imageMy inbox is filling up with stories from people who pretty much expect a Miracle On Assclown Street to happen this month. If not that, they’re certainly thinking that this month defines how well they’ve done as a person this year. It’s the whole ‘December’ thing. Every year, people around the world develop temporary amnesia due to it being Christmas or as Americans call it, The Holidays. In much the same way people suddenly get a new lease of hope for even the worst of relationships because of Valentines Day – It’s a day of love! Maybe dinner, some wine and that song that was playing when we first met (that they don’t even remember), will breathe some life into this flatlining relationship! – we pile on way too much expectations and build up this month into more than it is.

We criticise and judge ourselves by holding us up for comparison against ‘everyone else’ and then become convinced that we’re the only ones who are alone, that staying with somebody who mistreats us is better than no one at our side on the 25th, that we’re the only ones who have a family that don’t have the type of Christmas that could be featured in a TV ad, or that only ‘not good enough’ people struggle with this month. Suddenly a relationship that made sense for us to sprint in the opposite direction of only hours, days, or weeks ago, becomes the something that we can’t possibly get through the month without.

December prompts us to call up exes or to be receptive when they fish around, to try to squish a new involvement into something more serious, to will ourselves to just to get through the next few weeks while praying for a conscience or revised persona to turn up on our partner in the new year, and to even plead that our affair partner leave their relationship asap before it’s too close to Christmas. We overspend, we dread having to deal with family and imagine all sorts of scenarios that wind us up, and keep wondering if this could be the year when our family becomes the one we’ve always envisioned for ourselves.

I know so many people who feel embarrassed about their family being less than perfect and I can count on one hand, the amount of people I know who have drama free families. The stories I’ve heard just in the playground this week make me think my own family are tame! And that’s saying a lot!

As I’ve said in one of this blogs most popular posts, It’s JUST Christmas/The Holidays – Stay off the Relationship/Drama Crack, “For people who are struggling with their self-esteem or an unhealthy relationship, you spend eleven fricking months of the year handing your power over to other factors such as your current partner, or an ex, or your job, or your past, or your family or whatever, and now December comes along and it’s like it owns you……

……. This is bullshit! It’s no wonder we get angsty about it when we’re being sold ‘Christmas’ from as early as October – we’re being sold and if you don’t have the presence of mind to remember who you are, your values, and the fact that there’s eleven other months in the year, you may end up doing something in the short-term that leaves you with a medium to long-term hangover.

It’s like “Screw it! I’m going to throw caution to the wind and send that text or buy into the fantasy (again) that my ex who has already shown and told me who they are might gift me with my fantasy of them making me the exception to their rule.”

It’s just The Holidays. Yes it can be a pain in the bum if your family are crackerjacks and descend into arguments at the dinner table (that would be mine), or you’ve fallen out (that was us three years ago), or you’re hurt (I’ve ticked a few Christmases off with that one), or you feel like it highlights everything that’s missing from your life, but don’t get things twisted – it’s just a few weeks and you can make them as big or as small as you want to, but whatever you do, put yourself in the driving seat of your own life.

Unless you’re taking part in a nativity play, you’re not a sheep.

Whatever your religious inclinations, the true meaning of Christmas/The Holidays was never about opting back into a poor relationship to massage your ego for a few weeks or holding onto something that detracts from you just so you can say that you’re miserable but you’re with someone.”

Santa says relax, don't do it. You'll regret it sooner than you'll reap the reward. It's only feckin Christmas!

Come back to earth.

Your thoughts?

**Updated December 15th** If you’re in New York this Thursday, some readers are getting together for Christmas drinks. Info here.

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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93 Responses to Stop letting December stress you out! It’s JUST Christmas!

  1. Wiser says:

    I heard this recently and it’s my new Christmas mantra:

    “If we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.” – Edith Wharton

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, I got off the Christmas Expectation Express years ago.
      Now my siblings (all over 60) and I send each other a link to the gift we want, one of us volunteers to cook a gigantic dinner, then we meet, greet, eat, and split. No drama.
      Happy birthday, J.C.
      And best wishes to you and yours this season, Nat.

  2. Natasha says:

    Hark! this time of year really can bring out a lot of unadulterated foolery, can’t it? A few years ago, I used to post on BR a lot because I was heartbroken over an assclown that dumped me (for the…I don’t even remember how many times this guy ditched me, but it was really Defcon 1 Get Your Sh*t Together). I was especially hurt because this fool had made a few nasty digs about the fact that I’m half-Jewish (yes, I was actually upset about this person, take the fact that I saw the light as direct proof that there is hope for every Fallback Girl out there). I hadn’t been on the receiving end of any texts from this guy in a very, very long time until a few days ago. What did this guy send me, on it’s lonesome with no accompanying text?

    A Happy Hanukkah GIF.

    I sh*t you not. The fact that Hanukkah had been over for days only adds to the “I know he didn’t.”-ness of it all. I had pretty much forgotten that this guy existed and it really was a “WOW” moment to think of where I was a few years ago. If you’re still hurting over someone that sucks as a human being or even just sucks as a relationship prospect, let me assure you that there is better out there for you. You will get over it. You will be happy. Sending my love to Nat and all of you!

    • ReadyForChange says:

      Natasha,
      your story gives me hope. Reminds me that there is life after the pain. That the day will come when his name does not evoke any emotion. That it may come soon! Thank you.

      • milk says:

        Ready for change, You can do it. You have a lot to give, when you do get out you can begin to find that someone special-not a special ass clown. It starts with you choosing/needing none contact.

        My ass clown I have not seen for or heard from for 5 years. It was mutal more me getting fed up so he followed suit. Anyway he married the year later what a surprise. He contacted me a year later via facebook but its not my bag. Then when I started using it recently to keep in contact with a sibling I bumped into him on the sight. I thought its was a cheek for him to want to be friends after so long. He tried to reset the relationship and said to meet as he was in town. Long story short I didn’t go as it was at a days notice, but each time I did casually communicate via facebook it was too hard. So I decided it would be non contact but on the 30th December for a new start in the new year. Then I thought do it now, unfriend him and enjoy your xmas, so that’s what I did. It feels great!!!

        Good luck every one- wish I cut him off within 12 months of meeting him.

        • Allison says:

          Milk,

          Good for you!

          Enjoy the drama-free holidays!

          • Em says:

            I’ve chosen to spend Christmas solo for the past few years. I have made it a time of peace and quiet meditation even though it is somewhat lonely…I come from a big family with big celebrations in the past but my Dad is a classic narcissist and has created hell for us. Nothing is ever good enough and he is verbally abusive. My siblings and I have many deep wounds that have carried into our 50s:( There is too much grudge holding and bitterness to spend Christmas together:) I makes me sad because we have a lot of love in us but allow anger and control to rule. Maybe some day we can reunite without weapons of hurt. Who knows what the future will bring. Merry Christmas to All!:)

        • Natasha says:

          Amen, Milk! :) Good for you for taking control of your own happiness – enjoy it and Happy Holidays!

      • Natasha says:

        Ready, I’m so very, very happy to hear that I could help! Believe me, it WILL happen. In my case, it sort of happened without my noticing, if that makes sense. Every so often, a friend would reference this asshat (aka, when we’d be reminiscing about the worst people we dated) and it was like, “Huh, I really feel nothing for this guy.” To give you the full context, I obsessed about this guy for, like, 5 years worth of on and off malarkey!

        The best advice I can give is to do everything you can to enjoy the positive, happy things in your life! If you feel sad, call a friend that cracks you up. If you feel like, say, checking your ex’s Facebook profile, watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see instead. If you find yourself ruminating, get a group together to check out a new restaurant. Before you know it, you won’t even have to think about distracting yourself, because *BAM* you’ll have moved on! :) Happy Holidays and get ready for a much happier new year!

        • Oregon Girl says:

          Thank you for the awesome reminder. I know it works. Just kinda hard right now and your reminder is nice. :) thank you!

    • Allison says:

      Natasha,

      Great post! You are soooooo right!

      • Natasha says:

        Thanks Allison! :) I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish time travel existed so I could go back to Natasha Of Three Years Ago and be like, “GIRL. There will come a point when this guy could get married on your front lawn and you won’t care. Go find something productive to do.” So glad you enjoyed and Happy Holidays!!

        • Allison says:

          Natasha, I’m so with you, but you know what – in my case – I wouldn’t change a thing, as I needed to make MANY changes in my life!!! I was a big old doormat!!

          You are so right about keeping busy! This is what saved my sanity, and also introduced me to new friends and activities. It’s all good!!!!

          Wishing you a Happy Holiday, as well!

  3. Sushi says:

    Ho ho ho, very true! I’m already knackered and exhausted trying to please everybody, will do better next year. Had these very thoughts about New Years Eve actually, it’s supposed to be the funnest night of the year, but it never happens like that and my worst ones were when I was in horrible relationships. And got a card from manipulative ex , three exes ago who uses this time of year to remind me of his existence , so decided to be rude ( again) and not acknowledge. Bless you Natalie for this reminder that its only an overblown couple of days. Peace to everyone !

  4. Makara says:

    This is SO true! Two years ago I accepted that my family was never going to look like that family on TV during the Christmas commercials. It just won’t happen and now that I have accepted it, all the upset feelings and anxiety I had during Christmas is over.

    Now Im focusing on doing small things that will bring me joy this time of year rather than try to force family members to behave in a “certain” way. The only behavior I’m paying attention to is my own.

    And I need to thank you for reminding me all these years that Christmas and Valentines Day are just days in a year. Thanks to you I no longer feel like im on relationship crack during the holidays.

    • Em says:

      I can relate! Nice to know we are not alone in our experiences…family wounds can be the hardest to heal….but it is possible by taking care of yourself and letting go of expectations. Clarifying exactly where boundaries are needed is so important. Stop confiding in the wrong people and stop chasing love and approval.

  5. Bella says:

    Oh dear. Guilty! And here was me thinking that after two years I would send a sincere email to AC, wishing him all the best of luck with a major award he is up for in his professional life, and expect to get a kind reply. Of course, I didn’t, just silence.

    In my world, someone does well, you wish them well and they say thank you. I sorta forgot what he was like, but glad Natalie is here to remind me that it is December, and I was wishing for the miracle of the season and got a bit carried away. Some things never change. Still makes me sad though.

  6. Powerbabe says:

    Don’t just give yourself the gift of confidence. Wrap it up in a box and put it under your tree. When you open it up, it may be the best present you receive all year.

  7. free voice says:

    Yups it’s that time again….Looking forward to christmas on my own for the first time. I’m not going to show how desperate I am to someone who gives me crumbs! Besides that’s 20 yrs I haven’t spent xmas with family. I feel really sad & lonely around this time (normally) but funny enough I don’t give a S*** anymore! My EX of 12yrs left me 4 yrs ago & last christmas I spent it with my recent EX. I’m just going to get the chocolate out have some wine & watch a good film…and not think too much <3

    • free voice says:

      I’ve just bought Nat’s “Mr unavailable & the fallback girl” plus “The dreamer & the fantasy relationship”, hopefully that will give me a good slap & bring me back down to earth for christmas!

  8. Genki says:

    I think back to this time last ur & ex hubby was deciding whether or not he would bless us with his presence for Xmas. It was his wife, his daughter & his sister, we were all excited to be going on a road trip for Xmas being tourists, I love that type of thing & his sister was so excited. Yet he was a total wet blanket the whole trip, boring, avoiding us & sneaking off to ring the other woman. What a waste of space …I still cannot believe I tried to work things out with that narcissist. Now he’s seen the light & wants back…what a crock if shit. Now this Xmas I am so relaxed & excited to spend it without him….enjoying positive people like my family!! Merry Christmas to Nat and all you amazing Ladies…it’s been a pleasure to get to know u all & ur stories this year.

  9. Tulipa says:

    Thank goodness you wrote this post.

    “It’s like “Screw it! I’m going to throw caution to the wind and send that text or buy into the fantasy (again) that my ex who has already shown and told me who they are might gift me with my fantasy of them making me the exception to their rule.”

    I can see the link between wanting to escape Christmas and avoid all the conflict that is happening within my family at the moment and seriously struggling with wanting to go and see the ex AC on Christmas Day for the simple fact he doesn’t celebrate it.
    But I also want the miracle I want him to know how much hurt he caused me I want him to make the wounds he caused better.
    I really do feel like I’ve been at the crack pipe and I’ve gone a little crazy.
    But I haven’t acted on my impulses about sending a text, email or calling. We are not at Christmas Day yet for me to act on turning up at his door.
    You are so right it is one day of the year I am all in a tizz about I need to take a step back and calm down.
    I am so glad you wrote this post I am going to re read every day until the ONE day passes.
    I have to have one December where I do NOT smoke the crack.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tulipa,

      You cannot have read the last few posts and comments on BR and then be talking about sending a text to an ex AC. You’re kidding, right?

      • Tulipa says:

        Tinkerbell,

        I was just being honest I am struggling.
        I’m trying to pin point why that is.

        I don’t think I will actually text him because it took me a long time to break that habit and it is one habit I don’t want back.

        I have broken no contact twice over the past 5 and a half months of no contact via email and I don’t want to do it again.

        But it is like December has hit and I have taken up the crack pipe.
        I am all over the place I can’t stop crying I am angry at myself that I was progressing okay and now it like a step back in my recovery.
        I haven’t done anything except think about seeing him or contacting him. They are thoughts I know that I don’t have to act on them just dial them down and calm down.
        Personally I think I am using old habits of fantasy to avoid what is going on in reality.
        So no I’m not kidding about my struggle.

        • Rosie says:

          Tulipa-

          “Personally I think I am using old habits of fantasy to avoid what is going on in reality.”

          Yes, I can relate to this. Just as the “futon guy” (if you’re not familiar with why I call him this, don’t ask ;) ) used me for sex, I used him emotionally as an escape to what was going on in my life. I was an emotional mess when I talked it over with my pastor but he said something that really put it in perspective: “We declare ourselves to be sinners so why are you surprised that you sinned?” For me, this was important because I did have this “Dynasty drama” going on in my head about what I did, what was going on with the guy, etc.

          By letting go of my own ego by acknowledging the reality that there’s nothing special about me, that I’m capable of caving to the same temptations as everybody else strengthened my ability to say “no” to the booty call.

          I remember Magnolia’s post to somebody who was struggling to let go of an AC. I can’t remember Magnolia’s exact words but she said that when she feels tempted to go back to old ways or to get that validation from an important man (if I remember right), it’s usually when she feels depleted.

          Tulipa, it sounds like you’re doing the same thing I did–making your temptation such a big deal in your head and beating yourself up over both the temptation and the inflating of the temptation (i.e. “I’ve been on BR for a while; I’m better than this. What’s wrong with me that I’m still a fallen human who’s tempted to use a man as an escape from reality? Oh, woe is me…”)

          Just call it what it is–a temptation, nothing more. Take stock of your feelings, such as, “I’m feeling lonely, horny, alienated, insecure…” “I do want his approval right now; I wish I didn’t but I do want it.” The “right now” part is important because there are moments when you’re not tempted, moments when you are. Just take stock of the moments when you’re tempted and call it that. Don’t judge your feelings or desires, just acknowledge them. Really, it’s not a big deal to be tempted. So you texted him a few times. What about it? You didn’t give him your life savings, did you? Acknowledge that you’re a “sinner” like everybody else and get on with living.

          This is just a long-winded way of saying that the more you fight the temptation, the more power you give it. By acknowledging it and naming your feelings, you return the power to you.

          Thank you for your courage of honesty, Tulipa! You’re strong! :)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Rosie,

            That’s very nice encouragement you gave to Tulipa.

          • Tulipa says:

            Thank you, Rosie, what you wrote makes a lot of sense.
            I’ve not had the courage to share my whole story even though one is anonymous on here. But what I wrote above is honest I could write a soap opera about what is happening in my head. I will give it a go to acknowledge my thoughts and say yes the temptation is there, but so what I don’t have to act on it.
            I am working with my therapist on my issues especially about not letting go, she is encouraging me to forgive him and it is helping though it is hard work.(I’m so angry at him but not the level that I was at a few months ago.)

            Thank you again, Rosie, for your help and support.

        • Liz says:

          Sometimes when we are very close to recovery and finally healing we seem to slide back into the old thoughts and fears. It’s like they are stronger the ever and all the work we’ve been doing never happened! I think it’s our old broken self freaking out that we’ve changed so much and are getting ready to leave them behind. So it bombards us with everything it has- memories, cravings, the works! Ignore them and take heart that you are stronger and different and those old thoughts aren’t part of you anymore.

      • Allison says:

        Tulipa,

        You’ve been on here a long time. When do you let this non existent relationship go?

        Why are you scared of a healthy commitment? By keeping this guy in your mind space, you are preventing yourself from finding a decent man.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Tulipa,

          Listen to Allison. You HAVE been here a very long time. You’ve said you are a very slow learner. It is time to come down from the clouds and deal with your life and the people in it from a REALISTIC perspective. It’s time!

          I DO understand how you’re feeling. That is why I posted about this time of year and how many people are sad or deeply reflective. Xmas time is very tough for a lot of people. So remember this and act accordingly. Good luck. Look forward to a brighter new year.

  10. JenniferA says:

    Happy, happy to all of you and yours! I am so glad to have found this website and all of you! It has made the world of difference in dealing with all this pain. Thank you for sharing, caring and just being. :)

  11. Lorraine says:

    Hi Ladies,
    I love, love, love this post. Two months since I’ve seen or spoken to EUM. He has texted a few times with Missyou, love you, asked me out… Was hard cause my heart hasn’t caught up to my head yet.

    With all this extra time I have, my house is decorated like Xmas on steroids! I’ve been sad, wishing he could share it with me. Holiday romance, blah, blah, blah.

    After reading this article, I feel like someone just slapped me in the face and said,”snap out of it”!

    I know exactly what would happen… Sex, then feeling empty after sex. Urges to then buy the AC a gift, never ever feeling like I’m getting enough emotionally, etc. Etc.

    I’m going to buy myself a Tory Burch satchel instead of having spent a dime on him. Getting stronger everyday. I learned a valuable lesson and that is never make someone the center of your life because if it ends, you have nothing else in your life. I need a freaking life. New Year’s Resolution: Get a Life!!!! Thanks you ladies and Natalie.

    • JustHer says:

      Lorraine,

      I am learning that harsh life-lesson too! He was the centre of my life and then suddenly, when he left, it was like I ceased to exist as a human being – just an empty soul casing wandering through life.

      I’m changing that now and looking to start again with being ME. It is so so important that in the search for the great “love” we don’t forget what we owe to ourselves. Self comes first.

      It sounds selfish, but it will not only save us, but it will take the deadweight off the relationship.

    • Allison says:

      Lorriane,

      What a fantastic turn round!

      Enjoy your beautiful home and bag!!!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lorraine,

      I love what you’ve said.

  12. Bella says:

    Thanks so much nat this is just what I needed to hear. Been upset for a week as it’s my first Xmas in 7 years with out the ac. I’ve been going crazy about him but am strong I haven’t broke Nc I walk around the shops and just want to cry but this has helped I will read it every day
    Thanks your site has helped me through the last 3 months you made me a stronger person and to realise it wasn’t me he’s not normal but I new that deep down just didn’t want to believe it

    Merry Christmas to every one on here xxxx

    • Lorraine says:

      Bella,
      Isn’t it funny how all our stories are so similar? We are about the same time NC. I know how much it hurts. My heart misses this AC while my head knows better. I’m scared that if he calls over the holidays, I’ll be too weak not to answer and I know how disappointed I will be if he doesn’t.

      I do know though that he’s not a good man. He’s deceptive and I know I have to stop making it about him. I do know that I’m getting stronger. I do know that I haven’t cried in days. I do know I deserve better! All of us do. Merry Christmas. We need to support each other and get through this time when NC is still very difficult.
      We can do it.

      • Allison says:

        Lorraine,

        Have you blocked, yet?

        It will resolve some of the issues.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lorraine,

        Your NC is not complete if you are waiting for him to call. If you’re serious, why haven’t you blocked him?

        • Lorraine says:

          Can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve deleted all his information on every device. Want to block him but I’m just not there yet. There is no chance that I will ever call him. I haven’t answered his calls.
          Just not there yet…

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Okay, but you are postponing a tremendous sense of relief and freedom when you don’t have that worry/anxiety about his calling. It’s called taking care of YOU. I’m not the only one on here that has experienced it.

            • Allison says:

              Lorraine,

              Tink is spot on!

              Isn’t this the dude that went back to his baby’s momma- if he’s involved with the mother of his child, its wrong to have, or want contact?

              What in the world could you want him to say? Haven’t you been put through enough!

    • JustHer says:

      Bella,

      Honey, hang in there. 7 years is a long time, but you have a much longer, happier time ahead of you.

      You deserve the best, this Christmas and every other Christmas to come!

      You can do it. :)

      • Bella says:

        Thanks every one for your support. I no am better of with out him and would never speak to him again just need to get rid of these thoughts. I have been tempted to look him up but I haven’t which means am getting stronger. Him and his family always ruined Christmas for me I was always so stressed but this year am not but maybe am just missing the stress because that’s been part of my life for 7 years. Am gratefull for finding you all and hearing all your story’s and that it’s not me it’s these acs I was starting to think there was something wrong with me xxxx

        • Bella says:

          Lorraine

          It’s funny how they all seem to be the same and our story’s are similar. It helps a lot to no it’s not just you because you think your the only one going through it xxx

  13. JustHer says:

    I saw someone today who looked very much like the AC today at the station he usually used to use when he came to meet me and I absolutely freaked out.

    I stopped breathing, it felt like all the air had been vacuumed from my lungs and I felt dizzy. Then I looked closely, and it wasn’t him.

    Christmas is becoming too stressful with me imagining him and wanting him at every turn, but thanks for the inspirational words Natalie!

    I want to make 2014 all about me (really wonder how I spent two years making it all about him!). The time has come to turn it all around and I am glad to say that I will come out of it all much stronger than before. No potential love interest any where in vicinity, but meh. I’ll make do.

    Merry early-xmas to everyone!

    • Lorraine says:

      It’s funny how we slowly begin to realize our worth. Still on shaky ground when I think of him. Each day I don’t hear from him, I consider it a gift…
      Short story. I run. I ran along New York Harbor before I met him. We met there. We ran together for the past five years.
      He went back to an ex two months ago. I couldn’t bring myself to run there anymore. Afraid to see him run by or even see his car pass by on the road next to there. I hid for the past two months, running at the local high school track. I was bored and finally got angry. He took so much from me and now I was allowing him to take the beautiful strip where I ran for so long from me too.

      The week before Thanksgiving, we had beautiful weather here and one day I said, “no more”. I’m running by the water again. He’s not going to take this from me!!! I’ve been running there ever since. Don’t know what I’ll do if he runs by me one day. Smile and keep running? Wave? Not sure but I do know I feel good not allowing him to have that much power over me. Today I ran and he passed by in his car. I was empowered. Like “run somewhere else AC”!

      Merry Christmas and find something that makes you feel empowered.
      Hugs…

      • Wiser says:

        Lorraine, good for you! I’m a big advocate of not letting an ex decide what you’ll do or won’t do. Taking back your power is huge.

        • Bella says:

          You all took the words out of my mouth. All I’ve been saying is 2014 is for me to stArt again and look after me xx

  14. Blushing Kitty says:

    Nat, I just want to say that I really enjoy the artwork you put on each of your articles. It’s so whimsical!

  15. sadmom says:

    Due to the extensive drama my (adult) son has caused in my entire family’s daily life…. I just up and left to an undisclosed location… worse for me than them… his birthday is tomorrow – how on earth can a boy be fine one day and turn in to an assclown on his 18th birthday? Meh – it’s just another day…

  16. Sandy says:

    I actually love Xmas but I had to put it on hold for the last four years due to the fact that he hated it (no tree and decorations etc), last year I thought feck it and decided to just relax and enjoy it and he even came to my family with me, but it wasn’t enjoyable it was stressful, he was depressed and just his usual fucked up self..but this year I can go all out, I am having my brother, his son and my mum around for brunch then I am off to my nieces in the afternoon for a bbq, quite a few of the family will be there (and we all get on so there will be no dramas, we have never been a family that does have drama between us :-))and when I take my holidays I don’t have to wonder whether he will let me spend time with him lol ahhh it’s just going to be so relaxed and stress free without him!
    Oh and I would never get any pressies from him but god forbid I didn’t buy one for him!!

  17. Angela says:

    LMAO @ Miracle on Assclown Street, LOL!!! I doubt the AC that attempted to come back and throw me the “lets just be friends” card will be coming back to change his ways and tell me Merry Christmas. And I shan’t be waiting for that to happen!

  18. noquay says:

    I have opted out of Xmas since my marriage ended. Always celebrated Solstice which is something tangible. December is a problem; depression due to cold, too short days, end of semester rush, holiday parties where I feel like an unwanted dog. I have never had the slightest temptation to text, email, send a card to anyone that has treated me with disrespect, including family. Am really looking forward for at least a short break from routine, which I find stultifying. Get work done on the house, cut up my newly acquired pile of scrap wood, get serious exercise and best of all, a 2 1/2 week break from having to see, hear, or smell the at work AC. Hallelujah!!

  19. Peanut says:

    I wrote this very long and thoughtful post about how much I hate Christmas, and I don’t know where it went.

    Basically, I am telling my family I have plans and going to IHOP to eat pancakes.

    And our exes, or anybody for that matter, doesn’t change on the account of XMAS.

  20. Em says:

    This is hard…. I wanted out of this relationship cause I was unhappy, 7 months later… it’s almost Christmas and I miss him… and I just found out some of my friends are spending Xmas at HIS place, with the new girl :-( This makes me feel so replaced. He met his girlfriend 2 months after our breakup, and within 4 weeks he told me she was ‘the one’… even though I was unhappy with him, it hurts…

    • Tinkerbell says:

      EM,

      Now you see, if you had done NC, he would not have been able to tell you that. It’s bad enough to see or hear that he’s “happy” but for him to TELL YOU? I wouldnot want to experience that.

      Granted you have not elaborated. Do you work with him or see him regularly?

      • Em says:

        Thanks for the lecture, we had a lot of stuff to finalize, so I couldn’t go no contact for the first 3 months. But then I cut him off. No need to speak or see him every again, but sometimes I do still get a pang of hurt.

    • Lorraine says:

      Em,
      I know how hard feeling replaced is too. Everything was so great until September when he started treating me like sh*t until I hurt so much I ended it with him. (Exactly what he wanted)
      I found out two months later that not only did he replace me with the ex he swore for two years he couldnt stand the sight of, but he took her and his kids away for a week at Thanksgiving to his family.
      Of course he texted me before and after his trip, the I love you’s and I miss you’s…

      He doesn’t even know that I’m aware of any of this. Anyway, I know how much it hurts, but I’m digging deep to just accept the situation, know that he’s an AC of the worst kind and look forward to opening myself up to a good and decent man who actually deserves me. You deserve better too. We all do.

  21. Tinkerbell says:

    This is a very difficult time of year for many. So much comes up. Another year gone by. Did I keep my resolutions and make my life better? Why did I choose NOW to be NC? Does he miss me? Will he change and be a better person? Why do I still miss my deceased husband? Why didn’t my marriage work out?
    Will I finally be able to lose weight, quit smoking. etc? And on and on. No wonder people have mixed emotions. It’s supposed to be a happy time but it’s been made so commercialized. Too much emphasis on spending. So you’re feeling badly because you weren’t able to buy as many gifts as you mistakenly thought were so necessary. It’s a time of joy, sadness, reflection, self-examination and seeking to shed old skin and be renewed.

    Peanut “lost” her post about why she hates Xmas. Karma. Let’s just try to get through this in an upbeat fashion. An awful lot can go wrong, particularly in relationships if we don’t stay positive and administer SELF CARE. It’s just Xmas.

  22. Genki says:

    These guys sound similar …don’t want to have fun @ Xmas, cabt be bothered with decorations, don’t see it as family time & only visit family grudgingly, I have always loved Xmas, I love the parties, dressing up, seeing people I haven’t seen all year, yes it’s chaos, but fun! I really can’t get over how I let his response to things affect me, I think I did lose a lot of my sparkle over the 6 years we were together in fact I recall saying that to a counsellor years ago….daily I really do thank my lucky stars & this website that I have realised the reality. Lorraine – I love running too, it makes u feel strong. Also I just watched a Beyonce DVD, she is a real feminist & I started to remember that I once really stood up for women being treated well!!! I don’t know where that fell by the wayside & I let my boundaries down. Ex husband was one of those men who objectified women, porn addict & jealous. It was such a double standard. Most of my previous boyfriends were believers in equality. I think somewhere I lost my way….but like a lot of u r saying – I’m finding my way back to me. It’s very peaceful as I know I’m making the rights decisions & life is already feeling more relaxed & fun.

  23. Free 2 Be C says:

    Happy Holidays All,

    First I want to thank Natalie for Baggage Reclaim, the gift that keeps on giving. I had not heard from my EX for nearly 10 months. Not a smoke signal not through osmosis. Then “BAM” right on Christmas nostalgic cue I get a blank text. I gave her nostalgic pathetic arse a gift reply text. That read simply “who is this” and that was actually a gift to myself. Tons of methapors I can use here but truth is I might have known the number but I didn’t know her anymore. And I don’t take insolicitate calls or text. And last I knew she was with her EX so why are you being shady. That just reinforces what I discovered about her character when she walkout and never looked back into the arms of her EX. Stay no contact it’s the best gift you will ever give yourself.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Free,

      Normally I’d diagree with your responding. But, I like what you did. “Who is this?” Inotherwords, it’s been so long you really don’t know and have gotten on with your life. So now leave it at that. Hopefully, she’ll leave you alone. You mean to tell me AC women will pull the same crap? Certain behaviors are not gender driven.

  24. noquay says:

    Lorraine
    For a few years, I would symbolically take back the town where the AC publically humiliated me, in front of a fellow co worker, by showing up with another woman, literally hours after we had planned a weekend together. I would go to the hotel where it happened, give a tobacco offering, and tell myself “never again”. I still will not go to public parties, college events, where they will be (they being him and latest conquest, he dumped the woman he had hidden from me), as my only options now are be there as a single or go with someone I don’t want to be with, both unacceptable. We do have to take our special places back from them as we now need them more than ever.

    • Lorraine says:

      Noquay,
      I worried that if I started running there again, he might take it as me wanting to run into him, but after two months, I no longer care what he thinks. I know I’m doing this for me because it’s what I love and where I love to do it. I’m happy when I’m running there, not hoping to see him at all.
      Hold your head up, they are the ones who should be hiding in shame for how they treated us.

  25. noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    You are sooo right. We look at ourselves and often feel “dammit, another year has gone by, nothing got better, nothing resolved, situation not improved”. Still stuck. This year, with the exception of Solstice, when I will host a small, select gathering, the official holidays will be people-free. No spending, overeating, no unnecessary reminders that I am alone. Serious time in the woods. Not even going to play counselor to my version of Petey; he can spend the time with his family instead. Screw the rest of it.

  26. Sanntay says:

    For me, this time of year is kind of depressing. Even more so since some nitwit broke my car window in broad daylight, while I was at work on Monday and stole my gym bag — WTH? So I’m feeling violated, but that’s just material. Anyway, each holiday season I pray that the new year brings happiness and growth and that I don’t have to spend the next Christmas alone. My family is small and fragmented, so there are no grand family gatherings, and no schedule of parties to attend. I’m not out spending myself silly for Christmas gifts, and have no desire to reach out to anyone who’s been a total (or partial) shit to me this year, just because it’s Christmas. At this time last year, I was feeling blue, coming to terms with the fact that I was in soul destroying casual relationship and had no idea of the level of pain and torment that lie ahead. I’m a different person now, and although the yearning still exists, I am in a better mindset than last year. I’ve picked myself up off the floor, brushed myself off, and I‘m free of the stress, anxiety, depression, and humiliation, but still left with some resentment and a hint of emptiness. I know it’s just a matter of time, so I will stay in my little bubble and continue to work on valuing and trusting myself. I have faith that when it’s my time, my desires will be fulfilled.

    I wish you all love and light for the holiday season and the New Year. I’m so grateful to everyone here for sharing their experiences, wisdom, humor, and advice. BR has been such a blessing in my life and it’s made me feel less alone :).

  27. Jamie says:

    “Thanks for ruining my holiday season”.

    This is one of the lovely text messages he sent me yesterday. After he laughed about the book (Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay) I’m currently reading, I told him that I needed a break from him to think. Of course this brought on an assault via text message.
    I’ve ruined his Christmas, I run too quickly, I’m not willing to work on a relationship…….blah, blah, blah.
    I have blocked him on my phone AND told him I was doing so….although the blocker app on my phone does still alert me that a text came in so I can go to the app and read them if I choose to…..which of course I did. Hey, I’m weak. His final text last night was “Wtf….everyone has attitude today….everyone can go f**k off”.
    I’ve not responded to any of his texts since blocking him.
    I must admit that I feel lousy about the holidays now. We had plans….now they are toast. But you know what comes to mind for me too? Thanksgiving last year, when I found out he was seeing another woman behind my back. My holidays sucked last year because of him.
    UGH!!
    Jamie

  28. Sophie says:

    This is a fabulous post – much needed like a dose of holiday cheer. I laughed so much at a miracle on assclown street and a nightmare on assclown street. Weirdly enough I had an actual nightmare about ex AC last night. It was a lovely warm romantic dream of us lying together, holding each other (not x rated). I woke up feeling horrible. Angry about how the AC ended things in a tsunami of crazy words and actions that blindsided me. Sad, lonely, down and off kilter one day after just rewarding myself with a new haircut for 1 month NC! (as per Natalie’s brilliant suggestions of rewards for NC). So now I’m not seeing it as a dream but as an actual nightmare on assclown street! Yikes! It’s -15 Celsius where I live and I’m spending the day inside doing domestic things and trying not to be too hard on myself.

    Happy holidays to everyone and giving thanks for this wonderful site.

    • Angela says:

      I too had a nightmare about ex, seemed to happen right after I feel asleep. I’m really struggling today…this ex came back blowing hot after a year and a half and his divorce…started with a phone call telling me he was sorry for all that happened last year, then came 2 meet ups, lots of flirty texts and calls and me almost sleeping with him…then he stepped back and no contact for almost a week. I freaked and changed my phone number because I thought he was disappearing. Then get a sad call at work telling me he’d hoped we could be “friends”(umm no) but he gathered I didn’t want to by my changing my number. I did call him back and told him I didn’t think I could do it…been 5 days nc today, lesson learned for next time…just don’t respond.

  29. free voice says:

    Plant your own garden
    and decorate your own soul
    instead of waiting for someone
    to bring you flowers.

    Have a peaceful christmas
    to all of you lovely women X

    • Rosie says:

      free voice-

      “Plant your own garden
      and decorate your own soul”

      I love this! :) Peace to you too, free voice. :)

  30. Allison says:

    Jaime,
    Doesn’t sound like he takes any responsibility!

    • Jamie says:

      You hit the nail on the head Allison. Everything that happens to him is everyone else’s fault. Why am I just beginning to clearly see this!?
      xoxo
      Jamie

  31. simple pleasures says:

    Fast away the old year passes…
    After the holiday party Dec. 17, 2012 I went 100% NC, just before Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday. Tough time. I had been 90% NC for a year before that but DancingQueen pointed out it wasn’t total. Thank you for pointing that out if you are still with us.
    Dec. 22 emailed him to not initiate any more contact with me. We are both high profile members of an organization we both love and meet once a week. I have maintained no initiated contacted, let’s toast my anniversary. Except for a few slip ups he has honored it. Occasionally reaches out, but I don’t think it is with the reset button, but more, please forgive me as we may meet in this room once a week until one of us dies.
    What have I learned this past year from BR NML and you?
    1) I spent a year before NC wondering why he behaved as he did. I now know why but it doesn’t matter why. Save your energy, instead get the phD in your behavior. That is where all the answers to your questions lie.
    2) You must come to terms with your parents and family issues in order to validate yourself. Period.
    3) If you have any self destructive behaviours
    like smoking, drinking, drug use, unhealthy eating, exploitative sex you will never be happy. Take the step to love and respect yourself healthfully. This must happen before someone else will.
    4) One can have a sexual relationship with someone they love. One can have a sexual relationship with someone they don’t love. Figure out what you have and what you want. One can have a love relationship with someone they don’t have sex with.
    5) The times they are a changin’…We used to fight for a family and relationship in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. Now, in the developed nations women can practice birth control, get an education and as a result men and women no longer need each other for financial, family survival. Women now have options to have careers, sex without commitment and men have experienced this liberation too. They now have options to earn a living and have sexual relationships without the dull, boring daily cares of family, neighbors, community. We can all live a hedonistic life. My advice for what it’s worth: share your life with people who are kind.
    For yourselves, find a passion, goal, community cause you care about, fight for. It may be your children and their future, it may be your religious belief, your political tie,but live a life with meaning. Human relationships ebb and flow. Few of us are all good or all evil. We have needs, and baggage, are flawed, and well..we’re human. Strive to be better and find the meaning in your life.
    6) This website is a godsend for those of us who are private and need a place to self examine. This was the year of caring about Grace, Tinkerbell, Yoghurt, Tired, Lilly, Revolution, Mymble, Magnolia, Noquay, MsDetermined, Grizelda,
    MrWriter, Lawrence, eumroberto, Dancingqueen, espresso, swissmiss, and all the rest of you I haven’t mentioned but read, and runnergirl too, if you are there, best wishes to Natalie and all.

    • Iain says:

      This is a fantastic comment ‘simple pleasures’ and thanks for taking the time to compose and post it.

      Numbers 1, 2 and 3 hit home with me (particularly the ‘instead get the phD in your behavior’ line). I hope that this year is as enjoyable for you as the last one has been insightful.

      Iain

      (PS – come back Ms Determined if you’re still there! I can’t be the only one who misses your particular brand of witty insightful comments.)

      • simple pleasures says:

        thanks Iain, it’s been an intellectual and emotional adventure for me, an oldish lady. I hadn’t gone through the grief of the relationship breakup from my 20′s, and surprise, when I saw him again as an aging,man,
        that’s when I had to process my life, my choices, my parents. My adult life has been wonderful save for my 20′s when I had the “agony and the ecstasy” with the math
        professor. Had to revisit it all when I ran into him again.
        Important info: words are, just words. The word “love” in English means many, many things,…sexual desire, attraction, dependency, compassion, friendship, transcendental connection to a greater energy force, empathy for mankind. When someone professes love to you, or when you profess love to another think that these are merely words about a nebulous, emotional, physical, psychological,
        spiritual need. Smack yourself and remind yourself what Natalie has pointed out, love is ACTION not a feeling. If someone’s actions make you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, boundary pushed, etc. tell yourself, it’s not a love relationship, it’s something else.
        Love is kindness and concern for the well being of another. BR brings a lot of that kindness and concern for the well being of the anonymous others ’round the world here.

    • Revolution says:

      Simple Pleasures,

      Thanks to Iain’s comment showing up in the comment side bar, I found your lovely, insightful comment. I’m speechless (well, let’s not go crazy here ;) )that you chose to name me among the others for your good will list. You are so appreciated here on BR, and your list is so true that it sits right inside my solar plexus and warms me. Thank you.

  32. Pauline says:

    The best thing for me this Christmas is that I’ll get to hug my 5 month old granddaughter again. Lots of smiles, gurgles, little arms and legs waving around, she’s just gorgeous.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever you celebrate, have a peaceful time.

  33. Joeis says:

    Hi,
    Great post. I am working on Christmas market in york at the moment. I meet people from all walks of life and york is so busy. Travelling on public transport everyday. It is completely mad. However through baggage reclaim and headspace, although tired to my bones, I am dealing with it all and managing to be nice to my most trying customers, eg ” what’s your best price?”, me “the price it is, it’s all hand made”, them, usually a man, ” well I know it’s expensive to be here, but”, me, “but what?”‘ I have to add I am smiling when I say this, his wife, ” come along dear”, in the past I would have wanted to swear at him. Seriously though, although there is a lingering sadness due to the end of my relationship I have no desire al all to call him for more punishment.
    It really is worth doing this work, even though right now I don’t have much free time am still finding time to meditate.
    Thank you Natalie and all of you on this site,
    Let’s all keep up our good work on ourselves, we can overcome this without returning to shitty relationships with undeserving partners. Xx

  34. sassysusie says:

    SO glad you posted this today, Natalie. As I was reminiscing about Christmases with Assclown Past, I actually found MYSELF wanting to PRESS the RESET BUTTON!!! I guess I want him to waltz in and sweep away the last year of pure HELL I have endured and now sees the light and I will be the exception he has never made!

    I also have found myself wanting to squish a relationship out of a guy I just started seeing again (I dated him before I got involved with Assclown of Christmas Current). I might have, too, but thanks to your amazingly spot-on advice about why I want to do the crazy things I do, I realize it is my EGO aching and feeling so needy, NOT my heart so much. Yes, I miss my Assclown and my heart does still twinge and ache, but I am starting to be able to discern an EGO pain from a HEARTACHE. This really helps to keep me NC. My EGO wants a hit off the relationship crackpipe…my HEART wants to be left alone to heal. Thank God I am learning to like and LOVE myself more than a man. YEAH!

    I also have been seeing another guy who I had dated seriously prior to this one and feeling like squishing a relationship out of him for the holidays. It would be nice and safe and comfortable and all because I dated him 3 years ago right before the Assclown I cannot get over now.

    I

  35. ROCKET says:

    I’m finding myself this Christmas with I suppose a mr. unavailable who is suddenly blowing cold. I’m annoyed at the situation because I broke up a couple months ago and now this!
    I was talking to someone and she said its sad this is happening now at Christmas

    I’m frustrated because I realize that here I am getting this crumb communication, my option really is to opt out and get over this.

    I am working on myself, I want to attract better relationships but all of this is crazy to me. I don’t want to close my heart but these situations are a PAIN!

  36. teachable says:

    No ex’s to worry abt here, thankgoodness & my mother & sister (both highly toxic with mental illness histories – my mother’s lifelong & hence both totally excluded from my life after extraordinarily hurtful behaviour toward me – no regrets about this whatsoever) have their xmas seperate to the rest of the family which is a saving grace.

    Still, I’m deadbroke & don’t have the cash to splash out on cousins etc I never hear from otherwise. Hence, I’ve invited two Aunts & Uncles for dinner at mine the week before Xmas. They will all get a thoughtful gift as at least some support (however minimal) was shown toward me by them in the past three years of physical illness where I could not work.

    My downward spiral has finally ended. I am so relieved & the dinner is my way of excusing myself from xmas & also thanking my Aunts/Uncles for more recent support.

    For those who know my BR journey here is not how it has.ended, but the start to my new begining.

    1. The exAC is no longer in my life. I ended all contact with him on a positive note 6 mths before he died (even though I was in truth, seething – he turned out to be suffering bi polar & addiction issues, both mitigating factors, of which I did not know for quite some time but eventually found out). The death was unexpected by all except me. I did not learn of it until 6 mths after the event. The 2nd anniversary of his death is only weeks away. I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’m fucused instead on rebuilding my life. :)

    2. My income is stable even though I am no longer working due to long term illness. My income is not huge but I can live on it because I’m totally debt free. I’m very grateful.

    3. My house was saved & I did not lose it. It was able to be paid off. Again, I am deeply grateful.

    4. My university studies are unaffected!! My university has made special arrangements whereby I can continue, without the loss of a single subject & now recommence the final year of my degree. My completion date has been extended to accommodate a slower rate of study due to health issues & I can go into a masters & convert that to a PhD once I complete my current year, under certain conditions. Also, I didn’t realise this but the fact that I’ve already been published by a couple of other universities, as well a number of industry peak journals & presented at state & national conferences etc, will apparently be considered favourably as I transition into the research / academic world. All of this gives me hope that one day I will work again. I’m not sure exactly where or doing what, but it helps to have hope.

    5. I finally, after three years of hell, got a proper diagnosis for what is physically wrong with me.This has been the greatest blessing of all. I have now completed all formal treatment & am chasing down every non medicated treatment optiln possible. I am slowly making progress on this, & expect slowly to continue to adjust, even if I this thing does turn out to be incurable, as I’ve been told it is.

    6. My son who I got into rehab for a marijuana addiction problem in the early part of me getting ill, is now 2 years & 9 mths clean & sober. He is also just about to graduate from a first level qualification in Addiction Studies. He told a.classmate (an old friend who has known me for decades) that he wants to re-establish contact with me as it’s ‘been too long’ now (he froze me out after I busted my guts to get him into rehab. I btw have 23 yrs clean & sober & my son has.never seen me drink or use anything. He was.smoking dope with his other oarent, not me). I am taking this very slowly & contact has not been made yet, but again, I’m hoping this is a good sign…

    Thankyou to everyone at BR, & Nat especially, who has supported me on my long & difficult journey. All of the above is the best Xmas I could have ever hoped for.

    Many blessings to you all for the holiday season too. xxx

  37. Chutzpelady says:

    Thanks to Natalie, to you all! You made my year!

  38. Peanut says:

    WEll.

    So the first time I read this I didn’t even finish it. I had been going around town saying how much I hate Christmas and how everyone is stupid for acknowledging Christmas and that I am so much better because I am unaffected.

    I thought, “Pft, I don’t need this article.” After breaking no contact via Facebook by unblocking the ex’s page and crying over his photos, I reasoned maybe I’d take another look at this post.

    I did EVERYTHING Nat talks about. Everything less reach out to my ex. Oh, I was probably pretty close to sending a drunken Facebook message. But I didn’t.

    It took me longer than I had planned to reblock him. Why? Deep down I held the belief that maybe he’s changed, seen the err of his ways, wants me now more than his ex, and will be in town for Christmas. (He moved. I found that our from Facebook).

    I wanted to throw a line out there so he could catch it if he got a nostalgic itch for some Peanut. I caught myself and since have blocked him. I scheduled a nice dinner with a good family member and am on the no contact band wagon again. Don’t fall off. I highly don’t recommend it. The bruises hurt big time.

    OH and BRers and Nat, I saw such a great movie that I think might relate to some of us:

    Frances Ha

    Check it out.

  39. noquay says:

    Sitting here next to a good roaring fire, sucking down my morning cuppa Joe. Cats draped all over next to the stove, reading by the dim but colorful light of a stained glass lamp. No noise except the fire. My 20 year old cat on my lap. This kind of peace is what I wish for all of you.
    Happy Solstice,
    Noquay

  40. anizajordan says:

    happy holydays….

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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!