Trying to live up to 'everyone's' expectations is like trying to cup the ocean in your hands. Impossible much?

When people share their stories with me about why they find it hard to even like themselves, or why they’re exhausted people pleasing doormats, or even why they have an overactive self-blame ‘thyroid’, I realise that a lot of what happiness is, is about not living your life according to what ‘everyone’ thinks and expects, after all, who is ‘everyone’?

There’s so much concern about whether we’re ‘the one’ for someone. We worry about whether we’re liked, whether we’re good enough, and we try to be a “good girlfriend/boyfriend” or “good friend” or “good daughter/son” pussyfooting around in the hope that we don’t do anything that might cause loss of approval. In the meantime we end up disapproving of ourselves because in the process of trying to meet what we think are ‘everyone’s’ expectations, we lose our self-respect.

While there may be expectations that have been verbally communicated, often what people lose sleep and their identity over, is their own internal battle of trying to outthink the ‘opposition’.

I think of my own life where I have two daughters, a husband, siblings, parents, extended family, various friendships, a large readership that fill up my inbox, comments, Facebook et al, people I work with, neighbours, and the list goes on. Technically, all of these people have some level of expectation of me. It’s not a finite number though so where do I draw the line? Some expectations may be complimenting my own life, or competing or conflicting with other expectations or my own values.

Trying to live up to ‘everyone’s’ expectations is like trying to cup the ocean in your hands.

I spent twenty-eight years worrying about ‘failing’ at meeting my parents and then various boyfriend’s expectations. My expectations were essentially based on what I thought others expected of me, which means that they weren’t really my expectations and let’s be real, some of these expectations that I felt others had of me were based on assumptions that I’d made. Nobody actually told me that I had to be perfect or a doormat although there were some who acted up when I tried otherwise.

Ironically when I focused on meeting my own needs and living by my own values irrespective of what everyone else was doing, not only did I meet my own expectations but I immediately felt happier.

Personally I feel it’s tricky enough to decipher what’s going on in our own minds without trying to do Jedi mind tricks and attempting to ‘magically’ meet people’s expectations. Next thing you’ve busted your tail people pleasing the hell out of yourself only to find that it’s still not ‘good enough’ and you’re in fact trying to please the unpleasable. To add to your woes, often the decision to be a doormat is born out of this idea that you with no boundaries equals being approved of and loved by them, but they didn’t necessarily tell you this. Really, how many happy doormats do you know?

There comes a time when you have to ask: Why is it so damn important to please a world who isn’t even watching me? Why is it so important to please all of these people who aren’t exactly devoting their lives to pleasing ‘everyone’ including me? Why am I sacrificing my identity when I don’t have to? I bet if you look around amongst your family, friends and colleagues that you can’t identify one person who is meeting ‘everyone’s’ expectations.

An actual expectation is a strong belief that someone will or ‘should’ achieve something.

For all of us who are obsessing about what we think ‘everyone’ wants from us, it’s fairly safe to say that the bulk of these people don’t fall into the holders of the ‘strong belief’ category. Some of these people may have made some assumptions or put in a request, but neither are a contract stating that you “must” or “should” be or do something.

When someone ‘requests’ whether it’s through actions or words that you be or do something that crosses or even busts your boundaries, it’s “Petition for the plaintiff denied. FLUSH!”

A lot of what we decide that people want from us is based on our own assumptions, beliefs, fears, etc. It is us who holds the strong belief, after all, people having supposed expectations of us that we don’t have to meet but then we’re trying to meet them anyway requires us to have a the disposition to be receptive to ‘outside requests’. It means not holding a strong opinion on who we are which is why we’re so reliant on external validation.

If you’re the type of person who goes into panic mode at the first sign of conflict or criticism, you’ll assume that if you don’t step up your game and go into people pleasing mode, you’re going to lose approval from the person. But that’s your assumption. That and if you think that a person would disapprove of you and even end a relationship or create other negative consequences because you didn’t meet their expectations 100% of the time, it’s not exactly a flattering belief about that person.

It’s impossible for all of us to meet ‘everyone’s’ expectations. In fact, it’s impossible to meet all expectations all of the time, including our own. It’s why we have to learn how to deal with disappointment and bounce back from it, it’s why we have to recover from NO and not turn it into some massive ‘rejection’ of us as a person, and expectations being met or exceeded, or not being met is actually a huge contribution to the process of learning through trial and error in life.

Just because someone expects or requests something, doesn’t mean that you have to be or do it.

Just because there might be an expectation whether it comes from them or you, it doesn’t mean that it has a basis.

I’ve expected a few relationships from some ’empty wells’ in my time. I’ve expected my father to change, I’ve expected certain people to learn some humility and familiarise themselves with the words “I’m sorry” and I’ve expected some people to engage their brains. You live and you learn from expectation and when you’re based in reality instead of treating every thought as fact, it comes as less of a surprise when certain people don’t meet your expectations but you also realise how damn ridiculous it is to live your life trying to ‘imagine’ what others expect from you. What about your happiness?

There’s always going to be lots of ‘everyone’ so you have to focus on being you and living your life according to your values, which in turn will have you naturally surrounding yourself with likeminded people. Everyone isn’t meeting your expectations all of the time so don’t single you out to be the exception to the rule.

Your thoughts?

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143 Responses to You Can’t Meet ‘Everyone’s’ Expectations. Really.

  1. RES says:

    Excellent post, Nat. One of the things I love about being older is that I really don’t give a flying crap about what anyone thinks. It’s totally liberating. You tend to lose yourself when you’re trying to be all things to all people. Like when I would “morph” into what I thought my boyfriend wanted me to be, and when it STILL failed I felt totally stupid. One of the smartest things I did was to finally get REAL with myself. This is who I am, and this is what I want, and if you don’t like it, well…there’s the door. :-) Fortunately, I found someone who loves me for who I am. I will always remain true to myself! :-)

    • maya says:

      RES, I feel the same way – I guess that is one of the good things about getting older – somehow it makes me more confident, or am I just exhausted trying to keep up with everyone’s expectation.

      And good on you for finding someone who accepts you the way you are. A treasure I’ve yet to discover.

      • Grace Pamer says:

        Definitely with you Res and Maya, the older you get the more the confidence flows and you come to realise that if your best friends can accept you for who you are then there will be a partner out there who will and to hell with the rest of them. I have a very good friend who’s life transformed the second she stopped caring so much about what others thought and just let her inner geek come out. She hasn’t looked back since!

        Great post Natalie

      • RES says:

        Thanks Maya! :-) We are ALL worthy of being loved for who we are, and it WASN’T until I loved myself that I was able to meet someone who was worthy of me. We are all flawed creatures, but I’ve come to embrace the whole person, and when I was able to do that, I gained the power to remove all persons in my life who detracted from my happiness. Age (I’m going to be 47) and growth(with help from Nat) has also taught me that a “nice guy” isn’t boring, he’s a BLESSING. YOU are a treasure, and I wish you someone who can love you for the treasure that you are. Love yourself, and ALL good things flow from that :-)

  2. confused123 says:

    Wow….This completely speaks to me. After 38 years on this planet I’m exhausted trying to please others and not living for myself. Actually, I don’t even think I know who I am anymore. But I am fixing that. That became painfully clear after my last incident with the AC where I ‘Morphed’ into a conservative, gun toting, meat and potatoes girl where in reality I am a liberal, peace loving, picesetrian all to please him and it still did not work out. I’m now focusing on me. Days of pleasing everyone are over. It’s time to stop being the doormat. :-)

    • Espoir says:

      My Picestrian fellow I also morfed into a new persona…well not anymore : I’ll listen to Nat and Dr Seuss (my favourite quote)
      “Be who you are and say what you feel,
      because those who mind don’t matter,
      and those who matter don’t mind.”

      ? Dr. Seuss

  3. vhs says:

    although facing this problem myself, still I tend not to like people pleasers that much. I feel like when somebody who aims to please, he or she doesn’t do this in a genuin ‘i like you and like to help you’ kind of way, but more in an egocentrical kind of way. Not consciously, but still.
    And because I feel this itch when somebody tries to please everybody all the time, I try not to do it myself. Where my difficulty is situated is more in the area of how to adress it properly. I tend to say NO too firmly. Too defensively. As if I’m trying to convince myself why I shouldn’t pay attention or try to please. I bend it in a negative light to convince myself not to invest. It’s like I’m trying to make myself believe the other person doesn’t deserve my ‘help’ or my ‘pleasing’. Maybe another way of not focussing on myself. I want to try to work on myself so badly it almost seems I’m trying to escape daily life through it, I read soo much and try and look within myself soo often if not all the time, I can’t see the forest from the trees anymore. I can’t say I haven’t made any progress because I feel, like any excercise you do daily, my selfimage muscles have grown, but I get so confused sometimes. It’s like everything anybody else has done wrong (and obviously wrong), I can turn it back on me. I see constant mirrors everywhere I go. And although I believe in myself quite strongly, f.e. I believe I have some very good insights in other peoples behaviour and I believe my principles are my boundaries and I hold them dearly, the effect this sometimes has on people around me is wat I question about myself a lot. I make things too complicated, but realising that doesn’t make me stop. Sometimes knowing where you go astray doesn’t always help you know the other right way. Especialy if you don’t know how to begin.

  4. AHM says:

    Great Article Nat!!

    Pretty exhausting seeing it in black and white, on paper all the people in our life that could/do have expectations of us. Thank God I am better, thanks to some great advice I got from my mentor “it’s none of your business what people think of you”. At first I fought it – it is too my business!! But quite honestly it isn’t, that does not mean I don’t take responsibility for my behavior/actions, I’m human, I make mistakes. And it also doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into that trap every so often, especially with the men I date.

    But my most difficult person to please is myself, still working on that. It helps to remember “don’t should on yourself”. Thanks for the great food for thought as always!!

  5. Sheila says:

    That article was fantastic!!!!

  6. maya says:

    Brilliant article, as always :) I remember using that jedi mind tricks line on an ex once upon a time 😉

    As I begin to realise how tiresome it is to try to meet the expectation of others, I too have stopped expecting others to change. Some can’t. Some won’t. But it’s not my call.

    Thanks again, Nat.

  7. Magnolia says:

    “I’ve expected a few relationships from some ‘empty wells’ in my time.”

    Yep. Today I told my sister that they’re putting me in the encyclopedia. The encyclopedia, for goodness sake! I tried to tell her in a way that allowed me to be excited about it but without seeming like I’m bragging. She said, “That’s cool,” and went back to talking about herself.

    I’ve thought about how I’ve expected my father, then my mom, and even her to change and somehow be what I need/expect. But they really shouldn’t feel any need to please me, and shouldn’t change for my expectations anyway, so why should I worry that to me, my sis continues to be a particular kind of self-involved? I’m disappointed, I suppose, that I don’t feel I can share a success with her and really enjoy it, that I need to shrug it off in some way so that she can, too.

    I also, when I found out, had this reaction of – seriously? I don’t deserve this. And thinking that I don’t meet my own expectation of who belongs in the encyclopedia. But now I’m thinking I like it and trying to feel proud without being ashamed of that and feeling like I’ll take the recognition for what it is.

    Certainly when I was younger I expected people to change, and thought that if I just articulated my expectations clearly enough they’d snap to. Ha! But I have also lived with this ever-shifting voice that keeps changing the goal posts, that says whatever I do isn’t enough. I’m working on it.

    I went to a friend’s place the other day and shared some drawing and singing, things that I know I don’t do to a professional standard, and my friends were super excited about what I did. I’m not used to that, I think I’m used to jealousy and subdued interest from people around me, and after my sis’s response today, and these friends’ response this weekend, I feel like I’m getting a handle on why I got “close” to women in the last town I lived in who were quite competitive and who have pretty much ignored my communications since I left.

    I am more ‘used’ to being around people who can’t say “yay Magnolia” than those who can – and haven’t expected to meet any. Now that I have met some, I think thanks to my BR work and other work, I don’t just think: these friends are silly idiots with no taste if they think this work is good. I think, how lovely to receive such genuine support and enthusiasm for my talent.

    I’ve expected a lot from myself and have just run myself down completely trying to be “everything” to some imaginary perfect person who does it all and has it all together. I’m slowly learning to get a clear picture of what I expect of myself and to ensure that it’s a kind, honorable and loving expectation.

    Thanks for the great reminder, Natalie.

    • grace says:

      I’m proud of you if it’s any consolation. I think it’s very impressive to be in the encyclopedia.
      I get a lot of praise and encouragement from my boyfriend (I’m starting to sicken myself going on about him but I want you all to know it’s entirely possible. If I can have it anyone can). At first, it made me uneasy “what does he want?”, “is he lying”, ” i dont’ desrve this” but now I realise I am learning something. He did have that loving family upbringing. It’s given him a different view of the world, and of God, and I get to experience that first hand. It’s not just something I read about in a book.

      • Tulipa says:

        Congratulations Magnolia!

        Grace please don’t stop you and others who have made changes and landed healthy relationships with themselves or with a man are an inspiration that those struggling can make it.

    • Tee says:

      wow! encyclopedia! wow! Congrats! And I agree, it takes time to get used to the fact that people rarely change. So the best thing to do is be your self and surround your spirit with those with whom you can build and get greater and feel better. Shoot if my sis told me she was in the encyclopedia i’d be so excited i have no words! Shame, family are the one’s meant to be your greatest ally.

    • Lilia says:

      Well I´m one of the people who´ll say YAAAAAY Magnolia!!! The encyclopedia!!! Congrats, I´m really proud of you!!!

    • Espoir says:

      WOW Magnolia !!!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!! The Encyclopedia – how impressive !!! WAY TO GO GIRL !!! (I would also like more details, please :)
      I see you mention singing and drawing – I really look forward to let go wild my dormant creative side. Have you read Julia Cameron’s books ? A must.
      What a bunch of amazingly intelligent women we are over here. Hugs to all of you all the way from Canada :)

    • Revolution says:


      Woot woot! CONGRATULATIONS on being in the encyclopedia!!!!! As a writer, I understand the small miracle of being published. Don’t know what medium of life caused this mention, but it speaks volumes (lame pun intended) of your ability and/or knowledge. Good on you! :)

      • Revolution says:

        Oh, and btw, Magnolia. I get it about your sister. I had to deal with this with my father. I can’t talk about opening up my own business (a couple of years ago now) or show him pictures of when I visited other countries. I’m trying to share a piece of my life and who I am, but he just wants to brush it off with “I hope you don’t lose your job in this economy” and “I’ve always wanted to see all of the states before I travel the world.” It’s like I can’t win. And he wants to forge a closer relationship with me in his older years???

    • pinkpanther says:

      Magnolia, I think being in the encyclopedia is colossal. I would also like more details.


      • dancingqueen says:

        I can’t agree more. Being in the encyclopedia is stupendous.

        Okay Magnolia, now you officially know, no matter what, that your family can’t be happy for you. I mean, seriously, that is like being “Oh, so you are putting your hands in concrete tomorrow on Hollywood Blvd? *yawn*” Jealoooooooous.

    • Victorious says:

      Magnolia that is fantastic! I am lucky that my sisters and brothers have always been very supportive but my mother is like your family. When I told her I had a great new job as a college lecturer she laughed in my face and said “You will never be able to do that” I kid you not. Reading Natalies post and your response made me realise how lucky I am to have such amazing friends. without them I really think I may still have been with the ex, slowly being devalued more and more until I finally lost my mind. Your entry into the encyclopaedia is just brilliant and you should be incredibly proud.

    • tracy says:

      I’ve loved encyclopedias since I was a kid, so you are now a rock star to me! Congrats, how cool is that?

    • runnergirl says:

      Yeah Magnolia. Good for you. This is wonderful. It would be wonderful if family could appreciate your amazing accomplishments but you do, right? That’s who counts. And obviously, we do too. Now go out and celebrate. Cheers to you.
      PS. I’m slowly learning too.

    • Rosie says:

      Oh my gosh, Magnolia! This is exciting! :) Congratulations!!!

    • Magnolia says:

      grace, Tee, Lilia, Espoir, Revolution, pinkpanther, Victorious and Gina,

      I’m tearing up a little in spirit over here because it is just so wonderful to be able to say what’s going on with me and have it be about success and have it be okay.

      Professional accolades used to be the ONLY thing I had that made me feel worthy and only as I’ve made the kind of friends who actually like me enough not to be kind of pissed off if I win another award or get another whatever, has the relative importance of these things comes into focus. No, of course accomplishments aren’t everything, but neither does that mean we should pretend they mean nothing or that they’re a dime-a-dozen.

      The more genuine support and appreciation I receive from folks who love me for who I am, the less the professional recognition matters, yet ironically the more I’m able to enjoy these successes and the more I’m surrounded by people who will truly celebrate with me.

      I’m starting to get a better radar for who is what type. Revolution, your “big-sister” thing around friends is exactly the dynamic I mean when I mention the women who have been non-responsive lately. These are accomplished, energetic women that I looked up to but I suppose once it became possible that I might see us as “same-size-sisters,” they weren’t as into it. I’m still processing all of that.

      For most of my life I have not liked to be around people who gave me a “fan” vibe, people who were all impressed – I wanted to be around “equals”. But I ended up with these “big sisters”, and who knew, I was probably giving THEM a fan vibe.

      When someone just likes you normally, maybe to EUW it feels over-the-top, like a fawning fan? I can relate to your reactions to genuine praise, grace.

      I’m a little bummed, actually, about my own real sister. I have to accept/let go AGAIN. Oh well. At least I can sit with the real feeling of disappointment and just let it be instead of unconsciously expecting the literary community (who are about work, and competition) to show me love and acceptance.

      pp and espoir, not sure what details you mean, but I am a writer and Canadian, so it’s the Cdn encyclopedia. I’m no one you’ve heard of unless you’re in my field or have seen my name in the one or two places it tends to show up. I’m still a little confused as to why I merit inclusion (I guess I’ll find out when the new edition comes out), because it’s not like I have a bazillion books or anything, but I suppose it’s because I’m “literary” and not a lot of people write from the perspective I do.

      I’ve been humbled in this, thinking about you and your blog, Natalie. I can’t say that “encyclopedia” jumps first to mind when I think of recognition for the kind of writing you do, but I know for sure you’ve reached far more folks than I have and do something just as (if not more) important and impactful as any work of art. But heck, it’s been ages since I’ve looked at an encyclopedia. Maybe famous bloggers are in there now and Natalie among them.

      Thanks for creating this space where I can be me and thanks ladies for being proud (grace is proud?! :)) of me! HUGS dear ladies!

      • pinkpanther says:

        Magnolia, I want to tell you this. I have a friend who is a big big deal in the art world. She’s a conceptual artist. When I first met her years ago, she told me she was an artist. I asked to see her work. I’m always a little afraid to see/read friends works because let’s face it, there’s so much mediocre art out there. But, being a curious cat, I had to know more. I was blown away, I had no idea she was that talented. Over the years, she grows and grows and grows! This woman gets lots of recognition. I’ve watched people around her put her on a pedestal, get jealous, disappear as she becomes more successful. I even see her getting more and more lonely as she achieves greater things.

        I’ve recognized in myself the all too human stab of envy, and I leap right over it like a god damn mud puddle, because sharing in someone’s joy is really the best thing we are capable of giving. And I want to do that for my friends. I love my friends, and I am proud of this one, and I don’t want her to ever feel lonely in success. I refuse to kneel down to petty envy, it is a miserly way to be.

        I’m an artist too, and art means the world to me, I only share my art with people who I know are not only trustworthy, are deeply engaged with art in their own lives.

        And Natalie, she is one for the books too!

        • Magnolia says:

          Thanks so much Pink Panther (your name, btw, just kills me every time I read it, it’s so good).

          I like reading what you wrote because I’d like to think that my friends feel as you do about yours – you don’t minimize her success, or pretend it doesn’t exist, you get all the potential weirdness that could be there, and do the balance of acknowledging she’s talented without making it into a fan-girl thing. I really do appreciate the evidence that such friendship is possible.

          I thought I offered that balance to the friends that I think are spectacularly talented – actually, now that I think of it, I’ve got spectacularly talented good friends and have hung out with some spectacularly talented ass-clownettes.

          I met a guy on the plane today – we were chitchatting and he told me about his job and then he asked about mine. For this year, I said, always making sure not to claim more than is true, I’m a professor at the university. He lit up, and was much more chit chatty after that, gave me his card, introduced me to a buddy, said we should go for coffee.

          A little voice in me was like, so, you’re perking up now because I’m a prof? If anything profdom is a challenge to relationships – hmm –

          I now think about trading on professional status as kind of like trading on your looks, as NML has written about. Great if it helps initial attraction, but discovery phase still entirely necessary.

          It’s been a question of self-esteem: if you never acknowledge that you have surface attractive points, as well as deeper good points, how can you ever be alert to whether someone is liking you for one or the other?

          I certainly have been attracted to the surface things that I *thought* meant deeper qualities, and then the usual end situation was finding myself feeling as though I didn’t measure up somehow.

          Maybe, to try to bring this back on point, I can’t meet any more expectations of hiding my light under a bushel, as it were, around those close to me, being nice-passive-doormat-needing-validation-and-self-effacing-Magnolia and only showing my ‘good side’ to strangers, even if it means my siblings make comments like “we all know I’m not the genius in the family” (said by my bro recently when asked why he wouldn’t join me in singing). No more, as so many of you have eloquently put it!

    • RES says:

      Magnolia, major congrats! I know how you feel. It would be nice if the people who SHOULD be proud of you, don’t meet your expectations; it totally stinks. HOWEVER, never doubt yourself or your abilities. We don’t NEED the validation of ANYONE. Seeking validation/acknowledgement from other people only puts our sense of self worth in the control of others. You’re in the freaking ENCYCLOPEDIA, kiddo. You don’t need anyone to tell you that you’re good at what you do! :-)

  8. Demke says:

    Every time me and the ex would break up, for the hundreth time, although I would be sad… A few weeks later, i felt as if 180lbs had been lifted off of my back, lol… It’s because I was no longer putting expectations upon myself to please him anymore. I knew what his expectations were of me… Be at his beck n call, please him, and be ok w getting crumbs in return. My expectations of him were giving the basics: love, care, trust and respect. We both couldn’t fulfill those expectations. And when I was able to put this in perspective, the finality of that relationshit didn’t bother me so much… Or the fact that he did move on. Didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I am happy expecting more of myself in the way that i no longer accept crumbs, or to allow my boundaries to be busted, all the time. It’s actually a relief. And I am moving on just fine :). Anyone who’s still not sure about leaving a relationshit out of fear… It’s not as painful as you think it will be, you get to stop the exhaustion of pleasing the impossible to please. I get to choose who I want to spend my time with, not the other way around. Have the expectation that you will live your life authentically, for yourself… And don’t take sh*t from anyone…

    • Claudia says:

      I feel you, Demke. Isn’t it amazing to find out that the weight you were lifting was not imposed on you by someone else and that it was always liftable in the first place?

      At this day and age in many modern societies people become slaves not because they are MADE to be, but because they choose to. Nobody MADE you, me and most of the women who contribute with their stories in this website put up with what we did. We decided to and then we shifted the blame on them. It is true that sometimes we can be fooled by people, but it is also true that most of the times all the red flags are out there for us to see. Sometimes we don’t even need to look further because assclowns spell it out for you. It is our addiction to pain and our inability to change it that gets us into trouble.
      Assclowns and other viruses will continue to exist whether we like it or not, but they will fail to damage us if our immune system is strong enough.
      Let’s think of our boundaries as white blood cells. Once they weaken, the parasites will rightfully eat you up inside, it is in their nature.

  9. dancingqueen says:

    I think that what frustrates me is the mixed messages that I get from my family and at my job: on one hand, my brother always tells me that he does not expect me to do things in a certain way…on the other hand, he makes little snide comments all the time that criticize the way I live ( yes I am a vegetarian, no you don’t need to still comment on that ten years later, yes I am a Democrat, of course you know who I voted for…). It gets exhausting.

    I am a teacher; I work about 56 hours a week on average. My principal wants us to do Saturday school this spring for a few months, I really don’t want to do it. I already teach until 8;00 two nights a week; I NEED a weekend.There is this narrative that, as a teacher, you are just this horrible person if you don’t sacrifice till you just can’t anymore; I am sorry, I am done! I have done Saturday school for three years now and the kids who get stuck in it, don’t care, the parents push back and none of it makes a difference. I feel like telling her to teach them if she wants it so bad; I need some kind of life.
    Okay, rant ended.

    I hate feeling defensive when I say no, but sometimes I feel like people just have no idea when to let their expectations lower; in the US at least, it just feels like there is so much pressure to give till you drop…

    • Claudia says:

      Yes, it is true. I am a teacher too and I can totally relate to you, dancingqueen.

      I have this little mantra that a colleague and I came up with.

      We ask ourselves: Who do I work for?

      The answer should always be: ME.

      When you fill out your reports, when you talk to parents, when you teach your classes, you are doing everything you feel you can do, in your own terms. You give yourself as much as you allow yourself to give. You cannot change people’s expectations. You cannot be perfect, not even to your own eyes. No one deserves a back spasm out of you.
      Natalie is right when she says most expectations are built by oneself. What you think the parents, principal, students, etc, doesn’t matter as much as what YOU want and can do.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Thank you Claudia,

        The minute that you said that you were a teacher, I knew that you got it:)

        I agree,I do need to work for me, first. That is a very radical comment for a teacher “I work for me” because on the surface, until you go below, it sounds so less altruistic than we should sound. But this is my thing; most teachers’ biggest joys come from those “light up” moments. To have those, there is more than just one person ( me) engaged; there is either a child, or parent, or both, but not just me. I can’t do it myself, and moreover not for 135 kids.

        Many people-those who usually work in areas with much more compensation-always say ” You did not get into teaching for the money.” as a way to make you think that you got into it for the other rewards. That is true; no one does it for money or less work, because it is a TON of work. But the narrative in the U.S. right now, esp. at schools like mine which are Title One is “Teach like your hair is on fire; always.” You know what? If my hair is on fire teaching 6 hours a day, then I want the principal’s hair on fire, the parents’ hair on fire, and my students’ hair on fire. Because I am not going to keep killing myself to drag a horse to water that no one else is helping me drag. Most of my kids, when pushed, can and do make an effort. But the Saturday school bunch are the ones that goof off in class, don’t care, swear at me and generally act very disrespectful and I am not giving up three more months of my life, on my weekend, to them anymore, or their parents.This year is better but last year, before this principal ( the 4th in 4 years there) I have had: an orange thrown at my face, all the cars in our parking lot vandalized by the students, bathrooms set on fire, and the most amusing but most disgusting: feces put in a drawer in our computer lab, during Saturday school. That was the light-bulb moment for me, although I doubt it was a kid of mine. But seriously; why am I giving up my Saturday, to kids who poop in napkins and put it in drawers who are between the ages of 12-15? Nope, not doing it anymore. If these few Saturday school candidates can’t put effort in when it counts, in class or after school in tutoring then I am DONE!!!:) I am not meeting the administrations and parents “expectations” when they are not meeting mine.

        Okay rant is seriously over;) Lol That feels really good to say here, behind my moniker. Now just watch, this will end up on the news as “Teacher in impoverished school says that she is done with parents and kids and won’t work extra to raise scores. She says ‘I don’t work for the kids or parents, I work for me.'”;)

        • Claudia says:

          LOL! Nice rant!!!
          Oh well…some jobs just take the best out of you. I remember when teaching was considered an honorable occupation, and respected as such. Those days are long gone!
          However, you have an advantage that others don’t. You have a job that can serve as a great boundary-asserting exercise. If you can pull this off at work, an EUM is a piece of cake!! :p

          • Learner says:

            DQ and Claudia,

            Oh my goodness, I am feeling your feeling of “overwhelmedness” with expectations of teachers these days. From “Everyone” and their dogs. There seem to be many teachers who comment on BR – you two, myself, Magnolia, Runnergirl, Fearless, others? Do teachers/professors tend to become FBG’s more than the general population?

  10. Jule says:

    As I’m reading Nat’s amazing post and some past comments about how many are struggling with staying NC or getting over mm or EUM or both, I was reminded of something I read once online. It was a list of things you will no longer have to feel or deal with when you stay NC and let the AC go, which essentially leaves open space to meet your own needs and expectations and possibly meet someone better for you or at least healthier people to be around. This is the start of the list I put together for myself years ago. It worked! NC worked for me then. Do any of you have some “no mores” to add to this?

    No more obsessing over the phone for calls and texts by him (those little crumbs he throws)

    No more being his “cool friend” that has a dirty secret

    No more being his dirty little secret

    No more listening to drivel about his real life – people who don’t even know I exist

    No more feeling crappy on Sunday morning after being used

    No more wishing for something that is impossible

    No more comparing available guys to him

    No more game playing and mind games

    No more deciphering every email or conversation for hidden meanings

    No more feeling compared to someone I never met

    No more picking out my outfit based on what HE likes

    No more trying to impress someone for nothing

    No more having to pretend I believe the lies he tells me

    No more feeling like second best

    • MissBliss says:

      No more losing sleep over why he won’t discuss a future with me

      No more being shuffled onto the back burner when he finds something better to do with his friends

      No more giving up my time to help him with his life when he never ever helped me

      No more being ignored

      No more being insulted in front of other people

      No more being talked down to

      No more being humiliated while he ogles other women

      No more feeling used, like a blow-up doll

      No more “exciting” weekends that always end with me back home, alone again

      No more putting someone on a pedestal… and me in the gutter

      No more hating myself for putting up with it

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      * No more doubting that I really do know what I know.
      * No more tiresome conversations that go absolutely no where.
      * No more being really angry because I am being “silenced.”
      * No more feeling dismissed and being blatantly ignored when it doesn’t “suit him” to respond.
      * No more stuffing my needs, wants and desires.
      * No more feeling like the “last resort” because he’s constantly looking for “something/someone better.”

      News Flash! The BEST had been standing right in front of you the entire time. You’re just too self-absorbed and unappreciative to have noticed. Now it’s gone forever because you truly are the one who has chosen to be not good enough!

    • natashya says:

      excellent, jule. i also have such a list. i also felt very strongly that i couldn’t live up to my ex EUM’s expectations as it was impossible for me to be his ex wife who he was still in love with.


      – no more feeling rejected and ignored.
      – no more constantly running after him for ‘love’ and affection, which were crumbs anyways
      – no more trying to be someone i’m not
      – no more feeling sad and empty after sex, knowing his heart wasn’t into it anyways
      – no more feeling jealous, obsessive and insignificant
      – no more waiting for him to open his eyes and see how wonderful of a woman i am
      – no more flogging a dead horse
      – no more dealing with ambiguous communication or no communication at all
      – no more trying my best to make him happy, which was never good enough

      though i miss the good things about him, and there sure were some, but trying to live up to impossible expectations is not a way to live.

      i am free.

      • yoghurt says:

        – No more being an emotional dustbin and receiving all the thoughts and feelings that he won’t reveal to people whose opinions he *really* cares about.

    • Revolution says:

      *No more pretending his conversation is interesting when, in fact, it’s paralysis-inducingly dull.

      *No more backseat driving when I know these streets like the back of my hand.

      *No more wearing heels for men with shoe fetishes, or wearing flats for short guys. I’ll be wearing any shoes I damn well please, thank you very much.

      • Sunshine says:

        You’ve nailed it ladies!:) nothing more to add …

      • tracy says:

        I agreed with everyone’s “no more” lists, but this one really cracked me up. I was with my ex-EUM for a year and a half and by the end of the first year I realized he WAS mind-numbingly dull…yet HE thought he was a friggin’ GENIUS. He was the WORST driver, his insurance was $500 a month, yet mine was $90, I got places without getting lost, and the kicker was once I was done with him, I could finally start wearing my heels again!!!! HE found it disturbing that I would be taller than him!

      • pinkpanther says:

        I quite like the bit about the shoes. I”m sick of adjusting my height to please anyone.

      • dancingqueen says:

        rev this totally made me laugh
        “No more wearing heels for men with shoe fetishes, or wearing flats for short guys. I’ll be wearing any shoes I damn well please, thank you very much.”

        The ex who brought me here was literally a text-book example of a Napolean Complex. He literally made me swear off short men, which is unfair, due to paranoia about meeting someone like him again.

        I am tiny, only 5 ft 2 in and I would wear 3 inch heels and he would get mad at me. He swore that he was 5 ft 8 but I doubt it. He would never outright say anything though, to make it obvious. He would just say, in an irritated tone “Those are high heels.” As if that was some sort of order to not wear them again. Then of course, I would wear them again, not because I even wanted to, but because I did not want him to think that he could tell me what to do. The stupid games you play, caught up in these dramas ugh.

        I should have said “Yeah, and so what is your point? Do you want to borrow them?” Mean but seriously; if you have not adjusted to being short by age 46, how much longer will it take?

    • bikergrl says:

      No more pretending like all the ex’s he calls/ texts/ emails are ‘just friends’

      No more ‘comms black-out windows’ every other weekend b/c he has his kids

      No more counting the hours he spends chatting it up with his ex handing off the kids

      No more listening to his poor pathetic me whine and jealousy of my success

      No more wondering if he’ll actually follow through with any of the words that come out of his mouth!!

    • runnergirl says:

      Loved this Jule.

      No more running myself ragged meeting expectations I imagined others had of me

      No more listening to him whine about how busy he is as though he is running a country

      No more waiting for a text/email about how he loves me while he is with his wife and family

      No more cooking dinner for him and wondering if he likes green beans, tomatoes or green peppers

      No more twisting myself into a pretzel trying to meet shifting (imagined) expectations

      No more heart wrenching conversations about how unhappy I am with the expectation that he can deliver my happiness

      No more ignoring, denying, justifying, and lying

      No more tears, anxiety, anger, and frustration because he won’t meet my expectations and I can’t meet his

      No more trying to convince him I’m the ONE by being a doormat and accepting his crumbs as though they are golden nuggets

      No more sex with a married or unavailable man and/or AC’s

      No more trying to be perfect, particularly if I have to lie to do so



      That was a nice exercise Jule and a nice companion with Natalie’s post. Now, it has me thinking about: “A lot of what we decide that people want from us is based on our own assumptions, beliefs, fears, etc.” Or a list of More.

      • Learner says:

        Jules et al,

        Wonderful lists! I love lists, and I can relate to almost every one of these, especially yours, runnergirl.

        OK, I can’t resist, a couple more:

        No more getting cut off when telling him about my day because he just HAS to tell me about “something even WORSE that happened to him”

        No more hearing mixed messages in the same conversation (e.g., “I don’t know what love is” “I love you more than I have ever loved anyone”)

        No more ignoring my gut when it was literally hurting/aching after spending time with him

        No more wondering if he had “someone else on the side”

        No more telling him about himself, or trying to teach him how to write a decent, thoughtful reply to an email (this was partly my problem, I confess)

        No more feeling guilty about taking time away from his family, even though he said he was not proud of them.

        No more waiting until he had done his work, watched a movie, texted/chatted with goodness knows who, run errands, edited photos, watched TV, been “on the run”, “busy, busy, busy”, visited his dad’s third wife, gone out to buy kitty litter before he had time to talk to me on the phone.

        No more feeling elated when he deemed he had a spare moment to send me a text

        No more feeling let down when I emailed or IM’d him some exciting news in my life and he all but ignored it.

        No more feeling disgusted by his tastes in radio shows (Howard Stern and Playboy 24/7) and authors of misogynistic fantasy (John Norman, who wrote the “Gor” series – anyone familiar with this guy?)

        No more wondering which part of “50 Shades” he would be thinking of trying *this* time.

        No more hearing about his poor back, or his feet being on fire, or how exhausted he is, or his acid reflux or his bad shoulder wah wah wah

        How did we put up with all this BS???

        • Learner says:

          and, more in line with Natalie’s topic – no more trying to meet HIS expectations while throwing MINE out the window!

  11. Gina says:


    I think that this is your best post ever!! I have caused myself a lot of grief overthinking what people expect from me, trying to measure up to what those perceived expectations were, and feeling hurt upon learning that other people’s expectations were in conflict with mine. As I continue on my journey of becoming more self-aware, I have learned to stop worrying about what other people may or may not expect from me and redirect my focus (as you said) on being me and living my life based upon my own values.

  12. Gina says:

    @ Julie: no more settling for less than what I deserve in order to be with someone who does not value me for the wonderful and beautiful person that I am–both inside and out.

  13. Gina says:

    @Magnolia: That is SO AWESOME that you are going to be put in the encylopedia Congratulations!!! May I ask what for?? If you would rather not say publicly, I understand.

    P.S. I can totally relate to your comment about how when you told your sister, she switched the topic back to herself. I have had people do this to me as well. These types of individuals are totally self-centered. If you cannot cut them off completely, it’s best to limit contact with them as much as possible

  14. Jennifer says:

    Natalie you are a badass. YES! I knew it: ” I realise that a lot of what happiness is, is about not living your life according to what ‘everyone’ thinks and expects…” I fucking knew it.

    Lately I’m getting annoyed at people who ask in passing, “How are you?” And get miffed when I’m honest. If I’m wonderful I say, “I am wonderful.” If I’m terrible I say, “I’m terrible,” and these people look at me as if I’ve just took a shit on their lawn. I mean I just answered your fecking question honestly. If u really don’t wanna know/don’t want the truth, don’t ask.

  15. angelus says:

    Up to relatively recently since parting ways with my best friend, I used to have this crippling feeling that I was boring people (including her) when I spoke at length about something, and even went as far as to say, “Gosh, I hope I’m not boring you!” – just for the validation that I wasn’t. Looking back, utterly cringe.

  16. Tee says:

    This is amazing – thank you!

  17. Anne corr says:

    The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.-
    Joseph Campbell

    Your blog is inspirational. Growing up takes a lifetime in my experience! I continually look to the thoughts of the greats to help me out.

  18. colororange says:

    I deal with this all the time at work. I am still the people pleaser because I don’t like feeling the discomfort of knowing someone may be disapproving of me. The fact they may go gossip about it to others. It bothers me. Yes, I know it should not bother me. I realize I probably look pathetic a lot of the time but the alternative of just feeling anxious that I’ve not met someone’s expectations doesn’t seem much better. On the flip side, the very people I tend to try to please there really don’t go out of their way for me like I do them. I am not sure why. I mean the world does not end (though I get really annoyed sometimes at them) when they don’t do something I thought they would or they said they would. I pretty much need a “how to” thing telling me how to deal with each situation that comes up in regards to when/if I should say no to something and only pay attention to what pleases me.

    • dancingqueen says:


      “On the flip side, the very people I tend to try to please there really don’t go out of their way for me like I do them.”

      ex. act. ly.:)

  19. Jule says:

    Today is the day I’m blocking the latest AC who has been dragging me down since June. I made the dire mistake of giving him a 2nd chance earlier this month ugh :( I know, I was a fool. I knew what I was doing. duh. Again, nothing is different. Vague and ambiguous communications, his wanting of space to see other women and his lack of anything that resembles care has pushed me to this point of no return. He’s a damn fool but there isn’t anything I can do about it. And speaking of trying to PLEASE and manage his unreasonable expectations – don’t even get me started. If I wasn’t ready to come over the moment he texted, forget it. He may have known what he was doing in the bedroom but NO ONE is THAT good to put up with the inconsiderate crap. I bought tickets for a show tonight and I had asked him a few weeks ago to come with. He is officially uninvited (I haven’t said a thing) and I’m taking someone else. I will call my cell phone company today and BLOCK his number. I’m done. I’m free.

    No more being ignored
    No more feeling forgotten
    No more feeling insignificant
    No more being treated like I’m not special
    No more being treated like I’m just like all the rest
    No more being treated like a filler
    No more!

    • natashya says:

      it feels so good to take back your power, doesn’t it? good for you, jules.

      just about 10 days ago i did a little ritual. i picked up a bunch of stones and put them in my pocket, then walked to the river. one by one i threw them into the water reiterating my ‘no more’ list. i did feel lighter… in each and every way.

      though he hasn’t completely left my thoughts, yet, at least he’s in my rearview mirror. i am building up a life for me now.

  20. Gina says:

    @Jennifer: I am the type of person who would listen to you and try to be uplifting if I asked you how you were and you told me that you were having a bad day. I have strangers or people I barely know pour their hearts out to me about various personal problems that they were experiencing in their lives. Depending upon the situation, I may give them a hug, offer advice (I can give excellent advice I just have trouble applying it to myself. Ha! Ha!), or simply listen and provide them with a shoulder to cry on. The end result is that they often feel better about themselves and their problems–if only for a while–because all they really needed was someone…anyone…to show them that they cared.

    • Revolution says:


      Yes, you are like that. That is my experience with you on this site. Thank God for people like you. I hope that you receive that which you generously give out, and more.

  21. Tinkerbell says:

    Jule, MissBliss, Natashya, La Pintura. Thank you for those lists. Even though I gave the AC/MM more than one year ago the boot, I still remember very clearly how difficult it was and the excruciating pain of trying to move on, repair the damage done to my self esteem and trying to build a life. I had no life which is a big reason why I succumbed to his advances and entered a world of self defeating dreams and disappointments. I think we have some experiences in life that, no matter how long ago it was, we always remember them in detail. I believe that there is a reason for that. I believe that they are supposed to be immensely significant and life changing. Even though it may not be intentional, your mind replays it from time to time (not obsessing) because your soul is reminding you never to go back to that ugly, dark place ever again. I felt all of those emotions listed by all of you and experienced them all, too. I cannot give enough thanks, at this time of Thanksgiving, for being able to get far away from the shame and sordidness of those days. I am by no means where I want to be, but I’m sure not where I was.

  22. Claudia says:

    Back when I was in Assclownville, I was told that I was an extremely selfish person because I refused to give certain things.

    But then I started wondering…

    What is more selfish? To not give or to take something away from someone?

    • Kim says:

      Claudia, there was probably a reason why you didn’t “give” certain things to these guys. You probably knew that if you gave these things, they would end up being the selfish ones and not give anything back to you. If they were the right guy, you would have most likely given freely.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Not Selfish: YOU, living your life as you see fit.

      Selfish: SOMEONE ELSE, insisting you live your life as THEY see fit.

      Watch out for this “someone else,” as it can be parents, friends, lovers, authority figures, society in general. Never apologize or feel “guilty” for choosing to live YOUR life as you see fit!

    • dancingqueen says:


      Are you asking me or the AC?;) They always say that; they give a lot in the beginning, nothing towards the end, and then they divide by half via some bizarre AC math formula that is more complicated than Calculus.

      Formula: Add 2 loaves and a half in the beginning for fast forwarding, subtract 1/4 loaf for oggling others a few weeks later when comfortable and another 1/4 for mentioning ex or harem. Now down to 2 loaves. Yet now multiply by 2 loaves for apologizing drunkenly after you shut me down for 3 weeks, up to 4 loaves in my mind (and maybe 6 in yours because you give me extra credit and have your own formula of AC math which is FBG math, which gives me extra credit for small things..until you read BR) From 4 loaves, divided by 3.14 (pi) for the times that I took you out, even though it was out of fear of you dumping me ( thus division for FBG math, because you are beginning to catch on and are pissed). This however, is 4 loaves *times* 3.14 for AC math because I think of it as “giving”. Hence, although we are down loaves for FBG math (1.2738 approx), we are up to 12.56 loaves for AC Math. Notice the 1/10th ratio differential of FBG to AC math. Finish this dysfunctional equation by adding a crumb at the end for FBG, or a loaf at the end for AC and the final tally is: FBG loaves: 1.2738 plus crumb. AC math 13.56 loaves.

      Claudia, obviously you can’t appreciate how much he gave; women can never do math as well as men:)

      • Claudia says:

        LOL!!!! dancingqueen,
        You lost me at 1/4 loaf!! :p

        They have their ways these men…especially when they pull their you’re-so-selfish card, as if stealing your energy weren’t more selfish than you refusing to give it.

        You know…we’re going to have to come up with a new science: idontgiveashittism. :)

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        THAT’S MY PROBLEM. Doh! (*slaps self on the forehead*) I stink at regular math…how will I ever learn Assclown Math???

        Brilliant, Dancing Queen…absolutely brilliant!

  23. marie83 says:

    Here is my list

    No more wondering if he will text me/want to see me tonight
    No more letting him tell me he wants me back/misses me then when we have had sex back tracks and says ‘my life is too stressful at the minute’ did you really think that is what I wanted
    No more wondering why he had to sleep with someone else
    No more put downs
    No more being made to feel like the most unattractive woman in the world

    No more being called needy because I get annoyed that he didn’t txt back
    No more checking my phone every 5 mins for a damn crumby text message
    No more being accused of things I haven’t done and then giving me the silent treatment so we can’t discuss it anyway
    No more arranging to meet up and then not showing up until 10pm and expecting me to be ok
    No more cancelling on me so you can go out with your friends
    No more wondering why you are nice/make effort with your friends, the lady who serves you in the shop anyone but me
    No more hiding every little piece of who I am and what I want to keep you in my life

  24. Revolution says:

    I loved this post, Natalie! Thanks! I know you’ve written about getting physically ill in the past, due to being overwhelmed by others needs, etc. You are definitely qualified to talk about this subject. Glad you’ve regained your strength all those years ago, and are passing your lessons on to all of us.

    In my life experience, I have always had this undercurrent of fighting for my right to be who I am, despite it (more often than not) flying in the face of other’s expectations. So that’s not really my problem. My problem lies more with those close to me, whom I respect and love. Those are the people that I want to please, to impress, to earn respect from. Maybe it’s partially a pedestal thing. Everyone else can pretty much go to hell, but these people I give my heart to….whew. I fall HARD when I don’t get their validation.

    I’m dealing with this right now with a close friend of mine that I’ve had for almost 5 years. I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself, but she hasn’t been there for me since everything went down with the AC. (Her and her husband are mutual friends with the AC and I. Though my friendship with her goes back much further than the AC’s friendship with any of us.) We have had some minimal communication, overall it feels like she kind of abandoned me since I went NC with the AC. What I’m starting to realize with her, though, is that I’ve put her in this position of “older, wise sister” whom I’ve looked up to (she’s in her late forties). She’s a very intelligent, aware woman and I’ve learned a lot from her. But, as I’m starting to allow into my awareness, she’s also very self-absorbed and seemingly intolerant of people’s weaknesses (i.e., if people don’t eat “clean” 100% of the time, she marks them down for it). Even though I’m fiercely independent (as is my nature), when there is someone who I look up to and respect and want the good opinion of, then it’s crushing when I don’t get that. So part of me blames myself for her not being close anymore. It makes me feel like I failed in some fundamental way, just by being myself. But, ladies, I know that’s bullshit. It’s just hard to get into my thick skull.

    • Revolution says:

      Correction: “We have had some minimal communication, BUT overall it feels like she kind of abandoned me since I went NC with the AC.

      • Claudia says:


        The same thing happened to me with my mother. It is pretty hard to let go of the need of validation, but I believe it is possible if we just think of them as “much of a person” as we are.

        Sometimes people withdraw their attention and love as a means to manipulate others into behaving the way they approve of. I don’t know if this is the case of your friend, but it definitely was that of my mother.

        Sometimes, though, they do it just to feel better about themselves. To reinforce their self-image and tell themselves that, as opposed to you, they are good (great, smart, etc.)

        The game is over, though, when their tactics have no effect. When you mark THEM down. When you stop really caring.

        • Revolution says:


          Thank you for your reply. I’m so sorry to hear that you had to deal with such treatment from your mother. I’m glad, though, that you recognize the unhealthy dynamic.

          The thing with my situation is, though, that this friend is not a user or manipulative. She has healthy boundaries and is a very positive person. I think it’s something else. Like maybe she’s bored of me. She’s moved on to other friends. Or she’s weirded out by everything that went down with the AC, and she doesn’t want to talk to me about it (hey, neither do I!). I don’t know. Still processing it all….Very hurtful…..

          • La Pintura Bella says:

            Or maybe she likes being the “wise, older sister” who can steer and advise (maybe even fix or improve) you. You dumped the guy because he didn’t treat you well, or even remotely close to it. You’re getting stronger, which makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. Because you are getting stronger, she may feel you don’t need her in the way you used to, or you don’t need her to “mentor” you. I don’t know the dynamic between the two of you, or even between her and the AC.

            So, I may be wrong about the motivations. That’s just what popped into my head as I was reading. However, I DO know for sure that in unbalanced relationships, if you change the relationship by definition HAS to change. And people who used to feel “one up,” in whatever way, become very resistant to that change. Some to the point of cutting you off. They don’t like the new, stronger person.

          • dancingqueen says:

            “She has healthy boundaries and is a very positive person. I think it’s something else. Like maybe she’s bored of me. She’s moved on to other friends. Or she’s weirded out by everything that went down with the AC, and she doesn’t want to talk to me about it”
            Rev, you are awesome and you can do way better than a friend like that, right? Who gets “bored” with friends? If someone is bored, they need to make their own fun, people don’t bore me if they are my freinds. I might be bored in their company once in a while, but it is not their fault it is mine to some extent. You are rocking, you don’t need her to validate that, you need to validate that:) Hugs!

            • Claudia says:

              I couldn’t agree more, DQ.

              Rev, it is normal to be sad that your friend is no longer there. But that’s HER decision. And whether it had something to do with you or not is REALLY not your problem, it definitely has nothing to do with your worth. And there is DEFINITELY nothing to feel guilty about.
              A friend is always a friend, regardless of how smart we think she is and regardless of the decisions she makes in her own life.

    • Mymble says:

      What do you mean about “eating clean”?
      Is that eating particular food, or not dribbling soup down your blouse?

      • Revolution says:

        Ha! Sorry, Mymble. That’s such a buzz phrase here in the States, especially in Cali, that I didn’t think to explain it to a wider audience. “Eating clean” means, in a nutshull, eating healthy, whole (mostly organic) foods.

    • runnergirl says:

      Revolution, the same thing happened to me with my bf of 5 years. The minute I started enforcing very minimal boundaries, she got distant. In my case, I don’t think it was a coincidence that the situation ended with the ex MM about the same time and I wasn’t meeting her expectations of being the perky bf who was always there for her. It also probably wasn’t a coincidence that I started to see that the relationship with my former bf pretty much mirrored the situation with the exMM. As long as I met what I perceived to be their expectations of me, we were great. The minute I started wanting to co-pilot instead of being a passenger, I got dumped. That was two years ago and it was for the best.
      I’m thinking co-piloting works in all relationships, including bf’s.

  25. MissBliss says:

    Jule et al, those lists all struck a chord. Were we dating the same guy? Are we all here on BR dating the same guy? It’s so heartening to know that we are not alone in this project, which, increasingly, is about healing and personal development more than anything else (thanks Natalie). I found this quote from Tony Robbins… apparently he too made such a list.

    “Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming.”

    – Tony Robbins, success coach and best-selling author.

  26. selkie says:

    Someone told me when I was at a very low point to learn to wear my spirit like a coat. I thought about that for a long time. I had low self esteem, felt unlovable, had trust issues, felt forgotten and abandoned. I DID wear that like a coat. I had to learn to find the best parts of me and accept myself first. Love myself, heck even life myself. Ultimately ‘trust myself’ has proved to be the hardest for me. Wearing my spirit like a coat looks so much better now. I expect things from myself now, like self respect and self love. I find when these things exist in my life, the expectations of others has lost its grip over me. I can’t say I am completely unaffected. It may take me a day to get over someone expressing their disappointment in me, but it doesn’t send me into a tailspin anymore.

  27. courtney says:

    What the Good Boyfriend (my most recent ex which I’ve dubbed GB because he is probably one of the better guys I’ve dated) taught me about expectations by example…

    -positive support & encouragement & consistency & responsiveness should be expected from a partner! I got so used to not having this in any of my relationships besides this one and maybe one other, that I always felt like it was some sort of rare luxury. Ladies who are used to chasing EUM’s/AC’s…it is not a luxury! Or supposed to be – it is one of the basic “goods” of a healthy relationship! Whew!
    -the less conditional the love, the more real the love = ironically, our breakup was more based on conditional circumstances, the prospect of going long-distance after he relocated to a new job just didn’t work out. Go figure. But, throughout the relationship, he always made it clear that he loved me through his various actions as well – taking care of me when I needed it, helping me even when the relationship was over, NOT pressuring me into anything I wasn’t ready for – in fact, reminding me that I should only do what I wanted to do, not felt obligated to do. This is huge for me.
    -communication about expectations should be addressed early on. I still remember him asking me what I wanted, expected, etc, and I asked him the same. I remember stating my core values (respect, honesty, and kindness) as well. This sort of conversation, if he’s willing to have it, is not a bad idea at all! It’s quite important.

    On the negative side, he reminded me that one should also be loved/accepted for their flaws as well as their wonderful qualities. This is something he didn’t practice much! So again, there was something about it that was still conditional, and if that is the case, it will eventually unfold.

    Right now I am still in the phase after the breakup where I do feel sort of like….will I find someone even better than this person? Eventually I believe I will. But because my past history is just so gross otherwise, I do feel that sense that….this was rare for me, it was a rare good experience. Does this mean I am getting closer to finally not settling for less, now that I’ve experienced the best so far? Hopefully. I’ve only heard of the good guys before via ear and now I’ve finally experienced one of them (or at least, a decent one).

    My fear is, and I will have to learn how to overcome this…is that I will compare other guys to him. Which is not a bad thing necessarily, it helps me keep my standards in check. But I also don’t want to close myself off completely before I get to know people. What do people think about this? Is it a good idea to have such high standards (or maybe…I consider them high because I’ve gotten so much less!) when in the future dating? Do I look at this as a rare experience that will come every blue moon – or does it open my eyes to other good people? Or…would I then risk getting hurt because I trust too much in the “good guys” who may turn out not to be so good? Hope I am making sense.

    • swissmiss says:


      Thanks for this list, especially the first paragraph, “positive support & encouragement…are not luxuries.” My EUM husband says this is very American, he is Swiss, he is not interested in giving it, I can forget it. Then the therapist, who has never lived outside the USA said oh yes, that sounds very Swiss. I am so tired of people using their nationality, culture, gender—whatever!—-as excuses for not meeting your needs and hence, sending a subliminial message that you sre being unreasonable and should change. I think I should get rid of the husband AND the therapist.

      • Lilia says:

        Swissmiss, nationality is never an excuse! I´ve known a few Swiss guys and they were all extremely considerate, kind and very communicative and giving partners. There is even a Swiss bass in my choir at the moment who is the perfect example of a healthy, emotionally available man, I always think it would be wonderful to find a partner like him.

      • courtney says:

        Swissmiss, Lilia is right. I had a really, really bad experience with a French guy before I met the Good Boyfriend, who also happened to be French. So we cannot always generalize based on the ethnicity/nationality/culture…the individual person also has his own core values, needs, philosophies outside of where he comes from.

        Differences in culture/nationality can cause misunderstandings, sure, but these can be resolved with healthy communication and hopefully, compromises. The GB and I had a huge misunderstanding once about something I said that offended him, but he didn’t realize it was stemmed from a cultural difference not a moral one (this was right before the breakup, so he was very stubborn about it and used it as another reason to strengthen his resolve to end the relationship). In other cases, however, we were able to resolve those misunderstandings just by talking about them and exploring them.

        The main point is, if he is not willing to compromise on something you perceive to be a basic need or tenet of a relationship, then there is something that is incompatible and may make you unhappy in the long run. It would be good to explore that with a better therapist. A good therapist is one that validates your feelings while also challenging you to change unhealthy behaviors. And once you ask for a better therapist, you really do develop a better attitude towards life/relationships. It’s like…setting down a foundation for good mental health. Always take care of that and treat it as a priority. Good luck! Hugs! :-)

    • bikergrl says:

      I also recently broke up from a boyfriend who was good in several areas like yours…encouragement, moral support (at least via phone when I moved away) but could not take the long distance and then he was not completely over his ex. So, good and bad.

      I think you take the experiences of the good and look realistically at the not-so-good to move on. And i know it is hard…I am struggling mightily with letting go and moving on myself. Best wishes for something even better soon!

      • courtney says:

        Thanks, bikergirl. I am sorry you’re going through something similar. : – ( It is really hard to move on from all the good times, the fantasies of potential, the legitimately great things about the relationships. But you’re right, it’s possible and necessary to look at the bad things that are making it incompatible in the first place. I totally sympathize with your situation. Not only was my ex not able to deal with the prospect of long-distance, I also think my ex is not fully over his previous girlfriend not because he wishes to be with her (she’s a cheater, an exploiter and overall unstable person) but because he has trust issues as a result of that relationship that he really needs to address/has not fully admitted to yet. Best wishes to you as well and thanks for your comment and insight!! Hugs!

  28. CJ says:

    When there really is no one to tell how you really feel. Married almost 20 years and that’s coming to an end…tried to be everything for that person and lost myself, my friends and the dreams I had for myself. I feel stronger now, more wiser and ready to start my life. My prayer for women is have courage for your dreams…learn to move on.

    • Magnolia says:

      CJ – Hope you find lots of support here! Twenty years is a long time, but it’s never too late to start listening to your own heart and mind.

  29. Lou says:

    I’m also dealing with this right now with a close (although not as close as we used to be) friend.
    There have been a few times lately where I can’t believe some of the things that she has said or done.
    It’s really tough and stressful at work right now and last Saturday, I found out that a number of people on my team are going to be made redundant – very possibly me. I had a bit of a freak out things and
    of course, very worried about spending money right now. She had arranged lunch for her birthday at a very expensive restaurant on the Sunday (I’m talking top new London restaurant – which I had already said that I would go. But on Sunday morning, I was feeling pretty sensitive and worried and really didn’t want to spend that kind of money (she has a rich boyfriend and does ok in her own right). I wanted to cancel but thought that i’d better go as it was her birthday. When I was on my way, I was wondering why I was trying to save face an please everyone and spend this money. So made a decision not to go and turned around and went home. I sent a message explaining that I thought that I was going to be made redundant, was freaking out a bit and could I join them after lunch for a drink.
    I got a message back saying ‘of course – come and meet us later’ so I asked for her to tell me when they are finished and I will come into town and meet them.
    I got a message back later saying that they had eaten a lot and weren’t going to have a drink later. I then said that I could pop over (she lives about 25 mins away) later and bring her her present. But she never responded. Or responded to my message the next day either asking when she was free to meet for a drink or coffee that week…
    I made a decision to protect myself and I have been stunned with the silence. I realise that I could have cancelled a bit sooner but I was in a real flap about my situation.
    Does this say more about her ?

    • sushi says:

      sorry to hear about your job situation and hope the outcome won`t be as bad as you fear.. Your friend has a hump because she feels she is the centre of the universe and you have not done your job as a satelite properly.Sad truth is, a real friend would never react as she did, she is selfish and rude.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      What it says is…It’s ALL about her!

      Yeah, the timing was bad, it being her birthday. But you know what? If she was a really good friend, she a) would have understood, b) been supportive of you and c) possibly even said, come anyway, MY treat!

      It may be time to severely limit your interaction with her…especially as you’ve been drifting apart a bit anyway.

  30. araja says:

    I stopped being something I can’t. IT DOES NOT WORK.
    On the plus side I finally met someone (very very early stage) I can be ‘Me’ around. No morphing, no changing, no hiding my feelings.
    It’s an awesome feeling and I like that he is who he is. I like him a lot for that. Fingers crossed. :)

  31. teachable says:

    I’m fortunate not to have struggled too much with this one. My family did not raise me & have done very little to assist me throughout my adult years, even in times of serious illness. As such, I don’t feel beholden to any expectations whatsoever. It is sad though. My current three year run of ill health has shown me how little they care. They SAY they love me but the words translate into very little action, & to my mind, love is a DOING word. This is not for a lack of me doing my part (attending Xmas, buying them thoughtful gifts, making efforts to visit THEM if I know they are ill, making efforts to call them monthly or so to stay in touch etc). The sole exception to this, is my sister but even she has never made any great efforts as our relationship was ultimately damaged by our mentally ill mother (a dynamic which continues as our mother is still alive) & the abuse we were both subjected to as children. She has though, at least made made some small effort recently. Thus, expectations are not something I struggle with. No-body has ever done anything for me in life to feel that I owe them anything! Sad really, although also a great strength as unlike people who have relied on partners or families to support them through life, I know that whatever comes my way, I will cope & ultimately triumph. I always have. I sometimes think this is the gift of a self made person (which is not to discount the very valuable contributions I have sought out from people to support my journey along the way).

  32. teachable says:

    Claudia is right Rev. Sometimes it is up to us to withdraw our approval of a so called friends behaviour. Your friend is either insensitive (unlikely), disloyal (possible), or judgemental (likely). She may also secretly ‘fancy’ your ex AC! (possible) which is why she may be siding with him since you went NC (if that is what she is doing).

    You have a number of options:

    1. Let it ride, & when or IF this ‘friend’ contacts you to try to re-kindle the friendship you could then take that opportunity to discuss why you had not contacted her & how her behaviour affected you using, when you did x, I felt z type statements… This will prevent her hitting the reset button without addressing this issue first.

    2. You could initiate the above by asking to meet & then doing as per the above… (or perhaps talk through on the phone. Just depends what you feel is most appropriate)

    3. Ignore what has happened & try to continue the friendship regardless (obviously not working & btw will make youlfeel like shite)

    4. Never speak to this person again (a tad extreme).

    In my opinion the true test of a friendship is the ability to communicate our way through these sorts of issues. All friendships experience conflict of some sort over the years spoken or unspoken. In healthy friendships such issues ought to be able to be aired & sorted in a respectful way.

    I’ve actually done this & started with, ‘I want to talk to you about something, because I really value our friendship, & I don’t want this thing which I’m feeling uncomfortable about to come between us’. A true friend will listen & respond genuinely.

    Let us know what you decide to do & how it goes!

  33. teachable says:

    Magnolia congrats on yr encyclopeadia entry achievement! Awesome!

    Lou, your friend is rude. You have a gift for her & she doesn’t even reply to her txt despite knowing WHY you cancelled? Poor form! Forget her. Tuck the gift in a drawer for another person some other time. She doesn’t DESERVE it or YOU as a friend!

    I once had a friend who was miffed I didn’t attend her birthday the afternoon before a difficult exam first thing the next morning. She enrolled in uni after befriending me but is not academically minded & sometimes fails & has to repeat subjects numerous times etc. I’m the opposite. I AIM for perfect scores (if I can. silly I know but it’s how I get my kicks. lol). I often come close, but it’s not by running off to birthday parties the day before an exam! I know I’m a shocker but all my friends just know: when school’s IN, teachable is OFFLINE for a social life. She doesn’t seem to get it though. I did explain it to her. I handled it by just letting her be miffed & catching up with gift in tow AFTER my exam. Not sure she appreciated the effort but hey. I’m not her & I have no desire to be!

  34. runnergirl says:

    Couldn’t help it…this is Charles Horton Cooley’s famous “Looking Glass Self”. I needed this reminder.

    “According to Cooley (1902), in his work Human Nature and the Social Order, his “looking-glass self” involved three steps.
    A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance, and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or mortification.”
    —Charles Cooley, Human Nature and the Social Order, p. 152

  35. Jennifer says:

    Since I broke it off with the unavailable ex, I have been pouring all that time I used to spend with him and obsessing over him on me. I am at a tipping point where all my efforts have paid off and he ain’t lookin so attractive. I think about me all the time and it feels fucking awesome. Sometimes life is fucking hard but I’m consistently living it for me, and not some soul sucking soulless, thoughtless mummy’s boy with plenty addictions and a nasty/spiteful streak. Listen to Baggsge Reclaim and Natalie. Processing all the shit BR, Natalie’s book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback girl and the self esteem course told me I needed to process was one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult thing I have done in my life….but IT IS SO WORTH IT. If u take Natalie’s advice, read her books and this blog, you are well on your way to being a more solid human being. I do and have been in therapy some time too. It took a while to find a therapist I worked really well with. I did and again…WORTH IT. There are so many good resources out there if u distinguish your gut from other muck and then listen and act, and that my friends is called livin. I’m not there as much as I’d like to be but I’m on my way. Yay for Baggage Reclaim.

  36. tired says:

    For along time i put down the guitar because i thought i played it because of him. But where it all blurs i remember i wanted to play from about 14 so i picked it back up . I kick myself because of wasted time , i should have done it years ago.i love music and thats me. there is lots of things i love and ive forced myself out there . My self esteem regrows everyday . its my birthday today and i feel low and i was temtpted to reach out but ive done 21 days nc and im not going to ruin it by reaching out for somthing i wont get . i keep telling myself “IM not the victim not no more , i walked im not that women any more for ANYONE ” hugs to you all

    • Tulipa says:

      Hugs to you Tierd and Happy Birthday
      Keep going with no contact it is the only way.

    • Espoir says:

      HAPPY, HAPPY BDAY !!!! Health and serenity on your way !!!
      And please continue playing the guitar – art heals.
      ”Don’t die with the music still in you”
      Hugs and spoil yourself today (well…not only today)

    • Lilly says:


      Happy Birthday and congratulations on 21 days NC. I’m not going to be that woman anymore either! xxx

    • runnergirl says:

      Happy Birthday Tired and congratulations on 21 days NC.
      It’s great you are figuring out what you did to meet his expectations vs. what you like to do for you. I had to sort that out too. Stay strong.

    • natashya says:

      happy birthday, tired! and congrats on the 21 days NC. you are indeed not that woman for anyone. woohoo!!!

    • Magnolia says:

      Happy Birthday tired – you give yourself a great gift by staying strong through a tough NC time. Good job!

    • Learner says:

      Hope you had a happy birthday, and that you felt better as the day progressed. You have much to celebrate – your special day, plus making it to that important milestone of 21 days NC. They say it takes 21 days to turn a behaviour into a “habit”, so good for you!

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Happy birthday!!!!!!!! You gave yourself some wonderful gifts this year. Treasure them always!

  37. Tulipa says:

    “To add to your woes, often the decision to be a doormat is born out of this idea that you with no boundaries equals being approved of and loved by them, but they didn’t necessarily tell you this. Really, how many happy doormats do you know?”

    Yes I became a person with no voice because I felt if I spoke up had needs wants etc I would lose whoever I was with.

    I can see clearly now that when I was a doormat with the ex AC he had absolutely no respect for me took advantage of me to the nth degree and was just plain horrible to me. Have to admit the worse he treated me the more I became a doormat and tried to please him.

    With the ex EUM I thought I had changed from my doormat ways but of course looking back there is a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise. Always available when he called, wanted to meet up etc. I was so worried that if I didn’t meet him when he wanted me too or go to an event ect. he would take someone else and move on with them. Of course he was another one to take advantage and wipe his feet all over me.

    Funnily enough Im really only a doormat in “romantic” relationships I would do anything because I linked it to them staying around and not have to face rejection and liking me.

    I haven’t met a happy doormat yet.

  38. cc says:

    here: i’m going to flip the no more list:

    – no more committing violence to ourselves with self-criticism or -abnegation
    – no more accepting other people’s judgments, particularly if that person is an AC or EUM (DISqualified!) and no more appointing incapable/unproven others as judges
    – no more thinking we’re not enough – or too much
    – no more not taking care of ourselves as if we’re not precious or valuable
    – no more living out of past hurts
    – no more identifying as victim
    – no more telling ourselves that what we want, need, feel, and think are somehow suspect or invalid
    – no more aiming too low
    – no more depriving ourselves of a beautiful internal experience
    – no more stuffing others into the empty places in our hearts: we fill those holes ourselves

    actually, i think i’ve got that list 93% licked. i just need to keep practicing and the occasional reminder.

    • Lizzy says:

      Well said cc, I’m practising all this too x

    • selkie says:

      Yay cc! I was reading the lists, while thinking of my own to add and thought….wait, why does it have to be all these ‘no mores’ aimed at the ex’s behavior? It’s still focused on them and not us. I for one, after so much freaking ruminating am tired to death of thinking about all my ex’s behaviors ( just had a tiny epiphany). It starts with us. I love how you flipped it. It’s a subtle but powerful change to flip from saying how someone will never do this to me again, to saying I want to make better choices, be authentic and improve my life. It has nothing to do with them anymore. It’s helped me to talk about the ex, unravel shit and learn from it but at some point you gotta just let it go and move on.
      As Tori Amos sings, “these precious things, let them bleed, let them wash away.”

    • Learner says:


      Great to see you back on here! Thanks for your “flipped” list – very empowering. Hugs xo

    • La Pintura Bella says:


      Thank you for re-framing the No More lists so beautifully. And Selkie, you hit the nail on the head. Stop thinking of what we won’t accept from others, start thinking about what we won’t accept and do to ourselves. I feel a new list coming on for myself.

      Thank you both so much for demonstrating this healing perspective.

  39. lo j says:

    Mymble … I am laughing about the “not dribbling soup down your blouse.” I can’t do either! Lol! I dreamt the other night I was in a beauty pagaent with teenage girls (I’m 43) wearing a dress with a fraying, showing underslip, had to change out of torn pantihose, and a crimp in my hair from a previously worn barrette! But I was confident I could win! (The interview … of course.) Then the judges deducted points because I spilled a bowl of chilli in my lap!! And I still thought I had a shot!! Lol! I’ve laughed at this for days …

  40. lo j says:

    Magnolia … woo hoo! Go you!!
    I read this the other day and loved ” Be careful how you talk to your children … your words become their inner voice.”
    When I went to counseling with my youngest son, the therapist asked about my childhood. When I told him, he said something along the lines of “we parent as we were parented” in a nonjudgemental way and I had to really reflect on that because I saw how my parenting was similar (and of course I was NOT intentionally meaning to harm) … I thought a lot of the not so great things I did were valid and the best way for my children. I didn’t know better, and of course for backup and validation with my childrearing, I called my mother who raised me! Not a stellar choice. I had to reprogram my brain to parent a new, healthier, my way.
    Now when I tell my father (my mother doesn’t speak to me) the accomplishments of my children, I hear the not quite good enough in his responses. When my son worked hard to buy a pickup from my dad, my dad didn’t credit him for his hard work, he made comments about my son getting such a good deal on a good truck (back to glory of my dad), how my son only actually paid $3000 for a $5000 truck because I helped and my dad gave him back a $1000 for accessories, etc and my sons accomplishment was deflated. He was so hurt. Recently my son was promoted at his job and I thought/used the term a manager instead of team leader. My dad pounced on the fact that he wasn’t a manager after all. Instead of praising my son (or anyone else) he focuses on the less than or negative. That underlying “just not quite good enough”. That’s not about my kid or me or my sister or mom or anyone else. That’s about my dad.
    I used to not BELIEVE people when they said positive things to/about me. Or when they celebrated my accomplishments because my inner voice was in constant criticism. So I gravitated to people who criticized me the same. (Or couldn’t celebrate with me.) We are all here, working hard to change those “voices”, and its amazing the number of people who can/do appreciate and celebrate with us. They are out there. But we have to feel it for ourselves to believe them. And the beauty is, once you do feel worthy and celebrate you, what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter.

  41. natashya says:

    a ‘happy doormat’ is equal to saying a ‘kind, decent and considerate ass clown’. nope, doesn’t happen.

  42. Revolution says:

    Hey Ladies,

    Thanks for all of your comments, esp. about the friend situation. Actually, she called this morning and left a voicemail (first contact in weeks, and patchy for a few months before that). So I’m kind of getting my bearings right now so that I can respond to her. Man, these kinds of things…’s like being kicked in the stomache, you know? I’m collecting myself right now, so I’m probably going to lay low in the comments for a bit. I need to figure some stuff out before I respond to her. I’ll let you know how it goes. This kind of thing is so hard. But hey, loving people ain’t for sissies, is it?

    Teach, honey child. I left another long-ass comment for you (when I said I’d stop, oops) a couple posts back, but it looks like the long-suffering Natalie hasn’t posted it. Not sure if she will, and no worries Nat if you don’t. The diatribe was getting a bit long and meandering, I agree. But just so you know, Teach. I’m still listening and nodding my head. 😉

  43. Sejal says:

    Hi natalie..

    A few minutes ago i was reading your posts that says ‘they are not that special’..
    While reading it..although i admit what all you have written is true..i have actually experienced the same type of relAtionship graph…initially i stood up high..and gradually when he saw that i too have low points and issues.i just cant realise what an automatic ahift took place..and i assumed a lower position..such lower that he stopped respecting me,stopped loving me.stopped symphathising with me and alll

    Now the question which came to me is..
    So its natuaral that unintentionally also.we ommunicate our low points and issues to the hope that they will understand it.
    We dont know..we dont have the knowledge that after this unintentional communication they look down at you..
    I just dont understand the concepy of love then??
    Natalie.. U tell me whats love them..
    Its only after commiting to them.and his new colors that he showed me.i got to know he is EU and assclown..
    If i would have known this earlied may be i wouldnot have loved him the first place..
    I all this ego competion ,blind race for letting your partner down.where is the place for love..1???
    Ok…now forget the EU and assclown..
    Imagine being with some one who is emotional responds well, and mutual understandable..
    Now when the same cycle repeats..u inintentional communication of low points and issues..
    Wouldnt the near perfect guy behave the same way??
    I think yes..
    And if the answer is yes..the conclusion comes out o be–KEEP YOUR ISSUES TO YOURSELF.NEVEr COMmUNICATE ThEM or else you wil lose up on your partner..

    On the other hand..
    I my ex would have told me anything about his low issues i am sure i would have understood him.and ever used those matters against him..

    So that oncludes never rely a guy.!!

  44. Sejal says:

    On the other hand..
    I my ex would have told me anything about his low issues i am sure i would have understood him.and never used those matters against him..

    Natalie i cant join your course right i am in india..
    But surely in another two to three years i m planning to come to uk..i will definetly join your course..its a must..

    But i do look flr your reply.!!
    Regards and hug love and respect.

    • Sejal says:

      Ove is all about this..
      Then why was i running after blindly..
      I was in an illusion that what he gave me was love and respect which no one else can..he made me believed some things which i also believed without appling my brains…
      My i m realising how can i be so can he fool me to such a greatness!! How i allowed him to take undue advantage of my love and innocense..
      Now that i m out of that blindness..i can see the things and realise that in this whole circus which i got trapped into..CIrCuS CALLED LOVE..
      It me only me and onle me..who suffered ..who lost things and opportunities..who lost self esteem and pride..i hate him.and i hate every man.who makes false promises and keeps their girls in dark illusions and false fairytale..

  45. Jennifer says:

    My unavailable ex was like a bad rash that wouldn’t go away. And now it’s gone and I finally have medicine to make it stay away forever: BR.

  46. Jule says:

    Gosh I so wish there was a LIKE button or an ability to click on a Big Hug button for all of you who write here!

    So…I did it. I’m officially NC. I blocked last night. It feels strange but nice. Lighter. Peaceful. I even happened to get a brand new phone today through my work (not intentional just great timing).

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and to those who just give thanks. I give thanks to Natalie and BR and this community for being there. You really helped me a lot.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @Jule,,Great job! NC is all about peace; doesn’t it feel great to not want to check if he called, to not have your heart flutter worriedly? It feels odd now but you will be so happy that you did it; I never spoke to my ex again after I initiated NC and I know that 1) it made me happier and 2) it probably sent a big message that would have never been sent any other way. You will never regret not breaking nc:)!

    • Learner says:

      Congrats on going NC. NC = no new pain. Strength to you :)

  47. miskwa says:

    Congrats Magnolia ! Your sister acted that way because she feels inferior or jealous. My dad and an ex AC would do the exact same thing. Folks that choose not to suceed in life do not want to hear about someone who did. You’re awesome!
    I want to add to the “no more” list;
    never again will I be used for attention,
    never again will I be humiliated by a serial cheater
    never again will some other person determine my worth

  48. Claudia says:

    I’m generally not into Robbie Williams…
    But I think some of us ladies might relate to his new song:

    Or maybe I’m the only one that sees the connection between it and BR.

  49. miskwa says:

    Congrats Magnolia ! Your sister acted that way because she feels inferior or jealous. My dad and an ex AC would do the exact same thing. Folks that choose not to suceed in life do not want to hear about someone who did. You’re awesome!
    I want to add to the “no more” list;

    never again will I be used for attention,
    never again will I be humiliated by a serial cheater
    never again will some other person determine my worth

  50. Rosie says:

    No more listening when self-absorbed people want to tell me their problems.

    No more wasting my valuable time and mental energy complaining about these self-absorbed people.

    No more thinking about how to solve the world’s problems while mine go unresolved.

    No more dwelling on who rejected me when I’ve got an amphitheatre full of people rooting for me.

  51. teachable says:

    I had a big win around expectations & boundary setting today. I spoke to my mother for the first time in many years. In doing so I explained to her that it would not be possible to re-establish a r.ship with her where she is the child & I am expected to be the parent. I furthermore explained that I could only interact with her if she was the parent & I, the adult
    child. I also explained exactly what she had done which had caused the last period of our long estrangement & how hurtful her behaviour was, going so far as to name it as abusive & explaining that this was my reason for withdrawing my r.ship with her. I was quite frank in explaining that unlike her, my life is choc full oflresponsibilities & I just don’t need the added stress or angst her hurtful behaviour brings. I was able to do all of this, despite her offering early in the piece, that it was ‘no excuse, but she was mentally unstable at the time’. I ignored this rationalisation & simply set my boundary. The call was pleasant but short & she excused herself once she realised there were not going to be any free rides with me. I’m feeling quite pleased with myself. So, now MY expectations are clear. If she cannot meet that’s ok. I have had peace since she has notlbeen in my life, & it is only illness in both our lives, which has caused my heart to soften. Yay me!!

  52. Ruth Cassell says:

    Set your own expectations, not only for yourself but for others around you, and set them high. Don’t sell yourself short on what you want or what you can achieve. And, don’t sell yourself short on what you deserve. By making yourself happy, you are more likely to find someone else to be happy with. Thanks for an intuitive “relationship” blog that’s about more than how to “make” yourself more attractive to men. The key is to “be”–be yourself, be happy, be content, be aware. I share similar stories of self-contentment and self-awareness at

  53. P says:

    I’ve been thinking of this topic lately and it was great you wrote about it! Very timely for my situation. Had a long history of dealing with people’s expectations and then somehow making them my own expectations for myself. It’s exhausting to try to be the best to everyone. It’s impossible and you will burn out sooner or later. I still struggle with trying to be a good daughter, aunt, sister and I think I’m failing at it. The pressure I have within my own self is just too much. Sometimes I don’t even know what it means to be a good [insert role here] anyway. Thanks for writing this Natalie! It was helpful.

  54. rana says:

    hello. nice topic!
    i want to add that we always have expectations in ourselves and in others in our relationships, when we are engaged we are building expectations of how our marriage should be like, we have expectations in our children. Our kids have expecations in us, we have expecations in ourselves in parenthood etc…

    we might face a range of emotions when expectations are not met like shame, anger, sadness,,

    When your spouse is not meeting your expectations you might try to change his behaviour or let go of trying to change him. Personally i do not believe that we can change someone else, it is very difficult to change oneself so how can we change others, it is frustrating to the relationship and disappointing, leading to conflicts and destroying the relationship. While the other solution is try to let go of expectations, understanding and accepting of others is essential to any relationship.

    have a nice day

  55. Roz says:

    This is a really good post. Very very important. The hard thing is, sometimes when you realize all you’ve been doing is trying to live up to others’ expectations, when you try to go back to yourself, you find a void! You have been clinging to what you thought others wanted from you because you have no clue what you want from yourself. That void can be terrifying, and it can be easier (until you realize better) to keep on clinging to an imaginary demand that isn’t even there. I think that’s why a lot of people (myself included sometimes) stay in dysfunction, etc. because that is literally all that holds you together.
    Not saying it’s right, just saying that’s what happens until you fill yourself up with a solid presence with your own self, demands, and desires.

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.