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Nonchalance is Your Friend


CrapAtNC

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I’ve had plenty of time to think about out where I’d gone wrong in my relationships, particularly the last one, and, rather than end up as subject matter for the follow-up to Swingers, I decided to do something about it. I decided to change.

 

Now, that was easier to write than it was to achieve: I first had to accept that I wasn’t, as I had so long believed, perfect or infallible; I then had to learn how to go about improving myself; and then—the most difficult part—I had to actually become someone new, someone better.

 

So far, despite at times stumbling painfully and embarrassingly along the way, I’m happy with my progress. I no longer think I’m always in the right nor that I’m usually the victim. Although I still have fears and other negative feelings, I now just accept them but don’t act on them. I still miss my ex like crazy, love her to bits, and would give everything I have right now just to feel her in a mutually loving embrace, but I don’t convey that to anybody (in real life, anyway), especially her.

 

Instead, I am slowly mastering the art of nonchalance.

 

You see, I am emerging from a stifling cocoon called codependency. It is something you can evolve from into a much better person than if you hadn’t been smothered by it—or, rather, if you hadn’t been smothering your loved ones with it. Codependency is an unhealthy, overwhelming, emotional desire to care for another. It’s part of the reason why I’ve dedicated my life to rescuing animals in need, so it’s not entirely bad. But it does need to be controlled. Most behaviours have a time and a place where they are useful, but it’s their appearance at inappropriate times that causes us problems.

 

Like my mother, I feel a need to smother those whom I love most deeply; in fact, I have loved most deeply those souls who I felt to be hapless. When I broke up with those exes who were blessed with a positive outlook on life, I let go so easily, and yet with so much love for them still that I was able to provide guidance in their ensuing relationships. But when a woman leaves me whom I have convinced myself needs my love and support in order to be happy, I can’t let go, even though it was my smothering that drove them to leave in the first place.

 

If you can read yourself in the paragraphs above, then read Codependent No More, an excellent book that gave me the knowledge and strength that I needed to leave my demons behind, and don’t worry that it’s mostly about those who love alcoholics or addicts; it’s still about you.

 

I’ve had to learn not to care so much. It’s not easy, as I’m naturally a caring kind of person, of course—but I have learned how to control it. I still care, but I don’t do anything to give others the impression that I care too much. And it’s having a profoundly positive affect.

 

It’s permeating all areas of my life, and the positive changes it has brought have been nothing short of miraculous. Comments or attacks that used to have me hot under the collar now slide off me like water off a duck’s back and I no longer feel the need to retaliate and escalate the argument; in fact, ignoring them not only makes them go away, it also drastically lowers the likelihood of their return. When things don’t go the way I like, I now smile and see how it may instead benefit me, and—you know what?—it usually does; good really does come out of bad if you expect it to.

 

When I miss a bus or train, I accept there’s not much I can do about it and so use the time to sit and relax and enjoy watching the world go by as I wait for another. When I learn about or witness some cruel act, I don’t get angry but instead direct the energy into finding a solution that can prevent such things happening again.

 

And when things arise within the friend/colleague relationship I currently enjoy with my much-loved ex—things that would once have had me crying or begging, or overcome with jealousy or anger—I now act utterly, completely, and wholeheartedly (if that’s possible) nonchalant. I brush such events off with a funny or flirty comment, or maybe just a smile, all the while demonstrating a relaxed and unaffected demeanour.

 

And the result? Magic! The nasty event loses its power; the ex instantly reverts to more loving behaviour; and I, and our relationship, emerge not only unscathed, but stronger, better, happier. It really is like magic. Today, for instance, she chose to get very angry about something she’d decided to take out of context. In the past, I would have either apologized or retaliated in kind, and the conversation and our relationship would have started its inevitable demise. But today I just brushed it off with a genuinely funny comment, with no hint of apology or offence; in fact, I made fun of her response. And what did she do? In a dramatic turnaround, she went from saying she would never, EVER speak to me again one minute, to telling me she took one of my dogs for a walk today. She even went on to tell me some cute stories about the others. I’ve never seen her switch so fast from words of sheer anger to … cheerful pleasantries. It was like nothing had happened … because that’s how I was behaving, and she followed my lead.

 

I've also found that other women who I've been chatting to online since before I learned this skill have noticed a profound difference, too. I'm told "You've changed!", "Wow! You're good!" and "Maybe we should hook up when you get back." You've gotta love it.

 

All this time I’ve been playing the victim and reacting accordingly when faced with events I didn’t want to see happen. But accepting victimhood is as good as waving good-bye to control of a situation, to any power you may have had over it. But now I’m not interested in being the victim, nor in trying to make anyone happy, as it’s not my job—and it wouldn’t help if I did anyway; in fact, it would support, feed, and encourage the negative behaviour I would have been responding to.

 

No, now I just don’t care … well, more importantly, that’s how I act. Not caring deflects the strikes that once would have felled me. And the miraculous thing is, being unfazed by these little ‘tests’ raises one’s attraction level immensely—and instantaneously. I never apologise now, nor do I ever feel bad. And I never beg for mercy or acceptance. Instead, I’m nonchalant, and it shows. I’m cocky, I’m funny, I’m not bothered by threats or outbursts, and I feel no need to seek approval nor to retaliate. And it’s making her melt.

 

When she shows anger now, I laugh at it or tell her how sexy it makes her. When she tries to lead me somewhere I don’t want to go, I head in the other direction, head high and buoyant, and she follows. When she makes threats, I call her bluff in a comical way and she instantly starts instead to seek my approval. When she makes demands, I turn it around and ask what she will give me. It's like she's running out of tests for me ... and that means I'm about to get a pass ... with flying colours.

 

It really works, and it greatly improves the enjoyment you get out of each day. It's done wonders for me ... and my ex. In David Deangelo’s ebooks, he calls it Cocky and Funny, and he explains in great detail how to harness its power in order to raise your attractiveness (in his books, to women). It’s just about being your true self, never seeking approval, staying buoyant at all times, and never being lost for words. Try it. And let me know how being nonchalant works for you. Because it will.

 

But if you don’t, that’s fine … because I don’t care.

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By taking baby steps, mostly, and then just diving in after a while just to see.

 

The thing is, you DO please people when you behave like this - it's a great gift to not allow others to sink into negativity or destructive behaviour, and all those I'm trying this on seem to enjoy it. Well, except for one who's saying she's scared of falling for me.

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^I would like to know the same thing....I'm always constantly trying to please people ans wonder what others think of me, even those I don't even know well...it seems very unhealthy to be this way if it's a constant thing

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I have made relationships my primary focus in life, to my own detriment. I shower my mates with love and attention and in return I get offended when they do not do the same. I have come to realize that I put too much into the other person. I have not built a life for myself. I have been in relationships since I was 15 years old and have sworn off getting into another relationship until I am a complete person by myself.

 

After the split with my ex-ex I swore that I would not get into another relationship until I was forty. That would have been a two year hiatus if I would have stuck with it. Then, about 3 months after my ex-ex split (the longest I had ever gone without a girlfriend), I met my current ex. I explained to her my oath to myself and she agreed that she was not looking into having a serious relationship either. Fast forward 8 months and we were engaged to get married. We fell head over heels for each other and I had broken my oath. Now, to my dismay, I am right back were I was. I refuse to get into another relationship until I am a complete and healthy person without the need of someone else.

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It seems like most of the posters here would benefit from the book on codependency. It smacked me in the face a few times.

 

Look, I'm exactly the same as you ... well, was exactly the same; the book helped, the baby steps helped, but at the end of the day, it was the desire to change.

 

Think back and remember a time when you just thought "To hell with it!" and you went and did something for you, regardless of what others thought. I can remember the first time I got naked on a nudist beach. Always, always, the fear of doing something is far greater than what you feel when you actually do it.

 

So do it!

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Mushashi, what if that quest takes a long time?

 

 

That is what depresses me the most. At this point, I do not have any desire to date anyone. I actually get nauseous thinking about it. But knowing me, I will be having to fight the prowelling instinct soon. I think it will take at least a year for me to get my self on track to becoming a person who can stand alone as an individual. I do not look forward to the journey but it is something I have to do.

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Crap (lol), I can relate to so much of what you've said. Been there (am there?), was the same as you were, and am also going through what can only be described as a complete metamorphisis.

 

People can change. You've changed, I'm changing. I had a severe abandonment issue. I was riddled with anxiety, would over analyse everything just waiting for the sting in the tail. I would expect the worst, be caught up in negativity. I thought I had to be perfect for people to love me. I thought it was my duty to cater to their every whim because if I didn't, they'd surely turn on me and walk away.

 

No more though. It's not easy, and I do slip sometimes, but I feel stronger and more positive than I think I ever have. I'm trying things I never would have done before out of fear (and finding out that I'm actually pretty dammned good at some of them!). People have noticed the change in me too.

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make sure you dont allow this newfound cockiness to take over completely and turn you into one of 'those guys'.. you will be treading a fine line. girls dont want a confident jerk. we want a confident sweet caring man. theres a difference. im not saying you're doing any of that..im just saying.. be careful...

 

also..this whole 'im not apologizing ever' thing? good luck with that when troubles really do come your way. you won't get a girl to listen to you if you've seriously hurt her and you're unwilling to own up and apologize.

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Codependent No More is high on my "to read" list. I expect to get to it within the month. My ex-wife and I had a very co-dependent relationship. And I agree with the general sense of nonchalance. I had a meeting with a client yesterday who got back with his wife after five years of separation. He told me several times that "even if you're hurting, even if you miss her, never let her know. Go on with your life, and don't treat her as anything special." He advocated NC, and he basically boiled it down to "if she knows you miss her, she knows she controls you. You have to make it so that her missing you is stronger than your missing her."

 

Thanks for this "crap-py" post.

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I thought I had to be perfect for people to love me. I thought it was my duty to cater to their every whim because if I didn't, they'd surely turn on me and walk away.

 

Ironically, as you now realise, it's that way of thinking that did drive others away.

 

Good post, by the way (not that you needed to hear that

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make sure you dont allow this newfound cockiness to take over completely and turn you into one of 'those guys'.. you will be treading a fine line. girls dont want a confident jerk. we want a confident sweet caring man. theres a difference. im not saying you're doing any of that..im just saying.. be careful...

 

also..this whole 'im not apologizing ever' thing? good luck with that when troubles really do come your way. you won't get a girl to listen to you if you've seriously hurt her and you're unwilling to own up and apologize.

 

lizer, from my experience, how women say they'll react and how they really do react are completely different things - practically polar, in fact.

 

I don't apologize because I never intend to do anything wrong. It's that simple. I prefer to minimize damage by keeping things upbeat. And it's working. It's an incredibly effective tool for avoiding conflict, since apologies (legally in the UK, I believe) imply an acceptance of blame rather than concern for the other person's feelings.

 

I know that we CHOOSE how we react to stimuli. If someone tells me I need to work harder on something, I can choose to be grateful for the advice, ignore it, or maybe get angry at the implication (or my inference) that I am being insulted. Was I insulted? Maybe; probably not. Which reaction will bring about the best outcome for me and others? Certainly not me choosing to get angry.

 

Try it. Next time you catch yourself saying "You really made me angry" or something similar, stop and ask yourself if that person really MADE you mad, or you CHOSE to get mad. It's easier if the other way around; did you really try to make someone mad, or did they just choose to get mad? It really is a choice, otherwise none of this change would be possible.

 

If you truly care for the other person's feelings, you wouldn't help them devolve into anger or shifting of blame for their choice of reaction; instead, you can guide them along the high road in life.

 

I'll carry on as is, and I'll make no apologies for my new behaviour. But you knew that already.

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Codependent No More is high on my "to read" list. I expect to get to it within the month. My ex-wife and I had a very co-dependent relationship. And I agree with the general sense of nonchalance. I had a meeting with a client yesterday who got back with his wife after five years of separation. He told me several times that "even if you're hurting, even if you miss her, never let her know. Go on with your life, and don't treat her as anything special." He advocated NC, and he basically boiled it down to "if she knows you miss her, she knows she controls you. You have to make it so that her missing you is stronger than your missing her."

 

Thanks for this "crap-py" post.

 

Ha! You're welcome.

 

The last two sentences of your paragraph make a lot of sense to me. It's all about raising our own self-perceived value, as that, in turn, raises the self-perceived value of the person who wants to be with you.

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Great Thread CRAP...I am the queen of codependency...although that is not the reason why my relationship ended in fact I thnk it was because I didn't let my GF in and really be open. Well, on second thoughts I guess that really is codependent because I am afraid of how I react and afraid of teh person leaving etc. So, the less I open up the less it hurts which is actually totally wrong. Even though I didn't let her in I was still hurt, still sad etc...so in the future I need to just be more open to things happening and allowing myself to be me instead of hiding the real me.

 

Yes, codependency is all about how we react. We can see events or change as a disaster or see it as a blessing that moves us on to better things. I think it takes discipline to be able to embrace the change and not react to it but it is a better way of living!

 

YES, anything by Melodie Beattie is a terrific read. It has got me through this last break-up and I am now in a place of acceptance!!

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Good stuff......Just try to remember that all relationships and break ups are different. No two are the same since we are all different and have different life experiences. 90% of what we do now is based on our past experiences anyway....especially the older you get. Age has a lot to do with that as well I think .

 

Emotions and stress can cause problems with many relationships...that's when communication breaks down.

 

People move toward comfort and away from that which causes them stress and pain. Fight or flight. If YOU are perceived to be the one that causes them stress, they will move away until such time that the pain fades or goes away. That might be permanent depending on each situation. Especially since many people's ego's wont let them believe that their decision to break up was wrong even if the pain does fade. It does not matter what YOU do in that case...much of the time, you cant change them. The motivation to make changes must come from within yourselves on OUR OWN. Any fire that someone else lights never lasts as long.

 

Behaviors CAN change if you want them to. Hopefully when we give each other space after a break up, each can grow and see things from both sides. Maybe there are things you or they CAN live with after all. Maybe, there are things that you just CANT live with anymore or you think they will NEVER change. People need to be smart enough to understand that every relationship takes some work and some compromise. If not, things get out of balance. When its perceived that someone gives too much and someone give too little and there is communication break down.....it all hits the fan and change MUST then happen. You can NEVER go back to the way it was. In some way, there must be some change for you to get back together

 

The sooner we learn to live with change...the better.

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Why is it when you worry about offending people and try to be nice to them and worry about what they think of you, is when you drive them away?

 

You don't just drive them away; you drive them toward another.

 

It's like dogs. Dogs only feel truly safe and comfortable around a calm, assertive leader. If you are too weak around your dog - too giving, too supportive of their fears - they will choose to follow another. You'll still be their friend, but they will choose another leader, be it an alpha dog or someone who really understands dogs and doesn't baby them.

 

We'll choose to keep those more giving people around us, but we value more those who value themselves more, as therein lies the prize - one that reflects our own self-perceived value. So, if you're with someone 'easy', you'll crave for someone who's more of a catch.

 

It may be why I still love and admire my ex so much.

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You don't just drive them away; you drive them toward another.

 

It's like dogs. Dogs only feel truly safe and comfortable around a calm, assertive leader. If you are too weak around your dog - too giving, too supportive of their fears - they will choose to follow another. You'll still be their friend, but they will choose another leader, be it an alpha dog or someone who really understands dogs and doesn't baby them.

 

We'll choose to keep those more giving people around us, but we value more those who value themselves more, as therein lies the prize - one that reflects our own self-perceived value. So, if you're with someone 'easy', you'll crave for someone who's more of a catch.

 

It may be why I still love and admire my ex so much.

 

Right and this is a somewhat depressing fact about relationships. There is usually a power imbalance as at least ONE person has to be vulnerable and INTO the other person. Sometimes rel'ships are balanced but usually there is someone in a one-up position (usually the dumper) and someone in a one-down position (the dumpee).

 

Prior to break up, the dumpee is "easy" because he/she is more in love with the dumper. The dumpee gives, gives, gives and the dumper takes, takes, takes. If the dumper pulls away, the dumpee gives more. This causes the dumper to have resentment, fall out of love and attraction and eventually develop contempt for the dumpee. So in one case scenario, the dumper falls in love with someone else and breaks up with the dumpee.

 

But in the new relationship the dumper has now become the "one-down" as he/she is madly in love with the new person. And the dumper becomes the dumpee. The above scenario happened to me. My ex-ex was in a "one-down" position and I left him because I fell out of love. I was head over heels in mad, passionate love for my ex, and it led to me being dumped by him.

 

But how can a relationship get off the ground if someone always has their guard up and won't be vulnerable? It's a lot of work to strike that delicate balance, and in my opinion, a balanced relationship is rare.

 

The lesson I learned is that if you feel yourself in the "one-down" position because you are madly in love, the smart thing to do is pull back, when you want to give, don't give. When you want to be available, don't be. Do the opposite of what you want to do. Let the "one-up" do more of the work to balance out the relationship. It's exceedingly difficult and maybe impossible to do when your hormones are in high gear and all you want to do is jump on the "one-up". But it creates a power imbalance and does not allow the "one-up" to develop loving feelings for the "one-down".

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