One person saying that they feel sad. The other person asking if they have a receipt for that feeling

When people tell me stories, I’ve noticed that there’s this tendency to want to justify their feelings. If they’re angry, they feel bad for being angry as if their reason isn’t ‘reasonable’ enough and there’s an expectation that there’s always ‘supposed’ to be a logic to how they feel otherwise the feeling must be shut down or overridden. It’s tough enough to grow up in an environment or be in a relationship where your feelings are invalidated without then spending your whole life justifying yourself to you.

Constantly justifying yourself to you and others is literally draining and it removes your power because you’re constantly arguing with you as if you’re ‘wrong’ and that you have to legitimise your existence just to do the bare basics that other people get on with doing without having to practically go through a court hearing where you’re judge, juror, prosecutor and defendant. It’s no way to live.

If you’ve got to justify most or even all of what you do, to you or to others as if you have to justify a budget right down to the last penny, it makes making even the most basic of decisions pretty damn exhausting. It opens you up to second guessing and you tune out of your gut and inner voice because you’re too busy trying to be and do what some other voice in your head is telling you that you ‘should’. Why do you have to prove that your feelings are right and reasonable? They’re feelings!

How we feel is how we feel.

How we feel at a particular moment in time or for a period of time isn’t a statement of the future. How we feel today about something might not be how we feel about it next week or even in the morning.

Feelings aren’t facts or permanent and they’re not supposed to be.

If we allow our feelings and thoughts to come to the surface instead of riding each one of them like Zorro and either shutting them down if we don’t like them or saying, ‘Explain yourself right now and prove each and every feeling!’, we get a chance to empathise with ourselves and explore where our feelings and thoughts are coming from and in turn this gives way to perspective. 

We can’t learn very much by hating on every feeling that doesn’t pass some imaginary standard of what we think others would disapprove of if they could read our minds.

Feelings have movement – they do literally move on and yeah, they come back depending on what you’re doing or the situation. They’re not a one time thing. Each time a feeling comes back, it’s another opportunity to understand it and react to it in a slightly different and better way or to respond in a way that you know healthily soothes that feeling.

Our feelings aren’t always immediately logical or ‘sensible’ but when they’re allowed some recognition, over time that logic can reveal itself or it can be a very deep gut reaction that keeps you out of harms way and maybe much further down the line, you hear something about that person or situation that chimes with why you had that reaction.

Justifying how you feel causes you to ignore how you truly feel because you focus on ‘rightness’ and building your argument around that. When you justify yourself to others, you may put too much into telling them what they want to hear as opposed to respecting your own feelings and position.

You don’t get to recognise your emotions if you’re not willing to acknowledge their presence and pick your way around them in order to gradually make sense of them – it doesn’t have to be instant resolution.

I used to have a limited range of emotions – mad, bad, sad, cautious happiness, excitement, hurt, worthless. Now I have lots of different feelings and I’ve had to sit my way through them (even when I’ve wanted to run off) and work out what they are. “I’m hurt. Actually, no I’m not! I’m really effing angry and disappointed!”

Sometimes I experience something and the me right now feels fine but there’s an ‘inner me’, a younger me that feels a bit wounded. For instance, I have a half sister which some of you may recall I only found out about seven years ago… about five minutes before I met her. Anyway… Over the years we’ve gotten to know each other a little and on occasion, I’ve felt really pissed off with my father. At first I wondered if I was doing my whole jealous three-year old thing but no, that wasn’t it. It’s that when I was visiting him and my other two half sisters, he’d say that he was going to the shop for a few minutes, and then disappear for one, two, three hours and it turned out that he was sneaking off to meet her! That was when I realised that I don’t like being treated like the Other Woman and that when he does this, it also reminds me of being the kid who was waiting around. It’s also not fair on her and it doesn’t contribute positively to the relationship. Recognising what was going on meant that I didn’t end up feeling bad about it and making it all about me not being ‘good enough’.

The difference between justifying and understanding how you feel is that you need to be willing to do the on the job training of learning to recognise your emotions and also be willing to listen without judgement to your own feelings and thoughts, which takes practice, but really, it’s like getting into the habit of listening when people are talking to you instead of judging them or formulating your reply without truly hearing them.

When you justify, you’re always in the position of having to prove something, whether it’s proving your worth or the validity of your reasoning or feelings. 

Looking to gain agreement from others and doing battle with you is how you end up being a validation seeking people pleaser that loses their identity due to suppressing their own needs, wishes and expectations. The fact that we get so focused on ‘reasonable reasons’ is why some people don’t leave relationships where they’re being mistreated or where they simply don’t feel the same way any longer. I’m not being cheated on or beaten up so how can I leave?

Of course we can’t let our feelings drive our lives, which is all the more reason to become acquainted with them and to be conscientious and mature when how we feel has the potential to greatly impact another. This isn’t so that we can censor ourselves in an effort to appease; it’s so that when we go some way to explaining (not justifying) in those circumstances where another party is involved, we don’t say shite like, “I don’t know how I feel but I know I said that I wanted to marry you last week but this week I’ve changed my mind. It is what it is.”

We don’t keep chopping and changing our feelings towards a person/our commitment. We don’t charge in throwing stuff out based on the mood we’re in at that moment without acknowledging that we still have to have the commitment to back it up. We acknowledge that when we’re seeking instant gratification or not thinking things through, that if we suggest or do things and then don’t follow through, that there are consequences. We recognise when we’ve felt a certain way before and done certain things off the back of it – it’s hilarious (not really) that a person can blow hot and cold with so many people and lack the ability to connect the dots and read their own behaviour and literally grow out of it.

How you feel is how you feel at that time. It might be accurate, it might not be, but you won’t get to evolve how you feel if you don’t allow you to feel.

Your thoughts?

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

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


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209 Responses to There’s no need to keep justifying your feelings to *you*

  1. yoghurt says:

    Oh Natalie, this post is amazing and really exactly what I needed.

    Misplaced over-confidence, thy name is Yoghurt. Earlier this week I got ‘got’, badly, by Sonsdad (would you believe he pulled the threatening-to-drink-drive stunt that I was deriding as appalling and transparent the other week?). At any rate, I’ve been running the gamut of emotions this week as I’m slowly pulling myself up out of the Well of Doom yet aflamingain.

    This is, I realise (now, far too late!), the culmination of a well-orchestrated campaign that he’s been running for the past couple of months, since he’s been having trouble with his gf and has consisted of him messing with my boundaries, in the sneaky manner of a person who taps your other shoulder to make you look the wrong way, and then blames it on a passing moth or the wind changing or your inexplicably itchy shoulder.

    Anyhoo (there’s a point, I promise), I’ve been feeling increasingly guilty as this campaign has built up – guilty about being upset, guilty about being angry, guilty about being concerned about him, guilty for believing him, guilty for not believing him, guilty about letting him bust my boundaries, guilty when I’ve asserted them and guilty for our mutually-respectful-and-supportive-co-parenting relationship (which has been carefully and painstakingly built up over many many months) turn back into a alsation-ridden junkyard.

    The last big move I made was to (belatedly) tell him that we weren’t a part of each other’s lives and that I didn’t want to talk to him about anything that didn’t pertain to son. Then I felt guilty about that. And in the end I got so fed up of being guilty no matter what I did that I did something REALLY guiltworthy and slept with him. A two year and eleven month record busted, and not in a good way.

    Thinking it through over the last few days – inbetween the crying jags and the trauma-vomiting, they’re fun – I remembered that you told me a year or so ago that ‘guilt is a red flag [for me]‘. I didn’t really get it then. I really do now.

    I now really do feel awful – in a guilty-sense and an everything-else-sense – but I’m taking that on the chin – my choice, my bad decision, my reactions to deal with, my responsibility not to do it again. It’s a different, much cleaner sort of guilt. The insane niggling about how I should/could/ought to be doing something unspecified ‘differently’ was, I realise, not a result of anything that *I* did. I couldn’t win. As long as there was a relationship there, he was bound and determined to corrupt it for the sake of his own ego.

    The only solution is to avoid all semblance of any kind of relationship at all. Sad and unideal, but then what isn’t in this life?

    At any rate, I’ve learnt a lot about guilt this week. If you don’t feel as if you can do right for doing wrong, you probably can’t. If you want to do right and you can’t, you’re looking to control something that isn’t within your remit. If you want to do the right thing and can’t for the life of you work out what it is, chances are that the only right thing is to get out of the situation. Guilt’s a handy tool for helping you suss out a situation, but a very very BAD reason to make any decision that doesn’t involve getting the hell out of Dodge.

    • Sandy says:

      I have also been there and done that this week, vowed not to sneak around behind his new girlfriends back, but he sucked me in, slept with him, told him to take a hike then got sucked into it again BUT I have finally decided enough is enough I have changed my number and I have to say what a huge relief knowing that if it all turns to shit with his new poor girlfriend that I will no longer be there as his fall back girl, it is hard I agree, but when you love them and they just use that over and over then it’s time to stand up and say FUCK OFF lol (Hope I am allowed to say that on here)
      I understand about the guilt, felt it every time he contacted me and I would tell him no I wouldn’t sneak around and boo hoo poor man how sad it is that he didn’t have a very good sex life with her…at least I know the next man in my life who isn’t going to be an EUM will get to enjoy what he is obviously missing!!!! Hahahaha

      • Sandy says:

        You have to listen to your body, over the last week I have suffered from dizziness, headaches, nausea and the like, but now it feels free, I am patting myself on the back I can tell you.
        It’s taken a good long hard six months to get to this stage, counselling, crying, knowing that he is a complete ass clown but still somehow loving him.

        • yoghurt says:

          Assclowns make you physically ill. I’m pretty sure that it’s a medical fact.

          • Poppy says:

            Boy, do I agree with that. I’ve been doing a lot if research on recovering after relationships like this and guess what? It’s harder and takes longer…… If we let it. I’ve gone into hibernation and I’m retreating. I want to feel the full force of my emotions and nothing is staying in the closet because I will not go back and I will not hide from my own demons anymore. Every other time I’ve replayed the same story with him to the same ending. I am determined to beat this and deal with the abuse he put me through or put myself through because I knew the outcome but ignored it.

            Anyway, I’m feeling everything so I can move away from this pattern like NML did years ago. It’s hard but it’s working. I like some things I see, I don’t like some things I see but I’m no longer ignoring my behaviours.

            The usual…. Anger, shame (oh the shame), co-dependent, sad, etc etc etc. the list goes on but
            slooooowy I am getting there. I used to push all this aside because it hurt too much. I know it’s worth it.

            If I can do it at nearly 40 anyone can. It strangely feels good.

          • MaryW says:

            Yes they do make us ill. In my case, irritable bowels and insomnia. And horrendous anxiety. Crippling anxiety.

            Yoghurt, I also fell off the wagon this weekend (in denial, trying to give it another chance, whatever).

            Our situations aren’t the same because there’s no child involved and my guy was a flash in the pan. But listen, you’re only human. Me too.

            Your last paragraph is spot on.

            Sending warm wishes.

        • BethD says:

          Sandy not sure it’s love your feeling. Probably more like addiction. How could we possibly love these idiots who have brought such angst into our lives. Glad you have finally realized how unhealthy the relationship was both emotionally and physically. Stay the course!

    • Revolution says:

      WTF, Yoghurt??!!! You mean you’re not *gasp, sputter, cough* PERFECT?!! You mean that you’re JUST as imperfect, and are JUST as susceptible to falling back and making the same shite decisions as we all are?! I’m speechless and inconsolable. ;)

      • yoghurt says:

        Yep, busted from BR superguru back down to novice. Flippin heck.

        Have to say that it doesn’t feel any better being back here for the three-year gap.

        • Snowboard says:

          You’re still amazing to me Yoghurt and a source of wisdom and inspiration. You momentarily slipped off the wagon. Now I believe you will get right back on!

    • Tabitha says:

      Oh Yoghurt I am so sorry you are going through this. It must be incredibly difficult when you have to have “some” contact because of son and cannot just go NC like most of us.
      Please be kind to yourself.

      • yoghurt says:

        I’m being kind up to a point (I’ve taken the barbed wire offa my leg, for example), but I don’t want to let myself off the hook for it. His poor girlfriend didn’t deserve it, it was a shady piece of work on both our parts and it’s all-too-very-easy to hoodwink myself into thinking that our shared history/my particular circumstances somehow makes it okay. It doesn’t. It makes it understandable, but not okay.

        Thank you for the sympathy :) but I have to remember that IT IS UP TO ME TO HANDLE MYSELF AND THE SITUATION (sorry for shouty caps, reinforcing the point for myself).

      • stacey allam says:

        yoghurt that name says so much you are walking such a fine line whenever you need a push on one side or the other of that tightrope you walk don’t hesitate to give a holler to anyone on this site today

        • yoghurt says:

          Hey, I’ve never thought about it (I chose the name at random, using the British spelling) but it does, doesn’t it? Not quite milk and not quite cheese, that’s me…

    • Ms Determined says:

      Yoghurt, just chiming in here to say go easy on yourself. So you caved and let him give you the sex. Whatevs. Let’s not ascribe too much meaning or requirement for self flagellation over something so minor. A shag’s a shag (I am sure it wasn’t all one way, huh? You got to scratch an itch???). He just put his P in your V, not ideas in your head that you should change your mind about any parts of him that aren’t his penis. It doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty, or bad, or ashamed. You shagged him. That’s all.

      Just because you put your hand into the fire, doesn’t necessarily mean you HAVE to get burned. It depends on how you choose to see it. As for feeling guilty in any way shape or form about your fuckwit ex (mine does the exact same thing…he likes to keep the status of any current dalliances/triangulations secret from me, just in case I LOSE MY FUCKING MIND and decide that I want him back after all – he figures he’s got more chance if he always *seems* available at all times) I say let HIM be the one to feel guilty. He left you a single mother. HE did that. If anyone should be in a prison of guilt of their own making, it’s him.

      And as Nat says, feelings are fleeting. And they are also easy to reframe for your own benefit (not to be confused with justifying or rationalising!)

      Do yourself a favour. Let yourself out of that dreary prison of guilt tout suite, put on some lippy and go and find some more equally meaningless sex. Oh wait, that’s what I’d do. Or don’t do that, if that’s what yoghurt wouldn’t do. IS THAT A DOUBLE NEGATIVE? WHATEVER, GO AND HAVE SOME MORE SEX ;-)

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Yoghurt…you get to feel whatever you feel and there is no need to justify anything you are feeling. I read your comment this morning and thought about you all day. What you are going through struck me profoundly. You are human. I finally get it. I am human too. We do not need to justify being human. I want to say something profound to you to let you know how much I understand and how much your honesty affected me. I understand. As Nat suggests,you get to feel what you are feeling. I just want you to know how much I admire and respect you, even though we’ve never met. I think you said in a post below that you are now a BR Novice, although you get to feel that, I beg to differ. You are incredible. A totally shining star. I’m sending you and son a triple ice cream cone with all your favorite flavors and dipped in chocolate. You are one totally awesome lady. You brought two years of BR work totally home for me. Okay, I’m wiping the tears…you are such an inspiration. I’ve ridden my feelings like Zorro. I’m getting it. Here’s a triple scoop, dipped in chocolate.

      • yoghurt says:

        There have been so many lovely replies that I spent all of yesterday thinking about how to respond adequately… and I still can’t!

        Thank you so much runner – you and I were roundabout the same ‘intake’ on BR so that means a lot, especially when I usually read your posts and think “I wish I was that proactive and positive and took on high-powered lawyers from my kitchen” :) xxxxxx

        MsD – :( I’d got to the point of not-missing-sex, and now I really (REALLY) do again. Having said that, I really don’t want to go back to the place that I was in a few years ago, when having sex was more important than me and my values. And I find that it’s very easy to go down that route, so right now I’m baking a lot and trying not to think about it.

        snowboard – thanks :) that made my week xxx

    • simple pleasures says:

      I’ve been away, just catching up, been following your life Yoghurt. I totally empathize with your need for validation from sonsdad. You probably want the pain from the rejection of the past to become,
      “Oh, I’ve seen the light, we were meant to be together after all”. And you can’t have NC because you have to see sonsdad. But are you carrying a torch that he will change? You know that answer, because you read BR. My concern is whether you are making conscious, deliberate choices or whether you are acting impulsively without thinking of consequences. If you decide : yes, I chose to sleep with him again I am aware of my deliberate decision to do so and the consequences ( in your case it sounds like guilt/remorse). Or is it impulsive action without self control?
      Will we be hearing about yoghurt jr. number 2 soon? If you chose to sleep with him, let the chips fall where they may, then you made an ethical choice. If you were thoughtless in your action, all hell may break loose. I chose to be with mathclown, It was a deliberate, conscious decision. I had little self control, but I did have FREE WILL. I was lead into temptation and CHOSE to succumb. And, yeah, all hell broke loose, in my mind.

      • yoghurt says:

        Thanks simple pleasures :)

        It’s got a bit more complicated, I’m afraid. He’s split up with his girlfriend and he’s said that he loves and wants to be with me, but that he needs some time on his own to sort his life out, sort out his job, see a therapist to get CBT to deal with his anxieties about relationships, let things settle down and start up some hobbies.

        I can sympathise with this and as I was the one who told him that he’d need some time on his own after the breakup to sort his life out, sort his job out etc etc then I certainly can’t complain. He’s being cautious, considerate and consistent with what he’s saying (so far! A whole two weeks!) and seems to be taking the whole thing seriously and actually taking action.

        Having said that, it could be that a) this is a great big ruse to get me back on his string (an exceptionally good one if it is!) b) can’t overcome his fears and self-destructive tendencies or c) he DOES sort his life out and then realises that he doesn’t want to be with me/take on the responsibility of having to join a ready-made family unit.

        So having talked it through, I’ve now taken a BIG step back – he needs to deal with it by himself and if he can’t/won’t then I need to be nowhere near him.

        I have argued this point a lot before, but insofar as I believe that people won’t change for someone else, I do believe that they CAN change – look at all of us! – and I believe that he has. But I also know that change is something that you have to do for yourself and, really, on your own. And I’ve changed enough to be able to see this and to see clearly that my mission over the next few months is to carry on making my own and son’s life better.

        As for accepting the consequences, I was quite clear about what I was doing and I was prepared to take the emotional repercussions, so in that sense I was responsible about it. I do feel bad about it being behind his gf’s back, though, whether they were in the process of splitting up or not – not v happy about the fact that I didn’t really factor her into the decision when I should’ve.

      • lizzp says:

        Simple Pleasures, Hello. I’ve been commenting for a couple of weeks, reading prior for a month or so. That is an insightful and profound comment you make above. Thank you.

  2. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie. You are talking about me. I will read this post over and over and allow every line to sink in and be absorbed and remembered. Thank you.

  3. AngleBeary says:

    I’ve taken the plunge. I left a job of four years, I moved hours away from a home that I did like – but where my X had moved to and stalked me. The X had a compilation of horrible traits which Baggage Reclaim helped me understand and save myself from.

    Not only was I dealing with an AssClown, but I also had a demanding boss who did not appreciate all the work I did and she didn’t pay me fairly for it either! I was depressed every four or five months by her words or attitudes towards me – and I knew that I did not have to prove anything more to her because the escalation of our company’s success and my high contribution spoke for itself!

    So, I had a double-whammy. My X. My Boss – now X Boss. In my case I do believe this complete geographical move is necessary and good, and already I have some very good job opportunities.

    I allow myself to feel and experience my emotions within reason, and fortunately, I got over my heartbreak a long time ago. I do construct many of my days to be busy and do productive things to keep positive and on-track, and I don’t attend extended periods of nostalgia or future faking, etc.! I’m still not dating and hope I find a good relationship in my near future. I think I will read this article for a third time! Thanks Natalie!

  4. Brenda says:

    “loses their identity due to suppressing their own needs, wishes and expectations.”

    That is exactly how it always was, then as soon as you mention even having those needs and say hey, lets us both be free then to pursue our needs how about that?

    Well, then your treated like your not allowed to.

    And then it becomes a HUGE battle to break loose from the very person that chose something or someone else over you in any mature decent or friendly way, “Even when you were supposed to be such great Friends, sure only when he has someone and fun and I don’t?”.

    Not gonna play the Friends card again in that way, nor am I going to marry someone because I would feel “bad” for backing out of it, divorce is harder to deal with than the guilt of not going through with it.

    Feelings are not everything but have really sometimes shown me they should NOT be ignored either, the ones that I did ignore? That got me in a big mess trying to dismiss them or make them less important than they really were.

    The ones that I listened to? Oh that also got me in trouble,being farad to hurt any one’s feelings even if I knew would been better off or even correct to do just that.

    Well, that is what I got for making others feelings more important than mine were I guess, LOL!

    • BethD says:

      Good point Brenda re making others feelings more important than your own. I allowed my ex to guilt me into playing the friends game. Guilt, feeling sorry got me in the worst post breakup mindphukery and kept me in his web. Once I realized I had to put the focus on me first I ended the games. Since my ex would never admit games were being played it was up to me to stop playing in that muddy sandbox.

      • stacey allam says:

        ass clowns will only talk about there feelings how things are going to be for them without any thoughts as to how it might effect you or others don’t help them by justifying your feelings that’s being an ass clown to yourself

  5. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie, you said, ” Feelings are not fact or permanent and they’re nor supposed to be. Constantly
    justifying yourself to you and others is literally draining and it removes your power because you’re constantly arguing with you as if you’re wrong and you have to legitimize your existence just to do the bare basics that other people get on with doing without having to practically go through a court hearing where you’re judge, jury, prosecutor and defendant. It’s no way to live.” Speak it, Nat. I don’t know how someone your age can have so much smarts. You are definitely a reincarnation. I don’t see myself leaving BR soon no matter where the circumstances of my life take me, because your words of wisdom have a place in every situation.

    Your drawings are so clever and a propo. You’re the best in what you do, and we get to benefit.

  6. Kleo says:

    It took me nearly 12 years to see how exhausting it was for me to have to keep justifying my feelings to my ex. EXHAUSTING. And I’ve experienced exactly what Natalie writes about – you totally lose sight of who you are. I am working on that now…through daily journaling…listening to myself, forming a bond with the younger me and listening to her… really listening to her. At first it seemed silly and I thought I was going mad. Now I look over at the passenger seat and have this conversation as if one of my daughters was sitting here. I’m resolved to not seek any further validation from that source…which I let into my head over the years… and caused me to lose touch with myself. It’s a slow, painful, process. I “get” the purpose of the NCR. Anything less than NO contact, meaning even just “here and there” , is counter productive. I’ve tried it over the past 8 months – and I feel the very best when there is NO, ZERO, ZIP contact. NONE.

    I insist on being gentle with myself when I think “I knew this 10 months ago and didn’t use it” … that I needed to be alone to hear my own voice (this includes sans kids whenever possible… love being a mother but kids, especially daughters…can really suck the life out of you if you let them, and it’s you, letting them…because it’s easier to “blame” their needs rather than figure out your own).

    Natalie, and reading the responses on this site, have enabled me to make major steps towards a happier me, no doubt about it… Thank you….

  7. micheyl says:

    I think this is why I don’t know how to grieve the loss of a relationship. I was only 23 when my first marriage ended. I never felt “justified” for my feelings – we were so young, married less than a year, no kids. None of my friends were even close to getting married and couldn’t relate to my pain, so I hid it and never talked about it. I felt like I could not justify my feelings, so I ignored them.

    Then with my second divorce, I had two young children and a father sick with cancer. I couldn’t justify any type of grief, I had to deal with being mom first and foremost. Then how could I even compare my troubles to my parents’ when we thought my father was dying. So again, my feelings were ignored by me.

    “You don’t get to recognise your emotions if you’re not willing to acknowledge their presence and pick your way around them in order to gradually make sense of them – it doesn’t have to be instant resolution.”

    I am trying not to ignore my emotions this time around. Again, I tend to gravitate toward not being able to justify them. We were only together for 10 months… But then I do justify them, “But I thought this was different…” Anyway tonight I went out with some friends and had a nice time, but I felt sad. Here I was listening to live music and in a great environment and I just felt sad. It’s been 2 weeks since I have spoken with or seen EUM. He is with his new girlfriend in his homeland and I just feel sad tonight. Missing him, wishing things were different. Wondering if he is thinking of me. Sad, I feel sad. I will sit with these feelings and hope they are different in the morning.

  8. Brenda says:

    I think this below is my “Ticket” I am going to keep this with me: Make notes to keep with me.

    Found it online, and it is like a loud sounding bell for me.

    ——————————

    Refuse to provide the reward.

    If you refuse to provide the reward, they are no longer in control of the interaction which tends to cause the situation to backfire on them.

    • lizzp says:

      Brenda, add this too? Refuse to provide the Reward,yes…because You are the Prize and You are the Award…no one gets you for nothing or for a discount price, no effing post xmas sales in my department store, we are of far too much value and worth for that…ahh feeling good tonight!:-)

      • lizzp says:

        p.s., By the way, I really, really, really like your posts, every single one that I have come across so far. I’ve wanted to exchange comments and will do so when I have some more time and energy for it. Stay strong, your comments show great insight in my opinion.

  9. Arlena says:

    If we limit us to extreme positive thinking in the way that there are „negative“ thoughts to be avoided like the devil we will tend to expect positive feelings all the time which is unrealistic. So-called negative feelings that get suppressed will backfire even worse (at least for me.) As already mentioned in other threads readers pointed out that there is this downside to (falsely applied) positive thinking and some voices of critique start warning.

    We need to feel the WHOLE RANGE OF OUR FEELINGS. They are there for a reason and they are not bad at all. Having said this, of course some feelings felt or harboured too intensely and for too long will have effects on us. Also if we react e.g. with fear to fear, fear will get bigger.

    I am also guilty of banning certain feelings because I labelled them “negative” thus not listening to the message.

    What comes to mind is that in my family we had the pattern of reacting to stirred up feelings with withdrawal, silent treatment and waiting for the grass to grow over it (without solving anything) and then back to normal as if nothing had happened (while inwardly feelings still simmered away).

    Regarding my situation with my darn therapist (he is on vacation right now) I recognise that I am in the phase of letting grass grow and doubts set in as the hot feelings of indignation subside. “Has it been so badly?” – “Maybe I overreacted.” – “Maybe I should just go back and do as if nothing has happened.” – “I don’t want to pick a fight with someone who is more powerful.” Only to recognise these are the exact patterns I learned in my family and a set of feelings still showing me where I really stand.

  10. teachable says:

    I’m ‘guilty’ as charged of this atm. I went NC with my sister again after my g.mo’s funeral, after 2 more (yet another, sigh, when will I ever learn!) episodes of inappropriate comments to me, ABOUT me.

    I’ve also taken a GIANT step back from my Mother, who I also had NC with for some leading up to my g.mo’s death.

    It was impossible (or impractical more so) to maintain NC with both while we were all gathered around at g.mo’s bedside in her final weeks of life. This led to contact continuing with after the funeral (initiated by them, not me.)

    I thought perhaps there might be some healing in the r.ship w my Mo, as for the 1st time in her life she is having counselling. This remains to be seen though & the little I’ve exp’d so far indicates not much has changed re her hurtful, neglectful b.haviour 2ward me. Hence, my ‘step bk’ which thus far has consisted of me excusing myself fairly quickly whenever she calls & explaining I am too ill to talk (true) or not answering if I know it’s her calling.

    In any event, it just so happens tht I am dealing w very serious childhood issues atm, relayed to my mother’s abuse & negkect toward me, both as a child & when I was young teenage mother nedding help with my son also. The fact is, these issues have played out for BOTH my son & I, in profound ways. As such, I am unable to just sweep things under the rug & pretend tht certain things did not happen. My own mother literally, has tried to destroy me throughout my life & should be grateful I speak to her AT ALL, given all she has done (she’s has borderline personality disorder & is also anti social sub type – lucky me! not! I would lol but when yr on the receiving end of her BS it’s far frm funny.)

    Since I’m LC w my mo, & NC with my sister (who shares many of my mo’s borderline traits, splitting, dishonesty & highly manipulative esp) I have found myself JUSTIFYING how I FEEL abt BOTH of them to my 2 aunts. To one this is to no avail as.my sister has her under a voodoo spell of manipulation. The other knows much more (as I’ve disclosed more to her) & I think ‘gets it’.

    It’s.been EXHAUSTING justifying myself though. ie.who cares.what ANYONE thinks? From now on I’m keeping my mouth shut & just staying WELL AWAY frm anyone who has.ever caused me any harm! Amen!!

  11. noquay says:

    Teachable
    I can really relate to your words; I was raised in an atmosphere where you had no right to express your feelings; any dissatisfaction was seen as “ingratitude” , “attention seeking”, “poor attitude”, and was often severely punished. I still struggle with this today; I am often told that feeling, lonely, isolated, very alone, is not realistic because I chose to work here, bought a (can’t offload right now) house, invested in community. No matter that a person in a new, demanding, job is not going to understand the dynamics of a new placefor a long time; yyou’re too busy working your a$$ off. Ironically, those that think women like me should be happy,totally alone “old maids” are all partnered and have close family ties, as though I supsupposed to happily accept a “less than” label imposed by them and be happy about it. I accept my mistake in investing in this community, I accept full blame, but also understand that folks, particularly folks in perilous circumstances make snap decisions that seemed logical at the time. That doesn’t mean one cannot feel bad, sad, at times when it is warranted. We still are human with human needs and feelings.

  12. EmJay says:

    I definitely grew up in an environment where my feelings were invalidated, and I’m finally getting better at identifying and accepting my true feelings. I find it helpful to write in my journal about my feelings, whatever they may be. I was stunned to hear from two Mr. Unavailables this week, and I was glad that I had a record of how I felt when I went NC with both them. Reminding myself that I felt “humiliated” and “resentful” at the time is helping me stick with the NC, even though I may be feeling lonely or nostalgic now.

  13. pinkpanther says:

    I got pissed the other day for a few minutes because my time was being wasted by a very late friend. I was waiting at the designated spot with another friend. When I express being pissed, my friend sort of checked me and told me my anger was not ok. But the thing is, I know it was ok, and it wasn’t the kind of anger I hold onto, but it was entirely fine to express a simple, “fuck this sucks”.

    Just because she is repressing her anger doesn’t mean I have to. Yes, we can decide for ourselves when it’s ok to have some anger, I’m certainly not going to internalize a perfectly appropriate feeling, nor am I going to blow it up to unrealistic proportions.

    screw that, and move on!

  14. Sheela says:

    Needed this so much today.Thanks Nat.
    Big hugs!

  15. Selkie says:

    One of the feelings I struggle with is jealousy in my relationships. If a man I’m dating keeps looking, flirting with women in front of me, I get very uncomfortable and tend to shut down, don’t really even want to be around him anymore and go silent. I’ve learned that if I address this, I am told I’m insecure which makes me feel like I’m really screwed up and need to learn to just deal so he can continue to look….which embarrasses me and probably the woman he’s staring at. A glance and a notice is no big deal, I notice good looking men, but to continue looking makes me feel like I’ve been pushed to the back seat. I get a visceral reaction to it, my heart pounds, my face flushes and I feel like crying. I know where this originated….watching my mother and father. He stared, got phone numbers in front of her, and completely humiliated my mother then told her she was crazy when she had a reaction. She would cry, they would fight violently and then after he emotionally pulled the rug out form under her and made her feel like she was completely delusional (she wasn’t) enough, she went silent. The silence affected him more than her crying. He didn’t care how she felt, it just made him uncomfortable, like an inconvenience for HIM.
    I try to keep this emotion of jealousy under control, because I know it’s unhealthy but I also know I had reasons, most of the time, to feel uncomfortable with a man’s behavior. How do you deal with a man who is rude in this way, and then how do you deal with your own insecurity and tendency to feel jealousy in situations where it may not be warranted. I have trouble separating them. Jealousy can be debilitating. I’ve been told to sit through it, try to address why it scares me, and see if it’s a real threat or a perceived threat. Then I think, if a man is oogling a waitress or a girl 20 years younger on the beach the whole time you are with them, but unlikely to get a phone number or leave you for that specific woman, does it invalidate feeling disrespected? Ultimately it makes me feel disrespected. Then that makes me feel like I don’t matter to them. Then I get hurt, then I get angry. Then I want to run from this feeling because I don’t know whether I am wrong or right. Last, I go silent just like my mother did, but I feel like throwing up on the inside. My day is ruined, they get to keep staring. If I speak up, my day is ruined because any display of ‘jealousy’ is labeled as insecure ( probably true, but then that makes me feel like I have to just deal with being disrespected) or like I am wrong. Sorry to ramble, but I struggle with this emotion and how to handle it.

    • theseamstress says:

      Selkie,
      I could say tons about this but I can only say tonight that this cruising behaviour is, to me, completely unacceptable. I wouldn’t like it at all. It’s rude. And I don’t like or tolerate rudeness, it’s one of my values.
      Of all the lovely men that my friends or family are in relationships with, not one of them would exhibit this kind of behaviour. I’m not saying that they never look and Im not saying I never look but you can look very surreptitiously if you must. This blatant ogling is slimy and weird.
      It’s not you that’s insecure in my opinion love, it’s him needing all the validation from complete strangers.
      Stick to your values and reclaim your boundaries. Someone who honoured and respected your feelings would not want to deliberately hurt you. I’ve been where you are, it wasn’t me, it was definitely him. Tosser.

    • Magnolia says:

      Selkie,

      I’ve totally been there. You have to go with your gut; if you’re with someone who does that, and you don’t like it, that’s enough information. If he wants to be with a woman who doesn’t care if he ogles, then you need to be okay with the fact that that isn’t you.

      My last two exes ogled and stared and flirted in front of me and I swear there was more than just ignorance and insensitivity going on there; there was a bit of emotional sadism, they liked to see me upset because it meant someone was crying over them and they constantly got to rebel against being confined. One, in fact, used to dress me down for my jealousy and then deliberately turn up the ogling as if to test that I would leave him alone for it.

      I had been in LTRs before and never had that problem. If anything, I had been used to guys who went out of their way to “make” me feel attractive (also dysfunctional, in that they knew I felt ugly and they became my ‘hit’ of feeling attractive, but that’s another story).

      With the ACs, I ignored feeling humiliated. With the Florencers, I ignored feeling put on a pedestal and condescended to. Both sets of feelings never went away and in fact intensified until they broke the relationships.

      • newmoi says:

        Magnolia,
        “there was a bit of emotional sadism, they liked to see me upset because it meant someone was crying over them and they constantly got to rebel against being confined.” _ I’ve seen this. The guy who I was messing around with even told me that when I got angry that it was attractive to him. That he liked it somehow. Then that’s when he’d offer sex. Shaking my head…

    • Swissmiss says:

      The whole point of him flirting is to put you in your place, to make you feel ‘less than’, small and insignificant, to keep you off center, to send a signal, “Don’t get too comfortable, there are plenty of other women out there,” to make himself feel worthy, to let you know you he has the upper hand.

      The very nature of flirting is insincere. It shows an inability to attach at a real level. Men do it when they need adoration and acknowledgement. Men who are spiritual and cerebral don’t do it–they don’t need the narcisstic payback.

      He has succeeded on all counts. This isn’t worth a discussion. You will never win. He has already refused accountability for his bad behavior and blamed it on you. That’s who he is. Flush!

    • Allison says:

      Selkie,

      This is disrespectful on so many levels- even my male friends wouldn’t do this when they’re hanging out with their female friends, much less a gf!!!!

      I would say that if it makes you uncomfortable, its bad behavior! You know this deep down. The next time this happens, just walk away and be done, as the asshole has no respect for you, the other woman or himself.

      Selkie, please reassess who you’re dating and attracted to.

    • newmoi says:

      Selkie,
      I don’t know what happened to my original comment but it falls in line with what everyone else has pretty much said.
      Do not give in to his games. You do not have to justify your desire to be loved and appreciated and treated as number one. There are men out there who will treat you with respect. Watching my friend and her boyfriend is a testament to that. So, no need to continue mulling over and explaining and over exerting yourself to fit into his so called “level” of maturity. You take a stand for you and walk away. You may make a statement about his actions/comments the first time. If he were genuinely interested in you (which for some reason as women we fail to focus intently on that one ounce of respect where you know without a shadow of a doubt one truly has your best interest at heart….we get caught up in the lust and attraction and give it meaning instead of recognizing or facing the fact of the red flag as it has been so blatantly put before us…and allow these men to define how us…how our behavior should be…how we should respond…etc. No thanks (tangent over :)), he’d make a concerted effort to change to let you know that he cares about your feelings and desires. Blah to him.
      What I also stated in my original comment if I remember correctly is that the information is this article resembles much of what I’ve learned via Headspace.com. I’ve learned to acknowledge the thoughts/memories/self criticism/self hate that enter my mind, allow them to pass and then continue focusing on the moment at hand. Instead of mulling over and over about “how could I”, ” why would he?”, “what was I thinking”, “what happened to me?”…I let them pass. I don’t with all my “darnest” allow them to hurt me over and over again as I have the tendency to do. It’s rather time consuming and a waste if you ask me. I’ve wasted a lot of time sulking and mulling over and over…it’s taken away from my photography, my fitness routine…..no more.
      Don’t allow this guy to hold you down. Like I said, stand up for you.

    • runnergirl says:

      Selkie, I’m late to this thread, I wanted to add my 1 cent. I’ve been through the mill with this issue and I believe Nat has a post on it as well. For me, it is a total flush faster than the tird can hit the toliet. In those situations,I feel totally disrespected and simply will NOT argue the point. There is no need to justify the fact you feel disrespected. You do. End of. Period and Flush fast. For me, that’s elementary school boy behavior and I simply will not tolerate it because it is simply effing rude. I made up my mind on this behavior several years ago. Here’s something to lighten the mood: When the exMM engaged in this behavior one evening, we had a sit down. His behavior was a deal breaker. I was out, period, no justifying, explaining, or any other BS. It was a boundary before I even knew what a boundary was. It was just a no go dude. It actually never happened again because it really was a deal breaker. I was firm and there was nothing to discuss. He, he, he…I kinda missed the fact he was married!

      • lizzp says:

        Hi Runnergirl, Re-reading this post and came across your comment. I love it “I was firm and there was nothing to discuss. He, he, he…I kinda missed the fact he was married!”. Hahaha, thanks for putting a smile on my dial.xo

    • AngleBeary says:

      Selkie,
      I had a boyfriend that made extended eye contact, and conversations when possible, with every attractive female we would pass. I had the talk with him; told him how disrespectful it was and how it made me feel. He kept doing it. We broke up. That, in my opinion, is the best way to deal with these types. Get rid of them.

  16. espresso says:

    Oh yoghurt
    I am SO sorry you went through this – I hope you will be able to consecrate only a bit of your precious time in understanding why it happened and having compassion for yourself. You helped me so much with your post by saying guilt is a red flag for you (it is for me too). It sounds like you were just worn down and vulnerable and although you saw the signals of him waging this relentless campaign you were struggling with your guilt(we aren’t stones) – and even though you DID try to distance him – because he IS in contact it is difficult to totally control the situation or your feelings. I expect like my ex he is very good at playing the victim role and speaking for myself this causes over thinking and self blaming in me. His victim strategies are so subtle I don’t even think I fully understand them. But they arouse a of guilty in me.
    I always felt guilty in the relationship and still feel guilty – for being so angry, for not appreciating him when he is such a “nice guy”, for ripping up my family, for being upset, for buying into his attacks on me, for not being “nice” myself, for not seeing this, for not dealing with it for not being able to appreciate or respect him. In my past counselling appointment I FINALLY acknowledged that I don’t respect him – even when he makes suggestions most of the time they are SO impractical that I feel like I have to explain reality to a three year old. It makes me feel SO badly to not respect another adult and then I feel badly that I am dismissive. And then I am angry for being PUT in this stupid position. Then I feel guilty because I can’t appreciate him! This is really a sad situation and I can SEE this in myself but I am so used to this pattern I slip into it easily. He is totally foot dragging on the real decisions about separation , making me restate over and over that YES we are separating and YES we BOTH have the responsibility to find alternative places to live. And YES we have limited financial means and on and on and on. I feel guilty for having to have to bring the same things up over and over again and guilty that I am still IN this position (although making decisions all the time)and enraged at him. I feel worn out and worn down. Frankly I think he sets this up and then of course I sometimes slip and become engaged and “want” emotional connections with him(that need is still in me) and then I cry in the same old way and he gets to trot out all the same crap. And then I feel almost soiled that I have done this but I understand why…we are human.
    I think what I have learned from your experience is that I really really have to completely STAY AWAY FROM HIM when I see the red flags and when I am overtired and vulnerable and scared about my own future. I hope you bounce back quickly -sending you a hug.

    • yoghurt says:

      Aw espresso, your lovely message brought a tear to my eye! Thank you so much.

      I know how difficult it is to straighten out all of the issues when you’ve known someone for four years and have the bond of one child, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be when you’ve had half a lifetime and a family together. Or how awful it must’ve been for you to reach a point where you needed to end it ((((hugs))))

      A lot of the things that I’ve felt guilty about over the years have been situation where I haven’t had the skills or haven’t known the hell what to do. Given that life doesn’t come with a handbook, I’ve learnt to ease up on myself a little bit with those! Or other situations where ‘guilt’ has really been ‘fear of what other people might think of me’. It’s really difficult to go back to “Here are my values and guilt is the result of my not honouring them”.

      And THEN there’s the guilt that other people put on you, which imo is a direct result of them not being able to own their own actions. On the Fateful Night, sonsdad said “I really did want more when you were pregnant, but I wanted you to MAKE me participate”. What, so it’s MY fault that I’m a single mother? No! I think my reply was something along the lines of “Bog off, sunshine, and don’t even try to make me feel bad for treating you like a fully-functioning adult instead of a child”.

      But we are only human, and well-worn tactics that have been honed over years of practice do drag you down when you’re already tired and discouraged. From what I know about you, I don’t think that you should feel bad at all – he sounds as though his lack of awareness and unwillingness to accept responsibility for his own actions has stunted your relationship from the very beginning, how very depressing to have to deal with someone who hasn’t matured in all your time together and worse, doesn’t want to.

      As for sonsdad… I spoke to him today when he returned son and also brought a very nice and thoughtful birthday present for me. Turns out that he HAS split up with his gf (long boring story about me jumping to conclusions, but I didn’t think that he had), is determined to spend some time on his own getting to grips with who he is and what HE enjoys (“Like you have” :D ) and has made an appt with the doctor to see about counselling to deal with his self-destructive tendencies and aversion to making decisions. I’m interested to see if he follows through with these or means them, but at the very least it means that the long conversation we had wasn’t completely fake. Having said that, my response is still “good luck and I really hope it works, but you have to deal with this yourself and without my input”.

      Also I’m off to read “why having an affair is like being double-crossed in a heist”.

      • yoghurt says:

        I should add… I feel less stupid and duped to find out that he’s split up with his gf, I don’t feel any less guilty! Having said that, the guilt is good IF (and only if) it spurs me onto Not Getting Into Anything Like That Situation Again.

        • Mymble says:

          Yoghurt
          I hope you are very firm about distancing yourself, because all that sounds like utter horseshit to me. He “forgot” to mention his breakup before he had his way, bc he didn’t want you getting “ideas” that he might be available or it might mean something. And now all of a sudden he has a Garboesque desire be be alone. I’ll bet! My prediction is that he’ll go back to bouncing from obe female comfort blankie to another, you included, if you let him.
          I get how you still feel affection and caring for someone (I do about the MM so that’s why I can’t see him, he tugs on the heartstrings and I still fancy him) but the reality of him and the situation makes it impossible.
          I have trouble getting angry except in tiny bursts which are followed by shame & guilt. I’ve noticed that the angrier ladies on here seem to do better, naming no names!
          You can’t make yourself angry, but you can be firm about refusing to spectate and partipate in his shambles. He is at his deadly now, though no doubt he so full of “poor me” that it barely registers what he does to others. (AC at large alert!) don’t get sucked in.

          • yoghurt says:

            Heya mymble – thanks for the concern :)

            I think I might’ve muddled the details a bit (he did say that they were breaking up before and after) but tbh I’m not sure that I want to straighten it out, as I’m not keen to start defending either him or my involvement in this whole business!

            My phone is going to be DOWNSTAIRS overnight at the weekends (silent doesn’t cut it, the damn thing vibrates) and I now have a no-tea-or-chat rule, which is easier because these days I only have to see him once a week.

            I’ve banged on about this mercilessly over the years and really do think he HAS changed since son was born – partly son, partly his gf, partly not-being-suicidal etc – and I care about him. But if I DO genuinely care about him, getting involved in this process at any level would be fatal – if he wants to change he has to do the donkey-work himself and by himself. If he doesn’t want to do the donkey-work then he can bog off and hurt other people in the process of not-doing-it. I am not getting burned in the same way twice. Being sick, furious and feeling all-on-my-own all week has not been so much fun that I’m prepared to get into the same situation on a regular basis

            Praise be for hefty emotional reactions!

  17. newmoi says:

    First thoughts….this article falls directly in line with what I’ve learned utilizing Headspace.com. We have to acknowledge the feeeling, thought, etc….allow it to pass and continue focusing on the task at hand. What seems to cause us the most grief and stress is the overprocessing of those thoughts when we hold on to them either trying to justify them (to ourselves) or even try to stop them….when all in all we should just “be”. Understand that pain and heartache are real and that we are not immune to it. So then why do we work so hard to stop it….think about it ever so slightly :).
    To add…
    Selkie,
    My thoughts, knowing what I know now is that once you’ve expressed your concern and he’s shown no concern for feelings, there is nothing more to discuss. Your feelings are valid. There are men who will dote on you and never make you feel as if you’re not number one. I haven’t experienced it but my close friend and her boyfriend have exactly that. So that let’s me know that there’s hope.
    I am so picky now regarding the people I allow in my life. You should want to do the same and not allow this individual to manipulate you into thinking that your thoughts are crazy or immature. You feel that way for a reason because YOU desire a certain level of respect. If he can’t give it, walk on. It will only become immature when you. Continue to play his games and feel you need to justify yourself to him over and over again.
    My two cents.
    http://Www.mevignettes.tumblr.com

  18. Magnolia says:

    I think learning to *know* what your feelings are is super important, and you can barely do that when you push feelings away or try to change them before acknowledging that they are there. This meditation practice I’ve begun seems to be heading in that direction; I’m still only at a stage where we look at physical feelings, or thoughts, and notice them rather than judge them, but I can see how we might eventually extend this to emotional feelings too.

    I just got offered an asst prof job (still contract, not contintuing) on the other side of the country – east coast this time. I’ve already heard and understood that the workload is intense, but the rank and pay are a big step up from where I am now. Parsing my feelings, wants, hopes etc in order to make a decision about staying or going hasn’t been easy.

    I feel hesitant about accepting a huge workload. When will I write my own stuff? The idea of disrupting my life to move, again, to another contract with no guarantee of further work, isn’t appealing. And I am SO tired of being on the move and unsettled.

    Staying here doesn’t guarantee anything, though: I’ve got a verbal promise of another year’s work at about the same level as last year (which I’m supposed to feel grateful for, because for weeks they’d been telling me they were only giving me sessional – i.e. minimum-wage – work). I’ve bitched about this town and I won’t really be too sorry to leave it (though I’ll miss my colleagues and the mountains). Staying would give me more time to write …

    What’s most important?

    I *do* like feeling financially secure. I do like a city with a few other brown people besides my own gorgeous self.

    And neither staying nor going changes my feeling about being single, being childless, and being a couple months away from the big 4-0.

    I so want to be excited and 100% for something, so that I know what that feels like, so I can expect it again in other areas of life. I was pretty stoked about my CBC gig, and willing to accept the flaws I saw in the set-up, and the flaws did piss me off, but I came away from the whole thing super glad of the experience.

    It’s funny: after I’d heard from the woman who was in the offered position before I interviewed, the job sounded so heavy that was no longer enthused about it and when I *did* interview, I was so casual that I thought I’d communicated my disinterest in the job. But then, they offered it to me, over god knows how many candidates, and I had to take another look at what my options and wants really are.

    I’m making my decision tomorrow.

    • Chutzpelady says:

      Trust your inner voices and you will make the right decisions. Intuition… Read your own post over and over – you will find your answers.

  19. noquay says:

    Selkie
    That’s not jealousy, that’s an appropriate reaction to some exceedingly immature behavior. What do you think a guy would do if you flirted with men in front of him etc?

  20. Lilly says:

    “We can’t learn very much by hating on every feeling that doesn’t pass some imaginary standard of what we think others would disapprove of if they could read our minds”.

    Lately I’ve been feeling so angry. I keep pushing it away because the anger makes me want to hurt the exAC/MM in some way. I want him to feel pain like mine. I don’t like feeling this way because it makes me dislike, even hate myself. One thought leads to another and feeling angry also triggers other (worse) feelings like shame and guilt. I think this anger is really pain, but I’m too scared to go there. It’s like every which way I turn equals pain where he is concerned.

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Lilly, wanted to chip in here re the wide spread thing about women and feeling anger and rage. Some of this comes down to socialisation of little girls in general but because I know quite a few women who have no problem feeling their anger and the fantasies that stem from it I think moreso the way we have been socialised within our families of origin.

      It’s completely fine to feel like you want to hurt someone who has hurt you and even to imagine doing it. I’m sure there is plenty of research out there that shows it is when we suppress and refuse to experience these angry feelings they can burst forth and express themselves by either self harm or harming others.

      When I had a crazy making boss, I felt such hatred for her at times- I used to imagine her being run over by a bus, or me just standing up and giving her a good hard SLAP across that smug face of hers. None of this happened, though I still sometimes imagine her being hit by a bus..and yes, in the aftermath of my one true AC experience (about 3 years ago now) my feelings of wanting to hurt him had some very intense waves – I imagined slamming his fingers in a car door a few times but more than that I also took pleasure at the thought of sneaking up to his place in the night and scratching the crap out of his motorcycle as that was what he loved and I knew that would hurt him the most!!! I took pleasure in the thought of hurting him (and my old boss) but so what? I didn’t act on it and I understand why I felt that way – both of those people treated me like dirt at the time and that enraged me!!

      I read some very interesting cases once about play therapy with traumatised children, and those cases clearly show that these poor little things, when given the chance, were very angry with their mother\father\parent figure and had intense feelings of wanting to harm and often kill them – ie taking a ken doll or barbie or whatever and burying it in the sandpit, stomping down the sand and then rolling over it with the tonka truck. When the therapist, through compassionate witness, was able to validate the young child’s feelings, the child could validate his own and usually recovered. These are extreme examples but I understand that its quite normal for young children to feel rage, anger and hatred towards their parents at times when they are being forced to deal with the reality of boundaries (see toddler temper tanti). I’ve learnt as a mum, that’s ok, as long as I’m doing my job of teaching my little fellow (now 8) the difference between feeling something and acting on it. And as Natalie points out, feelings aren’t facts, they pass.

      • lizzp says:

        p.s. I have had much more difficulty feeling and accepting my anger in situations that are less ‘clear cut’ to me (these relate mainly to my own issues around abandonment and unproductive anger at self when I don’t take care of speaking and expressing my own needs in the moment as this and this alone protects and nurtures me). I’ve really only had one truly man AC experience, and once I was in NC proper my anger knew no bounds for a time- at the minimum I feel very confident that I will never fall for an AC ever again, my ‘spidey sense’ (good one Nat) is just too finely attuned in that department.

  21. runnergirl says:

    Frig, I could hardly wait to get to BR tonight. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been through the mill of justifying my feelings to me. Ex’es have materialized to inform me that I am an idiot. The exMM has been snarky and helpful. The ex best girlfriend has been there and then not. Both the exMM and the ex best girlfriend pulled their same Hey…let’s get together…now…cos they had 30 minutes. I thought about it and chose to spend the day in my garden and chasing the new kitty around the house.
    I’m really, really sorry Natalie about your situ with your half sister. That must be a real tiger. Every one was waiting around while your father made his rounds. That is a pisser. I’m totally shocked that I haven’t found out about any half-siblings, although I’m still young!
    I’m feeling really totally pissed off. And then, of course, Ziggy Marley is playing…Got to Be True Myself. Swear to god, Ziggy and Natalie haunt me whenever I start my pity party.

    Frig…Got to true to myself. Thus ends the pity party. I don’t have to justify my feelings. I am feeling totally angry that jackasses still think they can treat me like a 30 minute stop over…just like my dad treated me. Okay, back to anger. I thank you Natalie. It’s re-engaging with the same stuff that I thought was in my past. Apparently, I get the opportunity to reinvent my past. I did not respond to the two-minute window with the ex best girlfriend and I haven’t responded to the exMM who has a plan as to how I can get elected. He at least had a 30 minute response time. Who the eff do these people think they are? Eff them.

  22. Silhouette says:

    Reading religiously. I have not posted in a long while. What can i say…i’ve moved hemispheres, tried to change careers, am seeing a counsellor and doing all i can to get better without a man in my life.. This is a work in progress and will take some time but what i want to ask is…how do i spend the time getting better when my fertility clock is ticking and is just about to strike midnight? I am 39 and just found out the rather brilliant news that it is advisable to freeze eggs ‘up to age 38′. Running out of options here and so terribly scared about my lonely, helpless future. I’ve ruled out single parent hood as i grew up without a male role model and do not want that for my child if i am fortunate enough to bring one into this world. Cannot sleep and cannot stop thinking about this dire situation i am in….

    • Anon says:

      Silhouette; I am not sure what to type here, nor am I sure you will find the answers here on this particular blog- where you are reading religiously. I believe the majority of posts are about how to walk away, go no contact, see red flags, recognize assclowns, flush, etc. The responders are mostly vigorously supporting each other on maintaining self esteem boundaries and avoiding asshole men. Great endeavors, but not directly conducive to your immediate goal. What you need is some advice on how to find the one who will stay- not go. Nearing forty, you will need some fast, solution-oriented, applicable advice on how to make these two ‘most important event in life” man/baby, events happen very quickly. No more time for philosophical soul searching. How is the counseling going? Many women in your position, where the greatest fear is no longer “what if I marry the wrong man” but rather- worse- “what if nobody asks and I’m alone- what do I do with the rest of my life?” After forty, it seems the only things people celebrate and spend time on are their kids and grandkids? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see any advice here on how to get married and have a baby? How to guarantee a happy ending? Can some one else respond? Of course, there are Plan B options including dating divorced men with kids, adopting, etc. I really hope you find the solution and that it happens soon.

      • Revolution says:

        Sorry, Anon. But I’m not picking up what you’re layin’ down. And I hope to God Silhouette isn’t either. Sounds like a touch of fear-mongering, to be honest.

        And for fuck’s sake! I’ll take being alone “foreverrrr” (echoes into the imaginary oblivion) ANY DAY OF THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ WEEK over marrying the wrong man. *shudder*

        • Mymble says:

          Revolution
          Exactly. Speaking as one who DID have the man/baby panic in my midthirties, and married a random guy, I can attest to what a very, very bad idea that is.
          In many ways he is a decent man and a good father but the deeper connection was never there and when things get tough it really shows. The times we should pull together he abandons me emotionally and I do not respect him. Getting out of this marriage has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I feel terrible guilt about it for him, and the children.

          • Anon says:

            Mymble- If the articles here follow a certain pattern- the commentators do even more so. Actions speak louder than words-you ACTED and made sure you were a mom. You did not mess around with that deadline. Now, you will never know the fear and isolation, sigma, of being in the small percentage of women who are not. I know it is much smaller than the percentage of divorced women with kids. Being childless is not celebrated in my culture (& most cultures?), it is looked on as ‘how sad’ or ‘something’s missing’ which can undermine self esteem. You have to be an incredibly strong person to not absorb this centuries strong standard and inherent shitty questions (from strangers!) about it. And that’s just the social pressure aspect to deal with. I won’t even get into the day to day logistics of this situation, you can imagine.

            • Revolution says:

              Anon,

              I’m 35, not married, and not interested in having kids. I am also of Middle-Eastern and Italian descent. My mom was born in Egypt. If she didn’t come to the States when she was a teenager, I would’ve been born there, and probably would be a grandmother by now. I “get” the different culture bit, believe me.

              Having said ALL that, I do NOT feel “isolation” or the “stigma” of not having children. If people walk by me and whisper “For shame” or “How sad for that pathetic, single, childless wretch” I don’t know it, and I just walk on by to the dry cleaners or clean the sand off my shoes before getting in my car at the beach. I have no idea what “anguish” that these “others” have for me. So it’s not my problem. It’s really theirs. And, quite likely, a sad projection of their own fears/pains/insecurities.

              Now, for a woman unlike myself who DOES want to be a mother and is reaching an age where “time is running out,” I can understand wanting to find a good husband/father. There’s nothing wrong with that, and no “commentators” on this blog, I think, would have a problem with that concept. However, this is where we differ: I don’t think that woman should start an uncertified, frenzied “manhunt”, casting her line into muddy waters with fear. Should she make a more concentrated effort, maybe, to meet new people and to be in places where she could find like-minded, responsible men? Sure. Should she go about it like her hair is on fire, and like if she doesn’t, she will be shunned outside of the “camp” of the more (re)productive female members of society? Er….no.

              Fear is NEVER a good motivator, and I have NEVER seen a woman make good choices in relationships when she’s adopted this mindset. Do you know when I’ve seen the women in my life find their significant others, men with good character? It’s been AFTER they have made the fear test-run that you speak of, running after the first bloke that they saw because their “biological clock is tickin’ like this.” Then, when they’ve been thoroughly exhausted, used up, and rubbing their bum from being thrown onto it, that’s when they calm the eff down and start showing some self-respect and restraint and valuing themselves and the men that they meet more. Not saying that that is always a “guarantee” but it’s a hell of a lot better a way to live than trying to find an “Easy Bake” oven for your eggs. Just sayin’.

              I love what Wiser said in a recent comment: something like “Logic isn’t the same as wisdom.” I think that this applies here.

              • Anon says:

                You mentioned you are only 35. You have no idea. Some day you might/might not.

                • Revolution says:

                  A gracious comment, and I concede your point, Anon. Possibly, at 35, I have a different perspective than I would in, say, 5 or 10 or 15 years. Although personally, my desire to have children, which has never been a strong desire in me anyway, is actually getting weaker by the year. But that’s just my personal experience.

                  Though even for women who are older than myself and want children, though I’m not naïve and I understand the heartbreak and near-panic they may feel when they can’t find someone suitable to settle down with, I still don’t think that panicking at that point will lead to a better outcome.

            • Mymble says:

              Anon,
              I think this comes down to the subject of the next post – you don’t know me. Yes I did make that decision but there has been a high personal cost and a lot of fear and pain too. You are focussing on your particular issue, so perhaps it seems that in some way I “won”. That isnt true; i merely have a different set of issues. I won’t go into
              all the details (TMI) but I can assure you no- one is throwing Rose petals into my path bc I’m a Mother.

      • yoghurt says:

        Anon

        There is no guarantee or ‘secret’ of a happy ending, if there was everyone would have one and we wouldn’t end up on here. There’s also something about risk, I think, you can take the risk of being with the wrong person and being miserable (and potentially missing out on someone lovely) or you can take the risk of not being with anyone and being alone.

        Life is difficult, risky and it doesn’t always work out as you’d want – to claim otherwise would be a big lie, but they’re hard truths to get your head around. Having said that (and I’m aware that this is easy for me to say when I have a child) there is no guarantee that life will definitely be unrelieved misery without a husband and babies, either.

        • Mymble says:

          Yoghurt
          That too, for sure!
          In my own situation, I cannot surmise what my life would have been had I made different choices. Unless it’s absolutely, clearly wrong, such as drugs, or killing someone, you have to follow you’re own compass, working with what you know and what you feel. I was frightened about my biological clock, and as it turns out I wasn’t far wrong with that as I have complete menopause now at age 48. However I have a friend the same age who gave birth to twins this year, and now has 3 kids under 3, and a few others who have had a first child in their mid 40s.

          • yoghurt says:

            I know exactly what you mean.

            With me, I did CHOOSE to not-have-an-abortion, and I love son beyond all reckoning, he’s the best thing ever. But I won’t ever look back on my pregnancy and his babyhood as anything but the biggest and nastiest crisis of my life. And even if I meet someone else and all that, I don’t think that I’ll be able to remember it without wanting to cry. He was worth the cost, but it was a jolly hefty cost!

            It’s not at all straightforward.

        • yoghurt says:

          sorry, should read:
          *or you can take the risk of waiting for the sort of relationship you want, not finding it and being alone”.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey wait…my happy ending/beginning is ending up here! Insert big smilely face here.

      • lizzp says:

        Greetings Anon, I just want to say that I agree with what you write and I think it’s a response which tries to address Silhouette’s dilemma as she presented it.

        I just really hope you’re still around Silhouette.

    • lizzp says:

      Holy mojo, from reading the responses it seems most everyone forgot about Silhouette (sp?)!

      Silhouette,I’d imagine this must be an agonising time for you and what’s sometimes most agonising is imagining our future regret if we don’t do something and then feeling paralysed by that fear.

      If you’re still around, all I can say is that yes, you’re in a haunting position and it’s painful because you feel trapped with nowhere to go. I believe the solution is to decide to move forward with some sort of action. Perhaps make a list of all the ways in which you may be able to make motherhood possible and then list the consequences *from the stand point of the knowledge that you have now* of each option. The only other thing I’ll say is that having a child will almost certainly never be as you imagined it would be. I believe that is the case for all mothers, and it’s something that you only realise after the fact – *it is not a bad thing* – it just is and part of becoming a mother.

  23. teachable says:

    I ‘get it’ Noquay.

    As my cognitive ability developed as a child, & I figured out, ‘it’s not me, it’s THEM’ (deduced by simple logic re abuse I experienced involving multiple ppl), I was similataneously told I ‘should be GRATEFUL’ (beggars belief)
    that I wasn’t a child starving in Africa, & other such rubbish. Meanwhile, I was a child indeed experiencing FOOD DEPRIVATION not only as a routine daily exp, but also as a ‘punishment’ (ie the norm in the children’s home was tht our meals were usually quite scant & you had to eat VERY QUICKLY in the hope tht IF there were ‘leftovers’, u would be ‘allowed’ to have some. I retain an eating at lightening sped habit to this day, so much so tht ppl have COMMENTED on it even tho I try to slow down. Alternatively, I had to resort to stealing food if I b.c u I was very hungy. Othertimes we were denied meals entirely & had to stand & watch every1 eat ads punishment or had to watch the ppl who ran the place & THEIR kids, eat all sorts of yummy goodies, which WE were not allowed as we only got the ‘other’: read inferior, yukky food, instead)

    This is just one tiny example of the message I was given, which was CLEARLY: I am INFERIOR & NOT WORTHY of the same food/treatment as other kids, & also I should be ‘GRATEFUL’ that I am being abused (there are lots of other more serious examples of the latter, I wont go into.)

    So, when at 15, I finally managed to legally break free of that totalitarian system of abuse, from which in the previous 12 & 1/2 yrs there was NO ESCAPE, I acted in precise accordance with that message. Specifically, when a pedophile got his hands on me & humiliated & degraded me, I thought this was ‘acceptable’ b.c I’d already learned, I was INFERIOR, & when he abused me with what the united nations refers to as ‘the worst form of violence against children’ I submitted to this b.c I was GRATEFUL for the abuse, which I THOUGHT was him ‘helping me’ EXACTLY like the message I was TAUGHT in the children’s home, where they too (wrongly) purported that their ABUSE was instead HELP.

    Thankgoodness I made my escape after only 6 mths & sought professional help soon after. I shudder to think where I would be today had I not! Ugh!

    So yes, ppl do make bad snap decisions, however I would add, they are often under extreme duress at the time when they do so.

  24. lizzp says:

    NLM, I think this is such an important post and follows nicely from the previous. Thank you.

    Really, it’s ok to just sit with feelings rather than try to justify them to ourselves and/or others. Often times when we do this I think we may be trying to short circuit and get through the feelings without doing the work because we’re scared of the feelings, of ‘wasting time’ feeling them and can’t/won’t have faith in ultimately gaining a better understanding and hence a better life.

    We get into trouble when we seek to justify, especially if the motivation stems from being unable or unwilling to experience how we feel. Particularly when we do this in the presence of another – it’s like we go in there for validation, often unsolicited because we’ve failed to ‘justify’ how we really feel to ourselves.

    On another really vital and related note, I try to not just believe but also truly know (feel?) that I am under NO OBLIGATION WHATSOF**CKING EVER to justify my feelings to anybody, least of all myself (personally I find it much harder when I’m dealing with myself than others – self esteem thing). There was a time in my life when I felt driven to justify my feelings when being judged by another for having them. In my experience this often occurred where the listener had difficulty distinguishing FEELING from ACTION(don’t know if my ‘tone’ conveys this but this really got up my goat before I fully understood what was going down, and I have to say still gets up my goat today when I see it happening in my own and sometimes other people’s interactions). I think this is one of the reasons why we have to try and be gentle on ourselves and especially in times of crisis choose confidants who understand this difference between feelings and actions, and stay the hell away from those who don’t.

    It’s recently occurred to me that justification and explanation often become interchangeable terms in our minds and conversation. When someone says “hey, no need to explain” maybe they mean ‘hey, no need to justify’?

    Semantics aside, for those of us stuck in patterns of justifying our feelings, clearly distinguishing the two could maybe help? So I would say that explanation doesn’t carry a motivation of trying to convince ourselves or others that our feelings are valid, it is done in the spirit of understanding what’s going on for us.

  25. Poppy says:

    Talking about feelings, smething I have thought of that happened the other day has mad eye angry. I was talking to a colleague about relationships, not mine but the relationship he had with his wife. Phones you, he seemed totally in live and dedicated to her. They had met 6 years previously and were engaged, had future plans and he was, or seemed genuine with his own personal affairs.

    We then continued to talk and realised we had a mutual friends who had dated each other years ago. The break up Was bad and it took her a long time to get over it. She was very verbal with her feelings and she struggled with understanding what had happened. She was co dependant, no doubt about that and idealised him. They dated for two years and from what she told me he sounded like a jerk in the relationship with the usual behaviours assclowns portray. He had affairs and his last affair turned into a long term relationship and marriage. Now, of course she isn’t bothered about any of this and has moved on. My point is that when myself and my colleague had a brief conversation, I said, I don’t think he treated her that well from what I gather. He then proceeded to say “well what did she expect? She knew what he was like so should have just accepted it and moved on quicker than she did”. I don’t know why that has bugged me so much. He lead her to believe they had a future, shit, they lived together!!!!! And he makes a comment like that. Hmmmph that has annoyed me.

    • yoghurt says:

      This is interesting – I hope that this reply isn’t too much of a prevarication from the topic, though.

      I can see why that was deadly annoying, because it’s does reek a bit of ‘he has the right to behave as he does and if she didn’t like it, tough’ with no sympathy for whatever horrific pain she suffered.

      I’m not sure he’s just condoning it, though. If you unpick it a bit, seems to me that what he’s really saying is “yes, he WAS an utter git and she had the choice to do better”… which is something you’d probably agree with.

      I have to say that, over the course of my own visit to ACville I’ve come across this difference in attitude btw men and women towards it. The blokes have invariably said “look, you have x, y and z evidence that he’s a knob and if you choose to engage with him you will have to accept the consequences of that choice”.

      I don’t think it’s callousness (actually it’s very sound and sensible advice!) but I also think that, aside from being physically stronger, one thing that’s easier about being a man is that they’re a lot more grounded in their idea of themselves. They are who they are and they understand where their choices end and other people’s begin and that’s that – and they have very little understanding of the fact that women (culturally?) are a lot less likely to have the same sense of groundedness and ability to really stand behind themselves and their own decisions.

      So they do end up sounding a bit hard-hearted about these things although I’m not sure that that’s always a bad thing. Having said that, one of the things that REALLY annoys me is the idea that a bloke can be absolutely foul to a woman but still be a good ol’ boy. Nope, foul is foul and foul to someone who’s in a weaker position than you (as in a situation where the man is the ‘driver’ of the relationship) is bullying foul.

      • lizzp says:

        Poppy,actually this really depends on whether your colleague meant she knew what he was like *before* or in the initial stages of the relationship and therefore should have moved on “quicker than she did” meaning got out before all the shit went down and the AC started in with his mindeffing narcissism or the way I read in it in my previous comment. But really this is too much second guessing crapola for my liking. I say your angry reaction is there for a reason and is telling you something. Mine too. The second option is too analytical and if, as I say, you are quoting this colleague, to my mind there isn’t a hellava lot of room for second guessing what he meant. My option 2, really doesn’t make any sense come to think of it, so I’m sticking with red flag alert for that colleague of yours.

      • Poppy says:

        You’ve actually put that into perspective in a very solid way and I like your thinking. My colleague was a very nice guy and was being matter of fact. I guess he didn’t know the hell she went through and the ins and outs of how the relationship ended, the lies etc. I guess he is still friends with this guy.

        You are also right in the fact, and this applies to me too, that I should have known what to expect when, after two years or more with this clown the red flags were produced within the first month and I stayed and stayed and stayed so I guess that says a lot. It’s funny and I guess it touched a nerve. With me, it actually got to the point where I think people suggested I was making up the severity of how I was treated and didn’t believe me anymore or just plain thought I was stupid because I stayed and kept going back. But then, I guess, that is me talking to myself. I did know what to expect NOW but then I also lived in hope too. Feeling right now – foolish.

        Thanks yoghurt

        • lizzp says:

          Poppy, hi, I don’t think Yogurt was talking about your situation in her response? Hopefully Yogurt will clear this up for you when she reads your response. My second response (if you are referring to anything in that, just not sure from your reply here ) was for clarification of what meaning you took your colleague as conveying when he made his comment about your friend’s relationship – so I was asking, did he mean that when the relationship ended when the AC went permanent with his latest affair and your friend was dumped for the last time, did the colleague judge that she should have “moved on quicker”(post relationship)because “she knew what he was like”?

          But I get from what you are saying in this comment that you believe that the anger you feel/felt when you think about what your colleague said in his matter of fact tone is mostly tied up with how you feel about your own situation/ex relationship? Only seeking clarification here, there’s no crime in feeling angry and in fact it’s probably a really good idea to take note when it does arise and explore what it might be telling you, about yourself of course, but also others.

          • yoghurt says:

            Hiya Lizz – Yes, it was a reply to Poppy.

          • Poppy says:

            Yes, I think my colleague judged that she should have moved on quicker because she should have expected the end result as he was cheating throughout the whole relationship. The thing is it is common knowledge that he did but she, for her own reasons still believes he didn’t. He was a player and in his line of work it is very easy to ‘play’ and get away with it.

            Yes, I also think that what he said was actually plain and simple a man comment with no thought or emotional attachment. It is about me and posting this has brought that to light here. I guess I feel angry, very angry that ass clowns seem to get away with their behaviour no matter how much damage they do. I do take responsibility for my actions, wholeheartedly and I know my pain stems from long before him too. Why did my colleague dismiss the damage and pain that it caused and dismiss her feelings? I got the impression that he wouldn’t treat his other half like that.

            She stayed longer than she should’ve and so did I. I am thinking his comment, to me, said that she was stupid. That is how I am thinking that people are seeing me. One of my biggest mistakes was saying to much to the wrong people whom I perceive judge me now. You see, we work together, (granted in a big company and in different departments) and he has gotten to know, purposely or not purposely many people in my department who know me. Flirting etc, and then proceeds to tell me that he has spoken to them or gotten to know them. They see his charming side, his victim side, his ‘I’ll do anything for anyone side’ and I feel they think I lied or I have exaggerated what I went through and all because I stayed so long. I didn’t tell everyone just sometimes when I was in a state and understand what the hell was going on and I needed to vent or have a grasp on getting to grips with his behaviour. His comment triggered a response in me that was nothing to do with the other couple at all. My ex looks good and uses and abuses me to move on to bigger and better things and doesn’t feel pain. That’s exactly what this other guy did.

            I hope I am making sense with what I am trying to say. I am actually so touched that you are all being so understanding here.

        • yoghurt says:

          Don’t feel foolish! It is horrible when you realise that you’ve colluded in a situation that has ultimately landed you in a long drop onto your head, but you did the best that you could with the understanding that you had at the time, which is all any of us can do.

          I know what you mean about feeling disbelieved about the severity. I felt the same way, and saying “but I didn’t sign up for all of THIS!” didn’t make a whole lot of difference. But recognising your own role in events is ultimately an empowering – if also manky – thing if you can use it to take more control of your own life.

          From the sounds of it, the rather insensitive (which it was) comment from your colleague has hit you on a really raw spot. And y’know, it’s easy for men to see the ins and outs of this stuff, but then imo life is easier when you’re in the physically stronger 50% of the population. A bit of empathy for the rest of us wouldn’t kill them.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Yoghurt…What I have come to realize thru much soul searching after the last break-up is that I have given away far too many get out of jail free cards in most if not all my relationships w/men. I use to see other women asserting strong boundaries and thinking to myself wow what a b*tch she is. Why would any man put up with her. I was so wrong in that thinking. I see now thru all the hurt, sadness, grief I have become a stronger woman that will be asserting my boundaries & walking away without any get out of jail free cards …I love BR & all the poster who have helped me thru this journey..

        • DiscardedFriend says:

          This really resonated with me. I have spent so much time trying to be ‘understanding’ that I failed to actually understand what was happening, and how I was communicating a low low price for entry into my life.

    • lizzp says:

      Poppy, I’ll hazard a guess about why you’re feeling annoyed. You quote him,and I’m assuming this is actually what he said, right word order etc, and not you paraphrasing:

      “well what did she expect? She knew what he was like so should have just accepted it and moved on quicker than she did”

      WTF??? He is making a judgment about the length of time she took to move on from a man whom your colleague, IN THE SAME SENTENCE (!!), implies is an AC with his opening “Well what did she expect?”. Your colleague has a problem, he is -and I’m going to have to say pardon my french here and use the eff word in all it’s glory- fucking with your mind, sounds like he’s probably an AC himself.

      • Poppy says:

        He was matter of fact and I think he touched a nerve. My ex moved on while with me too which makes it harder as he treated me like shit and walks away scot free and emotionless. Where as here I am trying to rebuild myself (and in his defence, and only slightly, I allowed his treatment) with most of the time a feeling of hopelessness. This is fading, on a positive note and I know its over, not just because he has moved and used me till i was drained but because because my mind has actually accepted it as painful as it is.

        Yes, his comment annoyed me and it was word for word. It also surprised me that he suggested it was ok.

        Your comment made me giggle. I hope it hasn’t irritated you like it has me.

        • lizzp says:

          Hi again Poppy, just responding to this answer now. Yes, no doubt he touched a nerve but ALSO it makes complete sense to me that you found it surprising that your colleague (through his comment in a matter-of-fact tone) suggested that what happened between these two mutual friends was “ok”. So in one sense I guess you are saying something like – well part of the anger I feel at my colleague and what he said is probably cos he touched a nerve – I was myself in a relationship with an AC that ended similarly so the comment reminds me of that and how I felt/feel about myself (especially when I remember all the ‘stupid’ things I believe I did/didn’t do)? Ok but maybe also part of your anger stems from this ‘surprise’ that your colleague thinks that what happened with the AC and your friend was “ok”. When you think about where your anger comes from is there any sense that you felt your colleague was judging your friend with the comment? Maybe that’s why your were surprised or maybe it’s something else? I’m not saying you ‘should’ feel that way (or any way) at all, and please don’t feel obligated to respond, I’m just in curious mode tonight :-)

        • Allison says:

          Poppy,

          Do you really think he believed the behavior to be OK, or that she knew what kind of guy he was and should have bailed earlier?

          • Poppy says:

            I think he was suggesting she should have bailed earlier but because she didn’t and stretched it out and ignoring the signs, that it shouldn’t have been difficult for her to get over it.

    • Allison says:

      Poppy,

      He believes that the guy’s patterns of infidelity were evident that he wasn’t serious. Hate to say it, but I agree.

      The boyfriend was a sleaze bag, but if someone is treating you with disrespect and cheating, they don’t care- this is when we take our cue and get out, no matter how much it hurts.

      We have to take care of number one!

      • Allison says:

        I wish I had done the same in my own relationship. The evidence was clear, but I chose to ignore and continue along with that mess. Ugggh!

        • Poppy says:

          Yes me too. Hindsight is telling me and probably her and also you that we will do that in the future and walk away at the first sign. The thing is its not easy when you are surrounded by lies, manipulation, crazy making, numerous counts of future faking with a self esteem rating of zero and all the time holding onto a teeny, weeny, squeeny circulating electron in an atom of hope. It’s just not easy. This is why BR is so dam good.

          We will all become stronger because of this. I truly truly have faith in that and opening the closet is worth it. I absolutely loved this post by the way.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Putting in my two cents. Allison, you’re out of it NOW. Some people never get there. Be proud and happy with yourself that you didn’t hang around any longer.

          • Allison says:

            Tink,

            I did stay long enough!

            I can totally relate as to where these ladies are coming from, and hope to God, I never end up there again!

            Patterns need to recognized and change, or we end up right where we began.

  26. I'mFree says:

    Perfect! This sums up why I ended up in an emotionally abusive relationship for 6 years. I didn’t even have the excuse that I was madly in love (that was the excuse for the second bad relationship!).

    It wasn’t enough for me to not want to be with the guy. I thought I had to have a concrete reason, like he beat me up, or slept around. Even when trying to break up with him on numerous occasions he would demand specific reasons, then belittle the ones I gave. Just to come out and say “because I don’t want to be with you , and im not happy with you” just didn’t enter my mind.

    I was also constantly seeking validation though friends about my feelings. My number one topic of conversation was – should I stay or go?

    I’m trying to concentrate more on how I feel, and validate it, even if I know other people would not feel the same way. That’s okay.

  27. noquay says:

    Teach
    Kudos to you for even surviving the way you were(nt) raised. That you were able to function at all says a lot about your strength. A lot of similarities except my non nurturing was behind the closed doors of what appeared on the outside to be “normal” family. Reveal what it is actually like to the outside and look out! To this day, I still have to consciously try to eat more slowly. My decisions to take this job, be here were decisions made out of a combination of fear, duress, and a certain amount of ignorance. I was one month post lumpectomy, living in a cabin without running water, working an insecure job, had been disappeared on by the grizzly dude and stalked by another after my marriage broke up, the disconnect between the cost of living where I was and the job market was not going to improve. On the map, this place is surrounded by public land, an important consideration for a woods person, has a much more affordable housing market, and is home to a famous trail race series. I figured the place was populated by fit, educated runners and we’d all be traipsing around the trail, meeting for intense discussions of books and left wing politics after our runs. That’s kinda true for two months out of the year. I am not the first woman here who had made that mistake and there are some here who are agreeing with my so called “negativity” and also realizing this town must fundamentally change or it will die. I kinda feel my feelings have been validated as of late hearing that.

  28. noquay says:

    Mags
    Some important considerations: yep, starting a new load of courses is gonna be intense for the first year; you won’t have time to write. You will have a more secure job; contract work often evaporates and having retirement and health insurance is a good idea. Sounds like getting out of your town is a good idea too. Faculty have to hold office hours; students rarely show up; that’s when you write as it sounds like your discipline does not include lab prep/work.
    I too am in a sort of turning point; our head person has left and I am pondering applying for the job. Increase in salary, rank, prestige, vs. even less chance at a social life, less opportunity to exercise, stay fit, work on my land and no summers off.

    • Magnolia says:

      There’s no security in the east coast job; it’s offered as a 10-month contract only. Just a nicer title and about 10K more $ (minus cost of moving and a higher cost of living, so maybe 5K more total in the end). Colleagues who were stoked when they heard “asst prof” have urged me to consider that non-continuing and non-TT is no better than what I have now, even if the title is better. I’m leaning toward staying, though I would never have imagined I’d turn down an opportunity to leave this place. If actually getting writing done is my priority, I should stay.

      Is this what it feels like to challenge my own EUW tendencies? I feel like I’m in a relationship with an okay boyfriend looking at the opportunity to jump ship to the sexy boyfriend, who I’ve already heard is bad news (the person who was in the east coast job before, and whose departure leaves the position open, corresponded with me and described how the work was “killing her.”) Won’t I be the one to make that sexy, crushing job work for me?

      Maybe it’s a bad analogy but I wonder if this is not the situation that tests whether I go for the bling and prestige and hyperstress (as I tend to) or go for what’s supportive and stable.

      Fuck.

      • runnergirl says:

        Ah Mags…I agree “Fuck”. There sometimes isn’t a clear answer when it comes to career decisions. There is a clear decison when it comes to engaging with AC’s, even though that seems more difficult. I’ve been in the teaching gig since I was 23 and I’ve discovered that folks can burn out fast by overworking themselves, me included. What would kill somebody may be of their own doing. Just a thought. At 54, I’m in the same but different boat. Got the steady, stable teaching gig which pays the bills and I love it. I could write novels, blogs, grow peppers/tomatoes, and play tennis and golf. Should I upset the applecart and run for an office I cannot win. I’ve been going back to BR square one and I’ve been justifying running for office with almost everyone…except, of course, the folks who run because they wanted to run.
        Just watch what others describe as a crushing work load. I’m finally back to teaching full-time after a long sojourn into administration and I feel like I’m in semi-retirement, although my colleagues insist they are crushed. I don’t get it. Thus, I’m looking around for something else to do. Just sayin’

      • Chutzpelady says:

        Go for your writing, if this is your passion?

    • Magnolia says:

      And for you, Noquay, do those salary/rank/prestige changes lead to more peace of mind or more happiness for Noquay?

      I’m going to go back and reread NML’s writing on getting validated from the outside. What’s best for me might not be the move that makes me feel like a superstar.

  29. Sushi says:

    Selkie,

    Same ‘problem’, same source. Ogling, flirting father, upset , hurt, humiliated mother who did nothing to stop him humiliating her. I struggled with this issue too and usually it turned out not the only one of their issues. The reality is that sort of assclown behaviour is not acceptable, it is disrespectful and deserves a flush. Just get up, say bye and leave. Who cares what they think, let them get on with this circus on their own time. When you meet a normal guy who will look like normal men do you will feel just fine. You are not the insecure one in those situations.

  30. Sushi says:

    Yoghurt,

    Look up, the sky has not fallen in. Hug

  31. Gillian says:

    Getting down to what the feeling truly is, is important. There is usually some old feeling underneath. Good idea to acknowledge it and move on.

  32. xanderhing says:

    I received this email three months into a ‘relationship’ after dropping my guard and revealing my vulnerable state as I attended therapy to try to come to terms with my past – abandonment issues with my father, amongst other things, and being on my own in a new country.

    One morning on the train, I had expressed the difficulty I was having at therapy, that I had just started, to which the response was, “Is your therapist attractive, you had better not sleep with them.”

    In that moment my heart dropped. I expressed dismay. She was puzzled at my reaction, citing it as a joke but apologised anyway. Later that day, via instant messaging, I made the mistake of mentioning that was out of line and that therapy has been a struggle. The response was anger, that I can’t let go. I was also sent an email…

    “You strike me as a deeply unhappy person. And I think we have vastly different outlooks and approaches to life that aren’t very compatible. You have had some shitty experiences, no doubt, and the way your father behaved is deplorable. I don’t know what feelings, specifically, you discussed with your therapist, but I’m sure they are more than justified. For absolutely certain, your feelings of abandonment are understandable and valid. While I don’t understand your circumstance specifically, I can relate in my own way to a broken family. As you know I’ve dealt with divorce, fighting, custody issues, physical violence and alcoholism in my immediate family, not to mention the dissolution of my own marriage, the betrayal by (what I assumed to be) a good friend, and other painful fallout from both those things. But I’m not going to let those things define me nor cast me as a victim…”

    Where I thought I could find support and understanding I got that.

    The irony is that she never divorced after four years of separation. The dissolution of her marriage was because she had an affair. Of course she wouldn’t be the victim because she was the culprit.

    In the vain of not justifying feelings: I now trust my gut a bit more, honouring my feelings, which might leave me with fewer friends.
    I treat people as I would like to be treated. I am open minded but have standards, which are made up of values and boundaries. I’m all too accommodating but it seems to my own detriment.

    I have faith there are more like minded people out there. As it stands, I have found them on BR.

    Thank you for allowing me the space to exhale.

    I will find my peace. This is my Saturn Returning.

    Wishing you all a calm day. Stay true to you. And be kind.

  33. thefrenchtouch says:

    To Selkie,
    I understand how you feel, it’s really disrespectful & most of the time they do it to tease & to control you, some sort of sick manipulation. Anyone who goes out to belittle you, press your buttons in this way have a problem with themselves. It’s not you with the problem! I’ve had this done twice with my short relationship with the last A.C. I was with my best friend & he was staring at the owner of the restaurant behind the bar (we were at the bar also) he’ll stare until she stares back, I had to say something. Then again with a girl 20 yrs younger, I stared at him & her (starring at each other) & it just made me feel sick, we were in the presence of a friend of his which i had just met! So disgusting! He knew I had issues because of my last A.C. whom was a polyamorous (completely against my morals) & to top it of I just met all his Exes and ex lovers, & he was still emotionally attached to his 25yrs old Ex! He was hoping I would have a flat belly like hers (threatened to leave me if i didn’t get rid of it). I didn’t have much in the way of self confidence when I met him after the nightmare with the Polyamorous A.C. Well, after reading B.R I’ve learned a lot about values & boundaries. Don’t put up with shit like this! Kick him in the balls & walk away.

    • thefrenchtouch says:

      French men are the worst btw; all they think about is their dick, or the lack of it…

  34. Selkie says:

    Thanks everyone for all the input. I’m not dating anyone at the moment and I haven’t for a while, so there’s no one to flush, but this is about my past relationships and interactions. This feeling that I have a problem with jealousy has been something that’s lingered as I dig through the trunk of unresolved feelings. My self esteem is much better these days and I do have boundaries now (over two years of BR influence) but I still worry that jealousy will have the upper hand, maybe as a result of being told how much it is MY problem by men over the years combined with some weird lingering abandonment issues with my dad. It’s a specific boundary that has blurred lines for me. The last time I even got close to dating someone, he kept watching a girl on the beach near us after he had asked me to come there and join him for the day. I felt like a dunce and my budding attraction to him died right then and there. The girl he was staring at was with a guy who wasn’t staring at other women. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t see the point in trying to change him into the kind of man I would respect or to convince him he was being disrespectful to me. I just didn’t have time for him anymore after that, but I still got that visceral reaction and felt like canned dog food in a dish while he stared at the prime rib. After I stopped engaging with him, he texted me a naked picture of himself. Figures, huh?

    • xanderhing says:

      Hey Selkie,

      I would like to start by saying that you are not alone on the trust issue stemming from abandonment issues. It really is a tough bit to chew on.

      It seems you have your filters working- being out off by your friend at the beach. That’s a good start even though you feel dismayed by his actions.

      Sadly, one has to continuously dismiss the ones that continuously display characteristics that go against your values and beliefs.

      I’m taking my own advice as I write this to you.

      We’ll figure this out!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Xanderhing. Just letting you know someone is paying attention. Thanks for posting and keep it up. As you can see BR is very therapeutic. Even if nobody responds you feel better getting stuff off your chest. All the best. Male comments are valued here also.

        • xander says:

          Thanks, Tinkerbell.

          Male or female, it is matters of the heart that make the world go round.

      • Selkie says:

        Xander,
        Yeah, the abandonment thing is hard issue to crack. It’s a stubborn anchor. We get better at dragging it around without a limp, but I’m working on picking the lock that holds it so I don’t have to learn ways to live WITH it. Patience and perseverance……right? I agree, learning how to weed people out is part of the process.
        Thanks for the encouragement. We WILL figure this out. :-)

        • xander says:

          Selkie,

          Good to read your reply.

          I suppose we are aware of it and being proactive about coming to terms with it. I took drugs and drank only to come back to the start. It has taken me years to come to terms with the fact my dad remarried and had kids and a full family of his own.

          I am happy that I have a good bond with his kids/my younger brothers and equally a good relationship with my dad.

          He may have missed some of the most crucial years my young life, which makes me sad but I am grateful to at least have him around and share.

          I also know as a man I do not want to make the same decisions he did – ditching my mom when she was pregnant with me.

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh ewww. Your description gave me the same visceral reaction. What’s with the naked pics? Is that somehow going to make you go I have to have that? Def WTF.

  35. espresso says:

    Yoghurt
    “Or how awful it must’ve been for you to reach a point where you needed to end it ((((hugs))))”
    Thank you SO much for saying this – I cried when I read it. It is very nice to hear the difficulty of my decision being appreciated! Anyone who knows me would know that I struggled so much for this – far too long – and that it would be terribly difficult for me for many reasons. I am facing so many losses – economic security, the loss of my home, perhaps even needing to move to a new town, work disruption, new unplanned for future, difficulties with children that must be faced (I have been concerned about my youngest daughter – 24 – her sisters kept telling me she was “fine” but she isn’t (just clarified this) and I know she needs warmth and reassurance from me – but I expect she “blames” me for the decision which hurts (the consequence of being seen as the decision maker in the family and my ex as fading out and being the victim) so am planning to housesit in her city so I can just hang out and give her some hugs. I just wish my emotions weren’t sucking all my energy out of me at the moment.
    It would be much easier if we really could go NC and I understand why sonsdad has to stay in the picture. Because of my children and my business I feel I have to have ex in my life to some degree. And I think from what you said that you see he is trying in some ways in his life to be a more in touch person – it doesn’t make a difference in the relationship except perhaps it can make it sometimes “easier.” around raising your son.
    My ex has said for years that he “really wants to work on himself” and he has always expressed “good intentions.” I am not sure what work he has done or is doing now. I don’t see any self growth in him or any change in our interactions even when I am trying to limit them. I actually am finding him much harder to deal with but that is probably because I have even more insight. It sucks.

  36. Sandy says:

    You know whats weird, I only changed my number last week in the final road to letting go and I met somebody, it was like I closed that door after six months of tooing and froing and another one instantly opened up, I didn’t think I was ready to date but I actually feel comfortable with the idea and he has made a date with me for the weekend, 5 days away which the ass clown never would do!!!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Great Sandy. Just take it SLOW. WAIT until there is something for you to get excited about before you float to cloud 9. Don’t fast forward yourself.

      • Sandy says:

        Wise words Tinkerbell, I think the cloud 9 feeling is actually the fact that I am feeling normal finally, thought I would never be able get here, the catalyst was changing my phone number, when I get a text or phone number now I don’t stress about if it is him, it’s amazing how much I let him still control my life even just through a phone. This is coming from a woman who was independant and feisty. Never ever did I think I would be someone who would never be true to myself and my feelings…in the end it was an addiction I see that now.

  37. TaylorBe says:

    Hi All,

    I’ve been utilizing BR for months now and it has been really helpful yet I’m starting to get frustrated with myself for lack of progress (at least where I think I should be at this point)

    Quick background:

    After dating a guy for 2 months, I was helping him with an assignment and he began to tell me how perfect I was for him (cause I push him to be better, i’m supportive, no dramma, and the “chemistry is crazy.

    So I jokingly said:
    “I’f I’m so Perfect when are you going to boo me up”

    He jokingly replied:
    “hmm in about 3 years or so”

    Although we were joking at the time that statement was made and after a few days it did cause a serious conversation where he told me that wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. And I told him I wasn’t willing to wait for him to be ready and I immediately started the exit process. This process took about 2 months cause I was really happy with him when I decided not to wait for him to be ready…so it was really hard to walk away plus he pursued me like crazy cause he didn’t want to loose me (yet didn’t want to commit either “EUM”). Other than that everything was fine (he treated me better than I could have imagined so good in fact he changed my standards for men)he just didn’t want to move into a relationship until he accomplished his list of goals (5 to be exact: personal, professional, and spiritual goals).

    Fast-Forward 6+ months:

    We’ve pretty much been LC (10% of the time we emailed and met up a few times. Everything went great but his stance hadn’t changed) and NC (90% of the time).

    During this time I trained and ran my first ½ marathon, completed my first triathlon, joined a swim team/ running team, started a group on Meetup.com (it’s very popular now we host at least 2 events a week), made new friends, continue to hang out with old friends, started going back to church and started prepping for Grad school. Through this experience and BR I have grown a lot and dealt with a lot of my issues surrounding rejection, low self esteem, anxiety, ect.

    So what’s the problem you ask… well its simple I’m still not over him. I feel like I’ve done everything people say to do to move on with your life, yet I still think about him daily. It’s been 6 months and although the pain is gone the thoughts and wants are still there. I’ve added all types of activities and friends to my life to keep me busy and even accomplished all of my 2013 vision board goals yet I’m not over him… Its just so frustrating cause I’m doing what I need to do yet I havent gotten over him and all though I’ve met other guys I’ve grown so much and he’s set the bar so high they dont even make it to date one because I havent found anyone that compares to him (even off the pedal stool I put him on).

    I’m trying to be kind to myself and just get through the process but I feel like I’m wasting my life constantly thinking about him and the should have, could have, would have of the situation. Before I met him I was an successful, independent, woman with lots of friends and things going on in life. Which is why I started dating to began with I felt that I was ready to share my life with someone and eventually I met him and everything was perfect until that conversation. Now although I still have all of the above in my life I feel like there is a void (the want for a partner to share it all with), yet the person I want doesn’t want me and I cant find anyone else worthy of my attention…IDK I’m starting to ramble now so I’ll just end with this… PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Allison says:

      Taylor,

      Great that you stuck to your guns and didn’t settle for his non commitment!!!

      You’re doing a terrific job by staying busy- the thing that helped me move on from my ex!!!

      The only way you will move on is by NC. For good!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Taylor,

      Great that you’ve filled your life with so much activity so that you have less time to think about this guy. The mind will find a way to get what it wants or do what it wants against all odds. You want to think about and fantasize over him and what you think it could be. You’re not using mind control when it comes to him. Just ask yourself how long you want to carry a torch for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. He may be a great guy but if he doesn’t want a serious relationship with you how does that benefit you? You should go NC because I fear you will end up in a fwb situation because you don’t have the strength to be a FRIEND ONLY. You want more, he doesn’t — incompatible.

      • TaylorBe says:

        I am NC…Have been for months. Everytime he finds a way to contact me I block him on that outlet immediately without responding. I’ve even quit online dating because he kept finding my porfiles and contacting me. The issue now is although I am fallowing all the rules because he was such a great guy its hard for me to move on…sometimes I feel like I made the wrong descision cause I cant seem to get over him. Like somthing deep down is telling me he is the one but I’m too stubborn to give him a second chance because a joke and observations of other peoples relationships

      • TaylorBe says:

        I’m not sexually active so I dont think there will be a FWB situation I have to much pride to just give it up like that.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Taylor. So why have you dumped him? If he was bad for you, you must force yourself to remember why you went NC. Why is he so irresistible ?
          It is not easy to maintain NC but if you continue to mesmerize over him being “a great guy” there’s a chance you’ll go back to him. NC is very hard but one of the first things you need to do is stop obsessing. Believe it or not you can make the mental shift. It is possible, but you’ve got to (as with any goal we’re trying to achieve) be focused. We all reminisce about a past love. It’s normal. But when you’re spending an exorbitant amount of time on it, it’s just not healthy. And, do not tell yourself that the two of you are “destined to be” because you can’t get over him. You can.

  38. Sushi says:

    Teachable ,

    The monsters from your childhood deserve to burn in hell. I admire you for your strength, You have been through so much and are an inspiration. Hug ! In fact, I think we need a group hug. This topic digs right into a long time ago, when it was our right to had been given the means to deal with the world and to love and value ourselves and all we got was damaged goods. We are not damaged goods, we are superheroes for finding our own way. And with Natalie’s help :)
    Ps, yoghurt , you are still a super guru x

  39. noquay says:

    Taylor be
    You need to be 100% NC with this dude or you will never get over him. He will never be available for a real relationship with you.

    • TaylorBe says:

      I am NC been no contact for months…the 10% was in the beginning when I was weening myself out of the situation… but NC isnt helping me move on any faster. Although he finds new ways to contact me I havent reponded to any of it and I dont plan to but I’m still not getting over him thats the confusing part…I’m following all the rules and I’m still stuck :(

  40. paolo says:

    @TaylorBe…The pedastal worshiping is quite common..I’m going through it myself and it’s been a year for me..I guess when the standard of person we meet goes up then nothing short of that will do as far as serious dating goes…I think there is something to be said for not getting over someone until you find someone else new that’s better in every way..They only thing i can imagine is that as time goes on. We change. Literaly..I mean every cell dies and is copied every seven years and our experiences create new memories…Maybe we will always carry a special place inside ourselves for them but perhaps its just as simple as HAVING to believe that we can feel the same way about someone just as endearing to us. To someone that can give us just as much joy, i not more so…I can’t imagine it in my life and im guessing you can’t either…But life is so bat shit crazy that it just might be true that even better is coming in our future…Believe it or not..Able to imagine it or not..I guess all we can do is see what happens…Attachment is common…We have to do all we can to let go of the attachment. It may take years for me. I’m prepared for that and im 41. I can’t force myself to be over someone. I can only do all i can to detach myself from ex’s and I can only move on and discern how i feel about the next person i meet. I’m guessing that’s the same for everyone and i’m also guessing that if we meet someone that’s amazing to us enough, then our ex’s won’t even compare…Like i say, we have to beleive glorious and amazing is out there even if we have our doubts.

    • TaylorBe says:

      I hope there is someone better out there for me if not I made the dumbest descion of my life by walking away from him. I just wish that someone better would come around already that or I actually just get over him and move on…I’m only 25 I’m suppose to be having the time of my life but I cant enjoy it fully cause I keep thinking about weather or not I made the right descion walking away from him. Especially since the latest intrests have fallen very, very short of the standards he set :(

      • paolo says:

        @TaylorBe..It sounds like a rubber band effect..When you move close, he pulls away, and vice versa..I think it’s very common..It’s up to you if you wan’t to give him a 3 strikes and out, but i would be very wary of it because it does sound very much to me like if he ‘won’ you again. He would go back to his old pattern of pulling away again..It seems like he is not aware of it.

      • A says:

        “I hope there is someone better out there for me if not I made the dumbest descion of my life by walking away from him”.

        The thing is, you didn’t have him to begin with. What other choice did you have but to walk away? For what it’s worth, I had a friend who spent around 2 years waiting for a guy who told her that he couldn’t have a relationship because he wasn’t happy with his life/career, hadn’t reached his goals, etc. All the while he didn’t want her to “give up” on the possibility of them being together. Nothing changed at the end of the 2 years, she just finally got sick of the nonsense and moved on. Oh, and somewhere along the way she heard that he was dating someone else, which he somewhat denied but never quite fully explained.

        If you really want to be with someone you don’t risk losing them by trying to put them “on hold” until some imaginary future time when all will be perfect in your life….time waits for no one.

        • Wiser says:

          Agree with A! This guy has made it clear from his actions that he does not want to be with you, but apparently has no problem trying to bust your boundaries by relentlessly trying to contact you. That’s called manipulation and disrespect. A great guy doesn’t do that. A great guy doesn’t play these immature games with another person’s feelings. A great guy who doesn’t want a relationship and realizes that the other person has strong feelings for him will quietly withdraw from the scene in order not to hurt her further.

          I’m trying to understand in what way he’s set the “bar so high” when he doesn’t even meet the minimum requirement of being a boyfriend – truly wanting to be with you. Not wanting to *lose* you (which is usually nothing more than just keeping you on the back burner) is NOT the same as really wanting you. Not by a long shot. A great guy wants to be with you and makes you a priority, no matter how many “goals” he has. People always find time for what’s important to them. Always. I’m sorry to say that you are not important to him. Therefore, no matter how many other terrific qualities he might have, he is not a great guy – for you. Time to take him off this pedestal. You need to spend some time seeing him clearly and seeing his actions (not his words!) for what they are. You didn’t make the wrong decision by walking away. Sounds like there really wasn’t anything solid to walk away from.

      • FX says:

        TaylorBe, My situation is quite different but has similar underpinnings… “if not I made the dumbest descion of my life by walking away from him.” What exactly did you walk away from? Passing more time with a man who didn’t value you enough to make you a priority but has the time to stalk you to keep you under his control as an option? Engaging with someone who thinks this way is not esteeming! It leads to even more heartache.

        Ex AC treated me amazingly well in many ways but the bottom line was if he truly cared for and respected me, he would have done what was necessary to keep me in his life in a way that met my needs, too. It is a bitter pill to swallow but I and my happiness just weren’t important enough to him to make that effort. I could probably have him back in my life on his terms today. Even though I found out he recently got married! (He doesn’t know I know and was pursuing me even after 10+ months NC.) Btw, by the time I went NC, I had allowed my expectations to be managed down from live in gf to fallback girl. Although, I didn’t know he had a new gf at the time, I knew I was no longer his priority and it was very unhealthy. I wish I had honored my feelings and ended it long before I did.

        This guy sounds like he wanted to keep you around as his fallback girl. 3 years?!! If a man wants to be with you, he will be with you. End of. Don’t be like me and carry a torch for a man while physically NC until you find out he chose to commit to someone else. Or, maybe he won’t and it’s all just about HIS goals, but bottom line is you are not his priority and you are too good to be an option for anyone.

  41. noquay says:

    Mags
    I dunno; I am still trying to figure out what head dude actually does in the job. I am quite burned out with teaching the same stuff over and over. Its gotten to the point where I am sick of my discipline. However, I am the only one credentialed to teach that level of coursework here and we are not gonna get another position unless I leave. Runner is right; some workloads are not that crushing; in my discipline, you must be able to multitask, prepping lab stuff and grading, holding office hours simultaneously or you’ll be putting in massive amounts of time. You stay with your work; no yakking with colleagues down the hall, no farting around on Crackbook. Efficiency. The head dude job would break up the routine (I HATE routines), force me to travel more to meetings and conferences (good, I meet more sane and educated people and bad as traveling around here in winter may kill you), I would be able to get home at a reasonable hour (no night classes 4x a week) and hopefully get enough exercise. There is both support and resistance (AC would do all he could to fight this), but most of the hiring committee is off campus. Still weighing the pros and cons.

  42. 2fearce says:

    Mags,

    Nothing is guaranteed if u stay either…. In the ok bf/ sexy bf analogy… remember that the ok one still doesn’t provide what u want/need. Leave not “for” the new boyfriend but for you… asserting the idea that u r worthy of more than mediocre. If that means ur a superstar for a year so what? Enjoy it! It’s a step, not a solution. Often getting out of something u don’t really want comes at a cost… with this change ur up 5k n out of the situ uve bn unhappy with.

  43. Keetseel says:

    NML writes: “Sometimes I experience something and the me right now feels fine but there’s an ‘inner me’, a younger me that feels a bit wounded.” I find that to be stupifyingly, disappointingly true and kind of relates to the last post about how even after you get your own shit together, you STILL end up dealing with people who try to pull you back into the old feelings of worthlessness. I’ve been seeing a therapist for almost nine years and even though she sees progress (and I sometimes feel it), there have still been plenty of times when my inner kid, who wasn’t allowed to have feelings (which feelings she wasn’t allowed to have depended on the particular adult in charge), wakes up and starts panicking. According to my therapist, the adult me is supposed to reassure her and give her love, etc. But it’s really not that easy. As adults, we’re still not allowed to express all of our feelings which makes it hard to deal consciously with them. I think the work of denying/tamping down inappropriate feelings makes you sick. I think it’s the cause of my chronic headaches and stomach aches. No proof, of course. The doctors don’t test for that kind of thing.

  44. Tinkerbell says:

    I gotta say, I agree that beating yourself up for slipping and revisiting a dynamite sexual situation when you’re practicing NC or a variation of it is not useful and accomplishes nothing. By the same token, it accomplishes nothing by yielding to temptation and going back. It sets YOU back and impairs your resolve. Forgiving yourself is fine, but at what point do you decide “NEVER AGAIN will I yield to this particular individual”?

    • Ms Determined says:

      Hi Tink!

      Good question. I think you must yield to the NEVER AGAIN every single day.

      It’s a fact though (and I imagine there aren’t too many red blooded BR ladies who haven’t experienced this) magical penis syndrome can sneak up on you. Quelle irritation.

      On those days we must be especially kind to ourselves and vow not to succumb to that particular spell again, because with magical penises often comes the need for magical thinking. And THAT is where shit gets dangerous.

      One sexual slip up…you can put it down to bad judgement and keep your resolve…two sexual slip ups and you’re looking at the prospect of living through some boring bullshit you already went through again.

      Moral of the story; beware the magic penises.

      • FX says:

        Love this Ms Determined!

        “because with magical penises often comes the need for magical thinking. And THAT is where shit gets dangerous.” Yep, been there done that way too many times which led to “you’re looking at the prospect of living through some boring bullshit you already went through again.”

        Yes, I’d like that year and a half of my life back, please! Not just boring but still processing the humiliating feelings over a year later. Ugh.

  45. ChiTownKitty says:

    I am shaking and crying right now and didn’t know where else to turn…Came here because I knew you guys would “get it.”
    Just minutes ago my phone went off with a text from y EUMM assclown ex….I havent spoken, texted, sent a carrier pigeon to him in almost three years…It was one of those “I was thinking of you and wanted to say hi and catch up” texts. Immediately went and blocked him on my phone–again (the blocks only last 3 months, he has always been blocked on my email)…
    Why does he do this? Am I such a pushover or worse that he thinks he can come into my life yet again?
    I don’t want to talk to him, havent thought about him except as the punchline to a joke in ages…so why am I shaking?
    ChiTownKitty

    • Selkie says:

      Chi,
      He’s fishing.
      Don’t give him that kind of power over you. It’s just a text and he is just a man, who isn’t that special. I know that weird uncomfortable rush you feel is unsettling, like a known predator is circling camp, but stay firm and know your OWN power. He can’t touch you in real life, and a text is just that, a few words with no soul in it. Take a deep breath and see that nothing has to change because he took 5 seconds out of his time to see if you bite. Good for you for blocking.

    • sunflower says:

      Chitown kitty: I understand your confusion. They come sniffing around for a ego boost or something. I have the same issue with a few ex bfs. Stay strong. You have done the right thing! They don’t change…just the same old thing so you already know what to expect.

      • Tabitha says:

        Kitty, you have done so well to ignore and block. If it helps, try to imagine that he sent the exact same text to 5 different ladies on his little “fishing expedition.”
        Stay strong. You are an inspiration.
        Just when you thought it was safe………….

  46. AlphaChristy says:

    Wow, this is an excellent article. This was definitely a missing piece in my self-compassion puzzle. I often feel defensive and the need to justify my feelings or actions– I even do it by imagining a scenario in my head of how someome *might* react to me and waste tons of precious mental energy building a case for this imaginary defense! It’s a really unproductive pattern, thank you so much for shedding light on this very real and destructive issue.

  47. sunflower says:

    I read the old post by Natalie about the chemical trap of sexual infatuation. That’s what I’m dealing with right now and I know I need to pull myself out of it. I’m not sure how to do it other than going no contact which will hurt a lot right now. Dammit. I wanted to have a fabulous summer free of heartache.

    He and I have some history — we have been friends and lovers for over a year but although I have said I want exclusivity and he says he understands that, he doesn’t bring himself to say he will give that to me. Originally I wasn’t going to sleep with him at all but he was smooth, attractive and very good in the bedroom. As a single and older mum, I don’t get too many offers anymore for that kind of body closeness. It’s a tough thing to turn down if it’s really quite good and post divorce after having been used to having someone during many years of marriage.

    But I really want to be free of this sad, torn, lovesick feeling. I’m hoping some upcoming travel I have planned will kick this crap feeling to the curb. Any other suggestions? I have lots of friends and I try to keep myself busy but the thoughts are still getting in the way.

  48. I SO struggle with wanting to have hard evidence that my emotions are warranted, reasonable, and fair to all (other)parties. I give my evidence to friends and my therapist and ask for their permission to have my feelings. I’ve told you guys I took my phone into therapy and went text by text through an argument ex-friend and I had because he had me half convinced I was being crazy, and I wanted either a diagnosis and a prescription for mood elevators or a prescription for ‘self-indulgent emotionality.’ Actually, I finally just got my oncologist to give me almost that exact prescription. ER doc for recent suspected Heart attack, but actual panic attack said pretty much the same. So, now I have medical permission, and BR permission to feel what I feel. Whoop!

    It’s funny, because ex-friend is now experiencing the other phenomenon that you talk about in this post, Natalie. He expressed that eight months ago he had feelings that caused him to behave the way he did, ignoble as that was, and now his feelings are different and so he wants to reconcile our friendship. We had a two hour, subtext-laden text battle about people choosing their character by choosing their actions in which he posited the supremacy of feeling in decision making. I ended by saying that we are not helpless waifs being buffeted around by our emotions; this is not Dante’s Inferno. We all have emotions and take responsibility for our actions anyway. That’s called character. His retort was that I was lucky to always have such perfect self-control in how I respond to stimuli. Rather an amusing plot twist, considering he was positioning himself all this time as the only reasonable one, and declaring me the emotional disaster area. Shithead.

    Anyway, I asked him why he wanted to reconcile, and I got some fluff about feelings, blah blah. So, you have feelings? Great! I have feelings too! Now, tell me, why should I trust your feelings now, since they have allowed you to be so awful to me in the past? His response? He had been spending a lot of time with his new, full-service non-girlfriend when he started behaving awfully to me; she gave him some perspective on the situation. Considering her need to attack an invalid on social media to get sole custody of this fair weather friend, I can imagine what she said. He still thinks her perspective is right, but would be OK with the non-relationship ending now, so he wants my friendship back.

    W.T.F?! This. This is why we can’t have nice things!

    • A says:

      “I SO struggle with wanting to have hard evidence that my emotions are warranted, reasonable, and fair to all (other)parties. I give my evidence to friends and my therapist and ask for their permission to have my feelings.”

      Thanks for this, DF. This is essentially what I do….and what I did on the last BR post! I’m a fair and rational person, why do I need someone else to confirm for me that I’m allowed to be mad/annoyed/feel disrespected? If I’m getting this vibe it’s coming from somewhere. It’s as though I’d rather question my perception of things than conclude that someone who I care about and thought was a good friend is treating me poorly.

  49. espresso says:

    Chi town
    The ex EUM and other ass clown types recontact us when they are 1. having trouble in their lives and want an ego stroke 2. want to reassure themselves that they didn’t do anything wrong with us – so if you respond they will “know” they didn’t and they can go on doing the same crappy things to other women 3. are drunk 4. have been offloaded by another woman 4. are just cruising around or kinda bored. It means NOTHING to them.
    If you don’t respond this time, which you shouldn’t at ALL, they may fake an illness or a crisis to really pull on your heartstrings. I had this happen with an ac “friend” who had promised technical assistance bigtime for one of my work projects – I gave him some help and showed concern around something he was going through and he was just using me for that with no intent of following up on his word. I NCd him like a flash when I realized what he was up to but he turned up as a pity party some months later. He is/was a manipulative jerk. Don’t be surprised if the guy calls you a bitch if you don’t answer. They don’t like us to stand up to them.

  50. espresso says:

    Discarded friend
    I too have done the “hard evidence” stuff with my long term marriage ex who I am separating from. I always seemed to need somebody to validate my feelings as being justified as though my brain, gut, body, soul and opinions weren’t enough! You KNOW the man,you KNOW the situation and you KNOW yourself – you really do. It is HARD to break these ties, honestly I am struggling with long term habits myself, not always successfully, but nobody and nothing can decide what is right for us. I like the elegant way I’m free said it…..something like “I am not happy in a relationship with you and it is not good for me.” Period. THAT is enough and all that remains after that is the strategies we need to move on and how we can best do this for ourselves. Nobody else can understand what is best for us, even with all the evidence in the world. And honestly sometimes people who should have the insight, don’t! I am pretty angry at a therapist I saw years ago who KNEW my ex and said he had serious personality problems to HIM and that he had made NO progress after three years of therapy (I since found out) and he KNEW how abandoned I was in the relationship and now I think why didn’t this stupid man talk to ME about the danger I was in emotionally because I WAS suffering/struggling a lot and blaming myself in some ways for not handling my/our life better. So here is a therapist who KNEW the “facts” and he didn’t have the ethical values to help me see this more clearly. Instead when I talked about the marriage being over and wanting to separate (although I was very scared of this for economic reaasos) then he actually told me a story about some other client’s kid who when he heard about the parents separating killed himself. WTF?

    You have been through a difficult time and you need to protect both your emotional and physical health – your priority is YOU!

  51. TaylorBe says:

    I guess the reason why I’ve posted to this thread is because I’m starting to beat myself up over my lack of progress. I’m extremely analytical by nature and an excellent problem solver so good in fact that I’m an almost a Senior Engineer with my company at only 25 (this happens around 40 for most people). Although these skills come in handy for my career, they are starting to drain me emotionally because I can’t fix this problem fast enough.
    My life is great at the moment (dream job, home, car, savings, great friends, best shape of my life, the list keeps going) but since I walked away from him I feel like there is something missing. I tried just working on me so I wouldn’t rebound into something unhealthy which has helped a lot (I’ve resolved a lot of issues, forgiven myself and others for my childhood) but it’s been months and this still consumes me and all of my self-improvements hasn’t filled the void.
    I also tried searching for it by dating other guys but that was just a waste of my time cause I kept comparing them to him and I figured I still needed to do more work on myself so I stopped.
    As much as I trying to be kind to myself and not beat myself up over the fact that I still want him, my logical brain is over it. We dated for two month went LC for a month why in the hell is it taking me 6+ months to get over him? The math just doesn’t add up to me and my patience with myself is running thin if that makes since. I don’t want to beat myself up over it but at what point does this go away or am I way past that and I should considered committing myself to an institution

    • Mymble says:

      Taylor,
      It is taking you so long bc you never had enough time to really get to know him, so you have him on a pedestal. No-one is THAT great, honestly. The guy you’re pining for doesn’t exist, he is a fantasy.
      Start questioning yourself about what was SO wonderful about him. Was he good-looking? It’s very easy to build up a guy who is handsome, and attribute a lot of other great qualities to them which they don’t have in reality.
      Remember HE’S JUST NOT THAT SPECIAL!!!

      • Mymble says:

        And also, someone who keeps contacting you when you’ve made it clear it is unwelcome has a problem, they do not respect other people. That in itself means he is a narcissistic Mr Me.
        You have dodged a bullet, a relationship with someone like that would turn bad as he would always put his own needs first.

      • TaylorBe says:

        Actually it was beyond his physical appearance. It was the things we had in common…Keep in mind I’m 25 and he is 27:

        Shallow commonalities: we are both engineers (think similar), same favorite everything (even had the same electric tooth brush), went to different schools in different states yet our schools had the same colors and mascots

        Core values:
        Same Ethnicity- African American. This is important to me because I am an African American female and if I have a son he will be African American and he will encounter experiences that only an African American male can relate to and seeing that most of the males in my family are incarcerated or deceased his father will be his main role model (the sad truth of living in America)

        Same Religion- we both strayed from our faith but was on the path of reconnecting when we met. So we had similar goals as far as religion goes.

        Financial Stability- similar income, owns homes, land, cars, investments, great credit, large savings ect.

        Results Oriented- we both valued accomplishing goals more so than setting them and thus we have a lot of accomplishments under our belts. Plus we were challenging each other to do more.

        Education- both already have a BS and working towards MS

        Health- I’ve struggle with my weight my entire life and so has he but we finally gotten it together as adults (a few years before we met each other) so having someone that understand my struggles and supports/encourages me in that area is powerful.

        Family -Neither has kids but wants kids including adopting a special needs African American male. Not only does he wants a family but he can support a family of 4 on his income alone which is ideal cause I would like to stay home for at least 5yrs with my children and not have to sacrifice my quality of life.

        Avid volunteers- I was born and raised in a underserved community and because of that I am constantly trying to find ways to give back to communities similar to the one I grew up in and so does he.

        Chivalrous- For the longest I didn’t believe Chivalry existed and I didn’t need it to because I was an Independent woman that had my own. But after meeting him Chivalry is now something I value. He did it without hesitation, in fact I never carried a wallet with him or touched a door and if I did he make me walk back out so he could open it for me.

        There’s more but I don’t want to make the response to long. I think the above shows you why I say he truly is a great catch…for me at least but he has his faults too and the main one is him not wanting to commit to me when I want him too.

        • TaylorBe says:

          I just realized thats probably the problem. Hes such a great catch that he is a highly wanted rarity… he has had 3 longterm relationships and all of them were with great women that were extremely successful and driven (doctor, lawyer, engineer). All 3 of them wants him back. One even broke off an engagement recently and he was the first person she called. I think thats why he wont commit cause he doesn’t have to he can play the field and when hes ready he has 3 fish on the hook he can choose from plus the countless others he catches along the way…writing the above response just gave me a breakthrough now lets hope this helps me move on lol

          • AngleBeary says:

            TaylorBe,
            His player ways will be his downfall. He might be the kind of guy who wants a bite of each apple on the tree. (picture that). Karma. He sounds like the type who will most likely be trapped by one or more women who will have his baby. And we all know what kind of mess that is! And, a lot of these types of successful attractive men are on the down-low and hide there true sexual identity. You will eventually forget him. Keep positive and busy, and most of all: Don’t take it personally!

        • Mymble says:

          Taylor B
          Nat has done some great posts about common interests as opposed to values. Money, occupation, age, ethnicity – these give you things to talk about but aren’t values. He may have opened doors for you and paid for stuff, but have you considered that that was a campaign to get what he wanted – sex without commitment? And he is still pursuing that agenda when you have made it clear you are not interested. What sort of person does that? How does that tie in with his purported religious beliefs and desire to adopt children? He’s going to do these things – but not now, he says. Now his plan is to have FWBs. You said that you both place a high value on achieving goals. Why is this a goal that he is not pursuing now? I would question his sincerity; he wants to think of himself as a great guy, and he wants you to think the same, but he isn’t actually following the value he professes.
          You didn’t meet the real person, you met his representative, who said the things you wanted to hear. The real person is now pestering you against your wishes, how chivalrous is that?
          How “chivalrous” is it to pursue a FWB with a woman who wants a committed, loving relationship leading to marriage?

          • Mymble says:

            Taylor
            Here is a value that he is showing, through his actions;
            “I am special and more important than other people, and my needs are more important than theirs. No-one is allowed to say no to me. I don’t give a shit about their boundaries or their feelings. I WILL get my own way no matter whom I hurt.”

          • Allison says:

            Taylor,

            Mymble has totally nailed it!

  52. espresso says:

    Taylor B
    You have done an admirable job at trying to move on and replace your thoughts about the ex with other activities and distractions. I think this is really important but just speaking for my struggles – I have done a lot of the activity and planning/distraction work myself but the REAL work I need/needed to do was dealing with ME – my internal needs, why I stayed in the relationship, what my fears were, what hook my ex had that was all about me and how I saw myself – that kind of thing. Perhaps his leaving and being EU touched something deep in you rather than just “the end of a relationship” that would be worth exploring. He might be great but he can’t be that special that you are still consumed by him 6 months later after such a short relationship. You invested a lot in a man who wasn’t ready to commit and there are probably profound reasons for that.

    The other option that Natalie writes about when we feel we have made a mistake in our decisions is Suck it up and See. In other words, rekindle the relationship to prove to yourself that it is a damaging non starter. It IS an option…a damaging and destructive one but from what I read and understand from my own experience it can really clarify things. She has a post on this plus others about not being able to move on.

    • paolo says:

      @espresso..The suck it up and see idea might be ok if the guy wasn’t so obsessed..If TaylorBe does go back to him. It could make him even more obsessive…I would recommend what Mymble has suggested..It takes a very long time to get to know someone..Also..When you break up during the honeymoon period, especialy if there’s been no sex, I would imagine there would be alot of wanting payment for time invested in the friendship..His interest isn’t healthy..I know that because he sounds alot like i have been over someone i only met a couple of time..It can be much much worse when you don’t know someone that well because your mind can create a fantasy person and put them high on a pedastal when they shit and fart just like everyone else.

    • TaylorBe says:

      Yeah I know I have a lot of work to do on myself and I would be so much more productive if I didn’t have to deal with this. My mind is so consumed with this I cant even began to process any of the other crap I have buried deep down.

      As for giving it another try…my pride wont let me. I have a type A personality I dont make the same mistake twice in fact I try to avoid mistakes as often as possible.I use reason and logic with every decision I make. I think thats why this is so hard for me. thought I found the one didn’t want to ruin things by being in my head so I let my guard down followed my heart instead of my brain and got royally rejected and now I’m having trouble forgiving myself for following my heart :(

      • Wiser says:

        Taylor,
        Logic and reason are not the same as wisdom. Wisdom and growth come through struggle and mistakes. Wise people even learn to welcome their mistakes as strange as that concept may seem. I wish I had known this at your age. Experience is the great teacher, not information and concepts. Awareness is the goal, not doing everything perfectly. So don’t beat yourself up for following your heart – focus instead on what there is to learn from this experience. This disappointment may open you up to finally delving deep into what’s really going on with you.

  53. 2fearce says:

    TaylorBe,

    A cpl things….

    1. If he was that awesome he wud have respected u walkn away n cutting contact. Instead, he has electronically stalked u. Seriously. That’s what it is. U sd bye. U cut off contact. He keeps searching u out to initiate contact…over n over again. U have to had to change what u do (take down profiles, etc.), bc of him disregarding ur boundary. This is harassment in the very least, if ur not willing to concede to it being e-stalking.

    2. When ppl make jokes like that its bc they aren’t man/woman enuf to have that convo w u seriously… not cuz they don’t mean it. It’s gd uve kept living ur life, kp doing so. Not to get over him but to know more about u n experience ur life. Or u cud wait another 2.5 years only for him to find sm other reason to kp u at bay (incl. u shudnt have waited on him).

    3. While its bn 6 months, every time he’s contacted u he’s sent u back to day 1. He’s basically stalling your growth n moving on process. That’s y its taking u so long!

    • TaylorBe says:

      Thanks…you know I never really considered the fact that him contacting me could be sending me back to day one even if I dont respond.

  54. Peanut says:

    If we’re not supposed to try and get people to agree with us, what aaaaare we supposed to do with them? What isssss the point of human interaction? Yes, to meet a basic need I guess. I’m beginning to think mine are as scrambled as the eggs I ate yesterday morning.

    My appetite knows three hungers: men (I’m a lifelong daddy hunter), sugar (I felt powerless to ten mini packaged chocolate covered donuts tonight), and validation (I grovel for it so much it makes me just as sick, or more so, as the donuts).

    My life is pretty shaky right now. I’m trying to meet my basic needs and I feel a fool because I keep fucking up. I feel dumb and useless. Then I go to a family member to try and get validation. I don’t. I get legitimate questions which shine light on my unrealistic thinking and poor planning. So then I become a real pompous asshole by trying to make her feel stupid by recounting some dumb obscure intellectual banter. It just made her uncomfortable and me feel like a complete jerk. I apologized but I don’t feel better. The apology can’t take back my narc behavior.

    So then I went and stuffed myself with fried chicken and barbecue sauce. I needlessly gluttoned myself on the remains of some poor helpless chicken I didn’t even NEED to eat.

  55. Peanut says:

    And sometimes I’m so grandiose in my thinking I don’t even take myself seriously. It’s like Brain from Pinky and The Brain. He has all of these serious plans to rule the world or destroy it for some reason and they always fail because HE’S A MOUSE IN A CAGE. He just doesn’t see it.

    That’s what I feel like. No, I don’t want to take over the world or destroy it. I’d actually like to leave it better. But my thinking goes as such: “Jobs can be real boring and sad places to be. I think I’d like to be a famous musician. Wait, I don’t play an instrument or song properly and I’m near thirty. Scratch that. Hmmm. I study art. I’ll work at that famous museum in New York or Paris. Meh, even that sounds boring. I am bored and unmotivated!

    The thing is when I get motivated I can and do accomplish many beneficial things. I’m just so inconsistent with it. Here’s the thing: nothing in life is glamorous and EVERYTHING worth having and keeping takes continuous hard work. I guess I’m just tired. I raised myself and now it’s like, well, there’s goddamn life, that’s it, that was hard, time for retirement! But no, if I want to not be destitute, I have to keep on keepin on and do it better than I did when I was twelve :( BTW PMS is real.

  56. MaryW says:

    I am having the most overwhelming emotions at the moment. I have been reading BR for 6 months or so, and learning about boundaries, red flags, self esteem, everything. Or so I thought.

    I talked in the last 2 threads about this guy I was dating, not for long, just for 6 weeks but that’s quite a long time for me (terrible dating history).

    It was a whirlwind start and then he unfolded very fast, after about 2 weeks but I’d already started to fall in love (or something)… turned out he was separated rather than divorced (my bad – I assumed, didn’t ask), turned out his wife kicked him out (I think cheating was part of it from something he said about her finding texts/ pictures on his phone). It turned out he is a workaholic and in £10K debt. On top of that I discovered that he is an alcoholic (I suspected but now I am sure). I also have serious suspisions that he was shagging someone else, though we’d agreed we would date exclusively from day 1.

    We have been in contact, I am ashamed to say, and I had to put a final stop to it today. I am ashamed, I feel like an idiot because I had such sensible, kind words from the lovely people here and still allowed myself to stay emotionally attached with all of this evidence. I did have moments of strength and clarity (after reading advice here) but then moments of weakness with texting and day dreaming/ fantasizing. Maybe I needed to detach myself gradually, slowly, don’t know. But in the week or so of contact since ‘finishing it’, I found out more rotten things about him (like the alcoholism), which made ending it for good an absolute necessity.

    I thought I was getting better but I really put up with a lot of rubbish. And I know I’ve done well in truly finishing it (definitely). But I am shocked with myself, I really thought I was getting better and stronger but I put up with boundary breaking, fast forwarding, future faking, just about everything I thought I’d learned. It’s like he was put in front of me as a test… and I passed but only by a whisker.

    I am veering between feeling stupid that I broke NC, proud that I broke it off properly this morning, scared that I could have another lapse if he contacts me, embarrased/ ashamed that I let it get this far. It has exposed a very vulnerable “me”, and I am outright scared. I am scared of all the issues I have to deal with, and thankful I’ve started therapy with someone who seems very good.

    In a bizarre way I feel a little guilty for hurting this man, but then I realise that he will move on in 2 minutes, leaving me obsessing about it for weeks.

    I can’t rest easy with all these feelings.

    I know I have to go NC in earnest, to the extent that I am going to have to go and upgrade my phone because it’s impossible to completely delete his details from the one I have now and it’s driving me bonkers.

    I know it was only a six week ‘thing’, and I need to address how/why I got so emotionally invested so fast… I have to work on that.

    I can’t cope with all these emotions, but I also can’t hide from them :(

    • Mymble says:

      Mary
      As an alcoholic and serial cheater he will have had years, decades of practice leading a double life, lying, telling half truths, omitting relevant information and distracting attention through charm.
      Don’t feel ashamed, it’s all on him.
      Good for you for flushing.

      • MaryW says:

        Mymble, thank you for putting it so succinctly.
        I know I need to cut contact. I flushed but then he sent me a schmaltzy message that got me second guessing myself – I need to get a new phone + number this weekend cos I can’t block him.
        I have been reading about co-dependent relationships and it looks like this was one of those.
        I am examining why I am finding it hard to do detach. I need to reread Natalie’s book, also another self help book I have that details why certain people like me are magnetically attracted to certain types of people to make a toxic relationship.

  57. MaryW says:

    p.s. I have almost phobic feelings about finishing ‘relationships’, even 6 weeks ones, even after 1 date… the other person (almost) always dumps me. So at least I can feel proud that I was able to walk away when I had such strong feelings for him. That is thanks to BR.

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Mary W,

      Wish I could say something that might help you in the black hole of overwhelming emotions. As someone who has experienced her own version of overwhelming emotions I recall an horrific black hole type feeling. There may be ways to explain, logically and rationally, what is “actually” happening in the land of overwhelming emotions but I don’t think that would be of much use, and could even result in you further beating yourself up for ‘knowing’ all this stuff in theory but doing something different in practice. I think you are doing the right thing in seeing a therapist. I want to say absolutely sincerely and truthfully, it doesn’t make one iota of difference to my level of regard for you that you contacted him after going NC the first time. I regard you highly for the compassionate, loving, courageous and honest qualities you exhibit through your comments. I worry for you in the current whirlwind of emotions,tomorrow will be a new day though. xo

      • MaryW says:

        Lizzp, thank you, thank you for caring. It means so much that someone, a complete stranger, cares, is non judgemental, and that’s what makes BR amazing. You’ve been so kind. I feel like I let down the people who gave me advise, and let myself down to get so embroiled in the first place. I was trying to take a leap of faith, make myself emotionally available and look what happened …

        But don’t worry about me. I have made plans for the next few days and weekend to look after myself, starting with therapy tomorrow (tissues will be needed), then seeing friends and then sorting out my phone so I cannot contact him.

        I’m just concerned that if he contacts me, I’ll crumble. Because yes you are right that I am compassionate (to everyone, generally, sometimes [often] excessively, to a fault) and I feel so sorry for him and his messed up, awful non-life.

        I think I show him more compassion that I show myself. And I don’t believe he’s a rotten/ bad person, just very damaged, but two damaged people together won’t work and I’ve been exhausted and miserable. It helps me to write this down and then re-read it.

        The black hole will go, I know it will.

        Thanks and bless you.

        • lizzp says:

          Hi Mary W, I think you’re right, the thing is to turn that compassion towards yourself first and foremost, once you can do this all the rest will be a lot easier and a lot of the bad feelings will go away. It won’t be easy but I think it is possible. Yes, we’re strangers but in the weird world that is cyber I’ll be thinking of you nonetheless :-).

          • lizzp says:

            p.s.Mary W. Re: worrying about how you might react if he contacts you, here’s a quote from Nat:
            “Instead of feeling bad about saying NO to them, start looking at it as saying YES to you, even if at its most basic, you’re saying YES to knowing that you deserve better.”

            It’s from the Post “Finding the Will Power to Change…”. It’s a really good one and I think it might speak to what you’re going through right now.

            BTW, I’ve found it incredibly useful to use the search box here by putting in a feeling I’ve been experiencing (when I can finally name it!) then book marking the relevant post. That way I have quick access to them if I feel myself starting to get overwhelmed. I’ve found they can act like a support for the moments when I struggle. If you think that might be of use to you (if you don’t already do that) you could try it.

            • MaryW says:

              Thank you lizzp. He did contact me, last night. This is what he said:

              “Just got home. Sad. But will leave you to it. I will still mention how you were important to me. Maybe my job and my tasks here got the better of me. Still, to me, in my heart, emotionally, you were a priority. Of all the times I had with you, I was wholeheartedly with you, as one. You were a salvation to me, you showed me that there could be a magnificent and beautiful being who could give me a piece of her heart. I will never forget you, you place, your voice, your fingers, how you hold your fingers against your beautiful nose when you speak, your feet, your ankles, your shoulders, your red hair…. But what I will miss most is your mind. Better than the unique and beautiful eyes that God gave you. I never set my eyes on anything as beautiful. Talking with you, exchanging ideas with you was always so easy and so natural…. It will always be what I’ll miss most. Your beautiful soul. I’m sad.But you leave me no choice. This was bad timing… As you said ….So, good night my sweet”.

              *sigh*

              Of course I responded, it was completely pointless though. I deleted him from WhatsApp, which is how he contacted me, I told him I was going to do it. I deleted my whole account.

              I will read Nat’s post “Finding the Will Power to Change” and quickly because with that message floating around in my head, I am finding this seriously, seriously hard. I don’t even know if I’ve done the right thing now, because there was this amazing connection. Dammit, I have to re-read my posts about how unhappy he made me.

              • lizzp says:

                Yes, good idea – read the posts. You will take his words as you will. Try to remind your self they are words, not actions. I’m not saying he’s not sincere, in all likelihood he believe’s he is. There’s something else thoug. Men really do show their respect and then love for a woman by their actions and men who are living by their integrity will always be aware of where their actions don’t match their words and will feel ashamed and guilty about it. So a man will avoid a disconnect between his actions and words if he is capable of respect and then love and if he effs up, as we all do, he will feel ashamed and guilty, want not to do it again, and will avoid it in the future.

                • lizzp says:

                  p.s. Mary W., don’t forget, he’s an alcoholic.

                  • MaryW says:

                    He does feel ashamed and guilty, and then he interprets that as pressure and he runs away. I think he’s already so ashamed and guilty for messing up his marriage (though I still don’t know what really happened there); I don’t think he can take those feelings of shame and guilt in a new relationship as well. So, he retreats when he realises he is letting me down, which makes me finish it because I not the most secure person. Not that anyone would feel secure in this position.

                    He is so messed up. He told me so himself. I wish I could put him in a tardis and he could be 6 months further down the line, more settled, less stressed, more recovered from his marriage breakdown, divorced!

                    It does boil down to respect, and he hasn’t been showing me respect through his actions when we are not together (completely different person when we are together); instead we got in to a strange power struggle where if I asked him to do something, he’d go out of his way not to.

                    And yes, he’s most likely an alcoholic (drinking Stella at breakfast, albeit at midday, is not normal).

                    As you can tell, I am going round in circles.

                    • lizzp says:

                      Hi Mary W. still angry at ‘him’ and that ‘letter’, grrrr!!! Re: him feeling shame and guilt (I would question guilt on the basis of the ‘letter’ but I’m aware that it has pressed my anger button, so guilt, ok yes). Ok, but I think the letter itself is a massive red flag if looked at from another perspective. It shows that he doesn’t deal with his shame and guilt as he should without involving you in it and isn’t trying to sort himself by himself as he should, he is soothing that guilt and shame using you, one of the objects of it.

                    • SearchingForSatori says:

                      MaryW,
                      The EUM/AC with whom I fell in love and was involved with for 3 years behaved exactly the same way and said the same things. I wish I had walked away at the point you are at now, because that man brought me to my knees. They will never be settled, never recovered. This is who they are. Only now, three years later, do I understand the extent of how messed up he is, and the extent of the alcholism. Only now after many, many attempts over 2 years am I able to go completely NC. It was only after facing the ugly reality of who/what I was dealing with that I am was able to. And it took three years for him to fully unfold so I could get the full picture. Three years of “I love you, come here” then disappearing. This is what I have on the face of my phone to remind me:

                      “Words are like drugs.
                      They can be mind altering even when they aren’t the truth.
                      Learn to listen to actions… they don’t lie.”

                      THIS is the MOST important of several lessons I learned from my “epiphany” relationship with the EUM/AC. That, and yes, they may love you, but in some warped way that we cannot understand and is so harmful to us.

                  • lizzp says:

                    Mary W, I have to back track on what I just wrote about him probably believing in his own sincerity. Those words come in a written message and it is well crafted, this is one of the problems with digital communication. He has a private agenda which is to AVOID PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for his choices in the relationship and even how he says he feels. The give away line is:

                    “I’m sad.But you leave me no choice. This was bad timing… As you said ….So, good night my sweet”.

                    From the perspective of someone who is not embroiled in your situation, I have to say to you that this makes me EXTREMELY ANGRY (his written words) and I imagine giving this **cker a cracking SLAP.

                    Nat’s posts on self esteem say it all. There’s a few – this is a quote from one:

                    “Take off the lens that says you’re not good enough – you’ll discover a whole new world with new possibilities with you in them.”. You are good enough Mary W. You just don’t know it yet in your heart.

                    • lizzp says:

                      Sorry to keep on, there is more I want to add. When you stop viewing his words and him through the lens of you not being good enough aka of you only being worth his insincere and manipulative words, you will realise that you gave your sincere love and compassion (which are some of the wonderful qualities you possess) to a WEAK, INSINCERE, WALKING EXCUSE of a man, who is INCAPABLE of the love, trust and care that you need and are yourself capable of giving. You might punish yourself for this for a while until you come to realise that you did the best you could at the time and then you will be genuinely proud of that and give yourself a big cuddle. You’ll realise that all the good qualities you have are not at fault. After that you will be alert to the signs of **uckers like him because you’ll be walking around knowing how valuable a person you are.

                      This is what I hope for you. I’ll admit, I’m hoping that it will make a difference to how quickly you get this **uck head out of your life for good, but (and it’s what comes after the but that matters right) I’ll be thinking of you with high regard no matter how often you might keep falling for this man-cum-**ck head and no matter how long you might keep believing in him and his words. You have to live out your own process.

              • Wiser says:

                Mary, I encourage you to read some of the posts at the Getting Past Your Breakup blog as well. One of her main themes is “love is an action,” not words. Words are easy. Words take very little effort. Words alone are nothing more than a cheap fraud. Actions, not emotional words, are the yardstick by which you have to gauge who this guy really is.

                Yes, he writes some lovely words… but so what? You don’t need a poor sad puppy who’s making it sound like you’re the one who’s hurting him. HUH? You need a man whose actions match his words. He’s all broken up because he’ll miss you?? Then why the fuck doesn’t he man up and do something about it! Because, again, they are just words that sound good to him. To him, “emotionally” he saw you as a priority? What good is that, if you aren’t a priority in reality!

                Please don’t be taken in by the sweet and sappy words. The kind of connection that makes a real relationship of any kind comes from… really connecting! Not on some vague emotional plane, but in real life, in real time, with actions, effort, prioritizing, will and commitment.

                • Wiser says:

                  p.s. as lizzp said, don’t forget he’s an alcoholic.

                  • MaryW says:

                    Lizzp and wiser, thank you both.

                    I had my therapy session, unearthed a few uncomfortable truths about myself. Talked about him of course.

                    Yes his message was carefully crafted and I can see why it makes Lizzp angry – it’s hollow words from a hollow man. It is manipulative. Lizzp, the bit that pisses me off is his talk of me being his salvation. WTF?

                    Me and him just had a ‘conversation”. I discussed NC with the therapist and she advised that it’s OK to have contact with him *with boundaries* as long as it helps me understand what happened and move on.

                    So we discussed things. He’s not trying to get back into my pants (at least, not yet). He recognises that he’s not ready to have someone in his life yet. He thought he was but he recognises he doesn’t. He said he needs help and I said that I agree but it can’t come from me; he has to help himself. I send him a fairly stern message telling/ advising him not to seek “help” (lizzp you’d be even angrier if I could be bothered to repeat all the BS in the messages) from a woman, that it isn’t fair on the woman. I told him he has to heal and make changes to his life in his own time.

                    Don’t shoot me down for defending him, but he’s going through a crisis, is human, made a mistake. But, at my expense (I pointed this out). I am angry with him but also have to take some responsibility myself for letting myself get so carried away, not recognising that his actions didn’t match his words sooner. I future faked, fast forwarded.

                    Wiser and Lizzp, I don’t want him anymore. I’ve seen an ugly side of him once too many. I get that I deserve better. I do get it. Maybe I’m having a rare moment of strength and clarity and will feel weak and nostalgic in the next hour, or next day (hope not). But no, I don’t want a man in crisis who is an alcoholic.

                    The Florence Nightingale in me is going to find it hard to step away completely, but I can’t fix him and as my therapist said, it’s a reflection or transference (?) of trying/ wanting to fix myself. Lots to think about …

                    Thank you both.

                • SearchingForSatori says:

                  Please don’t be taken in by the sweet and sappy words. “The kind of connection that makes a real relationship of any kind comes from… really connecting! Not on some vague emotional plane, but in real life, in real time, with actions, effort, prioritizing, will and commitment.”

                  Wiser, thank you, a reminder for me too.
                  MaryW, I left you a note up above.

                  • MaryW says:

                    Searching,
                    Sorry for your experience. Three years is a long, long time, and I know what you mean about being brought to your knees – it happened to me much earlier in life in a hideously dysfunctional ‘relationship’.

                    A younger me would probably have put up with this EUM for as long as your 3 years, but one of things that made me walk away is that I am getting to the point where I want to settle down and have children and I have to do it quite quickly at my age. I realised it wouldn’t happen with him.

                    Another difference is that this guy was actually quite open and honest about his life and therefore unfolded quickly. Had he held some things back, hidden some behaviours (like the drinking) I would probably still be hanging in there waiting for him to change.

                    The sweet and sappy words have stopped, we are in ‘post mortem’ phase (I want to try and learn from this, and dammit, I also want to get a few things off my chest). Like you, I am finding NC impossible right now. I hope I can do it in the next day or so though…

                    No, I won’t be taken in by any sweet and sappy words, should any more come my way. I think that phase has gone, both me and him realise that it’s over.

                    I like what you have on the cover of your phone and think I should do the same – have a constant reminder just in case. And as a reminder for when I start to date again, because it’s obviously not applicable to just one man, but life in general.

                    Well done going NC, and thanks for taking the time to share. It helps.

  58. Eline says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s exactly what I needed to hear. Although I thought I no longer dealt with abusive relationships, I do find myself still invalidating my own feelings in order to appear “acceptable” to my boyfriend. I try to appease him and myself by making things seem less bad than they are, and that I’m overreacting when in fact I’m not. Still have some learning to do, but luckily I’ve come a long way, thanks to your site as well!

  59. lo j says:

    MaryW … pretty words mean nothing. Pretty actions mean EVERYTHING. We can all say the right thing its doing the right thing that counts. Its just dramatics.

  60. deedee says:

    I stumbled onto this blog and post while searching for ‘signs’ I had gotten rejected without it being verbally said. I am a woman. I’ve been reading all the comments and have read quite a few posts too. So lucky I found this blog!
    I think sometimes if we, ourselves, are emotionally unavailable or have red alerts within us we end up attracting EUMs and such. I have been ‘single’ for about five years, finding EUMs but never settling and always resenting them+myself and repeating patterns.
    I have recently met another EUM and came head to head with my own problem and manipulative ways. When I think/know/feel I am losing them I pretend I will sleep with them (I haven’t and won’t). It’s all through messages and it’s very convincing. I leave them hanging and make them chase me, calling me and inviting me over. This shows me that they truly were looking for a booty call and a EUM. But does that make me one too? Although I know I am doing it and with this latest one I apologized for being so mean and pulling a practical joke on him. I actually called him on the phone vs continuing my patterns of hiding/avoiding or texting. He was very nervous and said he didn’t think I was like that and thought it was weird and funny at first. He’s been jerking me around for about a month. The weird thing with him is that he ‘appears’ to care; like remembering things I said, ‘doing’ things I asked, making conversation (later disappearing if he chooses to), asking questions etc (this is over text, of course). I know he’s a EUM and won’t ask me out again, specially not after having me play his game back at him. But I do wonder why put in the supposed “effort”? Do EUMs searching for a booty call do this too to make you feel ‘wanted’ and all?

    I may also have put him on a pedestal since he seemed like a very nice guy when we met and treated me nicely – at first.And it’s been difficult to find someone ‘nice’. Maybe it’s because I’m not so nice and run away from commitment? I want it but I’m scared I’ll fail at it and have to start over and over and over…

  61. espresso says:

    It has taken me a long time to see that there was no congruency between what my ex felt, said and did. He never did think things through but he was in starry eyed love with himself for his words and “good intentions.” I was constantly frustrated and angry about why the follow up wasn’t there but I excused it or act least “tried” to accept his excuses – the main one being “I am such a failure” To be really honest I don’t want to sell myself short here but until a year ago I never completely saw how pervasive this inconsistency was and how it affects everything. He is a people pleaser so won’t follow through on anything that involves him stepping up to the plate with people. So now I know he is unreliable and can’t fundamentally be trusted.
    And I had my own problems too – being so angry and frustrated and using MY words but never following through with actions. I lived in hope and it is okay to “try” for awhile but how much time and effort is worth giving to a lost cause? It can go on for YEARS.

    The degree with which a partner has insight into themselves is a really important clue. If there is no insight no interest in confronting the self (which can be really hard!) then it is hopeless. no matter what the person says.

  62. espresso says:

    Oh Mary – the man has a definite “way with words” and I can see that it is hard to push that back. It is so hard when people SAY things like that not to believe that they are sincere and will follow up by being consistent, reliable and empathic. It is no wonder we get sucked in.

    My ex has a very poetic bent and a few months ago wrote me a long long letter entitled “The Gift” – I am sure he must have spent hours on the words and the metaphors likening us to different trees etc. All the time I read it I just thought, he hasn’t a clue and what a sad waste of time this all was. It made me feel a bit guilty to be so dismissive of his effort but I felt it was more for HIS benefit than mine. He still says that I will be the only one he will ever love but since I never felt he really HAD respect for me I know it is all a fantasy in his head. If he had loved me he certainly would not have treated me as he did (and still does in many of our interactions).

    What these guys SAY so poetically and this expression of “intimacy” is not connected with actions and follow through so in actuality it means….nothing at all. Bravo for you seeing the truth of the matter and for protecting yourself.

    • MaryW says:

      Espresso, lucky you receiving such a lovely poem (sarcasm). Yes I am sure he wrote it more for you than for him. The bit about it being a fantasy in his head sounds familiar… I think the chap I was embroiled with was looking for a fantasy relationship with the support that gave him, but couldn’t follow through with actions. I gave all the love and compassion and got nothing back…. and like you, I was frustrated and angry. When someone brings out such negativity in one, it surely isn’t a healthy relationship.

      When he is sober, I think the guy I was with does have some insight into himself but I notice that he only ‘reads’ (replies to) the messages he wants to and ignores the ones with the important messages. So I guess he’s not able to take a good look at himself, really.

      These men aren’t our problem any more, Espresso. Isn’t that a nice feeling :)

      • lizzp says:

        Hi Mary W., Wow, you are coming a long way. I salute you! On the subject of words not matching actions, take a look at a comment on Nat’s latest post by ellie, her situation is way different to yours in many ways, but it is a terrifying reminder of the disconnect that some men are capable of when it comes to their words and their actions(see the part of her comment where her guy speaks to her on the street after she tries to physically run away from him in an attempt to protect herself emotionally – he won’t let her go or let her ‘let go’ – he uses his words like a rabid dog in lock-jaw).

        I can see how useful it can be to get closure for your self with your ex through having the opportunity to say what you need to and didn’t say prior and also for you to see him taking responsibility for his problems that impacted on the relationship and recognising that he doesn’t have what it takes to co-pilot with care, trust and respect. In Nat’s latest she mentions a mental tool she uses to help repair/prevent boundary incursions – “That’s not mine, that’s yours. Take it back.”. Pretty damn useful for when we start to get confused. Perhaps you were able to consolidate that in some sense through the conversation that you mention you had with him (above somewhere).

        Please be careful though Mary W. I’m sure you’re aware of the danger, if you continue too long in this closure with him, of slipping back into Florence mode or secretly harbouring fantasies about the future, that could result in you remaining attached in your mind to an imagined ‘future’ him. If this happens and you don’t address it with yourself you will be more vulnerable to breaking NC once you commit to going there proper. And the thing is, if you break NC after you have both done the closure thing and committed to the NC, and then you break it – the message that he gets is that you don’t match *your* words with *your* Actions. Despite him getting an F minus in this subject himself, if you break NC in such a situation, despite whatever reasons you give for it, the results for him will be (1) a nose dive in the respect he may have had or even developed for you up to that point, out of which comes (2) a green light to go back to what he was doing before. On top of this you’ll have to deal with your own nose dive in self respect and the knowledge that you have let yourself down in the self worth and value department by seeking to connect with a man who has showed you through his actions or lack thereof that he has nothing to give you. I’m speaking from my own experience which when it comes down to it is all each of us has.

        I’m not intending to be a doom and gloom party pooper – just a reminder.

        I’m proud of you, I think you’re handling this very emotionally difficult and challenging situation and yourself (with all the very human ups and downs relapses, set backs/step forwards) brilliantly. -

        • MaryW says:

          Lizzp, you are reading my mind. I am sitting here stewing. I don’t think there’s much more to be said to him, and I don’t think he listens anyway. He is no longer my responsibility – wait, he never was.

          I am feeling angry that he was basically using me to heal himself, basically said as much, that he needs “help” – I don’t think he actually considered me in the relationship at all! I suppose if I have anything else to say to him, it’s that!

          I completely agree re being careful with contact. I have just ordered a new phone (so his details won’t be on it) and discussed changing numbers with the salesman. It’s very easy to do, apparently, just takes another phone call.

          I’ve had the same number all my adult life and I think “what a faff” having to give my new number to friends, family, banks, etc, but it will be worth it for peace of mind.

          I am vey aware that I could slip in to Florence mode, or even in to fantasy land. I think I might harness the anger to start NC. I think I am going to have to do it without telling him, because we’ve already discussed NC and it hasn’t happened. I haven’t actually said STOP but we discussed it. I am afraid of losing contact with him even though I know it’s the right thing – I’m just going to have to take the plunge.

          I completely agree with your points on NC and think what I’ll have to do is get a new phone number and maybe have his written down on a piece of paper at the back of a drawer at work or something in case of emergency (though I can’t think what that emergency would be.. just thinking out loud now).

          I will read Ellie’s post.

          Thanks, Lizzp, for your continued support. x

          • MaryW says:

            I discussed some issues with him yesterday in the intersts of closure and moving on. I confronted him about why his marriage ended – his cheating and drinking were factors. I had wondered whether his drinking had started since the breakup because he’s in crisis, but no, it preceded that. He said he didn’t cheat for 18 years (the length of his marriage) but he did cheat … And I thought about that, digested it. At one point he said “I only seem to give you anguish”. Right on.

            I have reached the end of closure, and with Lizzp’s words of warning ringing in my head, I need to go cold turkey. To keep discussing things with him is utterly pointless when I know I can’t trust him, when I know I can’t accept his drinking (yesterday morning I had a vivid dream in which he was horribly drunk and I was horribly hurt and disappointed).

            I haven’t had the strength to send him a final message – or maybe I just see it as pointless – but I have taken steps to block him from contacting him. He could still do so in he really wanted to but I hope that in (him) recognising he brings me nothing but anguish, he will leave me be.

            I have been so consumed with anxiety that I haven’t been myself for weeks. I haven’t been focusing at work, I haven’t been there for my friends, I haven’t been able to face any other of things I have to face.

            I need to, am ready to, shift the focus firmly back on to me, to reflect on how I got suckered in to this believing it was true love. I need to seriously address my low self esteem, my people pleasing tendencies and my desperate need for affection and love. I need to be able to give myself love, compassion and respect.

            Lizzp, the black hole has really hit now that I’ve accepted it’s over and the denial has gone. I’ve hit a harder place but I guess that’s part of the process.

            I think that in some of my posts I was being unduly optimistic about how well I was coping and how well I was moving on, when I wasn’t at all.

            I suppose I’m glad I addressed those issues with him directly (cheating and drinking) because I now see an ugly, dangerous man. Dangerous to me, dangerous to himself, dangerous to any vulnerable woman. This isn’t just him reacting to a crisis in his life, this is something that’s been going on for longer, than caused the crisis.

            The initial “connection” and feelings of love were not based on reality, but were based on me being so desperate to find “the one” and getting caught up in the future faking that he and I were both doing. I lapped up his compliments and thought they equalled love.

            This really has been a hard lesson.

            • lizzp says:

              Hey Mary W, Getting through a break up/getting over a failed relationship is a process and everyone goes through their own. You have to try as best you can to trust in your process, how you’re feeling and kind of just BE in it. It’s hard because although you know the end point will be when you come out of the black hole or the dark tunnel or however it feels to you, before that it’s kinda dark and you have to feel you’re way around.

              You say :”I think that in some of my posts I was being unduly optimistic about how well I was coping and how well I was moving on, when I wasn’t at all.”

              That’s all part of the process too. Do you’re best not to judge yourself – you *were* moving on then and you are now. It’s just not your time to take a step back right now because you are in the midst of going through.

              I was thinking about you and wondering how you were doing last night.

              • lizzp says:

                p.s. always seem to be doing the old p.s.’ these days! Wanted to add that could be that what’s happening now is that some of the truths about him and your relationship are hitting you at a gut level, at the same time this brings up the fact that you are actually alone. It’s very tough but you’ll find yourself somehhow handling it as you go along.

                • MaryW says:

                  Lizzp, it is tough but last night and today I’ve seen it all from a more objective point of view, how you and the other helpful people here have seen it all along.

                  Before then I was not seeing it entirely clearly (just glimpses of clarity, broken up by his messages).

                  I am sure I will have moments of doubt or confusion or missing him, but I’ve finally had a day with no anxiety and with peace and clarity. And it’s a most welcome break. I don’t wish to return to that turmoil.

                  Thank you so much, Lizzp.

                  p.s. I’m happier being alone than with him, though it’s what I dreaded the most (being alone). I had no faith in myself but I am stronger than I thought.

                  P.p.s. hope you are still comfortable and feeling less pain during your period of retreat/ contemplation. X

  63. [...] There’s no need to keep justifying your feelings to you (Baggagereclaim.co.uk) [...]

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