is this [crumbs] really enough for you? Er, no (unless you're an ant)

The difficultly with compromising ourselves in order to have a ‘some crumbs relationship’ rather than ‘no crumbs at all’, is that when the inevitable happens and we end up unhappy and/or things come to an end, we wonder why we weren’t ‘enough’ and where we went ‘wrong’. “I was willing to make ends meet with your crumbs and put them through the exaggeration oven and turn them into a loaf while making up the shortfall with my love, devotion and lack of boundaries and you still don’t want me?”

If you’ve ever been in this situation where you take a slide down a slippery slope and opt for people who are unavailable for a healthy relationship with you but then try to make them available, it becomes increasingly obvious that your needs cannot be met but you keep lowering your expectations, desires and needs to make it ‘easier’ for them to stick around. It also becomes increasingly obvious that no matter what you feel for this person, they aren’t ‘technically’ enough but the fact that you’d be willing to put up with crumbs would suggest that it would feel like a lot to you because in comparison to what you’re giving to you, it suddenly looks like a lot.

All of this messing around with ‘scale’ is very confusing and when things don’t work out it hurts and does a number on your ego and your head. It doesn’t make sense.

  • “I would have been willing to put up with your crumbs and you still don’t want me?”
  • “I took my single self off the market to be available for a part-time lover and have believed in you, listened to you like an armchair psychologist and acted like I don’t have needs so I don’t look like ‘them’ or scare you off, and it’s still not enough for you to leave? You’ve practically made out like you live with a psycho/tyrant/in a living hell but we’re still not together?”
  • “I suppressed my needs, expectations etc and did everything you asked and expected of me even when my soul ached at what I was putting myself through and I would cry myself to sleep at night while my friends and family kept telling me you’re no good and I’m still not enough?”
  • “I gave up everything. I’ve hardly got any friends / I’ve lost my family / I’ve lost credibility / my job performance has gone down the toilet and it’s still not enough?”

It haunts you that this person doesn’t want you and it scares you when you know that you had no business giving them the time of day let alone the steam off your pee. It guts you that everything you’ve tried to be is an identity especially cultivated and formulated for them. What are you supposed to do now? You’ve customised yourself and it’s not like you can return you to the shop and get a new version. Who is going to want you now? What are you supposed to do? Find another version of them to make the investment worthwhile? Incidentally, that’s how you end up repeating an unhealthy pattern trying to right the wrongs of the past.

It feels devastating and even humiliating that it feels like this involvement has cost you everything and not only wasn’t it ‘enough’ but they’re not ‘suffering’ like you. Trust me, they’re not ‘suffering’ like you because they’re not suffering from malnutrition like you! They’ve reaped the benefits! You’ll also feel like this if you felt idolised by them (in the beginning of course…) and felt needed/beautiful/important/popular and now it’s stopped and what you thought was ‘enough’, even if in reality it was only for a short time, now isn’t ‘enough’. Where did I go ‘wrong’? you wonder. Why have I been discarded?

You're not 'supposed' to be 'enough' for someone who doesn't appreciate, value and truly love you, but what you are supposed to do is recognise why that should never be 'enough' for you.

A relationship that has you being and doing these things is a dangerous one whether your attempts are driven by you or him/her. No one who truly loves and cares about you would have you jumping through hoops nor would they feel comfortable with you doing it as a way of showing your ‘love’. It would put them on a pedestal and make for a hugely imbalanced relationship that just isn’t sustainable.

This is not what love or an even moderately healthy relationship looks like; carnage looks like this.

There comes a time when you have to start questioning the madness of wondering why you weren’t enough for someone who wasn’t enough or whose crumbs shouldn’t have been enough for you. The fact that you would have been prepared to live off crumbs doesn’t make this person ‘right’ for you nor does it mean that the relationship ‘should’ have been viable.

There also comes a point when you have to ask why crumbs are enough for you in the first place. Why is this an uncomfortable comfortable for you? Why does this feel like ‘home’? Who are you really trying to be enough for?

Whatever you’re willing to settle for is what you’re going to get. If you’re willing to settle for crumbs it means that you’re willing to settle for less than mutual love, care, trust, respect and a relationship with intimacy, commitment, progression, balance and consistency and that’s before you even get near shared values.

When you’re enough for you, you come as you are.

You don’t sign up or continue to participate in what feels like a permanent audition for someone who it feels like you’re never enough. Believe me as someone who went from childhood to adult feeling like I couldn’t please (I should’ve tried harder, got a higher grade, a better gift, looked a certain way, not made mistakes), I know the madness of trying to please the unpleasable stops when you don’t base how you feel about you on others, but more importantly, you don’t subject you to living the life of an inadequate performing seal.

I stopped trying to be enough for my parents through my ‘romantic’ partners. I’ve had to learn through trial and error how to be enough for me and the day I stopped doing this is when I felt a weight off. It’s liberating to be a grownup and I no longer subsist on a crumb diet and abandon myself.

The irony is that we feel tortured because we can’t seem to reach the tipping point of pleasing somebody to be ‘enough’ and yet we ourselves don’t feel ‘good enough’ and are comparing, feeling less then and going for the long shot of being perfect and so essentially, the very thing that we feel wounded by from others is what we’re doing to ourselves.

If you don’t feel ‘good enough’ and wonder why you’re not enough, you are the person in your life that you cannot please and when you please you, believe me, you’ll know that you’ve done more than enough and see the shortfall from others and tell them to jog on not go chasing after them!

When you accept that you are enough as is instead of rejecting you for not being your version of perfect, you set boundaries with you and with others and won’t subject you to the merciless and constantly moving goalposts and the bullshit whims of others.

When you’re enough for you, you won’t wonder why you’re not enough for crumbs because you won’t be prepared to settle for less than what you’re already doing for you. You also won’t exaggerate the sh*t out of someones paltry efforts. You’ll also question why they aren’t enough and use that insight to guide you to a more fulfilling relationship both with you and others, instead of equating those answers to ‘failings’ on your part. You’ll see that him/her not being enough doesn’t mean that you’re not but it does mean that you need to move on.

Why aren’t you ‘enough’? Because you’re not supposed to be enough for something and someone that would sell you short, when you’re already ‘enough’ and will be enough in a mutual, healthy relationship. You truly are worth more.

Your thoughts?

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259 Responses to “Why aren’t I enough… for your crumbs?” When you wonder why you weren’t enough even though what was (or wasn’t) on offer sucked

  1. Cherry says:

    I have spent the past 4 ½ years wondering why I wasn’t good enough. With my ex constantly moving the goal posts. Even with counseling and writing on here, with the support of my friends and family I always went back. Regardless. No matter what he did, he always managed to worm his way back in. His words were empty, his actions proved this. Yet after breaking up with him for the final time, I am still affected by him, still wonder why I was never good enough, what I could have done to prove my worth. I have put up with all of the following and still somewhere deep down believe that I am the problem. I have taken him back, forgiven him, yet I am still the one that has to chase her tail and change everything to be with him. If it wasn’t for my friends and family I would not have found the strength to walk away. I have quit my job, set up my own company and am moving to a different country for a while at the end of the month in the hope of ‘finding myself again’. As much of a cliché as that might sound. He says that im not a proper woman because I don’t clean his house. That if I would just do the things he asked then he would give me things I want. Such as trust, commitment, love, affection – a future. Trust me, I am 28 this year and have been in this relationship since I was 23, don’t ever stand for second best, or build your hopes of happiness on your chances of fixing someone who is extremely damages. I hope in time I will get over this and heal, and make may for a loving relationship, but in the meantime I once and for all will work on loving myself, taking control of my life and restoring my self respect.

    Repeatedly broke up with me (around 60 times in a 4 ½ year relationship)
    Terrorised my family, told my mum to f**k off, walked into my house, threatened my parents
    Stalked me, turned up at my family members and friends
    Verbally abused me – slut, slag, worthless, told me to kill myself and do everyone a favour
    Slept with three other women in the course of our relationship (including his ex)
    Bit my nose
    Kicked me
    Slapped me repeatedly on the bum
    Blew hot and cold constantly
    Blamed me for everything
    Didn’t support me through an abortion (in fact said that I should get over it as some women have them in their lunch hours)
    Went on and on about how much of a shit girlfriend I am
    Manipulated me
    Warped my mind about sex (he always wanted me to sleep with other people)
    Always said I want too much, am too needy
    He is addicted to drugs
    He is now in a large amount of debt, which is apparently my fault because I didn’t open his letters

    Natalie, I know you will probably have wondered what happened to me. It is only now 4 1/2 years later after reaching rock bottom that I have found the strength to walk away and see a future without his influence or control.

    Love and peace.

    • grace says:

      yay you left him!

    • Mymble says:

      I remember your story. It was so sad.
      I am so glad to hear you are leaving. It’s easy to criticise people who are in abusive relationships and don’t leave. Not so easy when you are in one. You be careful now, they say the most dangerous time is when you leave. Take good care of your safety. Dont tell him anything about your plans, no goodbyes.
      You might want to contact your local domestic violence refuge to get advice about how to make your escape safely and peacefully.
      All the best.

    • Hi Cherry, it’s good to hear from you and I think you have to continue to face forward, continue counselling and putting 100% into your own life, and accept the topline data:

    • He was and is abusive.
    • Abuse is never deserved and most definitely has nothing to do with your worth.
    • You’re not him so his behaviour is a reflection of who he is – his character.
    • Once you accept this information, you won’t devote anymore time wondering why you weren’t enough to change him and instead you make your present and future actions about this ‘man’s’ crumbs and behaviour and basically any other form of crumb in your life, not being enough for you because you’re going to be enough for you. When you regard and treat you with love, care, trust and respect, nobody can come along and package up shit and tell you that it’s gold, or that it is shit but it would be gold if you didn’t ‘make’ them be and do the shit that they were already being and doing.

  • Emerldeyez says:

    Cherry, it doesn’t matter how long it took, YOU did it!

  • Snowboard says:

    Wow Cherry,

    I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with this unbelievable b******. I also remember your story and have often wondered how you are doing. Reading your stories has always been seriously terrifying, and it is particulary upsetting to me, since I understand all too well what it is like to feel powerless to leave, even though you are absolutely NOT. I don’t know how long you two have been broken up this time. But I think it is wonderful that you are going to move to another country for awhile, to clear your head. Continue to seek out avenues of support – e.g., a church/synagogue/mosque, a self-help group, etc. This creep has no place in your life and we have seen he has no intention ever giving up. He is the Terminator. You have to be Sarah Connor. :) Take care. And please stay with us here at BR.

  • Magnolia says:

    Oh – I’m seeing this late, but I am totally moved by hearing that you have finally left, Cherry. Thank you for reminding me how much strength it takes to do you what you have just done. ((hugs))

  • J-DC says:

    Years ago my girlfriends held somewhat of an intervention and told me that the reason they didn’t like him was purely because I lost all self esteem when it came to him. They were right. I lost my confidence, my strength, my SELF. After reuniting, I am here again. This blog helps…I am lucky that my girlfriends have stayed with me…but I am too ashamed to let them know of this pain I am going through again.

  • Melisa says:

    What if I know my worth, and yet I keep running into these guys who are so into me, and then change their minds. And they know I’m great, I know I’m great but it never works out with any guy. And we are compatible, but I feel like I scare people away. And I’ve been told I make people feel really comfortable, but 20-something year old guys seem to fear comfort and girls with direction. Is it just me?

    But again, sometimes I have accepted “crumbs” not because I feel like I deserve it, but because I guess I don’t necessarily feel like giving someone all of my time either. I like my space and my life. So should I not be dating? Am I considered unavailable because I choose to focus on myself mostly, but want companionship too? Anyone?

  • Aussie says:

    Thank you for another excellent article, Natalie. It (unfortunately) describes my last relationship and helps me to realise how to avoid repeating it in future. I was quite devastated when the relationship ended and I think some people can think that reaction is a reflection on the quality of the relationship. But I realise now that it is not – it was because I mistakenly put everything into the relationship and neglected the rest of my life – me, my friends, my family, my work, my health. I won’t be making that mistake again. A huge thank you Natalie – your blog has helped me learn many important lessons about myself and relationships and how to avoid repeating mistakes.

  • Leigh says:

    I broke NC after 2 weeks and a message that he was miserable since Ive been gone, that he misses me dearly and that he does love me….I responded that I didnt feel comfortable texting that kind of conversation. I agreed to meet but when I got there and he proceeded to talk about his job and all sorts of other things. I finally asked “what do you want?”, he said he didnt want me to disappear and just wanted to see me and sit and have coffee in the sunshine. I kinda lost it. I ended up getting very emotional and crying at this outdoor cafe. I felt like a complete idiot. He put his arm around me and told me not to cry and that he had never made me cry before (WHAT!!) When he asked me what I wanted I said ,”to be together and maybe adopt a child” (He doesnt have kids and I dont want to have anymore~my son is 16). He said,” Dont you think you are being a bit selfish?” I am so embarrased that I lost my composure like that, I know that I have to go back to NC so I can move on, but I feel like a complete fool at this point. pathetic.

    • Victorious says:

      Runnergirl is right, read the suck it and see post and you will read what you have just done. I think Nat says in that post something like, “You can put your hand back in the fire but trust me when I tell you it will still burn.” Of course I thought I could handle it. I couldn’t. I accepted his lame half ass offer of friendship and nearly caught fire in the process. He came up with all new kinds of nasty, just to show me who was really the boss. Now I have been NC for nearly 4 months and please believe me it DOES get easier. The first few weeks, months even, I thought of him 24/7. Now, maybe once or twice a day. I know that is still way too much and I hate that I even remember he exists, but it is so much better. I thought I would never get over this man, but I promise you, with NC you will get the distance you need to see things clearly and start your life free from this manipulative dipstick.

    • Magnolia says:

      Ditto what Runner said. Sounds like you got a reminder of why you dropped this self-centred douche in the first place. Back in the saddle and onward.

  • runnergirl says:

    Aw Leigh, don’t beat yourself up. Every time I broke NC because “he missed me”, it was the same scenario you described. He just wanted to chat, have a beer, get an ego stroke, and if it worked out, a shag. It’s okay. You won’t accept his crumbs and you don’t have to. Read my favorite Nat post…”Suck it and See” and hop back on the NC wagon. Trust me, I stuck my hand back in the fire so many times it is a wonder I can still type. I still have ten fingers, can type, and found some inner esteem thanks to Natalie. You can too. I know how it feels to feel like a complete fool. Forgive yourself for a mistake. Try not to exacerbate the mistake.

  • McKenzieM says:

    Leigh, he sounds like a complete AC who doesn’t deserve you. Runnergirl is right — don’t beat yourself up over it. Today makes the first complete week of NC for me (woohoo). Based on the comments on this blog, I’m kind of hoping Mr. EU AC doesn’t reach out to me to say he misses me; I fear getting sucked back into the nonsense.

  • Leigh says:

    hey there, thanks for the support and suggestions. I just read suck it and see, and yup, for sure I put my hand in that fire…can you smell the burning flesh??? I know deep down what I have to do so, like Magnolia said, its back in the NC saddle. Im so grateful for this site, Natalie and all of you that post. Peace and Blessings!!

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