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Relationships That Hurt: When Enough Is Enough

“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” ~Unknown

There was a time when I was quite black-and-white with relationships. I either trusted you implicitly, assuming you’d never intentionally hurt me, or believed you wanted to cause me pain and questioned everything you did.

Once you moved yourself into the latter category, there was no going back.

Eventually I realized I was limiting my relationships by not recognizing the grey area, where people are human, they make mistakes, and they need forgiveness and understanding.

From there I swung the pendulum the other way—I trusted everyone. I refused to consider that someone’s actions might reflect that they didn’t truly care. And I stayed in a lot of unhealthy relationships while making excuses for people.

I wanted them to care. I wanted to believe they valued me—that it only meant I was interpreting incorrectly if their actions seemed to suggest otherwise.

But this is where it gets confusing. On the one hand, we often create a lot of meaning in our heads that isn’t really there. We may feel convinced someone intended to be rude, inconsiderate, or thoughtless when really that wasn’t the case.

On the other hand, sometimes actions speak louder than words, and our interpretations may be accurate.

Sometimes someone is knowingly hurtful or neglectful. We need to be able to recognize that or we’ll end up feeling disempowered, disrespected, and stuck.

So how do you know when to stay and when to walk away? How do you know when you’re not reading into things too much, or being too paranoid, or making mountains out of molehills, but rather simply seeing things for what they are?

After placing myself in this situation more times than I’d like to count, I developed a little 3-question guide that’s helped me recognize when enough is enough.

1. Do their actions frequently contradict their words?

Anyone can contradict themselves once or twice. We’re only human, and sometimes we make mistakes. It’s consistent behavior that conveys how someone really feels.

I once dated someone who regularly made no effort. But I wanted to believe he was a good guy going through a hard time, and that we could both be happy if I was there for him.

When he opened his door to greet me on Valentine’s Day wearing pajamas—at 7:00 at night—and then threw my card and chocolate rose in his bedroom, it was obvious that I was deluding myself.

This is a somewhat extreme example, but there were little signs in the months leading up to this—unreturned calls, broken dates, many conversations where he wasn’t really listening.

His actions consistently reinforced that he wasn’t open to the type of relationship I wanted, at least not with me. That didn’t mean he intended to hurt me, or that he was a bad guy. It just meant that he wasn’t available or interested in being there for me in the way I knew I needed.

Or more bluntly put: for whatever reason, he did not care.

Words can be deceiving, because sometimes when we lie to others it’s because we’re also lying to ourselves. Trust actions. That’s where the truth is.

2. Do you frequently make excuses for them, to yourself or others?

If you often find yourself in a position where you need to defend the other person, odds are there’s a consistently unacceptable behavior you’re trying to justify.

An old friend of mine once dated someone who’d get mean and nasty, mostly to her, but also to her friends. She’d explain how he’d had a difficult childhood, and that she wouldn’t walk out on him like everyone else had.

Admirable though that might have sounded, she communicated through her actions that it was okay for him to treat her badly—because of all he’d been through.

You might convince yourself that this person is just misunderstood, and that no one else wants to give them the compassion and support you’re willing to offer.

It’s great to be compassionate, but we need to be compassionate with ourselves first—and that means acknowledging what’s just not okay.

3. Does this person turn things around on you, as if their actions are your fault?

It can be difficult to recognize those consistently unacceptable actions if you convince yourself you’re somehow responsible for them.

You might tell yourself that they regularly ignore your needs because you’re too needy. Or they belittle you because you’ve made mistakes in the past.

In other words, you might justify their mistreatment because they try to make you feel like you’re the “wrong one” or the “crazy one.”

When someone truly cares, they don’t use your mistakes or imperfections to justify neglect or emotional blackmail.

I formerly found myself in quite a few relationships like this, likely because I was recreating the dynamics of a core relationship from my childhood.

There came a point when I realized that people who truly respected me would encourage me to grow; but they wouldn’t let my weaknesses become an excuse to intimidate or disparage me.

No matter what you’ve done or how you sometimes struggle, you deserve to be in healthy relationships with people who treat you well.

In retrospect, I realize I lied to myself repeatedly because I felt unworthy. It was hard to believe that last part—that I hadn’t somehow brought painful situations on myself.

Considering all the baggage I carried around, I felt fortunate to be in relationships at all.

You may have far greater self-esteem than I did before, but you may still find yourself feeling confused and conflicted in relationships. It can be tough to see things for what they are when we’re emotionally involved and invested.

When in doubt, step back and ask yourself, “What would I tell a friend if s/he were in my shoes?”

Odds are, you’d know the truth, and the wisest thing to do. The question now becomes: Can you treat yourself kindly and walk away from what you know isn’t right?

Photo by Liam Liberty

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About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) and Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself. She's also the co-founder of the eCourse Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the HeroFollow @tinybuddha for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

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  • TurtleRabbit

    Have been dealing with this exact thing recently. (#3 to be specific) I left, but I’m still trying to unravel the confusion that it has left me with. Yes, hurt people hurt people, but c’mon… Where is that line? Did my compassion fail? Why did I let the abuse affect me? Breath in the pain, breath out the love… Thanks for the post. Perfect timing, as always.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000689575054 Ashley Trent

    It’s amazing how this article just ‘appeared’ exactly when I needed to read it. Thank you, Lori. I think you and I are soul sisters.

  • RAALA

    I couldn’t have asked for this post at a more relevant time. I can answer a resounding YES to all of the questions above for my last relationship and that’s the reason I left, but still, I grieve the loss of this person deeply. Even though I let him repeatedly hurt me, I miss him so much. And I know it’s because I don’t have any self compassion and I don’t love myself enough — but how can you treat yourself kindly when you’re so entrenched in grief you can barely get up in the morning?

  • http://www.facebook.com/amy.holleman4 Amy Brubaker Holleman

    Coincidental? I was talking on the phone to girlfriend asking myself the same question. How do I know when it’s me and when it’s NOT? The answer to the 3 questions resonated as did the statement that you deserve a healthy relationship. I have been in a marriage for 15 years and the past 5 have been very trying. This was perfect timing. Thanks….

  • Erica

    I feel similarly – the end of a brief but exciting relationship about six months ago threw me into a horrible depression. I have missed him every day since and blame only myself for the sequence of events that led to him leaving. I’ve realized that the reason I allowed this person to treat me so terribly to begin with is my lack of self-love and self-acceptance, but instead of taking the wonderful advice in this article and searching for someone who truly loves me and is compatible with me I’ve convinced myself that I am too broken and that I’ve made too many mistakes to move forward. I still believe I am unworthy of love and the idea of a healthy relationship is so foreign to me that I wouldn’t even know how to describe one.

    I have begun seeing a psychiatrist and psychotherapist to deal with what I now realize is an illness, and it’s begun to help a little. If you truly can’t get out of bed for days or weeks (or months) on end, I think you might seek some help as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tielag Tiela Aldon Garnett

    Another great article, Lori! Thanks…

  • C

    I just had this exact epiphany yesterday regarding a relationship I’m in… and then this post appears in my life this morning as if the universe is endorsing my decision to let go. Thank you!

  • Navy

    Great post! I’ve had a lifelong struggle with low self-esteem, which has stemmed from my childhood and I still deal with in my adult life. I’ve also had bouts of depression where I felt very unloved, unworthy and that I was never good enough or desirable for anyone. I’ve always put others needs above my own and still do. Through making others happy and pleasing them, I was happy. When it wasn’t always reciprocated, I felt horrible. It wasn’t until just recently while seeing meeting someone that I realized the root of my problem. I don’t love myself enough, I’m not happy with my life and the way it is. I feel unworthy because I feel I’m not good enough for the other person, who has a great life, great achievements and dreams. I needed to stop comparing myself to other people.

    I read somewhere that even with friends and family around that love and care for you, and if you’re still wallowing and feeling low because that one person doesn’t love you back, it shows how much you don’t love yourself. It’s a reflection of that. That’s when I realized it. At the end of the day, we all have to do what’s best for us and our interests. Others do it, so why shouldn’t I? I’ve always been one to stay and be loyal, while I found others just left me. I couldn’t cut off from someone, even if I hated them. I forgive others and give second chances. I find life is too short to stay angry and that forgiving allows me to move on and it’s easier.

    I still have moments where I feel upset or unworthy, not good enough. I’ve progressed a bit, but I get attached easily to others. Whether it’s friends or the men I’ve dated from my past. Keeping busy and progressing all that energy into a project does help. I need to love myself and it”s through focussing on my own life and needs, instead of dropping those plans to help others and put their needs before my own. Easier said than done for me because I love to help others more than myself, but I’m slowly dealing with it in my own way, day by day.

  • Apostro

    I love this post. It’s so true. Why do we make up excuses for others when we are treated badly? If someone loves you, he or she will respect you and there’s no excuse for bad behaviors

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.anderson.35513 Richard Anderson

    Very wise We will be sharing this on our Facebook Page “Heeling” serving woman who are recovering from Domestic Violence.

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    Hi Lori. I find that there seems to be a rule of twos in this area of relationships. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Another that springs to mind is the proverbial “second chance”. I’ve not seen an adage called “third chance” yet, but feel it may be properly wrapped up in the three strike rule. Definitely out! Third-time loser and all that.

    The truth lies between the lines in conscientious treatment of those who opt in and out of our lives. Sometimes we care too much, transcending the attention we should be paying to our own sense of well-being. I have known people who cut their losses and run at first sight of impropriety. Then there are their diametric opposites…the ones who soak up the abuse for any amount of reasons and rationale.

    I love “Does this person turn things around on you, as if their actions are your fault?” It says so much so well. A recurrent refrain for this is “You make me feel…” or “You made me do…”. When you (or I) become the recipient of projected maltreatment, it is time to get off the merry-go-round. That person has clearly indicated co-dependency and lack of responsibility for his/her actions. Walking away is the best thing that can be done for BOTH parties. Perhaps the loss will be a wake-up call; at the very least, the cycle is broken.

    Thanks for this. It is definitely a telling gauge of our authenticity when we can sift through the situation in a rational manner and exact our own truth in how we live out our relationships.

    ~ Mark

  • Jen

    Wonderful, as always. Just had someone last week tell me that he couldn’t believe I “convinced” him to be intimate. I had spent months excusing his rude behavior. Won’t do it anymore!

  • Icecreambubbletea

    Thank you for the post. It made me tear…It somehow describes me too in some ways. I had a few relationships too… I decided to let go the last relationship as I felt that I really had enough… Still recovering from a broken heart now…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. I’m glad you were able to let go of that unhealthy relationship, even if it was hard!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. It’s such an insightful and compassionate realization–that hurt people hurt people–but that doesn’t mean we have to allow them to continually hurt us. I love the idea of breathing out pain and breathing in love. I’m sending good thoughts your way!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Ashley!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I second Erica’s suggestion Raala I saw a therapist for years when I was younger, and it really helped me move forward in my healing. I actually wrote a post related to break-ups that you might find helpful:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-let-go-of-a-past-relationship-10-steps-to-peacefully-move-on/

    I think getting past a break-up is similar to grieving a death. The initial stages are the hardest, but things get easier with time!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Amy. I think the longer you’ve been in a relationship, the harder it can be to see things clearly. I’m glad this was helpful to you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you and you’re most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s great you’ve had this realization, and you’ve chosen to move on. I know it isn’t always easy to do that!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m so happy for you, that you’re moving on and opening yourself up to something better!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Richard. I hope your Facebook community finds it helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Absolutely! Oprah said, “We teach people how to treat us,” and I think it’s so true. It can be so hard to speak up or walk away when someone treats us poorly, but I’ve found we lose respect for ourselves when we don’t.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Mark! That’s been a big lesson for me, about the “you make me feel” language. I find that taking responsibility for my own feelings makes conflict resolution so much easier, in all relationships!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joanne-Jasper-Dupuis/620674019 Joanne Jasper- Dupuis

    I am so grateful for Lori Deschene! This post is spot on and will help many people who are experiencing this right now. I am glad u were born Lori xxx

  • Just A. Guy

    Buried in #1 and #2 is a common relationship mistake: assuming that our presence will change the other person. (“we could both be happy if I was there for him”; “she wouldn’t walk out on him like everyone else had”)

    Personally, I got myself into a very sorry state with this one a few years back. The “aha” moment came on a phone call, when I recognized we were having the same argument for about the 1,200th time, and it occurred to me that we would continue having this for however long we were in each others lives. It was very calming to realize her behaviour had nothing to do with me, I was just there. (Unless she’s done some serious work on herself, she’s probably treating whoever is currently in her life in a similar manner as I type this!) I went over to her house, against her objections, ave her a big hug, told her I loved her and that I never wanted to see her again. She thanked me. I went home on the same bus transfer.

    Flash forward a few years: married, kids, the type of life I’ve always wanted. But I could not have had it without letting go of the assumption that I could somehow change my old flame.

  • http://www.CritterWisdom.com/ Carmelo

    Lori, when you think about all the relationships we have throughout our lives your message is really critical and spills into so many aspects of our lives.

    We can struggle with our parental relationships, our siblings, our “best friends” our spouses, fiance’s, and boy/girl friends. Your tips apply across the board!

    I’ve often struggled with giving too much benefit of the doubt. Especially in work relationships where you also want to “make something work” so badly you overlook obvious signs. Like you said, having that kind of neediness stems from certain insecurities and you’re really expecting others to prop you up. That’s never a good way to grow!

  • vernette

    Lori, what I love about this post, is that it relates to all relationships we find ourselves in, parents, siblings, friends as well as significant others.
    “There came a point when I realized that people who truly respected me would encourage me to grow; but they wouldn’t let my weaknesses become an excuse to intimidate or disparage me.

    No matter what you’ve done or how you sometimes struggle, you deserve to be in healthy relationships with people who treat you well.”
    This resonates with me deeply. In the last year of my life, I have had to make difficult yet freeing choices about the people I allow into my life and what I tolerate from them. We create our lives and we create the love in it too. We teach people how to treat us. I’ve found that the people closest to me are the ones who hurt me the most but “closeness” is not an excuse to hurt or a justification for that hurt.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://www.perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com The Writing Goddess

    Excellent post. It takes two people to make a relationship work – but if one of them isn’t putting in the effort, overcompensation by the other partner can’t convert a bad relationship into a good one. And even if we “win” a relationship where we are doing all the hard work, and the other person is slacking off and has our implied permission to treat us badly, we’re not getting what we need or want.

  • Terri Dziak

    omg. this just absolutely struck a cord with me. i have been in a relationship, off and on for 7 long years. we would break up, get back together, break up, get back together and so the cycle continued. i was often lead to believe that i was worthless, and often faulted for mistakes i made at a young age. i now am at a point in my life that i am VERY excited about new beginnings and feel so good about myself. i know that i am on the way to the best years of my life. it has taken me a long time to get here, but i feel it. part of it, is being secure with yourself, and more importantly happy with yourself! i cant tell you how many times i was made to feel bad about myself, but now realize, it was this other person’s own insecurities and narcissism that lead me to feel that way. happy 2013 and thank you for sharing and clarifying! it has come at a point in my life that i am looking at all wake up calls!

  • terri

    omg. this just absolutely struck a cord with me. i have been in a relationship, off and on for 7 long years. we would break up, get back together, break up, get back together and so the cycle continued. i was often lead to believe that i was worthless, and often faulted for mistakes i made at a young age. i now am at a point in my life that i am VERY excited about new beginnings and feel so good about myself. i know that i am on the way to the best years of my life. it has taken me a long time to get here, but i feel it. part of it, is being secure with yourself, and more importantly happy with yourself! i cant tell you how many times i was made to feel bad about myself, but now realize, it was this other person’s own insecurities and narcissism that lead me to feel that way. happy 2013 and thank you for sharing and clarifying! it has come at a point in my life that i am looking at all wake up calls!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you so much, and you are most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m sure that must have been difficult, even after 1,200 similar arguments. It always seems that next time things will be different. That’s wonderful, that you found the strength to walk away and opened yourself up to something better!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I could relate to a lot of what you wrote Navy, about self-esteem issues from childhood, attaching to other people, and going through periods of depression. I see it as a lifelong process, this whole self-love thing. I actually wrote about that in a different post, if you’re interested in reading it:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-love-your-authentic-self/

  • Bri

    A truly valuable piece of writing! Thank you! I had been guided by principles and mutual respect all my life. Despite my shyness I managed to pick the right people and build healthy relationships. They were founded on trust and reciprocity.
    However, my working relationships were not that healthy. I deterred confrontation because I did not know how to defend myself. I avoided making scenes because I thought that the work place was not the right place to get emotional. I did not have friends among my colleagues but I did not have enemies either.
    Deep down I was confident in my skills and abilities. On the surface, my behavior used to signal otherwise.
    Somehow, I was perfectly OK with my life as it was until the two worlds collided. This happened 6 years ago. Initially, I was furious then I felt betrayed by my closest ones. Colleagues abused me. My personal relationships were not healthy any more. Suddenly, no one was there for me.
    However, over time I found my way. I learned how to be myself with different groups of people. I got rid of my shyness. It’s true that I still learn how to defend my positions better but I know that the worst is in the past. I know that I’m not going to stay in shade any more.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    It’s funny how sometimes obvious signs don’t seem as obvious when you don’t want to see them! That’s how it’s been for me. I’ve been in that “want to make things work” place many times before, and I know all about acting from a place of neediness. You’re right–not a great way to grow!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Vernette. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to make those choices. That’s great you were able to set those boundaries for yourself!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That “implied permission” part really resonated with me. I used to think that so long as I expressed my anger toward someone, I was letting them know their actions weren’t okay. Then I realized that every time I carried on like nothing had happened, I essentially communicated it was okay to repeatedly hurt me. I didn’t have the strength or courage to walk away or set clear boundaries, but once I did it once, I realized I could and needed to do it again (in any unhealthy relationship).

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Terri, and congrats on all your new beginnings! That’s wonderful, that you’ve gotten out of that unhealthy relationship and you’re now feeling good about yourself! =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Bri! I think confrontation in general is difficult, but it can be even more challenging in work relationships. Congrats on overcoming your shyness. =)

  • Liz Roberts

    Hi Lori, another great post! And a good personal refresher for me as well being in situations where I can now, looking back, hear myself saying over and over “But he’s… yes, but he’s just… but…” yikes too many buts along the way! I will carry with me the word in your post, and really start to listen to that little voice inside that knows wrong is wrong… many blessing to you this holiday season Lori and warm wishes to you and yours for a New Year filled with light, love and much joy! Liz

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Liz! I have said those things many times in the past as well. Sending love and light back to you!

  • Icecreambubbletea

    dear lori,
    thanks for your kind words..ive forgive all who have hurt me.. im still struggling to forgive myself from the previous relationship.. i hate myself for bringing myself into a heart break.. ive been reading articles after articles from tinybuddha and some other sites…. but still finding it tough to forgive myself….life has been tough.. but at least some articles here help me get by the day… thank you…

  • Julia

    Thank you so much for this post. Life gave me three wonderful oportunities to learn to say enough is enough, this is not what I want. And I failed the “test” twice, but like they say “third time’s the charm”. I was a bit afraid but love and respect for myself was stronger. I discovered that when you do the right thing, truly the right thing, when you listen to your heart, you feel in peace and relieved.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Julia. So true. Nothing feels better than taking care of yourself, even if it’s hard!

  • Heather K

    Wow! This post spoke to me. With everything that is going on with my divorce, I look back on my marriage and all three of the questions apply to my husband. 1) His actions didn’t match his words – he was telling me he loved me while he was having an affair. 2) I constantly made excuses for his behavior – he is depressed, work is not going well, etc. and 3), everything is my fault. His affair, our marital problems, his bad relationship with our son, his mistress breaking up with him. All my fault.
    Great post!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you Heather. I’m so sorry to hear about your divorce, but happy for you that you’ve gotten out of that unhealthy relationship!

  • Jigz

    I came across this blog last week only as I like to read self help books and blogs online in my commute. This blog has very interesting post and points that many of us do not necessary focus on our fast pace life…My favorite part on this blog so far is “part 1. Do their actions frequently contradict their words?” from this entry…RELATIONSHIPS THAT HURT: WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    It’s very true that, often we ignore clear facts and clues in life and evaluate situation around us with emotion and attachments. We drag ourselves into sad situation and blame ourselves at the end. Nothing wrong with us, but the we either do not focus on those clues that others sends us or clearly not ready to accept the facts. I love this part 1 and definitely helped me evaluate some of my situations at work, and personal life. You need honest people around you who has only 1 face.

    Thanks Lori for great content on this blog and looking forward to read and learn more from this. Thanks for offering a chance to participate in this giveaway contest as well.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. I heard a line in a movie recently that really resonated with me. A woman was talking about her father, how he’d suddenly stopped coming around when she was a kid. (He was actually married to someone other than her mother and had a whole other family).

    She said the crazy part was that she didn’t ask herself, “What’s wrong with him?” She asked herself, “What’s wrong with me?” I suspect a lot of us do that. It’s so liberating to realize we don’t have to take blame for other people’s actions. We’re not responsible for what other people do.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Stephanie

    I feel as if this response was written by me…word for word. I could have sworn that I loved myself. Look at how much I love others. Is it true that I don’t? Could that be the missing link in it all?
    Thank you for posting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AugustWest Jay Shatsky

    tough to walk away when there is a child involved .

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Jay,

    I don’t yet have children, but I can only imagine how tough it is to make a decision like this when there are children involved. I suspect a child is better off with two parents separated, if they create an unhealthy environment by virtue of being together, but I know I can’t really understand until I am in that situation.

    You are in my thoughts.

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/TokenEskimo Token Eskimo

    Great question to pose! What would I tell a friend? That she deserves better. She deserves to be happy. To have someone that truly values her enough to make a genuine commitment.
    Excellent thought provoking article.

  • SoulSearching

    i personally love this post and i keep reading it again n again now and then…i m going through a tough relationship phase right now..bt what are the options when answer to all the above questions is yes..bt you are married to that person and have two kids. is it easy to walk away? i think the biggest hurt in a relationship is ‘being taken for granted’ and if you realize that your lifepartner actually doesnt need you, it burns your soul and smother your belief in every relationship and feeling in life…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Token! That question always helps me make wiser decisions, because I’m generally better at advising people I care about than identifying what’s right for me. It becomes a lot clearer when I step outside myself!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I’ve actually had a few people ask me about what to do if they’re married and have kids, and the short answer is that I really don’t know. I am not married (and not sure I ever will get married), so it’s hard for me to speak to this, though I can understand the complexity involved when there are children.

    I personally suspect children are better off with two happy, separated parents than two parents who unhappily stay together as to not tear apart a family. A relative of mine divorced her first husband (he left her), and of course it was hard on her kids, but later in life she met a man who loved her in the way she deserved. Then they had more children together, and he was/is a wonderful father, and stepfather to her first two children.

    I am so happy for her that she was able to create that new life, and a much happier relationship. She deserves that. We all do.

    You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • Michelle

    Wow! This article explained why I ended a lot of my friendships last year. One of which, fit into number one and three. She was a childhood friend so I continually let things slide..after all, we were ‘friends’ forever! But when she ignored me when I needed to talk to her repeatedly and then attacked me by saying things like ‘Michelle, I can’t just DROP everything and answer an email or call you’ a little bell went off in my head. The problem was that she was NEVER replying to emails (which I sent because I thought it might be easier for her to answer than a call) or available for my calls – and the excuses were endless – apparently she worked 24/7 and I was the jerk who didn’t understand. I finally text her (since she never had time to talk) and said ‘obviously this friendship isnt’ working out for either of us. I don’t think we should be friends anymore’. She replied by again, attacking me and that’s when I pulled the plug. I had other friendships that I ended after doing a great deal of work on myself and learning to love myself, most were older friendships from a time when I hated myself and these people supported my insecurities. It’s essential to have people around you who believe in you and support you especially during vulnerable times otherwise they pull you back.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’ve had similar experiences! When I thought the least of myself, I had a lot of friendships with people who thought just as little of me. It was like I purposely got myself into these relationships to confirm what I believed about myself (that i didn’t deserve better). It’s such an empowering feeling to walk away and confirm to ourselves that we are worthy of so much more!

  • Evie

    Hi Lori,

    I subscribed to Tiny Buddha just over two years ago when I was going through some stuff and it has helped me so much over the course of this period so thank you, your time and energy is so appreciated. It’s amazing what you do!

    I wanted to share something with you maybe just to tell someone who has done a lot of work on themselves. I have a friend who fell in love with me just over a year ago and there was a time when I thought we could have something. I later realised that something deep inside was saying no. I thought perhaps we could be friends. I find that he is is really scared of loosing me and panics everytime he thinks I am distancing myself. I am often told I am responsible for his anxieties for not getting back to him. I am not how he needs me to be or he would never treat me how I treat him. He turns to me everytime he is going through something and this seems to be often. Because I feel bad these utterances usually command a response and get my attention. I want to walk away but I feel like I’m being selfish and not doing my service to humanity?! I have ignored his many texts and calls for a week or more now. This has happened before but I have always gone back or our talk has resulted in us speaking once more! I am considering writing hom a letter because I know he would do everything in his power to prevent me from walking out if I was to see him and talk face to face. I guess I just feel really guilty about this and what I want to do and what I have

  • Evie

    wanted to do for some time. Any response would be very much appreciated. I thank you for your contributions to the world. Love Evie x

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Evie,

    You’re most welcome! I can understand why this would be difficult for you. Based on what you wrote, I don’t feel you’re being selfish. It sounds like you’re trying to listen to your instincts about what’s best for you. So long as you’re clear with him, so he knows what you feel and where you stand, I don’t personally think there’s anything wrong with making a choice based on what feels right for you.

    That’s my take on it!

    Lori

  • Alexa

    Hi Bri – I just wanted to say that I was in a situation that sounds like it was similar to this. I was shy, but had a good set of friends at school. Suddenly, I was hunted down like an animal…preyed upon, by teachers and higher ups in the school’s administration…even though I hadn’t done a single thing. It was very weird, but I think that they got their kicks so to speak, off of hurting and abusing me, a very young female shy quiet student. This may be very different from your situation, but I just wanted to say that I have experienced abuse by colleagues and then abandonment by my friends, and at the time when I needed them the most. It inspires me to read that you’ve become stronger and learned how to defend yourself. I can’t say the same for myself, but I do have hope that it will happen soon.

  • RJ

    Wow. My thoughts & situation exactly. It is that greater power telling me all will be ok. In tears, thank you all

  • dolfin

    “What would I tell a friend if s/he were in my shoespecially ?”
    The answer is there….I just needed to read this blog to accept n implement. It is not easy because you want the relationship to work but one has to listen to the answer n move on. Thank you for writing this n gratitude to the universe for bringing it to me at this point in time.

  • A

    Lori,

    Thank you for this post – it truly hit home for me. I recently broke up, for good, with my on and off again boyfriend of almost 5 years. He’d always had a bit of a bad temper, but as time went on, it got worse and worse – he began to get just inches away from my face and scream profanities at me in the midst of an argument, belittle my feelings and threaten to leave the relationship time and time again. I, as you described, began to think of myself as “the crazy one” and continually made excuses to my friends and family that validated his behavior – “we were both just drunk”, or “I probably set him off”, things like that. However, I would continuously recognize/apologize for the times in which I was in the wrong, but I hardly got any remorse from him, especially in the tail end of our relationship – everything was always MY fault. A big validation of how angry he would get became the fact that his dad died (when we were in college) and ever since then he’s been fragile and easily upset. I completely recognize that this was a heartbreaking tragedy, and absolutely one of the worst things that can happen to a person, at any age. I began to walk on eggshells and never wanted to bring up a concern I was having because I did not want to make him angry, which is very unhealthy and definitely affected my self-esteem and overall mind-set. But I’ve realized that there is NO reason or excuse to treat someone you claim to love so disrespectfully and so aggressively, no matter what the issue being argued over is. I am proud of myself that I had the strength to finally walk away. Posts like yours are what help me and others going through similiar toxic relationships to stay confident in our judgments and to realize that we deserve so much better.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m so glad you were able to walk away! I’m sure it was even more difficult, knowing the tragedy he’d been through–but you’re absolutely right. That doesn’t justify mistreating you.

  • Hopekeeper

    Ugh I know but I don’t know makes for a lot of late nights and a lot of different emotions

  • Ms Nono

    Hi Lori,

    i am so struggling to come to terms with my break up. i admit i made a mistake to jump into another relationship without being purely healed. In the interim i lost my baby father and fell inlove with some one who was a divorcee.

    He seemed like he cared and wanted to be with me but changed over night.

    i have made so may excuses for his behaviour that now i have lost count. i wanted him to love me because he made me believe that there is life outside my very toxic but bearable relationship with my baby father. i have never been alone and somehow i am scared to be. right now i am a single mother with a very broken heart. always in fights with my baby father because he blames me for the breakup and now he is threatening to take my baby away.
    i am so lost i feel alone at times, i have prayed so hard but i some how feel like the prayers do not go anywhere as the hurt is always on my shoulders.
    i feel like taking about my problems is really starting to even bore my friends and families. my most question is whether there is anything wrong with me. i have so much low esteem that i am not even enjoying life anymore.
    i feel angry at myself cause i am not stupid but i was stupid enough to believe in this two men.
    i am truelly out of my depth. i need help

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I am so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I don’t think you were stupid or that there’s anything wrong with you; you’re human, like all of us, and sometimes relationships are hard–I imagine even harder when there are children involved. Have you considered seeing a therapist to work through your feelings? I’m sure your friends and family aren’t bored, but sometimes it really helps to have an objective ear. I know it helped me a great deal!

  • Sue

    So difficult! Following Buddhism has improved my growth and ability to handle situations greatly, however, I battle with the direct conflict between these two thoughts 1) being happy with what I have right now, because everything right now is exactly how it’s meant to be (this thought serves me well and has been the basis of recovery from much depression and anxiety in my life) to….hang on a minute, this person doesn’t need me anymore.

    The whole basis of improvement in my negative thoughts, has been to be happy with what I have and not make mistakes of keep changing and dropping things (like I have done in the past) in search of things that are better. When it feels like my partner acts like I’m not important anymore (after nearly 5 years) It clashes my the two beliefs together. ..Don’t settle for less than you’re worth, but don’t disregard what you already have as not being good enough. It’s really very difficult!

  • http://twitter.com/GeraldSmart Gerald Smart

    I actually found this post by accident. I took what you had to say Lori and posted on my personal blog along with my opinion. Check it out.

    Relationships: Battling of Minds. Gerald Smart Versus Lori Deschene
    https://www.empowernetwork.com/kayzar/?p=132

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for sharing the link Gerald! It seems we have similar opinions on the matter. I’m glad you found the post helpful and I appreciate that you shared your thoughts!

  • Sad and Worried

    Thank you for this post.. I’m currently struggling with a decision about my 7-year marriage in which I have two small children.. My husband has had infidelities both real and online emotionally, and has addictive tendencies toward things like alcohol or sleeping pulls, which is a huge problem for me. He continues to lie and tonight I stumbled across a recently filled prescription he’d hidden as well as a membership to an online flirting site… This all while both of us are going to individual counseling in attempts to improve our relationship and ourselves

  • http://twitter.com/GeraldSmart Gerald Smart

    Hmm it looks like my post hasn’t been approved or it was deleted. Hmmmm?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Gerald,

    It’s two comments below this one, and I responded to it! =)

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m so sorry to hear about what’s been going on with your husband. I hope counseling helps him work through these issues, both for his own well-being and for your relationship!

  • Craig Alexander McLaren

    Amazing how true ur message is, I never took myself for low self esteem but here I am writing this post. My wife whome I try to defend keeps letting me down in each and every way, I found a video of her and another man whome she was apparently datin when I broke up with her bc of past actions. I know what I would tell myself and I always justify her actions for a reason il never understand. I just wan to b happy I guess, thought I could change her but as u said give urself the advise u would give others and u will know the answer. I am sue everyone who reads this post is going through something so my advice to them and to myself is be happy, take ur own advise and if u think something is not right don’t justify it, move on to someone who is truely worth it bc deep down I think we all know that we should move on

  • Blast from the past

    Wow Ashley, all theses years go by and now the irony in it all is very amusing. I guess it is true, “the apple does not fall far from the tree”. Best of luck with your divorce, I’m sure you have already moved onto “greener pastures”.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m so sorry to hear about your wife, Craig. That’s excellent advice!

  • alias

    I hated how the mother I love (but no longer have any respect for) treated me throughout my childhood and continues to do so till this day when she gets the chance which is not often at all. It used to make me seriously consider two things; should i choose to live and run by which i was thinking of asking for help from outside (school had Councillor who would often call me to speak to them but I somehow felt I was betraying mom if I did) or just to quit this life and see if I can get reborn somewhere happier. Then I met someone who I thought was an angel sent by god, for the first time someone accepted my everything and complimented on me . that used to be a big thing. a simple compliment for what I did, said, wore, made. well, time went by and one day, I notice myself behaving just like I do in presence of mom when he is around, like a sad dog constantly minding your mood. he was constantly doing the tsk sound with tongue to let me know he was irritated. he was the sort of a person who is this quiet nice to all outside, but at home he somehow feels very important and is just in bad mood to make you try your best comforting him, serving his majesty. I tried to let him know I was moving away, which to my surprise also made him decide to move with me, to the opposite side of the country! I then decided to not go. It was the best thing Ive ever done for myself. being alone is no where near as sad as being with someone who you just cant be happy with, or in my case who just cant be happy with me.

  • Stuff

    Thank you very much for this!!!! It is EXACTLY what I needed!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad it helped!

  • Nathan Burns

    So my girlfriend Isabella cheated on me.. It’s ripping me into pieces. I loved her more then anything in the world. She was my life. Is it wrong that I feel like I want to die because of how much she hurt me?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Nathan,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what happened. I don’t think it’s wrong to feel devastated; most people would–but I hope you aren’t seriously considering taking your life. Are you?

    Incidentally, you may want to share your story in the Tiny Buddha forums to gain advice and support from the community. It’s a really loving space! It’s free to join here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/register

    Then you can access the forums here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/forums

    You are in my thoughts…

    Lori

  • Nathan Burns

    Not anymore. I just lost my mind yesterday. But you know, I just don’t see how anyone could do that to somebody.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Has she explained what motivated her to do it?

  • Nathan Burns

    No I haven’t been able to speak with her. She got sent to an insane asylum and I found out yesterday. It’s one of those places where np contact is allowed with the outside world.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know it likely doesn’t make it any easier, but this gives some more context into where her head was at. She clearly hasn’t been in the greatest mental space. I hope she gets the help she needs, and that, in time, you’re able to heal and make peace with all this. Sending good thoughts your way…

  • kellydenihan

    my husband brought another woman in my home ,,my bed..its been a year chocking down his lies . hes told me repeatedly he does not care…stupid here…im moving on finally,,,,

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened Kelly–but glad you are moving on! I can only imagine how tough this has been for you. You are in my thoughts…

  • Sally Brown

    Gosh, Lori this is such a great post. I really love your last line about stepping back and asking what I would tell a friend in my shoes. I would tell her that she is worthy of a healthy, compassionate, lovely person in her life and not what she has. Your website is so great. I have it saved in my favorite whenever I need some inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are making such a difference in the world!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, and thanks so much, Sally! It means the world to me to know the site makes a positive difference. =)

  • anonymous

    Thanks to drolorispiritualtemple@gmail.com for At last my happiness has been restored by a Man named Dr olori ,, my name’s are miss KIRSTEN i want every one on this site or forum to join me thank this DR olori for what he just did for me and my kids . my story goes like this i was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to Italy for a business trip where he met this prostitute who be witched he to hate me and the kids and love her only so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy for to see that other woman. so i and my kids were now so frustrated and i was just staying with my mum and i was not be treating good because my mama got married to another man when my after my daddy death so the man she got married to was not treating i and my kids well so i was so confuse and i was searching for a way to get my husband back to me and my kids so one day as i was browsing on my computer i saw a testimony about this MAN DR olori of drolorispiritualtemple@gmail.com shared on the internet by a lady and it impress me too so i also think of give it a try at first a was scared by when i think of what me and my kids are passing through so i contact him and he told me to stay calm for just two days that my husband shall be restored to me and to my best surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr olori and he said your problems are solved my child so this was how i get my family back after a long stress of brake up by an evil lady so with all this help from DR olori of drolorispiritualtemple@gmail.com i want you all on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to olori and i will also advice for any one in such or similar problems or any kind of problems should also contact him for help
    Good bye

  • I

    As I sit here reeling from a recent argument with my boyfriend and realizing I just spent 30 mins in the shower crying… I am wondering… why is it so hard for me to just give up? The excuses I have made are.. we’ve come so far, he loves my child, I love his. Yet… I am broken. I keep trying and seem to be failing. Todays argument was about a FB post, he thought I was salivating over a celebrity when I posted a song and said” It’s getting sexy in here!”… what I meant was… the song was sexy. He went off and said that he was hurt and couldn’t understand why I followed artists. As if I could even get with one…. or want a celebrity! It was the most ridiculous argument ever. He said the fact that I was upset was because I was guilty … but I was MAD because it was so Stupid! I don’t know if that’s normal guy behavior or what!? Maybe I did mess up but his reaction was so ridiculous.

  • Eric

    I have been dating an amazing woman for the past few months. We recently decided that it would be a good thing for me to move from Wisconsin to the Chicago area. I decided to move and have been living with her for the past month. The problem I have is that she suffers from depression. She is very moody and shuts down. Countless hours just wanting to sleep. She feels she is broken and has nothing to give to the relationship. She gets very overwhelmed with simple tasks and in turn makes her very standoffish. I want her to know how much I love her and how much I want to be there for her. I understand depression is an illness! Someone please help me! I really love this woman. I truly want to spend my life with her. Depression is an illness. I am not willing to turn my back on her. Deep down I know we can have an amazing life!

  • Tania

    Hi, are you still responding to this site

  • Brevity

    This is very sweet, and helped me on a very tough night at a very tough time. He walked out a month ago tonight.

    He did threaten me before the break-up. I jokingly put my face close to his when we were in bed talking. He didn’t react then, but later he said that when I did that, he “had the instinct” to hit me. When I raised this in a post break-up row, he said I should have known not to do that to him, because he was in a bad mood. Now, I’d be fine with someone saying, at the time, that they objected. But to tell me coolly later that he’d thought of hitting me – that’s worrying. I became rather nervous of him after that. And I cannot conceive of ever wanting to physically hurt someone I loved.

    I have to keep reminding myself of this, because I can’t quite believe it happened. But as you say – What if a friend had told me that story about her boyfriend? Well, I’d be very worried.

    Would I say to someone, “There’s a man you should meet. He’s lovely and charming. He has a conviction for slapping a 16 year old girl, and he did threaten his girlfriend, but he can explain why he was in the right about all that.”?

    So it’s (a) Where did I learn to fancy such people and, (b) (much harder) how do I change that, and have love in my life one day, without the dangers, emotional and physical?

    Mentally scarred and very scared, both of others and my own inclinations.

  • Brevity

    Oh, I hope so.

  • Brevity

    Yes! I too thought I was “getting my point across” but I realise now that I was training him to treat me badly – just a bit of whining from the “missus” and then, business as usual. I didn’t walk away because I felt so much for him and I was scared (and still am) that I would never find anyone again. Then after the break-up, I had this phase of “understanding his problems” which I thought meant I could go back and make it work. But for my point of view, his problem was that he had no respect for me whatsoever by then. What a horrible mess it all is.

  • Siquando

    My ex partner left me in September. My mum died in 2011 and I didn’t deal with it properly….I realise now that my depression lead to a form of emotional abuse. Her ending our relationship was the right thing to do, because if we had carried on I would have damaged her and our children more….I’m so ashamed and embarrassed with my behaviour. I’m now taking a really active part in counselling and support groups to rebuild myself. She has moved on and met someone else who I hope treats her far better than I did during the last part of our 4 year relationship. I only want her to be happy and understand that she needs to be without me for that to happen.

    I have to deal with regret, remorse and guilt everyday….I ruined the love of my life.

  • Paradox Phrike

    I got all of these. What do I need to do now?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Siquando,

    I am so sorry to hear about your losses. I know how easy it is to feel ashamed of yourself when you think you’ve made a big mistake, but from my vantage point you have a lot to be proud of.

    You’re incredibly self-aware, you’re working hard to heal from the pain of your grief, and you want for your ex-partner’s happiness, when you could easily be bitter and resentful. It may take a while to release your regret, guilt, and remorse, but if you keep doing what you’re doing, I’m sure you will. I’m also sure you deserve that. You didn’t act as you did because you’re a bad person. You were going through a tough time and doing the best you could.

    I wish you continued healing and boundless self-love. You are in my thoughts…

    Lori

  • rach

    You know what you are talking about through experience and I agree with you 100%.

  • chaz

    Hi there.. exactly the same thing has happened to me word for word ur using and for the same reasons though it was his mum.
    You just cannot reason with them
    . Did he realize in the what he lost and want u bk? then it was too late i moved on?

  • SONIA

    I am here to testify on how Dr Lawrence help me to bring back my ex-husband who left me 3 months ago i got his email on the internet on an article how he had help so many people,so i emailed the Dr and tell my problems to him and after that day he gave me assurance of 3days,to my greatest surprise my husband came back to me in third day of contacting him,i want to say a very big thank you to drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com

  • Anonymous.

    Most people will not and do not care about your feelings or your needs.
    The best way to be responsible is to let people be who they are and rely on them as little as possible.t

  • awakening1

    This 100% me. I have committed myself to being single for at least a year. I won’t even date. I am about to heal my self-esteem issues, learn to be alone and love myself for once in my life. I know when someone is wrong and when they don’t deserve me. I refuse to accept it any longer.

  • Jay

    Hi,

    I have been experiencing the same thing.
    An ex-boyfriend left me. So many details, so painful. He left without a word. I battle with myself over my parts and his. It hurts very much. Very very much.
    I’m sorry about your pain. I really understand.

    – J

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this – I don’t know how I didn’t come across it before. I too stayed longer than I should in a relationship, because I didn’t feel I deserved any better. Odd thing is though, is the longer I stayed, the more he broke me. I worry that I am broken forever. But I work every day to get stronger, meet healthier people, and I am hoping with time to put it behind me. Finding this site has given me some comfort, and I thank you for that. Truly.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad the site has been helpful to you–and I’m inspired by what you wrote about working to get stronger every day. I think that’s the best any of us can do. Sending good thoughts your way…

  • samantha

    I agree that’s exactly how my boyfriend asks we have been together for two years now on my last birthday he didn’t get me anything or take me anywhere and he kept yelling at me and making mean comments i have been diagnosed with endometriosis and when I’m in bad pain and need him he isn’t there for me won’t help me and he definitely ain’t there emotionally

  • Jack

    My girlfriend said that to me many times “as if i could even get with one(celebrity)”. As silly as it sounds, that made me feel like i was just a substitute and started questioning what is going on in her mind, does she really like me or just find it convenient.