Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, Marriage, relationships > 10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully

10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully

mood-swingsDoes your girlfriend or wife yell, scream, and swear at you? Do you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about your relationship because they just wouldn’t understand? Is your relationship making you feel like you’re slowly going crazy?

If so, you’re probably involved with a woman who is an emotionally abusive bully. Most men don’t want to admit that they’re in an abusive relationship. They describe the relationship and their girlfriend/wife using other terms like crazy, emotional, controlling, bossy, domineering, constant conflict, or volatile. If you use words like this to describe your relationship, odds are you’re being emotionally abused.

Do you recognize any of the following behaviors?

1) Bullying. If she doesn’t get her way, there’s hell to pay. She wants to control you and resorts to emotional intimidation to do it. She uses verbal assaults and threats in order to get you to do what she wants. It makes her feel powerful to make you feel bad. People with a Narcissistic personality are often bullies.

Result: You lose your self-respect and feel outnumbered, sad, and alone. You develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome, in which you identify with the aggressor and actually defend her behavior to others.

2) Unreasonable expectations. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, it’s never enough. She expects you to drop whatever you’re doing and attend to her needs. No matter the inconvenience, she comes first. She has an endless list of demands that no one mere mortal could ever fulfill.

Common complaints include: You’re not romantic enough, you don’t spend enough time with me, you’re not sensitive enough, you’re not smart enough to figure out my needs, you’re not making enough money, you’re not FILL IN THE BLANK enough. Basically, you’re not enough, because there’s no pleasing this woman. No one will ever be enough for her, so don’t take it to heart.

Result: You’re constantly criticized because you’re not able to meet her needs and experience a sense of learned helplessness. You feel powerless and defeated because she puts you in no-win situations.

3) Verbal attacks.This is self-explanatory. She employs schoolyard name calling, pathologizing (e.g., armed with a superficial knowledge of psychology she uses diagnostic terms like labile, paranoid, narcissistic, etc. for a 50-cent version of name calling), criticizing, threatening, screaming, yelling, swearing, sarcasm, humiliation, exaggerating your flaws, and making fun of you in front of others, including your children and other people she’s not intimidated by. Verbal assault is another form of bullying, and bullies only act like this in front of those whom they don’t fear or people who let them get away with their bad behavior.

Result: Your self-confidence and sense of self-worth all but disappear. You may even begin to believe the horrible things she says to you.

4) Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.” If the woman you’re involved with is prone to Borderline or Narcissistic rage episodes, in which she spirals into outer orbit, she may very well not remember things she’s said and done. However, don’t doubt your perception and memory of events. They happened and they are that bad.

Result: Her gaslighting behavior may cause you to doubt your own sanity. It’s crazy-making behavior that leaves you feeling confused, bewildered, and helpless.

5) Unpredictable responses. Round and round and round she goes. Where she’ll stop, nobody knows. She reacts differently to you on different days or at different times. For example, on Monday, it’s ok for you to Blackberry work email in front of her. On Wednesday, the same behavior is “disrespectful, insensitive, you don’t love me, you’re a self-important jerk, you’re a workaholic.” By Friday, it could be okay for you to Blackberry again.

Telling you one day that something’s alright and the next day that it’s not is emotionally abusive behavior. It’s like walking through a landmine in which the mines shift location.

Result: You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hypervigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.

6) Constant Chaos. She’s addicted to conflict. She gets a charge from the adrenaline and drama. She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bullshit, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification.

Result: You become emotionally punch drunk. You’re left feeling dazed and confused, not knowing which end is up. This is highly stressful because it also requires you to be hypervigilant and in a constant state of defense for incoming attacks.

7) Emotional Blackmail. She threatens to abandon you, to end the relationship, or give you the cold shoulder if you don’t play by her rules. She plays on your fears, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, shame, values, sympathy, compassion, and other “buttons” to control you and get what she wants.

Result: You feel manipulated, used, and controlled.

8 Rejection. She ignores you, won’t look at you when you’re in the same room, gives you the cold shoulder, withholds affection, withholds sex, declines or puts down your ideas, invitations, suggestions, and pushes you away when you try to be close. After she pushes you as hard and as far away as she can, she’ll try to be affectionate with you. You’re still hurting from her previous rebuff or attack and don’t respond. Then she accuses you of being cold and rejecting, which she’ll use as an excuse to push you away again in the future.

Result: You feel undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable. You believe no one else would want you and cling to this abusive woman, grateful for whatever scraps of infrequent affection she shows you.

9) Withholding affection and sex. This is another form of rejection and emotional blackmail. It’s not just about sex, it’s about withholding physical, psychological, and emotional nurturing. It includes a lack of interest in what’s important to you–your job, family, friends, hobbies, activities–and being uninvolved, emotionally detached or shut down with you.

Result: You have a transactional relationship in which you have to perform tasks, buy her things, “be nice to her,” or give into her demands in order to receive love and affection from her. You don’t feel loved and appreciated for who you are, but for what you do for her or buy her.

10) Isolating. She demands or acts in ways that cause you to distance yourself from your family, friends, or anyone that would be concerned for your well-being or a source of support. This typically involves verbally trashing your friends and family, being overtly hostile to your family and friends, or acting out and starting arguments in front of others to make it as unpleasant as possible for them to be around the two of you.

Result: This makes you completely dependent upon her. She takes away your outside sources of support and/or controls the amount of interaction you have with them. You’re left feeling trapped and alone, afraid to tell anyone what really goes on in your relationship because you don’t think they’ll believe you.

You don’t have to accept emotional abuse in your relationship. You can get help or you can end it. Most emotionally abusive women don’t want help. They don’t think they need it. They are the professional victims, bullies, narcissists, and borderlines. They’re abusive personality types and don’t know any other way to act in relationships.

Life is too short to spend one more second in this kind of relationship. If your partner won’t admit she has a problem and agree to get help, real help, then it’s in your best interest to get support, get out, and stay out.


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: Mood swings on ccmbuzz.

  1. lonelysoul
    January 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Oh man.. I came across this article while googling for “wife withhold affections” and after reading thru the blog, everything became clear to me on the girl that I married.

    I can recall the phyical AND mental abuses from day one and YET I felt compelled to stay with her and needed her love even more. Wow, that was strange, it was like she had some special power over me. I recall how she would immediately make up w/ me after the abuses.

    This only made sense to until I read through the article and the reponses here. I never heard the borderline personalities until this article. I am so many surprise the many men that been tortured like I have over the years.

    Forward 5 years w/ 2 kids later, she was diagnosed with Post Partom depression and Bi-Polar after years of refusing to get help despite my pleas. She went on meds which seemed to help but sometimes I still not sure what to expect and at the present time I feel exhausted.

    My issue now is that I get very little or no affections in the form of hugs, kisses, and just emotional bonding. It seems like everything is on her terms and I have to beg for this. Well, I don’t want to beg especially when I get rejexted.

    The times that we do have sex, it’s pretty get it done moments. I approached her about this, and she either laughs off or not taking it seriously. She would brush off the my concerns with comments like “we are no longer in our 20s or comments like “don’t you know women loose their desires after having kids?” Oh btw, we only in our 30s! That’s insane!

    I’m getting very depressed over this because I feel like I’m not getting emotional and physical closeness that I needed to function. It’s very strange that she feels perfectly normal with this and this is what I don’t get.

    Is she still trying to manipulate me to get something she’s not getting? It’s getting so bad that I will reject her if she finally decides the “moment” is right. Is this normal?

    In hindsight, I sometimes wonder how I could endure this for so long. For those that are lucky enough to really Dr. Shrink4Men’s advice, please don’t follow our path. You have no idea how painful it is.

    Any advice on my situation is greatly appreciated.

    • RC
      January 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      It was normal for me. I spent years dealing with spotty affections. When my wife would become agitated or frustrated at anything, the affection stopped. I used to ask her what was wrong all of the tinme so I could understand why, but after a while this bothered her. She accused me of pestering her. The whole family tried telling her that she had anger isses, but her response was to deny it and decalring that she does not have anger issues. Anyway, being subject at anytime (often without warning) to her anger and/or withdrawl of affection, I have lost any desire to be affectionate or intimate with her. When she started questioning this of me (angrily), I tried to explain my perspective. She would not hear it and declared that she was lonely and it was obvious that I did not want to address her needs. This is what has finally prompted my moving out. I feel for you having to deal with this. It hits you right in your masculinity. This kind of emotional manipulation is cruel whether it is done conciously or not.

      • lonelysoul
        January 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

        It really drives me insanely and this is why guys end up cheating. I’ve basically told that up front so it’s no surprise when this happen. Why does this happen so often with women? I have friends’ that end cheating because of the spotty affection from their wifes. I can certainly say I’m a very good husband and father and this is frustrates me even more.

        There are times are I really need the affection and feel depressed.

  2. Jack
    December 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I was in a relationship with a woman who had borderline personality disorder. Every bizarre behavior that she displayed, she projected onto me. She was extremely possessive and controlling (would not let me view my cell phone privately), yet she cheated on me. She would emotionally punish me if I did not comply with some sexual demand. After a certain point in the relationship, she stopped showing me any affection of any kind, snapped at me constantly, and criticized me endlessly. When we would hang out with friends, she would act like everything was fine between us, but as soon as they left, the torment would continue.

  3. Joe
    December 28, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Get out-I started to get angry and began to fight physically. My thoughts became sadistically violent because of the pain, confusion and futility-get out NOW….I had been smashed in the face with food infront of my kids, accused of homosexuality in front of them, accused of sleeping with my 11-year old step-daughter, had the daughter asked had I ever tried while she was beating her for discipline (luckily the step-daughter said no), has money stolen from me, had my parents cussed at, smirked when my Dad had a stroke and said well old people die (he didn’t), had a bathroom door busted down while I showered becasue she thought I was keeping truck keys from her-do you want to hear more? Get out before you become your pain and anger-GET OUT…..

    • shrink4men
      January 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Joe,

      What your ex has done is child abuse. What a nightmare. My heart goes out to you and your children. She sounds utterly vile. Are you out? How are your children?

  4. larry ramon
    December 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    When dating, do abusers portray themselves as victims in previos relationships? Do seem to crave acceptance and try to make their new partners feel a sense of obligation in rebuilding their faith in men?

    I am thinking about my second wife who displays most of the symptoms you discribed. For example she told me a few times that I should be thankful that she married me as I would not find another woman to put up with my five children (whom i raised by my self since their mother died). I felt that she wanted to emotionally seperate my children from me. I think she felt that she had to compete for my affection. Her name calling and disparaging of them to me, and me to them backfired though. Her attempts to isolate me from my siblings also backfired and widened the rift between her and me.

    Financially, she had very little at the start of our relationship. I spent a fortune renovating my house to her stipulations. I helped her through university and now she can look after herself. Yet she keeps on saying that i married her to see how much I could get from her. This would have upset me if it wern’t so rediculous. If I have to discribe the worse aspect of our relationship it is this: If I do or say amything, and thre are ten ways to interpret it, she will choose the very worse way to take it.

    I believe that she is an abuser, but what bothered me was the effect she had on the children. I seemed to be immune to it, but that fact infuriated them because they could not see their father just absorbing disrespect and abuse. I blew up one day and she left. The house is at such peace now that it is almost impossible to recall the time she was here.

    But here is the thing. I am still in love with the woman. I feel sorry for her. I wish there was some way she could grow out of her abusive tendency. It must have been hell for her in a sense, not being able to controll her household, and it was her household. A little more acceptance and a little less force might have done it. I still wonder a little whether our way made her seem abusive, or made her abusive. I wonder if the years she lived with me and my five helped or hurt.

    • Ronald
      April 16, 2016 at 12:56 am

      Absolutely they do – it’s text-book. I just had one of those leave the marriage after 3.5 years.

  5. RC
    December 24, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I have been married to my wife for 20 years. I have read most of the posts and articles on this site. I thought I was going crazy even though I knew my wife is an emotional bully. She grew up in a seemingly very abusive home. She also exhibits most of the above behavior. I love her and wish it could be different. However, I have tried EVERYTHING to try and make our relationship work and nothing does. Sooner or later my wife’s attitude tanks and things go to pot. However, I am finding that my frustration level is to the point where I can become abusive. I am so frustrated at the cycle our relationship is in that at heated moments where she has attacked me and refuses to take any responsibility and/or listen to any logic that I have to leave her presence or I feel like hurting her. It is a flight or fight thing. It usually starts with her getting mad at me for doing or not doing something she wants the way she wants it. Any attempt at reason is rebuffed as me being a tyrant and not listening to her. If I try to force a conversation to reconcile she simply shuts down and plays the victim. Since I am now heated and talking loudly it is easy for her to go there. The “discussion” often turns into me doing all the talking and ends in nothing but days or weeks of little or no talking. Unless I apologize she tends to ignore me.
    Now I am a typically calm and reasoning fellow and being in that moment scares the heck out of me. The problem is whether I leave or stay, it only makes things worse. There is no reconciliation. The situation just calms out of entropy only to happen again. We have separated some 4 or 5 times over the years. Each time she starts to be reasonable and seemingly open to hearing me. We seem to reconcile and then the crap starts all over again. I have pushed my wife twice at different times begging her to listen and now I am an abusive husband. I find that I will employ her tactics to try and get her to see how dysfunctional they are. This only gives her ammo on me. I give up. I am in the keep a low profile and let her have all control phase. This only gives her more ammo as she accuses me of being an isolationist and non-affectionate. My sense of self esteem is at an all time low and I feel this is starting to cause permanent damage to me.
    This is a living hell and I am really starting to believe that I need to get out and stay out. The three kids and finances are certainly barriers to this, but what do I gain if I lose my soul? I am not abusive and I can never relax at home. She runs everything and I have little say or control since if we disagree there will be destructive and unrecoverable conflict in which I end up the “bully”. Am I crazy?

    • jp
      December 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm

      Are you crazy?

      I doubt it. But crazy people can sure make you feel crazy, though, so it’s probably a good idea to find a therapist who can help you sort out what’s going on with your spouse, how it’s affecting you, and what you’re going to do about it.

      Don’t let the enormity of your predicament paralyze you. Take it one step at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can begin to take control of your life if you have the right help. And there’s nothing wrong with asking for help!

      Good luck,

      • RC
        December 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm

        What a blessing the posts here are. I moved out last may to get away from this and start to work on healing myself. My two teenage daughters immediately moved in with me to get away from her too. Of course my wife freaked out and started attacking me for letting this happen. Long story short, my wife changed her behavior enough to fool me into thinking she was changing and I moved back in with her in July as did my kids. Now, after nearly 4 months, things are as bad or worse as they were before. I am moving out in January, but my daughters are staying. While I have no plans for divorce, I have no intention of getting back together with her until some kind of breakthrough involving counseling occurs that shows she realizes her issues. Whether or not this happens, I realize I must take the needed steps to ensure I am emotionally healthy. This includes not sharing my life with a BPD or NPD person again. What a tangled and tormenting trap. I am fortunate to get out somewhat intact.

    • Sim
      March 22, 2017 at 11:44 am

      My story is not much different from you. I have separated once and she forced herself back in saying if i didn’t let her in she will camp in my front yard!!! Now that she’s back things have gone bad a few notches and I don’t think there is much down left to go

  6. Braindead
    December 19, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I have been married to this woman for 8 years, and it is a roller coaster ride that can have a daily/hourly up and down as of late.

    A complication is that I have been brain injured about 22 years ago, and I am retired from the US Navy.

    As of late, my 17 year old son (Not hers) with ADHD has shown that he is unable to finish high school in the traditional sense. (I Understand this as I was the same way years ago) and we have to opt for a different method to help him to get into the service to become a computer programmer. An accelerated curriculum at a college, then two semesters of college will get him in. All before he is 18.

    What she is wanting is for me to force my son to take an extra year of highschool, graduating just 5 months shy of 20 years old. I know from personally witnessing others like us that this will only result in him not finishing high school, and not able to go further in his life than a burger flipper at McDonald’s for the rest of his life.

    My son is all ready for this, and is prepared to work hard at doing it. I did this very same thing several years ago before my career in the navy, and I know that it has a much better chance of working than her plan.

    My wife clearly does not agree with this, because she was raised believing that ADHD is purely a behavioral problem, and never learned that it has actual biological factors supporting it. He is a relatively bright child, with the IQ testing to prove it, he is just bored to tears in school, and is failing miserably because he does not do his homework. But I digress.

    She has managed to insult every aspect of my son’s and my lives. Everything that I do is not up to snuf, she expects things that I have already told her before we were married that I cannot physically do. “Just a little bit more” is very common place. She is unhappy with the housekeeper that I hired, she is unhappy with the landscaper that I hired, there is just no pleasing this woman.

    Eggshells? are you kidding me, that is more support than I have under my feet.

  7. free2beYou
    December 16, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Hello D,

    You should not worry or analyze why a BPD or NPD person does what they do, the point is they do it for their own reasons & are not looking out for your feelings at all. The point is they will never change unless they want to change themselves & normally they feel nothing is wrong with them b/c they created false masks to make them feel powerful, desirable, in control etc. etc. Underneath those thick delusional masks they built is a dark pit of nothingness(no love, no joy, no empathy…just misery)(again, do not pity them just stay no contact or they will eventually bring you right into the comfort of their dark depth of nothingness with them ).
    Those false masks are on so tight in order to protect themselves from feeling their vunerable self that they hate, that in their fleeting kind moments they may fool anyone into believing they are normal. If they feel you are onto them & know about their dark pit of nothingness, it is easier for them to temporarily run away & recreate a new better & new improved mask that you cannot see past again or if you have seen too much they may move right onto another unsuspecting victim for their abuse. It is one delusional mask placed right atop of another & there is no way they will ever willingly let their true identity be known. They are so sly & tricky to detect, it is easy to fall under their spell in the beginning when they purposely are on their best behavior to gain your adoration & trust. Then they slowly erode your confidence away piece by piece b/c by then you trust them enough to believe the lies they are telling you about yourself, rather than you trusting yourself to know what type of person you truly are. Like I mentioned before, they will do anything it takes not to reveal the horrible person they really think they are deep down. Saying she can be wined & dined by many guys is a common pathetic line they use to try & hook you back in by making you jealous or feel inferior so you try & prove her wrong & again attempt to be her knight in shining armor(so she can just feel superior when she hurts you again). As a woman myself, if I truly love a guy & he was breaking up with me b/c he felt I did not care enough at the time etc., I would never hurt or push him away further by bringing up other men. I would make it my top priority to show him with my words & my caring actions that do not want to lose him & that if I have been a little distant, I will do my best, to make him feel secure in my love again. Bringing up other men is a game she is using to make you feel she is so utterly desirable she will get over you fast. I am sure she feels the abandonment of you leaving, but her intentions may not be in your best interest(she may just start to feel her dark pit of nothingness when she is lonely). She was with you for her own selfish reasons & not out of love, or you would not continue to question why. If she honestly loves you, she would tell you & make you feel loved not just in her words but with loving eyes & actions. Only you know the relationship & what is in your heart, so trust what you think is right for you. I do not feel you would even have written here if she was right for you & in love with you. Intuitively you may know this inside, but possibly you are hoping & trying not to face that truth because you remember the good times in the beginning & hope she will be that way again with you(or maybe you pity her thinking you could change her..you cannot). Do not feel bad for her, just feel bad for the next man who meets her & gets his heart broken too. Usually if you read Dr. Tara’s great advice & member posts on this site you will see that BPD’s & NPD’s come back & try to sweet talk, manipulate & do anything possible to get your attention back eventually. They hate to be alone & when their narcisstic supply of people who swoon or praise them is low, they will revisit kind people like you who have adored them & hope they can suck you back in & get you to trust them again. Unfortunately it is that Holiday time of year many abusers get lonely & try to crawl back into your life to make fake amends or to suck you back under their spell. Hopefully you won’t give her that chance but it is only your decision to make.

    • AnonymousT
      December 16, 2009 at 11:08 am

      D and free2beyou, thanks for the exchange. D, my ex was the same way, she left with no emotion after many years of marriage when, after trying to please and please and please her, I finally got to the point of realizing the impossible nature of her demands and the lack of reciprocity in terms of showing who loved whom.

      Even then, she wouldn’t divorce, I think to keep me around on a string forever, and only when she saw me gearing up to do it did she say I love you, but at that point I knew it didn’t mean anything.

      free2beyou is right, these women can’t love, don’t try to reconcile the “I love you” and the “Go ahead and find someone else” statements, just know that the first one is simply words and doesn’t mean anything, it’s something they say because they think it’s expected of them, or they can get something out of it. The longer I am away from her the better I feel. You will too, but there is a period of loneliness first.

      Also, free2beyou is right again when she says that these women are nothing but masks. NOTHING. Now that there is nobody around (like me) to restrain her worst impulses, I get secondhand feedback from the people who she can’t always pose for (children, employees, anybody whom she doesn’t look up – or suck up – to) that confirm how completely phony her public face is. For a while it continued to surprise even me despite having been married to her for many years. Now, I have finally realized that almost everything I thought I knew about her was false, she simply is not who I thought she was.

      Try to think of her as nothing but a mask hiding a pitiable but ultimately bad person underneath, and that will help you sort things out.

      • D
        December 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm

        Thanks for the comments im sorry you got stuck with one of these women for so long as well. And its true you cant believe anything they say. They will do the nicest things in the world for you only to bring you down later. And I know exactly what you mean all my family and friends are telling me now like, man there was just something weird about her. she doesnt seem normal. So I just have to accept that even though she did nice things it really doesnt matter anyways because they werent out of actual love for me.

    • D
      December 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks for all the help. That was just what I needed to get through this. I dont know what I wouldve done without this site because talking to people who dont understand these situations will never get why its so hard to let go. I think these are one of the hardest break ups to get through because theres really nothing major like cheating, physical abuse, etc. I just have to realize her sweet ways were not normal. And I feel like I can finally move on without regret.

    • Jay
      April 15, 2011 at 2:23 am

      WOW!! I cannot tell you enough how this post helped me to evaulate my relationship. I’ve read several posts on this site and there seems to be a uniform code of conduct that women with BPD & NPD appear to follow. My on and off girlfriend of 2 years fits every one of these descriptions. I’ve been punched, slapped, spit on, and verbally abused by this woman. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I’ve helped her financially. I’ve done little things to put a smile on her face. I’ve been there for her through several different crisises she’s had in her life and she’s still not satisfied. Everything is always my fault. I can’t even begin to list all of her behaviors. Just rest assure that she’s displayed every single characteristic posted on this site. I’m just amazed how you guys have hit it right on the button. Thanks for everyone’s posts. Everyone has been so helpful to me.

    • Sim
      March 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Thanks, that was a great analysis

    • May 21, 2017 at 2:18 am

      Thank you for this information!!
      I have a gf 34yr divorced 3kids who posses these emotional bully qualities
      Im finding it hard to leave as i have grown an attachment to her and the family and have put ALOT of work into the relationship…
      We have our ups and downs like any relationship but ive always been feeling like IM THE ONLY ONE TRYING but after reading above comments its due to EMOTIONAL BULLYING.
      My gf has had a messed up upbringing divorced parents, Alcoholic mother, out on her own at 15yrs and no father figure in her life… part of this story is what keeps me in the relationship because i feel sorry for her and want to help and love her…
      Do i cut my losses and move on or do i try and work with this emotional bully, alcoholic, daddy issues gf…

  8. free2beYou
    December 13, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Hello D,

    From my experiences dealing with NPD people, in my opinion I feel you are 100% doing the right thing walking away with your dignity & confidence before it is too late. That is one of the most obvious things they do is to close you off from them as a punishment by blocking texts, emails or phone calls when you are certain you had not done anything disrespectful to deserve that kind of treatment. It is like they think they are so almighty & wonderful that they will pull away their special brand of bull-sh.. sunshine from you as their punishment for you loving them(because in actuality…they hate themselves & cannot understand HOW you could love them. It is sick & twisted thinking) If anything, you helping her the day before should make her more than happy & looking forward to talking to you again & Thanking you again in person with a Big loving hug(not with a little pathetic text Thank You). That would be normal… she does not sound normal. It is the typical pull you in & push you away, give you love & take away love cycle that will continue over & over again as long as you allow it to.
    Then when you walk away she will begin to miss your compassion & generousity(which she knows she does not have in herself) & then she will try to gain your trust back again, only to stomp all over your heart again next time you begin to trust her & open it up again to her. The funny thing is, if your confidence & love for yourself is strong & healthy enough, you should begin to learn not to fully trust her, everytime she will do this to you. A part of you will just begin to close off to her naturally until you cannot take it anymore & go no contact(like you should keep on doing before more damage occurs). It is not you, it is her. She has absolutely no idea what love is & so she will treat you like a piece of garbage b/c she does not understand empathy & what it is like to ‘feel’ hurt. Do not feel bad for her because she is ‘broken’, just walk away knowing she will not change….. or otherwise your heart will get ‘broken’ again & again. You sound too nice to be treated that way. Much Luck to you & keep looking for a special lady who is not broken & who will appreciate you for who you are & the kind things you do.

    • D
      December 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

      Thanks so much for the response. And your right they dont understand how you could love them. She would always tell me all the time, kind of in a joking way like how can you love me. Its like she knows she has issues. She would admit to her up and down moods, her black and white personality, etc. After I broke up with her she even Insisted just go and find someone who isnt like me who will be more of the type of girl I want. But what I dont get is?How could she always say how much she loves me and cares about me and appreciates me but then she says things like well if im to difficult then just find someone else? If you know Ive put up with all of your issues, you’d think she would be willing to at least compromise or see where im coming from or at least try to change. Its like she says she loves me but doesn’t care if I leave. So my only conclusion is she must not have real love for me. It just drives me crazy. But I guess thats that off personality they have. I appreciate the advice youve given me so far and do feel alot better already.

      • free2beYou
        December 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm

        Hello again D,

        Your Welcome, I am glad I could help a little bit. I have been there & I learn more & more through my own experiences & the knowledge I get from this great site. Just remember that if someone does not have a healthy love for themselves, then they cannot love anyone else fully either. You loved her & accepted her faults, yet, she could not accept her own self & faults when she looked at herself in the mirror. This may be why BPD’s & NPD’s mirror back to you the ugly(inside & out) reflection of what they see when they look at themselves. They cannot handle to see the truth(imaginery truth from childhood trauma growing up or real truth in what wickedness they do to kind people) about themselves, so to protect themselves they may reflect their image onto you & make it your fault. So when they are criticizing you for being a bad, horrible, untrustworthy etc. etc. etc. person, it is sad in a way, but they are really describing themselves & not you(so don’t take it personally). That is why their insults seem so way off base from what you know inside you truly are. If you know inside your heart & soul who you truly & truthfully are, they cannot keep disillusioning you(you know the real truth).But if you also cannot be truthful to yourself & you let your ego create too many masks of who you really are & fool yourself as well, then I believe that is when BPD & NPD’s can infect you & make you as delusional as they are. Many people normally wears masks in some form or another to hide parts of their vunerable selves & that is just life, but BPD’s and NPD’s truly cannot face the truth of how wicked they can be to fullfill their own narcisstic wants & desires. Their whole existence is a mask. If someone sees their wickedness for what it is & calls them on it, they seem to do anything it takes to protect that thick dark shell that protects their ego from seeing the truthful light of who they truly believe themselves to be. Meaning, they may abandon you, punish you even harsher with abuse & start a smear campaign against you just b/c you got a glimpse of their real personality. Seeing themselves for who they really deep down believe themselves to be, could literally destroy them(they are delusional). If you stay long enough with someone like this & believe the lies they tell you about yourself that are untrue, they may make you delusional about who you really are, as well. Stay strong in your no contact decision & Good Luck!

        • D
          December 16, 2009 at 2:50 am

          Thanks again for your great and fast response. I completely understand what you are saying and has helped me alot. The only thing I have left that I am curious with, is how she doesnt care if I leave her? I know its the right thing I should be doing Im just still wondering if shes leaving me because she doesnt appreciate me either? She told me before that she can be wined and dined by lots of guys right now and im not doing enough to make her stay happy. Was that just an attempt to get me to do more through her npd, or does she just believe that shes so beautiful and special that she can have any guy she wants? I feel like maybe the only reason she doesnt care to get me back is because she just feels like she would have a better time being single than with me? Because Ive noticed in most other cases on the website the girl usually at least tries to convince the man to stay and for my ex she just says okay thats fine.

          • Mr. E
            December 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

            D – Everything she does is to either make you feel bad right now, or to set you up so you’ll feel extra bad when she sucker-punches you later.

            Yes, she was trying to get you to do SOMETHING for her. A loving person doesn’t tell her significant other that there are guys lined up for a chance with her.

            If she says “OK, that’s fine,” when you break it off, it’s because she knows it will trip you up and make you hurt.

            There’s nothing more to these people. They just suck.

        • shawn
          April 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm

          I am dealing with the heart ache and deception of being abused by a narsacistic/personality disorder etc….myself an these things you state are so very true,visible,and never changing I am hoping to be able to move on with myself soon but am currently still sick and missing a person who never loved me or her kids or anyone for that matter and left to a life of drugs and what will soon no longer be a fun,carefree ,blame everyone else world.she has become distant and downgraded her lifestyle to a dope house,a cot,and filth,crowded non stop revolving door,dope,fake no care drug addicts she calls friends and no motivation to do better now since she lost everything but blames everyone and wont accept her own doing this and that she seen it all comming and continued and continues to fall deeper and farther from anyone or thing that was ever good in her life.She has all the druggies belieaving its all me ,that I wont let her see her kids ,that I am abusive,controling,lying,dangerous person and now she must play out her game and say she is scared of me and wont talk,they lie,keep her high but she isnt sleeping with anyone and does her thing,they just enable her to be the victim of her own circumstances as they are to their addiction,and decisions of staying down as I guess I will be doing somewhat of the same if if dont move on and learn to love myself more than just great sex and having some attractive woman even not a nice one to give me a false sense of the family and sharing I so desire THANKS!

  9. D
    December 13, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hi, so I have recently ended a two year relationship with my girlfriend who I felt was being abusive. She has every symptom of having a NPD, literally. The last thing that finally put me over the edge was I really did something nice for her one night and then the whole next day she just had an attitude with me for no reason. I asked her what was wrong, what did I do, and she just replied with nothing you just bug. I told her i cant believe you would say I bug you after I helped you so much the day before and she just said well I texted you thanks. Which I only know she did that so when I would bring this up she could say that she said thanks. I said you know what Im done and she said well im busy I dont have time to talk if thats how you feel then fine. I said okay and left. The next day I went to text her and she blocks my number and acts like Im the one who messed up. The problem with her is she knows she has her issues but she always tells me well im such a great and wonderful girl you should deal with my faults if you want my good. And Ill admit when things are good shes the greatest girl ever but in the end I always feel like she doesnt overall care. How do I get myself to realize that im doing the right thing?

  10. J
    December 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Dr Tara,

    First, thank you so much for this post and your blog. You are helping a lot of people through this…

    My ex displayed some of these characteristics in our relationship: unreasonable expectations, unpredictable responses and conflict addiction. She was often very apologetic for this, but when she got emotional she didn’t seem to have the self control to stop acting this way.

    A couple questions:

    1 – Since women tend to be more emotional than men, do most women display some of these characteristics sometimes?

    2 – What percentage of women are like this in the general population?

    3 – Are there situations where medication can help?

    4 – What hope is there for someone like this to change? If she really wanted to change what steps should she take?

  11. ted
    December 11, 2009 at 2:14 am

    i dated an bpd,narcisstic,women. the first weeks she said she loved me.
    she was living with her bf at the time. she was very goodlooking. then after a few months she started to devalue me. I help her at work in which she made money because of my help. after i stopped helping her she quit her job, long story short, she dumped me by text the first week she started her new job. i left my job the day she quit. i could not work there because my head was screwy. this has cause me to destroy my finances. i still think about her. I was really hurt by this bpd
    i wonder if she will ever call me agian. i want to leave her to pay her back

  12. Tom
    December 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I am glad to find this site. I have had some of the same things happen to me. It was with my last girlfriend. She would give me the silent treatment then say she didn’t realize she was doing it. The humiliation was constant. I never knew what to expect. The thing is this, was my first relationship. Now 7 years after we split I am scared to get close to anyone. I want someone in my life but I am scared. I was 22 when we started dating. We were a couple for 4 years.
    One of the worst things she did was,
    We had gone to church. I saw one of my cousins there and went over to speak to her. My ex saw us talking and went apeshit crazy. She said “Why were you flirting with that girl?” When I told her it was my cousin, and that she had met her 6 weeks before that, she said “Well I don’t remember her.”

  13. Stressed and Confused
    December 4, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve been going out with my girlfriend for about 5 months now and after i read this article i noticed that she shows several of these symptoms. She Practicly Ignores me when ever where in public, or if where just hanging out wth friends she’ll make fun of me and thats led to them joining. Shell kick me or scratch me for entertainment. nd its like she has a split personality, whe we’er alone she’ll be all happy and fine, but then she’ll go right back to the way she was earlier as soon as we go near othr people. She’s also developed a habit of playing mind games with me she’ll cl me and say i’m breaking up with you then call back about 30 minutes later just to see how i had reacted. i’m realy confused by i, and every time i think its over she’ll do it again.

  14. Q
    November 22, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I have a live-in girlfriend and the 2 of us share a house. The following exchange happened earlier today, I’m looking for some 3rd party opinions here, and possibly some validation. Would appreciate some feedback. Here’s what happened:

    1. She was saying something to me or asking something but turned on the vacumm in the middle of her first sentence.

    2. I felt annoyed by her doing that, it did not make sense for her to do so, so I asked her why she did that. (I hereby acknowledge that I could have just lowered my expectations of other people to behave “logically”, and thus not feel annoyed.)

    3. She promptly told me to “let it go”, and asked me to fix a problem with the vacumm cleaner. Now not only do I feel annoyed, I also feel dismissed.

    4. I fixed it, then when she asked me how it went, instead of answering her question I said “let it go” and walked off, to get back at her. (I understand and hereby acknowledge that that was a childish thing to do on my part) I know you probably think I could have been more assertive and stated my feelings, but from previous experience that would just start a fight because she just can’t seem to handle the fact that I have feelings too which are sometimes affected by her words/actions. So there’s no point being assertive about my feelings with her.

    5. She then stood outside my room and started insulting and taunting me. Yelling all the way.

    6. As I walked to the door to slam it shut, she laughed and asked me why I didn’t just hit her, and preemptively threatened to call the cops if I do, then continued doing and saying other things to taunt me to hit her.

    7. I opened the door but did not hit her, and asked her what she was trying to do at that time and why. She just continued taunting me, and said she was doing all that in retaliation to my response to her question.

    8. I pointed out that her retaliation seems unproportionate to what i did, she denied that and demanded an apology from me for what i said, AND continued with the taunting.

    9. So I apologised for the one thing I said which shouldn’t have been said, and she apologised for the the entire few minutes of her abuse/taunting with a simple “fine I’m sorry” with a smirk, but maintained that what she did was a “fair and proportionate” retaliation. We then went back to our separate rooms.

    10. I called up the local counselling helpline for men. I pretty much read out the above and asked the phone counselor whether she thinks that I have been over-retaliated, she deflected the question by saying it didn’t matter. The session went on for quite a few minutes, mostly filled with platitudes regarding what had happened and what *I* could have done differently. I knew very well what I could have done differently, but what I was looking for was some validation about my perception of the situation or about the excessiveness of my partner’s actions.

    I understand that some people may think it is inappropriate to ask a counselor to “take sides” and say something like “from what you’ve said, it seems like her actions were excessive”, but I think it depends on the situation. Although I admit that I could have done something differently, isn’t this situation (her retaliation) too extreme to be treated like that? All I want is some validation that I am not being unreasonable for thinking that she overreacted, though I would be open to any opinion about what happened.

    Again, I already know what I could have done differently, so other than that, what do you guys think about what I went through?


    • Keiichi
      November 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Q,

      What you’re having to deal with doesn’t sound like a good, or safe environment at all. There were two subjects that I thought were most important for me to comment about. First number 4, her trying to undermine your emotions. Second of all number 6, that she is threatening your freedom.

      4) Feeling like you can’t even express your feelings with your girlfriend, without her tearing you down for having them is very painful. The more that she ignores that you have feelings, that she finds fault with you for having them, or she denies she could have any responsibility for the way you feel the more you will feel them. Some women (for example those of the NPD and/or BPD variety) seem to believe that because we are men that we shouldn’t have feelings, or at least that we shouldn’t talk about our feelings.

      From my own experiences, one of the first things a abusive woman will do is attack your emotions. They will directly, and/or indirectly make comments that a man who isn’t afraid to express his emotions is less of a man. If your girlfriend tells you anything like that, don’t believe her because it’s not true. Once a woman undermines your right to have emotions, or feelings you have just lost your ability to protect yourself from her abuse.

      6) Sounds like it’s time to do three things. Find a nice apartment that is clean, inexpensive, and quiet. Rent a self storage unit. Move anything that is important to you as quickly, and quietly as possible. Don’t wait for her to call the police for real, get out now.

      Q, your girlfriend will be able to take away your freedom much easier if she can first undermine your emotions. If someone cares about you, and loves you they wouldn’t try to take away your emotions, or your freedom. It can be a difficult thing for any of us who have been, or are involved with a abusive woman to say goodbye, and walk away.

      The truth is that I haven’t been able to walk away yet. Although I’m finally starting to wake up to the fact that the woman I thought I was in love with, and thought that she loved me doesn’t. That’s another step for a happier, and healthier tomorrow. You can get free of it, and so can I.


    • NoSeRider
      November 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

      Contempt, overly competitive, narcissistic, overly critical, manipulative, vindictive, unforgiving, brooding, overwhelming, exacerbating, argumentative, drama addicted……..she’s playing you like a kid in school. She’s emotionally stunted.

      If she isn’t Borderline, Narcissistic or Histrionic then perhaps she’s Bipolar. Either way, you’re never going to have peace. You’ll be in perpetual conflict and drama. Therapy and/or Medication, unless ‘you’ want to re-parent an adult?

      Children are usually more malleable then adults though.

  15. Oliver
    November 9, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I left my abusive girlfriend six months ago and entered a world of supportive and understanding people. My problem now is that I cannot get her grief off my mind. I really broke her heart. I know that I cannot excuse her constant abuse (name calling, for instance), but I cannot help but feel terrible for her. I should probably see a doctor, but I do have plenty of people to talk to.

    I also wanted to say that the “signs” really did ring some bells for me. I now know that I actually did believe a lot of the things she said about me.

    Overall, I’m pretty happy now (definitely better off), but I just want advice on how to stop blaming myself.

    • Mr. E
      November 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm

      Oliver – remember that these people are LIARS. She isn’t grieving you, unless you’re around to notice (or someone who will tell you about it is). Her “grief” is just further manipulation. She’s putting on a show so she can put the thumbscrews to you some more. You didn’t “really break her heart.” In order for her heart to be broken, she’d have to love you, and if she loved you, she wouldn’t treat you the way she did.

      And if that doesn’t work, remember the magic words “I did the best that I could do at the time.” She treated you like garbage, you stopped taking it. Move on and have a fantastic life!

      • Q
        November 22, 2009 at 6:51 am

        I’ve read this advice from elsewhere:

        Whenever you feel guilty about having left an abusive spouse, try and remember the times they abused you. If it helps, write some of the things she said/did down, and read them as necessary.

        Forgiveness is important, but it is more important to forgive yourself FIRST in this situation, because you did the right thing by yourself by leaving. Once you’ve forgiven yourself, then you can work on forgiving her for the pain she caused you. (but why bother?)

  16. October 25, 2009 at 1:24 am

    This article hits the nail on the head for me. I always knew that something was wrong in my relationship and feel dumb for the measure of emotional attacks I have taken, thinking that I was standing there for HER. However, neglecting my own personal needs and well being. To all those who read this. Don’t wait until you become drained, stressed, and depressed to do something about it. Try to notice the signs as they come up and move forward. For your own sake. I appreciate Dr Tara for writing this article. I feel that I recieved more strength and healing in my heart from reading this. Just what I need. Fellas, dont follow in my path. Get out of the relationship now. There are women who will love you with actions to follow their words. i promise.

  17. Fafar53
    October 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Comment removed.

    • jp
      October 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm


      You need to talk to a lawyer, not just a therapist. Sometimes advice from the therapist (leave the house) is the opposite of the advice a lawyer would give you (stay in the house, since if you leave first your wife can say later that you “abandoned” her and the child).

      Talk to a lawyer, talk to a lawyer, talk to a lawyer.

      It’s normal to feel weak now. Don’t beat yourself up over it. That’s one of the ways a lawyer can help. Let him or her be strong for you. Don’t let your feelings (or your bullying wife) decide what your life will be like for next 20 years. THe decisions you make now are very important for making sure your son has access to you as he grows up. He needs you. Don’t let him down.

      Good luck,

      • Fafar53
        October 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm

        Thanks jp for your advice.

  18. Mack
    October 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I used one book and a series of chapters (I’ll list later) I bought online and downloaded. They were stunning, in that I could see my borderline ex- between the lines, and the scenarios they presented were like deja vu moments! This material plus visits to an attorney and a psychologist kept me from responding inappropriately (see my previous post), writing everything down, and even ‘setting up’ abusive responses by my ex- in her emails! My psychologist helped me draft emails, told me what to say and not to say on the phone; my ex- would even call me during my meetings with the psychologist (she didn’t know where I was), and he’d tell me to ignore her call. Then later she’d call and freak out that I hadn’t answered the phone. On reflection… hilarious. At the time, not so much! The point is, being informed through these publications and a psychologist that understands you’re dealing with a borderline is crucial.

    The best I found, and still allow myself a laugh when I think about how I used it, is “SPLITTING: Protecting yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or a Narcissist.” It’s by William A. Eddy (foreword by Mike Roe) and costs $25.00. If your partner is a BPD, this is the book you need. I get no commission, and I don’t know the authors, but I’ve been there, done that, got the scars to prove it :-)

    Another few chapters I got, which I’m not sure are still available, are by Drs. Barry Bricklin and Gail Elliot. I got: How to Find the Right Attorney to Handle Your Custody Case; Things for men to be aware of when involved in a child custody dispute; 25 Key Strategies To Help Your Custody Case; Parental Alienation Syndrome Guidebook (2006); How Courts Decide Custody Disputes. There are several other chapters. I got these in 2006/2007 but don’t see the same materials on the website http://www.childcustodyresourcelibrary.org/ However, the site seems to contain much more than when I was there over two years ago.

    In all I probably spent $100-200 on literature I downloaded as PDFs, plus others from Amazon. That was equivalent to a couple of hours with my attorney, and boy, did I feel good. I felt informed and ready to take on the challenge. I never looked back. Do the same.

    • Mack
      October 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm

      I forgot this one… “Love and Loathing: Protecting Your Mental Health and Legal Rights When Your Partner has Borderline Personality Disorder.” $17.95 by Randi Kreger and Kim A. Williams 85 pages.
      Nothing short of brilliant.
      I owe these authors and those mentioned in my last post a lot of beers!

  19. Fafar53
    October 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Comment removed.

    • shrink4men
      October 17, 2009 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Fafar,

      I encourage you to find a good attorney as soon as possible and find legal ways to prevent your wife from alienating your son and protect your custodial rights. Furthermore, if you’ve documented her previous acts of physical violence toward you, you may be able to get primary custody.

      Again, I encourage you to find a good lawyer who has experience dealing with this kind of divorce/custody case. If you really are feeling suicidal, please find a therapist of your own to speak with. Your son needs you. Take care of yourself and make yourself strong again for him.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • jp
      October 18, 2009 at 2:24 am


      I recently discovered a web site with a great forum for guys thinking about or actually getting a divorce. It’s called DadsDivorce.com. (Dr T, I hope you don’t the plug.)

      Like this site, there’s a ton of useful information there and a great community of regular contributors ready to give you support along the way. You’re NOT ALONE.

      There’s one post in particular you should check out. It’s called “THE LIST” and it’s described as “the collective knowledge of the past and present posters…regarding what to do when your marriage is on the cusp of a nasty divorce”

      It’s here: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/father_divorce_forum/viewtopic.php?t=13374

      Getting successfully divorced from an abusive woman, especially if you want custody of your children, is all about preparation, strategy and tactics. You have to think like a general planning a war and be tough and ruthless. It’s hard, I know, because at the same time you’re a wreck, you’re confused, you can’t believe what’s happening, and you want to curl up in a ball and wait until it all blows over. BUT YOU CAN’T.

      Get angry and get busy. You’re in a fight for your life.

      Good luck!


      • jp
        October 18, 2009 at 2:25 am

        oops…that was supposed to be: “…don’t mind the plug…”

        • shrink4men
          October 18, 2009 at 2:58 am

          Hi JP,

          I don’t mind at all. Actually, I want to find a divorce/family attorney to collaborate with on a series of articles/possible book specifically for men who are in this position and attorneys who deal with this population.

          I’ll check out the link, too.

          Dr T

          • jp
            October 18, 2009 at 3:27 am

            If nothing else there’s a whole new set of acronyms to learn. EOW = Every Other Weekend…who knew?

      • Fafar53
        October 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm

        Comment removed.

      • Lorenzo
        March 7, 2010 at 7:44 am

        Thanks to Fafar and the Dads Divorce site I came across this article in the site that speaks about BPD/NPD, good stuff : http://www.dadsdivorce.com/component/content/article/33-health/57-how-personality-disorders-drive-family-court-litigation

  20. CC
    October 12, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Thanks to all for your comments. Having (sadly) been through an abusive relationship myself, I know that if I say anything (and I never have) he is likely to turn on me and shut me out. I know I didn’t want to hear it when I was in the middle of it, so I imagine he is in the same position. I can’t stand the idea of leaving him alone to deal with his situation, as I think I am the sole source of true affection/support/encouragement in his life right now….but reading through this list brought me to tears as I can see at least 6 of the 10 manifesting themselves for him right now. He does not know about my previous situation, but perhaps if I tell him about it he will have food for thought. Or maybe I just keep my mouth shut and love him no matter what. He does tend to blame himself, but I know that we are close enought that he knows that I know…if that makes sense. By keeping quiet and accepting him no matter what, I am hoping to send a message that he can think of me as a resource – but it’s hard to stand by and watch what she is doing to him without saying something. Reading this list made me want to send it to him and say ‘wake up’! But we all know that doesn’t work. Thanks for listening. CC.

    • jp
      October 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm


      You could always email the list to him anonymously (from a new anon gmail/yahoo account) with a brief ‘untraceable’ comment like “concerned about you…thought you should check out this article”.

      At least you’ll know you’ve done somethimg to get him the info. Whether he wants to swallow the pill and see the matrix is up to him.


    • SA
      January 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      Wow … I have the same situation (other than I haven’t been in an abusive relationship) as you. I have a male friend (married to a narcissistic woman) who opened up very candidly to me about her behaviors and attitudes. He tends to be passive 95% of the time; puts up with a lot of mistreatment emotionally. He’s developed health issues (chest pains, high BP) likely as a result of stress (no major risk factors for cardiac problems). I see a different man when she is out of town (I see a relaxed and witty man) vs when she is in town (I see a stressed man, who I hear minimal from and when I do hear from him it’s short and/or abrupt). I worry about him and I just don’t know what to do. It’s so hard to watch a friend be abused in this way. Right now I just assure him that I care.

      • CC
        February 16, 2010 at 2:31 am


        OMG! I wonder if we are friends with the same man!! Unfortunately my friend has started to shut me out because his wife throws a tantrum every time she knows that we have any contact. I miss him tremendously but don’t know what to do that won’t make his life worse than it already is. Thanks for your reply, and your support. CC

        • CC
          February 16, 2010 at 3:08 am

          My friend has been scarce lately too; apparently “very stressed”. I too miss my friend and had to cut back on my correspondences (to balance my emotions – take care of myself too). We are only in contact through email (don’t live near each other). The IP (Ice Princess = wife) doesn’t know we’re in contact which is a bonus. The whole situation breaks my heart – a good man wasted on this IP and his recent increase in stress is impacting our friendship. I don’t know how to “reach” him anymore, if that makes sense…

          • CC
            March 3, 2010 at 5:49 am

            Hey SA,

            “to balance my emotions…take care of myself too”….that one really hit home. how do you (or anyone else, please jump in) pick what to do? how do I let him know I will always be there for him, but still deal with the fact that his psycho terrorist wife controls our friendship, and it’s all about him right now? I am so torn. Any advice welcomed. CC.

            • CC
              March 3, 2010 at 6:09 am

              The thing is, now I am paying because his wife is the way she is, and it’s not fair to me – but I care for him to much to just bail. OK, I’m done for tonight. :) Thanks all!

            • SA
              March 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

              I don’t know if you ever know if the option you choose is the “right” one. Just today I sent him a note on how I’ve been feeling about the lack of contact lately (as I said, we do not live near each other; never see each other). It took a lot of thought and a few days to write it. I expressed how I’ve been feeling without making any demands on him. It hurts because we have been each other’s rocks for many years now – we have always been there for each other so this lapse in contact has been rough on me. The lapse isn’t due to the narcissistic wife (but the limitations on communication is – I can’t call him). He’s in a bad situation right now (no job) so I tread lightly in terms of what I say. But for the sake of our friendship, I felt that he needed to know how I’ve been feeling (it included feeling sad that I don’t hear from him and also concern for his well being with NO mention on the IP’s behavior). I don’t know if I did the right thing or not (my friend who read the note said I did) so I have to wait and see. It has gotten to the point where I feel like I have nothing left to lose (because I already feel like I lost it all). I pray that he will receive the note in a positive light and realize how much I really do care. It’s all I can do.

              • CC
                March 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

                Thanks SA. I feel for you. This is just so painful isn’t it….stay around so he knows you’re there for him, and deal with the hurt of not having what you need in a friendship….or bail and leave him alone with the terrorist and lose the friendship entirely..it sucks and isn’t fair. Whine whine whine. :)

        • SA
          March 7, 2010 at 3:29 am

          Hope you find this-I had to post on an earlier post you made. The text box would only let me put 1 letter across.
          I did get a quick response to my note that I sent (that I’m worried about him & sad that we’re not in contact much). He did respond briefly that he needed time to think about it and a send a response which is fine. I want him to think about it first. It was a long note & I referred to some times in our past. I don’t know if expressing your concern for your friend in the form of a note would help or not. Other than the obvious (his wife is a tyrant) is the other problem his lack of contact with you? Obviously I don’t know the dynamics of your friendship with him so how you approach it depends on those dynamics. For me, my friend & I have admitted to deep feelings for each other (but won’t act on them; we use those feelings as each other’s emotional support network) so writing a note like that was appropriate for me to do. I have to admit I was scared to send the note but once I did, I felt much better inside knowing that he knows how I’ve been feeling. If part of your problem with him now is lack of contact, consider if he would be receptive to a note that states you are worried about him, sad you’re not in contact etc … but don’t mention that you are worried about the impact of his tyrant wife on him. Has he told you a lot about her treatment towards him or is it what you’ve observed?

      • CC
        March 7, 2010 at 5:10 am

        Hey SA,

        Good call on replying to an earlier message! I don’t know how to describe my problem with my friend. It seems like such a complicated story. The bottom line is, his wife is extremely jealous of me and doesn’t allow him to be in contact with me – but he does it anyhow during business hours, when she’s out of town, etc. This has become frustrating for me, because I need a friend who is my friend all the time, not just when it’s convenient for him (even though I understand the cause.) I tried to bring up my concern over her control of him, and the fact that it was hurting me, but he got really angry and said that he loves her, he’s happy, and it’s easier for him to forego his friends than to put up with the constant fighting that happens when he does see them (by the way, I tried to include her at first, but was either ignored or so rudely treated that I put a stop to that.) Although he says it’s easier for him that way he doesn’t seem to want to let me go, so I have to either totally cut him off or accept the friendship on his terms – which is painful for me as I never know if I’ll be able to count on him or if he’s going to cave in to his wife and blow me off. There’s much more to it than this, of course, but that’s the reader’s digest. CC.

        • CC
          March 7, 2010 at 5:15 am

          I didn’t answer your other question. He used to complain about his wife frequently (especially when drinking) – how nothing he did was good enough, she controls him, etc, but even more is how I see her treating him (like a dog/imbecile/pool boy), his reactions when she’s away, his growing health problems, his horrible self esteem, his reaction to true affection…I could go on and on. It’s horrible to watch. CC.

        • SA
          March 13, 2010 at 1:14 am

          I understand your frustrations in terms of contact. I have similar limitations; our only form of contact is email (since we live many miles apart we can’t even meet for coffee or lunch). I don’t think your friend’s contact is a result of convenience to him, but more a limitation placed on him (I deal with the same thing and it is frustrating). Maybe thinking of it that way would help a little (that’s how i have to think about it). I have known my buddy for decades and I resent that the communication with him is dictated by a self-absorbed jealous woman who I don’t think ever really loved him (several things he’s told me are strong indicators of that). You said he has health problems; what are they? And what is his reaction to true affection?

          • CC
            March 29, 2010 at 9:37 pm

            Hi SA, Sorry about the long time to respond. I always appreciate your posts because they help me feel supported but sometimes I just have to leave it alone for a while. No, of course you’re right about the contact being about limitations being placed on him – I think if he had his way, we’d hang out every day! But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating…I mean, what about what I need from our friendship? Why does everything have to revolve around her and her tantrums/jealousy/controlling and isolating behavior? It’s not fair, and if I didn’t know and sympathize with the cause I’d have been gone long ago. He has insomnia and high blood pressure that he blames on work….yeah, ok, whatever, interesting that a job that bores him is creating all these problems. And when it comes to affection – from me at least- he reacts to a touch on the arm, a hug, or hearing nice, positive things about himself (which I see no need to hold back, I think he is a magnificent human being and don’t mind saying so) like a starving man who’s just been given some food. It makes me mad, sad and frustrated all at once. When he says to me “no one ever says or does these kind of things for me” I want to SCREAM “don’t you think that’s what you deserve from someone who’s supposed to love you?” arrgh. Thanks for listening.

            • Josh
              May 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

              I can’t believe what I’m reading! This is so my wife! I’m about to end things after 3 years of marriage. But I keep staying because of my 1 year son and she is about to have my other son in June. Should I stay because of the kids? I do think we have had a week that has gone by that we were not fighting about something. I’m to the point where I’m about to go crazy! I can have any friends and I can’t even go with my brothers anywhere because she always said I’m not with her! I was going to the gym before I was with her but I can’t go now! She calls me selfish when I bring things up like me wanting to do them things. I mean my own family hates her because I can’t ever do anything with them! I’m asking for anyone’s help! What do I do?

              • Eugene
                May 24, 2014 at 5:16 am

                I feel your pain. If you do not demand respect you will not get it. You need to do things with your family. I’m in the same boat. My wife won’t let me take my son to my family’s house, so I take my daughter with me instead. You or someone in your family could die tomorrow. Here is exactly what I do now. I would tell her exactly what your going to do with your family. Invite her to come along and take the kids. If she will not let you, still go see your family. Keep your standards high and don’t lower yourself to her level. Let her know her behavior is not acceptable and you will do whatever you want anyway. You take her power away and she has nothing. Do not leave her and be there for both your sons. If she chooses to leave you after your new found demanding respect attitude, then that’s her problem. In the end, you will be happier either way. We can not do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If you want change, then change yourself first. Also, pray to God to lead the way. God bless!

        • SA
          March 30, 2010 at 2:34 am

          CC-No problem on the response time. I know you need to separate yourself from it sometimes.
          It isn’t fair that your friendship/contact limitations are dictated by her. Unfortunately, he is choosing to allow it; likely be default because the ramifications are otherwise brutal for him. It may take separating yourself completely (ie: no contact) for him to realize the impact it is having on your friendship. Difficult to do, I know.
          It revolves around her because she is self-absorbed and she objectifies everyone around her. She has no empathy therefore she has no concept of putting herself in the other’s shoes. She thinks everyone on this earth was put here to cater to her. (Read “Narcissistic Lovers” or “Loving the Self-Absorbed” to better understand what he deals with).
          I understand wanting to say “YOU DESERVE BETTER”. I want to say the same to my friend too. He has told me of some abominal behaviors on her part that I am not comfortable posting publicly that truly make me sick. It is complicated by the fact that I do love him deeply (and vice versa) and would love to be able to give him those basic human needs that he so desparately misses in his life. I worry for his health; that he will be one of those 50-somethings that die of a heart attack suddenly because of the constant stress. He never gets to relax when she is around because of constant complaining and attention getting tactics. She refuses to do the things that he needs to relax him (neck massages, kisses on the neck, etc) and he has told me there is zero passion between them.
          I think there is nothing wrong with your positive gestures towards him. He needs that to balance the negatives in his live (or at least buffer the negatives some) whether he will admit it or not. I would guess that deep down, he knows how important you are to him but is clouded by the other issues in his life. Tough stuff, I know. I feel your pain, CC.

          • July 16, 2010 at 11:06 pm

            CC & SA:

            Ditto, ditto ditto…I totally get what you are saying. Just remember, he is avoiding you / limiting contact for his own survival / sanity.
            In my case, my friend started saying things to me…so having been through emotional abuse from my mother, sister, a so-called female so-called friend, and my AXH, I wrote down a list of what he’d said about her behavior (I haven’t actually met her), and also some of the things he said about himself. I haven’t given him the list yet…but I have given him two packets of information from this and a few other websites (I owe you big time, Dr. T)…I don’t believe he’s read any of it yet, but he’s been very gracious about it…and he knows that he has it, just in case. That’s how I framed it – In case things get really bad / go back to the way they were before (he let her know he wasn’t sure about staying with her…so she went into ‘helpless waif’ ‘please don’t leave me’ mode, but her true self has been cracking through. I’m still taking notes…not sure if he’d be mad at me for pointing it out or what…I’m waiting, hoping he sees the light, care about him (and yes, he’s also a phenomenal man), and brace for given him the actual This is Your Life experiences typed up, should he decide to cut me out altogether. It is hard…and I can almost pinpoint the exact place where he is, based on what I remembered thinking and feeling about my ex.
            I have trouble remembering to take care of me, as well. I have to forcefully keep myself from spending way too much time on websites like this!!
            You take care, hang in there…do what you have to do…just as he cannot force his wife to treat him well, neither can you force him to see the light, until he’s truly ready. God Bless,

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