Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder > 13 Signs Your Wife or Girlfriend is a Borderline or a Narcissist

13 Signs Your Wife or Girlfriend is a Borderline or a Narcissist


BPD-1My girlfriend / wife doesn’t have a personality disorder. She’s just emotional. Maybe, maybe not. Borderline Personality Disorder isn’t as mainstream in public awareness as other psychiatric diagnoses, but it’s a very real problem that affects many individuals and the people who are in ongoing relationships with them or trying to end relationships with them.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a kissing cousin of BPD. There is usually some overlap between the two. Most people think being a narcissist means that you’re conceited or vain–there’s a lot more to it.

Men are typically accused of being insensitive and out of touch with their feelings. We rarely talk about women who emotionally abuse the men they claim to love. There are different reasons why this is a silent epidemic:

a) Society and psychology hold a reverse sexist attitude regarding the perpetrators and recipients of emotional abuse.

b) Men have been brainwashed into believing that “she’s just expressing her feelings” when she’s being abusive and that “he’s insensitive and doesn’t understand.” Unfortunately, many mental health professionals perpetuate this phenomenon through their own gender biases. Should these men enter into couples treatment, they often get tag teamed by their girlfriend/wife and the therapist into believing they’re the problem. Should this couple actually find a shrink worth his/her salt that tries to hold the Borderline/Narcissist accountable, said shrink is duly fired and vilified by the BPD/NPD.

c) Men are too embarrassed to talk about the hurt, pain and confusion they experience as a result of the way these women mistreat them.

Warning: Being involved with an abusive Borderline or Narcissist May Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Here are some common side effects of being in an abusive relationship, whether the abusive individual has a personality disorder or not:

1) Censoring your thoughts and feelings. You edit it yourself because you’re afraid of her reactions. Swallowing the lump in your throat and your hurt and anger is easier than dealing with another fight or hurt feelings. In fact, you may have stuffed your own emotions for so long that you no longer know what you think or feel.

2) Everything is your fault. You’re blamed for everything that goes wrong in the relationship and in general, even if it has no basis in reality.

3) Constant criticism. She criticizes nearly everything you do and nothing is ever good enough. No matter how hard you try, there’s no pleasing her or, if you do, it’s few and far between.

4) Control freak. She engages in manipulative behaviors, even lying, in an effort to control you.

3186177287_1423ed4f22_o5) Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde. One moment she’s kind and loving; the next she’s flipping out on you. She becomes so vicious, you wonder if she’s the same person. The first time it happens, you write it off. Now, it’s a regular pattern of behavior that induces feelings of depression, anxiety, helplessness and/or despair within you.

6) Your feelings don’t count. Your needs and feelings, if you’re brave enough to express them, are ignored, ridiculed, minimized and/or dismissed. You’re told that you’re too demanding, that there’s something wrong with you and that you need to be in therapy. You’re denied the right to your feelings.

7) Questioning your own sanity. You’ve begun to wonder if you’re crazy because she puts down your point of view and/or denies things she says or does. If you actually confide these things to a friend or family member, they don’t believe you because she usually behaves herself around other people.

8) Say what? “But I didn’t say that. I didn’t do that.” Sure you did. Well, you did in her highly distorted version of reality. Her accusations run the gamut from infidelity to cruelty to being un-supportive (even when you’re the one paying all the bills) to repressing her and holding her back. It’s usually baseless, which leaves you feeling defensive and misunderstood.

9) Isolating yourself from friends and family. You distance yourself from your loved ones and colleagues because of her erratic behavior, moodiness and instability. You make excuses for her inexcusable behaviors to others in an effort to convince yourself that it’s normal.

10) Walking on landmines. One misstep and you could set her off. Some people refer to this as “walking on eggshells,” but eggs emit only a dull crunch when you step on them. Setting off a landmine is a far more descriptive simile.

11) What goes up, must come down. She places you on a pedestal only to knock it out from under your feet. You’re the greatest thing since sliced bread one minute and the next minute, you’re the devil incarnate.

12) Un-level playing field. Borderlines and Narcissists make the rules; they break the rules and they change the rules at will. Just when you think you’ve figured out how to give her what she wants, she changes her expectations and demands without warning. This sets you up for failure in no-win situations, leaving you feeling helpless and trapped.

13) You’re a loser, but don’t leave me. “You’re a jerk. You’re a creep. You’re a bastard. I love you. Don’t leave me.” When you finally reach the point where you just can’t take it anymore, the tears, bargaining and threats begin. She insists she really does love you. She can’t live without you. She promises to change. She promises it will get better, but things never change and they never get better.

When that doesn’t work, she blames you and anything and anyone else she can think of, never once taking responsibility for her own behaviors. She may even resort to threats. She threatens that you’ll never see the kids again. Or she threatens to bad mouth you to your friends and family.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a follow-up blog in which I explain why this emotional abuse and what you can do about it.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.

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Related posts:

Photo credits:

BPD-1 byPushkia on flickr.

Spin-the-mood-wheel by MashGet on flickr.

  1. January 29, 2013 at 2:49 am

    What is critical is that you get your “healing” and that you can get to the children so they don’t repeat what we have been through. I have 4 sons and three out the four “see” their mother, but stay away from her (my fault of course). Encourage them to love her, but they must be guarded. Guarded in the sense that they know her behaviors and don’t let her manipulate them. Reading will help. One of my wife’s friends and one son has told me, Sally(not her real name) was never like this before. I told them, yes she was. I am just not there anymore to “do this to” She and others NPDers will diligently pursue a replacement for you. You can look at it like a diseased or parasitical personality. They “need” to absorb the life from others. They just don’t have IT in them to give and receive love. They only understand taking. If you are truly a person of faith, then read 1John 4:18. We all must find that the opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. Your wife’s problem is she is tormented. Why is she tormented? Fear. Why does she fear? She does not understand real love or cannot love beyond the survivalist level (kill or be killed). My prayers are with you friend. If we go back to why she acts out terrible temper tantrums and other childish behaviors is because she was raised by a parent that was like that. They felt an entitlement. They did not teach the importance of accepting no for an answer. And we wonder why children are bullies in school. Go look in the mirror parents. Stay in contact with the children, if you can. I have not seen or talked to my one son for over 3 years. The other three said they want to come live with me. I am such a jerk. LOL. Keep a good sense of humor. It helps you get through it. I have been separated for 5 years now and am still learning to live, but I will because the sun keeps coming up in the morning.

  2. jimbop
    January 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I’ve been seperated 6 months now and am finally starting to feel like myself again. I met my NPD wife at my retirement party from the Navy. All my freinds thought she was bitchy but I immeadiately bonded with her because of our similar childhood experiences and she mirrored everything that i liked. We started off hot and heavy and I fell instantly in love with her. She was a single mother of three and claimed that her X husband had abandoned them and spent years in jail. I felt as if i wanted to protect her and give her and the kids the life they deserved. Then after the initial period of bliss I started noticing how insecure she was and how she seemed to always suspect me of doing something with my X wife. I had three kids of my own from my previous marriage. She never seemed to understand that I needed to be there for my kids even though I was spending alot of time with her kids. It finally came to a head one day and she broke up with me to only have her sister call me 30 minutes later to apologize for her and ask me back. At the time i saw the writting on the wall and refused to get back involved with her. eventally months later she contacted me and we started talking as friends. We continued this for 3 years and I felt closer to her than ever. We were dating other people but could still talk about our relationships as friends and confide in each other. During our conversations she mentioned that she had been attending counseling for the past two years and she seemed to be more stable. We started dating again but throughout our dating she always mentioned what happened the first time we dated and guilted me about being so accomidating to my X, with regards to the kids. I’m not sure why I felt guilty but I fell for her manipulation. We got married and everthing was great for the first 6 months. Eventually she began to be hyper critical of everything I did, she always had to be right, constantly insisted I was lying, and isolated me from my family. She became extremely cold and was basically unaffectionate to me and all the kids. I bonded with her 10 year old son, taught him how to ride a bike, tie his shoes, build models, ETC. He was just so appreciative to have a dad, it broke my heart. I noticed that he constantly would say mom did I do good? did you like how i did this? He was constantly seeking approval from his mom. She would say thats good but would never hug him or tell him she loved him. Throughout our marriage her X husband would call to see the kids and she continued to ignore him. I thought this was odd since she made it seem as if he abandoned them. Eventually her X father in law conviced her to get the kids for a week and he allowed her X husband to see the kids. She was furious and told the kids grandparents they could no longer see the kids. She seemed to use the kids as pawns and even told her X husband that she was with a man that could take care of her and the kids and he was a deadbeat. He continued to call and leave messages to see his kids. I confronted her and asked her why she was being so harsh, especially since the grandparents seemed to be good people but she seemed to hold a grudge against her X and almost seemed to enjoy making hime suffer. Eventually her X husband left his last message to see the kids on 10 September 2011, he hung himself the next day. We attended the funeral to support the kids and her usual calouse behavior turned into an extreme emotional breakdown and display in front of his family, but they were not moved. I noticed that the majority of the people there did not seem to like her and they had know her for years. After this extreme show of the remorse we got in the car and she instantly changed into this happy excited person as if nothing had happened. I believe it was all an act. Eventually soon after i experienced some of the most selfish, rude, cold, manipulative experiences with this woman that i could have never imagined to include: Leaving me at my parents house 240 miles away on my birthday, Accusing me of having an affair when i didnt want to have sex with her, throwing my stuff in the garage and telling me to leave the house (multiple times), Lying about going out drinking with friends, quit sleeping in bed with me, and countless insults directed at me. Yes, and I sucked it all up because of my religous beliefs and because I thought her kids had been through enough. It was so bad i moved out once and left my stuff in storage for a whole year. Eventually this last time she kicked me out i stayed gone. Throughout this time i had bought her a nice wedding ring, a new escalade, expensive vacations to Hawaii, PR, vegas, and Napa but nothing could please her. I was an emotional wreck for the first three months after we seperated. I attended counseling, read alot of books, and read this forum. I finally feel like im coming out of the fog but still cant believe she was willing to just throw everything away. She has forbiden me from seeing the kids and has refused to attend any counseling. I realize from this site and the countless stories of abuse from NPD woman that there is nothing i can do for her, these kids will be emotionaly damaged by this, and i have to believe that this woman never really loved me. I can honestly say that because of this experience i will never get married again.

    • January 27, 2013 at 12:25 am

      You have the same story as I and many others. You are not alone. First of all. Stop blaming yourself. Never getting married because of this experience is not the answer. If that is the case, she is still controlling you, even in her absence. Because you get in a car wreck you will never get in a car again? No, you just learn to be more careful. Another good book in dealing with NPD is by Dr. Les Carter, “Enough About You, Let’s Talk About Me.” Yes the children are typically the ones hurt the most because they are stuck in the middle and the NPD spouse uses them and typically forces them into deciding who’s side they are on. I personally am married to a NPD, but have been separated and living in another state. (mentally and physically) The best thing you can do is move on with your life. I had a very similar scenario with my wife. Ultra selfish people are raised by a person of same type or are born this way. They grow up with a sense of entitlement. Read on shrink4men.com about the GU syndrome. There is no where in the Bible that we are entitled to anything, except maybe destruction. I too am a person of faith. Multiple times over the years I have read the Hebrew and Greek, explained it to my wife, begged her to read it, what others (even women) have read about how men and women should be. I finally told her, “You don’t need a highlighter for your Bible, you need a black magic marker.” As I told my wife once, “There is only one difference between you and God” She said, “What’s that?” I said, “God knows he’s not you.” My habit of being sarcastic to make a point never helped. The pattern was, I showed her in her Bible what she claimed to believe and then she’d get mad, nearly violent, called me names, would cuss me out and I would be asked to leave. She would let me come back. Finally, I said no. I like it better pooping in a bucket and living in a barn. You or no person in this world can make them happy enough. They will literally kill you if you do not get away. My long term goal is to retire from my job in four years, get a divorce, finish my PhD, and get a job as a professor on the other side of the U.S. If I have to I will even get a 250 yard restraining order just so her sucking vortex will not absorb me back into the life that almost destroyed me. I was with her for 27 years. We haven’t had a meaningful conversation for over 10 years. Again, do not punish yourself or the potential for real love, by making a vow that will only hurt you and someone that could be love by you. The only people that will find joy in you being miserable is person with NPD. Many times we can take on some of their behavior or understanding that love is about everyone living for my pleasure. Another good book that may help get you back on track is by Dr. Greg Baer titled “Real Love” When she kicked me I purposely left one thing in my office. It was a framed and matted quote that has always been my favorite. “Real love is that which causes one person to desire the most good to come to another person and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring it about.” Sometimes the most good we can do is be absent from them. Would you get mad at your dog because it can’t speak English? Of course not, so then do not be angry because you had a relationship with a person that can’t love. And even worse don’t let her lack of love stop you from loving too. For the children, depending on their ages, you can go to their school and meet with them. Get them books, websites, or e-books with information in helping them. I have four sons and have been helping them in understanding this problem. Not hating, but understanding through real love. Three of them won’t even talk to her and yes it is all my fault, according to her. Realize that if your love is right you will always love her, but what hurts is the reality that they just don’t have it in them to reciprocate. Real love’s only desire is to fulfill itself. If you truly have real love you will only want to fulfill what is in you – real love and real love can not stand to deprive another of the same. Just be wiser and give them the love test first. In conclusion, I want you to know that it may take a great deal of loss before things get better. I lost many things. I lost my almost my whole family. You see, I had a mother like this, a sister, a brother that killed himself, a mother-in-law, brother-in-law that has been diagnosed with NPD. NPD people will blame you for all the problems in their world. They will never take responsibility for their own misery or all their failed relationships, and there are usually thousands. It is really a great awakening when you find what you thought was normalcy for so long is really abnormal. My life may be on the back end, but the beautiful part is, it is all mine to give one day to anther that only wants the same thing. . . Real Love. Never give up!

      • jim potter
        January 29, 2013 at 12:55 am

        Curtis, thank you so much for your response. I agree with everything you said. I am so thankful to have this forum and be able to share like experiences with other people. i truley thought it was all me at first and i did attend two counseling sessions with her. The problem was when the counselor tried getting her to recognize her issues she clinched her fists and looked as if she was holding her breath. It was almost like a temper tantrum you would expect from a 5 year old. This is the same counselor she saw for two years before me and she would not acknowledge her. I read doctor T’s comments on how a NPD will avoid counseling once they get called on thier behavior. I too believe that my mother suffers from this condition and believe i have been programmed to be attracted to these type of women to somehow resolve the issues i had with my mother. I appreciate your book references and will deffinately read them. Thanks again for your encouragement hope to talk more with you.

  3. Leigh
    January 7, 2013 at 4:01 am

    I have been reading your posts all weekend (seeking insight for my own personal crisis with a BPD/NPD ex husband) and am incredibly touched by your personal experiences. I am really sorry for the way you have all been treated. You are all real men as far as I am concerned.

    Not all women are BPD. I hope you will find true love someday. It seems that was all you have really wanted from your wives and girlfriends. You have a right to love, and to be truly loved in return. Don’t let your experiences in the past with a BPD/NPD ruin that for you.

    Be strong.

  4. Frank p
    December 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I knew something was wrong with her but did not believe it. My friends and family all said she was fake but I protected her. She kept me from friends and was elegant when we went out. I have been reading up mental disorders for the past 6 months and most recently took it vey seriously. Not alot of information on woman narcissist but I have been with one over 3 years. I use to write pros and cons about her and write emails and letters never to send to her about breaking up for good. A n is so manipulative and there timing is impeccable when U are about to give it up and they know and are so sweet and kind only for u to fall in the trap again. I was such an endless supply for her and was always the one supply that always took her back. I feel like such an idiot for I lost so much but caught before moving in with her and selling my house.If anyone is reading and researching this disease it means u r in a crazy relationship and get out of it. Do not rescue them or try to help them or do for them it does not work. I am so thankful I finally listened to my intuitions that are very good. There were red flags so many times but they make u feel u need them. Sexually they are very good and warm.Things are only good for a week or two then u do something wrong u didn’t even think was wrong. I was always apologizing for something that she did so I would not lose her. They never apologize but say u don’t. Trust your friends and family if u think something is wrong for they only want what is best for u. N, They can make u feel crazy, make u feel like u are lying, a bad person, forgetful, etc when they are transferring all of their issues onto u. When u finally begin researching and realizing what was going u begin to feel better but it makes u angry at yourself, but time will help. My friends are so much support and so happy I have realized something that has been going on for so long. Go out, exercise and above all have not contact with the N ever again. They will call, text and leave evil messages then sweet ones. Don’t listen or read these messages for sometime. When u finally do, u will hear and see the multiple personalities and psychoses because of the different tones, threats, Sweetness in the messages. It is extraordinary what u will understand by listening and reading messages. U will then have theses to listen to and share with friends to validate the disease she has. Please be careful and trust your instincts. There is a reason you are researching this illness,it is not u. I keep reading articles only to find she has other issues as well, histrionics, bpd, and it steams from her childhood for she has told me what happened in the past. I loved this woman or her drugged self even though she was on different meds for anxiety, and other issues. I don’t blame her, she doesn’t know her issues and what is interesting is even though she can’t understand this, I will be blamed if she read this because its my fault and she is never wrong. The n cant comprehend faults. Tried to rescue her and that is what fed her. I was the main supply. Wish I had been a psychiatrist because from this I have learned so much and would like to have these people in my office to try and help. They need it for they will be empty in the end.

  5. DownButNotOut
    December 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    What are we getting our NPD spouses/partners for Christmas?

    I was thinking the gift of her family.

    • Unhappy
      December 28, 2012 at 5:47 am

      I gave mine a Xmas without me. That’s the only thing I think you can give a BPD person. Left her for good 3 months or so ago as noted in this forum. Recovering slowly but surely. I have my nevous system back! That’s what I got for Xmas.
      You guys, be strong. You can do it too. You have only one life and you’re worth it. Good luck.

    • Unhappy
      December 28, 2012 at 5:57 am

      P.S. DownButNotOut. Sorry, I didn’t read your full story before posting. I see you have a child and that makes it much more complicated than just “getting out.” (I wasn’t married and didn’t have children with her, just living together). Wish you the best of luck.

      • DownButNotOut
        January 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

        No worries.

        I’m actually in a better place personally. Ever since discovering what was going on, I’ve felt my esteem coming back after being sucked dry over the last three years – it’s not (all) my fault. My xmas present to myself was that, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Yes, we’re still together, but things are falling into place and we’ll be separate in a few months.

        Oh, and what did she buy me for Christmas? A coffee machine – because she really likes coffee.

  6. Wayne
    December 3, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Wow… I am in the midst of separating/divorcing and I stumbled onto an article about narcissists that resonated. I read half but got interrupted so I was trying to find it again and stumbled on to this article which pretty much nails my experience spot-on. Time to bookmark and keep reading…

    Hopefully, I can find other articles on the site about how to deal with children (both of our kids want to stay with me) in the aftermath of divorcing an emotionally abusive narcissistic wife…

    • Mellaril
      December 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Check out Dr. T’s other blogs and The Forum. There are many parents posting there.

      Good luck!

  7. DownButNotOut
    November 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Over the years I’ve seen a therapist. I had a bout with depression unrelated to my partner a few years ago – we weren’t together at that point. Anyway, I started going back to the therapist fairly recently. Having recently discovered about NPD, my mission was to talk with my therapist about this, and coping strategies for me and my son. I expected things to be all bad, but they weren’t. I came out of the meeting happier, and with a plan. My therapist is relying on me that I’m indeed making the right diagnosis, and is working on the assumption that the diagnosis is the right one. Of course, I’m not a clinical psychologist and she can’t diagnose my partner in absentia, but she’s comfortable.

    My big takeaways are this :-

    1. I can’t help her. There is basically nothing that I can do that will help her. This is something that she has to fix. And even if she has insight, recognizes that she has this, it can take years.

    2. For now at least, I have to understand that I am nothing more than an object in her life. My needs, thoughts, opinions and wants will continue to go unrecognized, and as hard as it can be, don’t take it personally. It’s all part of the condition. And because I’m nothing more than an object (without feeling), I’m seen as something that helps or hinders her. If I help her she is happy, if I don’t then she’s angry.

    3. Although our son is 2 years old, he’s not going to be psychology wounded just yet. Typically, it would be after a number of years, and usually at the time when he wants some independence. When he’s around 10-12 years old. Hopefully by this time she will have some insight into her illness and can get help before he gets there.

    4. The breakup will be drawn out and difficult.

    That’s it for now.

  8. jon
    November 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Idk how to tell my girlfriend I’m leaving her. She keeps using the same excuse that “I’m” a coward and can’t tell her to her face. That’s because I don’t want to deal with her agression that follows. Her kids of course are her side(teenagers) and think I’m the problem. All these comments I keep hearing, I cannot believe there are so many of us with with this problem.( Maybe its an alien invasion) who knows, but it aint right for me to suffer any longer nor should my son who is not hers. My son visits and she gets jealous everytime and says I ignore when he only gets to see me 4 times a months. She is pyscho and I am not standing for this behavior any longer. My son comes first (I say to her) and she blows up in a rage and tells me I spoil him and tells me that she’s more important! No way, no more! 3 years of this crap is enough. I gota go. I’m at work. I will vent some more later. Too much to say. Thanks.

  9. R M
    November 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    It took me a long time to realize my wife has B/NPD. Its easy to break a relationship but harder to build one. I have already been targeted as the perpetuator (iincluding cops at home one point). I am at loss on how to move forward as my money is gone and so is my career. I am more worried about my young son than myself. I know my writing is not making any sense at this point. I am told to get out of this relationship even though I have made a promise to her mother to support my wife (come what may). I am lost! Is there a way out? Thanks.

    • DownButNotOut
      November 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      I’m in a similar situation to you RM. One of the things I thought before the NPD discovery was that if I take myself out of the equation, then things would get better. So my original plan was to leave, and share custody of our son. However, knowing what I know now, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. An issue of people with NPD is that they seek out the things to make themselves feel better. Remember that people with NPD constantly require the need to feel admired, or adored, or just feel better about themselves by demeaning the people closest to them. What I’ve realized is that I’ve been providing her with this supply, and not my son. If I were to leave, it does concern me that she would go to him to fill that missing need. I have a decision to make. It basically boils down to which route to take that will f**k my son up the least. I have a session with a counsellor this week and will quite happily report back to this forum.

      RM, we make all kinds of promises and we make them for different reasons. I genuinely think that promises can be broken if it’s for the greater good. But when figuring that out, remind yourself of the reason you made the promise in the first place. Was it just to placate the mother, or was it because you genuinely loved your girlfriend, or was it to make your son’s life better? For whatever reason you made the promise, do a check and see if it still applies.

      Good luck.

      • R M
        November 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

        Thank you for the kind words. I am just happy to know I am not alone. I made the promise knowing that she comes from a decent family. Also, I know it is a promise I can keep (I married her for better or for worse). Its just there are too many things happening at once.

        It took me a long time to diagnose her behavior. This situation has been going on for close to 12 years. It was only after taking a course in behavior last year, I realized this problem. Now that I understand her behavior better, I have changed my behavior a bit. I keep to myself and my son. If there is a compliment to pay her, I do that. Else, I keep to myself. The changes has caused her to react in ways worse than before. She has become negligent and does not do much around the house. The situation now is that I am not only paying for everything (including her going to work and her office expenses) but also doing most of the work at home.

        All these years has though taken a toll. I am living under constant pressure (not stress, which is usually good). One can say I am a bit bitter. Also two years back, I got fired (official reason: layoff) from my last job as I could not keep the organization running smoothly. From a high paying job, I am now close to being broke (all my savings / retirement money spent in running family past two years). I do not expect a job anytime soon as the economy is not doing well. Nor the fact that I am under constant pressure any help in job search for that matter.

        I realize there is only so much I can do. Knowing also that I cannot change her behavior, I am planning to move to another province. I will either open a consultancy or look for a job there. I hope this will help re-energize my career and give that needed uplift.

        I am also thinking of speaking to my brothers (sort of reconnect with them both; lost my parents when we were young and brought up by grandmother and family) without her knowing. Its been close to 4 years since I spoke to them.

        I can say this. Life is definitely interesting. Though I am fearful and at times tearful. Thank you for the patient ear.

  10. DownButNotOut
    November 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Bill, Free at Last. Thanks for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

    This is long. I don’t mind if you don’t read this. It’s just something I felt like I had to write. It helps me process and digest, it may help you too.

    The strange thing is that she has been nice to me for the last couple of days. We do go through periods like this. If she wants something, I don’t know what it is.

    Anyway, when we first met, we did talk about something about her personality. She admitted to being very defensive, and that she was going to work on that. Working on it lasted about 20 minutes. But what I thought was telling was that she did admit to it. There was some insight and I’m sure that she’s heard of that from other ex’s.

    I’ve been trying to work out where it originally comes from. Her mother, even though I don’t think she is N, has some issues. She has a short fuse. I describe it as life is full of little catastrophes. She is an obsessive planner, and if things don’t go exactly according to plan, then there is a mini explosion. My partner and I have discussed this, and that’s what she told me it was like when she was growing up. Of course, she sees no connection with the way that she acts. And I guess, being raised in a household like that ultimately taught my partner that that behavior was OK. Her mother is very critical, but, as far as I can tell, that’s as far as it went. It looks like being overly critical is a possible trigger for NPD. I’ve witnessed her mother’s parenting style with my own child. It seems OK for her to leave a child alone and go do something else. If the baby is crying, I’ve witnessed her just ignore him and do a crossword. I didn’t call her on it, but my partner did. “Mom, why did you let him cry like that?”. “Was he crying? Babies cry, that’s what they do… It never did you any harm.”

    If I knew then what I know now, I don’t think I would have been able to hold my tongue.

    This is going to sound weird, but apart from denigrating me in front of my son, and her outbursts of anger, she is a good mother. I can’t fault her (again, apart from the mental illness part). When she has her outbursts, I think of Luke Skywalker talking to Princess Leia about Darth Vader – “there is good in him, I can feel it.” There is just so much conflict in there. I’ve actually said to her, “I think you are a good person, but you’re not a nice person.”. I still think she’s good, just not as good as I first thought.

    The realization of her being NPD+ is still sinking in for me. I’m terribly conflicted too. Yes, this forum has been a source of inspiration, realization and hope for me. But it’s also been a cause for apprehension too. Before I started to read here, I was going to wait until the debts are paid and then leave and work out a solution with our child. But, knowing what I know now, it isn’t going to be that easy. Which is actually a good thing right, meaning that I discovered this before separating?

    I’m also angered by the things I have discovered while researching NPD. Things that I didn’t know existed, like “Gas lighting”. Holy shit. Gas lighting – it’s a term. It has happened to me. “Projecting.” – it’s her go-to tool. Finally, the term that made me almost vomit was “narcissistic supply”. My “goodness”, my “character”, my f**king soul was/is being sucked dry by this woman.

    But at least I now know. Before I knew about it I was fighting something I didn’t understand, trying to get the the root cause to see if I could fix it. Maybe it was a superficial fix, something that didn’t need to be as deep down as I thought. But, yes, now I know.

    I wonder how many people out there are in our position, they haven’t made the connection and probably never will. They are wondering what they did to deserve this. How many people have, dare I say it, taken their own life because they just didn’t find the answer or at least the peace and solace knowing that it’s not them? I bet it’s more than what we think. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life like this. I would take my own life if I had to. We only live once and we deserve to be happy. We don’t deserve to be tortured into a miserable existence because some sick sadist gets off on it. No-one does. And let’s be honest here, this is sadism, at its core.

    I long to be the person I once was. Finally, I know that this discovery will help me get there.

  11. DownButNotOut
    November 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    There is something so comforting about reading these stories. It’s been incredibly uplifting over the last 24 hours to read. I am not alone.

    I met her shortly after my mother died. Yes, I was in a vulnerable place and she was a really assertive. At that time stabilizing force in my life. It was just what I needed. We dated a little bit, and noticed that she could be feisty. We had some fight when I was in a cab with her, and the cab driver decided to take a long route to where we were going. She gave the driver hell, and then gave me hell for not giving the cab driver hell too. We carried on dating.

    I knew things weren’t good. I was moving back to my hometown, and she was staying put. I decided to call it a day with her. When I moved back, we kept in contact, and she persuaded me to give her a second chance after a while. So we did the long distance thing.

    And then, pregnancy.

    I don’t want to reveal too much about myself, other than to say that she was about 3.5 years through a 5 year medical program when my beautiful son was born. She moved in with me a few months before he was born. We travelled back to the place of her school when our son was one (to finish her program) with the agreement that we move back (yeah, complicated I know) to my hometown when her schooling was finished. She’s honored that so far. We recently moved back to my hometown.

    The truth is that I don’t love her at all. Her self-grandiose style, her constant demeaning, her obvious low self-esteem, her rage, her violence makes it that I can’t stand her. I’m not in this relationship because I love her or even like her. Although about 3 months ago she was actually liking me. I’m in this relationship because I love my son and cannot stand to be apart from him. He’s the only thing (with the exception of my father) that matters to me. I never had siblings.

    I’ve changed. A lot. When I moved back people were commenting that I was overly sensitive. I didn’t laugh like I used to. Just not myself.

    As far as her traits go, she’s pretty much run of the mill NPD. I think I see a difference with what’s written between male and female Ns, the female Ns tend to be less vain. I don’t think she’s particularly vain, I mean I think she thinks she’s hot, she’s not unattractive, but she’s not a super-model – but neither am I.

    She is critical, controlling, envious. She likes to put me in my place, “bring me back down to earth”. I can’t have a conversation with her. I can’t converse! I can’t talk about anything without it either ending in some ridiculous put down, or saying that she already knew that. The conversation will evolve around her eventually. My God, I’ve even made shit up. I made up some stupid little factoid, and she told me she already knew about it. How f**ked up is that? She can’t stand it if I enjoy doing something. And then I’m overcome with guilt because apparently our son had some really bad time because I was away once.

    And then there is the rage. She’ll have a meltdown 2-3 times a week. The triggers are astounding. From reminding her that the heating is on the living room, to not saying “bless you” when sneezing, to not replying to a question within 3-4 seconds of it being asked. And she’ll bring up that I talked about an abortion. Yes, when she was pregnant, knowing that I’d have to spend my life with this person that I knew then didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with, I talked with her about terminating the pregnancy. I didn’t say that it was because of us, I just told her that the time wasn’t right. And this conversation comes back. Not every time there is rage or anger, but a lot. And it comes up in front of our two year old son. But that’s why she’s angry, because three years ago we talked about an abortion. I pick him up, tell him we both love him, and tell him that this isn’t his fault.

    “Mama is angry at dadda.”

    I feel sick to my stomach every time. And she knows it.
    But, the weirdest thing? She believes that this is a healthy relationship.

    So what’s my plan? Like I said, I have no interest in this person. I don’t love her, I don’t want to be with her. But I want to be with my son. The stories I’ve read on here frighten me. We owe money. Not a lot, but she’s about to start with a highish paying job. She’ll make more money that I ever will. We have a plan to tackle this debt, it’s debt that we both owe. It might be optimistic of me to think that we can get that paid off, and then start some kind of drive towards separation afterwards. I just need to do the best thing for my son. And I don’t know what that is yet.

    Of course I don’t want to reveal my hand. That looks like a really bad idea. If she caught wind of that, then the debt will never get paid in order to hold over me, and it will be my responsibility. She has debt of her own, considerable debt, years and years of student loans.

    However, I’ve never witnessed her being reckless with money. She’s willing to spend it if it is someone else’s of course. But I’ve taken care of the finances and the administration of those finances over the last 3 years. Yes, I have hid money from her, so maybe if she knew it was there, she would be reckless. I actually don’t know.

    I know that she has other debt, it’s in her name, and I know that she owes the IRS some money. I’ve seen notices from the IRS but I believe that they were genuine mistakes made on her tax returns. That amounts to less than $500 so I know she’s been paying her taxes. I’ve also seen collection letters from at least one credit card company, maybe two, for a couple of thousand. Like I said, I don’t believe she was reckless, I think that she has issues with administering the loans, such as keeping a monthly cadence of paying the checks that need to be paid etc. She does lie about that, because I’ve told her that if I knew about them I would pay the minimums per month until we were both working.

    I’m just thankful that we never married – the pressure from her family was huge.

    If you got this far, thanks for listening.

    • Bill
      November 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      Dear Downbutnot… what a lovely letter,!!! THANKS !!
      I wish I had the “talent’ to write such a
      clear and understanding letter, because it expresses my feelings and frustrations
      EXACTLY, I am not so good at writing letters but I really do enjoy reading all the
      letters on this site, this site SAVED !! me, I am the last person to look for
      sympathy and help but this site with all its information has really helped me
      to “see the light” regarding my relationish during the last 43 years… YES 43 YEARS !!
      I have been walking on razorblades and eggshells for 43 years !! I am still not free
      of the nightmare, but I now know that I am not stupid, or crazy ,a crook, a homosexual, a lying pig, lazy, egoistic, ect ect ect,,,
      thanks for the nice letter once again,
      Bill.

    • Free at Last
      November 13, 2012 at 2:15 am

      DownButNotOut, I hear you. I was recently in a similar situation, but thankfully without the child. Don’t reveal your hand, because she’ll take advantage of that if you do. I suggest that you wait until she’s making really good money and has an IRS tax return that proves it, and then plan your escape. If her income is better than yours, it’s likely that the family court won’t award alimony and little, if any, child support. You can then focus your efforts on obtaining as much custody of your son as you can. I wish you the best of luck.

  12. DownButNotOut
    November 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Let me start out by saying that this is the best result of a google search I’ve ever seen.
    I made the connection that my partner may have NPD about 48 hours ago. You know that scene in The Six Sense, where Bruce Willis’ character realizes what’s been going on? That was me on Saturday afternoon, sitting on the edge of my bed, with iPhone in hand.

    I don’t know what made me search for “narcissist”. Some of my closest friends and have thrown that word around about her, but it just felt like another adjective like “self-centered” or “egotistical”. But Saturday I delved into it and a world of enlightenment. Yes, reading people’s stories here is like a window into my life. I’m not going to tell my story just yet, but I will in time, I just have to process the last couple of days. There is nothing special or different about my story, other than like all the stories here, IT IS special and different.

    Right now, I’m still in the place of realization, I’m in that place of recognizing that I am not alone, and I am NOT the one at fault. There is nothing wrong with my memory, I’m not the one that needs help (although I do, but not because of me), and I am SANE. This is somewhere that I can get help, and support and advice. I don’t know whether to be happy, or more saddened. But, instead of pitying me, I now pity her – this is her life, her M.O., this is how she functions – she feeds off me, she feeds off my emotion, like a parasite.

    And I know I’ve changed, but now I know I can change back.

    Thank you everyone for your stories and insight,

    I just need to get my thoughts together.

    I’ll be back soon.

  13. Brenden
    November 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    chance101 :
    NPD in the work place, My X ended our relationship 1 year ago… I was fine with it, had restored my mental stability, then just recently started bumping into her more frequently at work. She has relocated, into the building I work in. I greet her with a hello when we come face to face, just for GP & kindness, she replies with a “hi”. I have not been able to replace her, so far, but still optimistic one day I will meet someone special. This has again become a real burden mentally, I want so bad to approach her and see if she has any regrets, I just want to have a sit down talk and share with her the NPD traits she displays, thinking common sense would kick in, but I know the odds are against me. I never thought this would still affect me this way. I now know NPD can really affect your mental state a lot longer than imagine. I still believe if this had been a normal relationship, we would be engaged by now. But, for now I will keep my distance…

    Just stay away bro. Remember, it ended for a reason

  14. Brenden
    November 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I had to walk on eggshells with her. She took everything I said the wrong way and twisted it to make me look like a bad guy. When I tried to talk to her about our issues and fix things she wouldn’t say anything. She didn’t have any friends so she was always attached to me and wouldn’t give me my space. Very frustrating relationship. So happy to be done with her.

    Now she has a new boyfriend, lol. She is his problem now.

  15. RJ
    October 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Scott :JR I have experieinced much of the same thing. Yes I drink to numb the pain. But because of this fact my wife is convinced that all the problems stem from my drinking. Hence in order to “save the marriage” I started to attend AA meetings which of course did not work. But in AA you are told that everything is your fault anyway – or better said that you are “diseased” – so that has just fed the cycle of my confusion. So my wife joins Al-Anon and that only further convices her that I am “diseased”. This has all led to her continual denial of any responsibility. I am so damn frustrated over this. We have two kids that she just cannot handle so leaving them is not in the cards.

  16. October 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    This article explains my marriage/wife to the T. I love my wife with everything I have, and it always seems like I’m never good enough. She creates an unrealistic picture of how our marriage is to her friends, making me out to be the perfect husband, man, and father. Then when it’s just her and me behind closed doors, I’m the worst husband; lazy, inconsiderate, and selfish. In one breath she applauds me for going to school for my bachelor’s degree, and then the next breath; I don’t help enough around the house, she does everything and I do nothing, and demands I get a job and quit school. How in the world does someone put up with this and have a normal marriage/life?

    • Greg
      October 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Darren, this is exactly the type of behavior we are all dealing with daily. My Wife does the same and we are now seperated. Apparently, to friends and family I’m doing everything right, home alone she is not the same person. In public, she is showing her perfect public self so since I’m with her I must be perfect too. So they tell that side. At home her true self with all her barriers and walls spring up and she is a totally different person. I fell in love with the public false self. I hurt a lot when I’m around het yet I keep going back for more mental abuse. Call if you need to vent. Let me know ill get you my number. Sounds like we are in same boat.

  17. Garry
    October 17, 2012 at 1:45 am

    This was very informative. I’m dealing with an ex girlfriend that is also the mother of my child. It’s come to my attention that she’s a narcissist. What are your views on dealing with these people? Is there a way to help them so that my son doesn’t have to suffer?

  18. jon
    October 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Everything you’ve said, I go through. I know all this shit but you’ve made sense to what I was thinking. She plays me like a fucking puppet. Blames me for everything. Doesn’t want nothing to do with my 11 year old son and makes me feel guilty when I get him every other weekend. I’m at the end of the rope with her. We’ve just broken up and now she just text me saying: maybe we should try one last time but I know what’s gonna happen. The shits gonna start all over again.

    • Sandy
      October 13, 2012 at 4:52 am

      My daughter was diagnosed with BPD and Delusional Disorder after a judge ordered her to be seen by a dr. if she wanted custody of the children. She was married 20 years to a wonderful man who did everything he could to keep the marriage together. He finally could not take it any longer, left a letter (to scary to talk to her) that he had to leave. He made the mistake of not getting his things out first and not changing the lock on his office – which she smashed to pieces with a hammer. This daughter of mine is beautiful, smart, raised 5 great kids including classical piano and every possible educational opportunity she could get for them, headed a large school group successfully and – she is mentally ill. We prayed she would not get the children and thankfully the judge was wise enough to see through her very sad story about how awful her husband was. There were witnesses to a number of rage/destructive behaviors through the years which helped tremendously. No longer are the children subjected to insane behavior Look – let me skip some of this tragic story – do not even consider trying again. You will waste your life and there is an old saying – life is short and then you die. So let me tell you the rest of the story so you can have hope – and happiness in your future. My ex-son in law is still a great friend of mine. He has married a wonderful, sweet woman who treats my grandchildren as her own children. They call her Mom! Though at first this was extremely painful for me (I was still grieving the loss of my daughter who has not spoken to any of our family for over 6 years) I now thank God He has provided a way to move on through life, enjoy my family and embrace his new wife – she is truly wonderful. You also will find someone, but don’t rush, don’t look on the outside but look for character – this takes time before you decide if someone is right. Don’t let being lonely for a while push you into a mistake. By the way, I attend a great NAMI group which has helped me grieve and understand my daughter’s illness. I encourage you to look forward to a bright future!! (away from her…)

      • chance101
        October 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        Thanks for all the support, great to have a sound board when those moments hit…..

  19. jp
    October 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    chance101 :I just want to have a sit down talk and share with her the NPD traits she displays, thinking common sense would kick in, but I know the odds are against me.

    “…odds are against me” is putting it mildly. There is NO WAY you can break through her NPD self-delusion. Repeat after JP, “There is NO WAY, there is NO WAY, there is NO WAY”

    Do anything you have to do to keep away from her. CHange your office location, avoid routes you know her to take, eat at different times, etc. There’s no shame in self-preservation, physical or emotional. And for goodness sake, don’t try to ‘get through’ to her.

    JP

  20. chance101
    October 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    NPD in the work place, My X ended our relationship 1 year ago… I was fine with it, had restored my mental stability, then just recently started bumping into her more frequently at work. She has relocated, into the building I work in. I greet her with a hello when we come face to face, just for GP & kindness, she replies with a “hi”. I have not been able to replace her, so far, but still optimistic one day I will meet someone special. This has again become a real burden mentally, I want so bad to approach her and see if she has any regrets, I just want to have a sit down talk and share with her the NPD traits she displays, thinking common sense would kick in, but I know the odds are against me. I never thought this would still affect me this way. I now know NPD can really affect your mental state a lot longer than imagine. I still believe if this had been a normal relationship, we would be engaged by now. But, for now I will keep my distance…

    • Keith
      October 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Be wise Chance..whatever you decide dont be blind in your decisions. It sounds like she is a little too close for comfort and the fact that you are deliberating what to do means you are giving it more thought than you probably ought to. If it was me Id just keep the relationship civil (in-passing) and professional – nothing deeper. If you begin to feel close again this can open old wounds/scars and what you believe is dishing out a simple set of ‘home truths’ WILL turn into something much more sour. Its so easy to get back into a bad situation and trying to convince yourself that youre actually doing something positive at the same time. Remember – It didnt work and you are free, no longer part of that relationship. Let it be what it is – history

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