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    Hi Belle!
    Stop blaming yourself or even your “ego” for that kind of stuff. You are not the victim of your ego! We are humans, and our reward system is by default addicted to attention. The only thing you can do is to accept that it is an addiction and treat it like that. You will not make that feeling stop. But you can try and “redirect” it like Inky said, find something healthier to replace it and to give you a feeling of reward. (I like to think that the “ego” is a bunch of apes, and you don’t want them to take control over you, and mindfulness is good and all, but sometimes it’s ok to satisfy their needs and give them some carots.)

    BUT: Don’t give them sugar! Don’t feed the addiction! So firstly: Block him on social media!!! Unfollow him on instagram! NOW! If your profile is public, kindly ask him not to interact so you can get closure. (But I’m sure there must be a way to block users on insta too…)
    Secondly: You can’t just “let go of ego” and make your feelings go away. You can be mindful about it, but a breakup is still painful! A month is not a very long time. It will take more time to heal. But it will happen. You will find others whose attention makes you feel better, and in a healthier way. Make space in your life for them. You are on the right track!

    Love, kath


    Dear D.,

    Wow. This is a mess.
    I sure know that feeling “Am I crazy?” “Am I doing this?”… I’ve been through something similar (on a much more subtle level though) the last years. And what I have learned is this: You need to trust your own feelings. EVEN if they are not objectivly right or even if he sees things differently. Your feelings are your only source, your only measurement for whether something is good or right for YOU!

    It could be that you were maybe too whiny in the beginning and he was too afraid of losing you to clearly communicate what the relationship to his ex means to him. That is maybe where the trust issue started. But on the other hand you cannot go on to destroy yourself, deconstruct yourself, especially when you keep on feeling that there is something off, when he keeps lying to you and when he doesn’t work on the relationship with you and help you get along with his family (instead of actually turning them against you and scapegoating you).

    I’m going out on a far limb here, but could it be that he is a covert narcissist? He needs constant approval, he pretends to be the victim and scapegoats you in front of his family, he tries to keep you under control by telling you you are crazy… (which is gaslighting, by the way).

    D, even if he where right with any of this: Even if you were (and I honestly doubt that) a crazy, overjealous bitch – wouldn’t he be the totally wrong person for you then? Wouldn’t you need (and deserve) someone who gives you more peace and trust, who doesn’t trigger this part of you that much, who doesn’t call you crazy (which is gaslighting btw), but tries to understand where your feelings come from and helps you work through them? (And wouldn’t you be the wrong person for him, who seems to need a lot of approval from his ex and family)
    He is not creating trust or a partnership where you feel valued, he is isolating you from his family and gives you the feeling that your feelings are not valid. That sucks! Your self esteem is being eroded here like!
    I could not find a single abusive thing you did in what you wrote. And if you have whined to long about stuff it is because you didn’t feel it was resolved, because your trust is hurt and because for some reason he doesn’t make you feel safe.
    –> A friend of mine is really a whiny bitch ( i still love her), and she is constantly nagging her bf – but he has also kept things from her, has lied to her occasionally and doesn’t really see her feelings. He is not a really bad guy, but the thing is: she wasn’t this way with others, and even though it’s not exactly his fault or intention HE MAKES her a whiny bitch and makes her not like herself – although she is a lovable girl who was totally relaxed in other relationships – and she tries to be more understanding and is constantly putting her own feelings and needs down to keep it going, instead of just saying: You don’t meet my standards of honesty and I don’t feel safe, i’m sorry.)

    So you need to validate your own feelings: Find out what really feels true – for YOU! And find out what you can and want to live with, and draw healthy boundaries! A safe, honest relationship shouldn’t feel like this, and in your heart you know its true – so what is keeping you with a person who doesn’t value you or make you feel good about yourself?
    (And please, do never ever believe someone who says you are crazy, because a true friend would never do that and would – if you WERE going crazy, try to let you know in a loving and constructive way and would try to understand how you feel.)

    Take only what you find to be true here, I can only make wild guesses.
    I wish you the very best, take care!!!


    Dear Jess,

    Ok, now I got it 😀

    I just broke up with my bf after 6 years of a rollercoaster relationship, and it’s the first time I have to face being alone after about 10 years. Plus I had a very lonesome childhood and my first boyfriend died when i was 17. So I can really relate to your attachment issues and your fear of losing either of them.

    But since the breakup I also learned a lot about healthy boundaries, and about making healthy decisions for myself.

    I wonder whether you hid your rekindled relationship only because you didn’t want to hurt the guys feelings (which I get now, as you broke up with him although he was there for you when you got abandoned…?), or also because you couldn’t really justify getting back together with someone who has abandoned you… Did that ever get resolved, and can you be sure of that relationship now? Is there enough trust? I wonder whether you are neglecting your own truth somewhere in here.
    Why does your (ex)-bf believe someone else more than you?

    I think you should figure out what is actually good for you, what you want, and then stand up for it… you have the right to have your own preferences and choices, and no honest friend will leave you for that.

    Btw do you know about CoDA? (Codependents Anonymous?)


    At the same time, don’t worry or overthink too much! Your emotions are totally valid! As long as they don’t get out of hand and cause trouble between you two, you are just a caring, sensitive person – who is understandably upset about how people treat their friend!
    That’s normal, and even desirable, and doesn’t mean you are spoilt or wrong or anything! Anyone would wish to have a friend who is as caring and considerate to do the right thing!
    Plus you seem to have a good relationship with this friend, so he will hopefully tell you if he needs something else from you… so don’t worry too much!! :-)))


    I think you still might have a shot with your bf. But as anita said, you need to be very honest with yourself.
    I think it’s important you don’t blame anyone else, but try to figure out how you contributed to this mess.

    I’m wondering why you clung (?) to a person who was not a good enough boyfriend to stay with you, nor a good enough friend to actually stay in your life and be a real friend? You seem to have known that you weren’t “just friends”…
    And how can you keep a relationship of 7 years from a “friend”??

    I can understand that your bf has lost trust, even without your ex saying to him what he said. So you need to build that trust up again by being very honest about your mistakes, about what happened and about what you feel towards him. If your bf is not a total asshole he will give you the chance to tell your part of the story after he has worked through his initial anger.
    You can’t know if being honest and open is enough to get back together and try again, but it is the first step, and necessary for clearing up this mess and forgiving/not fostering any more regrets.

    (You could maybe let him know that you want him to know your part of the story which is very different from the version he has been told, but that you understand his anger/confusion and respect his space, so that he should let you know when he feels ok to talk about things…)

    I wish you the very best!


    Hey Charlie!

    I’ll just give you my very personal opinion. Seems like you’ve been caught up between your friends codependent behaviour and your own …
    I think it is completely ok to tell him that it hurts you to see this and what you think about it – because you care, and that is what friends are for. You don’t have to pretend everything is fine and you can stand by what you think.
    However, as obviously shitty as the situation sounds, as a friend you also have to respect his decisions. Don’t fall into the trap of controlling/manipulating his life, even if you only wish the best for him. You will only create a new codependency. He is a grown man, and he needs to learn healthy interdependance – getting your honest opinion, and making his own decisions and mistakes if needed.
    At the same time you might want to look into why this triggers you so much, and how your friendship is constructed… do you take on a “healer” or “helper” position very often? Do you want to sustain the friendship by being needed by him? Can YOU draw healthy boundaries in terms of letting things go that you cannot change or that are not your responsibility? (Btw that does not mean you don’t care).

    A lot of projections of my own stuff again here, so feel free to dismiss this if I’m off.


    Yup, you do come across like that.
    Ever heard about the inner critic, or, corresponding to that, the outer critic?
    There is some great work on that (and how to deal with it) by Pete Walker, and a lot of it is freely accessible on his website, like this article:


    Just the abstract:
    “This article describes childhood trauma’s role in creating an intimacy-destroying, toxic outer critic – a counterpart of the self esteem-destroying inner critic described in my article: “Shrinking the Inner Critic in Complex PTSD”. The outer critic projects onto others the same processes of perfectionism and endangerment that the inner critic uses against the self. It perseverates about the unworthiness [imperfection] and treacherousness [dangerousness] of others to avoid emotional investment in relationships for fear they will replicate early parental betrayals.
    The outer critic builds fortresses of isolation whose walls are enumerations of the exaggerated shortcomings and potential treacheries of others. In an awful irony, the critic attempts to protect us from abandonment by scaring us further into it…”

    Might wanna look into that.


    Dear Xenopus,

    some more thoughts, even though you didn’t really reply to my last post.

    Anita has a point here, I think you are not actually listening, but just venting… (it’s your jobs fault, it’s the womens fault for not seeing things they should see, it’s the worlds fault for being as it is… )

    You seem to carry a lot of resentment in you, and demand that people see you and your reality. But are you seeing other people and their truths?

    What happened that makes you so angry? Who/what hurt you so much that you resent everything and everyone? Because that is not the world, that is some blueprint in you, some expectation that did not get fulfilled or was disappointed.
    So what is it you actually expect from people and this world, Xenopous??


    Dear Xenopous Tex,

    I think there are two different things at work here:

    1. The actual cost and your anger about not having recognised it early enough, for whatever reason.
    It’s annoying, I can understand that you are angry, but it is not a drama – you will not end up homeless or have other serious consequences because of this, as far as I understand? (Even if, it would help more to focus on a solution than on blaming yourself). And we are all human. We cannot be perfect and control everything at once. In hindsight we think we can, but you will only get anxious, paranoid and even more unhappy if you try to control every last bit of life in oder to avoid mistakes. (Look around you at people who do that, they are not fun to be around and they also dont like themselves a lot and neither are they very happy…you don’t get happier from having things under control) I think it is a better approach to accept that life is full of mistakes (because honestly, this shit happens to everyone, and has also happened to me in a similar form), and to allow for that instead of making yourself miserable.

    2. The other thing that is at work are the emotions this incident brings up in you, and the things you are starting to reflect on because of this. I think that maybe it’s good that this thing happend and opened up a valve…
    About two years ago I had a phase where I felt EVERYTHING was going wrong, and I almost felt like the universe had joined forces to take me down. But seeing it from a different perspective now I would say it was mostly my own destructive thinking.
    I think it is important that you (after accepting that life is not perfect, you are not perfect and neither is anyone around you) take responsibility for your own happiness, and start to slowly build a life that you might like.
    But for that you need to stop bashing yourself for mistakes or things you cannot control, and stop blaming your surroundings for your unhappiness. Calender quote right here: Life doesn’t have a remote. You need to get up and change it yourself.

    I hope this is of any use for you, fuck that money and take care of yourself, because you deserve to be happy, as anyone else does.


    Dear Anita,
    I had to cry after reading what you wrote. You are absolutely right, and there is a lot for me to take out of your words.

    Especially the thought of not interfering with my exes therapy helped me to calm down and focus on something else than what this is right now.
    I wouldn’t call 4 years of therapy prematurely, she is a good therapist, and I could go back to her any time, but I had the feeling our work was coming to an end and I learned all from her that I could.

    Since my boyfriend died when I was seventeen I have made it a point to be very honest about what and who I am with people, so I am positive I won’t run into conflict there…

    It’s very wise to see these interactions as an exercise in getting to know people and yes, learning to relate to them in a healthy way. I guess I just panicked and overthought things.
    And you are absolutely right, I do have the lack of adequate loving in common with my ex, and I am not finished with working on these issues…

    Thank you for your detailed and practical and emphatic advise, I appreciate it a lot!! 🙂


    Hey you two, thank you so much for your input!

    @ Inky: You’re a gem. Yes, I’m addicted to the should’s, and I’m actually quite afraid of letting go and trusting what is right for ME and learning to make healthy decisions by actually making them and not pressuring myself in some shoulda woulda coulda way.
    Thinking that it doesn’t really matter and I can make up the rules as I go feels very freeing…

    : You’ve hit a spot there, but maybe in a different way then intended: I do have some very good male and female friends. And I have as many hobbies and endeavours as guys 😀 I’m a standup comedian, a showartist and have a fulltime job that I do like a lot. During the last year of the relationship all of these have suffered, because I was very often too sad, so now I’m diving into them bigtime…
    But all these hobbies and things going on are mostly stuff I do on my own, and though I love them I sometimes feel really lonely.
    I’m actually ending up in the same coulda/should/woulda thing: Should I be less ambitious? Should I cut back on shows to find myself? Even though I am very passionate about these things?
    I already recognised that I should cut back a little and spend more time with family and friends. (My sister just had a baby and is renovating a house, and I feel really bad that I am not there as often as she might need me right now, because I’m always stressed out and off on some show or other thing…)

    I have the feeling that very often I don’t fit in, and that it’s quite hard to relate to people at work for instance… So when I do get sad it feels like a spiral that get’s out of control very easily, because I do a lot on my own. Sometimes I think I “should” (here we go again) just watch TV and do what other people do all day, but I don’t really think it would make me feel less lonely… Maybe I’m thinking that an intimate relationship would help me fill that gap – which I “should” learn to fill myself or with help of friends…

    And yes, you are very right about seeing men as human beings… there is some part of me that is just scanning every guy as a potential mate, and I somehow can’t even control that. (I’m not jumping on everything that moves, I don’t even have time for all that, but it does happen in my head)…

    Ok, this ended up very messy, but I think I’m starting to fit some puzzle pieces together…


    Dear Rocccks, i’m glad it helped!
    About the thinking part:
    I had to move out, so the first two to three weeks I was pretty occupied.
    Honestly, I still think about it every day, usually several times, but not excessively. In the beginning there was a lot of anger, I thought a lot about why and what happened. I think this is completely normal, and its healthy to experience your own anger.
    But I think its also good to be careful not to get stuck in bitterness and anger, because that will only hurt you, not him. He does not deserve this kind of power over your life and wellbeing.
    I tried to gain the perspective that my Ex did not do this to hurt ME, but that he would have done it anyways to anyone and that HE is just like that, and in the end it’s got nothing to do with me or my worth as a person (because that’s the part that hurts). I have never looked at his FB-Page once, and blocked all content and chat function and all.
    The first weeks I vented to friends here and there, but now, whenever I recognize that I’m losing myself over this, I try to ask myself: Is this helping ME right now? Is this getting ME anywhere? Is there anything I will gain from thinking about this? The answer is usually “NO“. 😀
    It takes a while and I think its completely normal to think about it a lot. Just be aware of it and try to again and again to shift the focus to what YOU need to learn from this situation and how YOU can deal with it in a better way, and don’t get stuck in anger and blaming. I am right now trying to use the experience to have better relationships -next time a guy like this comes around I will be more aware, I will not take crap and trust my own feelings if something feels off.
    It will get better very gradually, and one day you will wake up and recognize happily that you don’t give a f… ;-D
    You have got a lot of positive energy and the will to live a good life, so don’t worry! :-)))
    Also, I find that being on your own feels much better than feeling insecure and on the edge in a relationship all the time! We will rock!
    So long



    Hey rocccks!
    I’m in a similar situation, after a temporary break up I got back together with my Ex-BF and now we have split up for good.
    The sadness part is scary, but maybe this “two step” break-up is actually a good thing: You know much more now about him, you can discard false hopes much more easily, and you have griefed a lot already.
    At least for me it was not nearly as bad as the first time!

    Some moments of sadness are inevitable, and they are also very valuable! The experience that you can nurse yourself through these moments, that you can accept, own and hold your sadness – this is what will make you much stronger and happier and more confident!
    So invite them, let them come and rock on through them!
    If you want to feel more safe you can make plans what you can do or what will help you in these moments, for example write an encouraging letter to yourself that you can read when you hit a low.
    I have a no brainer yoga routine of only two or three movements that I repeat like a mantra if it gets bad.
    However, most of the time I am surprisingly good! 😀 I had like 3 or 4 days where I was so sad I thought I couldn’t bear it, and I think they were only so bad because I was so afraid to fall apart and that I wouldn’t get things together again, so I kept fighting the feelings. But alas, nothing happened and I am feeling much better!

    I am pretty sure with your friends from University and so much to look forward too you will be fine, if not awesome, and some days or maybe even a few weeks of sadness will not thwart that, but they might actually contribute to your sense of self compassion! So roccck on! 🙂


    Dear Stephanie!
    This must be really hard right now, and believe me, I know this feeling. But don’t give up on yourself, and don’t run away from the pain. The pain means that you are an emotional being that is capable of love and of letting someone close to them.

    I don’t think anyone can take that pain from you right now, you will have to go through it, accept and understand that it will take some time to gradually get better.

    However, there is a subjective thing I want to say:
    You write that its such a good match and everythings perfect, etc… But even if your life goals seem to match up, there is more to a relationship! He does not seem to be a very stable person, or capable of dealing with his own emotions. And it is not your responsibility or even within your power to fix him! Do you really want to be with a person who – unintentionally but nonetheless – pulls and pushes you away again and keeps hurting you? Your hope that this will change is noble but is it realistic?
    Could it be that therefore he is not the right person for you as things are? Should you start to protect your own boundaries?
    Another question you should or could ask yourself is: Why are your emotions so strong? It is completely normal to feel sad and to be afraid and feel really shitty… but is there maybe something else? How did you feel before you knew him? Where you ok with being on your own? Or are you using the relationship to cover up some deeper wound that is now being ripped open?

    (I hope I’m not putting too much or the wrong things on you right now, these are just the questions I am facing myself right now, having split up with my boyfriend after 6 years because I was an anxious wreck with nervous breakdowns, worn out by being pulled and pushed away again … I don’t know your guy, but my personal advice right here would be: Start taking care of yourself, respect yourself, create healthy boundaries for yourself and don’t make yourself dependant on a dream of a relationship that clearly does not exist the way you want it to…)

    I wish you all the best, try to take care of yourself as best as you can… (It helped me to be aware of my feelings and always ask myself: What is the very next best thing I can do for myself? A cup of tea, sleep, eat, meet friends, cuddle up…) I hope you will feel better soon!!


    Here’s an advice my therapist gave me to build a positive self-image, and I think it works pretty well:
    Carry dried peas (or sth. of a similar size) in one of your pockets. Whenever you have done something well, take one of the peas and put it in a different pocket. Look at the peas from this pocket at the end of the day and review what you did.
    To do something well does not mean you have to do something extraordinary: It can be as little as getting up in time, if you have problems with that. Or making a healthy breakfast for yourself. Or finally sending that stupid mail you should have send a week ago. Or conquering a panic attack. Or calling a friend. Or being nice to someone/ having a nice little chat after which you feel good…

    This technique teaches you that you are able to shape your world and your feelings in small ways, it makes you feel more powerful and it trains the positive voice instead of your inner critic who is trying to put you down all the time.

    Try it for a few days and let me know how it works out!

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