weighing scales

Earlier on in my life, I came to believe that it’s really important to do what people expect or tell you to do or be. No-one specifically stated this but through interactions and observations, I deduced that you get loved, respected, cared for, trusted, and valued when you’re what others want you to be, which feeds very ‘nicely’ into believing that this is why love and like doesn’t happen or is withdrawn. Me being happy and others being happy with and liking/loving me became intrinsically linked to looking for some tipping point of pleasing others where if I loved, gave, twisted, and contorted myself into a Transformer, I’d be ‘good enough’.

I discovered though that even if you do what you believe others expect or what they explicitly ask you to do or be, you can still experience negative consequences, such as you being unhappy or them being non plussed or you still feeling like you’re not good enough. I discovered there’s no ‘tipping’ point unless you count tipping into some sort of personal hell where you wonder who the hell you are and why you feel so bad. You’ve probably discovered this too if you’ve abandoned your boundaries and sense of self to fit in with others and ‘win’ affection, attention, and acceptance.

It turns out that the best thing in life is to be yourself.

Half the time, people don’t know what the frick they want for themselves so putting yourself at the mercy of their flip flapping ways is a recipe for pain. When we try to be what others expect or ask us to, we end up selling ourselves short, side stepping our values, abandoning basic boundaries, sleeping with people to please them, listening to excuses, being abused, and staying in situations long past their sell by dates etc because we think their actions or lack there of are down to us.

Every time you do this, you’re saying ‘You’re of greater value than me’. You need to be concerning yourself with what you think, want, do, and value. You’ll never feel good enough if the only way to work out you’re ‘enough’ is on the moving goal posts of others.

I’ve come to realise that it’s impossible to care about the opinions, whims, and demands of everyone in the universe or to meet their expectations, which is why I live very firmly by the I Don’t Give a Eff Principle. I’m not about to change how I feel about me, tie myself up in knots, or invalidate the choices I make based on the opinions of the media, randoms, and basically people who aren’t really in any position to be telling me who I am or what I should do.

Particularly as a woman, I’m confronted day in day out by social messaging that attempts to shape appearance, mentality, self-esteem, aspirations, how I parent, my relationships and basically define my femininity. Women are marketed and spoken to via their self-esteem with ways to ‘improve’ and ‘beautify’ ourselves and live up to unrealistic, often heavily Photoshopped images and expectations. It’s like we have to be taken ‘down’ and then sold some messaging or a product to take us back ‘up’.

Listening to myself and using past experiences as a benchmark, I’ve learned a few key things that keep me on the straight and narrow:

Don’t court or internalise the opinions of those that don’t matter and always reserve your right to make up your own mind. It’s fine to listen to external feedback and filter to what’s appropriate for you, but make sure that they’re valuable, credible sources. With your interpersonal relationships, I’d be very cautious of becoming a Transformer when you’re not in a mutually respectful, never mind trusting, caring, loving friendship/romantic relationship etc.

Never sacrifice yourself in the hope that it will create a mutually fulfilling relationship – it won’t. That’s not love – it’s a massacre.

Get behind you and your choices. If you don’t, you’re at the mercy of anything and anyone that contradicts what you think you are or should be or the choices that you’ve made. If not, you’ll for example, read something in the paper, and go into a slump or feel like you have to defend yourself or your choice. A life of second guessing is very insecure. Validate you. Don’t allow others to make up your mind for you because it’s critical to learn to trust yourself.

I’m totally OK with making a mistake and admitting I’m wrong and you have to be too. This ensures that you act in your best interests and learn to recognise ‘right’, ‘good’, etc. The fear of making mistakes lessens when you recognise that you can recover and limit the damage through emotional honesty and action.

It’s impossible to be liked by ‘everyone’ and the truth is, i don’t like everyone and if you’re honest, neither do you. We can burn up a lot of life fuel trying to be the Good Girl/Good Guy and it’s like we’ve been socially conditioned that we should like and please everyone, be friends with exes no matter what they do and try to win over people.

I’m totally OK with not being liked by somebody. That’s a big thing for me to say after years of being worried about what ‘everyone’ thinks. Who is ‘everyone’? It’s like trying to cup the ocean in my hands. Obviously if a mutual liking or loving suddenly develops into one way traffic, I’d be bothered, but I’m not going to worry about someone that either never liked me anyway or who doesn’t value me.

It’s OK if someone doesn’t like you. The sky won’t fall in. They are not the definition of you or the world.

You cannot please everyone. I wouldn’t even try to. When your chief concern is being validated by others, little do you realise how greatly that affects your actions because your focus isn’t living authentically – it’s trying to be what you think others want.

I’ve discovered that being myself doesn’t create ‘negative’ consequences, a fallacy that I lived with for a big part of my life – It’s people being pissed off or uncomfortable because they can’t do as they like.

Never apologise for who you are. You can apologise for something specific that you do, but don’t apologise for living and breathing, for having boundaries, standards, rules because it’s like saying “I apologise for having some self-respect and making it difficult for you to take advantage of or even abuse me”.

Judge people on the quality of your interactions, not the bullshit fluff, assumptions, and hearsay of other people. It’s easy to think they have 10 degrees/x job/liked by this person/says they’re really nice or intelligent or successful and yada yada yada but that doesn’t make anyone ‘better’ than you or a great relationship candidate. How they treat you and the quality of your relationship with them is what matters.

You’re a great person in your own right – your life isn’t a sales pitch.

Go and do your thing with integrity and some self-love and apply your energy in the right places.There’s no tipping point for winning someone over because if you have to break your back for them to match you, it’s like saying they’re worth two or three of you which is imbalanced. Relationships are 100:100. Either take them off their pedestal and be yourself in a mutual partnering, or get out fast before you bankrupt yourself.

You can grow and learn out of your relationships and life experiences, but it’s you that makes you, not others.

People that spend their life seeking validation end up being like walking, talking pieces of clay for everyone else to mould. When you know the line, they know the line. When you know who you are, others know who you are, and if you don’t know yet, you’re worth the investment of some of your time and energy to find out. Nobody will ever know you if you hide your light under the bushel of another person or the perceived expectations and wants of others.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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111 Responses to There’s No Tipping Point of Loving, Giving, & Doing Enough To ‘Win’ People Over

  1. It’s all there in the Subject line – but the rest of the article is well worth a read, too. :-)

    I’ve found that if I tie myself up in knots so that somebody who doesn’t like me, likes me better… not only do they still not like me, but now, neither do I! Much better to be good to myself, and stop trying to cater to those who are emotionally abusive.

    Natalie, when you going to add a Twitter button? Would like to share this but am afraid I’ll run out of characters.

  2. cheekie says:

    Another great post! I think most, if not all, of us have experienced this sense of never being good enough at some point in our lives.
    When it comes to relationships, remember too that sometimes trying to be ‘more’ than what’s asked or expected of you is a form of controlling behaviour.

    When you are too nice, too giving, too ready to sort out someone else’s stuff for them, too willing to give to prove your love, you are in fact sending a message to the other person that you don’t think that THEY are capable. That they can’t live without you. And that breeds all sorts of trouble.
    I’ve been guilty of being ‘too’ good at times, and never got the results I wanted. Because I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

    It’s tough to get the balance right, and it’s tough to stand your own ground, to say no occasionally and to sometimes just let someone else do the work.
    But you have to. No one wants to be around someone so willing to overdo it with the attention that they sacrifice themselves. It doesn’t breed a lot of respect.


    • NML says:

      Very well said Cheekie, especially “When it comes to relationships, remember too that sometimes trying to be ‘more’ than what’s asked or expected of you is a form of controlling behaviour.”

      I recognise that in me trying to be what I think others want from me or expect, I’m not only making their supposed agenda my agenda, but in my own way, with the expectations that come with all the effort, I’m seeking to control theirs.

      The truth is we don’t respect ourselves and they don’t respect us *either*, even if they get to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

      • cheekie says:

        I know my triggers much better now. When I feel there’s something ‘not right’ going on in the relationship, and get insecure – I crank up the nice. It’s annoying as hell to the other person, and makes them back up further.
        It’s as much avoidance of the issues as drinking, drugs, emotional detachment and anger are. It’s hiding behind this ‘if I’m nice, they can’t be mean and leave me’ attitude.

        Fear of abandonment, more than likely. Hard habit to break. But, I try to say no to small stuff, just to test it. And the sky doesn’t fall. The bigger stuff is harder, but it’s getting easier now that I realise my triggers.

      • Irina says:

        Natalie, does this post apply to the family, especially the parents?
        I love my mother though she’s very supportive, we don’t see life in the same way. Perhaps, its because she lived longer, made her mistakes and has to live with the consequences of it. But I want a different future for myself, to to find out who I am and who I could be in the future and to achieve that, I need time however everyone around me seems to be goal-oriented while I’m simply floating, waiting for an opportunity to escape. Whenever I say that I study Biochemistry most people approve of this and my parents too so in some distorted way I feel somehow socially apt when, in truth, it shouldn’t matter. Thanks to this constant doubt in my mind, I’m in and out of depressions because I absolutely hate the idea of spending my life locked in a lab producing God-knows-what-drug for some pharmaceutical company, I’d very much rather try to apply for a medical school, at least, I’d be helping a lot of people in the long run. My friends ask “why aren’t you following your dream? Every hour you spend in a lab is a waste of time that could be spent chasing your dream.” But what stops me is the idea of disappointing my family and the fear of failure is bigger because I know that the second I fail to achieve my goal there will be vultures around me, accusing me of throwing an intelectually stimulating and very financially stable future for nothing but air…
        How do you defy your family and the values you were taught in order to take a chance ? How do you find the courage to take a leap?

    • Spinster says:

      Thanks to cheekie for giving me more food for thought; never thought of it this way:

      “When it comes to relationships, remember too that sometimes trying to be ‘more’ than what’s asked or expected of you is a form of controlling behaviour.

      When you are too nice, too giving, too ready to sort out someone else’s stuff for them, too willing to give to prove your love, you are in fact sending a message to the other person that you don’t think that THEY are capable. That they can’t live without you.”

      • cheekie says:

        I unfortunately learned that lesson the hard way. A few times (I’m kind of thick). I always thought that showing how much I cared, and how kind I was, would mean they’d never leave. But, thanks to an ex bf yelling at me as he walked out ‘You worry about everything way too much, and you can’t control life like that, you need help’ (the last part was him being an asshat, but anyway, it was referencing my need to always know what was going on, always getting my hand into something I didn’t need to, and always bending over backwards for fear of losing control of the situation.
        I did get some help. And was told how passive-aggressive this kind of behaviour is, and given some tools to stop it.
        I have a very nurturing personality. It’s just me. But like I said before, when I get insecure – that goes into overdrive and becomes good old fashioned smothering…not fun.

        • Minky says:

          “need to always know what was going on, always getting my hand into something I didn’t need to, and always bending over backwards for fear of losing control of the situation” – yep yep and yep! I have problems with this too. It’s true that it’s controlling behaviour, i just never realised that it was about control before. It’s a sign of insecurity in me, which i’m trying to fight against.

          Thanks for putting it into words – and good luck :)

  3. CC says:

    One of the most difficult things about going NC for me was risking that he would not like me, or be mad. For some reason THAT was much harder for me to deal with. I’ve spent my entire life worried about being perfect, always being liked, being funny, gracious, a great hostess… I could go on and on. I think it is inherent that we all have some standard of being kind, good spirited, respectful people but now I don’t bend over backwards worrying about it pleasing everyone just so they like me. Twisting myself into a pretzel was just another thing I used to get my own validation. By learning that validation came from within, the most important person was finally won over… myself!

    • NML says:

      I hear ya CC – I did NC with a guy that worked across from me. Feeling like I was a bitch nearly killed me at first until I realised that when I wasn’t NC, I regarded myself as something far worse. You don’t need to be play hostess to mind f*ckery. As Cavewoman said further down in this post, when the music stops and you rip the needle from the record, you can remind yourself that It was good (for them) while it lasted.

  4. becky says:

    This post was perfect timing for me…thank you so much for it. I have just come out of a relationship with a man who was physically very beautiful and incredibly sexy, but I felt instinctively that he felt I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for him in the looks department, and I ended up bending over backwards and trying to please him, to make up for this….of course it didn’t work – it just made him value and respect me even less because I tried too hard…the whole situation did indeed end up feeling like a journey into hell and made me extremely depressed. Reading your post just now really cheered me up, as I am learning the error of my ways and it came at just the right time! Thanks so much – I love your blog!

    • NML says:

      Thanks Becky! He may be very beautiful and sexy but if he thinks that all he has to bring to the table, he’ll be in for a sharp surprise. There’s only so long you can coast on superficial stuff. I

  5. Well-done, Natalie. I’m sending the link to this article to several of my female relatives. In addition to the media messages you mention, we need to be careful about the advice about being cooperative with everyone — even those who do not deserve it. Many articles advise women on how to perform in the workplace (women shouldn’t be assertive because it could come across as aggressive; women shouldn’t appear too intelligent; women should help even co-workers who are slackers on the job in order to come across as a team player,etc.). I think we should be as selective as everyone else about who to invest time and energy in nurturing friendships with. It feels great to become free from the need for approval from everyone. We need to stop giving everyone authority over our perceptions and feelings about who we are.

    My favorite quote that helps remind me not to be intimidated by anyone or to put someone on a pedestal is this: If you can’t prevent your own death, you are a human being with limitations — just like the rest of us! Anyone who has limits should know that humility is a good thing. And yet there are many people who will want you to think their judgment should matter more than yours about who you are and what you should be. They think they should have unlimited power — whether in family, work or social situations — to shape your life and determine your options forever. LOL.

    • NML says:

      “If you can’t prevent your own death, you are a human being with limitations — just like the rest of us!” Amen Fannie! Turns out they also fart, burp, have insecurities, and make mistakes like the rest of us too.

    • PJM says:

      So, so true RE workplace issues. I decided about two years ago – for the first time in my life – to stop doing the shit jobs that always get handed out to professional women. This can include something which looks as posh as organising a conference, but this is actually (for me) just a nightmare of overwork which does nothing for my CV in the line of work I’m in, so I now say No, very firmly but very politely.

      On the whole I’ve found workplace issues much easier to deal with than private life issues, but now thanks to this site, the workplace common sense now has a chance of filtering into private life. For example: know your own strengths, weakenesses and capacity. Don’t overburden yourself. Know exactly who you are and what you have to offer.

  6. Natasha says:

    Excellent, just excellent. My ex-AC told me flat out he had been expecting an apology from me for saying that I didn’t want anyting to do with someone who, when you get right down to it, saw me as “less than”. One thing I thank my lucky stars for is that I had the sense not to give him that apology and turn down his offer of friendship. Boundaries aren’t just there to keep out the bad (EUMs, ACs and various other users), but to keep in the good (our self respect and belief in ourselves, as well as our belief in real love).

    • NML says:

      Damn right you had the good sense to! You’d have regretted pressing the Reset Button for him.

      • Natasha says:

        Preeeeeecisely! My feeling was that if he wanted to go on telling himself he was a great guy, he could knock himself out, but heck no was I going to sit there and invalidate how I felt/what I experienced for the sake of someone who couldn’t have given a fig less about me. It really is kind of funny how people who act like jackasses can go into a snit when you won’t tell them how wonderful they are. This might be a little off topic, but a month or so after this I read your posts about being friends with an ex-EUM/AC and I thought they were truly outstanding. Everyone should have the boundary line that reads, “If you don’t know how to act, you don’t get to be my friend. Step aside.”

  7. Elle says:

    Funny, I’ve just – ie in the last 30 minutes – had a conversation with a guy from my past about this. He rang to ask me whether I thought he’d given up on ‘us’ too early and whether if he’d have behaved differently towards me, we’d be together now. After being on that side of the fence – tap-dancing for an AC (and, yes, in some ways I am his AC – though without the faking and cruelty) – I was so much better equipped for the conversation. I basically said what the essence of this (stellar) post is – that there is no such thing as being just a bit more…As I said in relation to intelligence in the last post, when someone’s not open to you and to what you represent to them (for fair and unfair reasons), your approach does not make a difference. In fact, and similar to Cheekie’s comment, it can be quite controlling – and not actually about relating to the other person as a person – when you’re trying to be everything for someone. You feel sacrificed (massacred!), but (unless the person is a complete taker-crazy) they too feel burdened.

  8. 19 Years Wiser says:

    I’ve been liked this my entire life. I’ve always tried to please everyone–my family, friends, teachers, enemies, etc. I wanted everyone to like me and for everyone to be my friend, even if I don’t even like them. I’m not sure exactly where this dire need for approval (especially approval from men) comes from, but it feels as though it’s always been there.

    I fight this everyday. I have problems even telling some random guy who’s hitting on me on Facebook “no” because I’m stuck in trying to please everyone and be “The Good Girl.” At this point, I’m not really sure who I am, what I want, etc. I’ve been molded by everyone around me. Even the media. I often get into slumps because of messages I get from the media or the people around me.

    I’m trying to change and to stand up for myself. I’m working on having a more positive self-image, on figuring out what I want and need, setting up boundaries, etc. I’m also working on not allowing negative messages to come into my life, causing me to feel bad about myself. I’m still not sure how to do all of this. But I want to be happy, so I’m trying.

    • NML says:

      19 Years Wiser, you’ll also find that in the medium and long-term you’ll be happier trying than you would have been if you accepted the status quo.

  9. Spinster says:

    A lot of this applies to me. Just replace “nice/good girl” with (what people consider) mean/hard ass/standoffish or whatever else people have said about me (especially when I was younger). Another potential tear jerker. Gonna re-read this in the morning.

    P.S. My mother (or egg donor) used to say “I’m giving you grace”, as if she were God or any other higher power, if I said/did something “wrong” and turned things around by saying/doing what pleased her. There wasn’t, and probably still isn’t, a tipping point with her because like you said, folks like this are never satisfied.

    • NML says:

      “Egg donor” – that made me snort with laughter. “I’m giving you grace” made me laugh even harder and I winced with a little familiarity…. Your mother sure as hell isn’t God or a higher power – talk about delusions of bleedin’ grandeur!

      • Spinster says:

        Yep. She also took credit for ALL of my education, from nursery school and beyond, as if she did all my homework & classwork & papers & science projects & etc. etc. ad nauseam….. yet I AM the one saddled with student loans. 😐 She also took it personally when I decided not to go to medical school. She’s a real piece of work. 😐 Sigh.

  10. colororange says:

    Living authentically…..really I’m sitting here thinking how I am on a day to day basis and one thing comes to mind: authentically I think I may be a mean person lol. I’m not a woo-woo person who falls all over herself when I see someone I haven’t seen for a while or even since yesterday. Possibly that is emotionally unavailable but it makes me feel silly. I’m a simple “hey how are you doing?” kind of lady. And I don’t pretty my words up and I ask questions flat out. Honestly, there are many sides to me as I’m not the same person every single minute or day. I don’t feel the same all the time.

    “I’ve discovered that being myself doesn’t create ‘negative’ consequences, a fallacy that I lived with for a big part of my life – It’s people being pissed off or uncomfortable because they can’t do as they like.”
    I’ve seen this too: people being upset because they cannot or will not do what I’m doing. It’s like when I am around loud, mouthy people….part of me gets upset because I wish I could be that vocal and say what is really going on inside me.

    And I am around someone that has oodles of “friends” and I am often left wondering how in the heck this person has them?? Because when I am around her I feel like crap. Then I doubt myself like when she does something “nice” and I think well maybe she is not that bad. But it isn’t too long that she makes one of her remarks and I quickly remember why I don’t like her muh fuggin azz. Each day I do my damnedest to have the courage to do what I want to do. And it takes courage when I have for so long lived under the perceived watchful eye of everyone and their sister. I suppose when others talk trash about me or anyone else it is really a statement about themselves. And there is no need for me to take it on unless I see some benefit in it to better myself.

    • NML says:

      I don’t know many woo-woo people Colororange (love that term) so I wouldn’t think you’re anyone strange. It doesn’t make you emotionally unavailable to be reserved or shy – I know people who are both AND emotionally available in healthy relationships with some key friendships. I know some insanely popular people and they don’t ‘do’ anything for me. I’m sure there are any number of reasons why they vibe with the people they do, but I’m OK with not feeling it. Being friends with ‘everyone’ isn’t really a marker of anything. In fact I know someone who has a shitload of friends and no true close friendships. I’d rather have one or a few close friends than what amounts to a gazillion acquaintances and hangers on. You can’t like and be friends with everyone.

  11. jennynic says:

    This post has hit home. I have been reading your posts, every post, since August when I discovered your site after breaking up with the AC. I read, scoured, reread and then reread your stuff. I thought I got it. I almost did, part of me did. I put myself back out here when I thought I was ready. I wasn’t. I hadn’t learned enough yet, about me, about why. Tonight I feel a different kind of understanding. I ended up in another unhealthy situation, trying to extricate myself again. I am not near as destroyed as I was with the four year AC experience, but I do hurt nontheless. It has been 5 months with a guy I had a crush on for almost 10 years. Although he is not evil, he is difficult and not respecting me, or hearing me. The red flags have been there since the beginning. I thought I was too smart for them this time. I’m not, but I realize that I AM SMARTER than I was a year ago and do have more respect for myself. I won’t back down. I am drinking a glass of wine tonight, my thoughts are flowing freely and I am thinking of tomorrow and making plans for myself, like going to the City and going dancing ( I never do this) and to paint a picture. I am not devastated. I am hurt , a little but I am fine. I have grown and learned another big lesson. This post is right on, perfect and once again, uncanny. I have learned that I can choose me after 5 months. It doesn’t have to take four years. I am still choosing me and, although I faltered, I picked me. For me that is progress.

    • NML says:

      Jennynic, you’re only human and part of that is making mistakes. One of the things I know is that you can be genius, but no-one is smarter than red flags. Literally no-one. That’s like assuming a power you don’t have or deciding that you can get in a cage with a lion because you think you can ‘cope’. I also agree that 5 months is very good. You’ll move past this. The key is to heed the lesson.

      • jennynic says:

        Getting in the cage with the lion and ‘coping’ is a good analogy. When I feel like I might slip back into old ways and minimize red flags, I’ll picture the lion and whether I want to sit next to it waiting for it to bite, which it will eventually. Looking a little deeper, I guess I thought I could manage the red flags by adjusting my behavior. Instead of getting upset I thought I would state that something bothered me just back away for a little while and he would learn to adjust his behavior. Well, this didn’t work. I was trying to be the exception again and after reading a past post of yours on passive aggression, I realized I was trying to control him with my own behavior. Futile. Maybe I will picture a leopard in a cage, who is equally dangerous and unpredictable, but who also won’t change his spots. Thanks.

  12. brianna says:

    Sooo insightful!!

  13. Magnolia says:

    I have spent most of my life trying *not* to be what people *don’t* like. I have had little sense of myself as good in any other way than being good at my writing and in my personal life have simply tried to be not too mouthy, not too sensitive, not too whiny, etc. This life of double negatives has not made me a positive person!

    It has been a rough few months realizing that I don’t relate to people by actively liking them for their values, I often end up with people who don’t rub me the wrong way or who have something – whether that be a trait or a skill – that I want to learn. And I don’t really like me.

    Now that I’ve managed to lay off the self-verbal-abuse for a few months, I’m starting on the exciting road of doing things, and noticing things, that I like – about others and about myself. It feels like I finally get to apply all the creativity I’ve used in my writing to creating my own self just the way I want, every day.

    And as for finally feeling as though I have permission – or simply must – for my own peace of mind, STOP giving a sh*t if people like me or not – what a relief. Caring if I like me or not is more than enough worry every day. I am a recovering perfectionist and tough to please!!

    • NML says:

      “Caring if I like me or not is more than enough worry every day. I am a recovering perfectionist and tough to please!!” – well it’s best to start with you then! Widening the focus of your life opens you up to new and wonderful experiences – enjoy getting to know and embrace you x

    • Magnolia says:

      Thanks NML. Seriously, I feel like I want to win myself over but that I keep waiting for myself to get my act together before I fully accept who I am.

      Today was a conflicted day emotionally as I had a full, open day to work and a deadline tomorrow and I sabotaged it by procrastinating every which way. It’s all I can do to keep from unleashing a torrent of abuse in my head. It’s not easy to learn to love myself when I act out like this.

      But I don’t want to attract any more men who treat me like I deserve contempt for not being as good as them. In my last two relationships I felt like I somehow hadn’t earned their full attention.

      I was lighthearted in my previous comment but it’s no fun having to win your own critical self over.

      As total aside, in my procrastination I read some Fallback Girl and then napped, and dreamed of going for a long walk up a hill in West Vancouver with you, Natalie, and my ex-AC. It was muddy and we two were wearing heels. The ex-AC kept walking ahead. Oh, and turning back to flirt with you!

      • runnergirl says:

        Hey Magnolia,

        I hear you. I learned and was able to internalize the people pleasing lesson through my time with a therapist. I’m able now to do something because I want to do it rather than doing things to please others. This article and several comments made me realize there is still more work to do regarding pleasing ME. “Caring if I like me or not is more than enough worry every day. I am a recovering perfectionist and tough to please!!” I have a similar problem with reading. Everything goes by the wayside when I’m reading. Hopefully, you were able to get your work done and not be to harsh on yourself. How’s Fallback Girl coming along? I’m almost done and then going to do the work. I had ideas for boundaries floating around in my head but they became real when I wrote them on paper. It was a giant boost in self-esteem.

        That was a wacky dream!

  14. Christina says:

    Thank you. Between my nature and my upbringing, I was meant to be a pleaser. Sometimes it’s great for everyone but me. It seems I need to be reminded over and over and over again!

    • NML says:

      I think when everyone is having a great time at your expense, it feels pretty awful. It’s one thing if you’re throwing a party, but you don’t need everyone tap dancing all over you like you’re a doormat. Also it’s good to step back – it gives other people a chance to make an effort.

  15. Lizzy says:

    I’ve never read anything more relevant or helpful to me. I will be reading this over and over. Thanks a million x

  16. Minky says:

    “When you know the line, they know the line. When you know who you are, others know who you are” – i have found this to be sooooo true since i found this site and stopped apologing for who i was, for having demands. I have stopped second guessing myself. Sometimes i think ‘was i a bit harsh?’ when i defend my boundaries, but now, instead of asking someone else, i have an internal conversation and decide for myself. It has been a real revelation! Thank you Nat!

    Had a bit of a watershed moment with the boyfriend this weekend: i wigged out and got emotional over something and it didn’t phase him at all. I also got irrationally angry (which i apologised for) and, again, he didn’t make me feel bad about it. It is the first time he’s seen a negative, wibbly wobbly side of me and he totally took it in his stride and said it is an aspect of me and he’s glad he’s seen it (!!). It was amazing! :)

    • Audrey says:

      Nice Minky….. sounds like you’re on the right track..!

    • NML says:

      And you can breathe out a great big sigh of relief Minky because you’re discovering that you don’t have to be ‘always on’. Neither does he. I’m very pleased for you :-)

  17. Sandra81 says:

    I remember that you wrote a post about this on Facebook. :-) This issue is something I came across many times, but never in the love department. My problem has always been with friends, relatives and coworkers. In my country/culture, unfortunately there is this “tradition” of sticking your nose in other people’s business. Therefore, many people end up very paranoid about what the others think about you and your life. I’m more “rebellious” by nature, in a sense that if I do something, I do it with the purpose of being happy, not with the puropse of “fitting in”. My mum (who is in fact a wonderful person and a great mum), on the other hand, has had many, many disappointments coming from people judging us or turning their backs on us in times of need (especially after my dad passed away). Therefore, she always encouraged me to keep a “Miss Perfect” image in front of these people, especially during not-so-perfect times. For example, I had lost my job – for a while I hid that from the rest of the family, until I went to do a masters degree and so I had a new activity to be (genuinely) proud of. Still at that time, my love-life was non-existent: I didn’t have a boyfriend, I didn’t fancy anyone. People kept asking why, “a beautiful girl like me”? I told mum: “I’m not gonna make up some ghost boyfriend! I’m not the only single girl in the world, and this is something that is only MY business, not theirs!” It’s true that most of my friends were coupled up, but I never wanted a relationship just to show it off to people. Lying to make other people happy was giving me a negative state of mind, as if I believed I wasn’t good enough for them, so I had to make up stuff to make me look better. It added an extra load of sadness, apart from my real problems. And after all, our life was not so bad: we had our highs and lows, but we are educated people, with a good quality life, with good morals, etc. Nobody’s perfect and nobody has a perfect life, whether we know it or not. I kept telling that to my mum, and now she’s more relaxed about it too. We only accepted around us people who love us for who we are, and who don’t force us to”fake” anything! 😉

    • NML says:

      I think you’ve absolutely done the right thing Sandra. In some cultures, like yours and for instance in mine and the boyf’s, appearances can be very important and trying to rally against it is like speaking different languages. Sometimes our parents don’t recognise that they project their insecurity – they imagine themselves in the same position as us and panic because we do things differently. Faking relationships etc would devalue you and I’m glad that you and her gained new understanding.

      • Sandra81 says:

        Not to mention that if we fake relationships (or jobs, or financial situations, or anything else for that matter), there would be other possible consequences. We are always stressed out during our interactions, for fear not to say or do something that would give the truth away. We would never be relaxed and enjoying ourselves to the full. Or, people might discover our lie (gradually or by accident), which would make things worse. And, worst of all, if we lie to win the over, we would still be unhappy, because we feel that they don’t love/respect/approve the real US, but just the mask that we’re wearing.

  18. Lizzy says:

    PS Both my parents were big on withdrawal of affection, mainly in the form of sulking, if I didn’t ‘do as I was told’. In my 20s and 30s, I rebelled against them (to my own detriment) while going round trying to please a succession of ‘unsuitable’ men. Now in my early 40s, I have a string of regrets longer than my arm but I am trying to make sense of why I made all those mistakes, forgive myself for them and try to make my future better than my past has been, just for me, because I have finally realised I do matter and if I’m not true to myself I’ve got nothing. BR has been a major force in this, especially posts such as this one and the one on self-esteem (and all the comments). I can’t thank you enough x

    • NML says:

      No doubt you ended up with a number of sulkers as well Lizzy! It’s a bit like going from one extreme to another – breaking your neck to please them to sticking two fingers up and rebelling but only to end up with similar people who no doubt made you feel about yourself. It would be better to ‘rebel’ by living your life well and making positive choices and not needing their approval/validation.

      • Lizzy says:

        How did you guess?! I spent 10+ years with Mr AC Sulker extraordinaire who fitted the bill perfectly because he was also a big boozer/druggie/responsibility dodger, which meant I could stick two fingers up at my parents while ‘enjoying’ the familiar toxic atmospheres at home. Seems so obvious now I think about it. Thanks so much for your responses. means a lot x

  19. debra says:

    Natalie – It isn’t that I don’t get the point of this post – I absolutely do and have been beyond guilty of shape-shifting to please others in the past, all at the expense of myself. I agree with the overall philosophy of it. I guess what struck me initially is the idea of the “I don’t give an Eff” approach to life. I am no doubt extremely sensitive on this point, having run full steam into a narcissist, whose absolutely undeniable approach to life and other people was “I don’t give a $%$# about you or anyone.” I know you know that its a matter of degrees and that you aren’t saying it isn’t about disrespecting or not caring for others. What I have been struggling with of late, and am trying to use this post to help illluminate, is where the line is between placing the focus on me, caring about me and not caring about the opinions of others and the opposite side of the coin, which is simply not caring about others, full stop. I have seen (mercifully only the one time) what a so called human being looks like that literally does not care about other people at all (and before anyone asks, all those around him have, after two years of working with him, come to see him the exact same way). It is terrifying. I fully acknowledge I used to care too much about what others thought of me, I substituted his interests for my own, all that. But I just can’t embrace the idea of “I don’t give an eff”. Maybe it is just somantics but its a bit too harsh for me.

    • Sandra81 says:

      I believe it’s about not caring what other people think when the issue in question is only YOUR problem, and doesn’t affect them directly. It’s not about disrespecting other people. As long as you don’t do anyone any harm, you should live your life in a way that makes you happy, regardless of how people are judging you (see my examples is the post above). If they have a problem with who you are and with the way you live your life, it’s not worth having them around. 😉

    • grace says:

      There is a difference, which I think you get, between not giving a *** what people think of you and not caring about them or how you treat them.
      For instance, in my last job I worked hard, did well and my boss was happy. But I got tied up in knots because some control freak who is never happy bitched about me behind my back. These days I really couldn’t give a ****. However, if that person came to work with a black eye, I’m going to ask if she’s okay.
      I like 24 hours notice before I go out. If my friends don’t give me that, I usually say “Sorry, I can’t. You know I need a day’s notice to get my act together”. I don’t give a … if they don’t like it, that’s how I roll. But if they’re upset about something and need to vent over a drink, I’ll make an exception. Frankly, though, they would probably ask someone else! You can’t please everyone, even your nearest and dearest.
      Now if a man wants me to see him on short notice all the time, or wear high heels, or dye my hair blonde, wants to determine how often we see each or when, or endure his temper tantrums/insults/disappearing acts/other women, I don’t give a ***. I’m not changing myself or what I will accept so I can keep him. I ain’t that woman anymore

      • NML says:

        “There is a difference, which I think you get, between not giving a *** what people think of you and not caring about them or how you treat them.” Very well said. I should add that empathy and care are not the same thing and particularly with someone that’s an *actual* narcissist, it means acceptance that they have different emotional makeup and values, so it’s a bit like being frustrated that you can’t get compassion out of stone…even though it’s a stone.

    • NML says:

      Hi Debra. I must admit that I had to give your comment some pause for thought. You’re someone whose opinion that I value and who as I have gotten to know you over the course of journey through the blog, care about what happens to you. You are illustrating the point of the post though, as in even though I respect your feedback, I’m not going to change myself as a person as a result.

      Although you state that you know that it is not about me not caring about others, that’s the path of harshness. I was also very specific about what I said I’m not going to burn up my life fuel caring about, which is a lot different than being devoid of empathy and not giving a shit what happens to others. I know a narcissist and have a great deal of affection for them, and I care about what happens to them, but do I put myself in the cage with them and allow them to run my life and change myself to suit them? – NO. I’m also well aware of what a narcissist is and as empathy isn’t their strong suit, I don’t attempt to revolutionise the wheel. I’ve come to discover that when they find themselves in the same situation that they couldn’t give two figs about you in, suddenly they can ‘relate’ in their very me, me, me centric way.

      I’m emotionally available, I put both of my feet into my interactions, and I have decent self-esteem and know my values and boundaries. Even when the feeling is not mutual, because I have my values, just because someone doesn’t like me, disagrees with me, or even hates me, doesn’t mean that I now have to put an asshole hat on.

      As an example, I used to be part of a post natal group. It was very cliquey and I found myself experiencing some very uncomfortable feelings and didn’t like how I felt about myself around them. When the Queen Bee made a ‘casually racist’ comment at dinner, I grinned and bared it, made my exit as fast as possible, and a couple of days later I told them I’d no longer be attending the groups or hosting the next one. Now I could break my back wondering why I don’t fit in with the group as I did initially, but having a vagina and a child doesn’t a friendship make. I’d done nothing to warrant anything that was inappropriate and I’m not Billy No Mates. I have friends, family etc – why I am busting my proverbial balls over them? I keep in touch with all of them, I care (that means taking an interest in others and having concern) but would I change myself for them or take on the role of investigating why they’re who they are? – NO. Will their opinions of me or what I do etc cause me to lose sleep? NO. I give that example because it is that specific incident that I defined that principle on. I’ve stuck to my guns since that incident and it has saved me from turning my life into Mean Girls 2.

      It’s more than OK for you to think I’m harsh – you have to live your life in the way that works for you. For me, I’m going to continue not losing sleep over the media, randoms, and people that don’t value me. I absolutely refuse to rationalise the irrational and it’s their prerogative to be and do as they please – just not on my doorstep. You can care about yourself and care about others – they’re not mutually exclusive. That’s the line. If you can’t care about yourself but seek to do it for others, it’s abuse, not a sainthood.

      • Natasha says:

        Natalie, my dear, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve run into this about a million times too. For instance, my mother and my sister have a real problem with the fact that I have implants (sorry in advance if this is TMI). Now, mind you, it was my decision, I’m happy with it and, believe you me, this is not a Pam Anderson situation…not even close. However, they are firmly of the opinion that everyone is judging me over them and I’m not even allowed to wear a bathing suit on family vacations. In fact, my mother is convinced that they are preventing me from finding a decent guy. I explained it as such, “If I meet someone, get to know them and they really feel that they can’t respect me or get serious with me because of something like that, they are not the man for me.” Now, I love both my mother and my sister dearly and know that they care about me and want me to be happy. However, am I going to run out and have anything removed to make them happy? Absolutely not….because , in this instance, I don’t give an eff!

        • NML says:

          They’re projecting Natasha. I’m sure they care but they have things twisted and are missing the point – like you said, if it was your boobs, that would say more about them than it would about you. I remember once working in a shop with a dipstick that harassed me. My mum said he might be behaving that way because I didn’t smile enough or wasn’t dressed right. That was sort of missing the point that he was harassing me. It turned out to be nothing to do with that aspect of my appearance – it was because I was black. I could have run around smiling like a frigging cheshire cat and dolled up to the nines, but that would have solved nothing. Your mother and sister seem to forget something – unless you have beach balls for breasts, it’s unlikely they know they’re ‘done’ until they touch them. What they are blaming your ‘lack’ of dating success on is like saying “It’s because you have big breasts” – that’s ri-di-cu-lous.

          • Natasha says:

            Couldn’t agree more! It’s so nice to hear that someone gets where I’m coming from with this issue, though I’m very sorry that loser acted like that and your mother reacted that way – not cool at all. I’ve said the exact same thing to them, that no one can tell just by looking at them (it’s a freakin’ C cup – not a Heidi Montag job) and if someone’s grabbing them on a first date, there are larger issues at hand (so to speak). I totally said the same thing too, i.e. does this mean women with large breasts of any provenance can’t find love?! The only thing that gets through to them is to say that they are making it WAY harder on me to get past the jerks to find someone nice, because they are basically saying that I’m starting from a “less than” position. I also remind them of my ex-AC (who made comments to the effect that he had a problem with me being half Jewish) and say, “Should I now pretend to be one or the other in case someone has a problem with it?!” In my experience, any time a man has picked on me for something it really had little to do with whatever was supposedly “wrong” and I can’t burn up my life trying to make everyone happy. Thank you so much for getting where I’m coming from :)

      • grace says:

        I’ve no doubt that you get hate mail from this blog. I follow a fashion blog (manrepeller for those who are interested) where a girl posts her fabulous but, frankly, “challenging” outfits. SHE gets hate mail. Who the hell has the time to send hatemail re people’s clothes? Anyway, she laughs it off and I hope you do too. You really can’t please anyone and if people get upset it really is there problem, unless you’ve done something awful.
        Back to Debra, I’ve been thinking some more about this . It can be very hard to disentangle not caring about people versus not caring what they think of you. But the two have little to do with each other. Narcissists and EUP (people rather than just men) actually care very much what people think. Narcissists can’t bear to be challenged or disagreed with, as you found out to your cost. If he really didn’t care what you thought of him, he’d have said to himself “Man, that Debra has got me so wrong. I’m just gonna lie low, be civil and let the dust settle”. Instead he went for you guns blazing. EU men/women can’t bear to be the “bad guy” so they future fake, disappear to avoid conflict etc. If they cared more about other people and less about their image, they would stand and take the criticism/challenge/anger. Not just slope off!
        So, yeah, there’s no conflict between saying “This is me, this is what I stand for and if you don’t like it, you can lump it” and “I’m going to respect you as a fellow human being, and treat you decently.”
        Of course, we can all do with feedback and constructive criticism but it’s all in the delivery/motivation. In many cases, the people who make us bristle are NOT trying to help us “for our own good”. They want to put us down/get their own way.

        • Natasha says:

          Grace, as usual, you couldn’t be more spot on! I mentioned above that my ex-AC was highly pissed by the fact that I wouldn’t tell him what he did was fine and we were totally going to be friends. I came to find out through the grapevine that he’d done the exact same thing to a girlfriend (yes, she got the title that I didn’t…but the same sh*tty treatment, let that be a lesson ladies) a few months before he pressed the ol’ Reset Button with me. In fact, he had apparently been posting nasty updates on facebook directed at her (I have no idea if he did the same about me, I blocked him promptly), because she’d broken up with him. Fact is, people like that love to be seen as great, but they don’t want to actually put themselves out by treating people with respect and consideration. In their deluded little world, if someone doesn’t want to put up their nonsense, it HAS to be the fault of the person who stuck up for themselves.

        • NML says:

          Ah Grace – you remind me of why you’re one of my favourite people that I’ve never met but feel like I know. Thankfully hatemail is few and far between but when it comes, it tends to be very nasty. I generally don’t get upset which is saying a lot after having a cyberstalker that was prosecuted, because I think hate mail is what happens when you combine an internet connection with a loose screw. Initially though, depending on how personal, vitriolic or even threatening they are, it can feel like someone literally walked up to you in the street, punched you in the face, spat on you, and then heaped a load of spite on you. Then I remember that it’s just a blog, and to respond in such a manner is no indication of me but how they really need to get a life.

          I’ve never written a nasty comment or taken it upon myself to write to someone and tell them all about themselves. There is nothing that important especially with a gazillion websites. The only reason that people do this is because they genuinely believe their opinion is so vital and important, they must literally force it upon you. It’s like trying to control your agenda or intimidate you into giving up.

          • grace says:

            I have actually been walked up to in the street and racially abused with sexual comments – by a bunch of teenage boys no less. I was really, really upset and phoned/texted a few friends. My sister said the best thing “Aw, they’re idiots, you don’t care”. And that was the one thing that helped me the most. I repeated it like a mantra for the next two days “I don’t care, I don’t care”. And that’s what enabled me to leave the house on day three.
            Sometimes not giving a **** is the only thing to do!

      • colororange says:


        Have you always been a caring person, caring about others? Or is it something you taught yourself? I find I have trouble in this area. I have a friend who just got out of a five year long unhealthy relationship about a month ago and I understand her need to talk about it. I needed to talk about it when it happened to me too. And I am guilty too of spending too much time talking about a break up. I can relate to her and I’ve listened to her and even shared some of what I went through. Now she finds a way to bring it up each time I talk to her. I talk about it a little bit then change the subject because I feel like I’m getting sucked down this dark tunnel when we visit there again and again. That seems to work. My question is whether I am really empathetic or not. I know people who really are visibly concerned for others. I tend to not be. Yet when I see others I can usually see myself in them. I can see that I am capable of anything. I think I’m just rambling here…

        • grace says:

          You’ve never come across as uncaring to me. I’d go so far as to say – if you worry about that, then you obviously DO care. Uncaring people don’t care if they’re uncaring, if you get my drift. You can’t listen to your friend go on and on about your ex. It’s not very interesting and there’s only so much you can say. Friend of mine constantly complains about her boyfriend. Some days I can take it, others I just change the subject. My pet line now is “When you two getting married?” which makes her laugh and realise she’s been going on too much.
          You don’t have to be very touchy, feely and demonstrative. Being there says a lot. But sometimes it’s freeing to let it hang out, and cry, hug, whatever. I’ve become much more emotionally demonstrative and, yeah, it feels like me. I’m not such a cold fish after all.

        • Sandra81 says:

          I think that if your friend still feels the need to talk about her ex, that means she’s not over him yet. Maybe she has a lot of unanswered issues about him. If you can “teach yourself” to care more? Depends on the friend… If she’s a genuinely good friend, who also takes an interest in you and your problems, maybe you should try and let her “offload” her sorrow. If she feels good by talking about it, why not offer her the support she needs? But, here is a contrary example: I have this “friend”, who always looks for me as a shoulder to lean on. She always contacts me, spilling her issues about guys, which, quite frankly, I find quite superficial. Like telling me how everyone is crazy about her, and she can’t decide which one she wants, and how she constantly changes her mind after she flirted with everyone, and bla bla bla… She’s not hurting, she just needs someone to listen to her. But she hardly ever asks me how I am! I went through bad stuff with my ex 2-3 months ago, and she didn’t give a toss! Well, with a person like that…I wouldn’t be too empathetic. But your friend doesn’t seem to be like that, does she? 😉

        • NML says:

          This isn’t an issue about caring. I think even Mother Theresa would have found it difficult to talk day in day out about the same thing. What your friend is doing is natural and you’ve experienced the same thing but none of us realise how much we’ve really done it. If we did, we’d change the tape much sooner. But talking about it is a part of the grieving process and I don’t think it’s that you don’t care but more that you are going through a lot of stuff emotionally yourself and taking on her stuff may be draining you somewhat. I also know you’re capable of empathy which has nothing to do with visible concern per se. These situations can bring out an awkward side is us. I’m sure she knows you care – that’s why she’s talking to you. What you can do is limit the ‘draining’ – speak to her as normal but instead of lending an ear for a very long period of time, keep a phone call, for example, limited to 10-15 minutes (or whatever). Also gently and if it goes on for a very long time, a bit more firmly, change the subject. But just remember you’ve been there too – the madness will pass.

  20. Sydney says:

    Regarding “Tipping Point…”
    (I look so forward to reading your articles when they appear in my inbox; what a treat…wisdom wrapped in good writing.) The strength and clarity of your writing is a consistent reminder that my Gut is and has always been right. My challenge moving forward is to Listen to my internal wisdom and act on it. I’m 52, I know better! Yet, I have continued to contort.
    Thanks for the support of your articles and this blog. It has become my “dating wisdom” check-in. Something about seeing these truths In Print on a consistent basis, is powerful for me.
    My new favorite mantra: I Don’t Give a Eff….! (my gut thanks you)

    • NML says:

      You’re welcome Sydney and thanks for the kind words. Your gut is your greatest friend. If you ignore it, it’s like giving a two fingered salute to yourself.

  21. elsiewondercat says:

    Natalie, I could cry with relief sometimes when I read your posts. I have been the person you describe hear since I was very little, this advice does not only hit home for romantice relationships but for friendships also, something I’ve struggled with on every level for 30 plus years just for trying to be me, or should I say the me I think everyone wants me to be. Oh my god this makes sense and I thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart. xx

    • NML says:

      Ah you’re very welcome Elsiewondercat (great name). I think you’ll find that if you breathe out and be yourself, not only does it leave the door open for your friends to make some effort but your anxiety will reduce and you’ll probably find that it gives you a chance to really enjoy the friendship. The sky won’t fall down – you are a valuable entity in your own right.

  22. Pirouette says:

    Yes and amen to this entire post!

  23. Lavender says:

    I am honestly going to read this every day until it’s in my head, cause this post made me cry with the realisation that it’s my life. I don’t know why I don’t get it. I even read what you say and wish to make it my mantra and yet something is wrong with me, cause at the first chance, I curtail to others. I’ve really been stepped on badly in both my life in a professional and personal settings and when I look back I don’t know what is wrong with me to let that continually happen.

    • NML says:

      (((hugs)))) There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you – you’re just afraid of letting go or adapting a habit of believing that you will experience negative consequences if you’re not jumping to other people’s beat. Insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results – set some small boundaries and build up from there. Habits can be changed. It doesn’t have to be like this.

  24. Lauryn H. says:

    I kept on trying to win him over by being cool with us openly dating other people. I mean I was cool in the begining, I just got out of a relationship and didnt want to be tied down, but things started getting serious and I still wanted to remain cool. I can remember him saying so many times that I dont give him “problems”, it was partially because I didnt care because I had my own drama behind the scenes and partially because I did want him to like me. In the end, he decided to try to work it out with his ex but he is STILL calling me and we still…well, you know. The other day he told me that he’s not supposed to care this much and when I told him to go take a flying leap that he didnt want to take the easy way out because he missed me/cared about me which is why we were still snogging. I listened patiently and told him to sodd off as he cared but didnt care ENOUGH as he was on his way to go snog the gf who he so despearatly wanted to get back together with. Again, he stated how I was so cool and that he could talk to me about anything and I am the first person that eh wants to call talk to etc. and that he didnt want to hurt me, but again, that wasnt stopping him from doing JUST THAT by shaggin the gf. I told him to kma and have had no desire to call him since. Like did he really think that I was going to let him tell me that he was being intimate with another chick and be ok with him being with me again after that? And the answer to that is YES, he did think that because that is how the relationship begain, before we became exclusive, but I wasnt about to go BACK to how it was especially since this would in essence turn me into the SIDE CHICK. Um, NO dont think so.

    We havent spoke since. Im sad, but feel GREAT! She can have him.

    • NML says:

      Unfortunately as you’ve discovered Lauryn, there is no such thing as a truly casual relationship because you’re not OK with being regarded ‘casually’ which is what comes with the territory. Push your flush handle on this guy and leave him to spread his wings and be a rolling stone.

  25. jennynic says:

    Natalie, you wrote, “I’ve discovered that being myself doesn’t create ‘negative’ consequences, a fallacy that I lived with for a big part of my life – It’s people being pissed off or uncomfortable because they can’t do as they like.”
    This is so true but something I struggle with. I have been in situations where someone said something inappropriate or threw an insult disguised as a joke and when I have called them on it, I get told I am overreacting or to lighten up, then they do it again. This pisses me off even more. I hold on to this anger and internalize it instead of brushing it off and thinking, “I don’t give an eff.” Although I try to stand up for myself and have never been known to just be quiet about things, I feel like I am ineffective in doing so because I am really more worried about what they think and visibly (and physically) affected by it. Finding that shift in myself where I care enough to have my say and attempt to find resolution but know how to let it go and move on without holding on to feeling ‘wronged’ when it doesn’t get resolved.

  26. cavewoman says:

    This is so liberating! My ‘amen’ moment was where you tell us readers to admit that just as not everyone will like us, we don’t like everyone either. No man in my life right now, but there are a couple of people at work I have a hard time even admitting to myself that I just plain dislike them, or when I do admit, I try to remedy the situation. I expend extra effort to hide my dislike from them by being nicer than my gut feeling would lead me to. Come to think of it, that’s really inauthentic, may come across fake too, and frankly, it’s exhausting and so far futile. They are not entitled to be liked by me, and if I think about it, they probably care less than I imagine. I just do it because I like to think I’m above all that — what a good girl. However, I do dislike these people for real personal reasons, and guess what, they’ll survive.

    Just as my neighbors will survive too. In the last couple of years I agreed to a few things which went above and beyond your regular ‘good neighbor’, and then ended up feeling taken advantage of. Literally, “good fences make good neighbors” has been ringing with a lot of truth lately. Last week I reestablished one boundary, and it was such a relief! They may be wondering what the heck they’d done wrong, but they’d be right to say: well that what good while it lasted…. The truth is I never quite felt comfortable letting them use my basement laundry room. While they may be inconvenienced, *I am not* any more, and finally I can admit to myself that that’s more important now. I agreed in a temporarily insane fit of fake niceness years ago, and I feel so relieved I finally revoked their privilege. It wasn’t even honest of me to say Sure, you can use my washing machine, or go ahead and park in my driveway, I don’t mind — because I do. Who wouldn’t? You’re right Natalie, they’re just random people who happen to live upstairs. They are not close friends, and honestly they don’t really matter.

    I did the fake niceness when they were moving in, which was shortly after my ex moved out, and in that vacuum, operating perhaps under a minor delusion I figured they may become friends, so I extended a few favors for them. They’re not bad people, that much is clear by now, but… Friendships are not forged from favors. Just like healthy relationships are not forged from trying to be what the other wants us to…

    • NML says:

      Genius comment Cavewoman – had me laughing out loud! It was good while it lasted – Now there’s a new motto!

      I have a friend who said she would babysit once for her neighbour upstairs. A year later she was taking care of the child four/five nights a week. At no point had there been any explicit agreement – she just never said anything as the woman kept taking the mick. She thought they’d become friends – she wasn’t even invited to gatherings upstairs. Taking.The.Piss. Thankfully, she’s stopped now and she discovered that the world didn’t come to an end. Yes the woman has to fork out for childcare now, but…It was good while it lasted.

    • Natasha says:

      Cavewoman, thank you for making me laugh!! I love the “temporarily insane fit of fake niceness”. I’ve done that too! In my case, I had decided that since I was having health problems out of the blue, had a boss that was awful to me and an assclown that I couldn’t shake (er, more like I chose not to/didn’t think there was anything better out there for me), I must have committed some terrible transgression without knowing it and therefor had Bad Karma. Makes a ton of sense, right? Clearly. This is where my “temporarily insane fit of fake niceness” came in, because I thought if I was extra, super-duper nice (even to people who did not deserve it), I’d totally be rewarded. Not. So. Much. Thank you again for cracking me up :)

    • grace says:

      I’ve had that problem at work – where there seemed to be quite a lot of dislike flying around. In the end, I just stopped trying to get them to like me and cared a lot less. Now I find we like each other more! I feel more natural and myself around them. And I don’t have that resentment “I’m trying to be nice but you don’t care” . I’m not trying to be anything anymore, so that issue is dead. We will never be besties, but we can certainly get on.
      Some people I particularly misread. Looking back, they probably were just shy (one of them is very young) or intimidated. I really don’t believe anymore that they had it in for me.
      Mind you, some people are still best avoided.

  27. Shane says:

    Thanks Natalie.I really needed to read this. My bf wants me to change in so many ways to suit his ass. He says my attitude is terrible, that I nag him. This is so because he won’t stop picking calls from his exs and other women. Each time he picks a call from a lady I know there is somethning, I don’t let it pass just to please him so he doesn’t say am nagging him. I have told him that he has no respect for me, that I will not tolerate cheating if its done in my face. I can’t pretend to be happy if am not. I am not cool with ladies calling him….PERIOD!
    He says he will not marry me if I don’t stop questioning his calls which are so clear that they are from girlfrinds.

    He says everythning is okey about me except my stubborness because I have told him point blank that if he thinks my attitude is worse, then he should find another suitor but he keeps coming back because there is no one out there who will amount to what I am.

    I tried changing, lowered my standard but it took me nowhere. Infact it left me hurt and depressed.
    I went on NC for 2 months but he broke it and sent me a text that he misses me. This reminded me of a blog I read here”that it is just a cake”
    Why does he want me to please him if he can’t do the same for me? He wants me to be super submissive without a say in anything.
    F^ck what he thinks about me. I am me and I will live for me. Ever since I joined BR, I have learnt to love myself.

    Thanks to you Natalie, I am a strong woman now….hugs

  28. Leigh says:

    “Never sacrifice yourself in the hope that it will create a mutually fulfilling relationship – it won’t. That’s not love – it’s a massacre.”

    I did that so many time over the years with my exH. I changed my opinions and my values to the extent that I didn’t know who the hell I was anymore. Did he show me any more love or regard as a consequence of changing myself to suit his whim? No, it didn’t, in fact it made his behaviour towards me worse. Whilst I felt dissected!

    Being true to myself is what is important. Placing my values back in place has been hard work but lead to friendships and people of no importance being wiped out of my life.

    My exH still has the same issues, but he can no longer change me as I am my own person.

    Thanks Nat for this timely piece! x

  29. kirsten says:

    My ex from a couple of years ago started the whole “nit-picking” thing where nothing I did ever seemed good enough (why dont you wear dresses/makeup/grow your hair/get your nails done/wear slutty gear blah blah), so I told him if he gave me $500 per week I could get all those things done, plus he would have to look after my son every saturday so I could go shopping and to the salon. Then there would be no way in hell I could do anything around the yard on a sunday in case I broke a nail.
    Lol that shut the prick up :)

  30. MaryC says:

    Never fails after reading one of your posts Nat that I don’t find myself thinking “man she’s been in my head”. I always come away with a better sense of who I am and what I want. Thanks

  31. Trish says:

    Natalie, thank you so much for this blog! I recently discovered it and have been reading and re-reading your posts and learning a lot! I recently split up with AC – well, truth be told, he reset the button on me. Wow! Now I actually have a label for it! At the time, I was tremendously saddened because I thought I had done something wrong and that I wasn’t good enough!

    This particular post really hit home because for years I tried to “win” him over. I thought I was doing a good job because I was the “cool” girl that he loved to be with and consequently the wife that would not be nagging him. I thought we were both intelligent, thus leading to believe that we had relationship smarts and of course, leading to thoughts that we could have a healthy marriage. Now I can see how I lost myself in him to the point that if I did something for him to label me as “non-marriage material”, I would quickly change my ways until I “earned” the “marriage material” label!

    I believed all his future faking of how we would get married and yada yada yada. Wow! I have a label for that too! However, when I decided I was going to express what I was really feeling and to point out the voids that I saw in the relationship (could that be…my boundaries? yes, there’s a label for that too!) well, that was too much for him to handle and he just reset the button and told me that he didn’t think things would work out.

    I love how you express that apologizing for who you are is like saying “I apologize for having self respect and making it difficult for you to take advantage of me”. That’s exactly what I did! And if he did not like it, well then I should thank my lucky stars that I am no longer trying to become his perfect-take-home-to-momma girl! Thanks, Natalie!

  32. Shelly says:

    I say that God lead me to your website and your book (which I bought). I am trying to be NC, got to the 15 day mark and broke down. Damnit! I met him over a year ago, one of his first comments was “I loathe serious relationships”, he said he went through a bad divorce (which was 5 years before). Said I wasn’t looking for anything serious. Slept with him day 4, next day went out (great time), he stayed the night and I literally felt him shut down. Two days later, an email that said he just wanted to be friends. I was pissed, wrote a letter saying it was his loss. 6 months later a text saying hi, again he didn’t want a relationship, I slept with him, never heard from him again. Then he was deployed, I reached out to say stay safe (nothing more) then we talked everyday for the past 5 months. Came home for two weeks. Saw me the first night back, had an amazing night, sex and just talked, got to know each other better, left to go see his kids. He was very distant the next 4 days, only wrote to say Happy Easter. I reached out, he answered matter of fact and I felt like a stranger. Nothing else, like we hadn’t talked everyday for 5 months. I asked if I did anything wrong, never heard from him again. Tried two days later, nothing. What the hell? Then I sent him food (I had already bought) to Afghanistan and wrote to tell him it was coming (broke the rule). I can’t help but worry about his safety and what I did wrong again? What if he reaches out? I actually wrote an apology letter and sent it with the food. Why can’t I be like my other friends and hate him and think he has issues? He even talked about going on a trip together to NY after his tour, he said, “we can leave the kids at home, no distractions”. I never asked what we were. But he asked me if I was going to wait to have sex until he came home for two weeks. I said yes. What is wrong with me? Why do I do this to myself? How do I get out of this craziness? Truth be told I want him to contact me, but I know it’s not best for me. No closure, nothing. It’s the third time he has done this to me. Honest answer is – this is the second time I chose this for me. I need serious help. Appreciate any comments, brutal honesty is okay. Thanks for listening. Need strength….

    • grace says:

      Friends don’t have sex, I think that’s the bottom line.
      If you genuinely care about him being in Afghanistan and have NO EXPECTATIONS, then it’s your choice whether to keep in touch. But don’t do it because you think a relationship will come out of it, because it won’t.
      Referring back to the original topic, it wouldn’t make you a bad person to cut him off (though it seems he has cut you off anyway). I’m sure he has lots of other friends to care about him, friends that he doesn’t sleep with and jerk around.
      I guess if you’re a soldier in a foreign country and have kids, keeping in touch with your FWB is not a priority. Harsh but I get it. You don’t have to hate him, it was your choice to have sex with him, reach out to him, apologise, send him food. If you own that, you’ll find that you hate him a lot less, if at all (in time).

      • Sydney says:

        You need to find your voice. Earlier in this post Natalie was questioned about being harsh for writing, “I Don’t Give a Eff.” When you finally Get It, your voice will ring loud and clear too.
        Men (and all people) respect Standards…so why are we afraid as women to Implement them in our dating lives??
        It all begins with You, Shelly. Men will bed us instantly if we let them, and then throw us back into the water to continue sports fishing. They can smell Lack of Standards (low self-esteem) a mile away.
        For me, I’m done with being the Fallback Girl. Done. Period. Game Over. The one I give an Eff about is me.
        Take care Shelly.

        • Ramona says:

          Hi Shelly, I have been posting here for over a year – not very often but when needed. I recently (after 6 mos) got texts from my ex wishing be the best…saying sorry blah blah. I am the sort that I always say exectly what I think but with him, I was always trying to be the cool girl, nice, understanding – bleh. I found my voice – as Sydney said. I emailed him (NO MORE TEXTING FOR ME) and told him exactly what I thought in a very mature way. I felt SO much better. Almost like a giant weight had been lifted. I wish I would have done it sooner. He deserves to feel badly. I do not. Don’t keep it inside – let it fly. He deserves it – CAD. Ramona

          • Shelly says:

            Ramona – thanks for your response. I guess the best response is no more contact at all. I am sure that he expects that I will say something and try, yet again. I hope to feel, truly free, as strong as you do. Shelly

        • Shelly says:

          Sydney – you are so right. I need to find my voice. I am so use to saying nothing and holding back in fear of rocking the boat. As my therapist said in this situation, “honey, you weren’t even in the water to rock the boat, you were still on the sand”. My question is, since I already sent the food and apology letter, is it too late to start NC and find my voice in this particular situation? I am always afraid to say how I feel because I don’t want to get “punished”. Which is exactly what happened here when I asked him what was wrong. His response, nothing and hasn’t spoken to me since. So my crazy way of thinking is that if I didn’t ask that, we would or might be okay. But he has done this to me twice before this last time. That should have been a red flag. But I said yes. So I am a bit scared if he should contact me, will I be strong enough this time? Thanks for listening.

      • Shelly says:

        Grace, thank you for your honesty. Hard to read, but it’s what I need to hear. You are completely right. I need to own what I said and did. Unfortunately, I do regret sending the letter and food. Deep deep down I was hoping for a response. That was wrong. Me and expectations. I try so hard not to have them. I keep thinking I did something wrong, knowing that I didn’t. I think he has some kind of attachment disorder. I do really worry about him and his safety, but you are right he probably has other friends to support him. It’s just hard going from talking daily to nothing. I will just continue to pray for his safety and continue to pray for the strength to move on and take care of myself. Not sure I have ever done that. Doesn’t help that I am a nurse, so use to taking care of everyone else. Thank you again.

        • grace says:

          You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m sure he was glad to get the parcel. He probably thought “Cool, Hersheys! (or whatever)” and got a kick out of it, even an ego stroke. But, hey, does it really matter? He’s being shot at and you’re not (to put it crudely). It’s not a big deal but, yes, it’s time to walk away from it to spare your feelings.
          As for NC, if you do hear from him again (and they do have a habit of popping back up), just say “No thanks, my life has moved on”. Or something like that. By the way, I was looking at male dating advice on the internet and the men were discussing casual sex. They said the arrangement is over when they get a text from the girl saying “I can’t do this anymore”. They seemed to find it quite funny. Honestly, you’re not going to hurt his feelings. I promise you. If he really wanted to be with you, he would be. Wild horses and all that …

          • Spinster says:

            “By the way, I was looking at male dating advice on the internet and the men were discussing casual sex. They said the arrangement is over when they get a text from the girl saying “I can’t do this anymore”. They seemed to find it quite funny.”

            This is interesting, grace. I haven’t done casual sex (a little fooling around in the past but not sex) so this is really good to know & great for understanding. I have men friends but never asked any of them (that I can remember) about their views on losing the free ass. 😐 I’m gonna ask a few of them and see if they say the same thing (they probably will LMAO & SMH).

          • Minky says:

            Interesting topic – i think men view breakups very differently. Every single man i’ve ever encountered and spoken to (friends, family, exes) have never, ever – not once – considered that it is something they DID, or something about them that has made them lose out on a replationship/ fling/ piece of ass. Maybe some do – but i’m just saying that i’ve never met any. They always look for an external reason (is there someone else/ has someone said something about me/ the girl is clearly nuts). Men don’t internalise like we do. Even the boyfriend wasn’t that upset about his EUW relationship (the one before me) ending. He put it down to them being too different, not understanding each other, being long distance etc. Never have i heard any man theorise that he isn’t good enough in some way! If they do, then they keep it to themselves!

            As for losing out on casual sex – the EUM/ AC theory is that there’s always another piece of ass around the corner. i have heard these words from ACs and decent blokes alike. I have had a few casual sex arrangements in the past and am still on friendly terms with most of these guys if i ever bump into them, because men in general know that it’s the way it is and they don’t take it personally that i’m now in a committed relationship. They don’t wonder why i didn’t ‘choose’ them, they just dust off their temporarily grazed egos (the initial disappointed ‘oh, she’s been snapped up…. oh well’) and find the next girl.

            I really wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. :)

            • NML says:

              Minky, you are 100% on the money and women could stand to learn a lot from men. It’s not that men don’t hurt after a breakup – they do and I’ve seen some guys really struggle but do they go from here to eternity wondering what they did to scare the woman into being who they are anyway, or what they could have done differently, or how they can change themselves, or whether they’re misunderstood something, or whether they’re going crazy – no. Classic example of Mr Unavailable – he will keep knocking on the door until he realises it’s closed. Only the truly shameless assclown versions will keep chasing once they know you’ve moved on and that you’re not interested. Yes their ego takes a momentary dent and then they reach into their other back pocket for another Fallback Girl they have on layaway or start talking extra enthusiastically to a woman in the office.

              • cavewoman says:

                Well, that’s not fair! When clearly it’s all THEIR fault :)
                This comment might as well be a response to your next post N., but I am sadly (or rather, pathetically?) an expert on how my EUA processed his loss of his fiancee, partner of 8 yrs and mother of his child. She walked out on him, by his account unexpectedly and without explanation. While he was pretty devastated for some time, he will not admit to a single thing he might have *done* to contribute to their dissolution. Exactly as you say, he can and does enumerate differences in qualities and characteristics: ideological, families of origin, values, goals, etc. and I really envy his conviction that hers are all wrong and his are just right. Damn, if only I could be half as sure of myself! He certainly did not decide to change and become a better person in order to do better in his next few relationships leading up to me. Having gone through the ringer with this guy, I have a theory of my own about what specific behaviors drove her away, but in the end he is who he is… he is absolutely right to feel no compulsion whatsoever to change this behavior or that, in order to become a different person for any woman’s sake. Even if that someone is me. Which is why we are no longer in touch: I cannot contort to become someone who is happy with him, either. Oh well.

          • Spinster says:

            Hey grace, one of my men friends answered. Here goes:

            The woman who doesn’t want to be with you intimately WON’T text or communicate with you ANYMORE. She’ll vanish and will never be heard from EVER AGAIN! The woman who still has hope for more will send those silly ass messages. A smooth man will f— the life out of her the night she sends the message.

            I’m waiting for a couple other male friends, as well as my father & uncle, to answer. I’m sure their answers will be ridiculous too. LMAO & SMH. Either way, this should let ladies know that trying to “win” men (or women) over and sending certain (text & other) messages is pointless and can be seen as pathetic.

    • Spinster says:

      This may sound easier said than done, but it really CAN be that simple. Just listen for a second:

      Girl please please PLEASE, make like Forrest and run run RUN!!! 😐 He’s not worth the dirt on the bottom of your shoes.

  33. shattered says:

    I finsished /went back to my ex AC countless times over 2 years, thinking things would change. Nothing ever changes. They are who they are- no committment, happy to do as they want when the mood takes them. The final straw (really!) for me was going back, believing the future faking and then not a word from him for 2 weeks, until I had a text from him asking if we could ‘get together’ at the weekend. Today I sent a text – ‘you disappeared for 2 weeks so you can stay disappeared.’ I don’t expect a reply but I feel better for sending it. I’m trying to keep busy. I’ve joined an evening class (I’m the only one under 70!) and a dinner club (mostly married couples) but at least it keeps my mind off the AC and its early days .

  34. Lins says:

    Hi everyone. This is my first comment on BR. I have been an eager reader since discovering it a couple of weeks ago. It has helped me so much – saved me in many ways. The Tipping Scales post, and all the comments are so insightful and perfect timing for me. While I was thinking about all of it, a song came on MTV, King of Anything, by Sara Bareilles. For me, it sums it all up; sticking up for yourself and being yourself despite some guy who thinks he’s king and who tries to tell her who to be. Made me smile and not feel so alone in figuring it out. Thanks to BR and to all of you for helping with that too.

  35. Dawn says:

    I have learned so much on here and one of the biggest things I ‘ve learned is if I take keep interacting with someone who has busted a major boundary they are going to keep doing it. Don’t hang around waiting for them to love you again-they didn’t love you in the first place or they wouldn’t have done that to you. Pay attention to the red flag. You can’t fix ’em, they are who they are.

  36. a-lone-r says:

    Right on! I feel exactly the same way, though still struggle with being so agreeable when I just want to tell people to bugger off and leave me alone.

  37. Shelly says:

    I wrote earlier this week and was very thankful for all the responses. Needed to hear them as hard as it was.
    So like I said earlier, I sent him food to Afghanistan and he wrote me back last night. “Dearest Shelly, I wanted to thank you for the gift packages, I received them today. You are the best as always. Hope all is well with you.”
    First of all, shocked that he wrote. Today has been a month since I last saw him or pretty much talked to him. Secondly, “dearest” – that’s a first, never said that before.
    I have NOT written back nor do I plan to. But feeling so many emotions. When I first read it, I cried. I feel like now I have the upper hand and can be in control of the situation. Truthfully, I can now have the last word.
    But then I am pissed off because he couldn’t and wouldn’t response to me before when I was trying to get him to talk, but now he writes.
    “hope all is well with you” – does he not get that he broke my heart and that I am trying to pick up the pieces in the middle of starting a very stressful brand new job (he just stopped talking to me one week into my new job). Really??? How does he think I am feeling? Happy, overjoyed??
    And if I really “am the best as always”, why wasn’t that good enough when he was here and the past 5 months before came home for a short visit? just saw me and ran (as he did twice before).
    I didn’t expect him to write back at all.
    I am very confused.
    What I do know is that if I talked to him again and he comes back home again for good in December, he will do the same thing again.
    Need your advice girls…honesty please
    Thanks for listening..

    • NML says:

      Shelly, this is one of those very awkward situations that I really wish I could have saved you from but I think you had to go through it.

      I’m a firm believer in wholehearted giving and anything else is giving with a price. If someone isn’t talking to/responding to you, sending them a package isn’t the way to go, which I’m sure you realise now. Yes you’ve got him to respond but it was a polite response – most of us, unless we’re complete assclowns, say thank you when we’re given a gift or someone does something nice for us. I hear from an alarming number of women that receive packages from exes designed to lure them out of NC.

      This mans mind is elsewhere and you guys are not in a relationship and I don’t think he is capable of meeting any emotional needs that you have, even for putting you at ‘ease’ and having a conversation. Reading his response, it sounds like he politely means well but it’s not the response of an emotionally engaged man never mind a man who is romantically involved with you.

      It may be one of the hardest things you do, but stop contacting this man and accept that whatever you had is over and that you’re not going to get any great deal of closure.

      You will communicate all of the wrong things about you if you don’t stop contacting this man. Trying to convince him to contact you or of your worth will only cause you to feel devalued.

    • Minky says:

      I’m so sorry that you’re confused and i do feel for you. The answer is very simple though: as Nat says, he was being polite. Don’t read anymore into it than that. They are words of thanks, he is grateful for the package you sent him and all his words are doing is conveying that message. This is not a message about you, or your worth, it is a letter about a parcel he received and the thought you put into sending it.

      “How does he think I am feeling? Happy, overjoyed??” – don’t think he’s giving much thought to how you feel, he’s too busy thinking about himself. Doesn’t he realise you’re heartbroken? No he doesn’t, because you keep sending him messages and food parcels. Heartbroken people don’t do that – they disappear and tend their wounds and don’t engage with the person that has damaged them. You being nice to him means that he hasn’t done anything wrong (in his eyes). If you were rude to someone and they kept being really nice to you, would you think that you had hurt the person’s feelings? Not likely. A hurt person sulks, they get angry, they don’t speak to you. A hurt person doesn’t run around trying to do nice things for you.

      “And if I really “am the best as always”, why wasn’t that good enough when he was here” – Those are just words, Shelly – ‘you’re the best’ is just an expression. If he really did think you were ‘the best’, he would move mountains to be with you. It’s just another way of saying thanks.

      From reading your comments, this guy is just taking from you because you keep giving. He doesn’t value you, he doesn’t respect you, he will never give you what you want. Cut your losses, tend your wounds and start again. Sorry to be harsh, but we have all been there and speak from experience. I was in a situation where I gave and got nothing back, the best advice I was given was to cut contact, heal and start again. I am so glad I did because now I’m with a guy who truly believes I am ‘the best’ and actually treats me as if I am!

      I hope this helps. Hugs!! :)

    • ICanDoBetter says:


      I think a lot of us go through such similar situations, it’s uncanny. My ex decided to stop talking to me, and I was devastated for two reasons: 1) I actually thought we still had a friendship, and 2) I found out some devastating health news (and told him about it). I was so hoping for his support, and I even tried to talk to him once, but nothing changed.

      6 months later, as I was sitting there with an I.V. in my arm, getting treatment, he sends me a text saying “Hope you are doing well.” A TEXT! After months of showing absolutely no concern at all, he sends a text. I didn’t even answer. That bugged him, because he eventually sought me out in person, to make sure I knew he sent that text. I assured him I got it. He then went on to point out that I didn’t answer him. I assured him that, again, he was not mistaken. He had made it clear to me through his actions months earlier that he didn’t want to be in my life. After that one attempt to talk to him, I stepped back and respected his wishes. Now, he’s offended that I didn’t answer his text??? I didn’t even say any of this to him. I had tried to talk things out once, I was not about to do it again. At that point, did he try to talk things out, apologize, and assure me he wanted to be a friend? No, he did not. Did he say anything about wanting to support me during that time? No, he did not.

      I guess my point is, he bailed on me in a time of need. No matter what his intentions (it was just a text) were months later, I did not need that added stress to my life, of having someone in it who was so inconsistent. I was focusing on me and my health, and that included mental and emotional health as well. And his ACTIONS, or lack thereof, spoke of someone who would certainly not add anything positive to my life.

      Look again at his note, Shelly. I think Nat is right about the meaning. While you are questioning some of the things he says in it, ask yourself about all the things he is NOT saying. And more importantly, all the things he is not DOING.

      • outergirl says:

        Hope your health is improving. I am so sorry for that. Once these guys get a wiff that you might actually need them, I think especially if it’s for emotional support, BAM! they are outta here. Not to jump your train, but here was my experienc; I had a HORRENDOUS winter and when he ‘checked in’ I started to mention some of my bad luck. Don’t you know? all of a sudden, he had something very urgent to tend to and practically hung up on me. We’re not much fun to them when the chips are down, it takes the focus off of them.

  38. Brenda says:

    Hello, I love your website so much, this post really hit the nail on the head as I have been figuring much of this out on my own – but only after many years ( over 20) of being ripped apart and feeling as if I had lost all of my self worth more than once in this life time.

    Truly I think I found this site for a reason and at the right time in my life as well, Thanks for creating this – your helping a lot of people, Bless you.


  39. Kay says:

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you for confirming the things about my bad habits about which I struggle to convince myself. All my life, I’ve been a people pleaser, thinking that if someone rejected me it was my fault for not trying hard enough. Those are tough habits to break.

    I’ll be reading as much as I can at your blog, if this post is any indication of the quality of the content.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.