I know – things were bad and now they are worse.  You don’t know how to forgive yourself.

On top of feeling betrayed and abandoned by a toxic person you pledged to let go of, you now have to deal with the disgust of having betrayed and abandoned yourself. And while there is a certain energy that comes with feeling angry at someone else, turning on yourself can, in the words of one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson, feel like you are being dropped, “bone by bone.”

But that’s not going to happen, because you have already proven you know how to forgive yourself.

How can I be so sure? No matter how worthless you may feel and no matter how humiliating the fall, if you’ve been dealing with some cocktail of a toxic/emotionally unavailable/narcissistic person, I can absolutely guarantee you that you’ve provided this person with more understanding, empathy, and chances than they deserve.

The prerequisite for how to forgive yourself is to give yourself one fraction of the same empathy you would give to someone else in your life.

You implemented no contact in the first place because you were done with being a powerless victim of the machinations of someone who dishonored or discarded you. And despite your best efforts…

Sh*t hit the fan, you got triggered, and suddenly you felt like you were no longer in charge of yourself. Falling off your white horse doesn’t mean that you now have a new license to become a powerless victim of your own tyranny.

It means that your body is begging to acknowledge what you have already survived.

The first step in how to forgive yourself is to think of your triggers as physiological communications from your body, sent in an effort to help you heal.  They are a roadmap back to yourself.

Promising yourself that you will stay away from a toxic person makes all the logical sense in the world until you feel suddenly hijacked, desperate, and hopeless on a regular Tuesday after what seems to be the smallest provocation in smell, sound bite, memory, flashback, toe stub, stomach, errant email, anything. Every time I felt the pull to go back to a toxic person, I would feel like the biggest, most inconsistent, failure, self-sabotaging fraud — so much of my resolve could dissolve so easily.

Until I realized that I wasn’t listening.  I started trying to excavate the meaning behind my triggered reactions, with the same diligence I tried to understand why and how other people would hurt me. It sucked, but in my experience, these reactions only tend to get louder, more dramatic, and more painful the more you ignore them.

This is because you are more than your conscious thoughts. You are an emotional, mental, and physiological museum.  Your triggers are symptoms of underlying beliefs that you developed in order to protect yourself during a time when you felt the most defenseless.

At some point, convincing yourself that you were unlovable, unworthy, and defective served you.

These beliefs are steadfast because you felt they had to be in order for you to survive.

But things are different now. You promised yourself you would cut anyone out of your life who gives you conditional love, who makes you feel unworthy or defective. This is almost everything. Your fall is an indicator of how far you have come. Without the fall, you would never know that part of letting go, is letting go of past adoptions and beliefs that no longer serve you.

You fell off your white horse because you were never totally on board. You just didn’t know you had more of yourself to recruit. Now you know. Now you can get back on for real.

I’ll try to explain, and since I know you’re probably feeling a little bit sick anyway, here’s a bit of a story:

Maybe it’s bad form to complain about a vacation, but years ago, I went on a truly awful cruise to Cancun.

There were a few good moments, and I remained physically fine, but otherwise: the cabin flooded whenever I took a shower, all of the food was cold & musty, I felt an intuitive sense of doom, and a choking feeling of how the f*ck do you get off a ship that’s in the middle of an endless sea? All the while wondering – isn’t this supposed to be fun?

No one told me it could get way worse when I finally managed to get off-board. I wasn’t seasick at all while on the ship, but I developed a prolonged case of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (perhaps a distant, seafaring cousin of Post Male Syndrome?) afterward. My brain adapted to the waves while I was on board, but it refused to let go of the adaptation when I got back on land.

There was no way in hell I was going to get back on the ship, but I couldn’t figure out how to restabilize once I disembarked.

I expected to come home to finally relax, but instead, found that being back made me feel dizzy and nauseous.  The whole world was swaying and turning upside down, without relief. While it was happening, no amount of breaking this all down logically would convince my body to believe that we were no longer on a boat.

This is, by the way, is an extremely rare physical disorder which I recovered from relatively quickly.  I was lucky enough to have a doctor to properly explain to me that I was not actually losing my mind.

Breaking a promise to yourself is completely disorienting – as if, along with your dignity, you’re also losing your mind.  You thought that when you finally gathered up the courage to disembark from a toxic relationship, give up on a dream, cut contact, and find a way back home to yourself, to your own power, your own agency —  there would be some relief.

But we develop sea legs while out to sea because we have to, in order to live with ourselves in the situation. What they don’t tell you is that shaking your sea legs can be profoundly difficult, shocking, and uncomfortable once you get back to land. At first, you don’t feel more like yourself. You only feel more sick and bereft. Home is worse than when you left it. The adaptations you developed during your toxic relationship were wired to keep you afloat, and without access to them, your world is upside down.

When something triggered your underlying belief that you are unworthy or unloveable, in order to keep afloat, your immediate reaction was to reach OUT, even when reaching out didn’t always (or ever) resolve your feelings. But here’s the missing territory on the roadmap to how to forgive yourself:

You can’t keep a promise to cut contact and stop reaching out when you haven’t yet figured out how to reach IN instead.

Forgive yourself by being empathetic to the fact that no contact is the beginning of a longer process that involves you rewiring your old adaptations to your new world.  Give yourself a break because the experience can be agonizing and painful. The catch, and it’s a big one, is that you have to remain in no contact while you work through this.

This is what I wish I knew: it will feel like punishment before it feels like healing, bliss, and freedom. Part and parcel of figuring out how to forgive yourself is understanding that you cannot hate yourself into healing. 

You have experienced the fall from your white horse BECAUSE you’ve chosen to move forward.  You didn’t know that your desperate attempt at making contact was your own mind, body, and heart calling for you to pay attention to yourself. Forgive yourself for being conditioned to harness all that love and attention toward someone else.

The way to forgive yourself for the fall is to forgive yourself as you would forgive anyone else in your life that you love. By trying to be understanding, empathetic, and encouraging the other person to follow through with their promises through consistent action.

How to forgive yourself Promise #1: Create an environment conducive to intimacy with yourself

In order to access the meaning behind your triggers instead of reacting to them, you have to develop a response: reaching in, instead of reaching out when you are triggered. This is impossible to do when you are in the middle of heartbreak/while you feel a frenetic need to reach out like you need oxygen. Promise yourself you will minimize these moments:

  • Promise yourself that when you cannot slow down your thoughts, you will start focusing on your body.  Your prior adaptations, trauma, and past hurts live inside your body and exist physiologically as well as emotionally. The way to access them is to work toward finding a way to feel more at home in your body.  This will be different for everyone and can look like breath work, yoga, a walk, anything that involves shifting your energy is a non-frenetic way. The key is to implement this on a consistent basis, so you establish a new physiological baseline when you become triggered.
  • Promise yourself that every day you will spend having a quiet, still moment with yourself: journaling, meditation, yoga, taking a walk in nature, anything, but every day. Start small, just stop avoiding yourself altogether.
  • Promise yourself that you will stay conscious of all of your physiological and emotional triggers. You will treat them as communications from your body and mind, directing you toward what you need to heal.
  • Promise yourself that you will minimize any emotional addiction to feeling like you are not good enough, not worthy, or a victim to circumstance. Instead of indulging the addiction or judging yourself for it, you will approach it consciously, with curiosity and empathy, and follow the addiction to its origin, where you can begin to untangle it.
  • Promise yourself that you will peace out of any fake friendship or encounter when/where you are made to feel less than or that makes you feel as if you are re-traumatizing yourself. Let go of anyone else who makes you feel that you should be ashamed for how long it takes you to get over heartbreak.

How to forgive yourself Promise #2: Keep no secrets from yourself

Once you have created an environment where you feel more at home, promise to keep no secrets from yourself.  You have the support, in yourself, to work through any thought, emotion, or need – good, bad, or ugly. The more you show yourself that you can handle this, the less you will feel a need to reach out to anyone else to center YOUR universe.

  • The mind doubles down when you try to shift a conditioned response. Your mind will create all kinds of seemingly perfectly reasonable explanations for why you need to reach out, instead of in. Promise yourself that you will not lie to yourself when this happens. You will recognize this as a trigger, and instead of reacting, you will address something that you are feeling.
  • Part of keeping no secrets from yourself is remembering what you have already been through and knowing that ingrained response patterns that once served you no longer do. Promise yourself that you will develop a more conscious awareness of when this occurs so that you can begin to address your feelings in a way that is more authentic to the person who you are today.

Keep these promises consistently, as you would expect from someone you love, who you want to forgive and who you want to be at peace with.

I know –you are sorry for what you said while you were heart lagged. Being heart lagged is something like being jet lagged.

When you come back home from being abroad, you know very well you are home, but your mind makes you feel uncomfortable and keeps you awake as it adapts to being back.  You fall off your white horse when your emotions need to catch up to your mental resolve to cut contact. You freely forgive your body for taking time to recalibrate.

You can do the same for your heart.

This post was written by Irena xx

If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with Natasha here.

Be sure to check out Natasha’s intensive, No Contact Contract audio and digital course here


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One of the most beautiful articles I have ever read. Thank you Irena for writing it and Natasha for creating this community ?


Thank you, Sara. That means so much to me. Thank you for being a part of this community! xo, Irena.


As I read this article it made me realise and smile at how far Ive travelled these last 2 years after 21 years of being lost at sea. One of the greatest things – I have learnt is to be kind and loving to myself even when it still feels like my sea legs start to wobble. Thanks for a great start to fab new day.



Thank you for sharing that progress IS possible and there is so much happiness and joy left to be experienced after being lost out to sea. We are so never alone with this. Thank you for being part of this community!

xo, Irena


Hi Irena,
This could not have come at a better time. Natasha knows that cause I reached out to her after i got in touch with my ex. He was the one who called me/texted me but I replied back and stayed in touch for 6 months (mostly chatting) and thus broke my 3 months of successful no contact.
I struggled for the 6 months that I was in touch with him. He was the same – emotionally unavailable and I was the same anxious and unhappy. At one point I even lashed out and gave him a ear full of how horrible he was and still is. Obviously he went into victim mode and labeled me crazy. I calmed down after that, we met. He wanted to get back. Funny thing is I did not want to get back but I did not know how to carry on without his attention either. Just like your cruise experience. So I stayed in touch via chat for a week after saying no to him. And then decided enough is enough and have been in no contact since Monday that is 4 days.
And then this post comes my way. I have no words to express how grateful I am and how much the post has strengthened my mental resolve.
Hi Natasha
I can’t help feeling you reached out to irene with me on your mind. Your too to be true. In spite of your book release coming up you managed to help me and HOW.
Blessings hugs love to both of you


Hi Meg, I’m so happy to hear that you found this to be helpful. Thank you for sharing with us and helping everyone feel less alone. The back and forth can be agonizing, but how amazing is it that somewhere inside of you, you stood up for yourself and KNEW that you could not go any further with the toxic dynamic/someone who dishonored you. The road there is messy but in the end it leads you AWAY to true happiness and peace with yourself. It means so much to me that I could help you strengthen that mental resolve. The part of you that said NO MORE is so strong and will carry you through, despite any bumps along the way. So much love to you! xo, Irena


“This is what I wish I knew: it will feel like punishment before it feels like healing, bliss, and freedom. Part and parcel of figuring out how to forgive yourself is understanding that you cannot hate yourself into healing.”……

Tears pouring big time… Thank you for this Irena. Just thank you.

love and light to you and Natasha and all my #whitehorsewarriors.


Thank you, Vicki. This means more to me than you know. Thank for helping all of us feel less alone. xo, Irena


Thank you for this post Irena. Yes I have fallen from my white horse after 3 weeks of no contact when he texted to ask how I was doing and next thing I know we are talking but of course on his terms and conditions. Like Natasha says cats mew not bark! Still I persisted to make my cat bark and yesterday I did what I know I shouldn’t have done- went crazy! I told him what I felt and how emotional abusive he was. End of conversation.
Yes in the hot moment I felt at peace but not today. Showing my vulnerability, my pain and my heartache to a person like him! Why???
I fell on my white horse, I disrespected myself and I let myself down.
But it’s not end of the world…I am much stronger than that…i can still be the person who I have always been- the confident, independent self…time to let go and get on my horse and walk away!


“This is what I wish I knew: it will feel like punishment before it feels like healing, bliss, and freedom.” You see, this is what no one tells you when you make the decision to go no contact with someone you still love. It feels like amputating a limb. You don’t feel like you’re punishing them; you feel like you’re punishing yourself. I’m only about 2 months into mine and it still feels like I volunteered for heart surgery that I didn’t want or need. There’s this addicting fantasy that fills you up when you are weak- the fantasy that making contact again will lead to some kind of “answer” as to why it hurts so badly. The fantasy is that if you reach out, that person will suddenly have a Come To Jesus moment and finally apologise properly or tell you the thing that’s going to free you from your pain. I have to admit that I often indulge this fantasy. But then I tell myself: If he didn’t have truth and respect for me when I was in it with him, why would he have it when I am out of it with him. Or on my worst days, I tell myself, “You can call him next week if you still want to.” It’s all a process. I don’t think anyone can understand it unless they’ve been through it.”When you come back home from being abroad, you know very well you are home, but your mind makes you feel uncomfortable and keeps you awake as it adapts to being back.” I love this line because we don’t know how long it will take us to adjust. It’s a different amount of time for every single person. I keep trying to remind myself that I was a full person living life before this person broke my heart, and I will be that person again after, when I recalibrate.


Hi Lisabetta,

Thank you so much for your comment. I can’t tell you what it means to me. I have been thinking about what you have said a lot. It does totally feel like open heart surgery you don’t want or need — what a great way of saying it. That’s one of those statements you don’t know whether to laugh or cry at. 🙂 I think the fantasy that you describe speaks to everyone. I want to thank you for putting that out there – I think it makes a lot of people feel less alone in how they feel. I think some people make us aware of a place inside ourselves that requires attention, love, and healing. Acutely, painfully aware of it, even though that place was there all along – before, during, and after the relationship. And because x person made us aware of it, we become convinced that the person is the salve/the solution/what the need looks like in order for us to be healed and fulfilled.

But it made me smile so big when you wrote “If he didn’t have truth and respect for me when I was in it with him, why would he have it when I am out of it with him.” Though I KNOW that’s painful to admit, that realization is one of the first steps toward true freedom. Because you realize that the fantasy is a fantasy — although the person made you aware of your need to heal — they were only the messenger. And knowing what to do with that new information is HARD — on top of missing someone you love, you know feel aware of a sad place inside yourself you might have rather not known about.

But, it’s a gift wrapped in some terribly sad and disorienting paper. I believe that this specific reaction — wanting to reach out to a toxic person despite knowing that they are not the fantasy you envisioned is an indicator that reaching within ourselves to dig up the old trauma, hurt, and pain and address it is SO hard. How ironic is that that the “distraction” from this, in the form of missing a romantic partner, is also heartbreaking as well. I don’t think people talk about how hard it is to feel safe enough within our own minds & bodies to discover what it is that we need to address and heal before going forward.

It sounds like you’re on the right path though, and we all support and love you from near and far. Thank you for sharing. Much love to you. xo, Irena


I woke up this morning and the first thing I did as I do every morning was check my emails. Normally this quick scan of my emails produces nothing but a few sales and new candles that I absolutely do not need to buy! However this morning it was this, I read the entire article before I’d managed to actually open both eyes.
My first thought, did by some chance she write this just for me? Out of all the issues to address today how lucky am I that it was this! This article spoke to every fiber of my being… it gave my the reassurance that I was going to be ok. It reenergized that part of me that knew she could do this and that no one or nothing could break what I’d set out to do, not even breaking no contact.
Thing is, I’m just back from a huge family vacation. While on that vacation my ex surprisingly reached out… my tools went out the window and my white horse fell to its knees momentarily. Sadly I have spent the last few days not feeling like my self and submerged in disappointment. Dissapoontment in myself and resenting myself for having to start all over again. My heart hurts but this time it’s a different hurt. I couldn’t find the words or the self motivation to hit the restart button so instead I kept up contact and kept looking for anything I could to just say a big eff you and walk away.
It never came, he hasn’t changed and my love for myself was fading.

Until now, I read this article 3 times today and i don’t feel alone anymore. I no longer want to sleep for 20hrs and hide away from the shame of having put myself back in a bad situation. I just want to move forward, hit that restart and be stronger than ever… so

Truth is I never had sea legs and it’s something I had to learn being with my ex who is an avid fisherman. By you using that story it touched me deeply, I remember the work it took, the concentration , the endless leaning and nausea spells to have those sea legs for him. To be able to be there for him and enjoy the things he did.
I’m now able to have that reminder and just like I got those sea legs for him… I can get over him for myself. I know I can handle the twists and turns and the ups and downs because this time it’s for ME!

This article means so much to me and I will keep this link open on my phone and when there’s that moment to be with my inner self. When I need to fight the negative self talk or when I feel undervalued and unwanted. I will read it!
He doesn’t deserve that power nor does he deserve my love and your article reenforces just that.




I don’t even know where to begin. I fell off of my white horse 2 days ago and have felt like I couldn’t carry on. As in I did not want to live. If it weren’t for this blog and this post in particular, I don’t know. I feel like I now have hope to keep carrying on. This blog has helped me more than any therapy ever has and this post was everything I needed (and more). Irena, I do not know if you are a mother but I have to tell you that your children are or will be the luckiest children in this world along with your children Natasha whenever you have them if you do. This is the best compliment I can give because you both have taught me how to mother myself. Love you both and I am sorry if this doesn’t make sense. I am so emotional in a good way after reading this. Thank you.


I just sent this to my 3 best girlfriends and shared it on the “girls night out” group I am in on Facebook. SO good.

Thank you Irena and thank you Natasha for creating this space!! We can’t wait for your book 🙂


Thank you, G.M. I’m so happy you found this to be helpful. Thank you for being part of this community. Much love, Irena.


Great post it always amazes me that your posts make me realise I’m not alone in this hell.
I’ve stayed on my white horse for 8 months oh there’s been loads of wobbling but stayed on.
The triggers are another kind of hell the other day I took my glasses off to clean them and was thrown into said hell by remembering how I used to borrow her glasses and have to clean them as she never did it sent me into 4 hours of sobbing and wanting to reach out to her but I just sobbed to sleep such a stupid simple trigger.
When I learn to reach inside I keep coming back to this blog to get stronger.
Thanks irene and to natasha.


Hi Tanya, Thank you so much for sharing. It means so much for other people to know that this is HARD. You have helped me and everyone else feel less alone. We have incredible bodies and spirits that alert us to our sadness and need for healing — sometimes by way of crying for hours at a time. I think one of the hardest parts of all this is to understand that these reactions signal our need to reach in, to care for ourselves, and to start asking questions about what we need. So much love to you sister. Thank you for existing and for being part of this community. xo, Irena


Hello Irene and Natasha.
This was a very good post for me. I can relate to the entire sea legs example. Natasha knows my entire story but I did fall from my horse last September when after 1 year and almost 2 months of no contact I received an email on my birthday from him. I almost had a stroke. He wrote a lot of nice words. Of course I could. It leave it at that. I respneddd a day later and he responded with something I did not understand in two words. WTF!? To date, nothing. Don’t get it but I fell and had to get back up and I was wobbly. It hurt for so many reasons.
I am on my horse I think but I fear falling again. This post and many others remind me that it is ok and at the end of my day, I have to do what is said here. Look and reach into myself and not him or anybody else who provides no love or understanding. Thank you for this. It was very helpful for me. Be well. ????


Hi Linda,

Thank you for your comment. It means so much to me that this post resonated with you. I know it can be so confusing when someone you care about acts so callously and inconsistently. I understand that it can shake you to the core. I hope that you can forgive yourself for your reaction to his message. It can be a lot to take, when someone tells you everything you want to hear. I’m so happy to hear that you have pledged to be the one who is consistent toward yourself. That takes so much more character, commitment, and ethics than your ex currently has and probably could ever possess in this lifetime. It takes a lot of work and dedication to build toward that kind of consistency, and I know sometimes it may seem like you will fall, but you are well on the way. Please know you are supported and loved. Thank you for writing and making everyone else feel less alone. xo, Irena


This is everything. Made me realize how far I’ve come after 4 months but also that I’m still vulnerable and that’s ok. I was triggered by something earlier today and this post made me stop and think. Healing is a process but it’s SO worth it … thank you for sharing with us <3


Thank you so much, Giuliana. I’m so happy to know that you have chosen to walk away and start the process. I agree – it is so worth it. Thank you for sharing and being part of this community. Much love to you. xo, Irena


Hi Irena,

I really relate to ‘reaching in as opposed to reaching out’. That’s not a direct quote but a resounding piece of what you have written! When we really truly and authentically connect with ourselves, truly loving and respecting who we are, it becomes easy to stand our ground and not reach back out to those who do not love, honour, respect or care for us.

An incredibly hard one to master, but an incredibly empowering destination too.

Beautiful piece . ?❤️


Agreed 🙂 Can’t wait for your posts my friend. XX


Thank you so much, Lorelle. It truly is incredibly hard. I think learning how to authentically connect with ourselves is a life long process. Thank you for being part of this community, and I can’t wait for your next post! Much love, Irena.


Beautiful post Irena. I’ve fallen off my white horse many times for 2weeks now when it comes to setting boundaries with my mom, friends and a particular boy(lol). And everything you wrote is so true . I’m those moments I feel powerless and angry at myself most of all because I know I allowed it to happen, because in that moment I wasn’t being a good friend to myself. I don’t know if you or any PMS reader has experienced this, but it’s lije the slight change in character that points towards the person giving me what I wanted the most ( empathy/validation/acceptance) makes me toss aside my boundaries. He’ll i even forget they exist. Till they go back to their old ways, and I’m left feeling jaded.


Hi Denise,

I absolutely know what you mean. I think it’s normal to feel disappointed when you do something that feels like you are going against yourself. I think what’s amazing though is that you’re at a point where you are allowing yourself to feel that anger/disappointment and using it as FUEL to transform your life. When properly used, it will make you feel empowered rather than powerless. The anger is confirmation, from your body and heart, that they really mean it when they say “no more of this.”

I also totally understand what it feels like when some slight change in another person makes you lose sight of all this. I think hope is a beautiful thing, that lives inside of us all. Sometimes it gives us an opportunity to fully experience the joys of being human. Because sometimes (often, always), things don’t work out on the timeline that we are intending. But hope, when it comes to hoping that another person will change, is a kind of toxic hope. As Natasha says, cats won’t bark, no matter how long you are willing to wait. I think that hanging on to this kind of toxic hope is normal but counterproductive to our health. Hanging on to it helps us to delay looking inside and figuring out what it is that we need, what our reactions mean, and how we can attend to ourselves. And we do it because all of those things are so hard to do. Even creating an environment in yourself to get this started is hard to do. BUT, I think we can transform that same hope into hope for ourselves, that we can stop delaying, start feeling what we feel, and start reveling in the free freedom (and agony) of creating a home within ourselves.

Thank you for sharing and being part of this community. You make all of us feel less alone. Much love to you. xo, Irena


Irena, thank you so so much for your wise words and the clarity, it’s scary to start but nonetheless I’ll do it. Thank you so so much ❤️


Thank you for a more than beautiful article, Irena and Natasha <3

I went through a HORRIBLE breakup with a guy who just used me as a launch pad to his next relationship, and finally, after going through the motions, the storm, the rage and shock of being dumped on a Facebook Messenger text after 7 months of relationship, I begun to realize 2 things:

1 – you wouldn't feel this anger and hurt and confusion IF YOU DIDN'T CARE. You loved and lost. But it's not that the love was lost. The love is still there, but homeless love transforms into anger and sorrow.

2 – So… I said to myself: Look around. All that homeless love just lies there, strewn around you on the ground, and with no one to receive it. Why shouldn't YOU pick it up and use it for yourself, girl? Don't let good love go to waste by letting it lie there on the ground. Pick it it and give it to yourself, because no one needs it like you do right now.

That is when I sorta knew I had kinda transformed my own approach to feeling abandoned by a man. All that love with no home now? Give it to yourself instead of hoping to give it to another.


yes, yes, YES!! I had to chime in real quick THANK YOU Anette 🙂 Love this.

So happy that you liked Irena’s post as much as I do. xox



Reading your comment made me smile SO big and made me so happy. I couldn’t agree with you more. What a beautiful way of putting it. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts. Much love to you. xo, Irena.


I fell off of my white horse two days ago after two weeks of no contact. He reached out and I let my emotions and fantasy’s of him coming back and changing win. For anyone who has considered falling off their horse; this BOY and I have apart three weeks. He met a girl six days after our break up and has spent the entire last two weeks in a long distance “relationship/SHIT” with her. He came back for all of the wrong reasons and tried to downplay what is going on with this girl. He flys her to the city we live in next weekend. My point is, please stay on your horse despite whatever emotions your heart is confusing your head with. It’s just not worth the pain you end up reopening.

Here’s to hoping I can get back in saddle and stay there. Everyday feels like a marathon of pretending to be okay and “faking it until you make it”, but this has to get better… there’s really no other option at this point.


Hi Emilie, Thank you so much for sharing and for being part of this community. Please know that you are loved and never alone in all of this. It makes me so happy to hear that you are committed to moving forward and leaving this guy in the dust. Much love to you! xo, Irena


It’s probably been over a year since I last commented one of your posts. They have helped me tremendously as I was navigating through all the stages that followed my shock breakup, which I truly think was the worst emotional trauma I have ever dealt with in my life. The anger, the denial, the longing depression… But overall this excruciating pain, boy I have never missed and craved someone so bad. I saw myself die honestly. Today I wish I could say it was worth surviving…. It isn’t. It would be a lie to write that I was grown from all of this. Today I feel numb. I do not feel anything anymore. It’s probably part of the process, but something inside me has died and I do not like this new empty person I am becoming. I want to be the happy fulfilled girl I was when we were together. I just feel like I will never be the same anymore and despite all the suffering I went through I still want him back in my life. During all this time, I have not heard a single word from him. I have no words to describe what this does to a person. I do not get the urges to speak to him anymore, I am just completely lost in my life and still in shock over everything. That this person I loved more than myself and that I opened up to could have turned his back on me, abandoned me, found a new girl and in short made all my worst fears come to a reality. I am nothing to this person that I still think of every single day of my life. It used to be every single minute but speak about absurdity… I do not know what to do anymore, this still does not make any sense to me. I feel dead inside. I used to find comfort in your posts but the sad reality is that I do not even have the strength to believe all of this anymore. I hope you understand I am not aiming to spread any negativity on here, I am just sharing my raw reality and I know I have made a baby step forward because up until now, I couldn’t even write about my feelings anymore. Thanks for this.


Thank you for this article, Irena and to Natasha for sharing her space to publish it. You’re both amazing women! Irena, your analogy is so spot on and this article was incredibly helpful. And Natasha, I’m a new reader to your blog but I’m totally loving it! After years of being a love anorexic (this is a totally real thing I’ve discovered and may be worth writing about if you haven’t already) because of the scars from an emotionally/verbally abusive relationship, I spent years choosing to be alone and work on myself. Of course, the work is always “in progress” but I finally put myself out there about 18 months ago in a relationship with a man who was incredibly wonderful and kind in so many ways but, ultimately, was emotionally unavailable. He wasn’t the narcissistic, gaslighting, asshole type (which made it all the more confusing) but the bottom line was that he wanted to focus more on himself than the relationship. I almost think it’s harder to accept the emotionally unavailable guys when they are genuinely nice in so many other ways. I did the no contact for 3 months after the breakup, saw him a couple of times, then did no contact for 8 months. Recently saw him and he suggested getting coffee, which I’m fine with but we have yet to actually do that. It’s been so hard to get over him but I want to and I want to always remember that he’s emotionally unavailable so that I don’t get hooked back into anything with him. I’m trying and I’m really hard on myself so thank you for reminding me to forgive myself for being human. I wish men knew how many amazing women they could have if they would tap into their emotions and vulnerability and I wish our culture would support that for men. Thank you.



I am so happy that you love this post as much as I do. Thank you for sharing and for being a part of this tribe.

You are loved, understood, backed, believed in, supported, and never, ever alone. You *CAN* forgive yourself. It’s something I struggled with my entire life until I became more fearful of the cost of it than I was of emotionally exhaling and forgiving myself as I would have ANYone else.

All my love to you sister. And thank you Irena for such an incredible post! X



Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so happy to hear that this piece resonated with you. I will be sure to look into the term “love anorexic.” And welcome to this community! Thank you for sharing — it makes everyone else feel supported and less alone. It’s so incredible to hear that you have taken some steps back for yourself. It sounds like this investment was priceless because you have been able to see and recognize when someone is unemotionally unavailable. Without that perspective, you might still believe that an unfulfilling relationship was in some way your “fault,” rather than the direct result of a dynamic in which there is only one heart that has the capacity to be at play. Thank you for also pointing out that while some people are truly vile, there are other people who simply are emotionally unavailable but equally toxic in terms of your time and your relationship to yourself. Thank you for seeing past your pain, for following your gut, and for trusting in the knowledge that your heart needs MORE than what’s on the table with your ex. I know it can feel exhausting to stick to this code, but the more that you do it, the less resistance you will feel and the more you will know, love, and trust yourself. Much love to you sister! xo Irena


Best article I read during my whole life. It helped me to see everything from a different point of view. thank you so much xoxo


Glad that you loved it as much as i do 🙂 xox


This is the article that changed my life for the better. After being emotionally abused by my ex I did humiliate myself and i was going crazy totally loosing myself in the end. I felt guilty for month thinking about apologizing for reacting to his abuse but you helped so much to reaalize i can take my power back on my own. Thank you. Do you think its okay if i keep no contact forever? we study at the same uni i cant avoid him physically and i hate to leave things broken but i feel this situation cant be resolved.I hope i will stop feeling guilty someday .

merci xoxoxo


Thank you for this. I fell off my white horse recently anf am beating myself up still. Reading this has helped.


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