I know what you did last summer. Or do I? Was that the real or fake you? Picture of person peeking through blinds

Sometimes, you find yourself in the rather infuriating position of feeling like you know the ‘real’ side of someone and that ‘everyone’ around them is being fooled. You see them going on about their merry life as if everything’s hunky-dory and yet your head is still spinning from their treatment of you. In fact, your life may be in absolute tatters after your experience with them – your self-esteem may be shot and the last thing you can do at this time is attempt to go on your merry way. ; ;

Particularly if you work together or move in the same social circles, it can feel like mind effery. You might overhear someone praising them or have to be in the same room while your peers are killing themselves laughing at their jokes or smiling broadly at them and you want to scream, “Can’t you see who they really are? If you really knew, you wouldn’t be friends with them!” You might even want to blurt out a list of everything you know.

Maybe you see them prancing around with their new love interest, preening like a peacock without a care in the world. They seem loved up from what you hear, or maybe you know because you’ve been reading their declarations on Facebook and going through their photos and poking through their mutual friends…

“How can they be so frickin’ happy? I’m practically dying here and they’ve spat me out of their life, shown me their arse in more ways than one, and yet, I’m alone and they’re loved up! Is it me? Did something about me bring out a dark side in them?”

The likelihood is that you’ll experience doubt and blame yourself – Is it me that brought out their bad side? Why would they treat me this way but not others? Is it something I said? Is it something I did? How the hell can they not see who they really are?

And of course you know that it’s not your imagination, that you’re not going crazy and that you haven’t ‘made’ them treat you badly, so as you try to recover from the experience, you may be bristling with indignation or like a pressure cooker full of suppressed anger, consumed with this idea that they’re getting away with it and that no one knows who they really are. But is this really true?

You see the thing is, unless they fell out of the sky into 2012 with no previous history and a ‘clean bill of health’, you are not the only person who knows who they are. You’re not. Not everything is about you.

When you convince yourself that you’re the only person that knows the real them, you’re actually still making out like you’re the exception to the rule, and you’re carrying on as if to say that not only did your relationship with them exist in a vacuum, but something about you and your relationship makes their character and behaviour specific to you – this is inverted ego issues.

I know it’s nice to think you are that special and your relationship and ‘connection’ was out of this world, but the only reason why you’d want to convince yourself that you’re the only person that knows the real them, is to actually remain stuck on it being about something being wrong with you.

Of course, what you fail to realise is that you’re giving yourself a hard time about, for example, experiencing an open and shut case of assholery and feeling bad about knowing the ‘real them’, and hoping you get the ‘fake them’ back, or convincing yourself that the ‘real them’ is actually the ‘fake them’, and that your flaws brought it out, and hoping to get back the ‘real fake them’. Exhausting.

If you don’t know what’s real or what’s fake, or you feel like you’re the only one that knows the ‘real them’ which has opened you up to being abused or taken advantage of, you don’t need to play Columbo or try to be their friend or attempt to win them ‘back’; you just need to get out. Fast.

Somebody somewhere knows (possibly a few ‘somebody’s’ who may even be in their harem or blaming themselves like you)…you just don’t know it, probably because your perspective is based on you focusing on your experience, your sense of rejection, and your perception.

You ever hear about a breakup or divorce and say “But they seemed so great together!” or “I can’t believe it!” or “Man, if those two can break up, it doesn’t leave much hope for the rest of us!”? If you’re saying stuff like this, it’s because you don’t know them or their relationship as well as you think.

Someone’s work persona may be very different to their relationship persona or even to their social or family persona. You see different sides to people in different situations plus there are some who are very good at ‘presenting’ a persona that helps them win friends, influence people, and keep their insecurities and even shady shenanigans behind closed doors.

What I do know is that people who behave in shady ways and even go to the trouble of messing with your head, have got ‘form’ for it – you just don’t know about it. You’re not looking in the right places for the information. What? You really think every ex had a perfect time with them and that no one, anywhere has ever seen what you’ve seen? Come on now!

You may have missed some code amber and red alerts that indicated who they are, or may have skipped that discovery phase of dating where you could have sussed out their past. Sometimes, we can be so enamoured and propelling them up onto a pedestal, that they could tell us that they’re The Most Perfect Person On Earth That Does Platinum Coated Poos and we’d believe them – that doesn’t make it so though.

Of course they might like you to think that you’ve been struck by assclown lightening and that they’re a wonderful person of high integrity that’s been provoked into deviating from their good selves due to you not being good enough – not buying it. If they were so frickin great and good, they could have deviated their way out of your life without mistreating you.

Let’s be real: In my time of writing Baggage Reclaim, I’ve heard from thousands of men and women who have been in relationships that they claim others wouldn’t associate them with and would actually greatly contradict the perception that’s held of them. There are a lot of people whose relationships don’t reflect values they claim or appear to have.

You can go from here to eternity worrying about whether ‘everyone’ is in on your reality – what’s the point? It’s like trying to control the uncontrollable. Why do you need them on ‘your side’? Get on your own side!

You’re not alone – you know the real them. It is not your job to do a Samantha Jones equivalent and pin notices around your neighbourhood to out them while wearing a mac and a wig. You know – that.is.more.than.good.enough. ; ;

The good thing is that if you heed the warning signs from their actions instead of trying to get a Ph.D in Why Did They Do This? Is It Me?, they won’t ever have an opportunity to get close to you again. You don’t need social proof, nor do you need to have witness statements to corroborate your findings – it is only you that needs to judge your experience and take action.

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.

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199 Responses to When You’re Convinced You’re The ONLY One That Knows The ‘Real’ Them

  1. Bermiegirl says:

    Fabulous article, as always!

    It’s funny but I couldn’t help thinking that your title is true also in another way. If you’re the only person who thinks that your boyfriend, lover etc. has great qualities then you might wish to re-examine your point of view.

    The amount of times that I have heard women in abusive situations say this is too sad to mention. You see them with someone who is publicly humiliating them only to have them tell you or beg you later not to judge them because [insert excuse]. “If you only knew him like I do….”.

    I remember hearing something once that really gave me food for thought. You only leave someone when they give you more cr&& than you give yourself.

    Time to stop giving ourselves grief so we don’t think this sort of crazy making behaviour is normal or our fault!

  2. Anonymous says:


    This is very good, VERY good and I agree that I have REALLY struggled with this. I think there is something to this whole idea in perception about blaming ourselves. It means we could have fixed it, or could have controlled it/them/the relationship, when in fact, they’re just assclowns and nothing was going to change that. They’re assclowns in EVERY situation. Just because it’s not the mask off behind closed doors, but rather ON in public or at work, doesn’t mean they’re still not abusive or that it was just “us” that brought out their bad side. Abuse can also look like MANIPULATION and manipulation doesn’t look “cruel” or “abusive” right? But they manipulate everyone around them. No, ladies, and gentlemen you weren’t WRONG, what you’re perceiving about their BAD side, is still present, the only thing that happened that was WRONG, was that your intuition didn’t kick in earlier during the dating period. It’s still good, it just needs some adjustment! So that’s what I’m working on now too, plus a whole lotta family baggage I’ve been carrying around.
    Natalie, this post was perfect timing for me today. Thanks again.

  3. SM says:

    Ahh….yes. I would ask a lot of questions about my last AC’s previous relationships and he would answer honestly not knowing how it sounded coming out of his mouth. Stupid me thought I would be the exception…NOT. After about 2 months I point blank told him, ‘you are doing the same thing to me that you did to those other girls’, and he nodded his head in agreement. It wasnt til I started reading BR that I realized I didnt bring out the AC in him, he’d been operating that way for years. Then fast forward to the last guy I dated, not an AC and I thought probably not EU until I got past the breakup and started putting two and two together. He point blank told me that he didnt really want to marry his wife of 7 years (they’d lived together 5) and he didnt really want to live with his gf of 3 years she just wouldnt leave…what?! So he just goes around staying in relationships he doesnt really want to be in, luckily I didnt have to experience that! Proves your point Natalie, they are gracing everyone with their ac/eu presence.

  4. J says:

    Perfect timing for this. This very thing has been on my mind lately and in part because I am still healing and yet he’s all loved up with a new girlfriend for many months now, don’t ya know. I keep telling myself that he’s not different; I’m sure in time he’ll repeat his pattern…

    • Allison says:


      Even if he were different, it wouldn’t matter. He treated you badly and that is all you need to know.

  5. letting go says:

    Natalie this is PERFECTION! You have put into words EVERYTHING I’ve been dealing with in the past three weeks. How do you always know exactly what I am going thru :)

    “Trying to get a Ph.D in Why did they do this” Hahaha…

    The guy I know has several fan pages on facebook, thousands of fans who’ve never met him and think he’s the greatest thing on earth…while I, who was his “real” friend got dumped with the click of a button…he unfriended and blocked me without any explanation and that was it! No more phone calls, no email. Nothing. Coward.

    His “real” friends who are STILL getting the special treatment from him have something he needs or wants. I don’t know how it will end for them but it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to “play Columbo.” Haha.

    I KNOW. WHO. HE. IS. (I LOVE it when you write like that :) )

    Thank goodness I’ve gotten thru it. I’ve come a long way on the road to recovering. I’m “on my own side” now…much stronger and wiser. I’m able to relate to all you are saying but I can also laugh about it now and appreciate all I have learned. I will not let this bring me down. It will raise me up and make me a better person. Thank you so much Natalie.

    • Tracy says:

      I KNOW. WHO. HE. IS.
      This is so true. My exHusband has a facebook page with his NEW name, his NEW family, his NEW life. He fancies being a musician and is trying to sell his persona/crap music on the internet. Has tons of ‘friends’ on facebook.
      NO mention of the two children he has, doesn’t see, fails to support. The two kids for whom he has reneged on his promise to pay for college tuition.
      Yet I am SURE that all his hundreds of new “friends” have no clue that this huge part of his life is being ignored. Well, that’s is except for his NEW wife who knows full well he has two children and doesn’t see them, and yet she married the loser anyway. I imagine in her head she believes everything he tells her and thinks no one can love him like she does.
      Poor girl.

    • Marianna Miaow says:

      And this is true for me too! When I was still cyber stalking (sigh) I would look at the “fan pages” and think well he must be all that, everyone loves him, what a rock’n’roll star and great lifestyle, and he is so super cool etc etc and that in direct inversion to how supercool he was – I became less and less worthwhile… this has been one of my most profound insights and fundamental changes (gained through BR!), really and truly seeing it for the ridiculous fake BS that it is. Anyone can be anything on the internet. It just isn’t real at all. He knows it too. But more importantly I know it!

  6. Movedup says:

    I came to the realization that every woman that had ever been with him has a better life without him in it… including me – If he had a ghosts of girlfriends past experience I am sure it would be a party and he would be the pinata!

    • happy b says:

      Haha, ditto! It’s all so obvious when you take a step back. How could I hide in the shadows of this AC for so long? He is such a good AC, he has an anti-harem. A whole load of people who are trying to reclaim all that smoke from his arse. I realised that’s just as bad, it’s still attention.

    • Allison says:


  7. Natasha says:

    Wow. This post could not be more applicable to how I’ve been thinking. I have realized through BR that my biggest problem has not been men…it has been not trusting my own judgement (which led to being involved with ACs). I STILL look for social proof when I experience something that bothers me…like I still can’t trust that I’m judging the person or the situation correctly. I am STILL looking to blame myself rather than let someone else shoulder some responsibility for being a jerk. I somehow bring the jerk out of people. That’s why I’m still not dating anyone. I know I’m still too willing to chuck out my point of view in favor of theirs and could end up in another terrible relationship quite easily. Well…not really…I know I’ve come very far…but there is still the chance that a very smart EU/AC could come along and dupe me. There is still more work to do on learning to trust myself. Thanks Nat.

    • SM says:

      “I STILL look for social proof when I experience something that bothers me” Natasha, you are very wise to realize this. I have had the same problem. I am getting to the point where I trust myself and make a judgement, the part I need to work on is that people dont need to agree with me. It doesnt make my judgement of the situation wrong if someone disagrees, I just need to accept that they werent there and dont know the whole story. Instead it makes me angry, only if they are close to me, then I go into trying to prove my point to the degree that they think I am crazy. I am really laying down the boundaries these days, faster and more resolute than ever before. Because of this my mom and sister (whom I’ve always been very close to) think that I have lost my mind, am uncompromising, rigid and not seeing things ‘correctly’, when I am clearer than I have ever been. I’m working on them, had it out with my sister and she is slowly coming around to understanding me.

  8. Natasha says:

    You are reading my mind. Amazing Natalie…just amazing. I love your work. Never stop. You are helping so many of us see the light.

  9. Tracy says:

    Yep, I did this one, too. The ex-EUM painted a portrait of himself that seemed pretty fine. He told me he got along with his ex, he had lots of friends he loved to hang out with, his kids adored him, he and his sister were super close, he was a successful businessman, he was renovating his house.
    What wasn’t to love? I told him all the time how fabulous he was and he would tell me I loved him like no one else ever had…
    Well, the ex TOLERATED him, but had, a few months prior to my meeting him, put out a restraining order on him because they had a vicious argument, his “friends” were members of his AA group who never seemed to want to associate with him outside of meetings, his kids made themselves scarce when it was their weekend to be with him, his sister TOLERATED him but told him he was a misogynist, his business hadn’t been successful since 2004, but he was still riding that train, his house renovation was perpetually not finished.
    For 18 months I supported him emotionally, buying into his crap, but he kept sucking the life out of me. It wasn’t until we had been broken up for a few months that it really hit me what a loser he is…hence his calling me after 8 months of NC and wanting me back…I guess all the women after me saw through him ASAP and hit the highway. I wish I had really seen the red flags and done the same. But, in hindsight, I HAD seen them, I chose to ignore them rather than be alone.

  10. Heidi says:

    WOW!!! Y E A H!!!!

  11. sasha says:

    great article on point! I just wish some of my friends would have an epiphany or realisation about their relationship habits and the wrong guys they keep going for and try and work on theirselves.Finding BR was the best thing I have ever done this year. THANK YOU

  12. Wonderful post and so true! Fortunately, I know enough about his history, and he used to write a column detailing his relationships, to know that many people know my ex psychopath was an assclown. It just took me longer to figure it out. The girl before me, already did, and commented she saw many red flags early. Nope, I’m not unique nor the only one to see him as he really is. I have a lot of company in that regard! But I may have been as you describe earlier before others wised me up! Good job!

  13. A Branch says:

    Yes I dont need a Phd in WHY WHY WHY…whaa whaa whaa…ha ha ha seriously ladies amidst the wailing and moments of calm and slarity I’m starting to laugh at my own pitty party for 1. He’s just not that special …he’s a fake and a phoney to the highest degree and I only need to be sure of that in the heart and not let him feed me the koolaid anymore…

  14. yoghurt says:

    Eeksh, this could’ve been written for me :S

    My situation is complicated by the fact that a) I have by necessity a pretty ‘close’ relationship with the EUM, in that I hand Son over to him three times a week and b) we both live in the same very small inescapable community (that’s island life for you).

    I find the whole ‘different personas’ business difficult. His version of events goes something like this: “I was going through a bad time and was depressed when I got yoghurt pregnant and I know that I treated her badly. However, as a result of impending fatherhood I sorted out my life and now I’m a better person and a good father and a nice boyfriend to my lovely girlfriend who I was lucky enough to meet when Son was two months old”. (you notice that I don’t feature heavily in this version? Also that my role is that of victim and general nonentity)

    My version of events is, needless to say, somewhat different. I fluctuate between thinking that he’s a total gitface and how dare he escape unscathed when he WRECKED my LIFE and SELF-ESTEEM, or else thinking that it was obviously something awful that I did or was and is thus entirely my fault.

    It is difficult to find peace and an equilibrium in the situation, especially as it now includes his gf, who doesn’t have a very clear idea of the whole scenario from my pov. I don’t particularly think that it’s my place to tell her, but then I don’t particularly want to sit there and listen to his/her version either and I can’t explain why not, so the only way to enforce boundaries is to Not Interact With Her At All, which is awkward.

    The truth of the situation lies, I think, in accepting that, beyond the fact that it was a Bad Dynamic and our coping strategies for a difficult situation (eg the pregnancy) weren’t especially complementary, there is no clarity or acceptance or ‘answer’ to be had in the situation. It’s just difficult and a bit unfair (but not like, say, Middle Passage or concentration camp unfair) and needs living with. We’re individuals, NOT a team, and we each have our own strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and flaws, but his aren’t my business and mine aren’t his.

    The only way out of the maze is to focus on other things, other aspects of my life and myself and build an identity away from the situation. Within the situation, all I can do is maintain boundaries and try not to think about it too much (ha! Difficult. My brain likes conundrums). We have no relationship beyond our mutual relationships with Son.

    But… “it is only you that needs to judge your experience and take action.”

    No matter how his life goes from this point on the fact remains that I (*I*, memememe) don’t want him, that I (*I* memememe) don’t want to be with someone who’s values are entirely dependent on his mood that day. End of. So from that pov it doesn’t really matter what he does, says, thinks or IS… *I’ve* made the decision.

    Thank you for this. One day I’m sure that all this angst will be a distant memory, but in the meantime I’m very glad that I have your guidance :)

    • SM says:

      Yogurt I could be wrong but just from reading all your posts on BR, I dont think your ex has all the sudden combusted into a ‘good’ guy with his current gf. It seems that in some small way you believe he has, even though your common sense knows the truth, and that is what you are hung up on. I have noticed your healthy progression of working on yourself. Anyone’s who values change based on their mood that day? Not a nice person. Just my two cents but I’d keep an eye on him for your son’s sake.

      • yoghurt says:

        Thanks SM :)

        Nah, I know this. He’s happier and therefore has the urge to act like a complete and utter arse less often, but he’s still as selfish and as unprincipled as he was. And I don’t want to be with a selfish unprincipled person. I want to be with someone who I KNOW won’t run off with the babysitter if times are tough in 15 years’ time.

        The problem comes with keeping up that realisation in the face of a number of people – most of all him – who want to believe the fairytale. If the fairytale is true then, by default, I’m really the Wicked Witch of the West getting my comeuppance. And although I’m perfectly aware that Life And People Are Just Not That Simple, it’s enough to keep me checking and re-checking over events and myself. Getting angry, feeling guilty, getting angry…

        Also, dealing with the world’s most passive-aggressive person evereverever really isn’t fun, no matter in what capacity.

        I’m glad that you can see the progression, though – thanks. I was reading over some old posts the other night and I can see that I’m a lot more together than I used to be. And I also sometimes talk about things that aren’t him! Hurray, progress!

  15. lo j says:

    Love it!! How many times have I said, I’m just not that special. I don’t have the power to make someone be who they are. They are who they are regardless. Quit making their behavior about me. Once again, I am not the exception. :-)

  16. Lori says:

    Perfect timing for this post. I feel like my recent posts have all been about this exactly. I saw AC at the gym yesterday, hitting on women as usual. One woman in particular seemed of interest to him, so he made every attempt to talk to her, hug her, and kiss her on the cheek, basically his usual MO. After she managed to escape from him, I overheard her say to her friend, “God, he’s just so creepy. I don’t think I can take his class anymore.” The heavens parted for me in that moment. I don’t know her, but I seriously wanted to buy her a drink. That moment was a gift and this post really outlined how I have been feeling. I’m thinking I can get past this.

    • Sophia says:

      I’m with you on this. What an opportunity you had to overhear the reaction to his lame action.

      This post nails it for me and as for getting past it well I’ve taken my rightful place back in the drivers seat. The passenger seat will remain vacant until I am ready to open the door. In the meantime I rise.

      • Lori says:

        Sophia: There’s so much more to it than this particular woman. Since I have left the classes that this AC teaches at the gym in order to go NC with him and rebuild my life, I have run into women in other classes that used to be in his classes, some of them slept with him, others just left because they too thought he was “creepy.” I’ve actually become friendly with one woman and we’re having brunch after yoga class this AM! I have never divulged that I slept with him, but when she first approached me I sort of wondered why she wanted to talk to me, especially given she seemed to be his next target. She’s a nice woman, just moved to the area and is looking for friends. She also finds him to be “over the top” with his attentions and came to me because “you go in and out of his class, do your thing, and pay him no mind. I like that.” I was floored, because inside I scream when he’s around. At least I have it pulled together on the outside :) For the past week, after reading a lot from BR, talking to friends, and hearing what this woman has said, as well as others, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about me. I’m going through big life changes (finishing my degree, 2nd career change, getting back to the dating game after divorce, etc) and now I’m starting to see how important it is to focus on the great things I have going on with myself, rather than my exAC and what he’s doing. I highly doubt things will ever change with him, but I already know that good things are out there for me.

    • yoghurt says:


      My boss was hit on by my EUM, she didn’t know who he was at the time but after she’d found out and told me about it, she said “I just gave him a wide berth because he was clearly such a sleach”. That was a gift too.

  17. Magnolia says:

    Okay so my father just did it again. I wrote in the last post that today my father yelled at my cousin’s son and I was just struck by how bullying it was. How inappropriate. Just an hour or so ago, my cousin and my sister asked me if I saw how “great” Dad was and how effective. When I said no, his behaviour was totally inappropriate, they rolled their eyes.

    My cousin’s son acted up again, just now, was disciplined calmly and fairly (toy taken away). Then the child starts crying. Sure, the kid is crying because he wants his toy back, not because he’s hurt. My Dad goes up to and says, in a threatening voice: “Are you hurt? Listen. Are. You. Hurt? No? Then stop.” All in this very physically threatening, looking at the kid like he will hit him, etc.

    I told him to stop it, his behaviour was bothering me. He got defensive, and kept his voice raised, and I threw up my hands and walked out rather than get drawn into the shouting match. I breathed for a while outside. When I came back in, my cousin was saying to my mother and sister, “Maybe she had bad experiences in the past and that’s why she overreacts.”

    Man. I guess, in their eyes, I’m to blame for creating drama, right, by opposing my father’s display of authority. “Too sensitive” Magnolia.

    Cue lots of aggressive feelings and wanting to pop someone!!

    Talk about everyone else wanting to say he’s great when I know, I know – and I had to learn through lots of therapy, groups, etc – that the aggressive way he chose to react to that boy’s misbehaviour was not cool. My family is now probably going to spend time soothing my father and giving me a wide berth.

    • SM says:

      I feel ya Mags. My father was the same type of bully only worse. Everyone in the family agreed he was a bully though. But fast forward to today, every time I try to assert my own boundaries or take up for myself, my sister accuses me of being like him because I dont give in to the status quo. I assure you I am the least like him in the family. They’ve given me a wide berth since Easter and even though I’ve always been close to them, I have allowed them their wide berth.

      • SM says:

        I’d also like to say good for you for defending that child. This is a perfect example of how an entire family can experience bad behavior but think its perfectly acceptable. And God forbid any member of the family think the behavior is wrong and point it out because then ‘they’ are considered the crazy one by the majority so it must make it so.

      • cc says:

        you are describing what i believe is the very typical predicament of the sensitive person living in an invalidating environment. yes, it is crazy making.

        at my (abusive, tyrannical, terrifying) father’s funeral, people came up to me telling me stories about how wonderful he was, all these amazing qualities he had – they were describing a man i didn’t know. it felt like they were at the wrong service, it was all i could do not to check their programs and point them in the correct direction.

        and the same thing happened within my family – he would raise the roof, beat everyone, and then i’d get blamed/taunted because i couldn’t handle it. i was the sensitive one, and why, they all wanted to know, did i take everything so personally? and i’d get pointed out for thinking it was crazy when HE was the crazy one.

        cut to 25 years later and i’m the only one who has worked her shit out. they’re all, the same ones, thanking, THANKing me, for paving the way for mental health in the family. it is cold comfort. but you know what had to happen for them to say this to me? my father had to pass away – nice courage of your convictions, guys.

        my advice: being “too sensitive” is like saying a knife is too sharp – there. is. no. such. thing. but with great sensitivity, like any gift (yes, you don’t believe me now, but its a gift) comes great responsibility to HANDLE one’s self, to figure out where to put all the information your feelers pick up and the way it affects you. sure, stick up for your nephew if you like, tell your father off (or don’t, just walk away), but then stick to your convictions. yes, everyone else may blame/disagree with you, but if you think you’re right, then just think you’re right. don’t look for validation from them – you’re already not getting it. don’t look for validation from invalidators. validate yourself. try to just blow off their comments (i KNOW how hard it is), decide you know better and stay on your own side. you may stand alone, but you’re standing up for something. they often equal the same thing.

        and let your family do whatever they want – don’t bother trying to change them. this is where the seeds of trying to change EUs/ACs are sown and where anti-EU/AC learning starts – you CAN’T change them. learn to apply these lessons at home and they’ll be easier to implement in relationships. remember -…

        • cc says:

          typed too much – here’s the rest…

          remember – just because you’re the only one who can see your father for who he is doesn’t mean you’re wrong. you don’t need your family to agree with you. let them be them. you be you.

          and, if you’re still living there, as soon as you can, move the hell out of the house.

          i’m sorry its so hard. yes, it is this hard.

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Hi Magnolia,
            I’m sorry you are experiencing this and even more sorry for the poor child. I’ve discussed my history with my father and it is crazy-making when you are the only one saying X and everyone else is saying Y. You do know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior toward a small child. Good for you for saying so and staying on the child’s side. It’s always difficult to return to the family of origin after therapy. Hopefully, you’ll be able to maintain some level of sanity. Remember, you aren’t that child anymore. Lots of hugs.

          • Magnolia says:

            SM, CC:

            Thanks for the validation. I really noticed the strong urges to make my dad see what he did was wrong, to go and flog that horse. My brother made a snide comment at me today, he found something I said “too negative” and said something shaming to me about it in front of other people. I spent a good half hour in the bathroom ranting to no one (to him, in my head) about how he shouldn’t treat me like that, even if I did say something negative, is shaming me they way to get me to stop … wait, why is he trying to control my behaviour … etc etc etc. I came to the conclusion that I spent years trying to shame my father out of his passivity on the one hand and bullying on the other; my brother needs to figure out for himself that shaming me won’t control me, even if my behaviour isn’t ideal. But boy, did I feel bad for being “so negative.”

            I decided I can have all these impressions about my family, these beliefs about the nature of our interactions, who is trying to manipulate whom, etc, and I don’t have to share any of it with any of them. They won’t appreciate my interpretation. It would be too negative. I don’t have to prove to them (or myself) that I can love them, and see all the good things, even while I see all the crap. I don’t have to contort myself into believing that the crap isn’t there.

            What I do have to accept is that everyone else is comfortable exactly where they are, they’ll resent me if I expect them to change to suit me, and so they should.

          • Magnolia says:

            I do feel like I’m alone on the journey to recover and do self-work. None of them have done any and none of them feels they have any need. I’ve had what feels like quite an eye-opening: I never thought before that my father singled me out, but always wondered why my brother and sister never felt the same way about him. But after watching him with this child, and knowing that he definitely did that to me, I asked myself if I remember him doing that to them and I don’t. Maybe they were just happy to let him clash with ME, and let him reduce ME to tears, then they could feel that they enjoyed a closer relationship to him, or that they were smart enough not to provoke him.

            It never occurred to me to put it this way, but I never once felt that my siblings were on my side in my clashes with my father. But this is normal, right, if a bully is targetting someone, everyone else just kind of averts their eyes and is glad it’s not them, or they’ll even try to befriend the bully in a bid to feel safe.

            So then, maybe my family does know of his AC behaviour, but I guess has decided it’s not inappropriate, or they’ve made excuses for it, or it’s about me being to blame for “causing” it.

            It’s sad: I wish we could relate differently. But our whole family sticks together around not ever saying that my father’s EU behaviour is subpar. I have always been made to doubt my own feelings and my own assessment of his behaviour.
            To stand on my own and simply have my own take on things, and know that my family doesn’t share it and isn’t interested in hearing how I feel, is a lonely feeling.

            I can understand why I doubted my own assessments of my ex’s AC behaviours: they told me I was too sensitive, and I believed them. I can also see why I looked to men to help validate my opinions of my upbringing and for a man to be an ‘ally’ to me in my dealings with them.

            I still would like an ally. Is that me still fucked up?

            • cc says:

              no, honey. of course you want an ally, everyone does. who the hell wants to feel like they’re sitting alone? who doesn’t want the joy of sharing similar sensibilities?

              we all do. hugging you.

            • Spinster says:

              Nope, not fucked up at all. But are we related or something? 😐 Replace your father with my mother (and most of the maternal side of the family), and much of your experience is/was similar to mine.

              It takes time. You’ve come a long way, never forget that. Best wishes, take it easy & take care.

        • yoghurt says:

          “being “too sensitive” is like saying a knife is too sharp – there. is. no. such. thing. but with great sensitivity, like any gift (yes, you don’t believe me now, but its a gift) comes great responsibility to HANDLE one’s self, to figure out where to put all the information your feelers pick up and the way it affects you… validate yourself”

          This is so wise, cc, thanks.

          • happy b says:

            I agree, these are wise words. It also means you can’t whistle along and say everything’s wonderful all the time, which is the path of least resistance.

            I have recently encountered a manipulator at work, who tries to *manage* me by making out that he glides through everything, does everything so fast and easily (not even possible from someone a few grades above him), it’s like he has a formula in his head that says, add 50% to every result, halve the time needed, can see him calculating how to make himself look great, how to make me work harder, and I come away feeling dejected, not good enough, then rationalise and challenge myself to predict exactly what he will say next time. He is someone that always seems ‘positive’ and it’s got him to management level. I will not speak about it with colleagues and I predict that no one else will have noticed this formula.

            Now that’s off my chest (it ruined a few hours of my day last week and has done a few times), I think ‘be positive’ is a common instruction to someone who is sensitive and might rock the boat, especially from bullies, and it makes me feel like a gloomy cloud sometimes. But I think positivity and happiness is deeper than saying everything’s great and easy. Maybe ‘be constructive’ is a better refrain.

            Sorry this about me and even off-topic, but I do connect it with Magnolia’s story because she is also seemingly the one who upsets the balance, the accepted truths, makes people uncomfortable, when in fact she is (sorry Magnolia, YOU are!) moving out of a pattern of behaviour that is profoundly negative and instead is acting from a place of love, care and respect.

          • cc says:

            my pleasure. i really believe that any lesson is so hard earned, hard *learned*, that the price paid is only worth it if the wisdom can be shared. i can’t have hurt this much to learn what i have and keep it to myself, its not worth it if its just for me. so if it helps you, then holy crap, it was definitely well worth it.

            we sensitive ones are not alone. it took me so long to find that out. so it kind of feels like a moral imperative to let others know they’re not alone, either.

            i know, (barf). but still.

  18. Jessie says:

    Cannot believe how I was thinking of these things all day, I felt so depressed knowing he has someone new and I was still thinking of him and feeling he took away so much of what made me happy. Wondering if he was the same or will be with this new girl… or if he will be a decent and loving part of a relationship and show it, etc.
    Timely, thank you

  19. Janet says:

    I thought I was bringing out the worst in him and I asked him if this was true and he replied that he was behaving badly because he was suffering from depression. When I say “behaving badly” I mean being controlling and putting me down. I accepted his explanation then I got talking to his ex wife and she said he had always been controlling and had always put her down and that’s why she divorced him. In other words, I didn’t make him behave that way – he’d always been that way. What a relief! Yet I loved him so much in spite of everything.

  20. Carmen says:

    Letting go, I don’t know if you are the same person but I think I’ve read a lot of your post on TOW. You have helped me through a lot of rough times without even knowing it! Thank you.

    Great post Nat!

  21. Jessie says:

    The first paragraph is exactly how I’ve been feeling. I keep trying to analyze each experience I remember with him. I know I am probably not even on his mind. He has someone new to have sex with, and I only want to have sex with him. And that is never going to happen again. The truth of the matter is that even if I had the chance to, I would not. I realize how screwed up I would feel afterward, after all the vague behavior on his part, would leave me with my head spinning, full of unanswered questions . It could never be like “I thought” it was before. I can’t afford to be that foolish again, and yet I think of him most of the time. I wish I could have a mind eraser.

    • Lori says:

      Jessie, if it’s any consolation, I feel like this a lot too. I think it’s important for you to keep in mind that you are thinking about him way more than he even considers for you, so why should you give him the time of day. Easier said then done, but keep trying and fill your life with the things that are important and healthy to and for you. I hate to admit this, but I’ve spent the last 2 years analyzing a relationship that lasted a little over 2 months, and when I look back at the time wasted on that, I cringe. Fortunately, I’ve found some really good friends as a result, so not all has been lost, especially an improving self-esteem, which is what I really needed, not him. Good luck!

  22. Lilia says:

    Thanks for posting this topic, Natalie. I actually struggled many months with letting this AC go because I kept thinking “if he has all these friends who think so highly of him, how can he seem so manipulative/abusive to me? I must be wrong”. And I had known him for years before we became involved so it was extremely hard to adjust my ideas of him.

    About 18 months ago, the AC started working with one of my best girlfriends and she told me he was such a sweeeeet guy, and so kind, etc. Some months later, he changed jobs. Now, about a year after that, he´s working with her again. I didn´t want to tell her I´d had this awful “relationship” with him in the meantime because I thought she wouldn´t believe me and blame me for the bad experience.
    Of course, I was just projecting my own fears onto her. Now that she´s had more time to get to know him, she tells me he´s the most manipulative, lying weirdo she´s ever met and that she simply doesn´t trust him. She told me to ignore his calls, emails, texts and forget him.

    So I guess all ACs end up showing their true nature if you stick around long enough.

  23. Janine says:

    Holyhellokitty, YES on all counts, Nat!! And thank you!

  24. VermontGirl says:

    I decided to read your post before going to bed and pledged that I would take something away from it that I could ponder as I was drifting off to sleep. It was amazing to see your photo headline “I know what you did last summer,” because my healing process is still continuing from someone’s outrageous mistreatment of me last August! I cut off contact completely (9 months and still no-contact–thanks for your helpful blogs on that) yet I spotted this person last Sunday at a music festival and it sent me reeling. By Wednesday I was crying on a friend’s shoulder and questioning my own self-worth. Why do we have that impulse to think there’s something wrong with us when another person is hideously unkind? People don’t suddenly wake up one morning and decide to be an assclown — it’s a skill they’ve been practicing for years, and we are not the first to encounter it — nor did we cause it. I’d like to thank you Natalie for your blog. You’ve helped me so much this past year. God bless.

    • Allison says:


      How long were you involved with this guy?

    • Lori says:

      Sorry to hear that Vermont. You’re right that it’s a skill they’ve been practicing for years, which is probably the only thing that they’re truly good at :)

      No, they don’t suddenly wake up 1 morning and decide to be an AC, but a lot of times I feel that if we see who the real person is behind the mask they seem to wear, and/or we are no longer “useful” to them, we are quickly dumped, which may or may not have been your experience. I spent a lot of time analyzing my experience, and it does still creep back in, particularly when I see him or hear something about him. I’ve slowly learned that he pretty much acts the same with all the women he’s been with. With those of us that jumped in the sack quickly, he dumped us quicker, and with those he had to chase more, he still dumped them, giving them “the three best months of their lives”–that’s from his mouth. Regardless, even if I did jump to have sex quicker than the others, it does not give him the right to treat me less than human by ignoring or acting rudely, but he does, so that says a lot about who he is and more so about how I should proceed from here.

  25. HeartShapedNoose says:

    Today is my 4th day of NC, and I was driving along thinking this VERY THING. I saw the side that Natalie wrote about above, and then I had this heart stopping moment, where, I thought about the other side of things,…” what if its just been me, over-dramatizing his actions these past three years, and hes not an AC/EUM at all? what if the new girlfriend, is now getting the awesome, loving, charming, man that he was to me at the beginning, and its going to stay that way because this whole thing, and how horrible he was, has all been in my head?” ” Maybe Ive just taken him the wrong way this whole time?”

    I was driving when this thought came outta nowhere and sunk itself into my brain. The guy behind me actually had to honk his horn, cause i forgot to go when the light turned green.

    While a part of me really believes that this could quite possibly be the stupidest thing ive ever thought, the bigger part of me ACTUALLY wonders if this could be true. Even after all the crap ive been through, the fact that I have no self esteem left, that im on a high dose of anti depressants, and anti – anxiety medication, im actually going to have to rebuild my whole LIFE, but im sitting here wondering if he was a nice guy that just f***ed up lots for the last three years?…

    In your experience ladies, is this a normal thought to have?,…Is this just the early days of NC messing with my mind and thoughts?

    Im having new thoughts about things everyday. NC is great, and I know its the right thing for me to do to heal, but the first couple days are REAL doozies!!!

    • suzanne says:

      Yes it is normal to feel this way..but it will pass believe me :) this AC has reduced your self esteem to zero…and you are very vulnerable at the moment and in early days of doing NC…these guys are emotional vampires and will suck every ounce of energy from their victim with their constant mind f***ery, pushing the reset button, futute faking and gaslighting that you start to feel that its you that is crazy and screwed up and not them….things will improve with time just dont buy into these thoughts if you can…this prized turd does not deserve your power and energy…save that for you hun..you will get there I promise good luck hugs x

      • suzanne says:

        As Nat says write a list of all the things that he did and said that were disrespectful, hurtful and downright cruel! And use that to remind you when you are feeling that is was you that was at fault..that it was he who has the problem…like Nat says `it is not all about you he was like this before you met him, while you were with him..and he will be this way after and in consequent relationships` hugs x

    • grace says:

      I feel like the voice crying out in the wilderness but, here it is: Stop thinking about him so much.
      You have depression and anxiety, zero self-esteem, and have had some terrible experiences. I’d address those issues rather than worry about what he was/is/will be. He is just a bloke who eats and poops like the rest of us.
      For what it’s worth, on this AC leaderboard that I keep over here *pointing* your guy is near the top. Your ex is at the top.
      (I don’t really have a leaderboard, that would be weird but you get the picture).
      I’ve called these situations correctly a gazillion times. If you won’t believe yourself and your own judgement – as an intelligent woman who bore this man’s mistreatment for 3 years – believe me!

    • cc says:

      OMG – i went back and forth and back and forth (ad nauseum, ad infinitum) over my EUM like this. YES, it is normal.

      like suzanne said, its hard but you can do it. you’re still in the early stages of NC, now is the roughest time for this.

      just keep making counter-arguments to yourself. every time your blood runs cold and you think “oh, no, i totally fucked it up, didn’t i”, trot out your list of evidence of the stuff he did to, or didn’t do for, you. you MUST stay on your own side. be gentle and compassionate with yourself, say to yourself that you shouldn’t have to be going around and around like this, and then when you’re ready you will stop.

      and you WILL stop. its exhausting. but its part of the process. hang in there, its hard, but you can do it. STAY ON YOUR OWN SIDE.

      • HeartShapedNoose says:

        Thank you so much for your wise words. I have made a list of all the shit-tastic things that he has done and said, and seeing it all written down in all its “glory” is a real eye opener! wow!

        I was so happy to see that you had commented on my post. I was hoping to get a little dose of your reality based wisdom! You always say something that makes me think, comforts me, and makes me laugh. Its just what I need. I have actually done a good job not thinking about him too much latley. I think its really more about breaking habit than anything else. Ive allowed him to take up all my headspace for the last 3 years. Im now “un-learning” that and its slowly but surely starting to happen. I am dealing with the other issues, and situations that I have been through, and moving through all those emotions too. I want to make sure that I make all the right steps in healing properly this time. I want to make sure that I learn about me too. Instead of finding my identity and worth in another crappy relationship. Your leaderboard must be getting pretty crammed with all the AC/Eums being talked about here! Good to know, mines at the top!! LOL.

        I started to get a little panicky tonight with some thoughts that were going through my head. I did exactly what you suggested, and got out my list of shit-tastic-ness. I read it through, and by the time I was done I went from “Fuck, what the hell have I done?…to, Fuck he was an asshole!” SO thanks! this list is going to come in pretty handy!

        • Polly says:

          I made a shit list too shortly after he did the dirty. I used it when I needed to but the really great thing is that six months later I have no desire to look at it. I have no interest in dredging up painful memories and I just want to get on with my life! BUT I will keep it just in case he turns up again for a quick re-read…

        • cc says:

          YAY! whew, i’m so glad. sometimes the facts are brutal, but when we stick to them, we’re much better off. and the fact is – you’re going to be *fine*.

        • suzanne says:

          Iam so glad that you are seeing this piece of poo for what he really is…I have been in you`re place believe me…and you do and will fluctuate between `is it me or is it him` but at the end of the day I think you know the answer to that….and writing it down in a journal an unsent letter or a shi*list will help you to realise this….think of this..if it is making you unhappy or uncomfortable it is you`re natural boundaries that are telling you this! I dont know you but I am betting you are a very strong, intelligent, caring woman who deserves the best ..like all the women on this site! The trouble is we as women have been programmed by society since year dot to be the ones who `look after the men in our life` not so! Sorry am digressing slightly here…but be kind and gentle with you, you deserve it, hugs x

      • blueberry girl says:

        Thanks for this, CC.

        I also have to make up a “Shit List” because my Dreamer tendencies often send me back to excuse central. “Well, he was kind here, and funny here, and tender here,” so maybe he was a great guy after all! Then my inner demons start howling and I’m back to, “you were too needy, you shouldn’t have called him an asshole that one time,” and the torment and self-blame begin.

        He should be back in my area for work by now and I haven’t heard word one. I’m sure he’s partying up a storm, churning through Budweisers like crazy, gambling and hitting on girls. I so wanted to be the exception. How foolish!

        Truth be told, it’s for the best that I stay away from his toxicity. Truth be told, it still hurts to realize I meant so little to him. You remind me to keep my focus on why being with him would have never worked for ME. It’s just taking sooo damn long to get over him and I am exhausted. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

        • cc says:

          it takes a very long time to break the habit of invalidating ourselves and sticking to our new way of being. and it wears us out, and we get tired and its easy to get back on the merry-go-round of old thought patterns. but its worth the effort to inject new thoughts, new logic into the cycle, to me its the only way to break it.

          hang in there. you know in your heart and your guts that the way you want to be treated is correct. stick to that. i know how hard it is, but don’t give in to your inner critic – show her how she’s wrong.

          • blueberry girl says:

            CC –
            “you know in your heart and your guts that the way you want to be treated is correct.”
            To capsulize, I DON”T want to be treated in the following manner:
            a) he ran the relationship on his terms. When I called or texted, dead air.
            b) he drank repeatedly to excess.
            c) he expected me to jump when he wanted to see me. “Chop, Chop,” was actually one of his texts.
            d) he disappeared and stalled the “relationship” as we got closer. Put up more barriers than Fort Knox.
            e) he future faked, telling me he was ready to settle down and when he met the right woman, he would stop drinking. How effing insulting is that, as I was obviously NOT the right woman since he continued to drink?

            You must think I’m insane. Reading what I just wrote makes me cringe. WTH am I missing by not being with him? More rejection, heartache and self-esteem trashed.

            Thanks for your kind and supportive words. They are much appreciated.

            • cc says:

              blueberry –
              chop chop?!? i’ll stop drinking when i meet the right woman?!? jesus, what an ass****.

              just for the record, no, i absolutely do NOT think you’re insane. we’ve all done our version of this, that’s why we’re on BR. and yeah, cringe because cringing hammers the lesson in, but remember: we don’t know until we know. and once we know, then we move on. i’m a prize self-beater-upper, so don’t you be that. now you know. so give yourself a lot of credit. and thank god *that’s* over! because you made it over. bravo.

  26. Inothelight says:

    I struggled with this at first after breaking with my married AC after 6 years, my friends and my family knew about us, but none of his did. I bought into this, the future fakery and the illusion that this was how it had to be because of his daughter. His wife isn’t from the UK and I was informed that if he told her about us (I always wanted the relationship out in the open) she would vindictively (his words) take their daughter out of the country if they split. I was sold on the illusion of our relationship, his daughter was 12 when we met and is now an 18 year adult, when I pointed out that she could make up her own mind now, that his daughter had had a few relationships of her own and could appreciate that things don’t always work out and wouldn’t stop loving him just because he left his wife it all went tits up – surprise surprise. Him and his wife lead completely separate lives, their daughter has had to live in a horrendous atmosphere for years because they don’t speak to each other, but are both caught up in the illusion of presenting the perfect family to the outside world. When we split up because I knew the ‘truth’ there was part of me that wanted to really sabotage this ‘great guy/family man’ image, but thanks to BR I reigned myself in. Kept my dignity. Took a step back and realised that I would gain nothing by exposing who he really is and learned to let go. It was bloody hard because he had hurt me and I felt owed (thank God for the BR posts on that one!) Now I just get my kicks knowing that I am a decent person, that although he has seemingly ‘got away with it’ he knows what a little shit bag he is deep down and I will never give him the ammunition to justify his crappy treatment of me by being a bitter and twisted spurned woman. I’m happier knowing he knows I’m an amazing woman he could have had an amazing relationship with but was too much of a coward be truthful, open and honest.
    And its this simple fact that keeps me strong -He knows I’m a decent human being, he knows I know he’s a coward and with his macho perception of himself I know he hates that but will have to carry it with him forever because I went NC . Now he will NEVER have the opportunity to justify his bullshit future fakery with me and ‘redeem’ himself and that is how I deal with it every time I think about this fake person wandering about the…

    • grace says:

      He’s married. As the post says:
      “There are a lot of people whose relationships don’t reflect values they claim or appear to have.”
      Any MM having an affair is not behaving decently. Expecting a decent relationship from him is a stretch that defies logic. On the flipside, the other woman isn’t behaving decently either. We may be a decent person and have all kinds of qualities but when it comes down to it, we have to hold the line on our values. You think he sees all your decency and qualities – he also sees a woman who will have an affair with a MM and who believes his lies. No judgement here, I’ve been involved with two MMs myself.
      As for the wife – whether she is a vindictive beyatch (who he has chosen to marry and stay with let’s not forget) or the reincarnation of the Madonna (who he is cheating on, let’s not forget) he won’t leave her. In the first instance she will make his life oh so difficult (*sob*). In the second she will be so hurt and he’ll feel guilty.
      Being the OW is no-win. Sure, some OWs appear to “win”, but in those cases the man leaves within months (as happened with me). He won’t string it along for years. And of those that leave, only a smaller subsection of that will “succeed”. “My” MM dumped me within weeks for … another woman.
      You sound angry, which is understandable, but what will really help you take the next step is to accept that you did the wrong thing too, otherwise we’re stuck focusing on something we can do nothing about – his wrongdoing rather than our own.
      So much of our pain could be alleviated if we could just stop getting involved with attached people, including those loosely attached to their harems or not over their exes. They’re not genuinely available in the most basic sense.

      • Intothelight says:

        Grace and Allison – thanks for the comments – I always appreciate a response. You are of course completely right, I was the kind of person who always said I would never get involved with a married man, but after the sudden death of my partner, bingo, it happened. I got involved with one of his best friends (I didn’t know him before this) and instead of dealing with the grief I went for the easy option. Any hint of the clandestine element of our relationship I just pushed to the back of my brain and went for the illusion. I just wish I had known about BR back then, I feel that in the 3 months since we split up and I found this site I have learned so much about myself and my previous relationship patterns – its a slow process I feel confident that with the continuing good advice I get from everyone on here I will never make the same mistakes again especially with a MM.

    • Allison says:


      There’s never a future when you get involved with a MM. Never.
      Look for someone who is available, then a healthy relationship will follow.

    • Fearless says:

      Intothe light

      “Him and his wife lead completely separate lives, their daughter has had to live in a horrendous atmosphere for years because they don’t speak to each other, but are both caught up in the illusion of presenting the perfect family to the outside world.”

      Not that I’m cynical or anything, but whose truth is that – yours or his or the gingerbread man’s? Anything an MM tells an OW about his wife/marriage should be taken with a barrow load of salt.

      On the up-side: Is the happily wedded bliss a sham? Yes. Because he is/was cheating on his wife with you.

      On another downside: Is/was his affair with you a sham? Yes. Because it’s an affair.

      Beware of OW territory. Nothing is what it seems. It’s the big hall of smoke and mirrors – courtesy of both parties. The MM provides the smoke; OW brings along the mirrors.

      You are more culpable than you think. Your confusion is partly down to your own distortion of the whole situation. You’re beginning to see that you may have read him and the whole thing wrongly. You did. (Been there). Stick with NC – the fog will clear. Good luck

    • Fearless says:

      One more small thing:
      “Now he will NEVER have the opportunity to justify his bullshit future fakery with me and ‘redeem’ himself”

      If I know anything about these types, once their game is up they prefer to avoid (with remarkable fortitude) the opportunity to justify and redeem themselves. He cannot defend the indefensible. Unless you want to fool yourself that he can, and if he knows you want to then he might have a go.

      • Intothelight says:

        Thanks for the advice….You’re right ….one of the hardest parts has been letting go of someone I thought right up until the very end was my MBF as Natalie would say. The illusion was I didn’t want to admit that the person I thought was my best friend for 6 years in fact wasn’t that at all. It was hard to admit the extent to which I had ignored the blindingly obvious and gone for the illusion which was that when push came to shove he was just looking out for number one. Luckily I’m not in a situation where I could ‘accidentally’ speak or bump into him and I wouldn’t want to see him even if I could. It’s weird, its like the spell he had me under is now totally broken. At the time he was upset I wasn’t willing to stay in touch (ego stroke alert!) and left me saying “Ending our relationship will probably be the biggest mistake of my life!” drama drama!! But now when I think about those words I feel nothing, I just see him as a liar and myself as someone who went along with the lie. BR has taught me to finally get REAL!

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          I would like to lend my support to you. I was an OW for 2 years and have spent the last year and change getting REAL, thanks to Natalie and BR. The hardest part for me has been letting go of the fantasy and the potential. He was my best friend too and we “got” one another like no other people on the planet…red flag. In fact, we were “soulmates”. What’s redder than a red flag? As Natalie patiently explained to me, you can’t be soulmates, best friends, and in a relationship with a MM because he is married. Oh.
          “It was hard to admit the extent to which I had ignored the blindingly obvious and gone for the illusion which was that when push came to shove he was just looking out for number one.” Yeah this realization got me too. That’s where I got stuck and I’m just pulling a bit out. Natalie’s new Dreamer book is really helping me because how could I ignore the obvious fact that he was married. Hello. You must have gone through hell for 6 years. You are out now. Be kind and gentle with yourself. If he needs his ego or whatever stroked, he can get that from his wife. BTW, I got the line that they were living separate lives, him sleeping in the den, staying together for the children (the youngest left home last summer) blah, blah, blah. If I had stayed, I’m pretty certain that I’d be hanging on being an option, waiting for him to choose me (vomit) until the last grandchild left for college! By that point, I’d be in a walker in an assisted living facility waiting for a text!

          • Intothelight says:


            “If I had stayed, I’m pretty certain that I’d be hanging on being an option, waiting for him to choose me (vomit) until the last grandchild left for college! By that point, I’d be in a walker in an assisted living facility waiting for a text!”

            Thanks for this! It made me laugh. I remember having that thought and 0h and guess what? …. surprise surprise I pushed it to the back of my mind. I used to cling to the countdown … his daughter is 15, 16, 17, 18 she’s an adult now … on and on – surely he’ll be ready to leave his wife soon? Then the little thought of – What if she wants to get married? He’ll stay for that. What if she has kids? He’ll want to stay around for those. I just blocked it out cos it didn’t fit in with the fantasy. On a bad day I think “Why did you do it? Why did you stick around letting events that might never even happen control my life from afar?” You feel so stupid. It’s like you said I should have had a big red flag waving in front of my eyes, but I was too sold on the illusion/potential of ‘what could be’ if only he would get his arse in gear. The good side is that now I can ultimately face up to the fact that I’m not wasting my life anymore hanging around for the ‘payoff’ – it’s still hard at the moment because I’m only 2 months NC down the line and I really had convinced myself that he was ‘the one’ and thats what was hard to finally let go of. I really appreciated getting your post – its good to know that there are people like you who have stood by your boundaries. Here’s to being REAL :-)

  27. susan says:

    i agree completely however i recently had the misfortune to be (almost) taken in by one of these characters. the thing that concerns me is that i found out all the backround after the event (yeah thanks friends….) and this particular guy is known for targeting particular types of women. he is, literally, a dangerous person. to date i have done nothing (what can i do really) however i am alert…if i see him trying the same tactics on someone else close to me i will , without hesitation, be adding my 2 cents worth.

  28. Fedup says:

    Reminds me of my father. He is always friendly in public. But a verbally abusive control freak with us. Tells mum step by step how to do everything. Even though she’s a far better cook and has her licence for decades.

    • cc says:

      i could never figure out why my mother tolerated this behavior and never told him to go stuff it. i guess it was part of their relationship contract – there must be something she gets for this trading off. but how it could be worth it i will never know.

  29. teachable says:


    I think it’s normal to have such thoughts, esp when we don’t know the full story of an xAC’s assholery. Those fortunate enough to know this though, get over such thinking incredibly quickly. I’m one of the latter & an just relieved to be rid of the swine. Regardless of knowing the full extent of an AC’s indiscretions though, I think it’s still possible to choose which thoughts to entertain. Try thinking logically & rationally about the situation, instead of emotionally. If someone has treated us with cruelty & disrepect then which is more likely; that we are the problem or they are? Based of their behaviour, the evidence (i.e. their track record of assholery behaviour) suggests it has to them. Us getting rid of them is simply an indication of good decision making. Hope that helps. T :)

    • Lori says:

      Excellent advice, Teachable! I do agree with you that it helps to know the full story of the ACs assholery. However, it took me 2 years to know what I currently know, which is a lot. It’s interesting to know, but it has kept me in a thinking loop about his behaviors, which is also NOT good in terms of trying to move past him. The most disturbing part of my story is regardless of how awful the AC is, there are some that still want to be with him. My exAC(he’s 50) has done some extremely awful things to young women (20s) to older women (40s), in terms of pregnancies, boasting about his conquests, dumping, silent treatment, the list goes on, and there are some women aware of the type of man that he and still chase him, do all sorts of things for him to remain in his good graces. It’s this behavior that I don’t understand.

  30. Sandy says:

    Wow Nat
    this reasonates with me so much! My ex-EUM is a well known actor, which has made the healing process doubly hard as his latest movements are just a click away on google, facebook etc. Fortunately Ive resisted the urge to track him but its infuriating how he projects this Mr Wonderful persona, in his work, to his fan club, his harem, even through his involvement in charity work – all of which allow him to convince himself that he’s not the messed up, narcissistic EUM he really is. I think that particularly with EUMs in public eye, the PR circus going on arpund them just entices them and others to buy into their own hype. My guy even had the cheek to justify his cheatingbehaviour as im ‘just being a nice guy’ and not wanting to upset people by rejecting them – definitely a case of those who doth protest too much!!
    On the whole, it was a fascinating case study – he was never able to join the dots of his crappy behaviour and maintaining that he ‘just hadnt met the right person yet’, always playing the victim. Yet he had been unfaithful in every single relationship he ever had, had numerous affairs with married women on the pretence that he was ‘helping them regain their self esteem’!!!!
    Fortunately I did join the dots and got out straight away but for a long time I couldnt hack how he and everyone else continued to think he was Mr Wonderful. But like Nat says, people have different personas and most people never get to see the ‘relationship persona’.
    It can be so tempting to try and ‘out’ or undermine the person but the danger is that we make ourselves look like embittered psychos! And that we still care enough to go to those lengths. Much better to let things be, move on and remember that peoples true colours always reveal themselves eventually…..:-)

    • Lori says:

      It can be so tempting to try and ‘out’ or undermine the person but the danger is that we make ourselves look like embittered psychos! And that we still care enough to go to those lengths. Much better to let things be, move on and remember that peoples true colours always reveal themselves eventually…..:-)

      So true. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to get back at my exAC, but the energy is not worth it. I do to agree that their true colors will come out eventually.

  31. Stephanie says:

    One of the things I struggled with when the AC disappeared and went NC on me was I kept thinking “why did he treat me like this, couldn’t he see that I am a good person?” I was desperate to know why he just stopped calling, didn’t answer my last call or return it, he just started blowing cold and stopped all communication. The last time we saw each other we had a good time (although at this point the red flags were starting to finally appear) and he didn’t give any indication that it would be the last time. I was confused, hurt but not angry because we hadn’t fallen out or had an argument or anything.

    I put so much effort into believing he was “the one” that when he disappeared I lost myself. This had never happened to me before and I didn’t know how to deal with it other than retreat, ruminate, cry and over analyse the whole thing. Then I started the investigating, checking his FB page, making enquiries then I realised he had a mutual friend with my sister and I found out that he had treated someone else in a similar way 2 years previously. But I still wanted answers to MY situation, I wanted to ask him why he disappeared after all the fun we had and the future faking. Despite finding out all this information it didn’t make me feel any better.

    Now I’m thinking clearly and logically rather than emotionally, I can see that he is just a player that creates an illusion, he uses his looks, good job, car and everything else to get what he wants and moves on. When I met him I asked why he was single, he said he had dated many women but it didn’t suit his lifestyle at the time to settle down. I’m not sure what made me think I would be different!

  32. Leonine says:

    Oh yes, I’ve also seen every single last A/C go off and be very happy within days (if not hours) with the Next New True Love and felt left out, wronged, overlooked and therefore “faulty”. Until I turned the mind shift around to look from what I didn’t give him/them and turned it to what I had wanted from them…

    ….. big gap, big fail, not wanted. It was ME who’d gotten rid of them, not them who’d gotten rid of me. I could still have been with them, if I had surrendered 97% of myself and my life hopes to theirs.

    Nah! Best gone to their Next New True Love, huh. :) And this article is very helpful in finding that true North of the inner self again.

    Thank you.

    • Lori says:

      “I could still have been with them, if I had surrendered 97% of myself and my life hopes to theirs” THAT is exactly the what it comes to if you choose to focus on them instead of on you. Great way to look at it!

    • cc says:

      well said! true north. bingo.

  33. suzanne says:

    Hahaha Nat you are brill….love that bit about `platinum coated poos`!! another one for you…`You cant polish a turd`.. great stuff! Great post as always you are such an inspiration Nat x

  34. Tulipa says:

    “Can’t you see who they really are? If you really knew, you wouldn’t be friends with them!” You might even want to blurt out a list of everything you know.

    Oh how I have struggled to keep myself under control from blurting everything out exactly what they have done and how they have treated me.

    I think it is because I want validation that bad things really went on.
    Take the example of my step dad so few people know what happened many sing his praises, my mum did nothing to help me so it is like did it happen or not??? I want to stand on the mountain and yell it all out so people will be on my side and say yeah that was crap what happened.

    It is such mind fuckery to know that crap happened but no one is around you agreeing with you that bad stuff happened this goes for my relationship with the ex AC and the ex EUM.

    “Someone’s work persona may be very different to their relationship persona or even to their social or family persona. You see different sides to people in different situations plus there are some who are very good at ‘presenting’ a persona that helps them win friends, influence people, and keep their insecurities and even shady shenanigans behind closed doors.”
    Wow that that helps to read that paragraph.

    You can go from here to eternity worrying about whether ‘everyone’ is in on your reality – what’s the point?
    I can’t help even today to wonder why my mum wasn’t on my side in regards to my step dad. I didn’t want everyone just her and the point was cos she was the only one at the time who could have done something about it.

  35. Amy says:

    God, I think one of the hardest things for me when I broke up with the ex was to not shout out from the rooftops about how fake and bitchy he is…even when I would see him bitching about me on Facebook…sometimes to people that I knew he disliked and would moan about..

    He of course came away from the relationship (having provoked me massively to finish with him) smelling of roses and looking the victim..and I was cast of as the bitch of course who broke his heart by cutting contact…in fact I once saw a friend of his (that he doesn’t even like) refer to me on that blasted social networking site as ‘crap’.

    I’m proud that I didn’t go around telling everyone what I really thought of him. I maintained as much a dignified silence, cutting contact where possible but it really really hurt to do this..because I still thought I loved him.

    Now months on I get the odd unexpected glimpse into his life (he’s with someone now possibly younger, more glamourous)…it doesn’t impact as much anymore..but Facebook really is terrible for this because it really does look like they are leading the better life and that everyone loves them and that they have it so much better. I wish it didn’t exist but still proud that I didn’t stoop to that level.

  36. teachable says:

    PS: HSN

    Re wondering if it was something you did if you were imagining his assholery.

    Don’t insult your intelligence. It’s *bad enough* when the AC’s do it to us, without us joining the Sh*tcan Parade! LOL

    Hugs. T 😉

    (Intended w light heartedness to make u chuckle) x

  37. teachable says:

    RE Thread topic.

    Finally a post I got a while back. I know the REAL xAC alright. He’s a lying, gambling, cheating, drug using, sexually compulsive, narcissistic, cretin w bi-polar disorder! Want him ladies?! Of, course I wouldn’t dream of doing that to you & am quite sure his other Ex’s would know at least *some* his various AC traits. Euuuww!


    • Lori says:

      Teachable, I think your exAC and my exAC were probably related. Mine specialized in chasing girls in their early 20s, getting them pregnant and then tossing them aside when they became “emotional.” What a prize. But, it’s interesting how his different personas come about for different people. I think he was always a little bothered by my confidence and I can clearly see now how he would pit women against each other to sort of fight it out for him. In the end, I was given the silent treatment for taking his mask off. I talked to a woman today in class who has gone to the movies with him a few times. She says, “he’s nice,” and “kind,” (I wanted to scream no he’s not), but then she said something even more interesting, “he’s just not intellectually stimulating, like’s he’s vacant.” He is vacant, mostly because he only tries to relate on a such a superficial level, putting out the least amount of energy to score a shag—that’s a red flag. I’d say she’s on her way to discovering the true him.

  38. teachable says:


    (to paraphrase) ‘if everyone else thinks he’s a deadbeat & you’re only one thinking otherwise, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your view”

    BANG ON! ~applauding that one loudly~

  39. teachable says:

    SM I so relate to thinking we’re the exception. When I was first w xAC 20 yrs ago he told me a story about leaving a previous defacto partner by saying he was going out to buy some milk one day & just never going back. We were just casual at the time (I was only 22 & hadn’t learnt better yet), so I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to it at the time, aside from a disapproving remark. Years later when he returned as a ‘hamburger with the lot’ (a colloquialism denoting every possible type of dysfunction possible on board) I reminded him of that story & told him what a dickwad he was to have done that to someone. His justification? She was a drug user & he needed to away. Ahh, & that excuses what exactly? Dispicable!!! Glad to kicked his ass to timbucktoo before he went ‘go get milk on me’. Fat chance btw. I never even allowed him moved in; for obvious reasons!!!

  40. jules says:

    billiant article.for a long time now i have been thinking it must of been something about me which made him act the way he did towards me.im now 70% sure it wasn’t,but still a little way to go. it s now 10 days of no contact for the upteenth time! starting to think clearer already.natalie u r genius!

  41. madame butterfly says:

    What I do know is that people who behave in shady ways and even go to the trouble of messing with your head, have got ‘form’ for it – you just don’t know about it. You’re not looking in the right places for the information. What? You really think every ex had a perfect time with them and that no one, anywhere has ever seen what you’ve seen? Come on now!

    Nat you wonderful person you! If ever that statement fitted the narcissist i was with for 3 years, although i did not realise he was a narcissist at the time, could have been tailor made for him. It is now 2 years since i cut off all contact and although sometimes it has been so hard, i have had to stop myself from getting back in touch, but every time i have weakened i have thought about the way i was dismissed just like you would throw out a pair of old, worn shoes. There was no warning, well so i thought, but on looking at things in the cold light of day, i realise that i missed quite a few ‘red flags’ and yes again, there was quite a lot of shady behaviour from this man before he stood in front of me and said i was no longer required! But, whenever i seemed to notice something untoward in his behaviour he ALWAYS had an answer and then said ‘You don’t trust me anyway’. That statement was trotted out on quite a number of occasions, but the reality was i did trust him even though sometimes i wondered whether i should. He obviously had his mobile on silent and sloped off to read txts and when i copped him out doing that on occasion, he always had a feasible excuse for making me feel as is it was me who was distrusting! He was booking his car in for a service, it was his son, it was etc etc etc and than accused me of whinging!

    Well i hope the person he may be with now finds out just what he is, a deceitful, cheat, sadistic and with no morals and integrity. He actually gives scum a bad name!

  42. Grow says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Fabulous post… It’s spot on for where I am now. Relationship with narcissistic assclown is over now months, after three and half years. It has been a very difficult time for me to finally come to terms with who he is really is, and how the future faking including trying for a baby, marriage discussions and happily ever after where an illusion he created for me and I swallowed wholeheartedly. This ensured that I put up with emotional abuse, manipulation and cruel behavior as I wanted the happy every after so I bought into the illusion and he knew this and milked it. All thanks to BR I have had these insights.

    My one problem is after my revelation of the enormity of how far I disrespected myself in the name of a ‘false love’ is that I am still reeling with hurt and anger by who he really is as a person and how I was duped. My exes work life and mine overlap and I have chosen to opt out from working freelance in the large company he works in to avoid him and to avoid all the inevitable questions from a lot pf people. Everyone saw us as possibly getting married, were a wonderful couple, and the sun rising and setting on him. I fear he has made sure he comes off well out of this and has painted to his work harem of dotting ladies, friends and colleagues me as a psycho, or in some way lied about his behavior to make himself look good, or else said very little but enough to cast a negative doubt on me. From my experience with him he turned his parents against me over night a few months before the relationship ended, I never found out what he said but they changed form being really nice to me to treating me very differently.

    The end of the relationship was a nightmare which included him disappearing for New Year’s till 6 am while I was left waiting, I suspect he was cheating that night and before, treating my parents the next day with utter contempt and disrespect, and then next time I see him I bring up his behavior he finishes the 3 1/2 year relationship by telling me its over and ordering me out of his house. Here’s the thing I have to earn a living and get work in the company he works in, but I just feel it’s a betrayal to myself and how he treated me to say when people ask what happened “ah it didn’t work out” and smile. I don’t want to go into a tirade, I don’t want to look bitter or still hurting but in the name of justice he…

    • Lori says:

      Grow, I’m so sorry to hear all this and the pain you must be going through. My exAC was a narcissist as well, and the sudden “drop” of you from his life is such an awful, confusing feeling, but once you find out who they truly are or no longer serve a purpose, they write you off. Actually, I’ve read the write-offs start happening once they know you are hooked. My write off was simply the words “No talking” one day at the bus stop. What a prize.

      I too feel angry about how I was duped, and at times long for who I thought he was. Knowing that person never really existed, I make sure I continue to read posts here and on another site I go to. It keeps me grounded on focusing on myself rather than him, and when I feel like I’m sliding back, I go back and re-read some topics to give myself that kick I need. Don’t be angry with yourself, but do become mindful of where your weaknesses are and how you can snap yourself out of the negative talk. Thank Heavens for my friends and BR!

      As for your intersecting work life, that’s a tough one. It sounds as if he has said some things, especially to those in his harem. I would make certain that my reviews were spotless, eliminate any possibility for management to give you grief. I wonder if others have more helpful advice?

      • Grow says:

        Thanks Lori,
        Great advice, and insight much appreciated. Interesting point that once you are hooked, they start to back off, I think you are spot on? Yes BR has saved my sanity to see things from a much needed reality check and focus on myself.The no talking at the bus stop for you, harsh sounds classic ignoring behavior , was your ex also passive-aggressive?

        It will be very hard to give my ex a spotless review. Sometimes I think even a one liner like “he was not the person I thought he was”, would do the trick. But maybe that is venturing into dangerous territory under the circumstances. Any thoughts would be most welcome. Thanks x

      • Grow says:

        Thanks Lori,
        Great advice, and insight much appreciated. Interesting point that once you are hooked, they start to back off, I think you are spot on. Yes BR has saved my sanity to see things from a much needed reality check and focus on myself. The no talking at the bus stop for you, harsh sounds classic ignoring behavior , was your ex also passive-aggressive?

        It will be very hard to give my ex a spotless review. Sometimes I think even a one liner like “he was not the person I thought he was”, would do the trick. But maybe that is venturing into dangerous territory under the circumstances. Any thoughts would be most welcome. Thanks x

  43. Makata says:

    Once again you have read my mind!!! I have struggled with this for years and this is the first time that I have read something that really helps me wrap my mind around what I have been doing. I need to sink it in that this is not about me and my fear of not being good enough. Thank you so much for this post.

  44. lo j says:

    Teachable… I think it depends where you are on how long it takes to get over the thinking that HSN is talking about, even when you have all the information. I know with one of my major Epiphany relationships, I knew him to be an ass prior to our dating, didn’t like him, dated him anyway, allowed the future faking and the other fast forward BS, and got the rug ripped out from underneath me. And I was PISSED!! Like the angry bar hounds I had always so detested. But I needed to be. 1) It kept me from jumping into another relationship. I had had enough. I didn’t even date for 3 years. 2) I wasn’t wallering in self-pity because I saw him for the tool he is. Period.
    But then real work began. I had to figure out WHY I would be with someone who I knew was no good. Did I really think I was Anne Sullivan? ? No, I am no miracle worker. I remember at one point during the relationship saying to a friend, “I have tamed the bad boy.” OMG. *rolling eyes* And I saw MY pattern and had to get honest about me. In a humbling way. Not a shaming, beat myself up kind of way but I gotta take responsibility because other people, they aren’t all doing this to themselves. And I realized I was really angry at me, for letting someone’s words, their pretty words, be more important than consistent action. And that I was worth more than smooth talk and compliments. And I was just as shallow and disconnected as the men I was aligned with.

    • Lori says:

      Well said, and definitely food for thought for me as I try to figure out why I put myself into my situation.

      • HeartShapedNoose says:

        I agree Lo J….
        Im at a point now where these thoughts are fleeting. Im able now to bring the focus, most of the time, back to me and the thought process that goes along with figuring out how to heal, and what it was in me that repeatedly put myself in this situation, with him and others. I still have moments that are tough, like right now, lying in bed alone on a Sunday morning, thinking about the fact that he is most likely lying in bed right now with his new gf. Its tricky. But i also know that at some point today i will shake this feeling off, and think a positive thought about why im NC in the first place and go on with the healing. I think sometimes, you need to let yourself feel the gamet of emotions to heal properly. Its not fun, and it sucks, but its necessary to heal properly.

  45. jennynic says:

    “Not As We” Alanis Morisette

    Reborn and shivering
    Spat out on new terrain

    Unsure unconvincing
    This faint and shaky hour

    Day one day one start over again
    Step one step one
    I’m barely making sense for now
    I’m faking it ’til I’m pseudo making it
    From scratch begin again but this time I as i
    And not as we

    Gun shy and quivering
    Timid without a hand

    Feign brave with steel intent
    little and hardly here

    Day one day one start over again
    Step one step one
    with not much making sense just yet
    I’m faking it til I’m pseudo making it
    From scratch begin again but this time I as i
    And not as we

    Eyes wet toward
    Wide open frayed
    If God’s taking bets
    I pray He wants to lose

    Day one day one start over again
    Step one step one
    I’m barely making sense just yet
    I’m faking it til I’m pseudo making it
    From scratch begin again but this time I as I
    And not as we

  46. happy b says:

    I do love this, so funny and intuitive. I’d love to see a film made of Nat and this site!

  47. Kat says:

    Hi NML, thanks sooo much for your baggage reclaim site! I’ve just gotten out of an assclown situation, but luckily it was not a real relationship. This article really hits home because I’ve been beating myself up for 1. not paying attention to the signs early on, and 2. thinking I’m the only one who sees this guy for who he really is.

    He was a bus driver I had known for about 2 years. For two summers he drove a route that would take me home in the evenings. He actually lives in the same town as me, which makes this whole thing extremely difficult. I got ‘involved’ with him after the second summer for about 8 months when he changed routes and ended up close to my place of work. I had developed a little crush on him when he changed routes. He ended up giving me his new schedule telling me I could ‘visit’ him anytime I wanted. Well, despite my crush I had NO intention of seeing him again. A week later I get off the bus and walk to my car, and guess who was sitting there waiting for me. Apparently he didn’t get the hint. He started in about how he would take a chance with me if he wasn’t seeing someone (living with, even), how horrible she is, yadda yadda. Then, after talking about 10 minutes, you know, to gain my trust and suck me in, he immediately asked me where I lived. Well, my crush came back about 30x worse after that, and stupid me started riding his bus on my lunch hour about twice a week. I even knew he had a girlfriend, yet STILL did it. I got so delusional about his intentions, why he gave me his schedule, why he waited for me that day, blah blah. During my visits he would flirt, wink, trash talk with a filthy mouth, complain about girlfriend and his life, ALL the classic signs of stringing along and manipulation. He even claimed I’ve had multiple boyfriends in the past, I was a wild and crazy party girl, and other degrading comments to me. He didn’t even know me! He flat out told me he wanted a sexual relationship with me. I had tried on several occasions to tell him the kind of woman I really am but he would hear none of it. In fact, I’m just the opposite of what he was trying to see me as. You’d think I’d be smart enough to high-tail it out of there, but I kept hanging on to the illusion of his potential, his words to me, what I thought he wanted because of what he said in the parking lot that night, he…

  48. Daisy says:

    When my AC broke my heart, my wanted to keep the new friends I made through him by keeping THEM comfortable in my presense. The couple times I had to say “yes, we’re still friends” made me cringe and set me back. I don’t run into him much. So after reading the article about why we shouldn’t stay friends with an ex who treated us badly thus validating their behaviour, I came up with a new response for next time. I will cheerfully say with a smile “We are friendly. But I wouldn’t categorize us as friends.”.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hey Daisy, nice response. Good thing you don’t have to run into him often. Head up and move on. We don’t need “friends” who are our worst nightmare. This “friends” thing is totally over-rated and gives AC’s an easy out…look how many “friends” I have. I’ve got admit, I took some glee in seeing Mr. Z’s stock take a toss today.

  49. Silverbee says:

    In reading over all of the comments on this thread it struck me that perhaps the problem many of us had/have with the EUMs and ACs is, in fact, our past experiences in actually being the only one in the room (or, at least THINKING we were) that saw, intuited, felt that something wasn’t quite right in the general consensus of opinion. For example, growing up with my tyrannical, angry, verbally abusive father and being told by everyone “but your father loves you and only wants the best for you” and I knew that was so wrong, I knew his behavior didn’t feel like love at all and left me, my heart and my self-esteem in shreds. Fast forward to adulthood, and when the opinion of others is “that guy is no good for you, he’s a player, he lies, etc, etc,” I blow them off and say to my self that only I know the truth of what’s going on because I knew the truth back then and knew that everyone else was deluded in their opinions, so of course they’re all wrong now, too.
    I think one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to face about myself is the tendency I have to be both very stubborn about my own “take” on things while at the same time having a lot of self-doubt…I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense but it’s a real issue for me, and of course leads to lots of dicey situations, especially in the relationship realm. Anyone else?

    • Lori says:

      Silverbee: I have to be both very stubborn about my own “take” on things while at the same time having a lot of self-doubt…I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense but it’s a real issue for me, and of course leads to lots of dicey situations, especially in the relationship realm.

      This makes a lot of sense to me too. I definitely become stubborn, wanting and working really hard to make something work (i.e. my marriage to an EUM) and when everything fell apart years later, my mother’s first response was, “Well none of us thought he was a good match for you anyways, but we could never tell you that.” I can see now how I’m difficult to approach, so I’m trying to be more open.

    • Anon says:

      Yes, Silverbee, SAME story growing up. Glad you could put it into words. I have since seen the light, but it’s late, and I’m older :(

      • fallback no more says:

        Silverbee – your post really struck a chord with me.

        “Fast forward to adulthood, and when the opinion of others is “that guy is no good for you, he’s a player, he lies, etc, etc,” I blow them off and say to my self that only I know the truth of what’s going on because I knew the truth back then and knew that everyone else was deluded in their opinions, so of course they’re all wrong now, too.”

        you did know the truth back then, but you had to figure it out for yourself. the same goes for your situation with men. well-meaning friends can talk until they’re blue in the face, but you don’t know the truth about the EUM until * you* know it. we have to see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. at least the well-meaning friends can give us a “head’s up” about someone’s character. then we can decide for ourselves. i think that your stubbornness and your “take” on things will come in very handy when you see through the next guy’s B.S., see it for what it is.

        as for the self doubt issue. i think it’s normal to doubt ourselves sometimes. the trick for me is to heed the code amber and red signs and not delude myself about what i’m experiencing … what i’m feeling.
        that little voice inside me knows and tells me when i’m being treated with (as Natalie says) love, care, trust and respect. it knows when i feel that someone has take me for granted or used me in some way. and i’m sure that yours does too. i say we just let the guy reveal himself and pay attention to what he’s revealing!

  50. teachable says:


    Not sure if perhaps there’s some crossed wires in the way I expressed myself? Of course we get angry when we realised we’ve been played for a fool. That’s an appropriate response to such a painful realisation. I also agree that once the dust settles, we realise it’s ourselves we’re most angry with, for having let our guards down & allowing ourselves to have been suckered. You’re preaching to the converted on all of that! I too needed my anger to make the break, although for me, the full extent of my anger was not experienced until I learned the truth of what xAC had been up behind my back….

    What I was referring to is the temptation to blame ourselves, as if we are somehow responsible for an AC’s. Frankly, we’re NOT! In relation to AC’s (I can’t speak to EU’s as I have little if any exp there, notwithstanding that my x AC was by definition also EU), they were AC’s before we came along & will remain such, long after we’re gone.

    During my earlier (numerous failed) attempts @ NC, I too wondered why wasn’t I good enough to be treated with love, care & respect. THEN, I learned the thruth – namely, that there was an OW (multiple OW in fact) ALL ALONG! In an instant, this explained EVERYTHING about his appalling treatment of me! In that moment I KNEW the problem wasn’t me. There was NOTHING wrong with me & no I didn’t ‘imagine’ any of it. Rather, HE was just a dirty, rotten, filthy, lying, cheating CREEP! The only thing *wrong* with me was that I was TOO GOOD for him! If only I’d known I would have saved myself a whole lot of crap I really did NOT need. This is what I was referring to by saying we need not blame ourselves. AC’s are scum, NO you’re not imagining it & NO you’re not to blame for their assholery (unless after discovering this you stay in the r.ship – which fortunately, I did not). That doesn’t mean I’ve got myself ‘all sorted’ by any stretch or am any better than those who stay even after realising this, but on the issue of blaming myself? Err, no way!!

    Hope that clarify’s what I meant a little better. T 😉

  51. Anonymous says:

    “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”~Maya Angelou

  52. teachable says:


    Grace is right. Time to focus on YOU now. It sounds like yr committed to NC so now try to think of some strategies you can use whenever thoughts of him arise. Different things work for different ppl. For me, before I knew the truth abt mt xAC I used to play a particular sad love lost type song over & over, just when needed to process the grief & letting go. Needless to say lots of sobbing would ensue but that was fine. I needed to let it out somehow. Once I knew the truth I no longer felt a shred of grief & instead played Christinatina Agulira’s song ‘Fighter’ over & over to reset my thinking. Housework is good too (ever notice how some of us women can clean spick & span when we’ve got a bee in our bonnet)?! But perhaps one of easiest techniques is simple thought stopping. Every time he pops into your mind, as soon as you realise you’re thinking about him STOP (& actually say this to yourself). Then, replace the thought of him with your own specifically worded mantra. It might go something along the lines of, ‘thanks for the thought, but I deserve nothing but the very best. I now return to loving myself & focusing on my own needs’

    Also, distract, distract, distract. Books, movies, coffee w friends, time with loved ones, work, study, exercise, therapy, hobbies, baths – multiple one’s per day if neccessary (my personal fav) – whatever does it for you – do it as often as possible.

    It may take some time but I promise that you WILL get through this & come out the other side a much stronger person. It won’t be easy but nothing worth having ever is (in this case – peace of mind!)

    And above all, PLEASE, be GENTLE with yourself. It sounds like you’ve been through the wringer & it’s time to give all the love care & attention you once would have lavished upon him, to yourself instead. After all – you deserve it; there’s only ONE you & that makes you special.

    Hugs. T x

    • HeartShapedNoose says:

      Hi T,

      Thanks for your responses to my post. I really feel like im getting better these days. I do find that every day of NC brings different thoughts and challenges, and some days are better than others. Today, for instance, is a bit tough, but for some reason I always seem to find Sundays a bit hard. Im not sure what thats about. All I know is that im determined to get through this. Im determined to grow, and learn from this. Its just really difficult at times with no self esteem left, to think about him off being happy with the new gf, after all the promises and plans, and im here learning about me, and working hard to feel better, learn and grow. NC is the only way that I can heal and move forward.

  53. teachable says:

    Hi Tulipa.

    My heart goes out to you. Mothers who fail to protect their children from abusive fathers, stepfathers, boyfriends (or any abusive man in fact) are my pet hate. Hate is a strong word I know but it’s not meant as in ‘I hate *your* Mother’. It’s just that w 20 yrs behind me in a ‘helping profession’ you would not believe the number of Mums I worked with who were like this. Some were being abused by the very same men themselves & didn’t understand or know that their children were also being abused (although they may have suspected something was going on & sometimes had even made reports about their suspicions – to no avail). These Mother’s I had some compassion for. Others, unbelievably, refused to believe or accept their children were being abused & instead rejected the child & sided with the abuser!!! Notwithstanding very rare instances of false allegations (I never had a single case of this btw & I estimate I worked with 200+ famlies in my time), I will leave it there, because if I start on the latter, I wont stop!

    BIG Hugs! T x

    • Anon says:

      Teachable, I am also OBSESSED with borderlines and sociopaths, much to my chagrin- it is difficult to get any body to talk about it, and so it goes on and on- generation after generation, because it is not politically correct to discuss/diagnose. People don’t want to see it. As far as I am convinced, they are the only problem on earth. Beasts from hell, who wreak havoc and devastation, all in secret while maintaining their reputations. I am like a social scientist, seeking out all of the clues and signs and symptoms of perpetrators and victims. I also have a deep disdain for the moms in the passive-aggressive contingent, and I am upset with God for allowing them to be mothers, the mothers who fail to protect. They are the silent abusers. I, too, would like to make it my life long work to teach people about how to spot them, highlight their deliberate malice, and put more effective laws into place to STOP THEM. Make it impossible for them to hide; use hidden cameras to show the abuse that they inflict, on the same targets without any witnesses, because they are manipulative, down to the seconds, not even minutes, getting their lifelong jollies from abuse and gaslighting. Horrifying, and common. Sorry for the rant, off topic? – To be relevant- a segue- I believe toxic parents put people at risk for abuse later in life.

      • Tulipa says:

        Thank you Teachable for your reply.
        Mothers like mine are hard to understand because I think of the reasons she may have but none stack up against leaving your child open to abuse.
        I have had to come terms with what happened and forgive my mum. Though there are times when she placates me in some ways because she thinks I’m going to blow up and shout the truth (I’m convinced she knows anyway but denial wins out for her) but after counselling I now conclude even if I did say the truth it wouldn’t change anything.
        Our relationship is not close but I guess it works for us.
        Thanks for the hugs.

  54. teachable says:


    I LOVE yr post to Magnolia. You are very wise!

    T :)

  55. Heartache Amy says:

    Once again, this posting hits home. Natalie has given me the same advice before and this just reiterates it. I have to keep reminding myself that the “oh so holy, oh so funny and charming church guy” whom everyone thinks is just a laugh and a half is really a shady, manic depressive *&^hole, at least, he was to me. I know it doesn’t really matter that others don’t see it, but I have to admit that it’s hard to see him strut around church, teaching Sunday school, ringing the bells, giving out communion while his adoring wife smiles at him. I have to get beyond it, but all I really want to do is punch him. Has he chased and deceived other women before me? I really don’t know. He told me once he had never “done this” before and that (here’s the kicker) he felt “99% sure he would never cheat on me.” He actually said that to me. Mind you, I didn’t exactly have an affair with him, but I came quite close. I couldn’t believe he actually said that to me. Yes, red flags and warning signs and I saw that back then, but I was too foolish to end it. I got hurt and months later, while things are better and I’m healing from a divorce, my stomach still knots up when I see him and hear his Australian accent (which I’ve come to dislike so much – no offense to anyone reading this who is Australian: it’s his voice and accent that bothers me). Has he done this before? Will he do it again? Does he even have a shred of conscience? I have no idea. Why do I care? I don’t know.

    • Polly says:

      Has he done this before? Probably
      Will he do this again? Probably
      Does he have a shred of conscience? Perhaps – but not enough to change his behaviour for

      You sound much better Amy – glad you are starting to accept and move on from – now what was it – Churchy Cheater Man (credit to whoever coined that nickname)

      • Heartache Amy says:

        Thanks Polly. I think I’m doing much better. And yes, he’s definitely the “Churchy Cheater Man!”

    • Allison says:


      There was one major red flag: He’s married!!!

      Ladies, nothing can ever come from getting involved with a MM! You have to know it was a no-go when you started the involvement!

      • Heartache Amy says:

        Yes, that was my biggest mistake and I paid dearly for it, as likely, do most women in the same situation.

  56. Broadsided says:

    “Someone’s work persona may be very different to their relationship persona or even to their social or family persona. You see different sides to people in different situations plus there are some who are very good at ‘presenting’ a persona that helps them win friends, influence people, and keep their insecurities and even shady shenanigans behind closed doors.”

    Yep, exactly what I found. As a person who feels she is the same through-and-through, it is hard for me to understand people with different faces, or “masks”, for different circles of people. When I could still look on Facebook (now we’re defriended), it’s apparent how many people, hundreds of them, bought his smooth and polished surface personality. Few of these people know that what lies beneath is an unstable, mean spirited, critical and non-empathetic asshole. He has such a smooth personality for work, behaves in a way that is chill and unflappable. His relationship personality is much different.

    What’s funny is when I was scoping on him initially, I looked through his past Facebook history and saw precious little about connections with other women, though he has hundreds of friends. Well! When we broke up and I was disgusted with him, I could still access his page to remove anything I’d posted to his wall like a Valentine’s Wish – I now think his other exes did, too – that explains why they are not to be found. Also, his norm is womanizing – I was a long term relationship at 3 months! – so guess one wouldn’t write too much about someone they’d been out with 2-4 x.

    He and my ex-husband are two guys I can’t stand to think about. Yuck. Narcissistic, mean, non-caring. Flush from memory.

  57. runnergirlno1 says:

    Well Natalie no matter what I read, you have me perfectly pegged even though we’ve never met. Since his wife found out about us that meant that at least somebody else on the planet knows what a scum he is, although she didn’t kick his arse to the kurb. It was particularly hard reading all his political rhetoric touting “family values” and how the “family” was the bedrock of society, while he was ditching his wife and children to sex up his mistress. Boy did I want to scream from the rooftop once the fantasy collapsed. I do know the real him and I know what he did last summer. He screwed me over and his wife and children. And I. Better. Listen. I loved the section in the new Dreamer book “He Keeps a Foothold in Your Life…And You Keep the Door Ajar”. Yup, you nailed it. I’ve managed to not respond to his silly snail mail B-Day gift from last week. But since I’m a Dreamer (not to alibi), it is like it’s “burning a hole in my fantasy back pocket” that is such a great line. I snarfed my ice tea when I read that. Swear to god, I was thinking what if there is the possibility that since his youngest is now 2o and left for college, he’s spontaneously combusted into that fantasy and all that future faking would come true. I’m so tired of my never ending story with this dude. You all gotta be more tired than me, thanks for listening. You are right, Shoppers are a “pesky sort”, more like a sticky bugger. Thanks so much Natalie. You are an amazingly gifted woman. I did put his little crumbs through the Easy Bake Oven…remember that? Remember baking a cake under a 100 watt light bulb? Yeah, it tasted like shit.
    Totally love the Dreamer book. I had no idea I could be a dreamer. I’m so practical, sheesh!

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Oh dear, just hit the conclusion of the aforementioned section. “Why am I leaving the door ajar for these people”? Dear lord, have no truer words been spoken. I’m such a sucker for the Pretty Woman fairy tale. He just can’t let me go, cos no other woman on the planet is going to blow smoke up his arse like I did. And no other woman is going to buy his bs smoke screen like I did. This made me cry because it’s so true: “What you must remember is that if you are having a real relationship, with a real mutual connection, he’d not only walk through that door, but he’d close it and stay with you…” This so struck me. One of our favorite songs was a Stevie Nicks song when he walked through the door, he would never leave. Another flipping fairy tale. How do I sort fantasy from reality? These guys seem to play to the fairy tale and I seem to buy it. Talk about the dance of death.

      • Fearless says:


        If it’s any consolation, I know exactly how you feel. We’re so dead practical, right?(!). I even grumbled to my ex arsey EU man (probably more than once) stuff like: ‘do you not understand that other women would not put up with this nonsense?…. Do you think I’d put up with this nonsense from anyone other man… grrr?’

        I was trying to make him see how ‘special’ I was, because only the most special woman would put up with so much crappy relationship behaviour from him (err… wonder why did he not get it? Pft).

        And just in case he thought that I was one of those women who would put up with any old shit (?), I would explain to him that I wouldn’t put up with this from any man other than him, thereby showing him how special he was to me (err… yeah right, Fearless, no-one is that special – and he knew it!)

        That was the kinda twisted thinking I could pass off as logical. Turns out he was not that special and neither was I.

        • Fearless says:

          Of course, he didn’t do the same logic as me!

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Yup you are so right Fearless. The more crap I put up with, the more crap he dished out and the more crap I put up with. Talk about a cycle of doom and twisted logic. From reading the Dreamer book, I can see how he (a Shopper) was reading things and what I was doing/dreaming played perfectly into his twisted thinking. And what he wasn’t doing, played perfectly into my twisted thinking cos I could dream it. He did know me and I knew him. But not in that happy, healthy way. Let’s be grateful those three legged donkeys are out to pasture.
            PS. The feeling passed and it’s not “burning a hole in my fantasy back pocket”. Still chuckling.

  58. Magnolia says:

    Thanks Natasha, for this: “I STILL look for social proof when I experience something that bothers me…like I still can’t trust that I’m judging the person or the situation correctly.” I can relate. These are deep habits, no?

    Fate dealt me a very lucky hand when I learnt of my ex’s fall from grace from his high powered job. For a year and a half after my split from him, despite all the self-affirmations, it still bothered me greatly that a man who had been so sadistic up close should enjoy a profile of humanitarian and the prestige of a socially-minded high-power exec. I felt like I was the one who was too weak and needy to be able to put up with the “rough edges” of this guy’s character and that everyone who was in his circle had a tougher skin than me, and could just laugh off this guy’s “quirks,” and that these characteristics were the keys to their “success.”

    There probably IS a lot of looking the other way when witnessing aggression and bullying in order to achieve that brand of success, but ….

    I was repeating affirmations to trust myself and my judgement daily. When I found out that 18 months later, others in his workplace had had their fill of him, I felt completely validated. From that day the self-doubt over that relationship vanished. I got the social proof I needed that I had made the “right” choice.

    I’m sure life will present me with many more opportunities to rely on my own judgment, though. I’m glad to know this, and I am grateful for all these opportunities to stay true to myself, even in the face of opposition.

  59. Shannon says:

    During a post-mortem argument I actually said to him I’m sure your previous divorce had nothing to do with you either. Wondering what I did that brought about this guy to blame me for everything wrong that happened between us.

    He replied back with an email chocked full of anecdotes of how his ex verbally and physically abused him and that is what ended their relationship. “it was all her, etc etc”

    When I read that I thought maybe she “knew the real him” too.

    I had thought about contacting her but the “getting a ph d in the why why why” is just too exhausting. I’m done with flogging a dead horse, he’s just an ass and I’m sure lots of unfortunate women have had to find that out. Time to move on!

  60. Lia says:

    Ugh, I just had to hear my friend spit this ridiculous line out of her mouth about her loser boyfriend. She says that no one else gets to see his sweet side but her. I think all thoughts literally left my brain when she said that, it took all of my strength not to roll my eyes lol. I’ve never believed that any person is all bad, but good grief, I very rarely see a good side show up out of him. He curses her and the kids out several times during the day, and I’m pretty sure he’s cheating on her. I really do think that she’s doing what you said: hoping that the “real” him is really the “fake” him.

    But it just makes me think back to the times in which I’ve let myself be burned by someone, because I used to do the very same thing. In the immediate aftermath, I totally thought that the poor behavior/treatment was specific to me. But now that I’m able to see it from farther away, I can honestly say that I knew who they were all along and I really shouldn’t have been surprised by the outcome.

  61. wilma says:

    its very depressing hearing the pain from womens stories.. ultimately us women…we put our hearts out there and most of the time it ends in some sort of heartbreak. in my experience, it does looks like the vast majority of men are cut from the same cloth especially in the way they decide to break up with a girl. disappearing, “im busy” text, and many more. we are really dating the same guy. currently my 3 text messages to this guy over the space of 3 months have gone unreplied. firstly, yes, he’s not interested, got it…but how much different would it be, if we all got some freaking honest answers from these ‘men’. “im really not interesting in you, good bye'” i want this message, not any bull crap ignoring and awkardness when you happen to bump into them. its all good and well to move on and forget, but i think the decency of men have gone out the door. a lot of men know that they have that much power over women and theres a quote about knowing someones character when they have been given power. just because a man can get away with treating a woman badly doesnt mean they should. i think ultimately the failure of man is acting with their ‘biological instinct’ rather than in a mature logical way.goodness knows iv read so many relationship books especially with letting a man ‘chase’ you. you know what, i dont want a man to chase. i want to meet someone with no games, or chasing or any other bullshit.someone who i can have a conversation with, someone with whom i feel chemistry for. sorry for my rant, but im just sick of ‘men’ and their bullshitness and in many cases what ‘women’ should be doing to have one. i have attended many weddings recently . one in which the groom and his high ego ( &paid for a very lavish wedding with his 15years his junior barbie bride as he just simply wanted to ‘attain’ a wife, did just that and the other ‘i can’t be with her (sexually) unless i marry. for me, i’d rather remain single.

    • Gen says:

      I agree with absolutely everything you just said.

      • Broadsided says:

        @Wilma, very well said.

        I would add, there is a recurring thread on here of men (including my last one) who hold positions of social esteem in government, in their companies, in religious organizations, in their communities…..who are living lives totally without integrity and screwing other people literally and figuratively behind that smooth and nice seeming exterior. ??? Thus just adds insult to injury.

        This article was good for me to read, though. Due to the number of women my last one went through and is apparently going through again, playing on his smooth charm, looks and position….I’m quite sure I am not the only one to know who he really is. Maybe that is why I was greeted with less than enthusiasm when he introduced me as his girlfriend….probably most knew I was a temporary gig, everyone but me!!

        I have NO IDEA why guys will break up via late night phone call out of the blue, via text or E mail, disappearing, etc., etc., and not simply man up and be honest. It’s such hurtful and inconsiderate behavior. I’ve had a few successful breakups with guys when we’ve simply openly and caringly discussed it and decided we don’t have a future in romance but might as friends. Morphing to friends only occurs if there are genuine differences in interests, etc., which come forth in a close relationship but don’t matter as friends, and there was no mistreatment, jerkness, etc. – otherwise, of course, they are not friend material.

        I’m as puzzled as you. Doesn’t it seem MORE complicated to be an ass and burn your bridges, then just to be straight and considerate and leave a trail of kindness?

        • susan says:

          ah the email breakup. a sign of the times. i put my last phantomrelationship on pause via email actually. not by choice…but becuase my mr unavailable just wasn’t able to talk on the phone due to ”privacy” issues. yahuh.

    • Brenda says:

      After many years of trying to figure them out, and all the heart ache, feeling completely destroyed repeatedly – then needing to fix myself up enough to be attractive ‘ 3 years here, 2 years there’ just to feel I had been destroyed again by some loser/boy that wasn’t even that smart or good looking or anything – I must agree… I am too tired for one thing, and trying so hard only made me become LESS than I was, Worrying only made me avoid having fun.

      F*ck them all, F*ck my past, I just wanna have FUN and NOT even hear the word *Relationship* Not the one he is having, had, or thinks would be the better one. And NOT the one I can’t seem to get, NONE of it…

      I want to just live and NOT care anymore and NOT worry anymore about anyone being able to have the power they have had – I will not rest until it’s a “Used to be thing anymore” and you know, the LAST thing I will ever do is let any man know my PAST… I am keeping THAT very hush hush, I will NEVER mention I was once a doormat, as far as they will ever know I was raising my son and THAT is why I did not date for 6 years.

  62. teachable says:


    Having experienced & been singled out for severe bullying by a so called ‘carer’ as a child (which subsequntly esculated to a horrible case of mobbing), it occured to me as I read your last couple of posts that perhaps the role your family assigned to you as a child (& which you now object to as an adult @ least within yourself even if not saying anything outright about it to others) might that of the scapegoat? I know that was a role assigned to me.

    Your situation might be different as admittedly I didn’t grow up with my family, but even my Mother attempted to assign that role to me in the dynamics of my biological family. In my situation I evetuslly managed to completely shake it off by 1. explaining my reality when appropriate & refusing to allow this to be disrespected & 2. becoming successful as an adult in the sense of not relying on my family in way shape or form for any of my practical needs (& being the first to be tertiary educated out of the whole lot of them, the only female to be career orientated & the ONLY one to have bought property completely on my own didn’t hurt with this btw).

    It became impossible for anyone in my family to ‘point the finger’ @ how ‘crazy’ I (supposedly) was, in light of clearly being self reliant & having (most of the time at least) a highly functional life. In fact, what eventually happened is that the true source of dysfunction (once I was removed from the equation) was revealed, going back to my Mother, adopted Father, Grandmother & Grandfather.

    Family dynamics are a complicated thing. When one part of the system changes though (like I did for example), I found that over time, other parts did too. Not sure if this applies to you but thought I’d share it in case it rings any bells.

    T :)

    • Magnolia says:

      Thanks Teachable. My high academic achievement and career success hasn’t insulated me from old family dynamics – I was always the plain, geeky sister that studied a lot and couldn’t get dates; too bookish and sensitive and didn’t know how to have friends / party / relax etc. Always “too argumentative,” thinks too much, etc, so my being more academic is just par for the course, to them. My student status and low income has left me feeling dependent and weak this past year, and the power dynamic has shifted somewhat, I notice, as now both my brother and sister are in happy LTRs, which they know I really want, and I honestly don’t know if they feel for me or if they are kind of happy and smug that for once, they have it better than I do.

      I actually must be doing pretty well emotionally, because I see all of it and generally, my reaction is, okay, that’s too bad, who cares. Not that I don’t care about having a close relationship with my family, I do, but more, who cares that who they are isn’t what I want.

      What I mourn is not having the kind of relationship I want with my family, but I’m beginning to see that it is not their “shortcoming” but my desire for something better that causes the discord. This gap has always seemed tragic to me, deeply tragic: “If only they realized how kind we might be to one another, or how we might interact with one another!” Now I’m more like, there is no law that says family members have to be capable of / be interested in what I’m after. There are all kinds of people not after what I’m after, and two of them are partnered up with my brother and sister! If I genuinely love these people for who they are, I have to accept that with my family, I may never have the kind of interactions I have with other adults.

      I always wished I could change them. Then I’m sad when they don’t seem to like me. Go figure.

      I like the idea of “shaking it all off”, if it means no longer being trapped in this role, scapegoat or not, but I think I might break down and weep for a while if I really try to sit down and accept that my mother is the only source of consistent, if co-dependent, support, and that for my own sake I should not hope to ever be able to count on my brother or father for anything emotional. It has always been that way, but I don’t think I’ve really figured out what accepting it means. Probably a good…

  63. teachable says:

    Hi Lori,

    I too notice that the MO’s of our xAC’s seem to be almost interchangeable. Stick em in a different country, wearing a different oufit & we’re prolly all pretty much dating the same guy! lol

    Your ‘get young women preggers’ cad sounds like a real charmer. They all went to the same charm school too. Lucky we can all come to B.R to get our AC antidote!

    It took me a while to learn the truth abt my xAC also, but I see that now, as ‘taking what it took’. None of that matters now. All that matters is that he’s gone for good!

    It seems that my xAC was also deluding himself into thinking he was (primarily) pitting two women against each other, expecting us to ‘fight it out’ over him (i.e myself v’s the Mother of his child). The ego of these idiots is truely astounding!! Besides, there was one pesky little problem, which was that neither of us knew that he was similtaneously involved with the other!! Hence, I had no problem at all contacting the Mother of his child & TELLING ALL (including knowing abt three OW also!) I got the shock of my life when in doing so learned he’d been involved with her too all along! Suffice to say the entire situation blew up in his creepy AC face BIGTIME! No regrets there for me. Happy for ANYONE to have him so long as he never shows up here again!

    ~runs to quickly check the door to him is firmly LOCKED. Jiggle, jiggle. YEP – phew~

    The woman at the gym sounds like she’s switching on. If she’s not a friend there’s no obligation to say anything but if she becomes one, I’d have no hesitation in warning her!

    All the best. T :)

    • Lori says:


      I’ve considered telling her, but the last woman I told at the gym I found out she had slept with him, and then things turned into this weird competition thing. I always felt like she was trying to get information from me about my relationship with him. When I thought he and I could be friendly (big mistake), where we talked and rode the bus home together, she actually got very jealous, started crying in spin class, it got ugly. I told her I valued our friendship and wasn’t considering him. Soon after, he stopped talking to me completely, she ditched me as a friend, and now she fawns over him, waits for him after class, is helping him move, and sleeping with him again. I think she’s the head of his harem and wanted me out of the way. This other woman is someone he’s started hitting on and has gone to the movies with him. She seems to allude to the fact that intellectually, he’s not stimulating…I’d have to agree. Anyways, while he’s taking the new one out to the movies and treating her like a date, he’s banging the other one who seems to give it up freely. Hell, she’s even “Man With A Van” for him. I mean seriously, what sort of man would be OK with asking a woman to help him move, I just find that strange, and most likely, he’s using her. Strange part is, he works with her.

    • Allison says:


      How did he juggle all of you? My God!!!

    • YepImThatGirl says:

      Ugh, I’m all too familiar with this scenario :( I was one of 3 (or 4), including a baby mama who kept coming in and out of the picture. I too blew up his spot with her (and others), and found out they were still sleeping with each other occasionally. Thing is, we were all sorta aware of each other but he had us trained not to ask him questions, contact each other or accuse him of juggling. Feeling pukey just thinking about how disgusting this AC is…it’s so gross how they operate and what they do to the women involved with them. It’s very, very sad how low he got all of us to stoop and was probably feeding us the same BS: prove that you love me (but it’s never enough); you are disposable and will get dropped if you complain too much; I have someone else right around the corner who will put up with my philandering; be very afraid of getting me angry with your accusations. Deeply sick and pathological. You would have thought I was completely desperate or co-dependent to put myself through this for so long. But no, I was just completely mesmerized by his psychotic gaze, brainwashed and in full-on fantasy mode. Feeling so good that I am now 9 weeks out of that mess and completely repulsed by this dirtbag that I once thought was a “real man” — I only wish I had been more aware sooner (and listened to my friends and family) and gotten out before he caused so much emotional devastation.

  64. lo j says:

    Teachable … I totally get you. After I found out one of my ex ACs was who he was, I quit blaming myself. However, instead of taking any responsibility myself, I moved on to another and another and I just kept thinking that one day, I would find the right one. I had no clue my lack of self esteem, or even that i had a lack, or being out of touh with who i was, was the reason for my picking these guys. Unfortunately, I didn’t have BR. How blessed we are. I’m on a phone and can’t read comments as I write. Actually meaning to just add to discussion and tell my experience. No confusion or crossed wires. :-)

  65. lo j says:

    HSN – ABSOLUTELY!!! Feel your feelings, nurture yourself.

  66. Fedup says:

    CC- How do you deal with such a controlling verbally abusive father? It angers me to no end that my mother always takes his side, even when he us wrong and verbally abusive. But if I call him out on it, she blames me. And they wonder why I have so much resentment to them. And then they guilt trip me by saying “we were only trying to protect you”. What by being a verbally abusive control freak?

    • cc says:

      oh, fedup. i’m sorry you’re going through this, its so hard. let’s see if i can do this within the 2400 character limit. the answer is not easy.

      first, accept that your parents have their own relationship contract that you are very unlikely to change, no matter how sick it is. if your mother will not stand up for herself, you can try to point out how she could, or stand up for her yourself, but you’re fighting two adults with years of habits who are living out the roles they formed, they CHOSE together. remember, your mother CHOSE your father. their relationship works precisely because he is dominant and she is submissive (and, sorry, clearly co-dependent). you can change how they deal with YOU by being different yourself, but you are almost 100% going to be unable to change how they deal with each other.

      second – keep working on yourself so you can be your best, independent self and begin detaching from your need to change them. accept that the way you’re going about it now is not working. this will cause understandable grief – just grieve. they are who they are. they made their bed, and they’re lying in it. focus on changing YOU, not them. ironically, i found this is the best approach because you’re investing in walking your own path. even my crazy, ranting father shut up and took notice of me when i was calm, clear, not angry, not afraid of him, and not trying to change his mind. everybody noticed when i really stopped fighting the family’s old patterns and started building new ones for myself.

      third – do not give in to guilt. do not accept blame. just reject it – don’t say “don’t blame me”, say “i don’t accept your blame.” read all natalie’s posts on building boundaries – then build these boundaries for yourself with your parents. let them think what they want. state your position, but don’t work so hard at getting them to accept it.

      if i remember correctly, you’re in your 20s, right? and i’m guessing you’re an only child? if yes, its even harder for you, because its all on you. but you can still break the deadlock by not participating in it. figure out your terms and participate only on those. there were times when i literally had to say “if this is how you’re going to behave, then i’m leaving. i’ll come back when you’re ready to behave properly.” and if they freak out about this, just let them freak out.

      and if you still live at home, if i may suggest, start making a plan to move out on your own and get the hell out of there. you need to start building your own life so you can live more by your own rules. this is an unhealthy environment. again – change you, not it. opt out.

      i know exactly how it hurts you – the injustice, the cruelty, the tyrrany – but, THEY created this. you can, you must, create something else. what i’m suggesting is very difficult, but it is the only way. one of the hardest things for any of us to accept is that our parents will probably never become the people we want them to be, the people we see they could be, the people we need them to be. we need to be all of those things for ourselves. its lonely, and it sucks, but there is comfort and joy at the end of it.

      this is the heart of the AC/EUM problem – we replicate in our romantic lives what we experienced in our home lives. solve this, and you solve your romantic life, your personal life, your whole life. but, again, broken record, you need to solve YOU, not them.

      i hope this helps, i’m concerned i wasn’t specific enough. and i probably didn’t say what you wanted to hear. but the more you can embrace this, the happier, yes, HAPPIER you will be.

      if you need more help, all of BR is here for you. you’re not alone.

      • cc says:

        ….fedup, but wait, there’s more.

        you are NOT responsible for your mother. you. are. not. she is an adult who makes her own choices. no matter how much you disagree with them, no matter how much you can’t bear to watch it, these are HER choices.

        the best you can probably do is speak to her in a calm, quiet moment about the things you are learning in the hopes of helping her realize her own value and stand up for herself with your father. but the chance she’ll listen? not high. you can lead a horse to water, but ….

        you must give up being joan of arc for her – remember her? what happened to her? she got burned at the stake. screw that. do not be anybody’s martyr. if your mother were that unhappy, she’d change. she’s not changing. its sad, i know, but walk your own path. maybe she’ll see your changes and be inspired. but don’t bet on it, and don’t change yourself with that objective in mind.

        focus on you and how you want to show up in the world. you will suffer a lot of grief over this, but that’s part of the process. just stay in the process, and how you feel and your ability to handle what you’re experiencing WILL get better. promise.

        big hugs.

        • cc says:

          oh, jeez. fedup, after writing you the whole book i wrote you, i just reread your question (more awake), and i’m afraid i may have missed your point. i’m sorry!

          if you’re asking me how you stand up for YOURSELF (not your mother) to your verbally abusive father, and are decrying the fact that your mother won’t defend you – ok, that’s horrible, i’m so sorry. but much of what i said still applies – they have their contract with each other. yes, its w.r.o.n.g. for your mother to not defend her baby (!!!), but, and i’m sorry, that’s who she is. everything i wrote still applies, but to you, not her.

          he’s a bully. she’s an enabler. so, however you can, opt out of the dynamic. they don’t own you. stop trying to change them. don’t fall for any “we did the best we could (however true)” guilt-based bullshit. they had a responsibility to love and care for the child they created. they failed, at least in some respect. so, you take responsibility for YOU as i suggested above – PLUS:
          1- separate how you deal with your father from how you deal with your mother. don’t take them both on at the same time. stand up to him. don’t antagonize him, but do NOT tolerate his abuse of you. you are an adult now. stand up for yourself with as little energy, as little cost to you as possible. build your self esteem so what he says affects you less and less. do not accept his judgments of you. do not participate if he starts ranting at you. opt. out. get up and leave if you have to. refuse to participate in an abusive dynamic. stick to these guns.
          2- be clear with your mother – her relationship with you WILL change for the worse unless she treats you better. warning: this will probably not work, but you will be standing up for yourself.
          a- the soft approach – just don’t argue with her, ignore her. stay focused on your father (again, do not attack him, but opt out or defend yourself well) and let your actions with him speak for themselves with her. YOU are the pioneer here.
          b- the hard approach – say to her: “if you don’t know how to defend your child against all threats, even from my own father, then i really don’t know how you call yourself a mother.” this statement will be INCENDIARY. it will start a firefight. only use it if you are really willing to take this stand and maintain it. forever.

          again, more help is here if you need it.

      • Fedup says:

        Thankyou CC

        • cc says:

          i wrote more after this, natalie posted it to the bottom of the comments. i don’t know if it will help, i just don’t want you to miss it. there are some specific tactics for dealing with them. hang in there, honey, you’re on the right path.

        • Outergirl says:

          Hi Fedup

          I had a very similar upbringing except my father’s wif [the woman who gave birth to me] was the abusive bully and my father not only never took my side, but I always had to be the one to apologize for upsetting her. Enough about me but..that seems to be why a lot of us here accept crap behavior and come back for more, we were conditioned to be the lowest members of the pack and it sucks and the adults who did this to their kids suck but we really, truly can take back our power, our respect. But it will take hard work, it’s ingrained it’s what you know right now. As CC advised, do please make plans to escape, get a roommate, rent a room. You grew up in an abusive environment and must get out. Hugs.

  67. teachable says:

    HSN… big hugs. Be gentle on yrself. My xAC ‘sailed off into the sunset’ w someone else too so I know what that feels like. I also know the REAL him though, so realise they’re not on a cruise to the carribean, but more on a sinking ship! Glad yr feeling a little better. Yr resolve re NC is commendable. The hard times WILL pass & eventually the pain WILL ease. There IS a pot of gold @ the end of the rainbow of tears. That pot of gold is YOU. x

    Allison, he juggled us & got away w it for so long (18 mths) because we were in different states. He came very close to moving to be w me (yeah right! & the 2 OW also in my state no doubt – both also x-girlfriends frm decades prior). His supreme assholery caused me to smell a rat & I did some ‘digging’ for the truth. Needless to say he didn’t move here & I FLUSHED w no regrets!!


    That’s a difficult one. Shame you can’t just go to a different exercise class so as to no longer have to bothered w any of the B.S. If u can, do it. U don’t need any of that crap. Re the new friend & what happened w the old one I can only suggest follow yr gut. Going to a different gym or different exercise class would solve all of it in one swoop. Like I said, who needs it? Certainly not you!

    • grace says:

      I’m with teachable on this – does this man have superpowers? It’s bizarre to me that he’s got all these women attending his class who he sexually molests, who then talk about him and analyse him. What you’re saying may not be complementary but he is getting a huge amount of attention. He is getting a proper good pumping up! I can’t believe he’s that special even as a yoga teacher unless he’s got you all doing that flying thing.
      I used to take ballet class and there was one particular somewhat egotistical teacher who had his accolytes. I could see the attraction but, in the end, I did best under a lovely, sweet-natured Spanish ballerina. Teachers shouldn’t be prancing about with their egos showing. They shouldn’t be having sex with you.
      Careful of allowing ACs access to your life. It may seem harmless but in all kinds of situations I’ve seen it turn nasty. At the very least they have a contaminating effect.
      Y’all are adults but – is this really what yoga is about?

      • RadioGirl says:

        “Careful of allowing ACs access to your life. It may seem harmless but in all kinds of situations I’ve seen it turn nasty. At the very least they have a contaminating effect”.

        I definitely agree with this, Grace. I was close friends with an AC guy for nearly 20 years, long before I even knew what an AC was. It was only when doing a lot of thinking about my jerk of an ex after the end of our relationship last year that the penny dropped about my long-standing close friend being incredibly similar to my ex in his appalling treatment of women in particular (i.e. having an ego-boosting harem, trying to be “friends” with all his ex-gf’s to make himself feel less of a jerk, doing the passive-aggressive ignoring thing in order to get rid of someone he wanted to finish with, prolific online chatting and texting, spending loads of time with various women behind his current partner’s back, shagging 3 different women behind each of their backs etc etc etc). I then realised with mounting horror that being friends for so long with this guy had kind of contaminated me and normalised such jerkish behaviour so that I hardly noticed it in either him or in my own partners, and at the very least accepted it as just how all men were! Hell, I even went away on holiday with my friend knowing that he had a steady girlfriend! My justification to myself at the time that this was acceptable behaviour was that we were always in separate rooms and I wasn’t interested in him sexually!!!! As if that made it okay!! I’m frankly utterly appalled that I could ever have behaved like that – never ever EVER again. Glad to say that I not only cut the ex off completely nearly a year ago, but the close male friend has also been given the heave-ho, along with all of my own shady behaviour during my association with him. He’s still trying to pour himself into every last corner of my life, as he has “friended” some of my oldest friends on FB and bombards them with texts and tries to meet up with them. I’ve blocked him on Fakebook now, as I couldn’t stand to see his oily and ingratiating comments on my friends’ posts any longer. I feel so free and unburdened now that I’ve seen the real person and got him out of my life so that he can’t influence and contaminate me any longer. The temptation is to tell my other friends all about who he really is, but I do manage to keep pretty quiet about him, and trust that they will see it for themselves in due course.

  68. teachable says:

    No worries LoJ. Glad yr realising there’s been a pattern in the type of ppl u’v chosen to have r.ships w. We all make mistakes / live & learn. It’s called LIFE. Good for u!

  69. teachable says:


    I did the same as you ie told him no-one else would put up with how he was treating me etc. Even as the words fell out of my mouth I knew well wait a minute, so why am I am putting up with it? Largely I didnt. We were ‘off’ most of the time for that reason (i.e my repeated attempts at NC – usually spanning 2-6 mths at a time b4 I crumbled ea time). THEN I learned the TRUTH & suddenly everything MADE SENSE. I haven’t had any probs w NC since then. As one of the ‘lucky ones’ (if any of us is ‘lucky’) I got closure & will move heaven & earth to never look back!!

    Just wanted ypu to know yr not the only one reduced to behaving in an undignified manner. x

    • Fearless says:

      yes, teachable, we were “off” most of the time as well, for same reasons (I wasn’t completely deluded; I knew the relationshit was dysfunctional But I always went back to it – like a dog to its vomit)

      Always somewhere in the deep fog of my fantasy I suspected very strongly that he was not the person I hoped/thought/wanted him to be. At times I could see it with total clarity, but my fear of giving up on my dreams and hopes for the two of us made me very adept at quickly burying those instincts. I was fooling myself. I was also fooled and pulled along by his appearances: (successful yet not arrogant about it/intellectual/talented/extremely intelligent/confident yet unassuming/ambitious yet down to earth/witty etc….

      I worked very hard during my final NC/this is “off” attempt (so long ago now I’ve stopped counting) to stay focused on who he had actually shown me he was (total and utterly unavailable/actions not matching words/managing of expectations/passive aggressive control/untrustworthy/secretive etc…) but there was this particular event late last year that nailed my NC right to the floor:

      I was watching a TV documentary on the BBC late last year and he was on it – taking part as one of the ‘subjects’. Suffice to say that what I saw/what he said on camera about his life/his values etc. astounded me, cos it was such utter rubbish – a complete falsehood. My chin hit the floor (literally!) I was shocked and rendered utterly speechless. I felt like phoning the BBC to tell them one of their participants had told them a lot of crap about himself. I didn’t do that – too much drama for me, and wtf did it matter to me anyway.

      I did though break NC. I emailed him and said WTF? basically. He emailed back some stupid meaningless response based on another lie, and admitted he was “and arse” (his words).
      I left it at that. But it was seeing him on TV spouting a load of bull about himself that was for me the final annihilation of any residual fantasy I was harbouring about him. There could be no doubt, no excuses left for him. He had shown his arse on national television and anyone who knew him well must have known that he was fibbing about certain aspects of his life – about his values essentially. I too understood, with no further shred of doubt, that he was a coward and a disingenuous man. NC has been pretty easy ever since. All I could…

      • Allison says:


        What was the topic?

        • Fearless says:

          in the interests of maintaining his anonymity I don’t like to be too specific but in its broadest sense the topic was about people’s lifestyles (though the actual topic was much more specific than that); it wasn’t so much the topic itself which disturbed me but his representation of himself generally – it was hypocritical, basically, and he did tell one big blatant lie (which was the most astonishing part for me). But, you know, he has what I think is a very false view of himself – he tends to present a person with the values he would like to possess but does not actually possess or live by. For example, he sees and presents himself as deeply religious, charitable and concerned about human rights, which he is if we measure it by giving some money to charity, going to church and fits and starts and signing up to amnesty international, but not if we measure it by his under-handed and very shady relationship behaviour.
          He often does not even see (or appears not too) the gobsmacking irony of or the outright contradictions between the kind of things he’d say in general conversation and how he actually behaved in his relationship with me (and I’m sure he has treated very woman in his life exactly the same way). For such a clever and capable man, he sure could be a total berk. More than anything else now, I see him as hypocritical and cowardly (not an attractive trait in a man!( (I suspect he knows this, but just can’t help himself!). I suspect too that other than women who have tried to have a relationships with him most other people in his life would have no idea that he was so cowardly, hypocritical and emotionally inept – you would never guess to look at him!

          • Fearless says:

            Forgive me, I do go on… but feel I should clarify regarding the TV documentary I have spoken of that my ex was on: He and the other participants were merely selected as examples of ordinary people/ordinary families/average Joes living in Britain today – they were not on the programme because they had something odd or remarkable or weird about them. The topic was not his field of expertise in any way (which surprised me – I did wondered wtf is he doing on this programme!); I suspect he ended up on it cos he’d know people in the media (through his line of work) and someone probably thought he’d be amenable to appearing.

            • Allison says:


              Thank you for sharing!

              BTW, I suspect he does know who he is, I don’t believe anyone is that delusional. Does he have close friends? Certainly, they have witnessed shady behavior.

          • RadioGirl says:

            “But, you know, he has what I think is a very false view of himself – he tends to present a person with the values he would like to possess but does not actually possess or live by”.

            Ah Fearless, this is yet another thing these types must all have picked up from the Universal EU Handbook! My ex used to go on about how he was teaching his teenage daughter the “Three C’s” – Comitment, Consistency and Consequences – plus the importance of Fidelity in a relationship. Trouble is, he displayed not a single one of these qualities or values himself – though he seriously believed that he did. Talk about “do as I say, not as I do”…!! 😀

            • Outergirl says:

              Forgive me all as I get on my narcissist soap box..again.
              Narcissists mimic human behavior, say what they believe to be the socially acceptable thing i.e. what others want to hear and have zero insight into their own behavior. They also have zero interest & zero ability to change or learn from their experiences. They are just pure evil masquarading as people.

  70. luckystar says:

    “You may have missed some code amber and red alerts that indicated who they are, or may have skipped that discovery phase of dating where you could have sussed out their past. Sometimes, we can be so enamoured and propelling them up onto a pedestal, that they could tell us that they’re The Most Perfect Person On Earth That Does Platinum Coated Poos and we’d believe them – that doesn’t make it so though.”

    I so have missed them!
    1) He was married with kids and said to me “when I love someone, I am always faithfull”. RED
    2) He told me: “I have no friends. Too busy to maintain relationship with them”. AMBER
    3) He said: “Sometimes I hate myself for doing certain things to people. I cannot help myself. I am a coward.” RED
    4) He was nice (he said). He “believed” in “not hurting his wife and other people” – “I’d rather lie to them. Truth can be so painful. It is better for everyone not to know the whole truth sometimes.” RED

    To cut long story short: He cheated on his wife with me. Then cheated on both of us with a friend of mine. Never broke up with me, had to find out on my own. She is no longer my friend not because she is in his harem now. But because I tried to tell “all about him and warn her”. I ended up accused of trying to separate them, got called a jealous cow with no self respect. Which … honestly … was partially true … true being the self respect part.

    So, yes, I know who he is. He has done that to other people who are yet to see his real himself. Does it make me happier? Not really but I don’t have to ask myself the “why me?” question.

    How could I ever think that a guy who would lie to his wife and unable to be friends with people, will ever be honest and faithfull to me or become my friend??? I don’t dream on anymore. 150 days of NC on Sat.

    Dear NAT, great article. You have helped me so much! Thank you thank you thank you.

    Warm regards to all from Prague :-)

    • Fearless says:

      lucky star

      I love Prague! What a fabulous city – only been once; want to go again! Your “friend” will see it too, in her own good time (she’s got the short straw – god help her).

    • Teddie says:

      Luckystar, you are lucky to be in Prague! How could anyone feel depressed or less than there! I am lucky to travel often on business to Prague, was there one week ago. Prague tops my ranking list of most beautiful cities, this is off topic but I feel I have to share this with Luckystar. Go out and party, girl!

  71. Finding me says:

    Fedup, my dad is the same. He has slightly improved over the years though. He was always chasing his family, making them laugh at all times, always calling them (He’s still like this) and wouldn’t acknlowledge his children’s or wife’s existence. We wouldn’t even get a greeting from him. Now, he tries to talk to us a little but I find it hard to hold a normal conversation, like one would try to with someone who’s a stranger and doesn’t have a bond with you. Over the years, I tried to make him see how he treats us but in the end all that happened was that I got depressed. So, I stopped it and just started focusing on my own health instead of trying to make him see. That’s awful of your father to critisize your mother’s cooking. My father can’t cook at all critisizes food my mum cooks. But, yes, I used to wonder who my dad really is, the joker and caring man infront of others or nasty, violent and distant with us. I just know that it’s not as bad as before. I really hope things get better for your family.

  72. teachable says:

    It’s ok to grieve for family relationships not being what we need Magnolia. For me that process has been lifelong. I often think, when I hear stories like yours, that maybe my lot in life was the easier one, although I understand we can’t really compare ourselves to others.

    Each persons pain is our own & so are our experiences. As the topic of this thread says though, you know a side of your Dad that others in your family either don’t see or want to acknowledge as problematic or distressing. A co-dependant Mother on the other hand, might not be perfect either, but nothing is life ever is I don’t think. Even behind the most sparkling picket fences there are tales of sadness. This I know based on my previous work.

    The only thing that comes to mind is being grateful what we do have. You have the gidt of high intelligence, motivation, insight & the ability to stand by your experiences in the face of no agreement. These are no trivial attributes & in fact are wonderful strengths which not everyone has. Treasure them. They make you who you are, which perfectly fine, even if others disagree. As you say it’s what we think of ourselves that matters, rather than what others think of us.

    PS It’s not effed up to want an intimate relationship with someone who will be our allies in life. I think most ppl desire this & it’s a perfectly reasonable desire.

    T :)

  73. teachable says:

    Grace / Lori…

    Maybe this yoga teacher EU (or is he AC?) is teaching new style of yoga… ‘rumpy pumpy yoga’ or levitates? I can’t see the attraction otherwise! Care to share Lori?

    (Just kidding – giggle intended) LOL

    • Lori says:

      No, he’s a spin instructor, not a yoga instructor. But I did have a good laugh with what you said. I started taking yoga classes to get away from his spin classes, but do go to one of his spin classes where I have girlfriends who know of his behavior. After class, my two friends and I will go out to eat, and lately, other women have been approaching us, hanging out with us, etc. It’s through that group where I hear about him. He’s an EUM narcissist-type. I unfortunately have a mutual friend with the woman he is currently sleeping with/using, but I tell her I don’t want to talk about her. So far, that relationship has been ok.

      • Allison says:


        Why are you staying engaged in this drama? I would find another class or gym.

      • Gabby says:

        Lori – my EUM was also a spin instructor.. i heard from my friend that fitness coaches have “shady” life. They are willing to sleep with their customer just to “sell” themselves..
        I was with him for 3 months and he’s not only EUM, but also in a relationship with a girl. The first time he approached me, he said that he has just been with that girl for over a week! Can u believe that?
        And he said that he chose to be with her because she can accept ALL of his flaws (including cheating, lying, and being an AC).
        And when i finally confronted him to chose her or me, he said lots of BS like, “oh, i saw my GF first so i should be with her, i don’t want to hurt her, i need to be “responsible” with her (and yet, you fooled around with me *_*)..
        It lasted for 3 months and i’m getting out of it now. The drama, the confusion, the anger, the waiting, the hoping, guessing… all make me feel tired emotionally and physically. Today is the 5th days of NC..

    • Broadsided says:

      @Teachable, seriously, I was not involved with him – but a guy friend of mine is friends with a yoga teacher at our gym. Because he was handsome and a yoga teacher everyone thought he was so “enlightened”. Yet I heard the stories relayed to my friend – he was teaching rumpy-pumpy yoga. I learned that he was screwing a lot of women, as he did yoga class house calls – up to three women a day (that was the Valentine’s Day record – breakfast, lunch and dinner). I could never look at him again with a straight face. You just can’t assume anything!!

  74. sophia says:

    Hi Natalie and everyone who posted and is yet to post. This article was very timey as a reminder to trust my judgement (it can be unsettling to be the only one who does not agree) which is sound and informative. My instincts re the AC were right from the off but because of my own needs, wants and desire I chose to ignore them. The anger I felt was self owned as a result of my own gravings. My eyes were wide open and my legs were closed which allowed me the opportunbity to learn about this AC aand myself. Now he never promised me a rose garden and until I started asking some real questions and watched his movements I had lived with the fantasy of his potential. This AC has helped to remind me that it is the my good judgement and reality that I seek. No more dreaming about potential for me.

    I’m off now to tend my rose garden.

  75. Spinster says:

    This was different from what I expected the post to be about, but it’s still a good post nonetheless.

    And “platinum coated poos”? Classic. 😐

  76. teachable says:


    The best thing to do as far as psychpaths / sociopaths & ppl w narcissistic personality disorder are concerned is STAY AWAY to protect yrself. These are dangerous ppl who will not only destroy all who cross their paths but in some cases, are capable of violence & even murder with no remorse. Allowing yrself to become ‘obsessed’ with such types of ppl, once you recognise the REAL them, is not healthy & playing with fire. Needless to say ppl who play with fire, inevitably get BURNED. Forewarned is forearmed.


  77. teachable says:


    Yr considering the appropriate way to treat ppl in the breakup process from the perspective of yrself ie a person with obvious decent values. The reasons AC’s don’t behave similarly I think is because they don’t share those values. They CARE about treating ppl w disrespect, even those they’ve been romantically involved with. Some simply lack the skills & know no other way due to their life experiences & severe deficits in psychosocial functioning. Others feel pleasure in inflicting pain on others. To them it’s all a game of POWER. Irrespective of what type of they are (cowardly developmentally delayed EU’s or outright abusive AC’s) OUR response needs to be the same. As Nat say’s FLUSH & learn to love OURSELVES first to the degree that our self esteem is restored to a state where we simply won’t settle for anyone (romantic or otherwise) not treating us with honesty, decency, care & respect. I’m hopeful of getting to that place one day & I think I’m well on the way, but I still have a lot of work to do before I will fit to try again in the dating game. I’m happy to take my time. I know my pattern well. When vulnerable I make appalling dating choices. So no dating for me until my vulnerability (financially, workwise, spiritually & emotionally) is in a better place. I miss male attention in the meantime but thts ok. My therapist, for the first time ever in fact, is a married male who happens to have also been a social aquaintence of 25 yrs. Never having had a Father (after growing up in state care frm 3yo onward & being rejected by my adoptive Father at age 13) my therapist is now providing me with a model of a healthy male in a safe, supportive therapeautic relationship. I’ve always had a female therapist in the past, but this time, a healthy male role model is just what I need. I thank my lucky stars to be so fortunate to have him. It’s helping me to come to terms w lots of things including xAC & abuse by males in my childhood.

    It helps me to remember not ALL men are bastards (a view which is easy to fall into after working in the domestic violence sector). And similarly, not all men are EU or AC’s I haven.t lost hope of meeting a decent one eventually. Now is not the time though, but I will know when it is.

    T 😉

  78. teachable says:

    PS Anon,

    I also think it’s importatnt not to lay 100% of ‘blame’ on non protective Mothers. Some suffer mental illness & can’t protect themselves, let alone their children. Many also have abuse histories & don’t understand what they are modelling to their children by being involved w EU men or AC’s as they haven’t yet processed their own child abuse histories. Violent men (including emotional violence) are responsible for their behaviour, not their partners. Mothers do have a responsibility to protect their children, just like Fathers do. When either parent realises the other is damaging children in their there is a responsibility to act to prilotect the children. My comment was more aimed at Mothers who know that their children are being abused & fail to act. Sometimes this is because they have a lack of options. Once welfare services provide support & options & they reject these & abandon the children in favour of the perpetrator I think a question of serious culpability & collusion comes into play. That is the stuff I can’t empathsise with.

    • Outergirl says:

      Sorry Teachable, if someone is incapable of protecting their child or caring for it, or worse, uses it to feed their sick, twisted needs; they have no business having children. I grew up with a sick, mentally ill sadist. She is 100000000000% responsible for her actions and I will go to my grave holding that belief. I am not attacking you, it is just that this is too, too close to my life experience to remain neutral on the subject.

  79. teachable says:


    Don’t waste time distracting yourself wondering what these other women see in Come In Spinner. Just stay away from his classes & anyone who doesn’t respect yr boundary re not wanting updates on him. Who cares why these other women fall for his BS? Sad for them but not *yr* business. *Yr* business is healing yrself. Stick with that & you’ll soon reap the rewards.

    T 😉

    • Outergirl says:


      Have we been reading the same books? ha ha. I know so much about sociopaths, narcissists and the likes. I grumbled; why did I have to know these things? Why was I exposed to them? But knowledge is a powerful tool.

  80. Kerry says:

    I didn’t see it at the time, but now I see how the ex manipulated me this way. He’d say things like, “You’ve known me for years,” when in fact I’d only known him for about a year. Or he’d say, “You know me better than anyone.” I was a little confused, but also flattered. Now, I just see that he was trying to create an intimacy that didn’t exist. It was part of his narcissistic brainwashing of me.

  81. Brenda says:

    There were times when I knew the REAL them a bit more than most ” The darkest sides possible of course “.. Like the one that told me he used to KILL people in mexico for a living, yeah – he did not tell the wife that one, or that he had numerous sex partners besides her.. One of those creeps from a date site long ago that posed as a single man, then confessed only when I knew better.

  82. Toxigal says:

    Perfect timing. A coworker that I dated (knowing it was a horrible idea) recently got engaged, about 7 month after i put an end to his repeated mind fuckery but washing my hands of him. you see he wasn’t ready for the pressure of a relationship.

    i am happily dating someone else who is the polar opposite of him….considerate, mature, responsible, adult…yet hearing he got engaged still made my stomach sink a little bit. i allowed myself one night of obsessive thinking (and really i didn’t use the whole night..i got distracted but other interesting things) and realized that the thing that was driving me most crazy was knowing i’m going ot have to hear coworkers gush about it. only 3 people at work knew we dated, so there is none of that considerate “don’t talk about it in front of her” going on. people say “she’s so lucky, he’s such a catch” and i want to offer a huge guffaw and point out how very wrong they are! but at the end of the day, it helps to have my three friends who do know, cast him ugly looks and comment that he is a major fuck nut for not even having the courtesy to tell me before i heard it through the gossip mill.

    i have no trouble understanding why their relationship is “working” where ours failed. it is long distance. ideal for someone who finds the basic tenants of being a friend to be “too much pressure”.

    mostly, i feel bad for this woman. i don’t believe he treats her any better than he treated me. he’s just not capable.

  83. Karina says:

    Can I say this has been the best post I have read??? OMG! Describes me to a T and it applies in all areas of my life, drom romantic to professional. Lately I’ve been dealing with a bunch of crap from some friends and people are all over these people sucking up to them. I know the real them and based onthat I want nothing to do with them any longer, as for the rest…ket them figure it out on their own time.

    As far as the ex, his gf thinks he’s the last Coca Cola in the desert. I beg to differ, but it’s not my job to point that out any longer. I know how he treated me and how I refuse to let anyone else treat me. She can claim he is Mr. Wonderful, I know his true colors and that is good enough for me.

    Thank you Jesus for Nat’s wisdom! =)

  84. teachable says:


    Reading all of different posts, tese EUM/AC’s are SO predictable. Sadly, when we’re caught up with them, so too are our responses! Just glad you had the ‘seeing him on TV’ moment to trigger yr final NC.

    Isn’t NC liberating?! I’m not as far along as you sound yet, but having just clocked up the 2 mth mark, KNOWING there are no ‘back doors left ajar’ is helping me no end. I’m very physically ill here & unfortunately wont be able to sit my exam after all for this reason, but just knowing I’m free to focus on my health without the issue of him lurking in the shady shadows even, is a huge relief!

    Hugs. T :)

  85. teachable says:

    Hi Tulipa,

    I’m glad you’ve found a balance that works for you with your Mum. One thing that’s true is that we cant change others, only ourselves. You’ve realised this & that’s a great strength. Good for you! x


    I’m glad I’ve learned what I have. I had previously a very innocent view of ppl & the world, which left me the proverbial sitting duck! Once I learned about these things though I started to recover. I realised my xAC’s behaviour wasn’t about me – in fact it had nothing whatsoever to do with me! My only part in what happened was being vulnerable & seriously ill when he re-appeared in my life (i.e ripe pickings for a con man). Had this not been the case I doubt he’d have gotten as far as he did. Anyway, take what you’ve learned & let it help you to be more self aware & self protective. I’m trying to do that now & I do think it’s helping. All the best.

    T :)

  86. Bhoot says:

    What I have often found is that when you think someone is so great, it is easy to develop tunnel vision. My ex EUM was good-looking, smart, friendly, outgoing, etc. and seemed like he had everything going for him . After the “honeymoon” period was over, I became convinced that there must be something wrong with me that made him treat me the way that he did and true to form, I went into denial mode followed by the Renovator/Sherlock Holmes investigator (driving myself crazy in the process) which finally culminated in the getting the hell out of Dodge.
    The funny part is that after I had time to have an honest reflection about our relationship and what it really was (wasn’t), I came to realize that other people saw him as I did. What really was eye-opening was when I had the chance to talk with some of my friends, they opened up and admitted that they thought he was a jerk and couldn’t understand all of the hoopla and why I was literally worshipping at his B.S. shrine and so enthralled with him. Now that I look back, I wonder what it was I ever saw in him either but it was especially insightful to know I wasn’t the only problem in the relationship and that I wasn’t alone in seeing him for what he really was in that time and place.

  87. angel says:

    Loved the quote “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”~Maya Angelou. I should I realised when I found an email my ex wrote to his friend that I wasn’t as good looking as his usual girlfriends that he would never change. I should have realised everytime he spoke about how girls should be skinny, how girls should be this and that, that he would never change. Instead I spent 3 years trying to change myself and guess what, he still dumped me and went off with someone else!!! And everyone at our place of work thinks he is such a great guy and love hanging around him and here is me knowing all his bad, mad and dangerous sides. For a while I have thought it was all me, well maybe he was just horrible with me, maybe he was just controlling with me, maybe it was me that brought out all his bad sides. Now I can finally say it isnt me, its him….unfortunately it took us getting pregnant and him leaving me high and dry for me to get this.

  88. A Benton says:

    Thank you for this. This goes for family relationships too. My brother is cheating me out of my inheritance, and then trying to convince me I deserve it because I am a lousy person; and my impression is everyone around him thinks he is such a great guy. If he is doing this to his own sister, he isn’t such a great guy, and others know that too. Food for thought.

  89. Xaxa says:

    I just lived through this post, and I am so thankful for the experience. I used to spend way too much time thinking about what my ex’s are doing and how much happier they are without me and worrying about what was wrong with me. No more.

    I went through my boyfriend’s messages with his ex. I could have written just about every single word she wrote to him. I felt like I was reading our relationship. (Although, he did seem to learn at least one thing…he did make sure he contacted me every day.)

    This stung a little because I also saw his cheating pattern. In fact, the MO and his excuses were identical. Nothing there had changed. He’s even a great accuser. (She asked him why he had not called, messaged, or responded to her while he was out of town. He said he was busy. She replied that he wasn’t too busy to comment on photos and write on the walls of his Facebook friends. His reply was that she always uses his words against him.)

    My point is that it’s true. These guys don’t change over night–and some never do. What he does to you, he’s done to someone else, and he will continue to act this way.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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