Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Foothold On Your Life

Natalie Lue, over at Baggage Reclaim, is absolutely one of my favorite bloggers. I wish that I had discovered her blog back in 2005 when I was dating the boyfriend from Hell, or in 2008 when I was living with the roommate who should have married the boyfriend from Hell (they'd have deserved each other; they were both narcissists). Although Natalie writes about situations pertaining to dating and romantic relationships, nearly every single post can be applied to every other relationship in life as well: including but not limited to parent/child, friends, siblings, and bosses/coworkers. I have adapted the following post of hers so that it fits in a broader category than just romantic relationships; but if you'd like to see the whole article, click here. The reason I latched on to this particular post of Natalie's is because it ties in so well with my own post about one of the narcissist's favorite phrases: I miss you. Natalie says it so well:

...How much can someone truly miss you or want you back or whatever, if 18 months has gone by while they’ve been saying it?

What kind of situation could someone possibly be in, that from the moment they’ve uttered the “I miss you”[and] “I love you”...sentiments, that they haven’t been able to close the gap between missing you and being back together?

It’s important to understand what missing someone actually means: It’s recognition of the absence of you from their lives, whether it’s as a result of something positive such as you being away on a trip or being unable to spend as much time together as they or you would both like, or the result of loss, which may have come about through a falling out, moving away…or a breakup, which incidentally they may have been the driver of.

When someone misses you, it can also be an expression of sadness and regret because they no longer get to enjoy you in their lives, whether that’s by your choice…or theirs. They may think of you fondly and wish they had another chance to have you around again, and let’s be real, if they’re somewhat of a navel gazer, it won’t be about reuniting in a mutual capacity, and it’ll be more about missing the things that helped them enjoy you on their terms.

Now you know, I can understand when you’re thousands of miles apart due to work or a family situation, or you’re both expressing that you miss one another, but also reminding yourselves of why you’re apart and heeding and respecting that decision. What genuinely mystifies me, is how someone can bleat about how much they miss you, when they sit across the office from you day after day, week after week, or you live in the same area / post code or city, or there is no real obstacle to being around you…other than themselves?

I should also point out that really, even in the situation where you know it’s right to be apart, telling each other you miss one another beyond a short period of time, is just mind effery that prevents each of you from moving on and being able to fully honor your emotional commitments elsewhere...

Just like after a breakup, when that bog standard line of “Let’s stay friends” gets trotted out, saying “I miss you” has become the currency of those who talk a good game but haven’t got much else going on.
Saying “I miss you” or something similar to that effect is also one of the easiest ways to mess with somebody’s head and keep a foothold in their life without staking yourself to something you might be called on later to deliver on. It’s vague and it’s an expression of sadness and regret, but it’s not really saying anything and it’s definitely not a commitment of any sort – this is a bit like when someone says “sorry” without really knowing what they’re sorry about or having no true regret.
...Someone missing you is not equivalent to wanting to be with you or [having a genuine relationship with you]. If they truly want to [have a relationship] with you, you’ll know you’re getting back together without having to be sold pipe dreams...

They may want to [have contact with you] again to enjoy the presence of you in their lives, to reconnect, and to assuage what may be some of their guilt. In fact, let’s be real – you responding to their “I miss you’s” lets them mentally tick their standby list as confirmation that you’re still an option, plus it relieves that fear of the medium to long-term regret that they think may arise from a ‘mistake’.

You may have convinced yourself that it’s just a matter of time, or an obstacle in the form of another person or ‘situation’, or are even blaming yourself for not being ‘enough’, but the truth is that they may miss you, but they don’t miss you that much that they’d put their action where their mouth is. They are the obstacle. It’s not about you.

“I miss you” is just something that they say and mean to an extent…just as long as you’re not expecting them to follow through on it. It’s also fair to say that it’s a pacifying statement – I receive thousands of emails from people who are still emotionally invested, clinging to the dream, and often laying out an ego stroke, shag, a shoulder to lean on or even money, for someone who misses them so much, they’re never able to do anything on a medium to long-term basis to solve the issue. YEAH, that’s really what being missed looks like.

Some people like to stay missing you – it’s No Man’s Land where they can sit on the fence uncommitted.

They can go “Poor, poor me, they’re gone, wah wah wah…” which in their eyes is a legitimate reason to ‘check in’ with you (read: disrupt your life) and talk about the pipe dream from time to time, and on the flip side, they can miss you, but they can quietly, and sometimes loudly, come up with ‘objections’ for not resolving the situation, or back-peddle when you buy into their sentiments.

It’s like ‘missing’ you gives them a claim on you that they don’t even value.

If someone misses you, but they’re not backing it up with solid, consistent, lasting action that takes it from missing you to being with you, it’s time for them to jog on. They can keep missing you from afar while you get on with your life.


  1. In romance, I miss you equals, "my bull pen is getting thin and I want to work my most dependable and bootylicious babe back into the booty call mix."
    Either way you get fucked.
    Just with your family it's not in the biblical sense.

  2. Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing it. It totally lays out the phoniness and shallowness of this statement, and so many others.

  3. IMO "I miss you" is right up there with "I'm sorry" if you don't put your money where your mouth is! To be truly meaningful both require accompanying action.

  4. My NM is constantly nagging me with "I miss you"-s (especially if we have just met the day before, which feels very odd for me) and until I've read your post, I have never thought about it this way. But this makes a lot of sense, really.
    Very thought-provoking, thank you.

  5. "I miss you" means the machine has been turned "On" and you can just FEEL the "SUCK" of that emotional vacuum cleaner. After awhile, that vacuum couldn't suck the legs off a mosquito.