

        Ms. JL,

        Thank you. I have been firm and have not cracked on this front. I really have no choice but to be firm, and resolved. So far so good!!

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Be careful. She sounds like a stalker or at least has the tendency. Your long post about her indicates you’re very concerned as well you should be for yourself and your kids.

  25. Deepend says:

    And i didn’t even mention the boundary busting Facebook messages she sent to my family and friends after the breakup saying how i ruined the idea of love and marriage for her. As my best friend who saw it all first hand said “it’s poetic justice what happened with her” i was all “poetic justice? Wtf do you mean?!” he said “all that noise about you ruining love and marriage for her didn’t stop her from jumping into the next relationship quickly, but you’re the one who’s single. It just makes her look so dumb for saying all that shit, while you said nothing. Who’s really the one with the ruined ideas about love and marriage? It speaks for itself!”

  26. oc says:

    I had to cut a friend of 15 years completely out of my life due to this phenomenon. No matter what I was going through, no matter what I felt my needs were, they felt that “what I needed” was something different. What it REALLY was was what they needed. They needed me not to change, not to be myself, and to be there and look the other way ad-nauseum to their neediness, addictions, and narcissistic behavior, forever.

    This situation was so bad that when they tried to “break-thru” my boundaries I would lay in bed at night with panic attacks, contemplate moving to another town, and feel like calling the cops. I would get so wound up that my immune system would literally break down and the next morning I would be sick from the fear and worry.

    I applied the no-contact rule that I learned from reading this website for 2 years and COMPLETELY stopped responding to his varying degrees of guilt-trips, insults, and outwarding hostile text messages. No matter what he said to try to invoke a response, I did not respond. Not even once. This broke the cycle and ultimately he has left me alone. It was hard, but its been almost a year now and overall I am a much happier person without someone with ulterior motives eroding my self-esteem and personal contentment on a ritualistic basis.

    Take a stand for you and watch what happens. It doesn’t come overnight, but it will come.

    Thanks Natalie for the great post. Your faithful reader, O

  27. Mindy says:

    I used to think that when he would contact me after I told him how it would be better for me if he didn’t since he couldn’t commit at this time, that that meant he really loved me and I’d go back for another go around. Now I know better after reading a lot of the information here. What it means is he just wants to keep using me for what he can get from me. While drip feeding me, trying to keep the status quo, using me for an ego stroke, affection, and attention, emotional support. Now I’m left feeling horrible, sad, depressed and I feel like I will never be the person I was before because of the stupid mistakes I made because I fell for this user. He still contacts me but I just ignore him. Hopefully he will stop at some point. It’s only been 7 days. I feel empty and sad most of the time because a part of me still hopes he’ll come through. But at least I don’t feel the urge to contact him anymore. Then at times I feel really angry. I can’t wait till this goes away. I so hope it does.

    • Stephanie says:


      The fact that you’ve maintain no contact is a great start. It does get better as long as you remember who is really is not what you want him to be! These guys will keep coming until you are persistent about no contact. Believe me I know because my ex-eum called me a
      1 1/2 later after I went no contact! His arrogant ass had the nerve to ask to see me before his pending marriage. Luckily I remembered that he only wanted to feel like he was control of me and didn’t care about my feelings or his fiance. He only proved what I already knew he was a assclown.

  28. Mindy says:

    Thanks Stephanie…I’ll never forget who he really is. I went in circles with this man for years, I would pull away, break it off, but he’d always re-bait the hook and I’d fall for it again. I totally believe that he will never be what I need him to be-he’ll never be available. Thanks for your reassurance that I will feel better as time goes by. Just having a tough day. This is the longest length of time I’ve ever gone without talking to him.

  29. Lilia says:

    I´m in knots over my dad, who is the worst boundary buster in my life. He would read my diary when I was a teenager and when I confronted him about it he attacked me with a load of mindf*ckery and made it seem like I was making things up, while he was the one who was lying. He is a complete narc, always has been, and has this tremendous ability to manipulate/bully me into doing whatever it is he has set his mind on, mostly having me behave in ways that shed a favourable light on him. I recognise so many AC characteristics in him it´s scary. There´s gaslighting, actions and words not matching, turning things around so I end up feeling guilty for his passive-agressiveness. Also, now that he´s older he looks exactly like Woody Allen (which isn´t a metaphor to say that he´s abused me sexually, he really looks like him and in the past there has been some creepyness going on with other young ladies, most of them from my extended family).

    The thing is, he lives abroad -thank God!- but whenever he visits, and there´s a visit coming up next month, I feel completely stressed out. I don´t know why but he has a key to my house and I´ve been meaning to take it away from him for years but I guess I´m afraid of the conflict that´ll arise. So he´ll just get into my house whenever he feels like it, even when I´m asleep, and sneak into my privacy. I told him last time that I preferred for him to at least ring the bell when he came over but he said “Oh, don´t worry about me, I really don´t mind if you´re busy”. WTF?
    So now I´m bracing myself to spell it out for him and await his bombardment of “woe me” nonsense and afterwards a lot of overt aggression, also towards my kids.

    I´m wondering if I´ve felt drawn to EUMs in the past because of these experiences of boundary busting from my father? Anyway. Any word of support would be appreciated, my self esteem drops dramatically when my father comes into the picture.

    • Still Standing says:


      My parents wreck my self esteem apart. Boundary busting and endless criticisms about anything they can find, no matter how petty. I have posted a little on this further up Nat’s post.

      I too have been attracted to EUM’s. The last one I thought was ‘The One’. Broke my heart, my mind and my soul. He’s what led me to this site.

      I think my folks are the biggest reason I’m attracted to that type. My folks don’t value me, neither do my partners. My folks don’t respect me, and voila neither do the men I’m attracted too.

      I don’t know what to say to uplift you, as I’m feeling so low myself. But I think we deserve the basic respect of having our boundaries respected. Why else would we be feeling so bad right now?

      • stephanie says:

        Lilia & StillStanding,

        Please repeat this to yourselves– I love myself even when no one else does.
        One of things I learned in life is loving yourself requires no help from anybody. Even if your parents told all day long they loved you, if you don’t believe it yourself for whatever reason it doesn’t matter. There comes a time when you have to not blame anybody for your low self-esteem. The only person that can improve your self-esteem is you.
        Yes, there are going to people who will and try to damage your self-esteem, but you need to learn to identify that these people have their own issues and should not be allowed to have that much power over how you see yourself.

        It’s not easy to do your own soul searching and be honest with yourself. But if you want to have peace in your life, you have to learn to say the hell with what other people think about me (included parents and family). The only thing that matters is how I feel about me.

        It does get better, but you have to want it get better.

        Have a Good and Positive Day – Smile!!

    • flcc says:

      “…and in the past there has been some creepiness going on with other young ladies, most of them from my extended family” “…and afterwards a lot of overt aggression, also towards my kids”

      Change all your locks, protect your kids. If he’s persistent about having access to your house, just tell him, “I’m working on it, meant to get a key made for you today but got sidetracked” rinse and repeat until he’s gone. It’s your home, your sanctuary, your kids and your life you are protecting. It’s your right to not allow those who make you uncomfortable and could be possibly harm your kids into your safe space.

      • Lilia says:

        Still standing & Flcc,

        Thanks for commenting, it really helps to be able to talk about it. Sometimes I don´t know where my boundaries lie with him, and if I´m being reasonable or not. That´s how much he meses with my mind and self esteem. I really feel your pain, SS, I also got used to this feeling of never being good enough, of always hiding my true needs and wants as a means of self-protection. So then I ended up not knowing what they actually were. And yes, I was always attracted to guys who didn´t care about my feelings, who were more in love with themselves than with me! At the moment I´m just trying to get to know me, and sometimes I´m flooded with pain and anger from the past.

        Last night I googled “narcissist fathers and their daughters” and all the sites that came up were spot on. My father matched all characteristics, which included gaslighting, treating others as extensions of himself, not respecting boundaries, manipulating, triangulating siblings (I don´t have siblings but he always tries to engage me in talking bad about his partner´s children, something I refuse to do), and so on. It was quite similar for narcisist mothers or partners.

        There was some advice on how to heal from this experience and how to deal with relatives who are narcs. It isn´t easy! I really liked a comment that said something like “you went through hell and survived. Now you´re a grownup. Stop being afraid of your narc father.”

        I´m so thankful for BR and all of you lovely ladies, I wouldn´t have come to this point if it weren´t for Nat & you all!

      • Mymble says:

        Yes change the lock, there is no point in asking him to do or not do things, he’s already ignored a request to show minimal courtesy by ringing the doorbell. Possession is nine tenths of the battle, he knows it. Make sure you’re the one in possession.

        • Mymble says:

          I was thinking, the key to ones house is very symbolic, isn’t it ? Your house is literally your physical boundary .
          I just got my spare key back off my ex – he was coming round when I wasn’t there that he said he needed. Not the things themselves,(although actually they are mine) but the helping himself without even telling, let alone asking. What set me off was looking for the ladder and finding it gone . “Borrowed”. I also had the spare key to his house and he demanded that back, even though I have never once used it and have kept it for emergency situations involving my kids.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Upon reading this situation, it occurred to me. If someone is in possession of the keys to your home, demand that they’re returned on the spot, in person. If you get an evasive response, such as “I don’t have them on me, right now”, change your locks. They may be stalling for time to make a copy of your keys. Anyone who would have the audacity to enter your home when you’re not there is brazen enough to use that ploy to maintain access.

    • A says:


      Honestly, I think you should cut ties with him. Your father sounds toxic. Keeping such people in our lives makes it difficult to heal and move on.

      In the meantime, I like the suggestion of changing the locks so that at least he can’t get into your home.

      • Lilia says:

        Thank you all, yes changing the locks is the best thing I can do. I´ll still get a lot of questions and probably some mindfuckery but it´ll be easier if that happens after I´ve taken charge of my front door, right? Somehow it puts me in a weaker position to have to ask for my key back, I think.

        Mymble, I also think there is a strong symbolism in this situation, that is why it bothers me so much. It´s like he can do whatever he wants with me and my mind. My mom and ex husband have keys to my house in case of an emergency but they have never ever used them and they don´t come over uninvited. It´s just a matter of respect. I found it really creepy when my father once told me he had come over and though we were home, we somehow didn´t notice he was there. (I was taking a nap, the kids were busy and didn´t hear him.) He told me he just looked at us for a while and left, and apparently that was really funny to him but it freaked me out.
        Change the locks it is.

        A: if I could cut ties completely with him, I would. But I think it would be counterproductive, seeing as he insists on maintaining things on his terms. That is why I am so happy that he lives in another continent.

  30. Deepend says:


    You could say i *was* very concerned at one point in time, but that concern has steadily diminished as time has past and my ex boundary buster hasn’t shown her face… yet. She explicitly stated “i will see those kids again, even if i have to wait till they’re old enough to make their own decisions, and that’s a promise *i will never break*, and i hope that pisses you off all your unholy days!!” This coming from someone who is *happy* with her new life?

    As time has past, ive done my best to let

  31. Deepend says:


    You could say i *was* very concerned at one point in time, but that concern has steadily diminished as time has past and my ex boundary buster hasn’t shown her face… yet. She explicitly stated “i will see those kids again, even if i have to wait till they’re old enough to make their own decisions, and that’s a promise *i will never break*, and i hope that pisses you off all your unholy days!!” This coming from someone who is *happy* with her new life?

    As time has past, ive done my best to let it go, but there are times that i wish it had worked out. We would have been newlyweds right now, and she’s off with the next guy very quickly, while I’m facing my fear of being single, and there’s no running from that reality.

    The only consolation I have in all of this is that she is in a rebound relationship which will eventually end, and by the time it does i should be good and emotionally available for someone who is right for me, but as time goes on even this is no consolation to me. What is consoling is that I’m pretty comfortable being single now which I’ve never been before, and I’m accepting of the reality that i don’t need a woman to be happy… I do still want a woman in my life, but the right one.

    My ex thinks she’s so important to my kids that she can just pick up where she left off. I dont put it past her, because she does have this grandiose sense of entitlement. I miss the good times with her, but i don’t miss her sense of entitlement!

    • Paula says:


      Keep her away from your children at all costs. She has some serious mental issues if she thinks she has some sort of right or entitlement to have access to your kids. She is not their mother and is not a blood relative of any kind, only an ex girlfriend, that’s all.
      And as for letting her current boyfriend have anything to do with your kids, you need to stop that before it happens.
      This issue will escalate unless you take this seriously and keep her away from both you and your kids.
      Believe me, your kids wellbeing is way more important than what her family and boyfriend think.

      • Deepend says:


        I took this all very seriously. I took a lot of shit from her after the breakup, including her contacting my friends and family via Facebook to dish on me, and text messages of anger she dumped on me. It hurt me a lot, but i dumped her. The news that she brought her boyfriend along on playdates with my kids was the final straw.

        I didn’t waste any time dealing with it either. She was at my house within an hour of me finding out, and i confronted her face to face as i wrote in my original post. She appealed to my ex wifes track record of bad choices and thought she deserved to be able to see them too, but i told her she’s not their mother. She appealed to how much she loves them even though they are not blood relatives, the love is the same. I told her she wasn’t loving them by taking them out with her boyfriend, and that the only person she was thinking of was herself. She begged me to not take them away and that she’d never bring the boyfriend around again, and i told her it was to late for that. Then she told me she hates me with every fiber of her being, promised she’d see them again and “that’s a promise i will not break!”

        She made a huge scene about it on Facebook, and managed to draw away one of my friends by it. She even contacted my uncle and asked him if she should fight for access to my kids! Like holy fuck woman!! The email from her mother to my daughter was the final straw, and i wasted no time writing a statement against her for court, which i filed, but didn’t serve after my first attempt.

        I took it all very seriously, and still do, but she hasn’t made so much as a peep in our general direction. I think she’s freezing me out, waiting for me to contact her. It’s not how i imagined the life after her to be, and I miss my best friend, but she did some major damage on her way out, and that’s not something i can over look, condone, or forgive without a serious heart felt apology.

        This is what a girl who’s happy with her new boyfriend and life does after all, right?

  32. NoMo Drama says:

    Change the locks.

  33. noquay says:

    This woman is toxic personified. She should never, ever, have any contact with your children. What lessons are they learning from her?! Get a restraining order if need be but keep those kids away from this manipulative trash at all costs.

    • Deepend says:


      She was definitely toxic personified and i shut her down. It’s been 9 months of no contact and i don’t plan on going back. My children haven’t seen her since the day confronted her.

  34. M says:

    Deepend, perhaps reversed psychology could work. I understand your discomfort with the new guy. But what if you all just did the opposite and instead of making it a challenge for her, just let go. What’s such a big deal about your kids seeing her with the new boyfriend? You will have a new woman too at some point. I think (just an idea), the situation could be cleverly diffused if you try to act completely different and accept the new guy in her (and your kids’ life) and not make a big deal out of it. Then it may not be so important to her to put up such a fight for them and she may even lose interest at some point as she moves on with her new life with the new guy. As a kicker: tell her you will go with them too, meet the new boyfriend, have a beer, chat, we’re all humans, perhaps you will even feel better and relieved. Just an idea, please don’t take offense.
    P.S. After re-reading your original post, it seems to me that your original problem with her was that she would not go home and wanted to be be with you. I am a little confused. Again, just my thoughts and feelings, but when I care about someone, I don’t want her to go home ;-)

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I strongly disagree with your suggested strategy. But, hopefully, Deepend will make the best decisions for herself.

      • Deepend says:


        As Tinkerbell already said, i strongly disagree with your strategy.

        I spent 5 months making nice with her, but clearly the respect was one sided. There’s no need to re-engage her since it’s been 9 months since i told her to take a walk, and i haven’t seen her since.

  35. Deepend says:


    I filed a restraining order against her, but never served it. Thank God i didn’t. I would have had to face her whole family and new boyfriend in court, which i didn’t want to do at the time, so i never went through with it. I still have the documentation if i need it though.

  36. Tinkerbell says:


    You seem to be taking this situation more casually than is prudent. A restraining order is necessary. She is dangerous to you and your kids mental/emotional well being.

    • Deepend says:


      This is 9 month old news. I talked to a lawyer at the time and the lawyer said there has to be a current risk to get a restraining order, which has passed now. If i was still felt violated i would act. If she eventually comes back i will reconsider getting a restraining order.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Okay,Deepend. Your head is in the right place. I understand, now and applaud your refusal to put up with her BS, whether now or in the future.

        • Deepend says:

          Thanks Tinkerbell.

          It’s been a tough go, but I don’t fuck around when it comes to my kids or people who are out to hurt me, even if they were once near and dear to me.

  37. visualgirl says:

    Well said. What’s also interesting is when one has to be “tenacious” but finally give up because the other person passive-aggressively ignores others simply waiting for them to give up – basically one becomes a pest from the other’s lack of response – am thinking of a work rather than romantic situation.

  38. NoMo Drama says:

    As I said, there’s a sick streak in many societies that condones this behavior. Shy, nerdy teenage me was generally unpopular with boys, but sometimes besieged by an unwanted admirer coming on really strong. My creeped-out feelings were invalidated by friends who would say things like, “You just don’t like anybody who really likes you.” At the time, I called it the ‘used-car salesman approach’ but wondered whether I was doing that Groucho Marx thing of not wanting to be a member of any club that would accept me. I should not have doubted myself.

    Knowing what I know now, I don’t tolerate being “pursued” because it always feels like the guy is not interested in finding out who I am, or giving me the space to find out who he is.

  39. NMV says:

    I have a question…what about an ex-wife who doesn’t want to let go, who manipulates the kids, the relatives, the ex…just to keep a close tab on her ex-husband’s life? She sent him a text saying that she doesn;t want to let ditance grow between them…My problem is, my boyfriend allows it because he is concerned about his relationship with his children.We broke up on Valentine’s weekend because she manipulated the children( girl, 12 and 15)to ask for a lunch together, the 4 of them. She did the same on every holiday, every week-end….etc.It has nothing to do with his time with the kids, I get that…but the fact that she talks to him every day, sends him text, ask about his schedule…I cannot attend any of the kids’ functions, they cannot spend time at my house…it is always about her meltdowns, her sacrifice, etc. She treas her boyfreind like a second class citizen, obviously because she want to keep the ex a primary in her life.
    I am tired, I gave up…I love this man, but I believe he is the one who cannot build boundaries and lets her get away with everything.Any advice?…did I mentioned that he drip-feeds me on his time outside our time…I never fully know what he does when he is with them…and he says that he is only accountable to himself…we’ve been together 3.5 years…I told him that he should be accountable if he is in a relationship with me…

  40. Pam says:

    I have been holding on to a fantasy relationship for 3 years. We were together, in some sense, for 2 years. So I have pretty much been in hell for 5 years. I have finished reading Dreams and the Fanatasy Relationship and I’ve started re-reading it. I have done alot of reading, therapy, more reading, more therapy for the past 3 years and while pieces resonated wtih me this book knocked me over the head. The scenarios, language, conversations were all painfully familiar. I digress.. this article hurt to read – I am the pest. I needed to hear the ugly truth. Thank you for keeping it real. This site has become my daily devotional.

    1 Week-er

  41. Jemila says:

    This post was very helpful. I’m learning to feel comfortable with my personal boundaries and not being guilt tripped by ‘boundary busters’. I’m also learning that telling ‘boundary busters’ what they want to hear for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’ is harmful to both myself and them.

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!