Emotional investment seems like the most no-brainer, autopilot investment because it comes from the heart. If we aren’t self-aware, we buy into the bullsh*t that “what our heart wants,” is in no way convoluted by our negative belief system, childhood, un-dealt-with trauma, insecurities, triggers, and fears.

So what do we do? Approve the investment and go with our heart.

Unlike financial investments which have disclosures, the disclosure of emotional investment is never really disclosed until the cost has already been incurred.

A few years ago, Bernie Madoff was all over the news. Madoff was the self-admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to this day, to be the single largest financial fraud in United States history. Madoff’s unknowing investors were some of the most well-known, accomplished, talented and intelligent people.

So why did some continue to invest despite dwindling returns?

Why did many invest even when there were whisperings of corruption?

Talent, intelligence, notoriety, and intelligence do not make you immune to emotional investment without returns.

I’m not going to speak for anyone because I don’t want to, it’s not my place to, and I’m not educated enough on the matter. So many lives were destroyed and are destroyed every day in Ponzi schemes – financial and emotional.

What I can do, is offer my opinion on why investment continues, despite conditions which make a return impossible.

When the environment surrounding the investor is no longer conducive to the security and solidity that she/he was initially promised and assured, any continued investments thereafter HAVE TO be emotionally based.


Because reality-based logic can no longer stand a chance; security now needs to be concocted. The mechanism itself is now the illogical nucleus of something that’s too painful and unbelievable to face.

I feel like at this point, many of us will continue to invest (despite not seeing promised returns) because by continuing to invest, it shows that we still believe in the investment (and aren’t going to invest our attention in any of the hearsay or haters).

You see everything capsizing around you in slow motion. So, instead of folding, you go for a strong right hook in the name of emotional investment.

You think to yourself: “If I show through my actions that no matter what, I won’t give up and I AM going to continue to invest (no matter how sh*t the return)… I have to, at SOME POINT, be noticed, appreciated, and see my deserved return… right?”

I’ve experienced this time and time again in my life – never knowing when to fold and only folding when life folded for me.

Here is my experience with emotional investment – how to know when to hold’em and how to Jedi master the art of folding.

The last time I took out an emotional investment was a few weeks ago when I was in Vegas for work. After eating lunch, I had some time to kill and did the one thing I rarely do – gamble.

I walked around the casino like a dog circling around a million times before finding the perfect spot to pee. I would approach one slot machine, but then convince myself that it probably wouldn’t hit a jackpot. It wasn’t centrally located and surely, the slots that hit jackpots were only the most flashy and pretty ones, all in the middle of the casino.

Superstition and “type” had clearly superseded logic.

So, I end up deciding on the shiniest, most “give-me-what-I-need-and-I-promise-I’ll-pay,” looking slot I could find. All I wanted was to turn my $100 into enough for the pair of Manolos I had on hold.

So, it began…

Within five minutes, I went right through the $100 and pulled out another $60. I kept convincing myself that the machine somehow knew how much I had invested and thus, had to eventually reward me.

Every now and then, it would pay out $15 or $20, which would keep my hope afloat just enough to hit that “max bet” button again. If the machine hadn’t paid me anything after a few spins, I’d lower my bet to try to get its attention. It didn’t help that I kept hearing noises all around me of jackpots being won.

When I was down to my last spin I won $200, but it wasn’t enough. If I got up and walked away now, I’d just be breaking even. I needed to at least win SOMETHING. Forget the shoes, at this point, I just needed to see some kind of return on my investment. 

All in all, I lost $360. It makes me sick to even type that out. Not because I lost what I think is a lot of money, but because I didn’t even enjoy the time I was playing. It’s like I paid $360 to torture myself.

Where was the emotional investment in all of this?

The emotional investment kicked into high gear when I convinced myself that if I stopped now and folded, someone would come along and on their first spin, hit the jackpot and reap ALL the rewards of MY investment – my dedication and my currency (both financial and emotional).

When you’re faced with that level of self-inflicted mind f*ckery, the only form of pacification is further investment. Folding is not an option. 

I wanted to share the Ponzi scheme/slot machine example because sometimes, an outward connection needs to be established so that it can strike the right chord within. Instead of being told the right thing to do, you now have a knowingness. You’ve reclaimed your compass.

I don’t know about you, but the only thing that those examples made me think of were past relationships and friendships that were toxic. Same formula (and bullsh*t), different components.

How do you know when to make an emotional investment?

You know that you can make (and keep making) an emotional investment when your investment deepens the relationship on BOTH ends. You’re seeing a seamless and consistent return that compliments your investment. 

How do you know when to fold and why is folding so impossible?

We avoid folding at all costs because of our belief system tied to it. We feel like failures if we fold and we’re scared that if we turn around for a hot minute, someone will come in and right away, reap the benefits of our deserved jackpot.

Bottom line: If it’s a relational slot machine/Ponzi scheme you’re involved in, I promise you – it was this way before you and will continue to be this way after you. Just because you thought you could get the cat to bark (and it didn’t), doesn’t mean it’s going to bark with the next person and it definitely doesn’t mean that it ever barked in the past. Cats MEOW.

You know that you need to fold when your investment is based upon hope for a return that has been overly promised and grossly, under-delivered.

And if you suffer from low self-esteem like I used to, any red flags that indicate a need to fold will make you even more excited to invest.

Why? Because your value is tied to hitting the jackpot and getting the subsequent return on your investment. For you, it’s more valuable to blindly invest and “get lucky/hit the jackpot,” than it is to meet a jackpot that’s apparent from “hello.”

You are NOT that desperate. You don’t have to subscribe to the belief that the only way to emotional riches is by dating human slot machines and partaking in an emotional Ponzi scheme with your fears.

Build your emotional fortune first and emanate the jackpot that YOU have become. Not by “hitting it big” or “getting lucky,” by means of investing in a sh*tty person, but by knowing when to fold from the bs, staying on your white horse, and speaking with your actions.

The universe will reward you beyond what any relational slot machine could ever deliver.

x Natasha

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


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hey soul sister love!
I couldn’t help busting out laughing when I read this ” I walked around the Wynn casino like a dog circling around a million times before finding the perfect spot to pee.” ???
Another brilliant piece as always!

Much love to you. xxx


Hey soul sis!! Lol 🙂 Thank you. So glad it helped! Sending you lots of love. xx


I never post on blogs but I’ve already been subscribed to your blog for months and it really helped me deal with the most painful breakup and ever since then I feel like somehow, on an almost karmic level, you post exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

I found myself almost accidentally in a long distance relationship about 4 months after aforementioned official break up (less than a month after the unofficial final goodbye breakup) and after being played by another emotionally unavailable guy in the middle. This long distance guy was so perfect and understanding and would text me good morning every day before work, text me during his lunch break and call me at night. I took it casually but he wanted to be mutually exclusive way before I was ready but I relented and things were going fine. But it had been two months and we still hadn’t met and he doesn’t live THAT far (Columbus to NYC) and I kept trying to lock down a timeframe to meet so that I could schedule my other trips and things with my friends. But Every. Single. Time. I talked about setting up something concrete, he became wishy-washy or was “sick” and couldn’t talk. Fast forward one more month and the day we are supposed to have a serious talk, he goes missing the whole day after we had a semi-argument at night. I have anxiety and abandonment issues and though I was handling it pretty well before, it ripped through me that day and I blasted his phone with texts and voicemails.

Then at midnight after I am drained from crying and self-hatred he calls and leaves a voicemail to say he was sorry and he left his phone at home the whole day. Now, I don’t know whether to believe him or not but I realized how I seemed to be investing in his promises more and more as he was delivering on them less and less. He had been more erratic with communication the past two weeks and still hadn’t bought plane tickets, even when I surprised him about meeting somewhere in the middle. He texted me again this afternoon and I really didn’t know whether or not to respond to him but it’s like your post just phrased exactly everything I am feeling and thinking–which I couldn’t decipher before.

I still don’t know exactly what to do but I feel calmer just being able to understand my own feelings and actions thus far. So, THANK YOU Natasha once again for being that voice of reason inside this brain of crazy lol!


Hi Zara!

I’m happy that the blog has helped and honored to play a part in your healing and realizations 🙂 You are loved, understood, empathized with, believed in and never, ever alone. Thanks for your love, support and for being a part of this tribe. xo


Thanks Natasha, this post was just what I needed. Perfect timing. Lots of love


Glad it helped! 🙂 Thanks Meg!! XOXO


Hello Natasha! I just want to say to you..Thank you! You have saved my life with this blog! You have a gift and I cannot tell you enough what a blessing your words of advice have been for me and my life. You are brilliant and impeccably funny! Sending you love and light always! God bless you always and again just..Thank you! 🙂


Erika, Thank YOU. Truly. I am so grateful for and appreciative of your love, sisterhood and support. Honored to have played a part in your healing and realizations. Thank you for being a part of this tribe. All my love to you soul sister! X


Thanks so much for this, Natasha! I’m new to the blog and just got out of a 2.5 year relations*t with a narcissist. Reading these posts has helped me so much in coming to terms not only with that whole situation, but with myself. Right now it’s a little difficult, but coming here to find genuine support and spot-on guidance through your posts is helping me get a little better every day. Thank you so much!!


Hi Erica! I’m so happy and honored to have helped 🙂 You are loved, backed, understood, empathized with, believed in and never, EVER alone. Thank you for the support and for being a part of this tribe! XOXO


I hope you know your blog truly did change my outlook on life and love. I’ve even started appreciating the relationshit that left me searching for answers and finding this blog. You have such a way of articulating things that make you so relatable. It is SO encouraging to know I’m not alone in all my crazy insecurity and there is a light on the other side. 🙂


Vanessa, I’m in tears! Thanks from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for allowing me to feel less alone in my experiences, pain, anxieties and fears. You are wonderful and I’m so appreciative of you, your love, sisterhood and support.

You are far from alone 🙂 All my love to you soul sis. xo


What a brilliant blog.
Natasha you are amazing. PMS has literally saved my life. Coming here is like therapy and always re-iterates what we all really know deep down xxx Thanks always x


I’m honored to have played a part in your healing and realizations Skevoulla. So glad that the blog has helped! 🙂 Thank YOU so much for your love and support. All my love to you soul sis. xx


I’m sitting here at a bar at 2:00am getting drunk because the woman I’m in love with has been doing this to me for 8 months
I’m drained emotionally and physically , can’t sleep can’t eat
And all I want to do is try to make her love me
And having read this I’m now going to wake up tomorrow with a better outlook and motivated to change the dynamic of this messed up relationship … but I know in a week or two she will try to suck me back in ….. this doesn’t just happen to women .. men are vulnerable to this too … I’m dying inside but I know I have to change this …


Hi Paul! You are supported, understood and the furthest thing from alone. I do offer coaching if you’re interested; I coach many men. Unfortunately, this kind of bs does not discriminate against age, gender or wisdom. Keep coming back here to the blog and just know that you’re not alone. – Natasha


Hi Paul,

I came across your post today and had to say you are not alone in what you are feeling. Here comes a stranger from the other side of the world, probably, who says that you are definitely not alone in what you are feeling. What caught my attention in your post was “And all I want to do is try to make her love me”. I tried that too with the person who broke me on the inside, I must have tried for almost 2 years, went through the “hot and cold” treatment, settled for a few crumbs of attention once in a while, all that during an outrageous amount of time, hoping that something could change. Or that he could change. That never happened… what actually happened is what it did to me or what I did to myself. I most certainly not regret loving this person but I do regret the fact I could have been happier during those 2 years. I could have had more self-respect and self-esteem and self-esteem.
Feelings are temporary. Unless one decides to invest in them and the person whose object they are, they are simply temporary. Until they disappear they do break you on the inside and you ache like a hurt animal but… is it worth it?! After a person does that to you and behaves that way, “trying to suck you back in after a week or two”.. can you still trust them? Like… with an open heart, trust them?! You can’t…
Be good with yourself. See beyond this person. Try to see beyond this person. It’s scary because beyond them may seem like it’s emptiness but it’s not. All is temporary. Be good to yourself and take it each day at the time.
@Natasha… thank you for your posts and for letting us have an outlet where we are understood. Thank you for all that, it’s priceless!

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