How to deal with guys that disappear and reappear

So, because I had an experience with a guy that disappeared and also partially because my ex had this habit, I have thought about this topic lately quite a bit. I think the most difficult for me to accept is the fact that ultimately I was not as important to those guys as they were to me. This is a tough pill to swallow and I have been trying to avoid accepting it. Somehow we always try to deceive ourselves thinking as if he – just is denying his feelings, he loves me, but does not know it ….fill in the blanks. On one hand deception serves to avoid feeling bad about ourselves in this moment, but on the other hand it is also what keeps us in denial.

I lived in denial with my ex for years. Something in me refused to admit that he just was not committed to our relationship. It was easier to think that I am over-reacting or I am needy or whatnot. Well, I was all these things as well, no doubt about that, but still it does not erase the fact that my ex was never as invested as I was.

I have one male friend who keeps appearing in my life once in a while with occasional short messages. To me his behavior has always been somewhat confusing because I am thinking – well what kind of a friendship is that? I mean what is the point?  Until today I realized. I bite every time. His messages make me feel important and I invest emotionally and write a really nice and loving response. That is why he keeps messaging to me occasionally…I mean who would not want to have some dosages of love for so little effort?

The same applies to my ex and the disappearing guy. I mean if you had a chance to get your dosage of love and even your sexual needs met without fully investing, would you say no? I mean everything would be right and nice, if I did not emotionally invest. If I managed my emotional investment the same way these guys do. I mean lets face it, a guy who writes to you a short message in every four months does not invest anything. It would be stupid of you to them treat him as dear and close friend.

So, I have been emotionally investing into people that have not done the same with me. Not at least to same extent. This is a difficult topic however, because I do not want to be a cold person. I want to be a warm person, but I need to learn how to make my investments to other people correspond to their investments to me. Furthermore, I need to understand why I am so gullible that one facebook message can somehow turn me over and I can instantly become loving and caring. I can now clearly see that I am in a habit of overinvesting and letting both my partners and friends take advantage of me in that way. But I have no idea how to correct this nor how many friends I have left at the point where I have critically evaluated my investments.

So to go back to the original topic – the way you deal with the guy that disappears and reappears, you do not get invested emotionally. He has proven you with his actions that he is not that invested. I mean if he can disappear, his investment is not that high. So, you hold yourself and do not get invested either. You do not behave like me with my friends by giving him love whenever he makes appearance again. Instead you treat him based on his actions and he has just acted like a casual distant acquaintance so this is the kind of spot he should have in your life and in your heart.

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Why some people act entitled?

I am currently visiting my mother and that has given me so much food for thought. Today, inspired by a recent event with my mum, I wanted to talk about entitlement.

The event in itself was following. My mother asked me to help her with something. However it quickly appeared that she had most her days booked and she in fact had only very few times she could do the chore. Instead of telling me, OK fine, I must have made a miscalculation here, she started blaming me for never helping her and resorted to her room where she sat pouting the whole evening. This behavior just puzzled me so much, because there were so many things wrong here. I mean…..

If you ask someone a favor, in my mind you are going to be accommodating towards this person and you do your damnest to agree on a time that fits them. What you definitely do not do is to demand that they cancel their plans. Finally if they refuse, you do not go into pouting mode, which only lets the helper know that you are unable to take into account their needs.

So I concluded that there are some people that just feel entitled. Mind me, my mum does not feel such entitlement about other people, but she feels it about me. She feels that she is entitled for accommodating and nice behavior from me, irregardless of how she behaves herself.

And now comes the moment of honesty. My ex told me numerous times that I acted entitled during our relationship. I never understood what he was talking about. In my mind he had issues with people’s expectations (and he did). However, I am now starting to see his point of view. So why did I act entitled?

I acted entitled, because I thought asking people for things made me inferior. It set me to the position of one man down, so I did not do that with strangers, but in relationships, I thought I should not have to do that. This imaginary position of inferiority made me feel so bad that I would rather go around and tell him what he owed me than actually ask for things. Of course, my ex would also go around telling me constantly what he had done for me, so this did not help with my feelings of inferiority.

Anyways, based on my own behavior, I assume that people who act entitled feel extremely vulnerable when asking something from someone. In order to avoid feeling vulnerable, they would rather go and aggressively demand it, because then the other people do not see that they are actually in need of help. Instead they show as fighting for their rights or whatnot. Anything but not weak and vulnerable. I think, at least for me, understanding where this entitlement comes from, makes it easier to deal with it.

Parents that ignore their kids problems

My whole childhood went by with my mum ignoring my problems or telling me to take care of them and somehow not bother her with those. Perhaps the clearest examples were my illnesses. I had a stomach flu a lot when I was a kid and I do not have a single memory of my mum actually getting up at night and doing anything for me. Mind me, the earliest memories I have are from the age of five. At this age I was already completely independently getting up and sleeping in the bathroom because I did not want to ruin the bed. My mum still talks about the one and the only time when I actually vomited in the bed and how troublesome it was for her. Other times when I actually was shaking and sleeping in the bathroom, well she treats as normality. This is how it should work.

The situation is completely different when she is ill. She once asked me to come to the countryside and take care of her when she was ill in the middle of the night before I was supposed to move to another country the next day. Yes. She was not even supposed to be there sending me away to another country, because she had her vacation.

This habit of hers to show remarkable indifference towards my problems still shows. We do not talk about my problems. The most personal I can get with my mum is talking about my work. Overall we usually talk about her life and her work. Just like we did throughout my childhood.

If my problems became so big that they were impossible to ignore, like me considering suicide because of the bullying and finally confessing to my mum, she sent me away. She sent me to the psychologist (which was quite a good move). Mind me not the paid one, but a school psychologist which was for free. We never ever talked about the issue again. She had successfully delegated the responsibility for my problems to someone else.

I learned that no one cares about your problems. I learned that you should not even bother other people with your issues. Furthermore, I learned to take care of other people’s needs and problems and not even expect any kind of mutuality there. I also did not have any successful skills in resolving my problems, because no grownup ever bothered to give me any advice on solving them. So for most of my life my problem solving skills remained to the level of five year old.

I hate that there is a part of me that still longs and wishes that mum would care. That she would show for once interest in how I have managed with all the issues in my life. But no, she is usually there to take the credit for my achievements but never there through my hardships. I just had to write this post about my current feelings. More analysis will follow.

Never a first choice

I have recently seen several dreams about being left out, being excluded. I think I have gone through my life always feeling like a second choice. I have not really spent enough time exploring where this feeling comes from, but I can tell you about some of my experiences in connection to this.

One of my best friends in childhood would always end up bullying me with her other friends during her birthdays. I never questioned her actions that much, instead I felt embarrassed for being in that position. I have spent feeling embarrassed and trying to hide this experience of being rejected, disregarded or devalued many many times. Thinking it is my fault. Thinking that if others find out, they too, will reject me. Like rejection was this contageous disease….

When my ex would rather hang around with his friends, it was my old feeling of rejection that came out. I thought the problem was me. I was not fun enough. My ex kept telling me that because of me, he does not want to come home. I do not make home a pleasant place. With his friends he feels at home. When a new guy told me that he cannot promise he will meet me on Friday evening because something fun might come up, I thought again – it is me, I am not fun enough.

I collect such experiences, so obviously there is something wrong with me, but probably not what I thought was wrong at the time. The wrong thing is potentially that I kept hanging around my ex after he told me that it was my responsibility to make him want to come home. Like I was his personal entertainer and he had no responsibilities in making my evenings pleasurable. The problem was probably that I did not ditch the guy after he left me hanging seeing if his Friday could be filled with more pleasant activities.

I am slowly starting to see what is wrong and what is right. But I still feel inferior. I am even trying to model my behavior around this. For instance when a guy told me about him needing to see what his Friday brings, I told him that I in fact was busy (I was), whereby he instantly needed to know what I was doing. So I am even altering my behavior, but I mostly feel like I am pretending. If people were to find out how insecure I still feel inside they would surely treat me as a second choice and exclude me.

So obviously working with my feelings is needed, not only realization that I should not be treated that way. Not only slow change in how I react in situations like that. But altering these feelings of inferiority is sort of a challenge of a life time……for me.

It is OK to feel like a loser

A magical transformation happened when I finally accepted and understood why I might feel like a huge disappointment and failure in my life. But lets start with explaining why I spent years feeling like a failure.

Everything can really be described in one word – my mum. Nothing was ever good enough. It took me years to understand how I was constantly feeling like I was a huge walking disappointment. More so, part of me strongly agreed with my mum. I agreed with her, admitting that I was not a talented child. I was not a beautiful child. I was pretty much average or below that throughout my childhood. Since I did not have any redeeming qualities or achievements, there was really no way to gain my mu approval. Not that I would not have tried. However, even though I probably was just an average child, not really remarkable in any way, my mum’s criticism made me feel like I was the worst failure ever. There are certain parents that just have hard time accepting that their children are not the bestest the brightest the smartest and whatnot. It feels like a personal letdown for these parents. They direct their hurt and disappointed feelings towards the kid, because the kid was there to redeem them. To make them feel adequate.

So obviously I failed, because I was nowhere close to remarkable. My mother’s criticism was probably not even very wrong, but the problem is – you do not get kids in order to feel better about yourself. You get kids when you are ready to share your unconditional love. But enough about that…

Anyways, I have fought with this feelings of being inadequate my whole life. I resented myself for feeling that way. I read self development books which sad that everything would be just fine if I only loved myself and I resented myself some more. Actually this is one of the most unhelpful suggestions I have ever heard – you should just love yourself. It is like telling to an unemployed person – have you ever tried…you know…getting a job or something.

But when I stopped fighting this feeling and accepted that I might indeed feel like a failure and that it is completely OK to feel like a failure, this was when magic happened. I suddenly felt more accepted than I have felt over the years. The heavy burden of always needing to prove myself and somehow become better than I am was somewhat lifted. I accepted that I could be a failure. I could have been a failure throughout my childhood, I could still be a failure, but I was OK being a failure. I had nothing to prove anymore. I could just relax into feeling like a failure……

Interestingly enough it was at this very moment I stopped feeling like a failure. Instead I felt this excitement about the future. This knowledge that I will not have to continue screening thousands of beauty products to try to make me look more beautiful or chase unavailable men to try to make me feel better. I can just sit here and accept failing….

Struggling with intimacy and mutuality in friendships

I have spent most of my life being afraid of showing people my real feelings and the real me. Well, most of the time I was even not sure myself who this real me was. The truth is that I have always had my depressive episodes. I have done my best to hide those. I have done my best trying to always appear upbeat, not create any waves – in general be low key. My basic fear was that if I set any demands or stress on the people that surround me, they will abandon me.

I spent my mother’s illness receiving very little support from anyone. Some people in my life knew, but most of them just pretended to forget. I did not make any waves about the lacking support, except with my boyfriend at the time who decided to distance himself. All this time I felt secretly abandoned, but I did not make any waves, because I was afraid of loosing the people in my life. It did not occur to me that people who never even ask how my mum is doing during the chemotherapy might not really be my friends…

AT the age of 31, I have to accept that I have no idea how to form close friendships. How do you create friendships where there is mutual support and closeness? I would not know, because I do not think I have ever had such kind of friendship.

When I look at the current relationships in my life, I have to admit that most of them are alive because of my continued effort. No kidding. It is mostly me that seeks contact. It makes me feel devalued and unimportant. It also makes me wonder if there is nothing better out there. But am I really ready and deserving of this something better myself?

Not having close nor trusting relationship with your caregiver really takes a toll on your relationships. Not only romantic relationships. I think there is an abundance of literature focusing solely on romantic relationships, but I am talking friendships. Friendships are often even more challenging than romantic relationships, because there is no warrantee. Romantic relationships become more stable through marriage or moving in together, but friendships…..Will they ever achieve the kind of security and mutuality that I am looking for? Clearly there is a possibility for that, because I see people around me who enjoy these kinds of friendships. It is just that I am finding myself in the situation where I myself do not have this in my life.

Who is setting the conditions in the relationship?

For the past six years I have somehow mislead myself in terms of not even needing a full commitment nor not wanting a family. I have tried to control my emotions as other friends of mine had kids and told myself that I was investing into self-development. Surely that would lead to better results in the end.

Do not get me wrong, I still believe in self-development, but I am also starting to understand that the road to commitment should not be a struggle. I struggled with my ex. My ex was right, we had multiple problems which were at least in the beginning also related to my own commitment fears, however during the recent years my ex was skillfully using my problems to avoid commitment. I became a cyrcus monkey, trying to fulfill all his criteria, postponing my own wishes and desires, because „I was not ready yet“ and „I had to develop more“. For the first time during the last days I came up with the idea of actually setting criterias for my next boyfriend myself, one of them being – „he needs to want a family sooner rather than later“. I know it probably seems riddiculously obvious for the most people, but I have always dated from ‘a one man down position’. I have been so concerned about being liked by my partner that I never even dared to set my own conditions. Rather I was oriented towards fulfilling all his rules and requirements. I perceived commitment as his reward to me.

This is basically dating from the victim position. In your mind you are so disadvantaged that you have no right to have expectations for your partner. Instead you are celebrating having a partner at all. You fully understand that he is not committed to you yet and you think that for you to earn his commitment you must somehow become better, brigther what not. At the time I was struggling with my ex, I was sometimes really amazed by how easily other girls got their boyfriends to behave in caring and loyal fashion. I told to myself that there was something special about these girls that I was missing. I should develop myself more so that my boyfriend would want to committ to me as well.

I am thinking that the fact I see all this now probably means I am finally reclaiming my power. I am finally growing out of my position where I was the one needing to win someone’s love. My love now also needs to be earned and I am ready to walk away if my conditions are not satisfied. Most importantly I will not put myself into a situation where I am fighting for someone’s love for years. Usually, if you have to fight for someone’s love, you will never have it. I have to accept that I never really had the love of at least my two recent exes.

Fear of letting go

Recently I was complaining to my psychologist how several of my acquaintances or friends do not seem to value communicating with me as much as I do with them. Actually I have just recently had few weird situations. Both situations had other people initiating the contact and wanting to meet me and then either failing to show up or constantly postponing the meeting. This kind of behavior is confusing for me, because well – I did not seek out the contact, they did. Even though it is definitely an interesting question – what makes these people behave that way, I would rather focus on my own way of handling these events today.

My psychologist said something interesting as I described him these events, also mentioning that I feel I am done with both individuals. He said that it is good that I am these days quicker to weed out the people who do not behave well with me. However, then I told to him, but inside me there is this feeling that I do not want to go out there and start looking for new friends (or boyfriends). Whereby the psychologist said, well if you keep hanging out with the people who do not treat you well then you will definitely not find anyone who values you and you will just be wasting your time. How very simple and yet insightful.

The deal is, I keep holding on to people and trying to change them rather than just accepting the truth and moving on. If someone does not treat me well, I am hoping that somehow magically they will change or if I behave differently, perhaps they will value me more. Usually there is a bit truth in the statement that you teach people how to treat you, but……Sometimes you just have to accept that the other one will not treat you the way you want to be treated and is never going to. I wonder why this is so difficult to accept and realize?

Perhaps because by accepting this, we actually have to do something. We cannot anymore engage in wishful thinking or ignore the problems in our relationships. Rather we are left with cold hard truth…this person is not treating me well. Now I need to react and show who I am and how I want to be treated. Do I dare to walk away? Mostly I have not dared to walk away. Mostly I have been damn good at trying to change myself or complaning about people treating me badly or just convincing myself that it is all part of my imagination (maybe I am overreacting). The truth is that sometimes behind my faithfulness and loyalty was just a simple fear of moving on, going to the unknown, risking with rejection in this cruel hard world again. I am slowly starting to realize and somehow fix it, but man it is not easy.

Feelings of unimportance

Today I am going to talk about something which is rather painful for me – namely the feeling of being unimportant. I have felt unimportant for my friends, my parents, my boyfriends, you name it. I have no idea how much of it is the result of this deep seated need inside of me which longs for someone who would finally make me feel like a priority (a need which can never be fully satisfied) and how much of it is related to me choosing particular people into my life. However…..

I am sad to admit that I spent most of the time being together with my ex feeling unimportant. On some occasions I can surely see that the problem was mine, however in many situations, as I realize now, he really behaved in ways which would leave anyone feelings dismissed. So what did my ex do?

Well lets start with the fact that he planned trips to his home country without telling me. He just told me a day or two in advance that he is now going. Moreover, when in his home country, he always protested loudly against having to schedule times meeting me. Rather, he wanted to have fun with his friends and mostly just avoid talking to me (note that sometimes his visits extended to several months). Throughout the relationship my ex let me know that communication is something that he does for me. He thought, he does not need communication and furthermore talking to me does not give him any satisfaction. Finally, my ex most of the time did not bother to let me know if he was late (we are talking about 2-3 am late), instead he would purposefully ignore my calls (no I did not call ten times in a row). I am guessing it made him feel important and powerful, knowing that I was worrying about him.

These are all activities which I think are not OK in a good relationship and these activities uniformly communicate – you do not matter. I could continue the list, but I think it is unnecessary. But the feeling of not mattering runs deep in me – why else would I accept such behavior. Furthermore, I not only accepted it, I secretly hoped that one day my ex will realize how valuable and important I am. How he will tell me that he needs me too. How he will tell me that he actually wants this relationship, he wants me…

This is in fact the main issue with such feelings of unimportance. We keep choosing people who make us feel unimportant and then hope to convert them. We hope that by showing to those who put low value in us what we are worth finally helps us to feel redeemed, significant….all things we never got to experience during our childhoods.

My feelings of unimportance are painful and I have only recently come to even realize how big of a role they have played. For years I have tried to mask these feelings with addictions, replacement activities…whatever just to keep the pain away. The disappearance of the pain through these activities is however an illusion, because the pain always comes back. So now, slowly, I am daring to talk about these feelings, daring to at least get a vague idea about where they come from. I am not fully ready to immerse myself in this experience, but step by step….

How I tried to convince people to be with me….

I am currently among other things working with feelings of shame which are related to my abandonment issues. Why am I ashamed? I am ashamed for many times where I convinced several of my exes to stay with me when they either threatened to leave or just did not want to be with me. I am ashamed that I lowered myself to the point where I begged them to stay.

To give you a short reasoning why I did this would be – because this is what I have been doing my whole life with my mum. The usual situation in our family life was when my mum did not get what she wanted and then threatened to either kick me out of leave herself. What followed was always me begging her to either take me back or not to leave. It was not like she would always react to my begging either, often times she would tell me how disgusting it looked like and how I was disgusting. And you know what – I felt disgusting. I felt low and humiliated and there was no self-respect left, because I needed to beg for her to actually keep me.

Soon enough this became the center of my life, because it is not like she is only communicating to you what a low creature you are during these times of ‘eviction’. No, since she has the power and control, she walks out when you are talking, she looks at you with disgust when you need something or are ill etc etc. You know you depend on her, so you make the point of your life to not cause much trouble and to somehow continue convincing her to keep you. Every day is a win.

Sadly this is how I have behaved with my boyfriends often enough. I have had my moments of protest, but I have always given in. My ex learned this soon enough that threatening to leave was the perfect way to manipulate me. Whatever concerns or reservations I had about his behavior disappeared when he threatened to leave. Because, I did not want him to leave, in fact in my mind I was as dependent on him as of my mum. I could not get to my head that he actually does not have the same control over me and at this point I could actually afford letting him go. No, I made myself as dependent on him and again, days became about me somehow convincing him to stay with me. I tolerated him flirting with other women, I tolerated his occasional disappearances, I even tolerated him telling me that he would not get anything from marrying me and that would be entirely a favor to me. The last thing probably described the best how I felt in this relationship – like he was doing me a favor for being with me.

This is also accidentally how I have felt during my whole life – like it was my job to make other people want to be with me. The thought of other people needing to gain my approval never entered to my mind. The thought of me being able to choose who I want to relate to and setting borders on people’s behavior also never entered to my mind.

This is something which I need to put a heavy emphasis on, because all this laid out like this makes me incredibly sad…