Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder > Relationship Roller Coaster Ride: The Cycle of Abuse

Relationship Roller Coaster Ride: The Cycle of Abuse

rollercoasterDo you feel like you’re going around in circles in your relationship? Are there so many emotional highs and lows that you feel as if you’re on a roller coaster? Have you tried and tried to make your relationship better, but to no avail?

You may be involved in a cycle of abuse. If so, here’s what you need to know.

Not only is it possible for women to be the emotionally abusive partner, it’s quite common. In fact, women have been found to be more relationally aggressive than men.  Women use verbal assaults, withhold affection, the cold shoulder or shut you down to inflict hurt instead of physical blows. However, women often commit physical violence, too. In fact, recent studies show that it is a 50/50 split.

  • Although your partner’s attacks feel very personal, they’re not. You could be anyone–meaning that you’re not “bad” nor is there “something wrong with you.” She’s an abusive personality type and as such, she’d be the same way with any man as she is with you. This also means that if you finally decide to end the relationship, you don’t need to worry that your ex will miraculously get better and be the dream girlfriend or wife with the next guy. Pending a brain trauma, a frontal lobotomy or a lesion to the amygdala; she won’t change.

You don’t have to stay in a relationship in which you’re devalued, tormented, verbally savaged, and made to feel worthless. You can end it. There are women out there who are kind, loving, and supportive. You can have that kind of relationship if you have the courage to break the cycle of abuse in which you’re currently stuck.

The Cycle of Abuse or “Jane, Get Me Off this Crazy Thing!”

Lenore E. Walker wrote about the cycle of abuse in The Battered Woman (1979). She used it to3_jane-get-me-off-this-craz describe the pattern of tension that builds into violence against women by their husbands or boyfriends. This is a limited use of the model. It can also be applied to abuse in which the woman is the abuser and the man is the recipient.

There are generational cycles of abuse and episodic cycles of abuse. Abusive behaviors, be they physical, sexual, or emotional, are learned.

The abuser learns at an early age (usually from their family) that bullying and humiliation are how you get others to do what you want. For example, when your wife was a child, she probably observed her mother deride, criticize, and belittle her father. She learned that this is how you treat the people you “love.” Now she subjects you to the same treatment. If you have children, they are likely learn this pattern of behavior, too, hence, generational.

Episodic cycles of abuse involve specific periods of tension building behaviors that inevitably erupt into a rage episode or vicious verbal attack in which she alternates between name-calling and tears about some imagined or distorted transgression. Sometimes, you can predict these episodes; other times, they come out of the blue. Typically, men who experience this kind of recurring abuse deny that it even occurs or minimize the severity of it. This serves to perpetuate the problem and refutes the need to seek help.

female time bomb4 Stages of the Cycle of Abuse

1) Kaboom! The cycle begins with a loud verbal explosion, yelling, screaming, accusations, verbal harassment, needling, or threats of abandonment. “You’re lucky I put up with you. No one else would tolerate what I do. If you don’t shape up, I’m going to dump your sorry ass, you loser!” Meanwhile, she’s the one behaving like a lunatic. She’s not going to leave you. It’s an empty threat. You should be so lucky. However, one of the effects of emotional abuse is that you believe her nonsense and actually fear being abandoned.

2) Let’s be friends. Next, a period of remorse, rationalizations and/or excuses follows. She will either:

  • Apologize and vow it will never happen again.
  • Pretend like it never happened, which is also highly abusive.
  • Blame you for her outburst. If you didn’t do x, y, and z, she wouldn’t have to be that way. Abusive personality types never take responsibility for their own actions. It’s always someone else’s fault.
  • Deny the incident occurred.
  • Minimize her behavior and insist it wasn’t that bad.

Usually, you’re so relieved that the screaming and insults have stopped, no matter how she spins events, that you go along with it. You hope the recent attack was the last, but it never is.

3) The calm before the next storm. Things go back to “normal”–for a time. This is referred to as the “honeymoon phase.” No overt abuse is taking place. You’re getting along, while simultaneously waiting for the other shoe to drop and hoping that it won’t. She appears sincere in her efforts to be kind and loving, but what she’s actually doing is lulling you into a false sense of security that the worst is over. It’s not.

4) Tick, tick, tick… Tension begins to build again, replacing the all too fleeting honeymoon period. Irritability surfaces. Communication deteriorates. She makes veiled accusations, blaming you for her unhappiness, frustration and anything else she can think of. She emotionally withdraws and gives you the cold shoulder. Eventually, this escalates into another full-blown rage episode, verbal attack, humiliation party or completely shuts you out.

This repetitive cycle of abuse will leave you feeling insecure, fearful, worthless, broken, and dependent upon the abuser. Eventually, your entire life revolves around trying to second-guess her moods and needs in an effort to stave off the next attack. You become a non-person in that your needs don’t matter because your entire focus shifts to keeping her happy, which is an impossible task. You won’t be able to make her happy, no matter how hard you try. Nor will you be able to change her behavior; only she can do that.

The only way to end the cycle of abuse is to end the relationship. You can try some kind of formalized therapy, but the abuser usually denies the fact that there’s a problem. Alternately, if she does agree to attend therapy, she typically sabotages treatment by either labeling the therapist as a fraud, especially if she gets called on her bad behavior, or finds a therapist who colludes with her and piles more blame and abuse onto you.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t deserve to be treated this way. Please find a source of support and end this vicious cycle. Life is way too short.


Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

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Photo credits: Roller coaster by english invader on flickr.


Female time bomb by Something to See on flickr.

  1. April 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve just recently come out of a bad relationship,I was with this girl for over 6 yrs,in the last 3 yrs I was punched numerous times once having my nose broken,I’ve also watched her threaten and punch and kick causing damage to my car,throwing my possessions out onto the street I’ve also been punched whilst driving and has a hand brake pulled up whilst driving,it’s so hard because I left my wife 6 yrs ago for this girl!!! And for some reason I would love her to cone back even tho she split up with me 2 months ago,why??? It’s very strange why I would want her back,I even bought a 4 bedroom house for her before Xmas only for her too leave 9 weeks later blaming me for everything and all I did was push her onto a bed after she slapped me,I’ve spent weeks trying to work out what I’ve done so wrong even going to councilling to see if it’s myself who’s at fault and not her,I’m
    Not perfect myself but I’ve never hit her first I’ve only defended myself once,I’m 6ft 5 and it’s hard to admit I’ve been treated like this but why don’t these people admit they have problems and need help,smoking cannabis for 15yrs I’m told probably hadn’t helped her but I’m lost as to itall,it’s very hard to make sense of the way she is,I feel like I’m going through cold turkey splitting up with her and my 2 children,it’s very hard at the moment,what do you do!!!????

    • abner
      April 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Phil..number one..it ain’t you! I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 51 and am working out every day and toning up. Work on your physical attributes and the mind will follow. DO for YOU. An ex potsmoking, physically, and emotionally abusive woman!!!! Holy shit! I mean, it’s not like when you were a kid…you always hoped for a chick like this. What would you do if a friend of yours described a situation like yours? You’d tell him to walk, in about a nanosecond! I have been exactly where you are…lost in the fog…but it gets better man…WAY better, if you leave and never look back.

      • CLR
        April 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        You want her back because you’ve been “brainwashed” by a mentally ill person. Get out of the relationship, take a break from all women and spend some time on YOU. It’s hardwork and it’s very painful work but it’s worth it. If you want a more rewarding life, do it now.

      • abner
        April 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

        Aaaannnd…I still fight the urge to go back to her! Further, she is in my thoughts EVERY DAY. These thoughts alternate between longing, and hatred. But, I know better and will do my utmost to never again let her-beat me down. It is what it is, and will never get better. Fuck it. You will get there too. Just “step AROUND the mud puddle.”

        • abner
          April 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm

          Phil, for what it’s worth, your struggle, helps me with my struggle. Thanks for putting your thought down-in this forum.

        • April 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

          Thanks for your comments that have been emailed or posted to me,it’s helped me a lot to try and understand why she’s like it,still very raw and hard it’s been 8 weeks but thanks to you who have commented…..

    • Zibot
      April 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Phil …

      … what I eventually realized was that I wasn’t dealing with a person, per se. I was dealing with a cluster of personality fragments. One could be loving and say all the right words about ‘us’, one could be sexual, one could be rabid and angry – even violent, one could betray me, one was so arrogant it was hard to breath around it.

      And there was no cohesion between fragments (which could switch within seconds). Points won with one fragment held no meaning to another fragment.

      So making major efforts to please, (purchasing things, compromising my needs & wants for the benefit of the relationship) to ‘put something in the bank’ emotional speaking – was useless.

      Basically the barrel has no bottom.

      You will exhaust your life making efforts to fill up the barrel. A person not suffering from a personality disorder will remember, it’s possible to have a sort of moving average running forward – they’ll think to themselves something like “Yeah, you did this but last week you were so good doing that, etc. etc, and you bought the house!” … or took ’em to Tahiti’ on vacation … with normal people – right in the head – you can earn points and things balance out.

      Disordered personalities don’t have this mental functioning. There’s no conscience – no over-viewing layer to balance, mitigate, factor in past behavior before reacting.

      Since one of these ill people is in fragments, each fragment presses all the corresponding buttons in you – except you’re NOT in fragments – you’re whole. However, they will start to rip you into pieces psychologically speaking, because you will have natural healthy reactions to all their fragments.

      Someone starts physical violence with you, eventually with enough pushing – you blow: it’s natural. Someone tells you they love you, and are affectionate, sexual … you let your guard down, open up, attach to them.

      Sick people like this will drive you – very literally – crazy. You’ll want them back and you’ll hate their guts. And you’re sane for feeling that way since both are natural normal reactions to dealing with a crazy abusive, seductive, person.

      Fortunately, with time and DISTANCE, your natural healing and re-balancing mechanisms will operate and you’ll eventually see you – a sane person – were intimately involved with someone suffering from a mental disorder.

      But you absolutely need that distance away from them to get yourself right. All contact resets your healing counter back to zero.

      You’ll re-balance if you give yourself enough time and distance. She – will continue to seduce, abuse and switch around from fragment to fragment because that is what, at her core, she is: in mental disorder.

      When you love someone it’s also natural to care about them and wish you could heal them. Eventually you’ll have to accept that is beyond your reach – not for lack of love or care or being a good enough person. It’s just the reality of it all.

      The next guy will get the same Lazy Susan of rotating fragments while you’ll be off healing yourself and re-balancing – older and wiser!

      • April 25, 2012 at 6:36 am

        Why do I want her back so bad I want to help her.its been 2 months and I still miss her ! I tried giving her everything I could she was never happy I just couldn’t give her what she wanted,I had even bought her a car,did she even love me? To treat me like this she couldn’t of done I’ve not seen her for 2 months even though she occasionally texts hoping I’m ok and saying how very hard she’s finding it,she’s gone from a 4 bedroom house to a flat where she’s struggling to find the rent and pay bills,for yrs she wanted the big house we finally get one and she moves out after 9 weeks and she blames violence even though it was her who started the violence,she tries to twist everything to be my fault,why am I hurting so much? Are these type of people so unpredictable,silly question what’s the chance of her wanting to come back? And get help probably 0,I feel I’ve lost everything the dream house my children and a girlfriend I love…she knows I’m waiting here for her,it’s so hard to move on and she’s hurt me so much,I can’t imagine being someone else,why do I feel like this.?

      • July 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        Zibot, I was looking for some answers on how to detach and I found this site. I know it is for men but I was with an abusive bi-polar guy for almost 9 years and I didn’t date for 10 afterward. It took me that long to recover. I remember the first year saying over and over within my heart, “It is so nice to have my nice sweet self all to myself.” It was such a relief to be alone!

        Anyway, your lazy Susan of personality traits description was so apt. So helpful. I am in a much healthier relationship now and I am now growing by accepting my good. My first reaction is still reactive and damaged so this site is helping me to understand and remember…and to choose differently.

        You are very wise. Thank you for the image of a fragmented person whose separate selves rotate without cohesion. I have a sister like that and that helps me understand her better.

      • RJ
        October 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Zibot, You post is very insightful..I am currently going through a very emotional rollercoaster right now. I am 50 and 3 years ago I met what I thought was the love of my life. She is two yrs older than me, is absolutely gorgeous and has a great career. However, I had only been single for about 3 months when we met and she had just recently filled for divorce. We talked a lot and emailed each other all day and it was ‘exciting’ to have this new person in my life. Unfortunately, I chose to overlook red flags from the beginning. When we actually started dating within a month she gave me my first ultimatum. She had planned a trip to Mexico with co-workers a year earlier. The trip was to take place 2 weeks later. She wanted me to go, but I had not planned for it because I wasn’t with her when this all came together. I told her I didn’t have the money and that I hadn’t taken vacation time. She told me if I didn’t go we were through. I was floored. That isn’t a reason to break up. We parted was that night and the next day I tried to reason with her and for her to put herself in my shoes. She conceded that she wasn’t being fare. I should have run for my life back then. Instead I was so taken by her physically that I was blinded to the beast that lives within.

        For 3 years I have allowed the this torture to continue. She makes better money than me, but of course since I am the ‘man’ I over extended myself financially to please her. She make more money than me but spends it on her adult children (who are employed, but party their money away). She pays their electic bills and pays their car payments. When I would ask her to help me with my credit cards and bills she would tell me, “That’s your problem”. Last December she quit wearing her wedding ring because a friend of hers got a ring that was bigger. She demnaded I up grade her ring or she wouldn’t wear one. So I broke weak and charged another ring on my credit card..empty barrel indeed. We finally went to counseling and that is when I discovered fully that the person I was looking at wasn’t the person I thought she was. She used to make statements that she was a zygote.However, in counseling I discovered that she has cheated on every man she has ever been with, including me on several occassions with her exhusband. She has 4 kids by three different men. She has been married 5 times. She even slept with one of her exhusbands cousins. She has slept with guys I know (which I wasn’t aware of until we were married). The only reason I married her is she threatened to leave if I didn’t. She is always the one to leave because she has the money. She has financially devastated me to the point I live paycheck to paycheck due to the bills I racked up trying to please her. She moved out again a month ago. She has blocked me from calling her cell phone and I can only contact her either at work or her work email. I attempt to refrain from both due to her cruel words that crush me further. However, I pay for her two younger kids (teens being raised by the dad) health insurance. I did this because my insurance was cheaper than hers and she has to pay due to the amount of money she makes compared to him. Anyway, I did leave a phone message and she email that she would mail me a check. I have no idea where she is and that is probably good. I am trying real hard to let go but it has only been a short time, although probably the 6th time she moved out. I have always talked her into coming back but I know that was stupid. I feel like a fool for being so weak. I put up with her due to her charm when she isn’t ‘fractured’. However you are right. I please on fragment and the others don’t care. I have told her she is the most emotionally evil person I have ever met and she replies, “You are the first man to tell me that.” She never apologizes when she devastates me, but expects me to kiss the ground she walks on. She truly thinks she is gods gift to man..In fact one time she hurt me emotionally real bad. When I told her she needed to apologize she said, “I’ve already forgiven myself.” You can’t get much more arrogant than that. When we went to counseling she pick the one (female, thank god). After several months the counselor in our group session told me that I seemed pretty balanced and then told my wife that they had a lot of work to do. Needless to say, my wife quit counseling 2 sessions later. I feel like such a fool for tolerating all of the infidelity,emotional battering, etc. I am glad I found this site although most of it is a couple of years old. I now know that I am not alone and that this happens much more often than I could imagine. It is unbelievable that I was so blinded by this woman and the front she put on. I thought I could help her see true love. I thought I could ‘fix’ her. How sadly mistaken I was. This isn’t my first rodeo and Iknow it takes time.. but I actually thought I loved her more that my first wife. And as I type this I am fighting not to contact her and try to get back with her. I know she will never change.. as I got to know my mother-in-law I see that same traits. That woman is 77 and she thinks she’s a goddess. But she tears through those retirees like a barbed wire tornado. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Oh, and my wife’s 32 yr old daughter rifles through men like my wife does. The generations of this… why didn’t I open my eyes… Love is blind they say. I hate this feeling, but I know I will heal in time.

      • Refugee
        March 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

        Wow Zibot! Really well said!

  2. Stefano
    August 16, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Hi Chris. Hang tough pal. I know its hard because I too am 41 and just managed to get rid of a very verbally and physically abusive woman. Yes we have moments were we think about the few good times and yes we obviously miss the physical side. But my friend stay away because it never improves I have been backwards and forwards for 5 years and it never got better and in fact as she “got her feet more under the table” she would get worse, the more security I gave to her the worse she got.

    You have to sit back and look at your peaceful life now and enjoy it. Life will pick up again for you and I am assured not every woman is like these monsters. I too never thought this would happen to me, hell she even had ME arrested for abuse because I restrained her from punching me! So you see we have been there, done it and got the T shirt as regards these women.
    As for other guys…believe me mine had been married twice and lived with five different guys so you see it never works out for them because no guy will put up with their crap. Yes they are sweet and wonderful at first but it only takes a short time for you to discover the monster inside, usually right after you have married them or moved them in.

    Hang in there, stay away and enjoy your life now it is back to normal.

  3. Ace
    August 16, 2010 at 10:15 am

    People with this Personality disorder don’t handle the aging process the same as everyone else, it hits them harder and that’s without her added self destruct mode. As is frequently repeated on this site and others, you can change or fix another person, they have to acknowledge their issues and seek help themselves. You can only influence your own behaviour, focus on yourself as hard as it may be, learn to love yourself, as you say at 41 get back to the person you were, occupy your mind, regardless of a full on relationship befriend some normal healthy women, just to prove to yourself they’re not all the same, relationships can follow when ready. She will get worse with age and each additional partner will most certainly get it worse too. Though her self destruct mode may finish that prematurely.

    • che
      October 24, 2012 at 3:45 am

      hi everyone,man i thought iwas the only one.I can relate to many of your stories ,it is no joke and not a way to live your life.my girlfriend is a freaing pitbull!i dont know what is safe to say.

      Things as simple as texting a cousin or a friend and smiling she accusses me of talin to whores,calls me a whore verbal abuse starts and the more i try to defuse the situation she doesnt care as id she gets more power and cursses at me after i have told her several times not to say those things but then she blames me for maing her tal to me lie that if i wasnt so stupid then she wouldnt have to talk to me like that.

      she barricades me in the room to keep me from walking out cause it drives me nuts sitting there listening to her name calling fagit lil bitch your not a man ur a pussy mother fucker piece of shit loser and when i lauched for the door she pushes me i can easily get her out of the way but as soon as i grabb her she accuses me of being abusive all i want to do is get out i cant take itit got as far as her punching me and making me bleed and throwing an object on my head to where i was bleeding i went towards the door and she try to kick me so i bloced her kick and picked up her leg to where she fell back,i didner mean too but i was going crazy!there after i was called a woman beater ,never in my life have i put hands on a woman.

      Another one of her specialties is that she starts fights ill let go for a while but i get tired of it and start explaing playing her game,next thing u know i did it my fault'”its your fault you did this”its always “it could have been different but you didnt say it lie this or answer me like this”if you would have done it like this “we wouldnt be in this mess,so fuck you to hell”i recentlyt snapped and acted like her and yelled and said a lot of things i really dont like to be lie that but im going nuts i feel delirious confused cant function or make decisions i doubt mysef,i was never like this i was strong healthy like going to the gym,i dont have a facebook of course case of her cause the whores i cant visit friends cause she gets mad she wont say it cause of that but she willmake up reasons of why shes mad and it bullshit shes driving me fukin nuts but cant seem to let go

  4. Chris
    August 16, 2010 at 3:14 am

    I’ve been trying to console myself with the idea that her next victim will have it worse than me. I got it worse than her husband of 15 years, so I exoect the next poor sap to get it even worse than I did. She’s on a really self destructive track anyway. A month ago she passed out on an interstate highway while driving from one of her hooker appointments bombed out of her skull. Luckily it was 2 in the morning and she only struck a sign and guard rail before coming to a stop. However, spending the entire next day in jail and totally her car, only stopped her from drinking for three weeks. She went straight back to hooking and drinking. So, I just need to get myself back together and just forget about her. At 41 years of age, I NEVER thought this would ever happen to me!!!

  5. Ace
    August 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Hi Chris

    I’ve just recently come out of a 5 year on off relationship, always off by her decision, it looks like this is the final one, ‘famous last words’ she’s always gotten involved with other men in the breakups, on one occasion even living with a guy, yet on that same occasion I dated a woman for a couple of weeks and she went nuts !!! go figure she lives with a guy, I date and I’m the bad person.

    Anyway like you I could not for a single moment get the thought of her out of the centre of my forehead. This current break is 7 months, I suspected she was with a guy, but I still had this burning thought that just maybe, at the forefront of my mind.

    Then I got confirmation she was with a guy, and just like the last time it was text book, Dr T, had it been a complete stranger I’d probably have ripped myself apart with guilt and wondering.

    But it was a guy known to me, in fact a twin of her best friends husband, the best friend actually lived with him before her chosen husband. So now my ex is with this twin, wow !! and as Dr T said in her article, he is a nice guy, I would say even easier to turn into a hand puppet, a regular type of job, nothing high powered or with huge earning potential.

    It was almost a relief in fact it almost instantly removed the burning from my head. It’s like a chess game, you can read the moves once you’ve learned your opponents game.

    Instead of a new guy being the lucky *astard, because I knew him and his character somewhat, I just seen him as the next victim and given the history of his ex’s and the whole inter twining, added to my and all the other ex’s on this site’s huge insecurities, it’s pretty much a given it will fail. The pressure will be on my ex to succeed given the family connection, and her failure rate, the fall out will be huge if it fails, a betting man would not put odds on success. I see the honeymoon period and then the head wreck and yep as Dr T also said likely hanging around this site in a year or so.

    I suppose my point to you is 2 weeks ago I was wracked with guilt and really under pressure to make contact, fortunately I didn’t do so, (nor give her additional satisfaction nor power) but that one singular piece of additional information set me and my mind free.

    It’s like a Lotto add ‘It could happen to you’

    Hold strong, I also found writing down my thoughts in darfted format but not sending helped me greatly, usually calming me by the end of the draft

  6. Chris
    August 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I have been suffering through the worst and most toxic relationship of my life. The problem is, I can’t stop obsessing and ruminating about her. Logically, I can see how destructive this relationship has been, I still WANT to believe I can have the relationship that I fantasized I had with her. What I really had, was someone who was alcoholic, emotionally unavailable, needy, manipulative, dishonest and repeatedly unfaithful. When I say “unfaithful” I don’t just mean cheating. She actually decided to become a hooker because she got a thrill from it and it was easy money! She would start hooking me back in after every break up by promising to get treatment, quite drinking, be committed, honest and faithful. Yet, none of it was EVER true. In reality, she need something from me or needed me to fill some emotional hole in her. Attention from men was like a drug to her. I jokingly say that I was her Methadone when she couldn’t find Heroin.Like Methadone, I didn’t get her high anymore, I just kept her from hurting while she sought out the high from someone else. I finally decided that I did have a choice in whether I stayed and let her keep hurting me or left and got the help I needed. That’s when I was able to finally break it off. It was when I decided that I needed to protect myself from any further damage and I was really damaged by her. I loved her, supported her, tried to endlessly fulfill her needs and dreamed of marrying her one day. It broke something inside me and I’m afraid it will take a long time to recover and heal from this. I still think about her throughout the day and night because I truly miss the good parts of her but I know I can’t have that without the neverending nightmare that is also who she is as a person.

  7. Jovan
    June 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Dr T
    You have just described my wife….
    she is a successful teacher and has a gift for communication and empathy.
    She is obsessive, abusive, keeps all people away from our personal lives in
    order that she is not exposed. She has taken emotional, psychological and constructive abandonment and made it into a new art form.

    On the other hand I am a dope..

    I have given this women 28 year of my earnest love and she has literally
    crushed my life into the what is left over after a emotional forest fire

    You must be a goddess sent from the gods to aid us poor creatures
    From the most thankful and appreciative readers you will ever have.

    I hope to soon promote your website and to work at fiscally supplementing
    your effort from my alimony

    you are amazing………….
    jovan PA

    • Chrissy
      August 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      You must be a goddess sent from the gods to aid us poor creatures
      From the most thankful and appreciative readers you will ever have – I concur, I concur, I concur

      • shrink4men
        August 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Thank you, Chrissy. Yes, I work with daughters of disordered mothers. Please contact me at shrink4men@gmail.com for more information.

  8. MR B
    February 14, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    hello all,, great site ,, heres my story ,, 5 years of hell ,,
    when she & i met she was great loving caring sweet ,,shit i was like a king
    she would wait on me hand and foot,, you name it i had it ,spoilit rotten
    and yes very atractive 35 yr old
    things were good but slowly getting worse ,
    being abused verbally by the woman i loved was very confusing
    hours & hours of abuse not 10 minutes i mean 2 hours straight non stop abuse or more
    it came to the point where i had to leave home on numerous (10-20) occasions in the middle of the night and sleep in my car or hotel
    then the next day she would be loving caring ( ??? )
    however it gets worse
    over time ,, my life was going downhill very fast
    being put down ,degraded & demoralised was tough , my health was suffering ,headaches, on edge ,
    there were so many times where i was abused & humiliated in public
    then theres social friends ,one by one i was losing them ,the only friends i had were the ones she didnt fight with, but over time they had seen the real person she was , however my family stuck by me 110% ,,
    over the years this woman couldnt hold a job or simply for months at a time did not work , and guess who was paying $$$,, being on a rollercoaster was tough ,couldnt go for week without having an argument i kid you not ,,healthy isnt it
    and the funny thing i tried very hard for myself, for her, for the relationship , but nothing got any better ,, only because of my morals & standards i never give up thats the person i am ,,
    this woman would go through my things to find information, phone numbers etc etc ,, i was having affairs that was her accusation ,, even the clothes i wore ,,she would critisize to other people
    the police she called on me ,,but they removed her instead
    this is the craze i went through, absolute hell
    in all my life i have never been hurt like this ever before in my life ,the pain ,the crying ,, my dignity
    however i had the strength to finally leave ,it wasnt easy , but i have done it , its been 3 months now and things are better ,,although i,m still being stalked from time to time and i just brush it off ,, i,m still alone but time will heal

  9. scott
    January 15, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Hi Dr T

    I absolutely love this site and your comments , you explain the situation so eloquently and provide some sort of reasoning to this madness . I Posted my story in your Narc’d section though i will post it here as well as the above comments are recent and just to get your feedback. I Hope fromCOtoAZ you read this as well so you can see you are not alone.

    I sincerely hope you read this comment.After I read your mail ,my mouth hit the ground as most if not all you have been through i have experienced . Even though as i Write this it is 6 months on and i am just marginally starting to feel better about myself and probably at best salvaged 5% of my Self Esteem (how do i guage this ,i have no idea but that is how it feels at the moment).I had a 4 month relationship with what i would definitely call a high end Narcissist.At first i could not believe my luck . I thought i had met the women of my dreams(I know Cliched’) and more .Picture this a stunning Latino Women ,who dressed elegently and who oozed with immense charm.She preceded to set the foundation of commitment and us being “exclusive”(could not have been further from the truth).At the time my knowledge of Narcissism was negligible ,my only interpretation of the word was self absorbed .I had no idea how debilitating this behaviour could make me feel and nearly destroy me as a person .My opening Salvo was one day i commented on how sexual she was and i hope i could always make her happy,well did i pay for that !.As with your scenario (half way through the act she rolls over and automatically goes cold and states “So is this what you want”)I could not believe what i was hearing ,I paid this women a compliment and this is what i get in return.Her take on the comment,is that i should not comment on ones sexuality. On a social outing with her friends one of them came up to me and said “So can you tell in the room who is sexual” ,She had told our most intimate discussion to her friend.Next up was the “human error saga”.One night we went out for dinner to celebrate the success of her new job.In a hurry that afternoon i left my credit card at work and when it came time to pay i could not ,well from jekyll to hyde in T minus 30 sec .Went completely cold ,accused or at least insinuated that i purposely did this to avoid paying ,when i said i needed to go into work to retrieve my card (as i did not want it to be stolen or at the very least used ) ,she stated “well if you going into work to get it don’t bother comimg back!.Any decent human being would have given some consideration to this and said Well you can pay for the next meal and being late at night would have offered to drive one into the office to retrieve it.No it did not end there the second part of the punishment was to withold my bike (as i had ridden it over to her place after work) This was a Wednesday night , i did not retrieve it until Sunday. Like you i thought it was just a emotional response for me being so stupid in forgetting my credit card on such a momentous occassion.When we did finally talk (and this was after a heartfelt apologetic letter and the money enclosed),her explanation for her behavior was “i didn’t think you made mistakes like that”.Next on the horizon was the fake pregnancy , I had invited her over to one of my dearest and most kindfelt couple of friends house (in which she accepted ) .At the 11 hour before going over she mysteriously became ill and pulled out ,Towards the end of the evening after my friends had prepared a lovely fruit platter i received a SMS “by the way i am pregnant”.As you could imagine i was beside myself and subsequently called her to confirm this was true ,only to get a “don’t bother coming over we can deal with this latter, attitude”.After a D & M discussing how we would face the future with this child she then went cold again and stated that” you do not want this child at all “,(i never said that in the first place i merely wanted to go through all our options ,including termination if this was not the right time .I clearly stated that i would support her regardless). Her comment was to respond “i do not want you to influence me in any form to sway my decision one way or another” .I agreed and re-inforced that i would once again support her in any decision she made. I received a email at work saying “after our discussion the other night it seems having a baby is not viable at the moment so i will proceed with a termination”.That night i went over to see if this really is her final decision and to see how she feeling ,she was not home (i did mention i was coming over that night).The next day i receive a SMS to say”you do not have to worry anymore the job is done”.naturally i was upset and responded with a sms”my thoughts and prayers are with you “. I then got the response saying our relationship is over and proceeded to call me a coward for not accompanying her to the clinic.I then responded by saying as my last wish then ,can i least pay for the abortion and can you mail me the document (if you do not want to see me again).Well the abuse began saying that she does not want my stupid money and i am not going to waste a postage stamp in sending it .I then realised going from her past actions that this was all Bull#%!t.The final straw surfaced when by the 4 month she knew a lot about my past and on her birthday I got her a 5 star overnight stay in a city hotel only to be accused earlier in the night that i had had my arm around a girl at the bar (which was absurd) and back the hotel accusing me of sleeping with one of my female friends .As you can read Birthday night ruined.In my discussions with her i was honest and up front with my past relationships and all i had was a Facebook friendship with a girl i dated a little over 20 yrs ago (there is and will never be a rekindle in that relationship as there is too much water under the bridge and i have well and truely moved on ) .Well i receive a call from my ex stating that a so called mutual friend claims i have been texting her and maintaing constant contact,(my last contact was one sms and one msn stating that i was involved with someone and at the time happy in a relationship or so i thought!.She mailed her direct on facebook and abused her saying “i hear you have been mailing Scott after all these years why you pathetic bitch” .As i result of that i had the worst argument i have ever had with another person in my entire life ,90 mins of pure anger this moment of honesty sealed my fate . In our final discussion i offered to pay for counselling to try and save our relationship (i even offered to pay for it ) only to have my Birthday card , apologetic letter returned on my front doorstep.She managed to punish me with two more emotional torpedoes .The first one was not to return my camera back and the last was a salvo of abusive sms’s saying its the last time a date a loser who has been in the same job for 15yrs and dates divorcees and single mums’s .It is the abuse that hurts the most as i so wanted this relationship to work only to go back in each time seeking validation and acceptance to which i will never receive .I really am glad i found this site and your story Jay as it does make me feel a lot better and i know i will get through this , the destructive force that a Narcissist has in his/her arsenal is spine tingling.I also thank you Dr Palmatier for your insightful comments as well.If you ever experience the early signs of being in a relationship with a Narcissist i urge you to abandon them immediately before you become hooked in trying to set things right and if you persist it is almost impossible to turn your back on.

    The latest is that i bumped into her last week and even though no words were spoken , she had her back to me and knew i was there and placed her left hand on her shoulder to show off her engagement ring . 6 months and already engaged ,She still had to have the last salvo of abuse .i so wanted to respond 6 Months+Engagement=Trophy wife and no one i mean no one knows a person that well to make a committment of that magnitude.It will be interesting to see if that ring finger has a tan line or not.But out of dignity and not to stoop to her level refrained.

  10. joe
    January 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    PS…She has other npd\bpd traits like argumentative, wont say sorry, can’t be criticised, pulls away, won’t accept my views and tries to align me to hers) she just doesn’t have the monster like rages

  11. Joe
    January 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Hello Dr T and a belated happy new yr to you. How ‘dark’ does your narc\bpd\other disorder partner have to be? My wife is not the violent, aggressive,unstable, unpredictable monster that always has outbursts that a lot of people describe on here. At worst she is ‘snappy’ sometimes (maybe a lot) but always critical of how i do things and how i am as a person. She is definitely controlling and projects( i think, from what i have read that to be). Therefore i am asking is there such a thing as a more subtle npd\bpd type? Because she is not ‘off the wall’ I am left wondering if she can still be npd\bpd\control freak\other?
    Many thanks yet again

    • Mr. E
      January 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Yes, she can be abusive without huge outbursts. Covert abuse is more insidious than over-the-top screaming and tantrums. Someone can crush your soul by telling you something “for your own good” with a smile.

      And, from your P.S. below, she doesn’t sound very pleasant to be around, even if she isn’t throwing plates across the room.

      • chester
        December 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

        I used to get a combination of both. Sometimes raging and over the top, then subtle. Punctuated by the occasional absolutely wonderful person. It was maddening and I suffer to this day.

  12. franky torres
    December 25, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I read post after post and it seems like we all are talking about the same woman: MY EX!!!! I’m starting to think that they are from a different planet and their only purpose is to make everybody’s life miserable just like theirs is. I thank God i found this blog that helped me get my sanity back after being with an abusive woman for 5 years. Thank you Dr T for this website. Franky Torres

    • shrink4men
      January 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Franky,

      You’re welcome and thank you for the positive feedback. I truly appreciate it. Yes, these women all seem to have emerged from the same alien pod. It’s kind of like “Invasion of the Sanity Snatchers.”

      Happy New Year,
      Dr Tara

      • Chrissy
        August 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        You said this very succinctly – has to be of alien origin – thank you for this site – the female I’m dealing with is my mother who is from the nazi hitler youth and she is at a minimum a high dose of NPD, BPD, etc. Your site is the absolutely most informative, TRUTHFUL site I’ve read ever ! Do you work with daughters of mothers?

  13. fromCOtoAZ
    May 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I see what you’re saying. it’s kinda like giving a speech or doing an interview – – to know your audience. but i lost my cool a couple of times – because she kept pushing – and felt horrible about it. all it did was give her more reason and ammunition to play the victim and point fingers. plus, two wrongs don’t make a right. so, no, i don’t ever want to go that route again. i’d rather just walk away and stay away.

  14. fromCOtoAZ
    May 6, 2009 at 12:58 am

    good lord… the girl has a mouth that would make Sam Kinison blush. i grew up in a police family and bartended for a few years, so i’m certainly not a prude when it comes to foul language. i’m waiting for her head to start spinning around and out pops the green pea soup. still trying to maintain a sense of humor.

    let me ask you this… it seems the ONLY way i could ever get her to stop with the assaults was when i threatened to block her emails, and this time around she immediately stopped communication when i threatened a restraining order (whew… thank God). she seems to have such a lack of control over her anger and words (and the repercussions of those actions), but when i come up with something tangible she seems to snap into place. any logical explanation for this? is this part of the game, or does she finally see the seriousness of the situation?

    • shrink4men
      May 6, 2009 at 1:45 am

      These women only respond to the threat of punishment and/or the exposure of their behaviors. They also thrive on attention—good attention, bad attention, it doesn’t matter. Threatening to ignore her or to leave may get them to snap to attention, but they revert back to their true nature once they lure you back.

      Emotionally abusive personalities are bullies and they only respond to being bullied or threatened. You can go that route, but I don’t recommend it.

      Dr T

      • Phil
        October 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm

        This is espcially true with my wife. After I started telling her family and mine about the verbal abuse she toned way down. I let her find some audio tapes I had made of her rages. Of course she distroyed them. No worry I told her I had many copies plus the video from the hidden cameras I had installed in the house (not really true) she actually started looking around the room and ceiling with a horrified look on her face. For about a month I had some real piece and quite.

      • Am
        December 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm

        My brother recently died, alienated from a family who loved him. His wife had alienated him from his family, his entire life, career pre-her. Her insecurity is crippling not only of her – she has never worked outside of the home (& she married in her 30s) but crippling of my brother. He died of stomach cancer, so I found the article of listening to your ‘gut’ very true.
        Do not let a woman disempower you and make you feel less. These women are bullies – please get out.

  15. fromCOtoAZ
    May 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I keep telling everyone she is like the emotional Terminator… she doesn’t feel pity, she doesn’t feel remorse, and she simply will not stop. i needed to get her her keys, but couldn’t due to the fact that i injured my hand, my truck broke (rough week), and – honestly – i really didn’t feel like expending the energy nor the cost to mail them to her right now. i wanted her to calm down for a week before i mailed them. but she knows that i changed my number and blocked her emails. so she goes the IM method today (breaking my privacy) demanding her keys. i told her what happened to me this week, she couldn’t care less. so i dropped her keys off at her house with her mother, knowing full well that it could be her that answers the door. it was simply important that she get them – from both sides. now she is blowing up my IM with her snotty, evil comments and venom. i wished her well, but told her that if she keeps harrassing me then i will go file a restraining order on her. what else can i do? i AM afraid that she will hurt herself, if not from a warped sense of reality, but even as a way to get back at me. she really is that combative, competitive (she takes things as an absolute win/lose, no gray area) and she is that unstable. yes, she supposedly went to treatment for something a few years back, then stopped. i even offered to go to couples therapy, but she refused saying that that was what ruined her marriage and that she didn’t need somebody telling her what she feels. part of that is due to her telling everyone else how they feel, and – most importantly – it’s exactly what you said about people sabotaging the therapy because if a professional told her that what she is doing is wrong, she would come unglued and call the person a fraud or that they’re out to get her. there can be no constructive criticism with her. if she is not NEEDED or worshipped she can’t stand it. and the fact that i am very independent, very self sufficient, very mentally healthy overall sends her into orbit. i don’t know how many times i told her i will not be her verbal punching bag. you are so right… she holds all the facts in her mind… no matter how twisted and conjured they are. it really is sad to witness, cuz life can be – and should be – so much better. i just hope and pray to God to take care of her.

    • shrink4men
      May 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

      And don’t forget the Terminator’s favorite response from the first film, “F-ck you, a$$hole.” Which is pretty much the same response you can count on getting from these women when you ask them to be fair, nice or to just stop the verbal abuse.

  16. fromCOtoAZ
    May 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Holy moly… i just got off of this roller coaster!!! the girl i was with could be amazingly sweet, kind, supportive, very pleasing, and her good side is absolutely wonderful. I fell in love with her very hard, and my love for her remains to this day. i will always love her, but i can not be with her.

    her dark side is flat-out scary. I knew going in that she had low self esteem as was kinda needy. but when her needs weren’t being met, or if she was feeling bad about herself (quite often) she would explode!!! one of our fights centered around me having a sinus infection, i told her about it, told her that i was very contageous, worried about getting her sick (she was working 2 jobs and couldn’t afford to be sick or get her mother sick cuz it could send her mother to the hospital), and she turned it in to me rejecting her for 4 days, tho at no time did i tell her not to come over, i left that as her decision. and then we fought about it for 4 days – over the internet!!! up until our last fight, every argument we ever had was over the internet! there’s a funny quote going around that says, “fighting over the internet is like being in the special olympics… it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, you’re still retarded”. the second to last fight we had was her exploding at me – at the top of her lungs – for going to the wrong gas station, and the last one we had was because i went outside, came back in, and went to the bedroom to watch a movie instead of going to the kitchen where she was, and not telling her i came inside. she knew i was gonna be outside for less than 5 minutes. i went to the bedroom because i figured i’d stay out of her way and that she would be coming to the bedroom soon so we could watch a movie. and she accuses me of starting a fight, starts screaming at me, gets really nasty with her words, and kicks me out of her house. all this time i’m wondering what i did that was so egregious as to warrant this type of behavior (this is typical of our fights, and i’m a pretty smart and alert guy). and since i couldn’t figure it out, she kicks me out of her house. keep in mind we had plans with my family that night that she refused to go to. all because i went to the wrong room. i am not making this up one bit.

    and then the fun really begins!!! then she’ll blow up my emails with her poisonous vomit in the form of verbal abuse, saying i’m not a man, that i am selfish, abusive, and the profanity that comes forth is something out of the exorcist. when she gets like this, she makes me out to be the anti-christ, blaming me for everything that is wrong in her life. and this has literally gone on for days. she always screams about her hurt, her pain, never once acknowledging the pain she inflicts upon me. every once in a while i would get a blanket “i’m sorry”, but would never elaborate what she is sorry for, and NEVER ever admitting to anything specifically that she has done wrong. i can honestly say with 100% confidence that i was an awesome boyfriend to her, did my absolute best.

    ANY questions i pose to her such as “how would you feel if i acted like that” or “do you understand that what you did was hurtful” or even “why are you saying these rotten things to me” are never answered. i might be a senstive guy on certain things, but my man card is firmly intact. i am not a wimp by any measure. but, yes, these things hurt. and the response i get from her is that she NEVER says things to hurt, never intends to cause harm. but i can not get her to admit that they DO cause harm. in her eyes, i’m supposed to sit there and let her go off on me, be the better man, and brush it off like nothing ever happened.

    this last time i told her that i needed to hear that she was sorry for exploding at me, that she understands that she had no right to kick me out of her house, nor use extreme profanity, that she realizes that she hurt me, that she let her emotions get the best of her, and that she will work on it. that if i don’t hear a variation of those words that i can not, will not, come back. and she would not do it, says i am 100% wrong in everything from starting the fight to my side of the problem, saying i only see one side of everything, accuses me of putting words in her mouth, and then the cycle of abuse – the explosion – starts all over again. she has questioned my manhood, my integrity, my sanity, anything she can think of to justify her horrible behavior. most times i don’t even have a clue as to what the problem is or what we’re fighting about. she truly is a Jeckyl and Hyde. the good side is the best i’ve ever had and everything i was looking for in a girl. the bad side i can not possibly tolerate and retain any measure of normalcy. i don’t want to be without the good side of her, but i can not be with the bad side. and pretty much all of this happening over the internet – – when we live less than 3 miles from each other. i’m sad because i can not save myself in that relationship, sad that i can not save THE relationship, and sad that i can not save her from herself. i was the only one in her innermost circle that didn’t rely on her, didn’t NEED her for something, the only one who could stand on his own two feet… therefore i caught all of her wrath. and no matter what i gave to the relationship, to her, it would never be enough. so i – finally – had to say good-bye. 7 months of that was long enough.

    • shrink4men
      May 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      Good for you that you recognized her behavior isn’t normal and got out. From your description, she seems to have a mix of classic Borderline personality and Narcissistic personality traits.

      The Jekyll and Hyde thing can be a real mind twister. It’s like the old nursery rhyme, “There was a little girl and she had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.” The fleeting “good” moments and behaviors don’t make up for the torrent of abuse.

      Even if she is able to give you the kind of apology you want, do you think she’d actually change her behaviors? That’s the real issue. It doesn’t matter how sorry a person is. If she keeps abusing you, the apology is meaningless. Be grateful you got out after only 7 months. If you’d married this woman or had a child with her, it could’ve been a lot worse.

      When you break up with a woman like your ex, they view it as an act of supreme insubordination and they will punish you for it. She’ll bad talk you to friends and family in an effort to humiliate you. When you divorce them, they go after all your money and possessions. If you have a child or children with them, they try to turn your kid(s) against you or won’t let you see them in order to hurt you.

      I encourage you to determine if you have a pattern of being attracted to women like this and, if so, get help to break the pattern. You do not want to become involved with another woman like this. You might not be so lucky next time around.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

    • Tez
      November 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      You dated a woman like this for 7 months?? I’ve been married to a woman like this for almost 7 years! The constant blame for everything,the withholding of sex as a means of trying to control you,the constant bashing of your family,the nit-picking,the ridiculous unneccessary spending and shopping,it’s enough to put you in the psych ward. I actually have a child with a woman like this. I often agonize over the thought of being without my child if I did leave,and secondly the abuse it would subject her to. My wife considers herself a feminist as well. She was told from a small child that men are no good,and that they only want one thing from you. Her mother never married although she was proposed to several times,and the same goes for her sisters. I think she knows she has a good thing in being married to me as she told me so,but I honestly think she can’t help her behavior. We’ve gone to three different therapist,and each time she downplays her behavior. She refuses to be truthful and forthcoming about her issues and always blames me for everything. Everything you guys have posted here is so accurate. I had a professor is college tell me “The best decisions in life are made without emotions,but by thinking them through”,he was so right.

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