do you need all of this baggage?

When you consider the amount of time that some of us have spent judging and punishing ourselves for a mistake or ‘wrongdoing’ on our part or even that of others, it’s safe to say that we can end up serving prison sentences that are far longer than what some people serve for serious crimes. Think about it: if you’ve been giving you a hard time since you were a child and are still informing your opinion of you with judgments based on a perspective gained during childhood and let’s say you’re in your thirties, forties, fifties or beyond, you’ve possibly served a longer and very painful unnecessary sentence than say someone who was given a life sentence and got out on parole.

If you’re still judging you as inadequate due to the inadequacies of your parents/caregivers and/or the mistreatment of bullies or mistakes that you’ve made, it’s not your criticism you need – it’s the extending of some self-compassion.

Why be so hard on you? If others have deserved your forgiveness, why don’t you? Do you really think that you deserve what you’re thinking and doing? When does the longstanding punishment end? Until it does, you’re effectively frozen in time while life continues on around you and you’re prevented from growing.

I’m all too familiar with the ‘beating’ that seems to go on and on because it’s what I used to do to me. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to just keep holding onto stuff and rubbing my face in mine and everyone else’s screw ups.

Until you’re truly empathetic and compassionate with you, you’re not being anywhere near as empathetic and compassionate with others as you think and are instead engaging in over-empathy while marginalising your own needs, expectations and wishes.

Empathising with the ‘me’ that I’ve been at different stages of my life and in specific situations where I’d been incredibly judgmental towards me has been pivotal in changing what has previously been a super-critical relationship with me.  I dragged my experiences wherever I went and used them to inform my opinion of me and my options – I basically considered me to be a numpty and a failure who invited harassment and abuse. I was not allowed to move on from my past, any mistakes and Other People’s Shady Behaviour.

Let me tell you now – I haven’t and would never speak about or regard another person in the inhumane manner in which I have done to myself.

When my body literally broke down and I was faced with making major changes in my life, finally having some compassion and empathy for me helped me see why I was doing what I was. It was like using the head I used for others on myself.

Having some self-compassion and empathy is recognising that you’ve erred, what contributed to that position and loving you through it anyway.

Unpicking my past and my pain and seeing these experiences from a different perspective, helped me to understand who I was at that time and to gradually learn to like the very person who I used to hate. I saw a little girl masquerading as a woman that needed some help growing up. Having my daughters has been a constant reminder that I can’t just decide to turf me out every time I so much as put a foot wrong.

Withdrawing basic love, care, trust and respect is not empathy or self-compassion and is more akin to torture. It’s a stripping of dignity.

When you consider what you may have been punished for as a child, sure it deserved natural consequences such as being grounded, no pocket money, more chores, a telling off, withdrawal of privileges and of course emphasising what has happened and why the punishment was happening but withdrawal of love, care, trust and respect? No bloody way!

Each time you choose to continue holding on instead of working on letting go you’re saying, “I don’t deserve my compassion or empathy. I don’t deserve to move on from this. Until such time as I feel that I have learned my lesson, I want me to get out of my sight and I’m going to withhold love, care, trust and respect.” You may follow it up with name calling, berating and even physical harming of the self. You do not deserve this.

Often the reason why self-forgiveness via compassion and empathy is so hard is because it’s perceived as ‘letting you off the hook’. It’s this sense that you don’t think you’ve spent enough time in purgatory to justify getting the keys back to your life.

It’s putting you in a prison of your own thoughts which is no doubt compounded if you’re also inadvertently agreeing with the mistreatment you’ve experienced from others.

Practicing self-compassion isn’t about engaging in copious amounts of pity and finding quick-fix justifications for why you may have done something to somebody – “I was having a bad day” – because it’s of no benefit to you or anyone else if every time you cross boundaries, you put it down to a “day day” because actually, it’s not a “bad day”; it’s a bad habit of you experiencing X and reacting with Y where you do a series of things that affect others that brings about Z where you and those affected experience consequences as a result of that.

Compassion takes empathy and you can only empathise with a position that you’re willing to do the work to recognise what that position was in the first place.

Similarly, if the first and only real overriding conclusion that you can draw from your various experiences is “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure” and other such self-esteem depleting beliefs, you haven’t truly empathised with who you were at that time and before and understood how you came to be in that position.


In fact, when you blame you for what others do, not only do you strip them of their responsibility and accountability, but you’re effectively over-empathising with these people and saying, “Yeah, I can see why you do what you do. I’m not good enough and that’s why you __________.” This is bullshit of the highest order that will seriously derail your sense of self and quality of life.


I knew that what a harasser did was wrong but I ignored this because I decided that he felt safe to do it because I ‘provoked’ it with my worth. Of course this logic came crumbling down when he was sacked for sexually harassing other staff after I’d left… I had personalised what he did as if I got a ‘custom-made’ version of him just for me. When it happened again in another job, I handled the situation better but I still gave me a hard time over it because in there lurked this fundamental belief that if I were a “better” more “loveable” person, nothing bad would ever happen to me. Again this logic was flawed because I didn’t believe that bad things happened to unworthy people but unhealthy beliefs work so well because they’re often irrational and unchallenged so just automatically treated as truth.

Empathising with my younger self has helped me to forgive me and these experiences no longer have any power over me.

Moving on is not about doing something to somebody or making a mistake and being over it in a hot minute but it’s safe to say that you don’t need to run into years and decades and you could actually live out the consequences of the mistake, learn from it and empathise at the same time – writing Baggage Reclaim for the best part of eight years is part of my journey of self-compassion and empathy. Sure I chose to move on and let things go, but I’ve had to support that choice and still be open to learning more about me as I’ve gone on. Some days, some months even (like last year with the ‘breakup’ with my father) have been harder than others but the net result is I have my own back, I’m never down for too long and I’m learning and living. You can too – they’re not mutually exclusive.

Forgiveness is a decision. Make the decision to forgive you and see the commitment through.

Your thoughts?


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109 Responses to When are you going to stop punishing you and allow you to move on?

  1. Revolution says:

    Okay, you’re officially freakin’ me out now, Nat. I was just grappling with this very subject this morning. As you said, not feeling like I’ve spent enough time in “purgatory” for my shortcomings.

    I had a backslide (for the millionth time) this weekend on a couple of places in my life that I’m trying to improve. It’s disheartening, and the urge to just give up on oneself is very real. Even when we KNOW logically, and with our “evolved” psyches, that this won’t help matters.

    Had a few “words” with my dad this weekend, and of course my forceful personality came out (yep, it’s not just reserved for you lucky ones here at BR). And now I’m shaking my head at my impulsiveness. I’m trying to learn to be more tactful. But then I had to think to myself, “Hey wait a minute, I wasn’t inappropriate at all. I was very respectful, but I had to tell him what’s what.”

    Do you think, maybe, that some of us were born with a more enhanced “shame reflex” than others? But the irony, as your post highlights, Nat, is that shame doesn’t serve as a strong or solid motivator for real, longlasting change.

    This comment is a little muddled, sorry. Have to go back to work now. Thanks for the post, Natalie. I would never view you as someone who had less than healthy self-esteem at any given time, so it’s comforting to see your struggles, because it gives me hope that I can be a stone cold chick like you one day too. (“Stone cold” meant in the Seventies slang connotation, and not coldness of character. ;))

  2. T says:

    Thanks for the post, Natalie. One of the things that I do to combat this very common tendency in myself is posting a happy picture of myself as a little girl on my mirror. Every morning before I leave for work, when I do ‘one last check’ in the mirror, I ask myself the question, “How am I going to treat that little girl today to keep her smiling?” It sets an intention for me to be kind to me. When I catch myself berating me for something I’ve done (or not done), I think about how that little girl feels, and what I would say to her to make her feel better. Because she’s me.

    • mindy says:

      oh wow, I like this…

      • mindy says:

        Im going to do this for me too…it should be easier to love and forgive me if I picture myself as a lil one:)

    • Rosie says:

      This is awesome, T! :)

      I don’t have a picture of myself as a child but I read your comment yesterday and imagined my li’l child self today and did my best to treat myself with love, care, trust, and respect.

      Such a marvelous idea, T! Thank you so much!

  3. siena says:

    Hey Revolution and Natalie,

    This is CRAZY!! The exact same thing happened today for me as for you, Revolution. I was sobbing after having been on the phone with my best friend and we had talked about the “old me”, that had no self-esteem and was frightened and in love with the Assclown and medicating herself with alcohol and cigarettes… And while I cried I thought of exactly the person Natalie writes about. The “old me” and I felt this deep feeling of empathy for the first time.. and felt that it was right and needed.

    And then I turned on the computer and found Natalies post on this matter that she had just put online:D

    During the last three months since the breakup with him and being 100% NC, a revolution of growth happend inside of me. I not only stayed away from my ex-addiction – HIM – but also kicked smoking, stopped dating and concentrated on loving myself and learning HOW to do that.

    The last week though suddenly brought some issues up or “back”. He, the Assclown, knocked on my door (per email, we live in different cities) asking me if I have deleted him from my life.

    I did not reply. This happened Tuesday.

    Then I went out Wednesday and though I had promised myself neither to date nor to have sex, I stayed out really long, having a blast and finally going home with a really quiet nice guy that I have only known previously before. I admit, we were quite drunk. At first I started beating myself up for it when I woke up in his arms. But then it turned out to be- though at first it seemed like I had broken my “no dating” commitment- beautiful. I did not sleep with him and told him my story and we ended up just hugging each other for one more day and one more night. It felt so incredibly comforting and warming. But when I left I decided to stick with my “no dating” commitment and told him, that I really liked him but since he had just broken up recently with his last girlfriend, I did not want to go any further and that I needed time to heal on my own and wanted to be by myself during the next time.We separated as friends WITHOUT benefits :)

    And I have been very fine and happy with this decision since then and want to continue to get better on my own.

    Well but then in the weekend,a very social one, I took up smoking again, which I haven´t since around two months and I felt very bad about myself today and thinking: This was part of my healing commitment and I don´t want to “fall back” to the old me. It is like with sports. When you run every day, but then you stop, after a while all the training will be for nothing. You need to go on and on with the change, otherwise you go back to the “old you” and being a fallback girl.

    So, this things have reminded me on the “old me” but they also somehow confirmed that I am in a transition phase to a “new me”. Because I start to relate more lovable to myself and “having my back”.Also it feels like I make much better, healthier decisions than I used to.

    So when I make mistakes, that as the old me turned me into a fallback girl, I dont punish myself for them like I used to. I try to be kind and at the same time strong-willed to continue a path that will be healthy and good for me and strengthen my self-love and self-esteem.

    I gave Natalies description of the “younger me”´s a lot of thought too. Sometimes I can´t even imagine that I used to be this person LAST WINTER… I was anxious all the time, obsessed with the Assclown, chain smoking, drinking too much, had highs with him and then major lows on my own, waited for his calls, though I already KNEW that this was wrong, felt angry about sliding unwillingly into the position of being the OW (he was dripfeeding to capture me…) felt helpless and thought I would never make it out of Assclownville and this horrible dynamic.

    But… I did. And I came this FAR!! I am calm nowadays, eat healthy, take full responsibility over all aspects of my life, try to improve my working life and figure out my next big project which takes tremendous energy and much of my time, got real about my finances, started to respond 100% honest to people instead of making excuses and stand up for myself when needed. I am so. very. proud. of myself. And for the first time in my life- and this is THANKS TO NATALIE- I don´t feel like time is running away if I don´t grab a boyfriend!! For the first time in my life I feel like: Well, it is great to be with myself and I know one day during the next years I will be far enough in my healing to open up for a healthy new way of love with another person. And I started to trust that this is gonna happen. It makes me feel so safe and secure around my own person.

    Still. There is MUCH to forgive. Things that still haunt me. The thoughts of the AC… or the dreams, like the one I had tonight where he accused me for removing him from my life…

    But, as Natalie said as well, we have to LIVE AND at the same time HEAL.

    I think this is the way. :)

  4. confused liz says:

    im just really struggling on how to start loving myself more etc, i have been thinking a lot lately about everything that has happened in the last few months and have just realised that i am nc with my father (since my mum died in novedmber) now dealing with recent split from the ac (was doing so well 6 weeks nc until a week ago) have now returned all his things to him through my sister , wich was hard but i realise there is no point hoping he will change and come back to me and stop letting me down every few weeks. im just struggling with thoughts mainly- i keep thinking of the good times with him, why he would do this and that and say things he did if he didnt mean it (i know i should nit be focussing on him) I also dont know where to start in terms of having more self esteem :s i cant do much physically as i have an illness but i just need to get out of this obsessive thinking atage… :(

    • Suki says:

      Distract yourself, counter your own thoughts in a diary (two columns, one for the thought and another for the counter-thought). E.g. I’m useless. Counter-thought. No. I have achieved a lot of things, like my diploma, helping my friend, etc. Or even go smaller – I cooked dinner, I went out, I bought a new dress etc. Re-engineer your thought processes to focus on what you have got going for you.
      When you start countering thoughts it helps to write down your fears, worries, anxieties, seeing them on paper helps. Over time you can start writing also what you enjoy – youd be surprised at how much we actually enjoy in a day that we dont even notice. E.g. showering, cooking, small tasks at work, cleaning the house, TV, calling friends, etc. This is a way to get over obsessive thinking. I also recommend ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies’ – its full of small writing and thinking exercises to get over obsessive thinking. Work through it, and it works.
      Go out to a movie, buy a silly magazine or book and read at a cafe, sit outside your house or apartment, enjoy your life. There is much to enjoy.

  5. AS says:

    Sometimes it is hard to forgive yourself when you are a perfectionist, control freak, or set yourself such high standards and expectations. It is definitely a learned behavior to be less ‘harder’ on yourself and there are some great CBT techniques out there for people who find it difficult. I remember using one where I was looking at why I was so harsh with myself when things did not work out and I managed to trace it back to a belief from childhood and look at how this belief was no longer serving me in adulthood. It is a process that takes time but as you quite rightly point out, there is no point in living out a prison sentence.

    • siena says:

      hey AS,

      I agree.If you are this controlling type of person something really tricky can happen. You have your life under control and feel ok and behave normal but underneath you always surpress certain things. And then one day they just come up through a new situation (if you meet a new AC or something like that) and suddenly you feel like having NO control and you lose control over your perfect behavior. It is a bit like with Madame Bovari. Do you know the story? She lives this really quiet life, being the perfect wife and suddenly when she starts an affair she gets obsessed and starts behaving really weird and it all ends in her death.

      Well, I think in real life this can also happen for control freaks and perfectionists. This is what I learned lately. It is very very important to NOT try to act perfect and to be open to all that comes up and then judge with an easy going mind if something is “really” going to harm you (like addictive things, fallback moves, boundary breaking and so on) or if its just a small “desire” for you. Because I think then you should give in, to not always be so picture perfect. It frees the mind and you feel like you can rely on yourself and don´t have to be so perfect all the time to love yourself. Eat the big chocolate cake, so what! Get drunk one night, so what! If its not all nights, whats the deal. And even falling of the wagon with NC…I haven´t but if somebody does- so what! If you get back on track things are going to be fine.

      I think this *ff*you attitute is very important so your body remembers that you treat it well but at the same time not like a priest or those guys who hide in the cave in the mountains for years :) So the controlling and the letting go moments are in a good balance and the adventure loving, drama seeking side of you is not “blocked” by your “good girl-wannabe” character side. All sides want to be seen. And they surely don´t have to be adressed through dating and Assclown.

      • AS says:

        Thanks Siena, no I do not know the story but will look it up. Yes you are right to have this attitude and I have made progress on this myself but it was not without it’s challenges!

        • Lilia says:

          I think Madame Bovary is a wonderful read because it shows how you can get completely obsessed with the relationships that seem more glamorous than the normal, day to day, healthy ones. Of course, in comparison with a stable husband, the ups and downs of ACness seem so much more exciting, and nice husband becomes boring as can be. But then all that “excitement” doesn´t lead you anywhere. It´s really striking how these dynamics already existed centuries ago, which goes to show that fantasy relationships aren´t the result of internet dating or something like that, just of being human.

          • Teddie says:

            Yes, she thought this was going to augment her quality of life; do you remember how she danced in front of the mirror after an afternoon of reckless love-making singing “I have a lover, I have a lover!” Needless to say, the husband had been quite a desirable bachelor previously and she’d gone to some lengths to get him. A similar dynamic as what Anna Karenina went through. I think both characters would have been diagnosed today with something like Borderline, Anna in particular ticks all the boxes.

  6. Kim says:

    I’m contemplating the court hearing for my divorce tomorrow morning and dreading it.
    I’ve been married 25 years. 3 adult kids and a grandson. We had the best of family years! Great kids, a successful business and beautiful home.
    When my husbands estranged father died, he checked out. His dad as well as his stepdads, were all abusive to him and his siblings.
    He overcame and became a wonderful, loving husband and father.
    But something happened when his father died.
    He changed. I sought help in order to help him bc i knew his drug use and abuse of my kids was due to his past and his pain.
    But things only got much worse as he denied his issues.
    We’ve been separated for 3 years. He did receive help through court ordered counseling and is much better.
    “Better” not best. Not as he once was.
    Many suggest he is bipolar as he is so kind and helpful and caring for me, then mean and hateful and bringing up everything from our past and blaming me for all of our loss. Not taking any responsibility. His favorite is to blame me for “having him arrested” when he burst into my house in a rage, breaking things.
    His drug use, he says, was bc i didn’t hold things together for us. I did in fact cover for him for years with our builders in our business.
    My daughter is fine and well adjusted. My sons stay with him and have heard his lies about me for the past 3 years as he has followed me and chased of (by threats) anyone i tried to befriend. Told our sons i use drugs etc.
    My sons know better. They totally supported me when we lived at home and were abused. Perhaps i stayed too long and didn’t show my sons that i respected “me”.
    My sons, who are the most wonderful boys, loving, caring, close to me and their dad growing up. Well liked by everyone!
    They too now use drugs, even smoking with dad.
    Oldest is in trouble and i totally blame myself.
    I shouldve left sooner and showed him i was strong.
    I’m over taking the blame for husband. I did MORE than enough to stand by and help and support him.
    But the guilt i feel for my sons pain and suffering is killing me slowly.
    I’ve been told that perhaps when they finally see me break ties they will come around.
    I just see that i couldve responded differently and been stronger back when we still had our family together. I feel like i was weak and therefore my boys are suffering.
    Sorry for rambling.
    I so appreciate your page and posts.
    I save them and read and re*read. Like your previous reader, it gives me hope to know that you overcame and became strong and gave yourself the best in life.
    Thank you.

  7. noquay says:

    Revs and Nat
    I too had “word” with papa san this weekend, I hope in a respectful and caring way. He wants my (non running) truck and wants to travel here (10,500′) to retrieve it. I had to tell him that his having about 1/3 cardiac cacpacity is not compatable with life at very high altitude and yep, my medical knowledge trumps whatever shred of parental authority he may think he has. Hard words but necessary. Ironically I am currently suffering from the end stages of about my 5th case of stress-related hives which at this point involves trying to scratch your skin off and being covered by itchy little bloody bumps. apparently my immune system is telling me that no matter how hard I try and work/run/volunteer my way out of feeling loneliness/sadness/ hurt/isolation something else has gotta happen.
    Strangely enough, I never had any problem letting go of family although family is supposed to be important. I actually pat myself on the back for not getting dragged into yet another generation of dysfunction, addiction, and failure. I have a hard time forgiving myself for the breakup of my marriage although I and my ex understand that I really had no good choices (controversial environmental research = marginal employment+ life being threatened) and I made the best decision that I could at the time though I could have done it in a better way. I also understand that I am in now way to blame for AC’s humiliating treatment of me apart from not seeing the red flags. I now understand that he is indeed a really talented narc who took a long time to unfold, has devastated many, many women in our region, and may well be unable to understand what he does to others. I was an ideal target, very lonely, we shared many values we do not with others here, I was socially isolated and so did not know about his reputation. Likewise I do not feel I am to blame that men in the west seem to hate at some level outspoken, independent, mixed race women. the take-home message for me at BR is to learn from my mistakes, to learn from the hurt and to recognize warning signs so such never happens again.

  8. Revolution says:

    Siena, Noquay,

    Must be something in the air, I swear. Thanks for batting the ball back to me (us, Nat and I).

    I was visiting my dad this weekend, and he brought up a subject that is a sore one (yep, he poked the bear, ladies). He was trying to act concerned about a life decision (a healthy one, might I add) that I made for myself about 16 years ago, and which I still live by today. I told him that the decision had been made and still stands today, and that it was based on research and reasoning on my part. Done and dusted. End of discussion. Put a fork in it.

    As I was driving home yesterday, I was feeling badly that I was a little gruff with him. But then I started thinking about what made me so adamant. And it was this: my dad picked NOW, after 16 years, to talk to me about this subject?? And he had the audacity to pretend like he cared oh so much, when I didn’t even KNOW my father until he came into my life at 5 years old?? Effin’ REALLY????? So yeah, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

    Anyway, now that I’m calmed down, I realize that while it doesn’t mesh with my moral code to hold out forever on forgiveness for my dad, it IS understandable that I had the reaction in the first place. It was a logical reaction, and I can’t keep beating myself up for it. And I don’t want to beat him up for it either.

    I saw a photo of my brother and I at my dad’s house yesterday. It was one I hadn’t seen before, and it was of when we were kids. I asked my dad to email it to me, and when I got home and looked at it again, I started to cry my eyes out. I looked at the little girl I used to be, and wondered at what point I got to be such a hardass. Because I had to do it, you know. Survival.

    But it’s the marrying of what you are at your core and what you’ve conditioned yourself to be, based on your life experiences. That’s, I think, where there is a lot of room for rubbing the wrong way. And that’s where we get into trouble with giving ourselves a hard time longer than necessary.

    Whew. Okay, I’m done now. Sorry, I guess I’m having a Dr. Phil moment. ;)

    • siena says:


      I think it is a very good sign if you can feel self-compassion for the little you that you once have been. It is such a slow process once we start to feel this very enlightning feeling for ourselves but in the long run, it will be worthwile.

      For me, I still don´t know exactly how my father contributed to my cycle of UMs later in my life but I know that he used to be very narc and unavailable too. The mean thing is that somehow he stopped to be unavailable now in his old days,I can finally talk to him and be close to him- but that sometimes makes me even more angry.I am still aiming for a long-term therapy to adress this issues(haven´t found the right person for that but I am searching).

      Well,when I woke up today the “story” with the AC which enters my mind each day after I wake up came up again and I told myself: Its ok, I can let it go. I forgive my old me and him.

      And it shifted a little bit..felt good!Of course it will take time but this is a beginning!

    • pax says:

      Rev, I’m sending you a massive warm hug, genuinely feel your pain. I wrote a long reply before then deleted it because all that needs to be said is ….

      “sometimes the hardest exterior holds the softest core”


      • Revolution says:


        ((((Wrapping you in warm hugs))))

        Thanks for your sweet thoughts. What a nice gesture. :)

  9. BurnedAgain says:

    Hey girls and Natalie,
    Love this blog so much. It’s really helped me, I’ve been reading it solidly and silently all weekend.
    I just typed out a long post listing my entire sorry situation, but upon reading it, it read even more ridiculous and ‘dodged a NARC bullet there, you should be thankful’ than I had first realised!
    So what I would like help with is this: I’ve been NC for 6 weeks. My charming, manipulative, romantic Narc (I had a 7mth fling with him that I’m not proud of, he’s been living with a gf for 7yrs, past year unhappily) wheedled his way back in last weekend by telephoning and asking me to meet him that night. I thought things would be different so went and met him, but no, he’s still got the gf, he’s still unhappy, he’s still angry at the world, his head’s still an awful mess, he still can’t leave because he can’t ‘bear to hurt her’ as she’s ‘done nothing wrong’ and he’s close to her family and they’d never forgive him for leaving such a sweet girl who’s supported him and been in his life for 10 years, he doesn’t want to be a b*stard to her etc. even though he knows if he stays he’ll ‘never be happy’, and he still cares massively about me and thinks about me, and the resulting mess in his head means it’s seriously affecting his work, so his office have now got him seeing a therapist and he’s having (in his words) ‘an awful time’. My heart went out to him (I know, I know) and I once again found myself playing psychiatrist and listening to his woes. We ended our drink on a cross word about it all because I got frustrated for the first time ever with all the same BS I was hearing. But getting cross about it I really annoyed myself, because when we’d stopped it all 6wks ago we ended it maturely and with a bit of mutual self respect, actually discussed stuff, and it made walking away easier because I was able to stay in control and be graceful about it.
    So after basically arguing and leaving it in a cross way, I sent him an email the next day trying to explain my feelings, that I still cared, but he was still in a relationship and it’s all a big mess and now my head was in as much of a mess as his and I didn’t know what to do, even though I knew it was the best thing to walk away. And……nothing. That was 10 days ago. And that’s what I’m having a hard time getting past. It’s like he just put his head around the door to check I still liked him and when he knew I did, and when I dared to say how none of it was ok, off he went again.
    Which is resulting in me kicking myself for effectively HIM breaking our agreed NC and yanking my chain again, and me being stupid enough to go running just to find nothing had changed. AND then emailing him a sweet email on top of it, which he gets to ignore! I really need some help getting past this, because I feel like an absolute mug and have been contemplating going nuts and telling him how out of order that is not to even check I’m ok when he supposedly cares so much – although I can see any contact in itself would only make me feel worse in the long run, and I know that’s not going to help.
    It’s like because I can’t control how it ended (that he’s now ignoring me), I can’t move on. I can’t stand that he gets to get on with his life knowing I care and I’m in a mess. Bet he’s loving that. I know the greatest revenge would be to NEVER slip again if he contacts me, and to just live a good and full life, but I hate how he manipulated the situation and he’s now having fun with her and I’m literally doing the lying in bed crying for 3 days thing. Not good. Any advice would be amazing as I can’t see the wood for the trees. Has anyone had their AC or MM ignore them and they have had to just suck it up? And I also can’t get over the fact either that seeing him caused so many feelings to come flooding back and that I could actually miss someone like this. Total head scrambler.

    • vhs says:

      just remember that sending a ‘nice’ letter is exactly what it is: nice. It may show you care but that’s what you are, a caring person. Don’t feel bad about that. He most definitely loses in the long run, and having fun with her while going behind her back, is that really fun, or just plain betrayal. He lies and cheats and she gets to be lied and cheated to. Don’t feel like you’re missing out on something good, you’re being left out something totaly wrong and bad. Don’t tell him how you feel now that he ignores you, it’s a start or the continuing of a power struggle. See this period as a resting time, no more drama (!), just go by day by day, you will feel better. I know. I lived this too for quite a long time, and although the missing (of a fantasy) stays, the missing of all the ffing drama certainly doesn’t!

      • Bob72 says:

        So sorry BA, no I’m not a girl but I totally understand where you are at and I feel for you. Know this though – and I think you do – but you are obviously sooooo much better off where you are at than with him. He cares about this other woman and yet has no issues chasing you to get what he doesn’t feel he’s getting out of his relationship. That and he doesn’t have the balls to change his life to how he wants it to be… he’s not the type of guy who you want or who you could ever trust. He needs to have his own life changing break down and maybe then he’ll come around, but thats his problem and not yours and how long are you willing to put your life on hold and not live while you wait and see?

        I was with someone for 8 months and although I saw the end was rolling up fast I was still totally emotionally murdered when it actually happened. Things don’t always work out, and thats life, I get that. What really f-d with my mind and screwed me up for a long time now is that I believed all the BS all the way up until the end… that I was the love of her life, that she wanted to be with me forever, her begging me to move in and for us to plan for a future, pushing her kids on me… even two weeks before she dumped me begging me to please stay with her through her issues and making me promise not to leave her… “we will get through this.” Then once we broke up (which actually went really well, we were both adults) her telling me she always wanted to be friends because she wouldnt know what to do without me in her life and that she will always love me, oh and that maybe we can revisit this someday if she can get herself back together… well guess what? We have not had any meaningful communication since that day, almost 8 months ago now. As hard as it was for me to keep trying to be friendly to her it just made me feel so much worse – being ignored or barely acknowledged, blown off, discarded, forgotten. She really had no intention of trying to keep a relationship of any kind, that is the truth behind the truth. She said things that made her feel less like a turd and that she thought would make me feel better, but in the end she future faked, fast forwarded, and over-reached for a relationship with me and then had to bail. I came here for help too, and I got alot of it.

        The only thing that has really helped, well besides just time passing, has been totally blanking her – which was a piece of very sound advice given to me here several weeks ago (thank you!!). The thing is I see her fairly often, we work at the same place in different departments, and even though I gave up trying to talk to her or have anything more than a casual relationship with her I would still say hi to her if our paths crossed or make small talk with her for a few minutes if we happened to be in proximity to eachother. It always left me feeling hurt and less than – it was so obvious she didnt want anything to do with me anymore and was just trying to be polite or hiding her true self as she always has. So I stopped… I told her I was stopping, just so I could feel like I was doing the right thing, and I told her that even though it will be very hard for me to pretend like we never knew eachother that I would do it if thats they way it has to be. She wanted me to leave her alone, it was obvious by her actions and the way she was treating me, it didnt matter everything she said before because that is the past and that time is gone… and hell she really didnt even mean all those things then if you think about it – it was just future faking and fast forwarding. So I could continue to live in the past and wait for her to make good on all those bogus promises, or I could suck it up and move on for real.

        I have seen her several times since then… and I have ignored her, just gone about my business, not tried to say hello or even look at her too long, avoid eye contact when I can, and pretend like we never knew eachother. It still hurts yeah, it still aches when I think about things we shared or how close we were this time last year.. but its what she wants, and therefore is what I want to – I want to give myself to someone who wants me, not someone who can throw me away so easily. And now I know I won’t fall back down anymore either. Every time I see her and dont react or try to get her to acknowledge me it just makes it that much easier the next time. A few weeks ago I finally took her number out of my phone even. I still journal, and some days still stuck and yeah I even still cry once in awhile… but I know I am finally free of it all and I dont feel bad letting her go. All I am doing is doing what I should have done months ago for myself and her too. How can I feel bad about that? She doesn’t want to be with me, so I need to not want her in my life either.

        So actually I wrote all this to try to help you lol. What I want you to get out of this is that YES I have been ignored, completely by someone who months ago I figured I was probably going to marry. YES, unfortunately you have to just suck it up. YES, it is extemely hard and you will find loopholes and workarounds to keep hanging on or so you can keep looking for aknowledgement. But I guarantee you will not start to really feel better and make big changes until you ignore them as well… you have to be resigned to totally let them go. Its not up to you anyway, the only thing you can control is you. Put that energy back into yourself… take care of you even when you dont feel like it or when you feel like crying or trying to crack that door open. If he really changed and wanted to come back he would do it differently. And honestly if he really really changed he would probably leave you alone knowing how badly he has f-d you over and would let you go. He will find someone else to stroke his ego and let him keep his status quo of having a steady girlfriend at home dont you worry… theres better things for you out there believe me. You just gotta let him go. Ignore him every bit as much as you are feeling ignored sweety.

        Thank your lucky stars you don’t see him often too lol sigh… I know for a fact if I didnt keep seeing my ex I probably would have been able to let go a long time ago. Seeing someone apparently totally happy and their “old selves” when you are misterable and hurting over said person just adds insult to injury… so ignore them, and never ever go looking for any information about them of any kind. Just keep it moving :)

        Just a lil secret too FYI – theyre not really that happy… theyre just bouncing to their next distraction or quick fix to keep from dealing with the issues that have made them do the things they do. They don’t change, until they have to. They dont care enough for others so there will be no impetus to change until they have their own devastating personal issue. And then theres a huge chance theyll just latch on to someone else and start the cycle over again…. people who actually change are truly rare, and very special. Its unbelievably hard – ask anyone here. Its a lifelong effort too, alot of great women here have started that journey and they have a ton of great advice for you – listen to them :)

        Done rambling now… you’re gonna be ok!!!! Dont look back!! Keep your memories, feel your feelings, but keep moving forward :)

        • mindy says:

          I like this…Keep your memories, feel your feelings BUT keep moving forward!

        • Revolution says:


          Your comment ROCKED. I know it wasn’t meant for me, but it helped a lot. Thank you. :)

          • Bob72 says:

            Anytime Revs… you were one of the girls who was a huge help to me to finally let it all go. Thank you! :)

            I write here to help anyone who possibly gets something out of it, and honestly to help myself – seeing it here reaffirms I am doing the right thing – well most of the time anyway lol.

            Hugs Revs… and to all, keep moving forward :)

            • Revolution says:

              Oh no, Bob. Dammit. Now you’re making me get in touch with my softer side, and I HATE THAT. ;) I’m humbled to know that I helped you in some small way, and I’m also very glad. I know your comments have also helped me immensely, so it’s really an interchange. ((Hugs)) back! :)

    • Chrysalis says:

      Hi BurnedAgain, my advice is: Stop listening to what he is saying and look at what he is doing. He says about his gf that he “cant bear to hurt her”. Yet he has a fling with you for 7 months. In anybodys book thats fairly hurtful behaviour. He says “if he stays with her he will be unhappy and cares massively about you”. Yet he is living with her and currently ignoring you. Look at his actions. You describe him as charming, manipulative and romantic. Theres nothing charming or romantic about stringing two women along. This guy by his actions is showing that he cares about NOBODY but himself. Sorry if this sounds brutal, but if you let go of the fantasy and deal with the reality you will realise there is only one thing to do. Flush.

      • jewells says:

        Hi Burned Again, yes, it is frustrating when it seems they have control of the situation by ignoring us when the satisfying outcome would be for us to have done it. I think it is a control thing on our part, ego, our desire to have done the done thing. I went through this, the exMM cut ties with me and boy was I pissed. Though, it was preBR, so I didn’t know NC, nor the necessity of it, so I may not have been able to do it myself and could have let the disfunctional arrangement linger indefinitely. I wound up here as a result of this happening, so it was the best thing to happen. I was looking for answers that I couldn’t get from him as a result (and now BR educated, realize I wouldn’t have gotten from him anyway). So, look at it this way – he’s done you a favour, you weren’t strong enough to do what needed to be done, and he’s helped you. The soreness over this will dissipate in time as you come to recognize the gift. And soon enough you will also come to grips with the ‘bullet best dodged’, his character immaturity means that if he had chosen you, you would have had to deal with his BS indefinitely in your life, his indecision over you, his keeping a look out for ‘greener pastures’ and a life of misery or the shoe dropping when he left you for another. Reassure yourself that it is for the best, that you on your own can treat yourself better than he ever would and as a result of that, you will meet someone who will treat you better also. We attract (or accept) those who treat us how we treat ourselves. Forgive and have compassion for yourself and you will find someone who has that capacity also. My two cents :)
        I see the exMM as rubbish best gone now. If I’d been told that when things were fresh, I’d have never believed it. I treat myself better now, I feel better, and I know I will never again accept what he offered to get in my life. There would be a polite ‘no thankyou’ before a foothold gets in place. I have no room for such shenanigans in my life, I have so much more going on to want that hanging around.

    • Little Star says:

      BurnedAgain, it’s happened to me except I did not sent an AC email..I am on NC again (after 4 months of first NC) and I promise myself I will never ever ever response to his emails. What I do now – I joined online dating (I know it is early days!!!) BUT it’s helping me to cope. I arrange my first date on Saturday, lets see what happens. My advice to you – keep NC, who give a sh”t what he thinks! The most important WHAT YOU THINK and please do not call yourself a mug! YOU ARE NOT, you are beautiful human being, who trusted and loved a guy who DID not deserve YOU! I always say that TIME is the best healer, give yourself time and keep yourself busy. IT IS early days that why you feel low and crying but you will feel better, trust me I was there:) All the best x

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Little Star. I hope you will maintain NC. I found online dating served as a distraction for me during my healing from an MM that I flushed. I was in really bad shape emotionally. I engaged in online dating because it was a fantasy. I felt safer because I could be EU and at the same time have fun, flirt, accept all kinds of phony complements and some such crap to boost my ego. I would not suggest to anyone that they take online dating or a potential LDR very seriously. Have fun but don’t have ANY EXPECTATIONS. What you are doing is EU activity and what you get out of it will likely be the same. But, most iportantly, stay away from people who don’t give a hoot or mean you any good. Treat others as you would want to be treated. That means being true to YOU.

        • Little Star says:

          Thank you so much Tinkerbell for your wise advice! I do have as Natalie pointed out “baggage” from my childhood and I am EU myself…
          Regarding dating, I talked on line to few men and flushed them immediately as soon as they started to show “red flags” and all thanks to Natalie and brilliant BR community! AND funny enough I do not feel guilty for flushing them! Mr T is different somehow, so I decided to meet him on Saturday night:) I will keep clear head and do not have too much expectations, I will remember you Tinker:) x

    • noquay says:

      This is sooo like my narc boys behavior the only difference being that he kept the girlfriend secret from me for two blasted years. He alternated between ignoring/criticizing/acting like he actually gives a f!@#. He too not only got to move on but also got a overlapped with a NEW girlfriend, a friend of mine that he flirted openly with while we were all in some meetings together. I, on the other hand, just by the fact that I am an older and educated and female here, rather than male, has not found anyone and may well not as long as I am here. Yep, you have to suck it up and its damned hard. Ignoring them is the best thing to do to a narc. Mine is on committees that I chair and I ignore him just the same. Next week, I will be working to help one of his colleagues on a construction project and if hes there,I will ignore him. Narcs are really, really hard to deal with due to the dymanics of dealing with them.Believe me, this dude does not care a tinkers damn about you, tis all about him.

    • Melissa says:

      BurnedAgain, you are not going to like what I have to say, but hear it is. Stop throwing yourself a pity party!!! Take control of your life and your emotions. Yes, I have had an AC ignore me. What did I do, I kept pushing for a response. It was damaging to my self-esteem. I felt helpless, irrational, and out of control. Trust me you don’t want to do that. You need to accept things for the way that they are and feel the feelings that you have, but work on letting go. Forgive yourself for being involved with this guy and maintain NC no matter what. The choice is yours to make.

    • NCC says:

      Hi Burned Again,
      Reading your story floods my mind with so many thoughts, and advice I want to give, as I have been in a very similar situation, and as you rightly call yourself, I’ve been BURNED AGAIN!! and again, and again, and again. I see sooo many common trends in these stories. RIght away, he wants you to play armchair psychiatrist. What has helped me when I got confused about why the AC was contacting me when I blocked his number (he called me at work where I can’t block him or see who is coming through) is that what always happens is, I feel a glow that he really must care if he’s contacting me! Wowie. Um, no. NEVER in these contacts does he ask about how I’M doing. He cried to me on the phone last time about how much he missed me, had no respect that I was at work, and probably thought it would be easier on him because he knew I couldn’t really react. PLUS, he actually said “you don’t have to say anything…maybe someday you’ll unblock my number.” O.M.G. What a f-ing power trip. I went NC with him, he busts my boundaries, and them I’m left feeling like HE GOT CLOSURE off of my time!! Nooo! And you know what, if I had tried to call him after that….I know he wouldn’t have answered because he’s with someone else. HOw do I know this? Let’s say it together now…BEEN BURNED BEFORE! Not once in your recap of your encounter with him do I read him asking about how YOU are, and him saying, I want to be with you. I don’t say that to be mean, because it hurts to hear, and yes even if he said that, these ACs are nothing but words, no action. HOw dare he use you like that and whine that basically he’s a coward and wah wah wah dumps it on you and THEN goes home to someone else? I know you are SAD and I’ve been in bed crying for three days and actually what feels like years now. You are right to feel sad, AND ANGRY. he used you on your time and emotions and then cuts you out?!! That’s what these bastards do (and he says he doesn’t want to be one but that’s because he knows he is one!) Your whole story is textbook AC behavior. Get away from him, you didn’t do anything wrong but he is with someone else, you DON’T want to be with someone who would cheat on their girlfriend, trust me when I say you wont be the exception to his rule of cheating, lying, using etc. I have had to just suck it up when I got burned, but try to look at is as a lesson, not a punishment. YOu followed one course before and you’ve seen where it led you. Try another course this time. I know it feels like trying to swim upstream while being strapped to bricks and basically your WHOLE being and what feels like the world is telling you, “it’s just easier to continue as you have been” but TRY. And KEEP TRYING. Best to you Burned.

    • Digs says:

      I completely understand how difficult it is, and how it seems to strip you of your power, when they ignore you. I am trying to get over a Mr. Unavailable / Rebounder who wasn’t ready for a relationship, had feelings for me but the timing was off, it was too soon, he wasn’t over his ex, yada yada yada….but lo and behold, he’s now in a relationship… a couple of months after we parted ways. Throughout our time together, whenever I expressed my feelings to him (via email because I was just as emotionally unavailable), he would ignore me. It always crushed me, and made me feel so much shame.

      I saw him yesterday, and made a fool of myself when, after finding out that he was seeing someone now, told him that if it didn’t work out, that maybe we could try a real date (we had been in a no-strings non-relationship thing… otherwise known as me stroking his ego and cock while I let my soul crumble). For some reason, last night, I decided to send a “nice” message as a follow up, to wish him well. I have no idea why. But…of course…no reply… and I spent last night and this morning crying my heart out. Such a slap in the face that I wasn’t good enough to get a relationship, or get a response.

      I have been not interested in guys before. I have wanted to move on from relationships before. My feelings for someone have changed before. But I have never ignored someone who has shown interest or been kind. That is not in my character. I have compassion and I show kindness to others, whether there’s “something in it for me” or not, whether I am romantically interested or not. It’s just courteous, and kind. So really, this guy has shown you his character, and that’s not the kind of character you want in a man that you give yourself to. I have no idea how to get rid of that feeling that you’ve given them your power. I feel it too. Just another rejection from him, and I feel like a fool. I imagine him feeling great about the fact that I still want him, and he can just flick me off like a pesty fly. It’s a horrible feeling.

      Oh, and I hadn’t seen this guy in months, and although I was far from over him, I too had so many feelings for him come flooding back after seeing him. He hugged me tight, and it would have been less painful had he punched me in the gut instead.

      I have no words to make it feel better, just wanted you to know that I hear you, and yes, it’s hard. And yes, your “revenge” will come in the form of you decided that he’s not a part of your life now or ever, and that after you heal, life will be infinitely better without his mindfuckery. Ain’t nobody got time for that! ;o)

    • sushi says:


      Uh..I remember that hellish pain of utter confusion. Take a deep breath and then sit down and write down on one piece of paper all the things he said to you ( like he cares massively about you), and on the second piece all the things he did. It will show you that he talks sh*t and none of the caring is reflected in his actions, therefore it`s not real. If you write down also what it is YOU want in a relationship it will show you that you are never going to have it with him. He is a bog standard AC who only cares massively about himself. That poor woman that lives with him does not deserve to be treated like that and neither do you. Most of us on here, and Natalie too have been yanked about by these ass…well- clowns. You tried, you believed him and hoped, you are human. Take that anger and disappointment off yourself, it belongs on top of his selfish head.I have been exactly where you are now, I was getting really good at this suck it and see malarkey, and the result was always, always the same.Without fail. The thing to do is to realise that you can make a decision to ignore him and his response or non response from now.Past is gone and finished. And as Natalie said, it can be a prison. It`s onwards from right now. Huge hug for you x

      • BurnedAgain says:

        Thanks so much guys for all your advice – it’s all brilliant, from running over his picture with my car (that made me smile) to the realities of REALLY stopping and putting thoughts of him down instead of carrying him around in my head all day.

        NCC: ‘he got closure off of MY time’ – so true, when we let them back in, we just make THEIR life easier, not our own. Not sensible! Thanks for the advice, I’m only just getting to the angry stage, you sound very much there and I think I could do with a bit of anger towards him actually, the d*ckhead!

        Digs: my heart went out to you. Please don’t feel foolish. Yes you felt feelings when he hugged you (because you’re not made of rock, you’re human), yes you sent him an email. Yes you let him know you’re still interested. Ok. Past is past, you can’t change that. You don’t need to feel foolish for feeling. What WOULD be foolish, is now that you know he’s giving you nothing in return, to repeat that behaviour in the future hoping for a different reaction from him. That’s the lesson I’m trying to remember. That’s the point. We all make mistakes (although let’s face it, sending a guy you like an email isn’t up there with the worst mistakes in history, so it’s not the end of the world) – so let him have his ‘nice’ email, let him think you might be up for a ‘real date’ one day, let him think you like him. Let him have that ego boost, f*ck it – because it’s the last boost he’s ever going to get from you. When he pops up again after his current relationship finishes (or during it, if he’s a total AC), you’ll have learnt you deserve better and your stronger self-worth means you will NEVER again put your life in the control of a guy who can’t even reply to an email. If he’s egotistical enough to test the water again, you WON’T be there anymore, you WON’T respond and he will get the message that you’re no longer prepared to be someone’s half-way house. Because you’re better than that.
        This is what I’m trying to tell myself – ultimately who cares if he’s ‘ignoring’ me (and that’s such a negative word to put on myself anyway), my self esteem demands that from now on I shouldn’t care what he’s doing. Giving him ANY of my energy means I give less to myself – remember that: giving ANY of your energy to someone who doesn’t warrant or deserve it, means you’re taking something away from yourself. Take back the power! x

        • Digs says:

          A-MEN!!! Such empowering words! Eff both of them…they will never get another ego stroke from either of us. We are too busy giving that energy and care to ourselves.

  10. Lilly says:

    The events of the recent and perhaps not so recent past have caught up with me. My neglect of myself in the name of getting the exAC to love me and my baby has finally taken its toll. My body is complaining big time and I’ve made some stupid financial decisions for which I am now paying the price. I have spent some time beating myself up, something along the lines of: “ you are a fool, it’s your own fault, you chose to have an affair,you got pregnant, you didn’t care about his wife, you are a bad person, you chose to neglect yourself and your life, and it’s no wonder he didn’t want you or the baby – who would want someone like you”. Well, enough of the self-degradation and the self-pity. I’m not a fool,I am a human being who has made a huge mistake that has unfortunately, led to other mistakes. In a moment of pure grief I almost threw my life away. But,I’m still fighting and I will get through this. I already started three months ago when I went NC. He has now become the least of my worries. It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time for some self-compassion and empathy.I want the keys back to my life.

    • Mymble says:

      I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time. These traumas are like a physical injury. It takes time to recover. It’s a strange thing that losing a relationship that was painful and destructive is so much worse than breaking up with someone where there was kindness and respect. You will get over it – but to do so you must look after yourself in every way. Healthy food, rest, fresh air, company of friends. Doctors orders for the broken
      hearted. Don’t let that hideous AC spoil any more of your life than he already has.

      • Lilly says:

        Thank you Mymble. I thought I was doing ok, but slipped into depression. I stopped for a moment, had a long, long look at myself and fell flat on my face! It feels like I’m trying to climb out of a muddy pool, but I can’t get a grip and I keep falling back in. But, I still have my head up; onwards and upwards.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lilly. I’m sorry for you. But, honey, 3 months is still very early in NC, and especially considering the magnitude of your affair. What you have had to to put aside and get over is HUGE. Please don’t continue beating yourself up. LOVE YOURSELF because you finally had the strength to get out of the mess and stay away. That is not an easy thing to do. Commend yourself. You cannot change the mistakes of the past. The things you are telling yourself are helpful to keep you NC, to grow stronger and to change your life for the better. But, what you need to do is really BELIEVE what you are telling yourself. BELIEVE IN YOU, that lovely, warm lady with so much love to give inside of you. Believe in your gifts and remember that not everyone deserves to bask in your love and light. That way you won’t go back and you won’t repeat the same behavior going forward because you will know you are BETTER THAN THAT.

      • Lilly says:


        It seems so much longer than 3 months. When you properly get away from them everything starts to become clearer and clearer and sometimes I feel humiliated, sometimes angry, always very sad, but I am so glad I found the strength to leave it all behind. I’m trying to stay positive, but it seems I’ve made such a mess of my life. The only way is up from here, and I will try and stop making it worse. I am a good person, I just lost my way for a while. Thank you Tink, I am certainly better than that and I did not deserve to be treated that way. Never, ever again.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Lilly. The passage of TIME helps tremendously as you are working toward achieving contentment and happiness. I’ve followed your story from the beginning though I didn’t make any comments until later on. I was feeling your devastation and couldn’t construct anything helpful to say. But as time is passing I am able to offer you much encouragement because you are not backsliding. I respect and admire your courage. God will see you through.

  11. 2fearce says:

    I frequently have to monitor my emotions as I tend to take on other ppls stuff. Well joy of joys today was all about me! (Yup, that’s sarcasm)

    I knew today was going to be a tough one, yet my knowing didn’t stop it from happening. I get why I did what I did, I get that I should forgive myself but what I want is to learn how to interrupt the pattern when I see it coming. It’s like craving cake, then buying cake mix, baking it and eating the whole thing. I know its not a good idea… I know its gonna make me sick… but I keep telling myself “just one more piece” until its gone n I have a bellyache and all I can think is but “I still want cake”

    I’ve gone spent more than an hour of this evening crying bc smone (whos leaned on me in their times of need n tells me how easy I am to talk to) just told me that I “take too much emotion to maintain.” And I’ve heard it before. I thought I had reconciled this nonsense with the fact that the ppl who say it to me are emotionally bankrupt… I KNOW that but yet it still stings. It still smarts. It still brings tears. It still makes me slide down that slope of noone but my mother will ever love me.

    I saw the danger in engaging at all with someone like this after that became clear. I thought I had it handled… Didn’t invest too much, didn’t fantasize too much… Was aware what issues were theirs n not mine…yada yada.

    Yes, I made a mistake n I need to forgive myself… and treat myself with care. All of that is not giving me peace right now. What I want to know how not to buy the cake mix at all (or how to return it) bc in my head without that I couldn’t have eaten the whole thing and be sitting here with this ache.

  12. iwaslost says:

    Wow Nat. Thankyou so much for this article.There are so many things in life I have felt so undeserving of..I have struggled to feel truly deserving of happiness and find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop quite alot. The yearafter I broke up with the ex I fell into a nonrelationship with him, something I am not proud of. I wish so much I had been stronger and kept the courage I had had initially to end things with him when I did. I fell pregnant during this non relationship time to him, he was jobless and things between us were a shadow of what they had begin with he was supportive, saying all the things I had wanted to hear, but it wasnt long before he changed his mind and we had howling arguments. I decided to have an abortion. Something I feel now I can never forgive myself for.after that Icut him out of my life for good.I hear through old friends that I don’t really see but bump into every now and again that he is well and has moved on with his life. And whilst that makes me sad I am also happy for him that he has been able to do this. I try to tell myself that families are built and created on a foundation of love and all I had at the time was a lot of doubt and no concept of who I even was anymore. I try to tell myself that I would not have wanted to bring someone into the world being that kind of parent. I know I need to stop punishing myself. I have moved on with a lot of things in my life but there is a lot of the time this nagging voice in my head.

  13. stacey allam says:

    this is avery hard thing to do. i grew up with a paranod schzophrenic for a mother, and although she was so much more than that to me she was as good a mom as she could be she did the best with what she had. I lived in a house where I knew everything had to be a certain way to keep peace . I grew up and had 2 special nertaineds children and I do the same things where there concerned I break my head making sure things are easier for them thereby easing my so called guilt and if something goes wrong i go back to the little girl that set my off or the same little girl that sett susan my autistic daughter off, If i lose my metro card I have to apologize to my husband.for making us spend more money. Its a very difficult mode of thinking to change .I guess Ill have to start with small changes and see where it leads me.

  14. Tenneil says:

    I’m 24 and I’ve only ever had one boyfriend, who was EU, an AC and we were long distance. It only lasted four months, but five months on, I’m sat here crying and I feel so pathetic.

    For the most part, I’ve been doing well. I try so hard to love myself, but there’s a part of me that feels empty. My friends tell me I’ll probably always feel that way until I meet someone new, but I shouldn’t need someone to make me feel whole. I want to feel happy and whole with or without a man and I just have no idea how to complete me.

    On the weekend, I got pretty drunk and for the first time since January, I unblocked the ex and checked his Facebook. I cried, laughed and smiled, but I mostly cried. I tried to reblock him after that, but for some reason, Facebook won’t allow me until 48 hours have passed. The next day, I saw that he had “poked” me and it upset me so much. I had remembered that I accidentally sent a friend request to him and then immediately cancelled it. Was that his way of saying, “Hey?” or was he just acknowledging my patheticness? Only 12 more hours until I can reblock him, thank God.

    I haven’t cried like this about him in a long, long time. Staying in NC is SO important. I was drunk, I slipped up and I can forgive myself, but it’s still so hard to forget the pain and move on from it. Sometimes I don’t even remember all the bad things he did to me, but I just remember experiencing a lot of pain and I get really down about that. How do I stop thinking about him? I’ve forgiven him, I’m not angry, but why do I still get so down?

    As horrific as this experience was, I never would’ve got my life on track if I didn’t go through this pain. I got offered an amazing three month internship on the other side of the country, which I’ve accepted. I’ve never lived out of home before and I’m excited for the challenge. I have a blog that’s doing really well and I love as a hobby, I’m going on a holiday with my friend, I’m exercising, reading and doing all the things that I’ve been wanting to do for years, but kept putting off.

    I know I’m on the right path moving forward, but then I feel like there’s this bad path – the one where I didn’t believe in myself, unmotivated, the one that attracted my ex-EUCAC – that I keep looking back at. I don’t know how to stop it. For the first time in my life, I’m actually trying, but what is this sadness that just won’t go away?

    • Melissa says:

      I can relate a a lot to what you are saying. Do not take your friends advice to start dating someone new. Trust me it doesn’t work. You need to get over your past relationship and get really content being single before you start seeing someone new. I am 32 years old, and for years I have been jumping from one relationship to the next, never really getting over the last. I can tell you that I wasn’t happy. I felt really insecure and I made poor decisions when I was grieving. Often times getting wrapped up in casual relationships just so I wouldn’t get hurt. Guess what I got hurt. I never learned how to cope with a loss. I didn’t know how to spot red flags. I always wanted to work things out no matter what, but every guy I have been with has been EU. I developed a pattern and now I am doing the work to break it. You can’t run from your problems. Do the work to move on. I have come to the point where I have decided to ask for outside help. I am going to see a counselor. I would suggest you do the same. Staying busy doing things that you love is important, but it is okay to admit that you need help.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tenneil. I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like your problems existed long before you met the one AC boyfriend with whom you had a long distance relationship for 4 months. Your emotional upset has got to be caused by more than that. That was a “non-existent” relationship. Not enough to hang your hat on, let alone be torn apart over the loss of the relationshit. You need to get down to the nitty gritty of what has really got you so distraught. It’s a whole lot more than HIM, it seems.

      • Tenneil says:

        I think it could be my EU parents. I love them and they do a lot for me, but lately I find it really frustrating when my mum talks to me because she doesn’t really talk about much. Like, there’s never been any depth or emotion in any of our conversations. It’s funny because it never used to bother me until after the ex and I broke up. After the first two days of him and I breaking up, it was like all was forgotten and in the past now – no mention of it or how I was feeling ever again. She couldn’t relate to how I was feeling because she’s only ever been with my dad, and she only married him because she didn’t know what else to do with her life. I know this because I overheard her saying this to her friend as a kid.

        My ex-AC did have some good qualities in him and in the beginning, he made me want to be a better person by encouraging me to work on my portfolio. He spoke about it to my mum and she said, “I’ve been trying to get her to do it for so long!” and all I could think was, ‘You have NEVER said ANYTHING to me about my career’. A couple of months after our breakup, we caught up with family one afternoon and relative asked my mum when I was going to get a proper job. My mum told him she’s been trying to get me to look for jobs for ages. Another lie. My parents have never really encouraged me to do anything. It’s always been on my own terms or the support of my amazing friends.

        My dad, on the other hand, it feels like he’s just there. Just someone I live with. I never talk to him. The thing is, I know we’re capable of good conversations because we do have them on the rare occasion, but it can also be hard talking to him too if you have a different opinion to him.

        The other night, him and my mum (who I don’t think are even in love) were fighting and my dad said some pretty harsh things to my mum. He also called my sister and I useless. I don’t take it to heart because I know I’m more capable of anything he did in his life, and I’m not afraid of accomplishing the things I want for myself anymore, but maybe it affects me on some deeper level? He’ll point out your flaws, but never believe in you. In high school, I took art, but my dad didn’t like it because he thought it was a waste of time. I continued to do it because it’s what I enjoyed and when my artwork was selected to be in an exhibition, he said it was because of him.

        When I accepted my internship, all my friends were so happy and excited for me, encouraging me to go for it. However, when I told my parents, they didn’t really react at all. I don’t understand.

        Had my ex and I stayed together, I think we very well would have gone down the same path my parents did that lead to emotional unavailability and the lack of love, care, trust and respect. I don’t ever want to be with a man who tells me to f off and finds me sick, and I want to be able to support and encourage my future children by actually TALKING to them. You could do everything for your kids, but it’s the emotional support and connection that’s going to help them in life.

        I think I just really need to move out of home to learn how to appreciate my parents more and just accept them for who they are, but not feel so suffocated. I’m 24 years old – I don’t need to be reminded to take a jacket with me because it’s cold outside and that I shouldn’t be drinking Coke! I know that for as long as I’m living at home, I’m never going to get anywhere in my life career or relationship wise. I’ve never been so excited to move cities. Even if it’s only temporary, I know it’ll do me so much good. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about too. I just can’t wait to get out under my parents’ roof and eventually move cities for good.

        I don’t know if moving cities will help me stop thinking about him. I think once I’m fully focusing on something I love and is actually taking me somewhere as opposed to being stuck at a dead end job, it’ll definitely do me some good.

        I wasn’t feeling this upset until my drunken mistake of unblocking the ex, but I suppose I’ll take it as a harsh reminder of the importance of no contact and that he belongs in my past, not my future. Why is that I cry over him, but I don’t really feel anything when I talk about my parents this way? Is it because it’s been going on my whole life and I’m used to it?

        I’d love to hear your thoughts, Tinkerbell.

  15. Sparkle says:

    Great post. very sobering!

  16. Marie83 says:

    I struggle with forgiven myself/being compassionate and not seeing myself at fault – with the ex I think I internalised all his bad behaviour as being about me – I was flawed in some way and fundementally not worthy of his love. The emotionally abusive behaviour the ex displayed was often so baffling that I couldn’t see how he could behave in such a way without their being good cause (the cause being me) and the ex was only too happy to point out all the areas in which I was lacking. I still do not give myself enough compassion

  17. Melissa says:

    Wow, thanks Nat.

    I only recently realized that I struggle with loving myself…a lot. I thought I was fine. But friends always point out that I am ‘so hard on myself’ and I am. But, in my mind I figure it makes me better. I am relentlessly pursuing a ‘better’ me.

    Why? Because the ‘better’ me won’t be alone. The ‘better’ me will find love. A ‘better’ me will finally be recognized for my achievements at work and get the pay I deserve.

    I don’t get that stuff now because I am not good enough, right? There are other women who are cuter, more compliant, more cuddly who the men just adore. If only I could be them. There are workers with more professionalism and experience…if only I could just get there. Till I do? I don’t deserve any happiness. Happiness is for the perfect.

    This is the story I tell myself, I realize…everyday.

    My mom…though she wasn’t physically abusive, if we made her angry…oh god. She would stop talking to us for days. We wouldn’t know what we did. We would ask her, ‘Do you still love us?’ And she would say, ‘I love you, I just don’t like you very much right now’ …and we wouldn’t know what we did wrong…we were left to read her mind or get in further trouble for trying to ‘butter her up’ too much to get back in her good graces. She never trusted me, assumed that I was drinking or on drugs just by virtue of being a teen.

    Fast forward a few years and I married my mom. He was harshly judgemental. I couldn’t do anything to make him smile. But I could do plenty ‘wrong’….so, I tried to be a perfect wife. And when I couldn’t be perfect enough, I quit.

    So…here I sit. All the time in the world to harshly judge myself for all my flaws. To really internalize why I am not good enough. Heck, dating has certainly reinforced that belief. The men that I dated were in agreement with my internal review. So, I’ve quit dating too.

    Now? I don’t know what to do. At least I am aware of my situation. That’s a big step.

  18. Espoir says:

    As usual, great post, Nathalie and amazing comments, fellows Br. I think it was the New Moon or maybe the new herbal supplements that I,m trying but lately I was a complete mess (7 months NC ex,s Bday, some messages of his grownup daughters telling me they miss me :( etc. I try (very hard – since I feel like crying out of the blue and I don,t recognize myself %^&!*^% herbal pills) to sit on my hands and not contacting him and then I come here to take a shot of wisdom and cold water. Something that I read and I think it relates to beating yourself up when slipping (the analogy was made when dieting : don’t pig out since you already had a slice o pizza so it does not count anymore…but I think that we can successfully apply it here) : If you drop your cell phone you won,t go ahead and also smash it with your foot …so let,s do the same, if we slip, let,s pick ourselves up,dust ourselves off and be thankfull that we still function. And then try our best next time (without herbal supplements :))

  19. grace says:

    We need to think, but not overthink. Analyse, but not overanlyse. Learn, but … we don’t have to know everything and be perfect before we can move on.
    I’m sure people have done less time for murder than we have on giving ourselves a hard time. We even give ourselves a hard time for giving ourselves a hard time.
    I hesitate to put a timescale on it but, roughly, if it’s taking longer than two years we need to kick it up a notch and work very hard – not at understanding it more, or at getting closure but at LETTING IT GO.
    And if you get over it in six months that is absolutely fine! It doesn’t mean you are shallow, unthinking, insensitive, unemotional or simple-minded; nor does it minimise the hurt. Maybe it means that you are committed to your recovery, and to not making other people’s issues about you.
    Sometimes, I think we can hang onto it as a way of validating how bad it was. Yes, it was bad, but don’t punish yourself for it in order to prove it.
    My boyfriend said to me, “I just can’t understand why someone like you isn’t married already.”
    It was because I spent too much time dragging around the baggage. I know how that poor guy in the illustration feels.

  20. teachable says:


  21. teachable says:

    My heart goes out to you & yr boys Kim. There is hope. My Son was smoking dope with his Dad (who introduced him to drugs ir WTF?!!!) but I got him into rehab & he celebrated 2 yrs clean & sober a couple of weeks ago.

    It may be worth checking out Alanon & Nar-anon. These are support groups for family members of people with substance abuse issues.

    I wish you (& yr boys) well. Remember, you can’t change the past, but CAN be a good role model going forward. ;) x

  22. teachable says:

    Hang in there Steel Magnolia. This will pass. I promise. It may take time but eventually, it will.

    I’m in a similar place. My dalliance w my now deceased ex AC has no doubt contributed to my illness, & the fact that I have been unable to work for almost 2 &1/2 yrs, & am now unemployable.

    I am facing the prospect of losing my house AND my (incomplete) edctn. Everything I ever worked so hard for is on the line, & having also lost an unborn baby as you know, I ‘get it.’

    Don’t quit before the miracle ocurrs Lilly. You’re WORTH IT! xx

    • Lilly says:

      Oh Teach, if you can do it then so can I. Hugs and thank you (tears and more tears, but I won’t quit), xx.

  23. pinkpanther says:

    I find it truly shocking how I can be seemingly moving forward in real life only to be plagued by dreams which are clearly dragging me back through all kinds of unresolved past hurts.

    When I wake up from these sorts of nights I find out I’m human, with layers of complex and conflicting experience.

    I do know how to give myself a break though, and I am able to consciously be kind to myself in waking life. My dreams are mixed and I find them very accurate indicators for what’s going on good/bad or otherwise.

  24. GT says:

    Thanks, Natalie! I’m very good at mentally punishing myself. I’ve screwed up a lot in life (like BIG time) and it’s really hard to let go of the guilt. Forgiving others is so much easier than forgiving myself sometimes. I think that “because I knew better” I should have been able to make the better decision. Hindsight is 20/20 and I have come to analyze and criticize everything I do/say- even small things other people won’t remember from years ago. And I realize what I’m doing and wonder what is wrong with me. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  25. High Heels Backwards says:

    Wow, Grace, I like that image. I also carry around baggage from my childhood, and I have very clear memories of how I didn’t feel I was enough, even at age 7. (It doesn’t really matter why…my parents were so caught up in their marriage and their two-person world that I ended up with a deep feeling of not beloning.) Thinking about the little girl I was and how that girl deserved and deserves love makes me cry. It’s good, though, to be processing these things and hopefully moving through them. I’ve been separated for 1-1/2 years and divorced since December, and I think I’m finally grieving for the marriage. Not for my ex, who I’m well rid of, but for the dream of a loving relationship and for my feelings of unworthiness that led me to make unhealthy decisions. I’m trying to feel that I’m enough as I am, and part of me believes it, really. I can go on and on about my good qualities. However, there’s a sad, empty hole inside me that I have to continue to work with. Yesterday an image came to me — me as a little girl, with all of the sadness and feelings wafting out of me like beautiful, colorful smoke. I’m holding onto the image, and trying to hold the image of that little girl in my mind with compassion, caring, and empathy. Hopefully this will have some effect!

    All of this cr*p has come bubbling to the surface since I started dating back in the fall. I’ve learned SO much, but it’s been SO painful. Right now I’m dating a very nice guy (in the early stages), but I’m so afraid my anxiety and lack of confidence will mess things up (and that things will end in any case, for other reasons…lots of anxiety and fear of abandonment there). I’ve told him a little of this, and I’m really focusing on my own things by myself, with friends, a therapist, etc. I’m trying to let go and enjoy, but damn it’s hard! I feel like I’m on the right track, but it’s hard to change 40+ years of feeling unworthy and ashamed (despite being a high achiever in many other ways).

    I’m so grateful for this blog, my friends, and the other resources I’m using. I feel like I’m finally facing my dragons. Today, as I was working, I cried and cried. It’s really hard, but it’s the path I’m on.

    Thanks, Natalie and everyone, for being there.


  26. Diane says:

    Childhood experiences still effect me, but Nowhere near as much as when I was in my twenties.
    My self critical analysis started to really get me down, affecting my feelings of self worth. It wasn’t until I decided enough was enough and realized I really was my own worst enemy.
    I then began talking to my partner about issues I had never shared with anyone. It was like walking into a bright warm room.
    I have never looked back since.

  27. BurnedAgain says:

    Chrysalis and vhs thank you SO much for taking the time to give me some fantastic advice. I read it just before agreeing to go out for tea with a friend – I didn’t want to go, wallowing at home feels more comfortable (and familiar – how f*cked up is that!) but I read your advice, I went, and I had a really nice time. You’re both absolutely right and Chrysalis thanks for telling it like it is.
    The main thing in all of this – for ALL of us who visit this site, is to remember our own worth. We wouldn’t want someone treating our daughter or best friend how we’ve been treated, we’d pray they avoided that. And by keeping this man, sorry, I mean confused little boy, in my mind and giving him more brain space, or oxygen when I talk to my friends about him going round and round, then I AM allowing it to still carry on and not helping myself avoid it. And that’s not the best choice I could make.
    I wrote a list today, two columns, what he’s losing by not being with me and what I’m losing by not being with him. It was sobering: the stuff he’s losing by not getting to be with me is flipping brilliant stuff that any man would love to have in a girl, while the stuff I’m losing is mostly the kind of behaviour and character I should not in any way be wanting to cling onto. Manipulative, ugly, cheating, dishonest, at times cruel and, most importantly, very cowardly behaviour. He’s said plenty of times ‘Oh, I have no balls, if I had balls I’d leave….but I haven’t grown balls.’ Do I want that to be my future husband? Nope. Do I deserve better? Yep. I should be kicking him out of my head, waving him off with forgiveness (because I find that easier than the ‘F You’ way) and moving forward with my life.
    We should ALL be only letting a guy into our life who enhances it, not sucks the energy and love from it and definitely not anyone who makes you feel less than your own wonderful worth.
    ‘There is no point in holding onto a belief unless it positively benefits you’ – I’m using that phrase today to remind me that it doesn’t positively benefit me to think about what he may or may not be doing or how he may or may not be living. Because to think about him in any way, other than making peace in my head and letting go as soon as possible, is just harming myself. It doesn’t positively benefit me to think about the future we might’ve had because that future was just a fake charade. I’m trying to see that now while he’s stuck being apparently unhappy, I get the freedom to have an even better future than the one I imagined with him.
    I’ll let you know how it goes….thank you again x

  28. BurnedAgain says:

    And Espoir I LOVE your cellphone metaphor. My mum says along the same lines of making sure I eat/take care of myself when I’m so down, and not punish myself by worrying what I said or did that I could’ve done differently in the situation: ‘if you cut your leg, would you dress it carefully and help it heal, or smack the open wound with a hammer?’ Fair point…

  29. BurnedAgain says:

    Argh I’ve only just seen the advice from Bob72 and Jewells – thank you SO much, sorry not to thank you in my earlier post.
    You’re advice is invaluable and I’m going to take it forward. I’m sorry you’ve both had to go through this, I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy, it’s so exhausting and the whole ignoring thing seems to lead to so many more questions than if they’d just had the decency to explain what was happening. Although…even when I re-read that sentence it’s nuts, because in my case I knew he wasn’t decent in the first place or he wouldn’t have been cheating on his gf. Whoever gets in my heart next time is going to have to be a very special soul indeed, because I can’t believe I gave such a precious organ away to someone who just chucked it up in the air with all the other BS and objects/people he was trying to juggle, instead of carefully looking after it.
    Although…if I had been looking after it properly I wouldn’t have given it to someone like him. Time to devour more posts on here and try to make sense of it all!
    I wish you both all the best with what you’re working through, you both sound so wise and sorted about the whole thing. Thank you again x

    • Mymble says:

      Just a warning,BA, looking into my crystal ball, and based on my experience and that of many others the AC will be back, eerily at about the time you’re really starting to move on. Attached men don’t have too many options so they like to keep whatever ones they have open. You gave him a little ego boost so he’s good – for now. And you’ve given him written confirmation that you still care so he feels reassured.
      At some point though (even if its a long time from now) he’ll get lonesome
      again and need a top up.
      Unless you want to get scammed again by this tosser I would block him by every means possible.

  30. MovingOn says:

    It’s hard to let it go. I got married young to a great guy. Treated me like a queen. What did I do but take out all of my familial hurts out on him? I used to yell at him for telling me he loved me. Or would get upset when he always tried to hold my hand or be there for me. I picked fights. I was the assclown. He divorced me. That was the impetus needed to make me change.

    I dated the exact assclown I used to be. He cheated on me. Put me down. Ignored me when he felt I upset him for days at a time. Now it is over. However, I think I stayed the year with him because of how I used to be. I try to forgive myself for what I did to my ex. But I feel this assclown that treated me poorly is just the karma I deserve. It was so crazy being with him and seeing just what my ex had to deal with. How hurtful it must have been for him. I forgive myself. I am a good woman now. But I will not forget the pain I caused.

    • jewells says:

      Moving On,
      I can totally relate to the being the assclown in the past. I have known over the years that the way I’ve treated some of my BF’s was wrong. I just didn’t have the tools, knowledge or understanding as to what was going on. I treated the one’s who were good to me poorly, dated AC after AC, without getting truly attached. The breaking point was the exMM AC who brought me here. I allowed myself to get attached, and so became heartbroken when lo and behold, gasp, it went down in flames. It was the epiphany relationship I truly needed to start my healing properly. I’d dabbled in the past, but I guess I had to hit bottom before I could start looking up for real. It is hard to look at were I’d royally f***ed up in the past and forgive myself, in fact I had been punishing myself over many things for many years. It’s the awareness – or more precisely the LACK of awareness of where it all came from, what was swimming around in my head and that I truly am in control of what happens in my life. I now feel a sense of peace now that I’ve made aware of these things. I wasn’t in control before, my past was, now I diligently work at not putting my past in my future, not let my past mistakes define me and just learn from what has transpired. None of it is easy, it’s difficult at times to take responsibility for some real doozies that in hind sight never need have happened had we known better then. But we didn’t, now we do, and forgiving ourselves means we don’t have to do it again. That is happiness :)

  31. MovingOn says:

    Melissa, wow! The dude I was seeing was exactly like my dad. I am sorry you went through that but am happy you found this site. (((HUGS)))

  32. runnergirl says:

    My goodness. I simply cannot believe the timing of this post and what I’ve been experiencing for the past 4 days. I’ve been with my daughter in Boston apartment hunting but it hasn’t just been about apartment hunting. After a year since the big break up with the exbf, she is moving on. I’ve learned so much about her from simple throw away comments. No such thing once you’ve been to BR school. She was so going with the flow with the exbf. It was never about her. It was all about him. The past 4 days has been all about her. We found a great little apartment, one she likes (I like it too), close to the T and her school (instead of his), close to stores, and everything she likes. She can now see things that the ex and her used to do without much issue. Boston is her city now. She has her own apartment and is excited about furnishing it. She has moved on and isn’t dragging her past baggage along. It’s really exciting to witness such a turn around. I can’t help but see a connection. Do you have any idea how I’ve tried not to feed the worry fishy. I just sealed me and her in a solid tank of fresh water and let all the worries beat their head against the tank. We were going to find the perfect apartment and we did. And to top it off, she passed her math test today and doesn’t have to take a very expensive 5 unit math class. I didn’t feed the math worry fishy even a half a fish pellet.
    I am learning to have as much compassion for me as I do for my daughter. Thank you Natalie.

    We found the perfect apartment and she passed her math test. Life is great and there is no random guy f**king up either of our lives.

    • pinkpanther says:

      I really like this last sentence of yours.

      Life is great and there is no random guy f**king up either of our lives.

      It really sums up how these “random” people fck up lives. The idea of them being random, just puts it all in perspective.

      congrats to your daughter and you too.

  33. espresso says:

    I have been away but have really been overwhelmed by catching up with the latest posts- they have been terrific and heavy to read. I think my form of self-punishment and creating a “prison of my thoughts” is because I don’t really, deep down believe what my gut is telling me – I don’t really think I have the “right” to say that my ex and the marriage I had was really really destructive to me. I still want some kind of external validation rather than seeing that my own view of it is enough. I want somebody to say that he is not Mr. Nice Guy and that I am right. I know this is not the way to go but I don’t have enough confidence in my own opinions in regards to myself yet I have strong views and am able to stand up for a lot of other things in my life. My marriage was actually pretty crazy making……
    Here is the thing..I am just coming out of along term marriage where I felt that I was not valued, cherished, appreciated, supported and where there was no real emotional engagement or exchange on his part. I see him not as being deliberately malicious (although he was very cruel- I never thought he did it deliberately but because he was just so undeveloped). He was told this not just by me but chose not to see or hear. He also has indiscriminate boundaries- a huge problem which continues to this day. On my wedding day a friend of his (turned out to be an AC+++) told me I was so “lucky” to marry him. And because he is courteous and well kept and is intelligent and and pays attention to doing the “right thing” I argued against my gut reactions for many many years.

    I took “over” the role of “mother” in the marriage and he was the little boy. I really hate to even say that because it creeps me out to think that is what I did but somebody had to be the adult in the relationship because we had kids and a business together on which we we depended for survival. Meanwhile I felt like I was starving inside and was doing this only to survive (and I also resented being put in the role- so damned hard work). So fastforward to today – I have been trying to take care of myself in so many ways…by being straight and appropriate with him, honest with my kids (but respectful), and also stay with the business until the end of the year because there is a lot of work/payment involved which is critical to me and my future. I also hoped for and wanted to have a good post marriage relationship with him and thought this would be possible because I thought I could be “over” my anger, hurt, resentment and fear of him busting my boundaries. I didn’t feel total NC was an option or I didn’t want it to be! But as time goes on, even though he does decent and sometimes supportive things I find that it is too hard. I feel anxious- waiting for him to be cruel or insensitive or to go back on what he says he will do (something my therapist warned me about). What I WANT to do is diminish him in my mind so that whatever he does does NOT affect me. When, if ever, will I get to that place?

    I want to get to the place where I am settled in myself and where I can honestly accept that he is “just not that special.”

    Right now he is filled with self excitement about how much “feeling” he is doing and he writes me these long emails telling me about his life and all the things he is doing and experiencing. I DO NOT WANT THIS AND I HAVE NEVER EVER ENCOURAGED IT. I have talked about being straight and not emotionally involved in communication and I totally model what I want this communication to be – courteous and business like and detached. So what can I do to have him “get this?” And why do I get so upset and confused when it happens. I start feeling guilty for confronting him because I don’t WANT to engage in confrontation any more…I don’t want to tell, ask, talk about, discuss etc. But for those of you who have been there – when things come up that are not tolerable in a post marriage relationship how do you handle them so you don’t get all maxed out emotionally again? It is so funny to me…at the same time he says he is changing and working so hard he is ignoring me and my boundaries and being completely clueless about all this. I am tired of being upset by him when I have so many other things I am working on. And it is upsetting to see him blinging around when I feel so vulnerable and often sad.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Espresso. I think you are allowing him too much control in your life and influencing how you feel about yourself. Total NC may not be an option, but you can do other things. For example, DON’T READ HIS EMAILS. They just upset you, so when you receive one don’t yeild to curiosity because you know you’ll be upset afterward. Just DElETE. Anything important concerning the business you share should be a face to face discussion, unfortunately. After that, there is no need to engage. Your children seem to be old enough to decide how much contact they want with him, but you’ll have to remain patient with them as they may be only recently learning his true nature. You know, once you’ve taught someone how to treat you it is extremely difficult for them to un-learn. They’re used to your pattern of behavior and will continue to see you in that way unless they themselves are willing to accept the changes/ boundaries, etc. that you have established. And the last thing you want to do is get into confrontations and arguments with him., as you know there is no resolution. I hope you will see a better outcome soon. It is up to you and only YOU.

  34. Lilia says:

    Burned Again:
    I´m not sure where I read this but it´s the best advice: print out a photo of the guy, tape it on a quiet road and go over it once and again with your car until you feel better. Or if you don´t drive, I think it would be okay to tapdance all over him insted.
    And then you´ll really be ready to flush.

  35. Rosie says:

    As I write this, “Big Bang Theory” is on TV (a television program in America, don’t know if it broadcasts elsewhere. It’s a comedy.) This episode was about a character, named Penny, who was feeling like a failure in her life. She became addicted to video games and her friend/ex-boyfriend tried delicately to tell her that sometimes people who feel like they aren’t achieving anything in real life often turn to the virtual world to give them a sense of achievement.

    This struck a chord with me as did Natalie’s mentioning the need to forgive oneself and T’s idea of putting a picture of herself as a little girl on the mirror. Wow! I haven’t been paying attention to all the negativity in my head. I’ve been beating myself up, looking at all the women around me who look so hot and “together” and “achieved” in their lives and seeing myself as a loser in comparison. Today I made a conscious effort to treat myself with love, care, trust, and respect. I don’t know if I’ve forgiven myself yet, don’t have a baseline of comparison to recognize whether or not I’ve done it but going back to writing down everything I like about myself seems like a good beginning again.

  36. Tinkerbell says:

    I’ve changed much for the better after a lot of work to do so. The thing I face now is dealing with my family accepting the person I am now. I’ve done sooo much work on myself, and happy with who I am for the first time in my life, have truly forgiven myself for past mistakes, and have put those unhappy events and moments aside, never to be resurrected. And, all mu family sees is the same old me. But, I have decided not to let that upset me. If they cannot accept who I am it is their problem. I’ve decided not to preach to them about how much I’ve changed. I will just BE. No more, no less.

  37. Melissa says:


    What you said soooo hit the nail on the head with my own marriage. Everyone (my own family included) thought my ex was great. My mom and brother still keep in contact with him, 3 years later. They took his side, thought I was the bad guy for breaking us up.

    It was horrible. I am always, ALWAYS, looking for ways to show the world that he was truly terrible to be married to…that I was the miserable captain of the ship, that I never got any love or affection, that I could never ever make him smile, that he was a blob who didn’t take care of his body or the house or anything….I *need* the world to see!

    But, they never will. My kids are seeing it, unfortunately, because he treats them in the same manner. Now that the girls are getting older, they will call him out on things he does that make them upset. His answer? Classic crazy making… “No I didn’t do that”, “No, that’s not what I said….” Etc. The poor girls, I don’t know what to do about it.

    But, I’m the bad guy for breaking up the family.

    How long has it been since you split up? I will say for me, it’s been 3 years now and it’s only now that I kind of don’t give a bleep about him and his opinion. I think it just takes time.

    • Bob72 says:

      Melissa… you don’t need the world to see dear, YOU know, and thats all that matters. Its kind of cool yet sad too that your kids now know too, but they figured it out on their own and thats the best way for someone to learn. There are people in this world who can put on a FABULOUS show, can show the right face to anyone they need to so they can get whatever it is they want from the situation. The thing is it doesn’t hold up under intense scrutiny. You lived with him, you had the intimate relationship with him, and were in proximity to him much longer than any of these people (family included) who think he’s such a great guy. You know… and you can’t really expect them to know because he probably talks a great game. It really doesn’t matter in the end – he knows who he really is too, and you know, and you are free now. He will continue to dance for whoever his audience is, and never really live because of it. Believe me I know, my ex was this same person, and still is. Soooo well liked and admired, so socialable, so popular, and inside and in private so anxious, so depressed, so cold and uncaring at times. I know. It used to piss me off that everyone didn’t know too – but its not my place to tell the world. She’s the one who has to live in it and I wish her the best. Let God decide, its not our job.

      I read your earlier post too and actually replied but I forgot to put my email address in and it didn’t go and I didn’t feel like rewriting it lol… but honestly, try to list one thing about you that REALLY makes you undesireable, just one. Psst, its a trick question ;). The thing is that all that stuff is relative… if you don’t like something about you then by all means try to change it. But if you like you, and believe in your qualities and what you have to offer, honestly the people who are “reaffirming your flaws” can go to hell. Maybe its just you know what you want out of life/a relationship and the jackasses and losers of the world don’t want to bother signing up, or give up after trying to dumb down your expectations. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t give up on what you want.. it might take awhile but you will find it if you keep looking and don’t settle for less.

      • Melissa says:

        Thanks, Bob-

        No worries, I will not settle. I am alone now and have no prospects anywhere in sight because I have refused to continue to date online. I have been on a “boy-tox” for the last 2 months (quit online dating in February).

        I know if I don’t date online there is no chance that I will meet a man (we all know that, don’t we ladies?) so I will not even have the chance to “settle”.

        I can sit alone or hang out with my girlfriends and revel in my own awesomeness ;-)

  38. Miss Jess says:

    This post really resonated with me. I have been living in a prison of my own making for years! I emotionally and mentally punish myself endlessly, constantly doubt my decisions and question my ability to make any changes for the better. I broke up with my EMU 6 weeks ago and it has been incredibly difficult to mentally ‘let him go.’ I have sustained NC since the break-up, and he has not tried to contact me wither. I’m not sure what makes me feel worse, knowing that it is over and he has moved on (as that is what his lack of contact signifies to me) or the fact that I am still holding on and punishing myself every day. Probably the later. I suppose for me, the hardest part with the NC has been that over time I have forgotten the reasons why I ended it and focus instead on the good times and what I presume I am missing out on by not being with him. I recognize that my tendency, due to low self esteem, is to base my internal self-worth upon whether or not I have a man giving me attention. It’s such a flawed way to measure ones self. Without a man, even an EMU, I feel worthless and alone. I have been trying to figure out why that is over these last many weeks, and making some headway, yet here I am today, the pain for some reaason feeling as fresh as the day I broke it off. Why can’t I stop the internal punishment, let him go and move on? Why can’t I see myself for the valuable, worthwhile and precious woman that I long to be? I am so thired of this life sentence I have bestowed upon myself. I know I deserve to be paroled, I just can’t seem to figure out how to convince my internal parole board to let me off the hook :(

    • amanda says:

      Miss Jess – It sounds, despite your agonizing cries, that part of you sees through the torture you are putting yourself through. Yes, you can have a good stretch of hours, days, weeks where you feel a steady sense of recovery, and *bam*, the littlest thing can throw you right back into the throes of missing that which you have walked away from. In this period of NC, you are asking your self (body, heart, mind) to do what it may never have done before – rely on yourself. As you said, this muscle has rarely been exercised before. Some days are going to be harder than others. It has nothing to do with this other guy, even though your self-doubt will be disguised as such. This has entirely to do with you. When you have a bad stretch of missing the relationship, first of all , its ok. Its ok to miss it… just don’t break down and go back to it. Instead, figure out a way to be supremely kind to yourself. I recommend doing this in an active way. Don’t just go back to bed for the whole day eating chocolates. This will only make you feel worse. Get out of your house. Get out of your head. Move away from the old haunts. Get out in nature. Call an old friend. Go to a museum or a show (which hopefully will not trigger the old memories of your relationship). Embrace something new. We’ve all been there. I still have days like this. But, it gets easier. It really does. One day, you will wake up and realize that for the last few weeks, months, you’ve been living in a way that respects your boundaries. You’ll see that you’ve been living with dignity. You’ll take this in, and you will start loving yourself. It happens. Its completely, totally worth it. Have faith!

      • Miss Jess says:

        Thank you Amanada!! I just read this response and your other response to my post about ‘discussing.’It sounds like yo9u have been here before and have weathered the storm and made some great insights, which I appreciate you sharing with me! Today is a much much better day. It’s funny how that can happen. I know you are right about self-reliance. For the first time I am trying to rely soley on myself for the kind of love and compassion that I require, and it is such a starnge and uncomfortable place to be, but it’s also exciting! I feel that in time and with practice I can do this. Thanks to you, the community of BR and all of the other wonderful supports I have in my life :)

        • amanda says:

          So true about the variability of bad days and good days. Try to remember that the next time you are feeling particularly challenged. Try to hold onto the perspective you have on a good day, when you’ve been able to look back on the bad day and think, “that was 100% my feelings, 0% anything having to do with the externalized relationship”. Not to dismiss feelings. But, they are ephemeral. I’m glad that the very things that seemed unbearable earlier seem exciting to you today. Warning, they will also feel boring! I have been most tempted to break NC when I am bored, or when I want to procrastinate in other areas in life. Having a hard time finding validation at work? It seems so tempting to stir up love-life drama because it will instantly make you feel like the title role in an opera, especially if this is a familiar go-to place for you. When this happens, sit with the boredom/restlessness. What’s going on? Laugh at it! Of course, easier said than done.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Miss Jess,
      I was watching some beauty tip video online lately and had an epiphany moment – the dermatologist was talking about maintaining good skin and etc., yet one of her sentences just struck me to the core. She said “growing up hurts”. She was talking about acne related problems, yet I believe that perfectly ilustrates what many of us here are going through.
      It hurts, because you’re growing out of your bad patterns. It hurts, because you’ve finally realised that you were also contributing to your pain and withholding kindness towards yourself (though I bet you weren’t doing the same to other people, even if they’d deserve that).
      I hurt because I hate to admit that I had to have those painful times in order to understand that such crap is not enough for me.
      The lessons we didn’t have a chance to learn (about accepting yourself, knowing ones needs and refusing to live with less) because of dysfunctional ties in our family (over-critical, EU or abusive parents) still have to be learned. And it not our fault that we only get to learn them now and this way.

  39. Digs says:

    Funny timing…. I had a therapy appointment the other day where we talked about finding empathy for the little girl within me. I have none. I am critical, judgemental, and feel unloveable. Of course, this goes back to losing my mom suddenly to death at the age of 8, and having an unavailable and critical perfectionist father. That’s all fine and great that I understand where it’s coming from, but I don’t know how to turn things around. My therapist wants me to feel compassion and empathy for myself… I can’t. Not even when I think of myself as a young girl, scared, lonely, just wanting to feel loved, but feeling abandoned and worthless instead.

    Last year I was contacted by someone that I had a huge crush on (yes, they still happen when you’re in your 40′s) – he had just gotten out of a 10 year relationship and I had just gotten out of a very damaging 4 year relationship, and we decided to be FWB to help get one another through the breakups. Of course I developed feelings for him, but he said that he could not let himself develop feelings, that he wasn’t going to be ready for a relationship for a very long time. After 6 months of way too much drama (caused by me), I told him to get lost. He didn’t try to stop me.

    I blame myself. I was too clingy, I was too demanding, I created a lot of drama when I didn’t get the attention that I thought I deserved, he was upfront that he could only offer sex, I moved the goal posts, I pushed him away. I blame myself 100% for “ruining things”.

    I saw him yesterday, after having not seen him for a couple of months, and asked if he was seeing anyone, and he said yes. My heart sank. What happened to not being ready for a relationship? What does she have that I don’t? She probably isn’t clingy and she probably doesn’t freak out if she doesn’t hear from him for a day and there probably isn’t the drama, and she probably doesn’t hide behind emails and texts, which I did. She probably wasn’t “easy”. I blame myself and I can’t seem to stop. I regret my behavior, I know that I was not in a good place – I was emotionally unavailable and not healed from my last relationship, and I acted crazy. I need to forgive myself and I just don’t know how to do it. I feel like I lost out on a great guy because of my failure and I am having such a hard time letting that go. It’s one thing if the guy is an ass, but he wasn’t – he was direct and clear about what he could offer, and I accepted, and then created drama and chaos when I didn’t get what I accepted. How do you forgive yourself when it really IS your fault?

    • Fifi says:

      Hmm Digs
      You know, maybe you just needed to go crazy for a while, and him being detached made it easier for you to do it, without causing a lot of harm. You’re finding reasons to excuse his detachment, but not being similarly compassionate about your behaviour. Maybe imagine you’re hearing a friend tell you this story, what would you day to her?

      • Fifi says:

        *say* gah!

      • Digs says:

        Ack…you are so right. It actually was easy to go crazy with him, because he would ignore me, and then come back for more once I calmed down (because he knew that good ole Digs would be there with open arms).

        I have been on a few dates over the past couple of months with a man who has no intentions of using me, and who has integrity, and I can’t go crazy with him, because he addresses things as they happen and makes it clear that he has no intention of being in a drama driven relationship – even if sex is offered. What a difference.

        I am not sure why I find it so easy to let the rebound FWB guy use up excuses of his hardship, while I persecute myself for my behaviour, when I was hurting just as much as he was. It’s crazy. I have to find a way to stop this.

    • sushi says:

      he does not sound special at all and you don`t know what their relationship looks like. Maybe it`s casual, maybe she is in exact same position you where when with him. Agreeing to his terms in hopes that he steps up one day.”Probably” is just what your imagination is running with, I know it`s hard but try to look at reality only, things you know for sure and the bottom line is he wants sex only. The fact that he is seeing someone does not mean she got what you didn`t. Likely, she will be in your shoes anytime soon. He didn`t want a relationship. How is that your fault?

      • Digs says:

        You know, after thinking about this some more, you are right that I don’t know what their relationship looks like, and for all I know it could be casual. When I wished him well with it, he hemmed and hawed and said “well who knows if it will work” and had a weird look on his face, as if it was just ehn. He gave me a kiss on the lips (just a light peck) and hugged me tight, and offered for us to have a coffee when he’s in town next, which could all be harmless and natural to him to offer to platonic friends (he did refuse to go on a date with me), but maybe it’s also weak boundaries. Maybe I dodged a bullet with this one. Maybe he *is* a good guy, in a bad place. Maybe he’s an asshat. I just don’t know. I can’t make assumptions, about him, or about them. Maybe she’s the best thing to happen to him and they will get married and live blissfully ever after, maybe not. But you’re right…it’s all in my imagination, and the only thing I know for sure is: He wanted sex only, he is not available to me. Hard to stomach (how can he not see how great I am??), but it’s reality. I would probably save myself a boatload of heartache by gettingo out of my own head and dealing with things as they are, not as I imagine them to be.

        • sushi says:

          He doesn`t see how great you are because he doesn`t want to see, not because you are not good enough for him. The noises you describe him make are not of a man who found a love of his life, for sure.The only good thing about him that he is upfront about wanting casual sex, but what an ass for kissing and hugging a woman who wants “more ” from him. Don`t accept the friend card. You`d be agreeing to a crumb so small you can barely see it, so you`ll have to imagine it. You are better than that.

          • Digs says:

            Thanks Sushi, you’re right, the frienship card will not be accepted. He’s not been a friend to me anyway. Friends don’t ignore you, they show interest in you and your life, they are respectful, supportive, and compassionate, and give equally. He is not, and has never been, any of those.

            It is still hard for me to believe that I am not good enough for him, and that confuses me to no end, because other than his man parts and some (not much even) attention, he gave me NOTHING. He’s extremely good looking, and great in bed. He is charming. And that’s about all that I know about him really. I know his background, and his interests, but there’s nothing there that I couldn’t find elsewhere and I don’t know what his values are or where he wants to go in life, or how he would be as a partner. We clicked, and he’s hot. That’s all? Why do I have him on this pedestal, and see myself as lesser? I have some learning to do, becasue I can logically see that it’s quite silly, but yet I can’t seem to snap out of it.

            Your point about hugging and kissing someone who he knows wants more brings up something that I have been thinking about lately, with regards to how I have treated men who were interested in me. I have used the “I’m not ready for a relationship” line, or “I am seeing someone” line, when really it was a case of me not being interested. I have remained friends with men, even though I knew that they had a crush on me and wanted more. I need to be more direct in future, and have the balls to say “I just don’t feel that way for you” and make sure that they are clear that it’s not going to happen for us. It may make me uncomfortable, but it saves them heartache, it’s the right thing to do.

  40. Revolution says:

    Teach and Lilly,

    I’ve seen you both talk about going through circumstances that would kill a small horse. I think you guys both could do with some down time, don’t you think? ;) Don’t you think you’ve earned it by now?

    I’m not talking about down time as being akin to inactivity or depression. I’m talking about giving yourselves a freakin’ BREAK, like Nat is saying here. I’m also a little worried that you guys will start seeing yourselves as only worthy of attention (here on BR or otherwise) when you have something heartwrenching to say. I listen to you both no matter what you write. I’m pulling for everyone on here, but I have to say that I have a special affinity for the two of you, even when I don’t take the time to comment on your comments.

    Geez, even watching Jodi Arias get life in jail or the death penalty made me sad for her (though she deserves it). So, like Nat says, cut yourselves some SLACK. None of us deserve life sentences. I think that those of us who aspire to be better people (in the moral sense)feel worse when we fall short. The more we develop our consciences, the more sensitive they will be to our own failings.

    You two are my favorites here, so add me to your army of positive thoughts in the battle of the mind. :)

    • Lilly says:


      I woke up today feeling scared and was almost too afraid to move, but I’ve decided to get up, get dressed and begin sorting this mess out. I’m still scared, but I’m going to try. Thank you so much for your encouragement. If I find myself slipping I will think of all the wonderful people on here who are trying to overcome terrible relationships and who are succeeding or will eventually. By the way, you are one of my favs too, bless you.

  41. Peanut says:

    Where I am from there is this unspoken belief that if you do good you get good. What we do does not always come back to reward or haunt us. Life is funny like that. There is no such thing as the western definition of karma. The actual definiton is more of a spiritual practice than a simple caustic theory of do good=get good. Who gets to decide what good is or what the word means? What is good to one might be atrocious to another. Life is funny like that. Life is relative. I found it wildly attractive that my ex didn’t have a fancy pants job, which left a lot of room for cuddles and movie watching. I could not however tolerate his drinking or wandering loins so he found someone who could. So be it. Values are the most concrete thing we have as humans. Everything else is fluid. Life is about lessons. It is about adhering to values even when our urges may scream for the opposite. I have a series of food restrictions yet I must maintain abstinence with regards to certain foods though sometimes I crave them like mad. Same goes for certain types of men I fancy. Though I will say setting limits with myself hasn’t left me empty handed. Due to my dietery restrictions I have taken up cooking. I like cooking.

    When we take away blame from the human experience after being conditioned to immediately go there, we feel like vulnerable, young fawns on wobbly, unfamiliar legs. It’s scary. It’s scary that bad shit happens, we all make mistakes and there is no one to blame at the most basic level. Yes, people are responsible for their actions and accountability is needed. But case in point: My father is a narcissist. How did he get this way? Well, my grandmother was beyond cruel and insensitive. My father was tortured by his older brother, who I’d be willing to put money on it is near pure evil reincarnated in human form, and relentlessly bullied for being obese in school. So who’s to blame? It is the chicken and the egg syndrome with blame. Though I don’t blame my father anymore, this perspective has a side effect: I accept reality, which is my father was born to a really fucked up family, has not received the help he so desperately needs, and is dangerous. So I cut ties, applied the no contact/no bs diet toward him and I am better for it. It hurts everyday that it is this way. But what can I do about it other than take better care of me than was given to me? Nothing.

  42. MovingOn says:

    @Jewells, yes you are right. That woman I used to be is all in the past. I realize the error of my ways and will not let any AC make me bitter or treat anyone poorly. I love love and all that it entails. However, this has taught me to love me. I would feel hurt if one of my friend’s had a partner like I did. So, why was it okay for me? It is hard. I am on Day 2 of NC. But I am taking it day-by-day. I deserve to be with a man that will not cheat on me, loves me and will speak to me with respect and kindness.

  43. EUM Roberto says:

    I am now NC with ex-wife. We just email or text regarding our son.

    I just turned 38 and realized enough is enough.

    First i had to flush the red flag girl1… she was spreading rumors about me.

    Then the next day i flushed the ex-wife… she was causing drama over our sons graduation.

    I feel bad for having to do NC, but deep down i know it is the only solution to give me space to heal and work on myself.

    Now is the hard part to stick to NC. It’s only been 2 days but i can do it.

    • Little Star says:

      Common Roberto, she is your EX!!!!!!!

    • runnergirl says:

      EUM Roberto, Great start! I just turned 54 and realized two years ago enough is enough. Time to move on. It’s taken two years to finally get a grip, thanks to BR. Not that I actually have a grip but I know what I was doing wasn’t working. Your only other option is to keep doing what you have been doing for the next 16 years. Somehow, hitting my 50′s was like WTF! Take it one step at a time. NC with the red flag girl. Then, only low contact with the ex-wife. By the way, if your son is graduating, he must be approaching the legal definition of adulthood, right? My daughter’s father, my ex-husband, and I stopped having lengthy discussions about our daughter around that time. Just a thought for you.
      Bottom line, tough it out at 38, do the work or wait till your 50 something!

      • runnergirl says:

        Opps, one more thingy…you’d be a red flag guy to me. I mean that in the nicest way.

  44. Lost Hope says:

    It’s such a relief to read this. I have been beating myself up for about one year for not expressing my feelings to a man until he moved on to another woman – a pattern that is repeating itself over and over in my life. I was replaying scenes in my mind again and again, thinking about what I could have done differently. What finally helped me to let go was the realisation that although I could not change the past I could change something in the present – and that was another lifelong pattern: beating myself up afterwards. Maybe this painful situation happened to teach me exactly that: learning to love myself. Also, I read somewhere that it is very hard to change a negative behavioral pattern, if you judge yourself for it.

  45. paolo says:

    I think we have to forgive like no ones watching.

  46. Arabella says:

    I am so stuck here! NC for 1.5 months after a 2 mnth rebound relationship after a 1 year affair and a string of bad RELATIONSHIPS.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!