Who's in your Circles of Trust

If you’ve ever watched the hilarious comedy Meet The Parents, a tale of male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) who spends the weekend at his girlfriend’s parents home and has to deal with her nightmare father played by Robert De Niro, you will recall how part of poor Greg’s stress is about being allowed into The Byrne Family Circle of Trust. When the father thinks that Greg has been smoking weed, he reminds him that once he’s out of the circle, he’s out and can’t be let back in.

I was thinking about The Circle of Trust this morning and I realised that we can learn a hell of a lot about ourselves by working out our own.

You should be at the centre (or center for Americans) and the only people who should be in your Circle of Trust are people whom you trust. The people who are closest to you and with whom you share unquestionable trust are the ones who are closest to you in your inner circle – see top image. You then have various ‘circles’ or bands of trust within the circle reflecting the degree of closeness and trust you have with various people in your life.

Just because someone is in your life, it doesn’t mean that they should be in the circle. In order to be inside your circle, a person should consistently have your basic trust levels. If they’re dipping below, that’s a code amber, possibly red alert.

By having a reasonable level of self-esteem and a basic level of trust in you and others (let’s call it 70% trust for them), it means that you increase trust based on evidence and consistent experience of it over time and you decrease in recognition of when there is a boundary bust / clash in values – The Debit and Credit Trust System.

Family doesn’t automatically qualify for being within your ‘inner circle’ unless you have the high degree of trust with each family member. You can love a family member but they may be further out in your circle (you trust them but you would be cautious over certain things or you just know your limits) and… some family members may be out of the circle because they repeatedly bust boundaries although they may feel that they’re entitled to ‘inner circle’ status.

Some acquaintances (but not necessarily all) sit right on the peripheries. They’re not in your Circle of Trust but as your interactions progress and you get to know them, some may enter into your ‘circle’.

Outside your Circle of Trust is the rest of the world – strangers, barely there acquaintances and ‘threats’ including enemies. Threats may include people who maybe used to be in your circle somewhere but have shown that they cannot be trusted and are possibly still trying to tap dance all over your boundaries.

If somebody has been allowed into your Circle of Trust and they have taken advantage of or even abused you, they shouldn’t be in there (boundaries need to be enforced) and it should take a hell of a lot, possibly hell freezing over in some circumstances, for that person to be allowed back in. There would need to be consistent evidence over time and they shouldn’t be granted ‘inner circle’ status immediately or too quickly.

It should go without saying but bearing in mind the stories that people share with me each day about their experiences with people they don’t trust, here it is: If you don’t trust someone, they shouldn’t be in your Circle of Trust.

This also means that the way in which you interact with this person should reflect the lack of trust and/or knowledge. For instance, sticking with someone who you can’t trust should come with a major hazard warning.

There shouldn’t be anyone in your inner circle with whom you don’t have a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust and respect. No exceptions.

What you should never do is increase trust with someone who for whatever reason has given you a reason to feel distrusting because it’s a cackhanded attempt at loading them up with more trust in the hope that they will reciprocate by ‘changing’ into someone more trustworthy and meeting your needs, expectations, and desires.

Basically, phase in trust so that you have time to consistently experience evidence of it.

Working out your Circle of Trust and the circles within can help you to get an at-a-glance view of your own little world. You may find that you have a few Circles of Trust, so for instance, you may have a work one – there may be certain people who professionally and even personally to a degree, you feel very confident in your dealings with them but others who you suspect would screw you over in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Use your circles to understand where you need to address trust problems whether it’s with you or others.

 

If you don’t trust anyone, it means that everyone has ‘stranger status’ regardless of whether they’re strangers or not. You cannot ‘acclimatise’ to healthy trust levels if you don’t learn how to trust and rein in trust – The Debit and Credit Trust System. Trust based on results not hope.

when you don't trust anyone including yourself - circle of no trust

If you don’t trust anyone including you it means that you have no Circle of Trust.

When you trust others more than you trust you - circle of trust

If you put others before you it means that you’re either outside of your own circle or that you’re in it but not in the centre – that is a big problem. Remember that when you neglect you, any ‘ole body can come along with a crumb and between you and this person it will be inflated into a loaf because it will appear to be more than you’re already giving to you.

If you meet someone new and you trust fast and grant entry to your circle or even your inner circle, you are in effect treating this person as if they’re your nearest and dearest. Have they really earned this trust? Of course one of the reasons why you might grant a virtual stranger inner circle trust even though it doesn’t genuinely exist might be due to not having others in your circle.

The other reason why you may be letting people into your circle though, is that they’re ‘similar’ to people who are already inside even though they shouldn’t be.

It’s like referencing your ‘database’ and recognising ‘shady data’ and granting entry due to familiarity of an unhealthy pattern instead of granting based on a mutual, trusting, respectful relationship.

The (Effed Up) Circle of Trust

Looking at your Circle of Trust, who is in there and why there may be people who you don’t know or trust, is a great exercise in building self-awareness. Gain some understanding on which factors are used for granting trust. For instance, talking to some readers, sex is an ‘open sesame’ for entry into the circle. When you start to think about where you have given away trust (see The Effed Up Circle of Trust above) you can see where you’re selling you short.

The key thing to recognise is that everyone’s Circle of Trust is different. I would place strangers outside of my circle although it doesn’t mean that I’m distrusting but judging by the number of tales I hear about virtual and casual relationships, some people have strangers in their circle or even inner circle. Unless you’d trust these people with all of your worldly goods or even your life support machine, they shouldn’t be there.

Trust is like a muscle – the more you use it and learn from the feedback of each interaction and experience, the stronger it gets. It’s critical that you differentiate your relationships healthily by maintaining good boundaries.

Your thoughts?

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218 Responses to The Circle of Trust – Do you know who’s in yours & why? Are you even inside your own circle?

  1. Julie says:

    Wow! Dead on!

  2. Selkie says:

    “Of course one of the reasons why you might grant a virtual stranger inner circle trust even though it doesn’t genuinely exist might be due to not having others in your circle.”

    Yep. Bulls eye.
    This is a dilemma for introvert loners like me. I have three people in my tiny inner circle of trust. It gets lonely in here sometimes and I’ve tried getting out more and being in more social situations, but honestly, I’m relieved to come home to my quiet cozy home ALONE. I know I can’t continue to avoid life like that. I went to a Meetup trip last weekend and met some new people who are into the same sport as me, so I’m trying to push past my comfort level of being a loner and ‘not trusting’ by default. I know on a basic level that I can’t develop more trust, or more people in my circle of trust if I don’t get out there and meet them and develop new friendships. People and relationships won’t magically happen in isolation. Same goes for dating. I’ve been in semi hibernation, so maybe it’s time to put more trust in myself and get out there a little more.

    • paolo says:

      I’m kind of in the same situation as you Selkie..Except i literaly have NO real life friends..Well maybe one and possibly two, but i need to get out there more for sure.

      • Lilia says:

        Selkie, me too! I strongly relate to the relief of coming home alone to my cozy house after socializing.
        At the moment the only people in my inner circle of trust are my mom and two kids, which sums up three.
        I don´t know if it has something to do with getting older because there was a time when I felt I had so many wonderful friends and I loved to go out and see them. I had a large extended family I used to see every week. Now I think I just overrated them. They are all in the circle of acquiantances now, some have even become threats. It´s very sad, I hope not to become bitter.

      • Blue74 says:

        You`re not alone! I have max. 2 people (no family) in my inner trust circle. I´m introvert too.
        I had an emotinal affair with my returning childhood sweetheart. I had to learn that he only played me… and now I´m back in my cozy four walls- with panic attacks…
        My problem with going out and meeting new friends is, that I don`t like superficialty, I´m always looking for a deeper connection- and that`s so hard to find!

        • Allison says:

          Blue,

          Have you considered volunteering for nonprofit organizations that you are passionate about? You will certainly meet like-minded people.

    • CoffeeCat says:

      I have a very tiny circle, as well. I got burned so bad by my exAC that my first thought on meeting someone, even an innocent female for just a friend is “Barrier Alert, assume this person is going to f*ck you over”, and I am ever guarded. I don’t even know if I want friends. I like my dog and cats.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Ditto for me Selkie.. I have had many of those relieved to get home moments and it kinda scares me. I dont mind my own company & find things to do in my alone time. And yes, I have hibernated a bit too much,I dont have alot of single female friends, ect.. My work schedule (hours) hinders some activities I would like to get involved in. I tell myself I need to get out,meet people and get a life :)

    • Learner says:

      Selkie,
      I can relate to your tiny inner circle. Mine could use a few more friends or family members, too. It sounds like you have yourself in there to some degree, though, so you are off to a great start! I am still working on that one.

    • Kriss says:

      Hey Selkie :-) I wonder if what would help is keeping your inner circle exactly as it is for now and having a ‘medium circle’ as well as people who are not in the circle at all?

      Otherwise it all becomes very binary – you either trust them or you don’t – but in real life different people can be trusted with different things.

      There’s a family member in my life who I get on with and love but she unashamedly makes her own judgements about what she will share of the intimate things I have told her – so I never share them with her because I can’t trust her discretion. But I still love her and spend time with her on a more social level.

      • dancingqueen says:

        I think that that is a good point: some people you can trust in certain situations, but not others. Like I have a colleague at work who I can trust with work and personal things, but I would hesitate to tell her about a promotion or new good thing…she would blab about good gossip, although she would be discrete about hurtful gossip/news/info.

        I only have 2 friends I can totally trust, no family members, and then of course…my cats! They have my back man.:)

        I feel okay though: I have me in my circle! My cats, my friends and me. I would like a man at some point but I am okay.

        I have a little outside circle of aquaintance friends that I just don’t talk about really personal things with. I don’t feel particularly lonely, thus.

    • Tanzanite says:

      Hi Natalie/everyone

      I was just going to quote what selkie has quoted but I don’t need to now.

      Brilliant post !

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Absolutely Selkie. Not that long ago, actually when my husband was alive, I had no friends. He was the be all and end all. I found myself sadly alone and had to learn to reach out and make friends. That was interrupted when I became very ill after surgery, so I was isolated again. Being alone is not the healthiest of conditions. There are many articles that deal with this, saying that when you have lots of love and friendship in your life, you live longer. Selkie, at the very least, get yourself a pet. If you don’t like the furry kind, get a bird, a goldfish. Also you can offer to babysit for an hour or two after school until the parent comes home. It’s a learning process to put yourself out there. People need people. That’s a fact. Getting back to TRUST, you have to trust yourself adequately enough to engage with others. You CAN do it.

      • Selkie says:

        Ha, thanks Tink, I do have a cat and enjoy having him a lot. He is always happy to see me. I agree, people need people and I’ve been so guarded my whole life I shut possibilities out, except for future faking EUM’s who seemed full of life changing promise. I was looking for them to change things for me, or as Nat says, to escape my own life. No more though. I’m walking in new territory these days putting my happiness in my own hands. Your progress has been one of my inspirations that YES it can happen.

    • Rosemary says:

      I have a very small inner circle too. I think one of the dangers with having very few people in your circle of trust is that you can open it up to almost anybody much too fast. It’s like there are no degrees or outer circles – people are either out or they are very close in. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why people often get an automatic key to the inner circle when we have sex with them? This is dangerous for us and it often scares people off too. Recipricocity says that if we allow someone right into our inner circle very soon, they feel they have to do the same – and most people don’t want to get that close that fast. The way you’ve drawn the different degrees of trust has really made me think I need to set some differential boundaries. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with trust.

  3. Vicky says:

    Wow! I totally needed to read this. This is actually something I’ve been working on for myself lately.

    Thank you!

  4. Little Star says:

    Thank you so much Natalie for another words of wisdom: “””There shouldn’t be anyone in your inner circle with whom you don’t have a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust and respect. No exceptions”””.

    UPDATE from me:( I met AC, all the same sh@t : “I love you but cannot trust you, you abandoned me for three months of NC …blah blah blah” I learned my lesson for zillion times, it was his first and last chance, I do not want him anymore!!!

    • Tulipa says:

      Glad you flushed him Little Star :)

      • Little Star says:

        Thanks Tulipa, yes no way back! I am going to build new circle of new friends, I have my family there and couple of friends:) IT IS ENOUGH FOR NOW:)

  5. Heather says:

    Oh yeah! I have a circle of trust and there are some people that will never be let back in. Hell would in fact have to freeze over.

  6. Furry White Dogs says:

    I’m so grateful for these articles on trust. One of my many fears after my ex left was ‘how will I ever be able to trust a partner ever again?’. I had resigned myself to simply believing that I would just not trust anyone and always have a level of suspicion in my interactions with people. That feeling is gradually lessening as I absorb the concept of a debit and credit trust system.

    My ex is a pathological compulsive liar and as I discovered later a cheat as well. He’s a pretty good liar and looking back with lovely 20/20 hindsight I can see that the lies were there right from the start and while I had no reason to disbelieve everything he said I also trusted in just promises and words rather than evidence. Even when I first started to catch him out in lies I always rationalised, or excused, or simply ignored because by then I was too self invested and disempowered to challenge and leave.

    By the middle of our seven year relationship we were in huge credit card debt and I had to take over managing all of the finances with him on an allowance because he just couldn’t be trusted with money. And again I was self deceiving to think that his lack of honesty was limited to money.

    Just as we got out of debt and things were looking rosier he declared that he had to move back to his hometown to look after his parents and that he didn’t want me to come with him as I would hate living there and end up hating him. Of course none of this made sense and along with other anomalies in his stories/actions my BS meter went off the scale. I had always known his passwords to just about everything but never bothered to check up on him as, guess what, even in the face of his actions, I trusted him!

    Well his Facebook messages blew that trust right out of the water. He had initiated an online affair with a married woman from his hometown and on visits back there he then turned it into his future relationship for when he moved there permanently. What was really eye opening was the lies he was telling the new ‘love of his life, future wife’! Some were the usual expected ‘my wife want out too’ lies but many were completely unnecessary works of fiction. I could see so clearly him telling her what she wanted to hear, just as he had told me. I feel I now know the real him better than anyone else in the world.

    He obviously has a deep harmful condition and I’m grateful that I’m now well out of it. It’s hard to reconcile the good parts with the bad and I’ll never know what in our relationship was real and what was not. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this site and it’s given me real insight and hope that by trusting in myself and looking after myself I will be able to have a relationship again and that it will be based on earned, rather than blind, trust.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Furry White Dogs – I think we may both have been married to the same man :( I am not trying to make light of it, being married to a compulsive pathological liar is no fun. In fact there was a lump in my throat when I was reading your post because your story was a carbon copy of how the ex treated me, right down to the fairy tales and horrible things he said about me to the woman he was lining up to move on to. Yes, my trust took a right royal battering as I remembered all the times I trusted him when clearly he was not worth trusting. Like you, I have learned a serious lesson about blindly trusting someone. All I can say FWD, is that we are well shot of them and their nastiness.

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        Thanks Chrysalis :) Lovely name, it has such a feeling of anticipation about it.

        Yes we are very well shot of them. As the song goes ‘once you mistrust love’s gone before’. Mine did say some nasty things about me but mostly in reflecting her insecure comments about me. The lies that made me see the pathology were silly pointless ones like having a garage sale of his stuff here. I do think he believes his own lies. Ultimately we are better off than our exes or their new victims because we don’t have what must be a very harmful mental condition and the screwed up position we were in is behind us not to come. For us it’s about learning from the experience, what got us into it and why we stayed in it. And luckily we have a great resource in BR :)

        I’ve been in a rather curious situation regarding him for the last six months as I know all about his lies, new girl, and a couple of ‘chat up’ others, and some of the stories he’s been telling people in general but he has no idea that I know. He thinks he has got away with it and that I am his fallback girl because I’ve kept a cool head and used what I’ve learned about deception to secure some financial security for myself and my furry white dogs. Not really healthy but at least I got to make the decision with all the information and went into this situation with my eyes open.

        He’s desperate to be seen as the good guy, as well as having me continue to manage the finances, so he’s still paying my rent and bills. In return I still have to speak to him, mostly by text but it’s very long distance, and as I have nil desire to have him back I feel fairly detached and treat virtually everything he says as somewhere between truth and lie unless I can verify it. He is so far out of my circle of trust he’s in another galaxy. Frankly I find it amazing that he still trusts me with his finances but I guess that’s arrogance and I’ve never given him any reason not to trust me.

        When I first found out and decided not to blow the whistle right away I really had to think very carefully about who I did and didn’t trust and there are people in my circles that still don’t know the whole story. This article has reinforced that we can have different circles of trust depending on the person and the situation.

        The next stage for me is deciding when to end this charade and financially stand on my two feet. BR has really been helping me along this path as I was very fearful about managing on my own but am learning to trust myself and my own capabilities more.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Furry. Instead of keeping up with his life directly or indirectly, you need to spen more time pondering on how you can get yourself free of him – financially if that the only problem. However, I doubt that is all there is to it. Don’t use your less than stellar financial situation as an excuse to stay with him. There are ways, once you are totally committed to bettering yourself/life. Habitual liars and cheaters (they are always both in some form you may not easily recognize) are crazy making and destroy the hearts and minds of those who trust them. You don’t need it.

          • Furry White Dogs says:

            I agree about getting totally free of all contact with him and I’m definitely working toward that. Thankfully I’ve always been good with money and I’m getting myself set up so I will be completely independant of anyone.

            He really does no longer have the power to make me crazy with his lies. I have nil trust in him. In fact it’s ironic that now he is the one who is misplacing his trust in me.

            • Sm says:

              Yes furry, ironic that he is misplacing trust. I was in a similar situation where my ex used paying my bills as a way to keep a loose chain on me, in my mind I was gone too. I am just as you are, good with money and digging myself out of a hole. My advice is to remove him from your life now. You don’t want his messed up way of doing things to be in your mind, which is what happened to me.

  7. mimih23 says:

    It’s funny that even AC’s & Mr. Unavailables understand the concept of the inner circle. The one that I’ve dealt with has a tight group around him because of the type of work that he does and his charismatic personality. The relationships may not be worth much….basically harem like…..but again he has a few that will compromise to suit his needs on their dime and he’s supposed to be providing a service to them…exclamation point…phone on last leg. haha

  8. Learner says:

    Natalie,
    I haven’t posted for a while but I have thought of you and the BR community often in the last few months. This post is very relevant to me, and I now see that over the last several years my circles of trust have been turned inside out, have been skewed and spiralled out of control, and now I am just trying to put everyone in the correct concentric circle.

    Letting an MM/AC into my originally-effed-up inner circle, realizing the havoc this played on many lives, and ejecting him to the outermost orbit of my more-real-than-ever galaxy was just the beginning, or maybe just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am hesitatingly trying to get myself to the centre, where I belong, but it’s difficult! So much has been going on! My daughter has been adjusting to a new diagnosis over the last few months, with new medications, new specialists, new restrictions on her lifestyle, and new treatment side effects. I have worried enough for several mothers, I think, but it has had a weird effect on my trust re: my daughter and myself. On one hand I have been bending over backwards to keep her life as normal as possible and to help her with whatever she needs, but on the other hand she does not seem to respect my own feelings so it’s a battle. We argue. She walks away. It breaks my heart. I hate myself for whining about “why can’t you respect me after I have done so much for you?” (I know, I know – awful things to say but I can’t seem to stop the words coming out). Can I trust myself to be a good mother to her without smothering her? Can I trust or even expect her to respect my needs even while she has this huge adjustment to make? I don’t know! It makes me sad.

    Then there is the next person involved – her father. After being apart for almost 5 years, we have decided to give our relationship another chance, and supporting each other through our daughter’s health challenges has helped us to realize we still have each other’s backs in many ways that count, and that we do still love each other. We have a history of an EU relationship, during which time we both blew hot and cold, were unfaithful to each other, and basically just drifted apart. Over the last year, we have both ended relationships with other EU people and have been to counselling – individually at first, and now that we are giving “us” another chance – together for couple’s therapy. This trust-building is a slow process. I am cautiously optimistic that we can make this work but I don’t know many instances of people making it work after so much crap has gone down. Does anyone out there have an example of a success story?
    I think I need to read this post a few more times to help get my bearings with this whole trust issue. It is a brilliant article Natalie – very clear and makes so much sense. Thank you so much!

    • Lilly says:

      Learner,

      Your back! I’ve often wondered how you are and how you are coping with your daughter’s health. I can’t offer any wise words of advice (as usual!) but I can offer you support. Taking care of and adjusting to your daughter’s illness would be one of the most difficult tasks a parent can face. I suspect that things will improve as time moves on, but be gentle with yourself it will take time to adjust. In the meantime, your emotional needs are important too so please ensure you take care of you. As difficult as it is I believe you can expect her to respect your needs. If she doesn’t, gently explain yourself, tell her you are there for her, but you have feelings and needs too and then walk away for a while. This may give her time to think and even if it is all too difficult for her at the moment there will come a time when she realises this. You deserve respect and it is not awful to demand it even in the most demanding of times.

      Rebuilding trust with your ex must be challenging too, but I’m sure there are lots of success stories out there. I do think it’s wise to be cautiously optimistic, but I’m sure if you are both in 100% then trust can be restored. Lots of hard work I suspect, but worth a try. Just make sure you have all your BR boundaries in place. Good luck with it all and hugs to you.

      • Learner says:

        Hi Lilly,
        It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for your support – you are right, big adjustments for sure. Lots of unfamiliar ground with my daughter’s health, AND with rekindling my relationship.You did offer good advice! I have never been good at expressing to my daughter that I have needs too, and it’s high time I started. My own issues with boundaries coming back to bite me. I am still working on me, my values and boundaries, and the exMM is a distant memory most days. Quite an exercise in humility this has been.You are right about needing both people 100% in to rebuild trust – he says he is totally committed, and I am giving my all, too. It is early days yet, but we are taking one day at a time, and getting to know each other again.

        I hope you are doing well also, and that the exMM that you had the misfortune to experience has been kicked out of your circle.I saw in your other post that you have 8 people in your inner circle (I think?) and I am happy for you. Hugs to you too, little sis. xo

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi…Hi…Hi Learner. It’s so wonderful to hear from you. I’m not sure how old your daughter is but everything you expressed I could have written, although we are not struggling with health issues. My daughter is 23 and has been through some major trauma in the last year. You have a ton going on with the ex-hubby. Stay focused on couples counseling and your daughter’s health issues. Don’t forget to put you at the center (US) of trust.

      • Learner says:

        Runnergirl!
        Wonderful to hear from you, too! Yes, I think I remember you talking about a couple of challenges with your daughter a few months ago. I hope she is doing well and continuing to develop her own BR knowledge via her mum. My daughter is almost 18 and is generally a very sweet and trustworthy person. She just seems to disregard my feelings sometimes, which I know is pretty usual these days, but it still hurts! As for her dad, yes, lots going on there! I like your reminder to keep “u” at the centre of trust. Trusting ourselves is paramount, and I feel I am finally getting there after my terrible nontrustworthy behaviour of the last few years. If I have learnt anything from the exMM saga, it is to value truth and genuine people. My exH may not be perfect, but I know his intentions are genuine, he values me for who I am, and I WOULD trust him with my life support machine! I hope all is going well for you, too, Runner. I will forever be grateful for your support in my journey Out of OW-land. Hugs to you xo

  9. noquay says:

    I have a very few close friends that are inner circle: older womyn, my ex husband, and one male friend who are empathizing, wise, and above all, know how to keep their mouths shut. No family. Even then, there are things about my crap childhood that I never share with anyone, ever. Kind of a litmus test for assessing relationship potential; the less I feel I can safely disclose about myself, the less likely it is gonna work out.

  10. kookie says:

    hahahaa, the effed up circle of trust is so funny ….and sad.

  11. sarjosowe says:

    I had a group of friends that I have been with for over ten years. There was some drama and everyone defended the other person, even though she caused the incident. She never apologized for her actions and my friends favoritism hurt me. I did talk to them individually about how it felt like they chose her over me, and some apologized and some didn’t. They are still friends with her and no one criticized her for her actions. I decided that I wasn’t going to pretend that everything was all dandy and left that group. It was just too hard to see her and act nice. She didn’t care at all and acted like nothing happened. I keep in touch with my old friends every now and then but it won’t ever be the same. I realized they didn’t really earn my trust to begin with. We were just friends b/c we went to the same schools together.

    I am also very picky about my friends. Right now I am part of a meetup which convenes regularly. It is mostly a group of guys, which is new for me, since I have always had female friends, as a female. But these guys have earned my friendship. They are reliable, they show up when we make plans, and there is no drama. I sure as hell miss being able to talk about my emotions with women but for now it is good enough. With my last friends, we never did anything and just saw each other for bday meals every few months but with my meetup friends, we meet regularly and do all kinds of things(we just ran a 5k together). Life is too short to let crappy people ruin it. I don’t expect to click with everyone but for now having fun and camaraderie, and continuing to expand my social circle casually, meets my human needs to socialize.

    But I am a HUGE fan of meetup.com. Please try it!! (the non-dating meet-ups of course lol).

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sarj. Don’t want to burst your bubble because you are happy and content in your meet-up group of guys. I hope you are not the only woman! Just keep your antennae up for any one of them getting a bit too familiar. It’s likely to happen eventually. Be ready.

    • Selkie says:

      Sarjosowe,

      I agree about Meet up its a great place to meet people without the dating pressure. It’s also good for introverts like me to get out and push my comfort level meeting new people with similar interests.

      I’ve tried several different Meet up groups and have had good experiences. I joined one recently that I really like and just got invited to participate in a documentary on it. It’s exciting and beats sitting home being lonely.

    • dancingqueen says:

      I agree I love meet up! It is very wholesome and a normal way to connect with people:)!

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      I’ve just made my first request to join a meet up group, one for bushwalking. It’s a fabulous concept especially for a slight inrovert like me and hopefully will help when I move to a new town too.

    • Little Star says:

      I have to agree:) I joined Culture-seekers meet up group (London), not only so many interesting places to discover, but to meet a lovely people. I wish we had BR lovers group!!!

  12. Magnolia says:

    Wish I’d learned this as a kid. I could have used those helpful diagrams!

    When your early nearest folks aren’t good role models around being reliable to you and expecting reliability from others, you might never learn that more trustworthy = right to more closeness/time/intimacy, less trustworthy = lessen closeness/time/intimacy.

    I’m hanging out just now with my family after having just successfully defended my PhD (yay, I’m Dr. Magnolia for realz!). I look with fondness on these people who parented me, but have little sense of how to read people for whether to trust them, and little sense of how they don’t realize they might be being gauged for reliability. They (esp dad) aren’t bad people, but lack of knowledge can leave folks irresponsible. I can see they couldn’t teach what they didn’t know.

    It took many bad therapists who I trusted blindly, a couple of EUs, a couple ACs and coming to BR to learn that I need to put me at the centre of the circle and build my own trust in me first, before extending the circle outward.

    I was recently been approached to work with our national broadcaster on this initiative and they were like: “we want you to be the face of this project.” Thank God for learning because young Magnolia would be asking “how high” without even asking if they’d be paying me to jump. Now, no matter how amazing the offer, I advance with a debit/credit trust system, with ME at the centre: whether love or career, ultimately its me who has to decide who I’ll work with. I have been responding to the offer with a warm enthusiasm but without launching into fantasy that they’re about to make me a star. And I’m proud of myself for it. I feel in charge of me.

    • Lilly says:

      Congratulations Dr Magnolia. All that hard work has paid off; time to celebrate and the future awaits.

      I agree those diagrams are really helpful. I am happy to report that I have 8 wonderful people within my circle and 1 dog; each one priceless. I’m not sure when I’ll let anyone else in. For now, it’s enough to focus on building trust in myself. Not there yet, but I’m on my way.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lilly, if those genuine, reliable people, that’s more than enough. Any more will be acquaintances. It’s not the quantity of friends, it’s the quality of those friendships.

        • Lilly says:

          Tinkerbell,

          I had a recount and yes all 8 are genuine and reliable, although some are much closer than others. Six are family members, including my beloved sister who I can never love enough. The other two are friends who have held me while I’ve sobbed and sobbed and listened uncomplainingly for hours (poor things!). My little dog is also trustworthy and she sits right alongside me. This post has been such a good exercise and has made me take a proper look around at the good people and to firmly boot the AC out of my circle never to return. I’ve just realised I have some people to thank for ‘being there’, including all the amazing people here. Thank you all so much. From my heart I would not have made it without the help from the BR community.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Love you Lilly. You’re going to be fine soon, and a whole lot better down the road.

    • Tulipa says:

      Congratulations, Dr. Magnolia, on your success may you continue onwards and upwards.

    • Tabitha says:

      Congratulations Dr Magnolia!!!

    • runnergirl says:

      Congratulations Dr. Magnolia.

      BTW, you are a star!

    • Teddie says:

      Three times hooray for Dr Mags!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Congrats Dr. Magnolia. Quite an accomplishment. Kudos to you!

    • Selkie says:

      Yay Magnolia! Congratulations. You SHOULD be proud of yourself. No more hoop jumping according to someone else’s plan for us.

      Do you guys remember the old commercials about tootsie pops (or blow pops?) and how many licks does it take to get to the center? We could frame our inner circle that way. It takes time to get to the center and someone who shows up ready to chomp and chew their way to the center is looking for a destructive shortcut.

    • Little Star says:

      WELL DONE Magnolia, we are proud of you, all the best x

    • Learner says:

      Congrats Magnolia! I hope you feel lighter after reaching this significant milestone and hope you will have time for some well-deserved R&R

    • Lilia says:

      YAAAY Dr Magnolia!!! Congrats to you!

    • Ms Determined says:

      Oh yeah, you got a Phd in magnificence. And drop-dead gorgeousness. And all-around amazings. And sexy. Oh wait, you always held those PhDs.

      But congrats on the additional PhD, you over achiever you, Dr Mags has a nice ring.

      • Revolution says:

        Dr. Mags,

        I agree with Ms. D, you sexy, smart mama you! ;)

        • Magnolia says:

          Everyone – thanks for the congrats; thank you for making BR the supportive community I count on! I’ve barely had a chance to check in the past few days and it’s so cool to return after a couple days to so many friendly voices.

          There is a kind of loneliness in putting yourself at the very centre of your trust circle. I mean, we should come before even our partners: I know so many women who trust their partner’s opinion before their own. But I believe that’s what turning to God is about; putting that ultimate trust in something larger, that only you connect with, rather than in another person as human and flawed as ourselves. Because the old-man-in-the-sky model of God I grew up with doesn’t fit, for me, exactly, I’m interested in what kind of higher power would fit. There are times when I put my trust in the judgment greater than my own, and go on faith. Anyway.

          (Now off to bed after a wonderful, exhausting week doing tourist things with my truly precious parentals. More big decisions, sexiness and self-reliance next week! Smushy BR hugs to you.)

          • Elle says:

            Haven’t been on for a while, but just spotted this, Mags, and felt drawn to affirming just how different you seem; you sound like you’ve been washed anew, Magnolia!

            Having been there myself, life post-PhD is so much better! ;)

            Natalie – thanks for this, this reminder about oneself as central to one’s trust system (beliefs, practices etc). I’ve noticed a small wavering of late, so this is a nice little zip to get me back centre. xx

    • Grizelda says:

      Excellent news Magnolia! What an achievement. This is your time!

  13. Carole Wyatt says:

    Several of the posters above seem to regard it as a problem to have only two or three people in their CoT; I don’t think it is- if those people really belong there, that’s all you need. “Trying to get more” may be self-defeating, if the bar gets lowered out of desperation. I find the “troop” concert (Steve Peters – The Chimp Paradox) a good analogy too – our inner chimps need the troop, as in jungle terms, an isolated chimp has a hard time surviving. But hook up with an “enemy” chimp, however friendly they seem initially,, and you will get bitten.

    • Wiser says:

      I agree. I’ve read again and again from prominent and wise people that if you have two or three people you trust utterly, who totally have your back, and who you could share anything with, you are a very rich person and far ahead of the norm.

    • Selkie says:

      I feel isolated and sometimes lonely, thats what I regard as the problem for me, not so much the number in my inner circle. Of the three in my circle, one lives 3000 miles away (mom), one 1000 miles away ( best friend ) and one is my son, I can only confide to him about some things, so while I trust him, some things would be inappropriate to share. I forgot to list my cat, who is a good listener but not good on advice, :-) , and myself now that I have my own back. So, if I had a circle of closeness that was in my life on a daily basis, face to face, I might not be as lonely, not over phones and over one visit a year. I have tons of acquaintances on the outside of the circle and some on the somewhat trustful level, but none that I would call if I was in the hospital or had a crisis. They are always happy to run into me, but I don’t get invited to birthdays, dinner’s, etc. I feel like I’ve raised the bar, rather than lowered it in desperation to expand my inner circle, which is why it’s small. The smallness is ultimately a result of the choices I made over the years in people who ended up being not so nice or unreliable. I cleaned house on ac’s , eum’s, ex’s and shady people. Isolation and too much aloneness isn’t good, I can write a book on it, because it’s been a way of life for me. I’m ready for change because I’m no longer willing to settle for the bittersweet safety my aloneness has offered, but it won’t involve loading up my inner circle blindfolded and seeking validation. Instead, it will be to trust myself enough to put myself in the position to develop new friendships with trustworthy people. I would rather have a small inner circle than let creeps and soul suckers back in. So, it isn’t a numbers thing for me, but how much time I spend alone and how it’s become unfulfilling. Maybe it means I’m outgrowing my old fears and baggage.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Selkie. IMO,you have a very good foundation and a great deal of wisdom in avoiding worthless characters. But you do need only one or two bosom buddies who are close to you logistically. I pray for you that this will be realized because you deserve it.

  14. Mazza21 says:

    This is something that is totally ringing true to me right now. My best friend is now dating my EUM/AC ex of where he used to mess me around & play games and she used to be the one to tell me get rid of him. She knew from the get go it is something that I wouldn’t like but has some how made me feel guilty for being the selfish one & not letting them two find happiness although the verdict is still out on whether he will do the same to her.
    I’m confused on how to act with this situation do I just get on with it and stay friends or do I totally get rid of her from my life as the trust is totally gone?! My instincts are telling me I’m better of without somebody doing that to me when best friends shouldn’t do that to each other but I don’t want to come across as the bitter person.

    • grace says:

      Mazza
      Drop her. I used to be someone who would have dated anyone no-holds barred provided I “loved” them. Now I know I wouldn’t date a friend’s ex, or my sister’s ex, or an ex’s brother or best friend or, God forbid, son/father. (I didn’t actually do any of those things but I might have). There are enough people in the world that we don’t have to do that. It’s old fashioned but there is such a thing as morals and self-control. If people don’t have those things, they’re not trustworthy.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Ok, thats a tough situation that you have, but the way I see it, I’d say, give up on this “friend” – I wonder if the advice she gave you wasn’t selfish from her side? Cause if she really thought he is that bad, she’d never date him herself.
      Do you really care if you’ll look bitter to them? Why the oppinion of some shady couple is more important than your well being?

    • paolo says:

      mezza21..Go NC forever with them both. If it’s between you and them (and it is) then choose you.

    • Alba says:

      You’re not bitter, you’re not accepting behaviour that hurts you from someone that is supposed to be your friend. Would you do the same to her? Date her ex, even if it isn’t an ac? Probably not, even if she would be ok with it.

    • Pax says:

      It’s always hurtful to be betrayed by a friend. It’s clear you have started having doubts about her intentions when she was telling you to get “rid off him” while you two were in a relationship. Once those niggling doubts about someone who is meant to be a best friend settle in, in my experience, there is usually no going back. I’ve had a similar issue with my best mate and despite trying to move on and stay friends, the resentment that starts off as a seed turns into a full blown “forest of resentment”…and that’s when you realise it is best to have not tried in the first place. Another thing, my female friends and I have a “girl code”…not to date each other’s exs. Most men I know have this too…the so-called “bro code”. I think your best friends’ behaviour is certainly an indication of how much she values your friendship especially over a new relationship with someone who she knows hurt you in the past.
      In the words of the sisterhood….FLUSH!

      • Revolution says:

        Mazza,
        I agree with Pax. Don’t eff with the “girl code.” And your friend breached it, so get rid of her ass. She means you no good, trust me.

        It’s lookin’ downright shady in the “forest of resentment.” (Love that, Pax. :))

    • Selkie says:

      Mazza,

      I couldn’t stay best friends with someone who was dating an ex I still has issues with, especially if I’d confided in them about the ex. If it was 20 years and I really didn’t give a shit anymore, then maybe, but not so recent as yours. I think you’ll have more piece of mind going your own way. Be ready for her to come back around asking for support when he shits on her.

    • Little Star says:

      You not going to be seen as a bitter person. What kind of bestfriend is she? GOD, I would rid of my best friend is she starts dating my ex…awful situation to be in. Please drop them both, you do not need additional pain!!!

    • Lilia says:

      Mazza, if you make a clear cut and don´t allow them into your life again, you won´t become bitter. You´ll feel the betrayal for some time, but then you´ll begin to heal.

      I can´t imagine a worse best friend than one who lets you confide in her about some AC and then goes out and dates him, while trying to guilt you into being happy for her.
      Really, who does she think she is, stomping all over you?
      Just NC her, as the other posters say. And please don´t reengage when she comes crying on your shoulder because the AC is putting her through hell.

    • PurpleLily says:

      Absolutely agree with the others. Flush time indeed. And I wouldnt know how to trust someone who did this to me and you’ll never be able to trust her too. You are not bitter, you reaction is completely valid. What she did is NOT ok. And you should choose to have/do nothing with her. Period. No go. You dont do that to your best friends.

    • Mazza21 says:

      Thank you all for your reassurance. I think I knew it wasn’t an ok thing to do but was trying to be a good person about it but yes you’re all right I will be better off without her. I have other friends where I know something like this would never even be an issue. She has had form with this before so she obviously just doesn’t have that kind of boundary. It is just odd that she expected us to continue being best friends like it was never a problem even though I told her exactly how I felt about it, she saw me in tears many a time over this guy. That trust will never come back. Oh well you live and learn. Thanks again x

    • BethD says:

      That is no friend. that is a huge no no as far as I am concerned. There is an unspoken rule with my group of friends. We don’t go there period. Why should you have to be exposed to an ex you want out of your life. Maintaining a relationship with that friendly backstabber just isn’t worth it.

  15. Lost Hope says:

    Last year I had fallen in love with a work colleague who seemed very trustworthy (I recently posted about this fantasy relationship). We were flirting and slowly getting to know each other. When I asked him, what he did over New Year, he was uncomfortable to answer and told me not to ask such a complicated question. It was apparent that he was with another woman. Of course, we were not in a relationship and theoretically he could see other women. Still, my gut said, something is off here, if he was really interested in me. I unconsciously sabotaged his cautious attempts to get closer to me physically and we became stuck in a friendship. Although I am definitely aware of my own emotional unavailability and it would have been best to talk with him openly – maybe it was wise, not to get more involved, because I could not trust him completely. What do you think? I am very confused as to what is a red flag, because in the past I have often trusted the wrong people.

    • twistinmysobriety says:

      Lost Hope,
      My guess is that he actually has a girlfriend and is just flirting at work to get an ego boost. This has happened to me (twice a fool in fact!), and so so many of my friends. If he would be interested, he would have asked you out. I am actually rather shocked at how common behaviour this is! So many insecure people out there just needing a bit of validation. I have now learnt to never ever assume that someone is single, no matter how much their stories sound like they are single and how much they flirt. I mean this guy made me coffee every day at work, we hang out a lot and he was telling me how beautiful I am, touching and flirting, saying how it is not nice to be alone and how he “loves to be in a relationship” yada yada!The other guy was even worse, and I would say that he most definitely manipulated and used me.

      You have GOT TO ask point blank: do you have a wife, a girlfriend, a boyfriend or are you seeing someone? (To be repeated once every month or two :))
      So yes, I would take it as a red flag, but I would also just ask him directly if he is seeing someone. Make him sweat!
      Also, I would not even want to be friends with someone who behaves in such a dishonest way. A bit of harmless flirting is fine of course, but misleading someone is not.

      • Lost Hope says:

        Thank you for your comment. I am sure he did not have a girlfriend at the time, but he has one now and maybe it’s the one he was seeing last New Year. He did not asked me out (I did, however) but consistently contacted me to meet for lunch at work. He seemed genuinely interested in me, but never talked about his feelings or about wanting a relationship. Neither did I, which might have caused him to think I had no interest and made him move on in the end.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        That “looks single, acts single, doesn’t wear ring, doesn’t mention SO, but is actually not” phenomenon used to drive me nuts.

        It was worse when I thought it was just me. I learned to screen for it automatically no matter how single and available they appear to be at first. The signs are usually there; one has to train oneself to check for them because they are sometimes deliberately unspoken (as you saw)

        • twistinmysobriety says:

          This phenomenon is still driving me nuts, so please do tell us about the signs! ;)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lost Hope. He’s an EUM. NC him. If you are EU yourself, why try to date anyone? Get your act together so that you can be truly available to someone who may want to have a serious and genuine relationship. Otherwise you’ll hurt them and that’s not right, either.

      • Lost Hope says:

        Thanks for your comment. I am EU in a way that although I had deep feelings, I was not able to express them verbally. Of course, I could have written him a letter, which I contemplated several times, but unfortunately never did. Thus, I was not leading him on, because I always hoped that with time I would be able to open up.

        • grace says:

          Lost
          It’s not having deep feelings that makes you EU, it’s not the fact that you kept them to yourself, it’s that you have deep feelings for someone you hardly know and who has lied to you. It doesn’t make you a bad person but you’re not dealing with reality.
          I’ve tried to open up to men thinking it would win them over. They didn’t get it, laughed at me, abused me or used it against me. You open up to the people who open up to you. Someone does have to make the first step, that would involve dates on a Friday or Saturday night, honest conversations, finding out their intentions. Not furtiveness at work and writing a letter. People don’t really do that.
          I did not get physically close to the boyfriend for ages. It was two months of dating before we kissed. Physical acts in themselves are not a gateway to a relationship. You shut him down for good reason, you didn’t know him. You made the right call. Don’t regret it now.
          Draw a line under this.
          For three years I wondered what I could have done to win over an ex. Answer? Nothing. I don’t regret that he’s out of my life but I do somewhat regret the waste of time thinking about something that was barely there.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Lost. An Eu person is one who does not want emotional closeness. It can be lack of desire or fear. An Eu will set up various situations in which he/she successfully avoids contact which progresses more and more deeply with another. For example, I told myself I was looking for a bf when I was engaged in online dating. BUT the kicker was, I only wanted to “get closer” with someone who was 500 miles away. That’s a typical EU example. I would not consider you to be EU simply because you did not express yourself well in words. Lots of people don’t verbally communicate well. but that doesn’t make them EU. You state that you had deep feelings for him. EU people don’t give themselves a chance to have deep feelings so it’s easier to get away when they feel crowded with too much emotion.

          • twistinmysobriety says:

            But EU people can have deep feelings for someone who is emotionally unavailable or otherwise unlikely to return the feelings. Thus making it very safe to have strong feelings. Many such people with passive commitment resistance resistance(a term used by Carter and Sokol) tend to be what Natalie calls dreamers, and Lost admits that she had a fantasy relationship with this guy. I guess only wanting to get closer to someone living 500 miles away falls into the same category. I am a dreamer too.

            Anyway, I guess we got a bit off the topic…
            I actually wanted to say that I have made the mistake of letting these unavailable guys into my inner circle, just because they seemed to want to share secrets with me, and I thought that that level of “trust” must mean that they are interested in me or that there must be something there at least. Well, we shared a lot of secrets…in both cases they just forgot to mention that they were actually seeing someone else. So I would say that even if someone is sharing intimate secrets with you (and even sleeping with you), I would think twice before letting them into your circle of trust.

            • Lost Hope says:

              Yes, I am definitely a dreamer. And he appeared to be the genuine, emotionally available nice guy. At the beginning he tried to open a discussion about feelings, but I was too guarded at the time to answer honestly. He never tried again, probably waiting for me to make a move. Thus, I don’t know, if he really is EU. I don’t know, what happened at New Year and whether he was seeing someone else more than once. Although I find it encouraging to hear from everyone that it would have been right not to trust him. Helps to stop beating me up over what I still perceive as a huge missed opportunity.

  16. Alba says:

    Oh my god, this is such an coincidence! I watched meet the Fokkers yesterday and it made me think about my cirle as well :)

    I realized that I’m very thankful for my own circle of people I have around me.

    When I thought about the different circles it dawned on me that (if I’m really honest with myself) it is always really clear in which cirle people belong. My friends in the inner circle are just there, I never even question it and you know they probably will never leave.

    The guy I dated for a few months was testing my boundaries and doing all sorts of stuff that actually made him a ‘threat’. Although I felt it and kinda realized it, it took a while to really act upon it.

    I’m a very direct and open person and I had the feeling I had the situation under control, but when I didn’t agree with his behaviour last weekend and told him he had no right to be angry with me for ‘not reacting how he likes’ to his bad behaviour I apparently crossed his boundries and no we’re not on speaking terms anymore.

    Funny how you sometimes need to hear or read things like the circle of trust to realize what you actually already feel or know deep down.

  17. noquay says:

    Congrats Dr. Mags!!!!! You are soooo right: lack of knowlege can leave folks irresponsible. I don’t think my folks were intentionally awful, they were in a way crippled my multiple generations of denial, cultural destruction, despair, lack of education and opportunity and had no idea what to do with a daughter whose character and goals were sooo very different than theirs. Keep those spidey senses working!

  18. Tabitha says:

    What is really difficult is accepting that my mother has been kept in my circle of trust when she had shown me time and time again that she should not be there. I guess I have just been trained to not question her authority and I was never allowed boundaries where she is concerned.
    Although I am now NC with her and intend on remaining so, it still feels like it is such a shame that I cannot have a mother I can trust. How wonderful that must feel. To feel that someone loves you more than anyone else in the world and will have your back no matter what. That is how I feel about my own kids but I have never been able to trust my own mother as she is actually my enemy and is only happy when I am unhappy/failing/under her control.
    I do have three older ladies in my inner circle though and I guess to an extent these are “mum replacements” as they fulfill that role as far as they can.
    As other posters have said, it is better to be thankful for the people you do have in your life that you can trust, rather than lamenting the ones you don’t. In my case, no romantic partner or parent.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      I really understand how you feel about having a mother you can’t trust to the point you have to go NC with her. I haven’t spoken to my own mother for over ten years and although it’s a sad situation to be in just because they are a parent there is no reason to tolerate them nnot treating you with respect.

      I too have some Mum replacements for whom I am very thankful :)

  19. Lacy says:

    Hey Nat Great post!! No contact since Feb, I feel great, I’m learning to trust me and my judgements.The x calls 3 to 4 times a day its funny.Now I need to find the mind power to get over that part of seeking validation its like I don’t want him but I don’t want him to not want me.Its weird I know.But I am not excepting his calls its been since the middle of feb.it really does get better in time.So thanks to God first and foremost I did and still do a lot of praying, to Nat, all the women on baggage reclaim

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lacy. Why don’t you block him so you cannot receive his calls? If you still want to know that he called, thereby he is thinking of you, you’re still invested. Guys like to see if they have the power to get you back. Then you go back, thinking that he really cares. NOT.

    • Allison says:

      Lacy,

      It will get better when you block the calls.

      Do you really need validation from someone who treated you poorly? Do you truly feel better after he reaches out?

  20. oc says:

    This is one of the better posts I’ve read. The diagrams are REALLY effective! I’m considering using some myself in an exercise to evaulate my own beliefs about who and how to trust. I wear my heart of my sleeve with everyone and always have. Typically I trust until I have a reason not to and then when hurt close up shop, baricade the door, and clutch weaponry.

    Probably not the most effective way to have a relationship.

    Thanks for sharing Natalie!

    • JenniferA says:

      oc! That is so me I had to laugh out loud!! Clutch weaponry! Love it! Currently over 2 months NC and feeling really good.

    • NoMo Drama says:

      People sometimes whine to me that I have “walls” up — often they are the types of people who would prefer to have instant all-access, which is just not going to happen.

      I looked at this and asked myself: Do I have walls up? Answer: Damn right I do, and they are up because there is a LOT out there I need to wall myself off from.

      However, thinking about it further, it is clear that they have windows, so I can see who’s out there to decide who can enter. They also have gates, so it isn’t as if nobody ever has any way to get in (and I can’t get out).

  21. Revolution says:

    Great post, Natalie!!! Ah, the circle of trust…

    I agree with what Alba said in her comment, in that those who are in the center (not to be confused with “centre” ;)) of my circle are just….well…there. They have never bucked the “system” in that they’ve never been a problem. I’ve never had to “enforce boundaries” or give them a “three strikes and you’re out” policy. They’ve never even gotten near the line of impropriety. They just….love and respect me. Sure, they’re imperfect like we all are. But I can count on them to have my back. They’ve had it for years and years with no incident. And I have their back in the same way.

    Natalie, I love how you talk about bringing people into the “circle” prematurely because they remind us of someone who is already in the circle. I’ve done this. I’ve also brought people in the circle who didn’t even ask to be there in the first place, knowing themselves that they were shady as hell. It’s like pulling someone off a police lineup and bringing them into your home for a luncheon. They’re like “WTF?” but of course they still grab a plate and eat. And later, you wonder where all your silverware went. God, I’ve been so stupid. But no more.

    I like the idea of the “Debit and Credit System” because, if I understand it correctly, it starts from a neutral place. In other words, you don’t start off all shifty-eyed, expecting the other person to PROVE that they won’t eff you over. No, you try to be as neutral as possible and watch them unfold, and then respond in kind. I aspire to regain that balance, as I still have somewhat of a hair trigger response to people who try to reach out to me. It’s not an angry response, but more of a closing in on myself through fear. The funny thing is, this is not my nature. I’m usually open to a fault. And I want to get back to that openness, but with my reasoning skills more honed, so that I can drop the nefarious once I see the first hints of bad juju.

    I’m getting better. I’m getting more balanced, I can feel it. I feel the sun hitting parts of me that have been in the shadows for a long while, and well…it feels good. Thanks for your help in this, Natalie. And for everyone else on here who’s been such a source of comfort and encouragement, thanks.

  22. Tina says:

    This post is right on time. I have an associate (former friend) who is very insecure and self-absored. She has shown me her ass one too many times. The first couple of times, I had a conversation with her about it but her poor behavior persists. I am not going to waste my time having anymore talks. I’ve began to “lean back”. She has seen me lean back on a person who I’ve known for 20 years. She should know that I have no problems throwing her ass in the garbage.

    As far as kinfolks, they are a different breed but they know I have no problems telling them to beat it!

  23. Starlight says:

    Love the thought provoking concept of the circle. My only difference of opinion is that I want God/Jesus in the center of it with me evolving around Him, and others in the other orbits around ‘us’.

    • Silverbee says:

      Starlight, this is what I want the most, too. When Spirit (however we choose to experience it) is at the center, then I believe the ability to understand how trust works, and how others align with our highest needs and purposes, comes far more easily to us.

  24. grace says:

    Love the diagrams, they remind me of illustrations for children’s books.
    This reminds me to be thankful for my siblings. I literally would trust them with my life. I have a small number of friends I trust and a large number of elderly couples at church who I care about and who care about me. I trust them. I trust the boyfriend. And, like starlight, Jesus/God. I recently had an ephiphany that christianity isn’t about following rules or even being good, it’s about trusting in God. I wondered why he wants that so much. It’s because trust is the most precious thing you can give someone and that they can give you.
    I was very lonely a few years ago after the abusive ex and then the playa. It’s really turned round in the last couple of years – new home, new job, new church, new friends, so it’s very possible. I did have to make a bit of an effort but it wasn’t horribly difficult and has been worth it.

  25. Peanut says:

    I had this image of my ex all tall and lanky with his disproportionately short legs, prematurely balding head, ironic mustache and tight women’s jeans dancing about in pink ballet ish tap shoes, grinning ear to ear when I read this.

    In terms of making friends and finding romantic partners, I’d make that ‘you’ area the bulls eye and any idiot lolly gagging about with an arrow, who just took the time to blindly shoot, no matter how off their aim was, had instant access to the ‘you’ area. Well, let’s just say I’ve had my fair share of dodgy relationships. I was mistaking boundary busting for intimacy. It’s not. Pain is pain. Discomfort is discomfort. And this was not the good uncomfortable but I’m growing in the right direction growing pains. This was the ‘Oh, shit I let another crazy/shady in’ pains.

    • Tabitha says:

      Peanut that is brilliant! “I was mistaking boundary busting for intimacy.” That is exactly what I did! Not any more. I am really fussy compared to before, when any old crumb felt like a feast because I wasn’t looking after myself properly. The only criteria I had was that the guy had to be (or appear to be)really into me. That was enough! The last AC really bust up my pitiful boundaries with all his fast forwarding and future faking. It’s like Grizelda says, none of these behaviours arrives on their own. They bring all their nasty relatives.

  26. Tanzanite says:

    Hi Natalie/everyone

    After reading some of the comments about friends and getting out there I thought I could mention some of the things I did when I was in the same situation.The first thing I did was join a support group. “positive steps for women ” Although I would say I’m a little introverted (although some people say I’m not )I took myself along and met some lovely ladies. If there isn’t a support group near you ,you can start your own.This lead to other things socially and I still keep in touch and pop round for a coffee/wine/chat etc occasionally.One of the other things we did as a group was go to a BSSK event.( mind body and spirit exibition )We had a great time.This is one of those things you can do on your own and not look out of place.There are lots of inspirational talks and most of them are free.You can really make a day of it.

    If you are in the uk and can travel to Manchester on the 13th of April you might enjoy it.( If you like that kind of thing )

    I really had to drag myself out of my comfort zone to do these things but i’m so glad I did.I might just have been lucky and found a lovely group but one thing leads to another.

    I know we sometimes say we need to get out there but we never do.

    I was really looking forward to the baggagereclaim talk in Manchester but Natalie had to cancel because she was ill it’s nice to be somewhere where everyone has something in common.

    What about a BR meet up drink/meal ? If there was one, I wonder how many would make the effort ? If it was in the uk I probably would.

    • Tabitha says:

      I would do a meetup Tanzanite but I am in London! Great idea but probably best to let Natalie organise something when she is properly better? I bet we would all recognize each other!!! I know I would recognise Grace, and Revolution.

      • Revolution says:

        Ha! You’re awesome, Tabitha! Yeah, I would love to do a meetup, but unfortunately, I’m in Southern California and my plans to visit London are at least a year off from now, if not more. Who knows, maybe around that time we will have worked something out?

        It’s funny, like you I often wonder if I could recognize some BR readers. I have some grand visions of what Grace, Runnergirl, Teachable, and Lilly look like. Wonder if I’m right? :)

        As for me, probably what you’d expect: dark hair, leather jacket, kickass boots. What you read here is what you get.

        • Tabitha says:

          You are Kim Kardashian and Grace is Lucy Lui (in my mind) I see Lilly as a tiny wafting figure with beautiful long ringlets. Teach obviously wears glasses and tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows. Runner is beautifully athletic looking of course! Noquay will be recognisable by the hammer she will be wielding!! And her toolbelt!

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey Revolution, I’m in So Cal. The only reason I’d visit London or the UK is to meet up with such wonderful folks. Maybe we could meet up since we are local? I’ll be the short skinny one. I’m just like you all imagine, short, skinny, and athletic.
          So as I tried to figure out who is in my inner circle of trust…it ended up being you all. I can’t imagine where I’d be with out your support even though we’ve never met.
          Rev, I’ll ask Natalie if we can email.

      • Tanzanite says:

        Tabitha

        That’s two of us then.

        The Manchester meet was a while back so she is probably better now. I wouldn’t want to dump this idea on Natalie she has enough to do.

        I don’t know anyone and i’m not sure I would recognize anyone but we would have something to talk about.I will be the one wearing the T.shirt with “He’s just not that special ” on, and drinking from the cup that says-” Thow shalt not take sh*t “.

        Only joking.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Girls! What a nice thought, imagining what we all look like. I’m curious. Anybody care to guess about me?

          • Tabitha says:

            I think you are tall Tinkerbell!!! I don’t know why. Just like I think Tired is short!!! Isn’t it funny how you get ideas about people?

          • simple pleasures says:

            “The Circle of trust-do you know who’s in yours and why?
            I have been thinking about this post all day, “I hear about virtual and casual relationships
            some people have with strangers..” and blogmates, this is us. We share intimate, embarrassing,life revealing things to one another from Australia, to the UK and everywhere in between. The almost anonymous
            shield let’s us become emotionally available-to worldwide strangers. We might not tell our sister what hell we’ve been through with the so-and-so, but reveal to-those we have no idea about except for snippets of disclosure (age, race, how many kids etc). There is trust and there is privacy. Not much privacy if you trust
            yourself to the world wide web
            internet. If you for example are on facebook with a list of something called “friends” you are trusting the world of strangers. We can fantasize about each other, Tinkerbell,
            you ofcourse project a stereotype we start with of a nurse. There is no privacy if you are a public figure on the internet. For example, I’ve seen Noquay’s picture on facebook. Really stunning and as she self describes. But I’m not going to friend request and say, hey it’s me from Baggagereclaim. There is public exposure, anonymous trust, and privacy. We need to work on trust development… and respecting other’s privacy. What happens in Vegas…I mean BR, stays on BR.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Tabitha, I’m only 5’2″ and I am an RN, as S.P. perceived. Wouldn’t you think of Tinkerbell as a diminutive person? Oh, well what does it matter. Just a little foray off the topic. Shame on us. LOL!

        • Tabitha says:

          I would love to meet up with any fellow BR contributors. I reckon we should meet at Revs place though don’t you? Many years since I have been to California but I did enjoy myself!

          • Selkie says:

            Im in Cali too!

          • Revolution says:

            Tabitha– Girl, anyone who calls me Kim K. can stay at my place anytime! Ha! (Although I think I was the originator of that vision, but it’s more about our similar coloring due to our similar cultural background.)

            And I see the others in my mind in the same way! Except Teach. For some reason, I envision her as a Lizbeth type of character (from the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” movie–the Swedish version). Who knows? It’s kinda fun to wonder.

            Tink, I picture you as ethereal, with golden brown ringlets and soft blue eyes. Maybe I’m totally off, who knows? :)

            Okay, Nat. No more off topic ramblings, sorry. :)

            • Lilly says:

              I couldn’t resist joining in. Tabitha, your description made me giggle. You have described my alter ego – I like the idea of wafting. Now to boring reality, I am slim, but curvy, with wavy/curly, shoulder length brown hair and love to wear floaty pretty clothes. Tinkerbell, I too see you as a nurse, gentle and strong, but I imagine you are tiny in stature. Rev, I imagine you just as you describe,strong and gorgeous.

  27. espresso says:

    “There shouldn’t be anyone in your inner circle with whom you don’t have a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust and respect – no exceptions.” This post speaks to me SO much. It is putting the words and concepts that I need to hear in a very very “right” kind of way for me. If I summed up all the sadness of my past marriage and all the reasons I had to leave it it would be “because he is/was not in my circle of trust” I just didn’t trust him on these profound levels of love, care, respect, honouring, cherishing, standing by, communicating, respecting boundaries etc.Over the years I became so guarded, so self-protective because I KNEW this, even though I didn’t name it for what it was. I never actually CALLED it trust but that was what it was…..I think for my ex “trust” was limited to things like you borrow ten dollars and then you pay it back. It is very lonely to live with a person you don’t trust and I think I got confused by it too.

    And I like the concept of a circle..where there are people closer in terms of that trust and also where even if you love somebody you are cautious about the level of trust you have in them. To what degree are they trustworthy? Such a fantastic post and definitely a keeper. It came on a very good day for me. Thank you Natalie!!!!

  28. Peanut says:

    Furry White Dogs

    Your name sounds like an awesome indie band and I love it!

    Your ex sounds a lot like my ex. He was so delusional in his ‘explanations’ that I couldn’t help but just pity the crap out of his childlike whiny self. So, I let him get away with shadiness and didn’t walk away when I most undoubtedly should have. I let him control me and rule my world. A man with the emotional capacity of an infant! I too get hung up on good points. I found myself dipping into the good points bucket today, only to come up short and feel as though I’m distorting reality. A year later I’m still sorting out what’s real and what isn’t.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      Thank you Peanut. Your name reminds me of the great cartoon and the inestimable Snoopy :-) Furry White Dogs is for my two dogs that kept me going when I thought my world fell apart. I owe them my life and will do anything to make sure I am healthy and secure so they always have a secure home with me.

      I too feel a lot of pity for my ex. I’m recognising that a lot of the anger I felt toward him was really at myself for making such a poor choice of partner and disempowering myself so much that I couldn’t walk away when I should have. I also felt a lot of grief at the loss of the relationship and the future that really was looking brighter. But heck now my future is looking brighter and it’s down to me to keep it bright.

      There were good times and I think it’s important to acknowledge those good times because even if the lies were mixed in the experience was still real. It would be distorting reality to believe it was all bad or all good. I’m getting to the point where I feel it doesn’t matter if I sort out the lies from the truth because that was then and this is now and what counts is my experience and what I take away from it.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Furry. I totally agree with your last paragraph. Had you not had that experience, you probably wouldn’t have come to BR.

  29. Amy says:

    You brought me back to reality with this post. I’m actually discussing this post with a dear friend and we can’t believe how often we forget to incorporate these rules into our social lives. You are the best! Thank you for reintroducing an important life lesson into our lives.

  30. Tired says:

    Ive learnt about the circle . Like tinks when i was married i had no friends , just my mum . But when i got back intouch with some , they gave me the strength to leave . A few i trust . Some that i have gone on to make i hold at arms length i was to keen and trusted to quickly and let them know to much . But that is a lesson learned . Now im careful aboutwho i tell what . Friends do let you down and ive learnt not to pin my hopes on them . And ive learnt not to over give to these type of friends as it changes nothing . On a happier note i got up and did two songs at a jam night with my friend , only the musician there that hosted it but i got up and played and kindly took the time to give me some extra coaching afterwards . Its another thing ive crossed off my list to get my confidence up . I to get lonely somtimes but id rather be at peace than chasing crumbs or the wrong kind of attention . Just because its attention . Im getting stronger in little steps . Congrats to Dr Magnolia to acheive what Magnolia has done whilst we all battle are problems . I take my hat off and admire you all :)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tired. You are sounding much better. In this last post you didn’t even refer to HIM in any way, not even indirectly. Do you realize that? That’s progress. That’s what we all want to see, especially me.

    • Lilly says:

      Tired,

      I admire you. Keep going.

  31. Marie83 says:

    Hi,
    I need some advice. I have a friend who I have known for about 10yrs, our lives have taken different paths – she has a partner and a new baby and I am single. The baby is very new so although I am not expecting her to meet up with me on a regular basis etc I feel that I rarely get an answer to even txt messages I send – I don’t want to appear pushy and completely get how tired she must be but babies sleep don’t they, how hard is it just to bang out a txt

    • natashya says:

      marie, it isn’t hard to bang out a text but she’s got a newborn. i never thought it was that intense, til i saw my best friend go through the same. total exhaustion and feeling out of this world, including ‘baby brain’.

      why not pop around, do a load of laundry for her or empty the dishwasher. she’ll appreciate the help for sure and it will give you an opportunity to stay connected.

      • grace says:

        agree with natashya
        When my sister had her firstborn she didn’t even see me when I was in the same room. Ditto no. 2 and ditto no. 3.

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        Ditto and agree all nataysha’s points. It’s likely that when bub sleeps she’s trying to catch up on sleep as well.

        It’s amazing how even little things like folding some washing become too much. Having a natter while you help out is a great way to keep the bond between you two. Putting bub in a pram and going for a walk together is great too too.

        Post natal depression can be really awful reality for some new Mums too.

        You never know, one day you might be a new Mum and if you have a part in her experience you could gain some useful insights.

        • Allison says:

          She may also be experiencing postpartum depression.

          She is probably desparate for sleep and sanity. Give her time.

    • Anon says:

      Time to make new friends, as her man and baby will take up 100% of her new, real life,…. welcome to being single in a couples world :^) You can keep in touch, but it will never be the same, unless you are in her situation and have a baby soon. People tend to hang out with others in similar situations.

      • Suki says:

        Aww now dont say that – that if your friends have babies, time to make new friends! I think even people with babies won’t agree. They will go on to make new couple and baby friends for their baby to hang out with. But old friends are old friends. Just because you have a baby or two you dont forget who you went to college with, or high school with, or your first job etc. There are some people you lose touch with sometimes, and sometimes they come back once their lives are more organized.
        Cut your friend some slack. Ask her for a good time to visit. Go hang out. Once the baby is a few months old, you can invite your friend out too, to a coffeeshop. Or go for a walk with the stroller.

        • marie83 says:

          Thanks for all your comments guys, I think perhaps my old friend paranoia was having a visit, I’ll endeavour to be a bit more understanding :)

  32. teachable says:

    Chomp…(bites corner off a tim tam)… chomp, chomp (bites off diagonally opposite corner)….Well, (talking with mouth half full of choccie bikkie), I vote Lilly is definately part of my inner circle… (dunks one chewed off corner in tea & slurps hot tea up through tim tam, making chocolate.bikkie then melt frm the inside out, in mouth)… b.c she remembered I LOVE TIM TAMS!! (Shares packet around)…Thankyou Lilly!! xxx

  33. Amazing to actually be able to visualise the circle so well.

    For years I had a “me” circle in the middle and then just the outer circle where most of my ‘close’ friends were and then everyone else was way way out of the sphere.

    I am finally learning to let people back in towards the centre even though I am not ever sharing that “you” circle with anyone again. I think that space should be sacred and reserved only for me.

    But, I have learnt that even when you let people in into your circle of trust after seeing them prove themselves it doesn’t necessarily mean they are there to stay, sometimes I have had to boot kick them way over the goalpost into oblivion when they’ve over-stepped the mark – it is not a guarantee to permanent residency!

  34. At Peace says:

    Nat,

    I am in a much better and healthier state of mind as a result of reading your posts over the past two years!

    As a result, I have changed my attitude and have consistently kicked people out of my life whom I thought I could trust, but who showed their true selves. The root of this problem, IMHO, is the underlying fear of being alone. Once we can accept and embrace aloneness (not to be confused with being lonely), the less likely we will let people into and remain in our inner circle when they should not be there at all.

    I have had men and women tell me some of the most ridiculous crap that they have put up with just to maintain a so-called friendship. When I ask them why they continue to be friends with this person whom they are complaining about, they say, “Well…you have to accept people for who they are.” WTF!? Here’s the kicker: these same people will reject those individuals who prove to be real friends in favor of the phoney friends!

    The more I deal with people, the more I love my little dog!!!

  35. At Peace says:

    A BIG congrats to you Dr. Mag!!! Whoohoo!!!!!!!

  36. Tinkerbell says:

    Marie. People come into our lives for a season and a reason. They leave the same way. I had a best friend years ago who just went NC for no reason at all. I will never know what happened. I had invited her to my daughter’s second baby shower. She had come to the first shower which was 5 years earlier. My “friend” never responded, never called later. NOTHING. I felt hurt, but I let it go. I did try to find out anything because the nature of our relationship was so close that it did not need any investigation on my part. Maybe her life changed significantly in that 5 year lapse, and I did not realize it. People come and go in our lives. True friends last forever.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Maybe that was not a good example, that I gave as it doesn’t compare with recently giving birth. I just firmly believe that if your heart is in it, you find time somehow to be with or at least TEXT someone who is important to you. Mr. Obama finds time for his wife, Michelle and children. I would think the President of the U.S. is a pretty damn busy person.

  37. Gillian says:

    As I re-enter the dating world this is a great tool. I see that I have let men into my inner circle way too soon. I have been NC for three months from a narcissist. I realised I didn’t have any rules or boundaries or even guidlines for my life. Before I get out there again, I am creating a clear vision of what I really want and what my values are that drive that vision. Love the paintings, Natalie – such great visuals. I am going to create my own painting with my values and my inner circle…something I can refer to that keeps me on the track taht I want to be on.

  38. Tired says:

    Its that thing were you think youre friends are doing somthing becausecof you . I got a friend we were close but not know but she has been through yhe death of her mum and nan and a whole heap of stuff that makes my probor was pron absoulutlry nothing , i really needed to grow up in the last couple of months its not a fairy tale life. If i want it to change i have to do it ! Im finally maturing ten odd yrs to late . Im a lot calmer and not so sensitive . Big thanks to all you girls i read your stories and ive not gone through it alone and im learning all time …… Tinks havent got a clue who you talking about lolololol :)

  39. Julie says:

    I realized today that I was blaming my ex bf eum for effing up our relationship, when in fact I was being irresponsible to myself. Its like tossing the keys to the car to my 13 year old daughter, and saying “sure, you want to drive, go ahead give it a try!” and then when she cracks up the car I blame her.

    He showed me in his actions, and even sometimes words, that he was unwilling or unable to be responsible for my happiness and well-being, but I ignored that and tossed him the keys to my heart and life anyway.

    I know now that I need to step up and be responsible for myself, and only toss the keys to someone who shows, consistently, that they are ready willing and able to take on that responsibility.

    It feels so good not to be angry and blame him anymore. He is who he is. I can still love him for who he is without expecting him to be something he’s not. Like my 13 year old daughter who I still love even though she can’t drive the car. :)

    • Selkie says:

      I’ve been where you are and what I’ve learned is that it’s not a good idea to make someone responsible for your happiness. While they should add to your happiness (treat you with love, care and respect) and not diminish it (being EU or AC), they aren’t responsible for it. Happiness comes from within first.

      • paolo says:

        Selkie. I agree..Add to but not responsible for.

      • Little Star says:

        Yes Selkie, you are spot on! I always look for someone who can “fix” me and my EU patterns, but no man can do that! I have to deal with myself and be responsible for my own happiness!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Selkie. I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Rachael says:

      Julie,

      “I know now that I need to step up and be responsible for myself”. This, I have been considering for 6 weeks now. I have been upset at him for not doing what I want him to do (contact me). He is a poor communicator for whatever reason… he is an imperfect man. Like me. There is no point in being upset at him for not doing what I think is acceptable. While I remain upset, I am failing to take responsibility for my happiness… I am blaming him. That is not fair on him (or me). He does things I am not okay with… its my decision to stay or walk. 100% my choice. What good comes from being mad at him.. he has depression.. that’s enough, without me loading guilt trips and being mad at him. I have a new, less angry perspective cause I see his humanity and faults… I can still care for him as a person, despite him not doing what I would like. I’m learning to let go of dependence on him I hope. I also hope this makes sense and is not the ramblings of a woman gone mad

      • Melissa says:

        Rachel, Are you in a relationship with this man that you want to contact you? If you are with someone who is not contacting you, that is a problem! If you are NC, you should stay committed to it (obviously easier said than done). Also, it sounds like you are making excuses for his behavior. When his behavior is what is upsetting you. Yes, you should take responsibility for you happiness, but the people you allow into your circle should add to your happiness, not detract from it.

        • Rachael says:

          Thanks Melissa for your comment.
          I was dating him, or I thought I was. Yes, we agree that he not contacting me is not ideal, to say the least. I am not NC, and not sure that it is necessary. I am however creating boundaries.
          What is upsetting me, is not his behaviour so much, rather my low self worth. His behaviour is a trigger for the feelings associated with low self esteem. Sorry this was not clear Melissa.

  40. espresso says:

    I was thinking a lot about who was in my circle of trust last night. I have a small number who are in the centre and quite a few who I trust a lot but they are not close to me in some important areas of my life. I also realize that I am constantly assessing and reassessing this…but I never actually CALLED it that. I DID assess this with my ex but didn’t FACE the results- I think it was just too threatening for a long time to say, “I just don’t trust him”

    It was interesting to see that some quiet friends who I don’t see much I really have very close in my circle. And there are others where I would still stay they are “close” but who I don’t actually trust – one a woman friend who send some real nasty zingers at me last summer….completely out of the blue and uncalled for and cruel. It is pretty amazing how distrust can just plummet very very quickly – well it seems quick but the foundation of distrust (with her) was actually built over many years. I really also didn’t trust her enough to think it was worth talking to her about the issues. So that is part of my automatic assessment I guess. The thing is it goes on ALL the time….like a therapist once said…we keep a little file folder on people in our lives that we are adding to or subtracting from. But I like the circle of trust MUCH better.

    The OTHER thing I realized that this was a HUGE difference between me and my ex. I don’t know if he would actually understand the context but if he did he would put a lot of people in the circle of trust even though he actually has no close friends and never did in our marriage. He puts his “trust” in people very very quickly and impulsively without ever getting to know them. And then he never engages after. He could never EVER say anything bad about a person – they always “mean well” etc. And that is one of the reasons why he was not in my circle of trust although I never thought of it this way. A lot of good for thought!

  41. lo j says:

    Tinkerbell … You’re teeny tiny with wings and fairy dust???!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Loj. You’re so cute. Not quite. I’m short, but not tiny. Not fat either – aversge size. But I love your description, anyway.

  42. treefrog says:

    oops, i posted this in an older article when i meant to post here…so hope the duplicate is ok.

    i’m fairly new here and could really use some support as i learn more about what the hell i have been doing for the past 3 years…and why

    what a great article!

    i definitely let people in to my circle of trust way too quickly, no doubt about that. i have been lucky i guess as thinking back over my life (46 now) i have not had anyone take serious, wacky, crazy making advantage of that until this relationship.

    i have always been very trusting of myself as well…until this relationship knocked me for a total loop. i have never met anyone like this – who if their mouth is moving, a lie is most definitely coming out – and i have never experienced chemistry like this and i certainly let that take over.

    well, learning to trust myself again – went through a phase last year of wanting to crawl right out of my own skin and knew i needed to start reconnecting to myself – it just seems such a slow process sometimes.

    i just am in shock at myself for having let this go on for so long and disbelieving that i am still seemingly hesitant to ‘flush’ once and for all…

    i have gone down the road of super understanding, compassionate, florence nightengale i guess…and put my hand back in the fire so many times i just cringe at myself.

    i am really grateful for all of the clean, clear, blunt, honest writing here and the lovely supportive community you all have and hope to contribute although i feel like a baby that needs to learn to walk again and tell him to get lost once and for all and figure out what happened that i let this much pain pile on top of me over and over again.

    • Learner says:

      Treefrog,
      It is a slow process. If you have been involved with an emotionally unavailable, lying man for three years, it has no doubt affected your self esteem and your ability to trust yourself.you haven’t provided many details about you relationship (relationshit?) with this man. It seems your gut is telling you to flush him, but the part of your brain and heart that are still engaged in the fantasy relationship are holding you back. Have you read Natalie’s ebook Mr unavailable and the Fallback Girl”? Excellent no-nonsense advice. Like you, I was involved with a lying man with whom I had great chemistry. It IS possible to break free, and more than 9 months of NC later, I feel so much healthier. It involved taking a look at my own behaviours and values, too, as I was guilty of lying too – to myself, to him, to others. You can do this treefrog. Time to let him go and focus on YOU.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      “who if their mouth is moving, a lie is most definitely coming out “, I love it :) That’s my ex to a T.

      I’m just turned 47 and in much the same boat as you with the letting people in too quickly and being lucky with that and the florence nightingale tendencies and the chemistry.

      If the man is a liar then I cannot stongly enough suggest for you to overcome your hesitancy and flush him for good. Compulsive lying really is a deep harmful issue and a liar will rarely change. It will continue to erode your relationship and self esteem. Don’t waste another four years the way I did.

      There’s another website that’s a good resource specifically around lying which you will find if you google ‘Truth about deception’. I learnt a lot about his behaviour and then happily stumbled on to this website and am now more focused on myself and my beliefs and behaviours.

      • treefrog says:

        thanks furry! i am on day 3 of NC and by last night was feeling a bit better, although coming down with a nasty chest cold now…somehow me thinks this is related…

        i must admit i still check my email to see if he’s tried to contact me…the last message i had was telling me that i didn’t need to not trust him – ha!! delusional completely – and how much he loved me blah blah blah and goodbye…i had tried to call him when i received that and he didn’t answer (big surprise) – best all around, i’m sure i wouldn’t have had anything constructive to say…then he followed up with another email about an hour later saying ‘he knows i’m done’…i have left it at that.

        yes, as much as i beat myself up for having let this go on for 3 years, you are absolutely right…anymore time would just be throwing good after bad.

        i have been able to start separating all the tender parts in my heart…all the things that i somehow use to let myself re-connect with him every bloody time…somehow feeling superior that i don’t let all this drag me down to hating him…and while i don’t think i hate him i am actually having an ‘ew’ factor going on that i haven’t before.

        hope that lasts…could still blast him with a piece of my mind, but really, not like i haven’t done that before.

        oh dear, i’m writing a novel…sorry. will leave it there for now.

        • Furry White Dogs says:

          Treefrog (beautiful little creatures by the way), I didn’t know about No Contact but once I found about the lies and cheating there was no way I wanted him back even if he had crawled begging. BUT, I still went through feelings of aching loss, fear, rage, all consuming hate, revenge, depression, you name it.

          And you will more than likely feel all those things as well. Luckily even though I hadn’t discovered this site I did have a few wonderful women in my life who told me that it’s okay to feel all those things, but to keep telling myself that one day they too will pass.

          In the meantime try to keep a relatively dignified face to the rest of the world. Because you will look back from a better place and hopefully won’t cringe at behaviour the equivalent of loo paper sticking out the back of your pants.

          And a quite clever bloke said ‘fake it ’til you make it’ Which was pretty helpful at times.

          • treefrog says:

            Furry, thank you thank you…your replies are like great big hugs.

            I am feeling and have felt many of those things…i don’t seem to be able to sustain hate or revenge…sometimes i think that would make it easier.

            reading more and more here, i realize that i have fallen into wanting to recoup my investment and thinking that ‘if only’ he could fix that one thing (which has been a moving target for almost the entire time i have known him…trying to figure out what is going on and i realize now is primarily related to a gambling addiction-uggg) – all would be well. i can tell myself i know i am not responsible, cannot fix it etc. but i must still think i can somewhere within me to be able to stick around for so long.

            i will continue to read and learn and keep trying to ‘fake it, till i make it’ and be gentle with myself as you all have suggested.

            i am really tired of being sad and grieving, and i know to not allow these feelings it will come back to bite me.

            with gratitude. xx

  43. Tired says:

    Ha ha ha ha i am short . Im five ft four . Dark brown hair , brown eyes . Quite funny thats who i am . I got side tracked awhile but like doog poop we all tread in the ole bullshit once in a while . I just wiped it off my shoe , or but in the wash but not for a re wash or spin or re cycle. It came out clean !!!!! Lol

  44. treefrog says:

    Thanks for your response and encouragement Learner.

    You are right, there is a part of my heart that isn’t quite letting go of the fantasy – and that is exactly what it is…and thus, i have lied to myself over and over again. Guess this is me overriding trusting myself right there. I am not living by my own values at all and really facing that leaves me feeling sick to my stomach that I have done this to myself.

    REading that you are feeling so much better after 9 mo of NC leaves me wanting to cry buckets…he left the country 9 mo ago in the wake of massive chaos that he caused (with others – by then i had pulled right back) and i stopped talking to him for all of 2 weeks and then he came on full force and i believed him….OMG! why did i believe him…i could be where you are now – 9 mo down the road.

    I am light years ahead of where i was a year ago, i had gotten him out of my house as it was making me severely ill and i made the mistake of starting a business with him and it took a long while to untangle all of that…i guess i am frustrated with myself that it is taking a long time and i am making it take longer every time i believe him and his bs.

    I am trying so hard to focus on myself and seem to get derailed at least weekly. Unfortunately my dad just passed away and a number of family issues have risen to the top as a result and i pretty much just feel battered by life right now and extremely lonely. who to trust is definitely in question for me…i have a few close friends that are in my inner circle, but i don’t see them often enough to feel connected and like i matter at all (i’m having a right pity party i think)

    I haven’t read Natalie’s book yet, i will do that.

    Thanks again for your support…today is particularly bad as I am on day 2 of NC and trying so hard to stick by it and my heart feels like it is going to fall right out of my body….so dumb given all that has gone on, but true none the less.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      *hugs and hugs and hugs*

      I’m six months down the road since the end of my relationship and life is definitely looking way rosier :)And a ton rosier than when I was in the effed up relationship.

      Be gentle with yourself, you will get there. And it will be worth it.

      And for me stumbling across this site has only accelerated my process. Whenever I feel down or start beating up on myself I come on here and read articles and comments and pretty soon I start to feel positive again.

      • treefrog says:

        thanks for hugs!! yes, this website is sooo helpful. i purchased Natalie’s 2 books yesterday and am about half way through Mr. UA & fBG and I see myself all over those pages…thought it might make me feel sadder – nope, actually made me feel better.

        i will check out the website you mentioned as well…’truth about deception’

        many *hugs* back xx

    • Learner says:

      Treefrog,
      I am sorry sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. A loss like that may affect your letting-go process with the EUM. As Furry White Dogs says, be gentle with yourself. I believe we move on from unhealthy situations when we are ready. Nine months ago, you may not have been ready yet. Today, you sound closer to being ready. When I got to that point, there was no turning back for me. I knew I was done for good. Mine was a MM, so he was never mine anyway, and has never tried to contact me (except twice for work related matters that are unavoidable). Te feeling that your heart is going to fall out is part of the process of extracting yourself from a fantasy relationship. It hurts like hell. You go through so many confusing and conflicting emotions, you reminisce about him one minute and want him back the next, all the while knowing he is not good for you. If you are committed to NC, nine months from today you will feel soooo much better (hopefully sooner). Keep reading and posting here – it will help more than you could imagine. Hugs and luck to you xo

      • treefrog says:

        Thank you learner for your kind words and yes losing my dad is affecting my letting go process…in someways making it harder and in other ways bringing me closer – life is short and what the heck am i doing??? comes to mind.

        i will keep posting and reading – it is helping so much.
        xx

  45. Melissa says:

    I have a question for you ladies. I have been NC for the past 2 months and I plan on staying single until I can find some peace and happiness within myself. I have noticed a lot of patterns that I have in relationships and I am hoping that if I become more secure with myself I will choose better quality mates. Anyways, one thing I have noticed is that I have never been friends first before dating. I am wondering if anyone has fallen into the same situation as I have repeatedly, only to have their relationships not work out? I think if I am friends with someone first that possibly a relationship might stand a chance at working out. I definitely trust people that I like and then I am blindsided when they turn out to be an assclown. People only show you there good side when they are trying to get into your pants.

  46. grace says:

    Melissa
    A few commenters have said they are friends with a man but still getting hurt. They want more, or the man is not treating her right as a friend, or he treated her well as a friend but not as a boyfriend.
    I was friends with the boyfriend before we dated and it worked out well.However, I didn’t become friends with him with a view to a boyfriend. I think it has to be quite organic, not a roundabout way to get a boyfriend. Otherwise, it’s not honest. It’s not morally wrong but what we want is more clarity, not less.
    Once we started dating I still had to let it unfold. It was still had to take a risk, with the extra factor that if it didn’t work I would lose him as a friend.
    If you feel that men only show their good side until they get sex, I would say don’t have sex too soon, don’t talk about it and don’t act seductive. Also, think about what is “good”. Looks, charm, flirting and even attentiveness don’t have anything to do with it. You’re looking for openness, honesty,consistency, faithfulness, respect. A good man, maybe even more so than a woman, is eager to please and to help, and not to get anything from you. It’s v different to what we’ve experienced, you can’t really miss it. If you believe you deserve that, you’re no longer “at risk” of a repeat bad experience. It may still not work out but you wouldn’t tolerate another long running messy situation.

  47. noquay says:

    Melissa: In those relationships that have worked and became long term, I was always friends first. My ex husband and I got together in 1992: we had known one another since 1984 and were each with different partners at that time. The dude who wrote “The Tao of Dating”, discussed how having partners from those known by your inner circle work best as such folks are less likely to #$%& you over. However, with on line dating, broken, dysfunctional communities, where your inner circle consists of folks far away, thats hard to do these days. Think about it though: how can you come to love someone when you are not sure you even like them?

    • Melissa says:

      That’s the tricky thing with online dating it is really difficult to get to know someone first before dating them. And from my experience for the most part no one on a dating site is looking for just a friend. I am taking a break from it all while I figure out how to make myself happy. I was just curious if other people perhaps had a history of being friends first with someone and still having them turn out to be an assclown.I do know that if someone is not a good friend they are not going to make a good partner. Another thing I have been questioning lately is if a not so good partner can make a good friend (in the future).

  48. lo j says:

    Tinkerbell … :-)

  49. lo j says:

    Learner … Thoughts and prayers are with you! Think of you often!

    Congrats Magnolia! You sound fabulous!

    BTW … I’m tall, blonde with short hair, slim, and look athletic but not … could trip on a hair. Hee hee!! (and laugh often)

    • Learner says:

      Aww, thanks lo j. I have wondered how you are doing too. Your reassuring comments, especially on the topic of raising children, have always been much appreciated. I hope all is going well for you and your kids xo

  50. Tired says:

    I want to say that im getting stronger , my faithful old dog is very very poorly and im devestated but im holding it together well . Last night on fb someone on my friends list had gone to see ac band . They said what a laugh they had . Now at first i seized on this to make me feel miserable that everything goes wrong for me . But after awhile i thought hang on . Loads of perps go to see band and enjoy it . Just i saw it in black and white , the person enjoyed. It . The ac may not have been or whatever . I cannot assume hes rolling in clover off someones eles statement . He just enjoyed a band could have been any band . Im learning it not a slight at me and it was forgotten . I really really believe im moving on . I just hide stuff i see like that but it doesnt get at me , do you see what i mean? . Its deffinate our !!!!! Thinking that trapps you x

    • runnergirl says:

      You just keep moving on Tired. So sorry to hear about your faithful old dog. Hugs to you and to him or her.
      You are right, who cares if someone liked the AC’s band or any band. And who cares if the AC is rolling in clover (loved that phrase). Most of all, congratulations for avoiding the poor pitful me path. You are moving on…stay on that path!

  51. Tinkerbell says:

    Melissa. IMO, the road to a healthy relationship STARTS with having him as a friend and your being one back. You need to genuinely like the person. I knew I was in love with my bf because I loved/love him as a person. I found his qualities to be those Grace mentions, and more. That love has deepened and we have lots of romance also. The romance shared between us is much more than the act of intercourse. For us the latter is important also, but it is not the sole reason we love each other. When you start a relationship with sex too quickly, that’s usually how it remains. You’re so caught up in the lovemaking that you don’t try to find out who this person actually is. Then, when he/she begins to unfold later on and there’s much you really dislike about them, it’s a surprise, and you’re deeply hurt. If, in a relationship with a man, I have a choice of either having a good friend, or a rollicking time in bed, I’ll chose friend every time. And that’s not to say that a friend won’t hurt you, too. But at least you took time to know him a little bit before jumping into bed.

    • Melissa says:

      Right on Tinkerbell. I definitely want to slow things down in my next relationship. Sex just complicates things. There are never any guarantees that a relationship will work out, but I can be smarter and make better choices.

  52. treefrog says:

    *help*
    he has just emailed me again and it is rocking me a bit…

    he owes me about $5000 (big big surprise) and is saying he knows i don’t want to speak to him or see him ever again and asking if we can come to a plan about the money he owes me.

    aggggggggg!!!!!! as if any plan is going to make a difference at all…he never ever follows through on any plans anyways.

    i really really feel compelled to write back…can you all please call me on my own crap in this, i know i am hurt and angry and not thinking straight at all:

    I would like to say ‘what is the point in making a plan, you never follow through on any plans anyways. if you are going to pay me back – just do it, there is no plan that will make any difference….if you don’t pay me back (which is what i expect you will do) just consider it a gift from the universe (through me)to right all the wrongs of you being burned in the past…although given how much of a victim you consider yourself to be…you will not be able to do this either’

    this latter part…about considering it a gift is, i think, the martyr in me…uggggg! and given a few hours i am pretty sure i will just cut this part out and go with the first part…

    is this even worth responding to??

    i don’t trust my judgement right now, any thoughts and opinions would very much be appreciated.

    • runnergirl says:

      Treefrog, you may have to block him soon, like ASAP. While $5,000 is a boat load of money, it is a also hook. You state he doesn’t follow through on plans, thus he probably can’t be trusted to pay back the money according to any plan. Natalie has addressed cutting contact when he/she owes money. It may be that you need to cut your losses both financial and emotional. I wouldn’t respond, if you respond, until you’ve read Natalie’s post and the comments. Unfortunately, you are not the only one in this circumstance. I guess this really speaks to Nat’s circle of trust.

    • grace says:

      Tree
      Print off the email as proof that he owes you the money and pursue it via a lawyer or the courts. I got back part of what was owed me by the abusive ex via a lawyer. It cost me £500. It was worth it not having to engage with a liar.
      you can get the money back in one payment rather than a payment plan. As my lawyer said to me, how he finds the money is his problem. I know they cry about how poor they are but they can borrow it from someone else!
      The other option is just forget the money.
      Trying to work out a fifty bucks a month repayment is going to drive you mad!

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      It’s not worth responding to with any kind of emotion. Which is what he’s fishing for.

      Me, I’d reply email with my bank account details, nothing more. And then block him.

      Flush, flush, flushity flush :)

    • Learner says:

      Treefrog,
      I have to agree with Grace. Engaging with this man to retrieve the money he owes you may NOT be worth it. A third party like a lawyer sounds like the ideal solution. By not responding to his email, even though he is holding the 5000 dollars in front of you like a carrot, you will send him the message that you are serious about NC. If you do email him, how about “I am contacting my lawyer to arrange repayment. Please do not contact me again. Treefrog” or simply cut your losses and just go with the second sentence, if you have not spelled this out to him before. Best of luck with it!

      • treefrog says:

        runnergirl, grace, furry, & learner

        thank you all for your words of wisdom…

        exactly, he cannot be trusted to follow through on any plan…been down that road already with him. i had pretty much already come to terms with letting the money go – it absolutely isn’t worth my sanity.

        i will look for Natalie’s article about cutting contact when money is owed – thank you for that suggestion.

        he is wise enough to not have written his email in a way that actually states that he owes me the money and trying to prove anything would be an absolute nightmare as it is all intertwined in a business i ran with him and my covering the living expenses over a period of time…i really did it to myself – he was not supposed to even be in this country and so everything was in my name…cringe!

        he knows what to do if he wants to pay me back..he has my bank details and really, who needs a plan to pay money they owe – no one – you just bloody pay what you owe. simple as.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Liz. Get a lawyer to help you. The fact that you’d have to pay the lawyer makes it doubtful if it’s even worth it. That’s up to you. But, either you do that or just FORGET the whole mess. DO NOT deal directly with him when you know he is totally irresponsible. It’s just not worth the headache.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Sorry. This was meant for Treefrog.

            • treefrog says:

              Thanks Tinkerbell. I am really fine with letting go of the money – it’s just money and a really really valuable lesson learned. Getting involved with a lawyer and any further conflict would just eat away at me from the inside out.

  53. confused liz says:

    dont know whats happened to me these last few days but i feel like im going backwards rather than forwards :( been so proud of myself staying nc for almost 3 weeks, it was my ex eum’s birthday yesterday and it was so hard but i stuck it out, although i feel really miserable again and i had started to feel a lot better , im not sure if this is because im not well at the moment and have also stopped smoking , or if i am actually just ‘stuck’ but i have been thinking of him way more than i should and missing him , wondering etc. i know i shouldnt but its just so difficult im not sure what to do :( came on here for a read and to see if anyone has advice, i always feel better after a good BR read :)

    • Tabitha says:

      3 weeks is still very raw Liz so don’t beat yourself up. I also had problems around ex narcs birthday. I took myself off for a hairdo and facial that day but it was hard.
      All I can say is that it honestly truly does get easier. I am now 6 months NC and although I probably still think of him at least once a day, that is just about bearable.
      Try to distract yourself with new interests, friends, study, and working on being kind to yourself. In time you will just look back on him the same as you look back on all your other exes. Honestly.

  54. Confused liz says:

    Thanks tabitha u always give such good advice , as do the others on here and I feel stronger :) I was at a party last night and found myself with tears in my eyes when a song came on that reminded me of ‘him’ and I was annoyed at myself, I know I have work to do on myself too, I don’t have any single friends tbh so I think this makes it a but harder because I feel lonely (and probably sorry for myself) but I have to put myself and my needs first , just wish the obsessing about him would stop lol although it has subsided a but until today :-/ , thanks again for all your help everybody this site and all if you are my saviour :)

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Confused Liz. Congrats on quitting smoking. Its been 1mth today since I quit. I felt like crap for the 2 weeks and sometimes I feel like I am depriving myself of something I enjoyed but the desire to live a healthier , longer life outweighs the deprivation.
      Its been 1 1/2yrs since I saw the ex-assclown & around his birthday I found myself being sad & reflective but I just rode thru those feelings. The more u fight them the stronger the are too me. I was in a LTR with him & am just currently to the place of peace with the ending. I sometimes wonder why I wasted so much time getting over it but it was a process for me and it needed to be dealt with. I needed to address my part in the relationship. I had many pity parties for myself & sometimes still do . I dont have many close friends & the ones I do have think I have been over him long ago.I feel stupid still stuck sometimes but it is what it is. I dont feel ready to date & from what I have seen is out there. YUKKY :)..I am blessed in many areas of my life but in love : NOT SO MUCH… Stay the course & take one day at a time.. It does get easier …

    • Lilia says:

      Liz,
      It´s my ex EUM´s birthday today and I´m trying my best not to imagine what would happen if I´d send him a message. I´m sure nothing good would come of it! He did send me an email for my birthday so he will probably notice that I´m not acknowledging his -I know, I shouldn´t care but I can´t help wondering if he regrets losing me. The funny thing is that now that I´ve spent quite some time in NC, I have this gut feeling not to come near him. I couldn´t bring myself to make contact, it feels like deliberately jumping in front of a train or something crazy like that.
      So it does get better in time. It´s like the fogs of fantasy lift when you´re in NC, and you´re only left with the painful crumbs these ACs throw in your direction to keep a hold of you. As someone told me, the only way out is through. It does get better, hang in there girl!

  55. Lilia says:

    Last saturday I remembered all of you when I had a happy-to-be-home moment after attending a wedding. My narc father´s partner´s daughter was getting married (sort of like my stepsister?) but it was more of a cocktail party than a traditional event. So that meant people I don´t know very well were constantly circulating. My father didn´t attend and I had a hard time pretending I was socializing and not feeling sorry for myself. Truth is I felt like Peter Sellers in The Party. Whenever I managed to pin someone down for a chat they would quickly move on to someone else. The food was sushi and I was the only person not familiar with using chopsticks – which goes to show I´m not in the habit of going out much.

    Of course, I had assisted with the secret hope to get to know new friends and maybe meet some guy but the women were mainly gossiping and all the interesting looking men were either married or gay.
    I did get hit on by my stepmother´s octogenarian uncle. He told me he had noticed me right away because of my hair (which looks a bit like that of the Scottish girl in the Pixar movie Brave) and when could he see me again? How could he contact me? Because he had to see me again and he wanted to comb my hair for me. Eew. This seemingly kind looking old grandpa turned out to be a playa.
    I escaped when people started dancing.

    It was quite a disappointment, to be honest. I hadn´t realised I was so out of the world of socializing. I spent all sunday a bit depressed, wanting to crawl back into hibernation-mode and wondering how I´d ever meet new people if I lack the skills of mingling at social events like that. I was also dreading the moment my father would ask me if I had a nice time (he is abroad, that´s why he didn´t assist).
    At least now I can laugh about it but yeah, it´s hard to face the nightlife-jungle again and I´m valuing my 3-person inner circle of trust more and more.

    • EllyB says:

      Lilia, some parties feel odd because… the rest of the crowd is weird. Really. It is nothing personal. I’ve been through this many times. Don’t even start questioning yourself!

      Treat yourself to some sushi all on your own and practice using chopsticks, but only if you truly want to do this, not in order to impress others! Those things are utterly unimportant in my book. People who judge others by this are simply shallow.

      • Lilia says:

        EllyB, you are right, there was a lot of weirdness going on.
        I hadn´t mentioned it but my stepmother showed up with the most unusual hairdo – with one of those huge haircombs and black lace veils they use for Easter in the south of Spain. Because she lives in Spain with my father (in Madrid, though, where they don´t wear those attires).
        You never ever see something like that in this part of the planet, especially at a wedding. It was almost like a performance. But everybody was so cool about it, like it was uncool to be surprised. I was speechless and wondering if my father would´ve showed up dressed as a bullfighter if he´d been there.

        As for the chopsticks, I think the thing that bothered me was that they were all a bit show-offy with their sushi balancing skills. So it seemed all a bit pretentious. But yes, I could practice some at home, it would be fun.

    • Selkie says:

      Hi Lilia. I’m sorry, but I laughed when I read your post because it sounded like my Saturday too! I wasn’t at a wedding, but rather, a gathering of a few folks while we were all participating in a common interest. I felt off the whole time and struggled to find something to say, when I did it was awkward, and I felt like I was getting left out. I wasn’t in reality but I was feeling so ‘out of it’ socially that I wanted to just leave. When everyone agreed to go and barbeque together afterward I politely declined and went back to my cozy home alone again, with relief. I drank a glass of wine and got a little melancholy but looked around at my life, my things, my home, my cat, the chocolate in front of me, my good job, reliable car. etc etc etc. It made me understand that I have much in my life that is good and that I need to stop trying so hard to get something I feel I don’t have and just enjoy what is. In yoga today we talked about trying really hard while being able to surrender at the same time. My take home message was, be the best you can be but accept WHO you are. When I got all melancholy and just let go of wanting more and looked around me to see what I DO have, I felt a shift in my attitude from ‘what is wrong with me?’ to ‘My life isn’t so bad, just enjoy what is’. So, hear you.

      • Selkie says:

        So, I hear you. Oops.

        • EllyB says:

          I’ve now realized that at parties, I used to strive for universal popularity. Anyway, if I feel awkward around a certain crowd or even feel left out, why should I try even harder to please those people? Yeah, I know that many other partygoers do the same, but really, what’s the point?

          One of my favorite Harry Potter quotes is this: “Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.”

        • Lilia says:

          Selkie,
          I read back your previous comment when I came home saturday, it was a comfort not to feel weird to be happy to be home! I hear you about looking at my surroundings and feeling good about my life. I thought I would´ve had a much better time staying in bed reading a book with my cats lying against my feet.
          I think I just get a bit confused by things that are seemingly more glamorous or “in”, like spending saturday night dancing with some weirdos I don´t even like.

          • Lilia says:

            Ellyb,
            I was thinking about that too and I figured this whole situation upset me so much because they are all now part of my father´s new family. He spends more time with all these people than he does with me or my children, and I´ve felt for a long long time that he approves of their lifestyle and priorities, which are very different from mine.

            Ironically, the only person I really like in that whole bunch – the bride at that wedding – is the one he is always criticising. I´ve no doubt they all love to gossip about me too. So yeah, I guess I need to let go of daddy approval. It´s not easy to do, though.

  56. Lynn says:

    I totally agree with Tinkerbell. I read someplace recently that real love is what remains after the “falling in love” phase comes to an end and it always does as the newness of a relationship wears off. Yes, It’s vitally important that you genuinely like the person you’re in a relationship with, otherwise, real love doesn’t stand a chance.

  57. Confused liz says:

    Thanks kit-Kat, well done to u too! Yeah I remember when I quit before I felt down in the dumps and deprived , but it needs to be done and the good will definitely outweigh these feelings :) I’m glad your in a better place now regarding g the ex eu, I can’t wait until I feel nothing for him and remember the bad things although we got in, I realise I needed more and could not take anymore let downs , then him trying to demote me to booty call was the last straw so I went nc. LILIA – I feel the same ! I’m wondering if he’s missing me/regretting how he’s been etc but why the hk should that matter ,it’s time to focus on myself as everyone here says, well done for sticking it out birthdays are really hard I think :( and I don’t think my ex eu would have much to say even if I had text him , he’s just ibviously not the person he made out to be for quite a bit if the relationship – which is the hard part to accept :( next week I go on holiday for 4 nights and he was supposed to be coming as my mum booked it for us all before she passed away , it’s going to be tough as I was with him there just ten months ago , and everything’s still so raw but I will be strong for my little boy I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else, although going with my sister and partner and two children is going to be hard as I never thought I’d be going without him :( thanks again to you all for your help and advice I appreciate it more than you know :)

  58. Confused liz says:

    Sorry about my few spelling mistakes (silly phone ) lol xx

  59. ninjagirl says:

    Feeling sad today and not sure who to trust – myself or what. Just met someone, who seemed to like me and vice versa. We went on 3 amazing dates. On the 3rd, I told him that I did not want to have sex without being in a exclusive relationship, and that when that time came, it would be great and decide together. He works all the time because he is an entrepreneur. In between date 3 and 4, we had a weird convo where he seemed to think I needed some level of reassurance because all of his plans all had a “escape hatch” because of his work and wanting to do other things schedule. I was actually fine with what we had discussed, but he kept telling me how much he liked me. Left feeling needy, when I had not even been needy.

    Date 4, we have a great time. But, he asks me to clarify the sex thing and if we should continue to fool around at all. I explain that I want an exclusive relationship to have sex, and feel we should not go much further than we had (dry humping with clothes on, and that I was willing to see where the relationship builds over 2-4 months before exclusivity. Simple stupid, no? Then he blathers on for 3-5 minutes about something unintelligable – something about how you run into exes and want them to be able to say nice things and how people respect each other. I still have no idea what the heck he was talking about, and eventhough I explained that I was confused because the convo started with how he deals with exes (so I tried to find out if he was feeling there was a reason I would be an ex), am left feeling needy again.

    Anyhow, you know the drill, by date 5, he comes over for a “quick dinner”, and had had a “long weekend”. Now have not heard from him at all this week.

    Beating myself up for sounding needy, and feeling like I ran him away. Do I even trust myself to tell someone I don’t want to have sex before exclusivity. So confused

    • ninjagirl says:

      He had been really keen in between date 3 and 4 before we had this weird convo.

      • ninjagirl says:

        Oh yeah, forgot to mention on date one that “some women could not handle his passion for work”, and when asked about his previous relationships duration he said “you mean intensity?”.

  60. Allison says:

    Ninja,

    I don’t understand?

    “Anyhow, you know the drill, by date 5, he comes over for a “quick dinner”, and had had a “long weekend”. Now have not heard from him at all this week.?

  61. [...] You should care about the people you call your friends and the quality of your friendships matter. It’s the fact that I genuinely value the people who I call friends and close friends why I don’t go racing around to put any ‘ole body in my circle of trust. [...]

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!