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.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

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


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Photo credits:

Mood swings on ccmbuzz.

  1. MadMama
    June 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you, Mellaril, I will check it all out.

  2. MadMama
    June 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    My son is living with and expecting a baby with a girl who fits this to a tee. How can we help him?

  3. Rashad
    June 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    hello everyone,
    thanks so much for this it really helped me a lot.
    I have a 11 month girlfriend which i really love and want to marry. I have to say she is a good person and she do loves me so much.

    but lately whenever we get into an argument things go really bad. I’m not say I’m always right or everything is her fault, but I don’t get upset easy. I find the argument going from something to another, meaning in the middle of the argument especially when I talk about her that she get so defensive and start changing the argument to how much I’m selfish, don’t care about her, etc or she start talking about things old or has nothing to do with what we were talking about.

    I get really confused and at the end she say things like “that’s it or that how it will go and if you don’t like it, feel free to walk away or to end the relationship”.
    When I say why you saying this or anything about it, things goes from bad to worse to the point I get very upset, mad. which later on same day i have to make up for it. however the day after or sometimes the same day she change 100% and tell she is sorry and she didn’t mean it and she was angry and didn’t mean to say any of she said and goes like nothing ever happen.

    at first i get along and say it’s okay and we just need to work on this, but now almost all of our argument ( we don’t argue much) but it ends the same way as i said before.
    and i want to talk about trying to solve what’s wrong, but i really feel lost now after we argue and don’t know what to do or say. ends every time like I’m the bad guy her enemy or something. is she extremely sensitive or is it really my fault i have no idea.

    she very jealous, I can’t even mention any other women name. and when i bring that she is way too jealous, she denies it.
    thanks for reading all of this and sorry if my english is not very good.

    • Zibot
      June 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Rashad

      check: often threats to end the relationship
      check: shifts topic of conversation when it moves to her problem
      check: recycles old things that are irrelevant
      check: extremely sensitive
      check: very jealous
      check: radical changes in personality even the same day
      check: you’re the one trying to fix it (not her)
      check: starting to think maybe it’s all your fault
      check: sinking into greater and greater confusion

      Welcome! You’re in the right place Rashad.

      Keep reading every other guys story. There is nothing unique about this woman as you will see – we’ve all been involved with our own version of your girlfriend.

      Eventually, you will have to stop thinking with your heart, stop thinking with your body … and return to thinking logically in your head. Does all this seem right? Does all this make sense? Are you becoming addicted to trying to ‘get it right’?

      And you are only in this since 11 months? Do you want to imagine 11 years of this? You will find guys here writing your exact story … except they have been in this for years … and they are destroyed.

      You’ve described the exact type of woman we’re talking about here. You can choose to keep sliding into greater and greater confusion, submission, abuse chasing the dream of thinking you can fix this by becoming more and more sensitive, understanding, swallowing your pride, constantly editing your natural self …

      … or you can make the very hard and sane choice and take a very big step back, connect with sanity and clarity inside yourself again … and take an emotionally sober look at this woman.

      ‘Love’ is not always enough.

    • Free at Last
      June 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Rashad, take heed! Zibot speaks the truth. I’m sure you feel confused and distraught right now, but once your head clears, you’ll see how fortunate you were that you saw the danger signs in less than a year, and before you got married.

      Not only does your girlfriend show many, many signs of a personality disorder, she also exhibits the emotional maturity of a four-year-old. As you’ll read on dozens and dozens of other posts here, (a) her behaviour is never going to change, and (b) it’s going to get a lot worse when it becomes more difficult for you leave her. That includes not only marriage, but buying a house, moving in together, or (heaven forbid!) having a child. Don’t do ANY of these.

      It’s great that you’re seeing these behaviours so early; your first step towards sanity is to stop trying to fix her (because you can’t). There’s nothing wrong with you or your “relationship” – it is she who is broken. Once you stop trying to fix everything, you’ll see the situation more clearly and make the right choices. The next time she goes nuts in an argument, don’t play her game. Don’t accept any blame. Don’t allow her to change the topic. If she persists, tell her “we’ll resume this when you’re more reasonable” and walk away – and then watch her explode, because she’s a control freak (among other things), and control freaks just hate it when they sense that they’re losing control over you.

      Most of us here have lived through a relationship with a disordered woman, and we would all run like hell from someone who displayed half the warning signs that your girlfriend does. We wish you a clear head and good luck!

  4. JT
    June 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hi everyone, Just wondering if I am going crazy.. or if I am the abusive one. We started dating when I was 17. For years my wife and I dated and she very openly verbally and emotionally abused me. I started to gamble as a way to get out of the house. When she found out that I was spending money to gamble, instead of buying things for her (animals, always animals) or paying her bills, then she would go into a rage telling me how I am worthless, and how I don’t deserve any pride, or shouldn’t have a “world” because I’m not worth it.

    Her animals have become not only a sore spot with me but a very bitter one. Most of the abuse she has given me has been as a result of them, or she has made them her excuse. I didn’t feed the horses enough. I didn’t water this or that correctly and it died because of me. I have never cared so much about animals that I wanted 50 rabbits, or 30 horses, or etc…. I remember when her horses got out, she told me I had better find them, and I had better not even talk to her until i did.

    Skip to about 6-7 years down the road when I finally left her (she was my GF at the time). We had been fighting every single day, for the past month or two. It got to the point where she told me that I am not to talk to women, even at work, and if I did talk to them, then I had better be cold and mean. We even fought over me purchasing a $1 burger from McDonalds because the money needed to go towards hay to feed her horses. We had sex, without protection, and when i told her i was getting close, she wrapped her legs around me and tried to not let me pull out. Later that night I asked her if she tried to force a pregnancy. She laughed it off, and I reiterated, telling her how serious the question was. She said Yes..

    I left for a month, and we communicated better than we ever had…so after running clear to the east coast, i came back.

    Skip 4 years later we have a 3 year old daughter and a 1 yr old son. The habits are back, but not as excessively as before. I have put my foot down with the animals saying I will have absolutely no part in them. Then she gets birds (instead of horses) because she sees that as a way to keep me happy with the animals (because I enjoy building pens). I cannot seem to get her to do any sort of house work, and when I ask her she just says “write me a list of what needs to be done right now, or else it won’t get done.” When I do laundry, and fold it, i put my things away, and the kids things away, all the rest ends up on the floor next to her bed.

    After 12 years of being with this woman, I know some of her abusive personality has rubbed off on me, as I retaliate during our fights. Twice, when we were fresh in our relationship as kids, she got mad enough to physically hit me. I hit her back both times, not out of spite, but to let her know that hitting me has consequences and will not be tolerated.

    I try to be as fair as I can, and I know I have my faults to deal with, such as not very empathetic, but my heart keeps telling me to get out, get out and screw how anyone feels about it. I am having trouble with the guilt that maybe I could fix it, or if we communicate more… but the more i communicate with her, the more i see a short term consolation, then back to the old habits (if in different form)…

    I apologize for the lengthy post, and there are tons of other things i would like to add, but if anyone has some advice for me, or questions. I want to know that i tried, and gave her a chance, but I don’t know how long to give her before I just draw the line and cut the cord.

    • Free at Last
      June 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      JT, you’re not crazy, but you’re likely to become crazy if you stick around much longer. In my opinion, anyone who forces a pregnancy without the explicit consent of their partner should (a) be sent to prison for at least five years, and (b) the child is taken away and put up for adoption. In my mind, your wife is a criminal.

      Your wife is definitely crazy; the animal thing is way, way out of control. I’ve seen this before when I did some pro-bono HVAC consulting at an animal shelter. It was run by a bunch of totally crazy women that “put the animals first.” The place was on the verge of bankruptcy and there were weekly outbreaks of disease because there was NO working ventilation anywhere in the building. The Crazy Ones refused to spend any money on repairs; they wanted to spend the little money they had to treat the poor, sick animals.

      It took me two months and the help of a kind and patient vet to convince the Crazy Ones that the epidemics and resulting deaths (dozens of animals per week) would not stop until there was working ventilation in all areas of the building. By then it was early summer, and the heat in the building was sometimes unbearable. The Crazy Ones then wanted to spend the money on air conditioning for the poor, panting animals instead of ventilation. It took me another couple of weeks to painfully explain that the ventilation fans move air into and out of the building, and once we get the air moving, we can talk about cooling and heating the moving air. It was really painful.

      Since this incident with the Bleeding-Heart Twisted Sisters of the Animal Shelter, I’ve had a hard and fast rule: avoid anyone who thinks animals are more important than people. Ditto for people who throw logic and common sense out the window because the feeeeelings of the animals are more important.

      BTW, I doubt that you have any problems with empathy. Wikipedia defines empathy as “the capacity to recognize feelings that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient being.” Since “sentient” means “self-aware” I think it’s really difficult to recognize the feelings experienced by totally crazy people. Being sane, we lack the crazy frame of reference. The Twisted Sisters also told me that I didn’t empathize with them and the animals enough. I found that comment Really Twisted because I was doing the work (and doing it pro bono) in order to stop the senseless deaths of 30-40 animals per week. I thought the situation was beyond tragic, and I felt strongly for the many animals who were needlessly suffering and dying. But I guess I didn’t feeeeeeel enough for the Crazy Ones who created the tragic situation in the first place through their neglect and incompetence. Bad, bad, unempathic me.

      Crazy = total lack of perspective.

      Leave as soon as you can, my friend. Your children are being slowly poisoned by your crazy wife. You can do a much better job of setting their young minds straight if you leave the toxic, senseless environment.

      P.S. I’ve just re-read my comment prior to posting, and realized that it’s so nuts that you might think I made this stuff up. Nope, every word is true. If you think a crazy partner is bad, well, this is the havoc that can be wreaked when many crazy women gang up together.

      • JT
        June 5, 2012 at 2:36 am

        I told her today, that because of the kids, and because I know a relationship takes 2 people, that instead of an immediate separation, I would give it a couple of months. I also put my foot down and said that I am going to be doing my own thing. I am not going to drop whatever I am doing just because she wants me to, and she will have to keep up on her end of the house work. The fact that she has animals was her choice and they are her responsibility 100% of the way, and that I’m not going to help with them at all.

        I thank you for the advice, and true enough it did spur me to action. I just need to know, for the sake of my sanity, that I put forth a concentrated effort before I call it quits and break up a family. I know change can be slow, but if she is willing to work at it, and give it an honest try, then I have to be willing to let her. Fair is Fair.

        I did tell her, though, that I am basically going to be “separated” but in the same house, and doing my own thing.

        • Carter223
          June 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm


          You should be careful because either she will 1) retaliate or 2) play along until things are better and you let your guard down. If you really want to work on the relationship you both should be in therapy and in couples counseling and actively working on it. Only then if you see progress will that be a good thing.

          My wife knows that i’ve set boundaries and won’t put up with stuff so she waits until i’m particularly stressed and/or tired to create the abusive drama and control. Its some way to live, god willing I will do the right thing soon and remove myself. I’ve tried all that i can and kept my side of the street clean, that’s all i can do.

          That’s my view, maybe Dr. T and/or others will have other ideas.

          • SNM
            June 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

            “My wife knows that i’ve set boundaries and won’t put up with stuff so she waits until i’m particularly stressed and/or tired to create the abusive drama and control.”

            OMG I just now realized my STBX used to do this too and didn’t figure it out at the time. I can now remember several situations where she did this. Wait until I can’t take any more and then strike on what she wanted during my weak moments. It’s like I have repressed memories of these things. There are so many methods of control I just never realized.

            • Carter223
              June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

              Took me a bit to figure that out too, also happens when there’s something really important for me going on (work, family, friends, etc), but when she wants something everything and everything is going her way its just limited to tiny daggars and usual negative and abusive comments.

          • Ryan
            June 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

            I remember a time when a family member had commited suicide….terrible time of course. The x managed to be caring for about a half day and then started creating chaos again with an unrelated matter that was not very important (especially considering stress from my family situation). I told her it was the worst possible time to be causing problems but it really didnt sink in to her. I think she couldnt stand the fact that my focus was not on her. I ended up traveling alone to the funeral to deal with it on my own because i knew if she went it would just make things worse for everyone. It was one of those times where i was really really let down. If you cant depend on a spouse during times like that they are mostly worthless in my book.

            They always seem to know when you can’t stand any more pressure and then they throw on some more just for fun. I was never sure if her personality was just that crummy or if she was nuts. I lean towards nuts heavily now……

            • JT
              June 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

              Ryan, this really stuck with me. My brother died last year, and I took it as best as I could. It didn’t really, truly sink in until the ceremony. I know my wife was trying to be understanding, but she either didn’t know how, or didn’t care to. Afterwards, on the drive home, she and my daughter (2 yr old at the time) were arguing so bad, and I was so compromised from my normal state, that I told her if she kept it up she could find her own way home.. Things like this annoy me, and it really worries me when she says things like “I can’t go out of town, alone, with the kids..” I know this to be true… She just can’t handle them.

              Wow, the more I type these, and relate some of the bad times, I wonder just how complacent I’ve become. Maybe it is time to talk to a lawyer and/or a shrink to find out the best course of action

              • Ryan
                June 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm


                I reread a couple of things you said. When you spoke of her comment ” I cant go out of town alone with the kids” it sure sounded familiar. Is it because she truly can’t handle them because the kids are hard to handle or is it another way she can push responsibility towards you? Will she do things closer to home with the kids without taking along someone to help watch the kids?

  5. SezItLikeISeezIt
    June 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    The only post on the web that says it like it really is…. it is unfortunate that there isn’t more exposure publicly on this issue.

  6. Zibot
    June 2, 2012 at 6:20 am

    JP … it’s interesting that you mention this … (hope this quoting feature works)

    jp :
    This site is full of guys saying the same thing, basically, she treats me like sh*t, but we’re made for each other. I wrestle with this myself when i think of my marriage, which ended 6 yrs ago

    I remain fascinated by the ongoing duality that I try to understand as that train wreck of a human I was with vanishes over the 1 year horizon at this point (no contact).

    On the One Hand, there’s the healthy and logical, constantly evolving shake-my-head-in-disbelief (and disgust) reaction as I think back on all the crap I made myself take from that woman, the eggshells I walked on, the loving she destroyed, and how I never put her in her place … which probably should have been an out-patient mental health facility.

    And there’s the associated and reasonable anger/frustration that continues to percolate out from time to time, remembering all that shit I swallowed and stuffed down inside myself, rather than reacting appropriately and getting it out of my system as she was trying to put it in – because I was too busy, instead, trying to ‘love her’ back into being, at least, nice to me.

    I can close my eyes for a moment and easily recall 10 or 20 things she did that were outrageous, and screamed “that f’d-up broad has mental problem – emotional problems” … so I don’t roll thinking about all the ‘good times’ … there actually weren’t that many.

    There was just a lot of projection working progressively harder and harder to keep the denial going. Or to try to hold onto something else … the Other Hand.


    Then there’s On The Other Hand. What you refer to as ‘wrestling with myself’ … what the hell is going on deep down there in our non-verbal, non-illuminated emotional subconscious’?

    How can someone so easily seen as disturbed, troubled, abusive, a liar, a betrayer, you name it … how can there be even the beginning of a positive feeling or longing for that person… lingering. It’s as if I’d occasionally long for someone that beat me up after school every day.

    And yet, there are still these fading dregs of some kind of sorrow, that can still in an unattended moment rise and be curious about what she might be doing, maybe produce a desire to just take a peek at her Facebook profile, or google her.

    Then I catch myself, think of 10 or 20 things from the real world and the emotions back down again in a sort of “oh-yeah-sorry-I-forgot-what-a-bitch-she-really-is” way.

    But they’re not obliterated … they’re fading, they’re less and less potent … but how can they even be there at all given all I know.

    Something remains down there. This is fascinating. There’s some sort of X-Factor going on. Like maybe the attraction to her, the significance of her, that ‘she’s the one’ that ‘made for each-other’ thing actually has nothing to do with her.

    It was something laying deep down there long before I met her. She just happened to make it resonate, become energized. Certainly if it had to do with stirring the parental love circuits, that’s a very powerful bond to wake up.

    It occurred to me that while my father was the emotional wellspring in our family and was a model for how to love and care, my mother was pretty much emotionally unavailable. Life pretty much built her to live inside her own coconut. Not neurotic, not abusive … just emotionally living behind a wall of plexiglass.

    So, maybe it’s as simple as ‘repetition compulsion’ for me? Whatever the mother is, the child experiences a big pull towards that. If the mother is emotionally available, the child feels a big pull towards women like that. If the mother is emotionally unavailable, the child feels a big pull towards that.

    The Ex-wife and the more recent BPD_OS (On Steroids) GF were certainly textbook cases of emotionally unavailable women. But then again, I lived with a woman in my 20s and there were no problems of this sort ever.

    Something makes us struggle with ourselves to get over these losers, even while we can use our brains to rattle off all sorts of good reasons, and prod and poke our emotions into moving in the right direction.

    But what is really driving these emotions deep inside ourselves – attracting us to these women, making us put the effort into trying and trying, as Rome burns to the ground … really, I’d love to shine a bright light down into the darkness and see if it has anything to do with them at all … z

    • Wren friend
      June 5, 2012 at 12:06 am

      Zi, the JB quote was interesting. Maybe that’s been me.

      So was this from you…

      “Something remains down there. This is fascinating. There’s some sort of X-Factor going on. Like maybe the attraction to her, the significance of her, that ‘she’s the one’ that ‘made for each-other’ thing actually has nothing to do with her. ”

      I wonder if in love you have two unique personal unconsciouses relating (for me that would also entail unique souls). Maybe the conscious ego doesn’t have the words for the former. Maybe that’s why it seems so mysterious. The uniqueness, to me, might be the thing that makes the magic. The dyadic vibe sets itself up, but it’s all a matter of things the ego has no words for. The vibe or harmony would be a synchrony of the most unique elements of each individual (of the souls or ea personal unconscious)…which would be sort of a celebration of the fact that the determinists are wrong (and even the stress on brain chem in What the Bleep Do We Know is perhaps not the be all and end all of love). In one sense “dyad” or “dyadic” is not right either, for it might be not just two notes but many contents in ea soul or ea unconscious relating to many in the other…a chord…a rich chord with overtones and timbre involved. With this explanation it isn’t necessary to assume the match was made in heaven, but that simply each person’s uniqueness (which the determinist and linguistic establishment denies) is in a state of intuiting the other’s uniqueness. It would be a possibility for all kinds of match-ups.

      Whatever the narcissist’s appreciation of the other’s uniqueness in one moment, of course there comes the “block” to this appreciation in others. There are all kinds of explanations, and I’m sitting here plopped into the middle of one of these trials [I think] having jumped straight into Jung in my younger years…having ignored things like Freud’s personality types. I have a lot to learn. A focus determined by trendiness.The narcissist spends a lot of time reinterpreting his/her behaviors, and this subterfuge makes me think of our society’s obsession with gaming. They fit right into this obsession. Check out Jackson Brown’s song “Casino Nation.” I’ve enjoyed LeCarre novels, but then I realize the value of a hymn like “Tis a Gift to be Simple.” What kind of guy am I?

      Meantime, I must struggle to appropriate the space that I’m realizing, from reading many things, including many here…would be healthy.

  7. Rich
    June 1, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Wow! I always hear about verbal abuse that women undergo with men but very rarely hear anyone talk about women verbally abusing their boyfriend or husband. I was recently in a relationship with a woman for several months who I absolutely adored and still care for. She was very helpful to me in many ways and for a little while made me very happy The second month we dated, she began to show early signs of verbal abuse that seemed to get more intense with each time I would spend time with her. When I read your top 10 signs I found many of them were right on. I could only imagine that it would have gotten worst if we dated for a year or more.She would interrupt me and not want me to finish a sentence if she thought she knew what I was going to say. She would also get frustrated if I didn’t look like I was focusing a 100% on what she was talking to me about, accuse me of not listening, but when it was time for me to talk she would start browsing and text messaging on her iPhone. She seemed to get more an more critical with small things such as my hair, being a little clumsy or that fact that I seemed tense around her. This was the reason I was tense around her. I really wanted it to make it work with her because deep down I believed we were very compatible and had a lot to offer each-other, and that she would eventually soften up. She only got harder and harder to communicate with as she would constantly block every sentence I would say until there was silence between us. Its not that we didn’t have anything to talk about, it was that fact that she seemed like she wanted someone else there. She began to change the rules on how we interact in front of her child. All of a sudden it was wrong to hold hands or show any sign of affection. She said it would confuse him. She would invite me over to her house and then claim that she wanted down time after a long day. I was perplexed as to why I was there! I found myself walking on eggshells with her. At this point I knew there was another man involved and she had already decided to get rid of me. When I asked her if she wanted to see other people she got defensive and accused me of not trusting her. For some reason she wanted to keep me around.
    I tried to write it off as her being stressed out and would try to alleviate her tension by cleaning her house, doing dishes, getting the dog out in the morning and try to offer support in her career. Unfortunately this was not effective and only caused her to find other stuff to complain about.
    After about a month I she was very angry with me about something but when I asked she said its nothing. After I said goodbye and left she sent me the most disturbing text message I had ever got. I was confused and guilt ridden. She of course did not want to talk about it until she was ready, and then refused to see me. I remember feeling suicidal which is something I have never really felt before. I began going through the yellow pages searching for a therapist because I thought I was the one that hurt her. I felt horrible!. But it was another guy before me that caused her pain and I was a sort of fall guy. We since talked it over and I neutralized the situation but never did get an explanation for the bizarre text message that I cannot repeat on this forum because it would be inappropriate. I also never understood why she felt compelled point out all my minor faults.
    I still care for this woman and she has since gone back to the guy that originally caused her so much pain.
    While this relationship didn’t last very long, it was the most intense one I have ever been in. I never tried so hard to trust a someone and try to make it work as I did with her. It will take me a very long time for me to trust another woman romantically. Now I understand a little more as to why some of my older guy friends have stayed single and will never commit to a woman. I hope I don’t end up that way because I don’t want to grow old alone.
    It took me a while to admit to myself that this was a form of abuse because I truly do not want to think of her in this way, because she is a wonderful and talented person. I hope she gets the therapy she needs to overcome this intimacy handicap because she has a tremendous amount to offer in a healthy relationship.

    • jp
      June 2, 2012 at 1:59 am


      It’s interesting that you keep mentioning how amazing she or the relationship was…right after you list a bunch of abusive behaviors she inflicts on you. This site is full of guys saying the same thing, basically, she treats me like sh*t, but we’re made for each other. I wrestle with this myself when i think of my marriage, which ended 6 yrs ago, to a woman who is beautiful, smart as a whip, funnier and more quick-witted than anyone I’ve ever known, and, on the surface, generous, thoughtful, etc. She’s also highly manipulative, contemptuous of everyone except her newest friends (which she falls in love with until new friends fall under her spell), a chronic liar, and a raging bully.

      We have to deal with the whole woman. We can’t cherry pick the qualities they have which we like and ignore or compartmentalize the awful ones. If she treats you with contempt, that’s it….next her. It doesn’t matter what else she brings to the table.

      The most important quality in a woman is how well she treats you.


    • Ryan
      June 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Rich she may or may not have a personality disorder ( probably by the sound of it ) but she definitely sounds like she has issues that you aren’t responsible to fix. Also Don’t be fooled by her telling you she is screwed up because of her last relationship…..its possible but not likely since that is a common tactic used by disordered people to blame there behavior on. In short she is just jerking your chain because thats what people like her do.

      I think as a guy its easy to get into the habit of thinking we have to help every woman we are involved with and try to solve there problems. We are programmed to think this way from a young age. As i have learned here and also through hard experience it gets easier to see these women for what they are and avoid them. Its not your responsibility to fix broken people. She was messed up when you met her and she will be messed up after. Great thing is that she isnt your problem anymore and she can ruin that other guys life instead of yours.

      • Rich
        June 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

        Thanks for the reply. It is possible she has a personality disorder, I actually got that impression after the second week we dated when she blew up at me when I teased her about being obsessed with her iphone. It was a little awkward because we were in a public place. I wanted to ask her if she had ever been evaluated by a mental health care professional but there didn’t seem to be a tactful way to do it.She did apologize the next time I saw her for her behavior and said that the reason she acted that way was because she felt I was moving too fast in the relationship, when in fact she was moving much faster than me. But this was a red flag that a few years ago I would not have let slide. Like many other single men in their 40’s, you approach the realization that nobody is perfect and don’t want to be a bachelor for ever. With recent women I have dated I have become more tolerant of negative behavior because I realize that no one is perfect, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

    • Free at Last
      June 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Rich, judging by the intensity of the relationship early on followed by the gradual decline into abuse, your “wonderful and talented” girlfriend was at least highly disordered, and at worst a full-blown psychopath. The way these disordered women work is so, so predictable.

      First, they feel you out and morph into your image of the “perfect woman” or “soul mate.” When they sense that you’re falling for the image, they reel you in and get you to make commitments (e.g. moving in together, engagement, marriage, kids). Same strategy for getting anything else she wants. If you balk, the abusive Ms. Hyde side appears, with an implicit promise that Dr. Jekyll will return when you do as she wishes. When you finally do commit (move in together, etc.) the fabricated Dr. Jekyll is of little use anymore, and it’s Ms. Hyde almost full-time. Of course Dr. Jekyll makes a cameo appearance from time to time (like when she wants you to buy her a new car or something) just to remind you how “wonderful and talented” she can be when you comply with her constant demands.

      The important thing to understand, Rich, is that there was no “wonderful and talented” side. She fabricated it solely to entrap you and keep you under her control. It was a ruse, a con job. Especially the part about the guy “who previously caused her so much pain.” That’s called “The Pity Ploy” and it’s a standard tactic designed to elicit your White Knight response. You can rest assured that was a lie and now she’s back abusing *him.*

      You can also be 100% certain that she has absolutely nothing to offer in a healthy relationship, because she isn’t capable of having one. As you’ll read in many other posts here, this kind of woman is “therapy-resistant” and even worse, will often hijack the therapy for her own purposes (e.g. to blame you better).

      Go watch the movie “Malice” – if nothing else, it describes how incredibly effective these twisted womens’ strategies are, and you won’t feel like a fool who fell for an abuser. It might also help improve your ability to trust someone the next time. But the most important thing is to get rid of that “wonderful” image in your mind. By the end of Malice, you’ll see the “wonderful” Tracy (Nicole Kidman) for who she really is: a deeply twisted woman who manipulates everyone around her for her own benefit.

      • Rich
        June 4, 2012 at 2:44 am

        Thank you. I will have to watch that movie. I agree, although psychopath is probably a little extreme. She definitely needs therapy. You have a good point with “the Pit Ploy” and how she never had anything good to say about him. Perhaps he is not as bad as she made him out to be. One thing that bothers me is that he is in his late 30’s and still lives at home and can’t seem to hold down a job for long. When I was with her I got the impression she wanted a more successful man than me. I work full time in a specialty store and have a creative side business which she did help me improve with her good, but very bossy advice. This is why I am surprised that she went back to this guy that was not very responsible and honest.
        The boyfriend did come into my work several weeks ago. Its a grocery store so greeted him as I do with everyone, he answered me and used my first name. He was sweating and looked very angry. He left, came back 20 minutes later and began to browse around the department while constantly looking over at me. He left and came back a third time and then I asked him if everything was okay. He looked angry and confused. I still didn’t quite put his identity together until he came in a fourth time. He looked calmer then. This took place in about an hour time frame. I thought it was strange and then went to look at my ex girlfriend’s facebook page pictures and compared the picture with him and it was a match. This was very strange, and as far as I know he has not come back.

  8. May 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hello, Im 37 and my girlfriend has been abusing me for 7 years. I should have left along time ago, but chose to stay because I was a cheater. Im an easy person to talk to, and owned up to the things that I’ve done. In her mind, she is ALWAYS right and anything that I say doesn’t matter. Verbally, I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Using b**ch ,fag,etc… insulting my mother , daughter, friends and they have done nothing to her at all!! I want to change my life and hers as well but, to no avail. She swears in front of her grown kids and mother,trying to fight me like a man and telling me she is going to have sex with my friends. Im not trying to say that Im a saint, but I know right from wrong.I’ve tried to talk to her about starting over , but the lines of communication with her is just to argue. I keep blaming myself because of the past ,but how can we move forward if she keeps doing the same things , over and over with no change. Her mouth is so nasty, and when you tell her about herself, she justs wants to bring things up things about me. I can’t even talk to her about us because shes in COMPLETE denial. All of the 10 signs is what she does to me and all I want her to do is to listen and recognize her faults. There hasn’t been a week were there is an argument or Im being accused of cheating when I haven’t been. I do love her but Im out of ideas. I even offered that we get professional help, she just laughed at me. I feel like she is my worst enemy. I get shut down everytime and I don’t feel any love.

  9. Wren friend
    May 28, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    What makes a good narcissism site I guess might be a matter of what aspects have been highlighted or brought to prominence…that pertain to the individual reading. This one below seems to focus very quickly on the reality as I have known it. But things have been nevertheless different in a very important way. I’m a man, and the woman abuser has by far most of the time not lashed out in a blind violent rage. Most of the time she just calmly destroyed the nice period prior by blithly intimating I didn’t mean jack to her (all of a sudden that is). The right tone of voice could do it, and it didn’t have to be loud. “Panic” 99% of the time doesn’t show when she’s saying distancing things. I was the one who raised my voice in protest. The weird thing is I don’t have the clinical experience or, sadly, even the Emotions Anonymous experience to know if she really is a narcissist. Everything fits but I just don’t know. Was she just spoiled as a child? In some respects I know this was true. Is she just abusive and/or inconsiderate by nature? Is there some other unconscious block to deepening/progressing love other than narcissism that might be in play in her case?

    “Abuse, in other words, is a reaction to the perceived threat of looming intimacy, aimed at fending it off, intended to decimate closeness, tenderness, affection, and compassion before they thrive and consume the abuser. Abuse is a panic reaction. The batterer, the molester, are scared out of their wits – they feel entrapped, imprisoned, shackled, and insidiously altered.

    Lashing out in blind and violent rage they punish the perceived perpetrators of intimacy. The more obnoxiously they behave, the less the risk of lifelong bondage. The more heinous their acts, the safer they feel. Battering, molesting, raping, berating, taunting – are all forms of reasserting lost control.” http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/narcissistic-personality-disorder

    Dr T, I need some advice for a situation where the narcissist can create the most convincing “loving self” imaginable…and then trash it in the morning (after an intimate night) by doing something like mumbling as she goes out the door (re where she’s going) right after she just gets up (when we had plans for early Memorial Day activities). It was the grocery store. The “look” of sincerety is utterly convincing (this has been 10 months). Is it possible her conscious thinking ego DOES NOT AT ALL SENSE THE CESSATION OF NORMAL CONSIDERATENESS? And if so, why? I take the position that my significant other’s love was real when its flow was unimpeded to me. Maybe unorthodox, but it would seem to justify something like therapy. And, besides, I believe it. The lack of this love, such as it was, will hurt. I lost my mother three years ago. But this woman told me this thing about “making a future together” when she wanted to move in. It seems unimaginably cruel she would come with such announced intentions knowing she always ended up resenting deepening love from a man. Why unimaginably cruel? Cause I was barely recovering from the aforementioned loss, and then she comes…when she knows chances are there’ll be a block…a block she never bothered to investigate. This from the one who does online courses like they’re crossword puzzles.

  10. Matte Black
    May 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    And the Truth shall set You Free…

    Firstly, thanks Dr.T for this website. It’s given me a whole new insight into what has been the most tumultuous two years of my life. I felt like I was living in some bizarre episode of
    the Twilight Zone. However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

    A little Background: I started a relationship with my Ex (whom I’ll call ‘A’) in 2009. This was my third long-term relationship (The first one lasting 20 years, and the second lasting 8 years). In some ways, I think that this has meant that I’m luckier than some men here whose stories I’ve read; for many, their first relationship is with an NPD/BPD, and they’re harpooned pretty much from the start. I’ve been in two previous long-term relationships before, with what I’d now call ‘normal’ women; on the whole, both of these ladies were loving, rational, empathic and even-tempered, so I guess I have a little more scope from which to recognise aberrant and abusive behaviour.

    ‘A’, however, was a completely different kettle of fish (piranhas mainly, as it turned out).

    When I first met ‘A’, she seemed sweet, loving, confident. smart and sexy. It wasn’t long, however, before I started to sense all was far from well.

    ‘A’ would start having sudden mood swings. I don’t mean just a little ‘down’ or ‘up’; I mean that her whole persona changed so drastically that it was almost like a doppelganger had replaced her when I wasn’t looking. These changes occurred in the short amount of time that it took me to use the bathroom.

    I found that simple disagreements with her rapidly escalated in major dramas. For example, I once offhandedly commented to her that a song she had a liking for had slightly ‘corny’ lyrics. Big mistake. I was sternly ticked off, had a song I liked analysed and castigated, and then given the silent treatment for 24 hours. Hmmm… ohhh-kayyy… *small alarm bell starts ringing*

    Soon the verbal abuse started.

    I don’t mean the usual “You’re a pig!” stuff. I mean the “YOU F*CKING C*NT!” heavy-duty variety (more on this later). This – to me – was a complete shock, since I’d never experienced such vitriol from my partner in my life. These verbal barrages were usually coupled to some vague and bizarre misdemeanour she thought I was guilty of. My protestations of innocence (and in most cases my total mystification) were shunted aside as if they failed to exist.

    One favourite topic ‘A’ targeted was my relationship with my former partner. She actually hacked into my PC and read e-mail exchanges with my former lady (which to me was a huge breach of my privacy). I was then accused of ‘not loving me like you loved her!”, and scorned because I hadn’t written ‘A’ similar e-mails.

    Now, these e-mails to my former partner were written when she was in another country, and e-mail was often the only means of communication we had at that time. Of course they contained romantic and intimate allusions. I explained to ‘A’ that I felt I had no need to write EMAILS to her because I was WITH her – I could TELL her face-to-face that I loved her daily (and did so). This wasn’t enough to appease her, and for the next 18 months this issue was raised numerous times when she felt like it – any stick to beat a dog with, I guess.

    In hindsight, I can see that this was a beautiful ploy on her part; it gave her the means to ‘force’ me to ‘try harder’, and if in her eyes I wasn’t doing so, then the e-mails were waved in my face with wails of “You loved her more than me!” as a way to correct my errant behaviour. I was dealing with a Pro. ‘A’ told me several times that she wanted e-mails from me like that, but I stood my ground. I was becoming aware that if I did so, I ‘d be pandering to her in order to appease her irrationality, and this would in fact legitimise the hacking of my private e-mail, which had nothing to do with her in the first place.

    I told her that Nooo, I wont be writing you facsimiles of those e-mails; if me standing in front of you and SAYING those words isn’t enough, then so be it. I had started to get some idea of what I was dealing with, and now the alarm bells were ringing loud and true. Of course, my refusal to do so simply bought on new tantrums.

    There were other bizarre aspects. I had to deal with her pathological and totally illogical jealousy. For example, I had to go and do some work in a house where the lady of the house was home all day. Yup – according to ‘A’, I was screwing this woman. My denials were booted aside with “You’re a LAIR!”, or similar. I had, in fact, never even looked at another woman since starting a relationship with ‘A’.

    Other warning signs showed. She considered herself to be a little “Princess” (her words, not mine). Any minor conflict with her own family brought on what I would call immoderate reactions. I found out that her childhood was marred by sexual abuse, and that there was no father figure in her early childhood either. She had staggering insensitivity. She would talk over people (including work colleagues). She had a huge ego which constantly needed to be fed, and she constantly pointed out to me that I was so lucky to be with such a ‘hottie’. I found out later (much to my horror) that she had driven her ex partner into the psych ward for two weeks (and now I can see why).

    In the midst of all this, yes Dr.T, I made the worst mistake of all – we had a child. And again in hindsight, it was not a bright moment for me.

    Not long after the birth of our son, things went totally downhill. One morning (6.00am) she wanted to ‘talk’. Now, I am sooo not a morning person; it takes me an hour to properly awake, and she was well aware of that. After several minutes of talking (which was mainly her telling me how ‘bad’ I made her feel because of an offhand comment I’d made three months earlier and which she took completely out of context) I made the fatal error of making a sharp reply of my own. In her eyes, this was ‘snapping’ at her.

    Well, all hell broke loose. For the next 18 hours (yes, 18 HOURS), I was subjected to such a bombardment of spite and vitriol that it make my knees weak – real hysterical, spittle-flying venom. I was ordered to leave the house (the lease was in her name only – silly me), get out of her f*cking life, etc, etc. I took the day off work to arrange alternate accommodation, but she continued to bombard me from her work e-mail during the day. When she arrived home, I told her that I would be moving out the next day since that was the fastest I could find alternate accommodation, and the verbal abuse simply carried on (to the extent of her keeping me awake past 12am “just because I WANT TO!”).


    Anyway, here’s a list of some of the things I had to deal with. Many of you guys may recognise some of these. In the relationship with ‘A’, I…

    * had every aspect of my physical and emotion make-up derided and scorned by her, and used in vicious personal attacks. I have a slight stammer, and even this got a run for its money (“Your stutter makes you sound like a f*cking RETARD!”).

    * had her lie to me to simply hurt and/or control me (including gleefully ringing me one morning to tell me that she’d ‘sucked off’ two men – a lie, apparently, but it showed me that she was prepared to tell porky-pies simply to hurt and control me). Her lies also included cries of being broke – only to find she had over $5,000.00 in her bank account, which she conveniently didn’t mention.

    * had cryptic and (quite frankly) ludicrous issues raised as “proof” I didn’t show her enough love, when in fact I showed her more love than I’d ever shown anyone else. Anything I did do was simply ignored.

    * have been accused of infidelity of every kind, both past and present, despite me pointing out and proving to her that this was TOTALLY untrue. I had even bought my PC into the living room so she could see what I was doing. Not good enough.

    * had the full Idealisation/devaluation cycle used endlessly. One minute I’m the “Best partner in the world!” Next day I’m “A useless f*cking c*nt!”.

    * had numerous illogical and slanderous epithets applied to me… eg. “Evil emanates from you!” Huh?

    * have been the victim of numerous forms of physical abuse and intimidation.

    * had to deal with her twice threatening self-mutilation and/or suicide (she held a knife to her own throat on two occasions).

    * had gifts thrown back in my face – literally.

    * have listened to her tell me how much “better” her previous partner was/is than me.

    * had her threaten our son’s life – via a third party, and foolishly committed to writing – which necessitated the involvement of the Police. She couldn’t wriggle out of that one, since she’d sent me the transcript herself.

    * Had my e-mail and text logs with a previous partner illicitly examined, and every negative aspect gleaned from these was subsequently used against me, despite these PRIVATE logs having nothing to DO with her.

    * had my current e-mail and MSN accounts subjected to hacking attempts (failed, on e-mail at least. I changed my password).

    * have been told that she’ll use “ANY way she can” to issue false reports to police and/or courts to cause me legal and movement issues.

    * have been starved of interpersonal/emotional closeness for pretty much the full duration of the relationship.

    * have been subjected to mood swings of such severity that I suspected she had an MPD.

    * had my job, education, and other extraneous aspects of me vilified, derided and abused – despite the fact I out-earn her.

    * have been blamed for most of these aforementioned neurotic episode because “You made you do it!”, or “Because you made me so angry!”

    Oh – the nastiest doozey? My sister passed away very recently. This caused me immense pain and grief. Was this sacrosanct? Nooo… this is verbatim (except for character blanking) from an e-mail ‘A’ sent me in one of her hissy-fits:


    Charming, hmm? This simply showed me what kind of spiteful, pitiless demon I was dealing with. Again, I consider myself lucky, because I have slowly and irrevocably distanced myself from this woman, and with each attack, insult and abusive episode my love for her waned just a little more until the well was empty. I can now see her for exactly what she is – and she is not the woman I loved; she is a phantom, an illusion – and she never existed. She will never change, and never abate, so I have closed all ‘live’ contact with her. If she calls, I either don’t answer or I hang up immediately. I will talk to her via e-mail or MSN simply because then it’s all logged and verifiable, and simply for the sake of our son.

    My advice to any men reading this, and who can identify with the things ‘A’ has done and said? GET OUT – as fast as your legs will carry you. If you don’t, then she’ll devour you. There are wonderful women out there who’ll love you and not suck the life out of you until there’s little left. Go find them – and wave the she-devil goodbye, like I did.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks Dr. T for this wonderful resource.



    • Ryan
      May 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm


      She sounds like a winner. Hope you do better with the child situation than most. Its one thing to limit contact with an unstable ex when you dont have kids together…..however the cunning ones find ways to use the children as a prypole to escalate contact. It doesnt sound that hard to avoid when you read it happening to others here…..however when it is your own kid involved it becomes hard to blow off incidents with your ex. You start to wonder what is going on with the child when you aren’t there etc and safety. It becomes a real job to set boundaries and maintain them because the X’s look for any reason they can to violate personal boundaries. If you are like most people these violations can seem like no big deal…..for example she decides to start showing up at your house to offer extra time with your child “just to be nice” (you have told her not to come to your house). That seems reasonable for a while but then maybe on the 5th time she shows up she will be in a terrible mood…..will say things to the kid like ” Stay with your father for a while because i am sick of dealing with you!”. This of course upsets the kid. Or the ex shows up with the kid and says she needs to use the bathroom quickly before she goes……once she is inside she starts a tirade about imagined transgressions you have burdened her with and refuses to leave etc. You would just throw her out right?…how hard could it be? Well if you know how the game is played she would go straight to the police station after she left and accuse you of abusing her at your own residence and you would have to explain what happened to the police. I’m just throwing out some random examples of how seemingly small violations of personal boundaries can result in big problems.

      People that have never experienced these things have no clue how quickly a life can be ruined. I know I didn’t until it happened to me.

      • Wren friend
        May 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

        I didn’t read Matte’s post before I put up mine below; had a pressing need to look for advice re my particular problems on that day (and my question re how frequently does an delicate/eloquent professor persona alternate with some drunken Sgt persona still is on my mind). Funny, Matte’s reads 10X worse than my situation, though I still do feel few humans on earth felt as low as I did when I put up that material as a result of my own woes. Maybe all of us fall in love with that truly unique kernel of an individual, their most authentic gift when it comes to uniqueness…which has to be God given. Maybe we’re hurt because they don’t see this. It’s out of their scope of vision or conceptual scope. Sometimes I think media has helped convince them there is no such kernel but that life is just aimless scripts interacting…just memes interacting. Maybe Matte’s ex did exist and you, Matte, for a brief time were the one who appreciated her most real self…however overlayed and suffocated it became later. Anyway, Matte’s ex is not a narcissist? According to the little I’ve learned I think of the narcissist as fending off affection (not as often at first, but ultimately much moreso in the bitter end of things)

  11. Dan
    May 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hi guys, just an update from my situation.
    After analysing Dr T’s fantastic article, i decided to work out a method in tackling the problem.

    Just like a scientist would find the cure from the venom, i did the same with the article. I did everything in reverse. Instead of me trying to have defences ready, I had none. Instead of me giving her the satisfaction of pointing out her flaws only to receive a world of pain, i pointed none out. Instead of playing the game, I picked myself up and walked away.

    Funny enough, after a whole year of me trying to struggle to regain control and my dignity, she did not understand how I completely changed the game. Her whole mental plan of how to get the upper hand went down the drain when I said “Okay, I’m going to go now, when you’re ready to speak to me in a calm, mature and concise manner then you know where to find me”.

    She could not comprehend this change in my behaviour and tried her extreme hardest to get the reaction she wanted. She kept saying things like “Look how you treat me”. “Go find another girl who’s mature then”. “You never look at yourself”. All I did was ignore it, left my phone to one side and enjoyed the rest of the sunny day.

    What happens next? Something not even I could have imagined. Approximately three hours later i get this heartfelt apology from her and how she realised the error of her ways. She’s the type of person where saying sorry isn’t an option. I was completely shocked. I woke up today and got all the love I have been missing for weeks.

    I’m no expert so Dr T, if you’re reading this, how did my actions completely change her state of mind? Do you think the sudden change in my behaviour to be more withdrawn rather than defensive led to a chain reaction of uncertainty? Would love to hear your opinion.

    For the rest of you guys, I hope things are going well. Good luck and stay strong.

    • Free at Last
      May 30, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Dan, I have to second Dr. T on this one. I too had thought that I’d found a way to deal with my ex-girl-fiend’s craziness by refusing to play her game and just walking away. But it didn’t take her three hours to fake remorse; it took only twenty minutes. But the very next day she was back to her abusive tactics.

      Disordered women are permanently disordered. Their tactics and timelines may vary, but the end result is always the same: you lose big-time. They are masters at faking remorse, but it’s just a ploy to keep you under their control. Don’t fall for it; get out of there and find an emotionally healthy woman.

      Myself, I’ve had a longtime criterion for the women I date: they must be physically fit, as I am. I now have a new, overriding criterion: they must be emotionally fit, as I am. I suggest that you adopt the same standards. Good luck to you! – Julian.

    • shrink4men
      May 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Dan,

      I think you should read this article on the new site to understand what just happened to you:


      It’s called a Hoover. As soon as she feels secure that she has reeled you back in, her behavior will go back to abusive and crazy.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

    • abner
      May 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Hate to be cynical here, Dan, but I think the chances of you hitting the Powerball lottery….and her maintaining good behavior…are about the same. I was naive and hopeful 17 years ago. Many times I thought I had found a “breakthrough” method in dealing with her. Only to be whack-a-moled……..

      • Wren friend
        May 29, 2012 at 1:15 am

        I have a very short history here, and my questions to Dr T probably reveal just how little I know about the subject (it’s hard for me even after 10 months of this stuff to consciously accept I’ve been dealing with a full blown personality disorder this entire time). I’ll say what’s on my mind just in case there are newcomers for whom your method may not work. Cause I know something this simple most likely would not have worked for me and my significant other. If she’d have entered into therapy (if we could have found some qualified) there might have been some hope…if she would have STAYED in therapy. This has been my hope. I told her I was hoping and praying for a “miracle.” She said that was ok with her. She left her idea of miracle undefined, and mine really was too, except that she knew mine encompassed counseling re her problem, which she believed [or claimed to believe] non-existent and/or mislabeled by me. Not a week since we agreed to hope for our separate notions of “miracle,” she’s packing tonight.
        I hope, Dan, your significant other did actually step outside the disorder-frame and get a normal perspective on what she was doing. That never worked for me. It’s probably true I enjoyed the sunlight when I made space (or when we were embroiled), but I had to focus on the sunlight and the green leaves and try really hard to remember what they used to mean to me. Some of it usually came back. [what really came through more…though not as much as prior to “us”…was the sanity of the cemetery the other day, a place thank God we never visited together–I used to go there with my mother] But I hope what happened to me doesn’t happen to you.
        I think of my SO as having two natures that war against one another. One herself, the other…herself under the influence of the blocking/distancing contents (personal-unconscious contents I guess).Giving space did sometimes cause my SO to relate verbally how much she loved me (and even I believe bring to remembrance how much she did legitimately love me earlier on). But with innumerable non-speaking periods, during which it was a miracle I hung on to my job, even the most determined on my part never negated the fact that each more informed protest on my part (loud or controlled) was cutting into the “narcissist supply,” if that’s really in the last analysis the addiction this disorder-in-question-from-hell laid on her . Ulteriorly, I wonder if she knew each resort to normal kindness and love would become shorter, and that she was just dragging out the time left for her regular betrayals a little longer. I think I might succeed in praying for her, but the sunlight and green leaves won’t exactly mean to me what they used to for quite a while.

  12. May 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Oh and most of all ,I forgot to thank you dr Tara for publishing this article and forum,it has been invaluable to me and will be to so many more.

  13. May 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hi Julian,I am already getting counselling from domestic abuse services locally.I have talked about most things except the sexual abuse,this is going to be really difficult because of its intimate nature,but its arrived at that point and the women counsellors there are extremely mature and understanding,its helping restore my confidence in women.This is a free service where I live in England.I think that these women are all volunteers.I cant afford to pay for Dr Taras help I dont think it is free is it.Any way I feel like I am slowly starting to heal and come back to myself.I just have these full on panic attacks from time to time where The loneliness,doubts and fear of future relationships rush in on me ,thats when I usually post a comment.I feel good today.Almost starting to feel alive and normal ,remembering who I am.Its just the sexual stuff I need to deal with and my wifes continual efforts to use abuse me even tho Im not with her ,and using the kids to threaten me with not seeing them or trying to send me on guilt trips .One thing I will re-iterate what many on here have said ,that it is very difficult to get over abuse without proffessional help and as much support as possible from friends ,family and counsellors.I now have all this support as well as you guys.I urge anyone in abusive situations or trying toget over one to get this help and support.I would have sunk and topped myself without it ,the abuse and control was too much .I lost my will to try ,even to live.I honestly thought even just a few months ago that I wasnt going to make it thru but I am ,and im getting stronger,even tho its been over 12 months sinc I left .I think one of the things I wasnt prepared for is,that when I left ,I thought that was it ,I would feel instant relief and get on with my life.Instead I fell apart ,struggling to deal with the aftermath of 28 yrs of abuse and the loss o my family,marriage,home,finances etc.This is why I say to everyone in this situation to get support.Thanks Julian.Are you still around Cat and Abner,I enjoyed your input,it really helped me.

    • Free at Last
      May 30, 2012 at 12:51 am

      Chris, I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. Sorry for my tardy reply; I’ve had some urgent matters to deal with recently. I do want to say that I’m concerned about the effectiveness of the support you’re receiving… it sounds like you’re experiencing the anxiety attacks associated with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and I’m not convinced that kind and well-meaning volunteers are adequately trained and experienced to help you with that.

      I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in yourself right now. You’ve endured 28 years of abuse, and that’s not easy to recover from. There are people who know how to help you, and you would be wise to seek their assistance. You will have to pay them, and you certainly can afford it – if your priorities are correct. Chris, you’re the most important person in your life; don’t ever forget that.

      I hope that Cat and Abner can chime in with some more words of encouragement for you. My very best wishes to you. – Julian.

  14. Dan
    May 25, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I’ve been with my girlfriend for close to a year now and at first things were great. Buzzing through the so called ‘honeymoon’ period when I realised the same old small jokes i’d tease her with before, ends up in a full-scale argument.
    As the months passed I tried to deal with it. I tried to defend myself but she always seemed to have a way to get back at me. Always had the upper hand and made me look wrong.

    One rule for me and another rule for her. That’s how I’ve always felt. I never understood why a person could behave like that, and till this day I’ve never understood why my girlfriend has her ‘outbursts’. Until I read this fantastic article. I related to every single point, it was my girlfriends personality summarised perfectly.

    Thank you for making me believe in myself again.

    • Free at Last
      May 26, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Hey, Dan… I’ve been there and done that. The first year was just great, until the fake mask slipped off… and then the abuse began. Exactly as you said, two sets of rules, all designed for her to maintain the upper hand and make me wrong.

      I think you know what to do – get the hell out of there pronto! Don’t do as I did and waste four months trying to patch things up. It was the worst four months of my entire life, and what I learned was that it’s totally hopeless to “fix things” with a disordered woman.

      Head for the hills, my friend! – Julian.

    • shrink4men
      May 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      You’re welcome, Dan, and please take care of yourself.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  15. May 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

    So difficult to shake of the guilt and the feeling that I have no right to feel happy independent of her.Really struggle to believe that If I did find someone else that I have a right to want or get any pleasure out of physical intimacy coz of what shes done.I am truly afraid of that moment if or when it arrives,will there be women who can understand and deal with my fear and would it be fair to hope for this.Can anyone reassure me about this.

    • Free at Last
      May 26, 2012 at 2:23 am

      Chris, you seem to be paralyzed by the mind-f#ck your ex-wife did on you. I’d like to reassure you that things will indeed be better the next time around, but I also feel compelled to tell you the truth: The success of your next relationship will be inversely proportional to the amount of baggage that you bring into it. And the best way to deal with your baggage is to enter therapy right away and stick with it.

      Once upon a time, I thought therapy was for wussbags and weak people. But then I found a good therapist, did a few months of weekly sessions, and it was probably the best money I’ve ever spent in my life. There’s nothing like a trained, experienced professional that knows how to identify and unravel unhealthy thinking patterns and thereby undo your decades of emotional abuse.

      Chris, you can’t look for reassurance from others; you desperately need to feel that reassurance yourself. You need to do some work on yourself — you need to take responsibility for YOUR part in the disaster that has become your life. No amount of external reassurance is going to replace the work you now need to do. Sorry, there are no shortcuts.

      So I implore you to find a good therapist in your area and get to work. If you can’t find an appropriate one (bear in mind that many are not very understanding of abused men), consider contacting Dr. T (click on the Services link at the top of this page), as she comes highly recommended by many of us here.

      BTW, like you, my ex also messed me up regarding sex, something I’ve never had a problem with. After her raging at me for an hour about some stupid thing, I felt so distant from her that I’d go sleep in the guest room. She would then drag me back to the bedroom and want sex (the furthest thing from MY mind). When I couldn’t “get it up” she’d accuse me of having erectile dysfunction and demand that I get a prescription for Cialis (not Viagra, but $20/pill Cialis because it lasts for three days, to help please her better… I kinda wonder now how she was so knowledgeable about this topic). I’ve never felt “less of a man.” Dr. T, however, straightened me out really quickly: “Abuse is not an aphrodisiac” was all she said, and suddenly it all clicked for me. That’s why experienced professionals are so valuable; they can provide a healthy perspective that we just cannot see on our own.

      I think I speak for everyone here on the blog when I say that we can only offer our empathy, understanding and support for our fellow abusees. But we’re not professionals, and we don’t have any training or experience in *how* to repair the damage caused by emotional and sexual abuse. But I do know that a trained, experienced professional therapist can be a godsend.

      So do yourself a favour and seek some professional help. You’ve already taken the first step by admitting that you have some serious problems; the obvious next step is to take the initiative to do something about them. I wish you success and peace of mind, my friend. – Julian.

      P.S. Thanks, Dr. T – you’re the best!

  16. Matt
    May 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hi guys. I can totally connect with how you are all feeling. I’m out of the clutches of my abuser, it has been a long road, and lots of horrible incidents, my ex wife said she would change, and that ‘no one will love you like I do’…well, they aren’t able to feel love, only their distorted perception of what it is.
    I’m in a custody battle with her right now. I told her it was over last August, after she said to my mother ‘Ha ha, you’ll be dead in 2 years’. My mother was unwell at the time, but had no firm diagnosis, until it was discovered a few weeks after that she had a large tomour in her liver, I cared for at home until her death in January. My ex was still pushing my buttons all through this, and recently, she decided to stop my access to my children completely as I had asked her to slightly alter the access days, as she was manipulating me still, to ensure that my kids were here with me every weekend, so I merely asked to change the schedule so that I have them alternate weekends, and have them additionally twice a week after school. They are both under 5, and live with her latest victim, in his house, who she met just 7 days after I ended it. She moved into his home 2 months after, and I can see already that she is in the process of bleeding him dry, he has bought her a car, and takes her on holidays etc etc.
    Poor guy, he hasn’t a clue what he has done…yet!

    Anyway, off to UK courts to get my contact back, I haven’t seen them for 6 weeks, but want defined access with an order.
    I told her my intentions by email, her reply was extremely abusive, and has even said that I apparently threatened to kill them all two weeks ago, and that she has informed the police, but I haven’t heard from the police, and threats of those kind are not ignored by the police here, and should have been arrested and charged, but haven’t heard a thing.
    Just her way of intimidation, and trying to get me to drop the court application, as she’s getting panicky.
    This is how these personality types operate, and as many guys have indicated on this forum, get out, stay out, NEVER go back for more, as they are impossible to change.

    Good luck to you all, we are all traumatised, and it is awful, but things must get better over time. I have a lovely girlfriend, who isn’t abusive, hasn’t put me on a pedestal, is in posession of a normal range of emotions, and does not accuse, blame, act jealous, or try to control me in any way.
    I can’t let my ex know of her, or see her, as this will make things even more difficult for me, and my children..sad, but there it is.


  17. May 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

    My heart is with you Tyler,brother in pain.I am trying to come to terms with many things right now.One of them is the awful realization of the way she was changing me ,that I was even starting to think and act on her immature level.That is not me.I didnt want it to be me.I found myself agreeing with things I didnt agree with ,like an actor who played the part he was forced to play.Trouble is when the play finishes its difficult to stop playing the part of the stupid,weak,cant cope without her person shes made you believe you are.I get angry with myself sometimes for selling myself out,but I know why I did it, to try and stop or at least reduce the unbearable and enrelenting abuse.But Tyler,I am very slowly finding my way back and starting to remember who I am ,its requiring help from medication as the doctor and counsellors have said i have been suffering depression,acute anxiety and probably trauma.I should have got out a long time ago before it got to this,so my advice that I cant stress enough is it WILL NOT GET BETTER.Dont allow this to happen to yourself and dont feel regret for trying to save your own identity.As my friends on here who have been encouraging me said[thanks for your last comment free at last-you speak truth and make perfect sense its giving me hope],they said nothing is worth more value than your own sense of identity of who you are ,lose that ,lose yourself and whats left?I know this is true.Thanks again free at last it feels so wierd having positive,consructive things said to me,not used to it,but really reallythriving on it.Thanks again to Cat,Abner and others ,please if you need to talk about your pain or feelings do so coz I dont believe in one way friendships even though I am very low in self esteem at the moment.I will try to return the encouragement.

  18. tyler
    May 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

    feeling pretty low today….ive been battered with emotional abuse for two days now….non stop picking on me…why!!! cause i let a friend (male) stay in the house while she was away. I lied to her about the guy staying over just to avoid conflict…but she found out. Is it wrong for my mate to stay and have a few beers with me!!…this is just the tip of the iceberg…Anyways i leaving the country soon….i feel hollow inside…even though this is my chance to get away from her…i feel bad and alone…i do love her. but this is too much , its never ending abuse in all forms.my hearts heavy

  19. Ryan
    May 20, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I read these pages from time to time. It reminds me of all the guys who have dealt with the same garbage I did for years……..and sometimes i still have to deal with it. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that there are women out there ( many based on the amount of web pages devoted to this subject ) who seem to be so twisted inside. Its like they can’t be happy unless they are making others unhappy…..some are subtle in their methods and some are violently obvious. I have the gift of a child with my ex spouse……this child is the best thing in my life……still its just very hard to know that I can’t just walk away from the ex and not look back. I still have to deal with her weekly. It really weighs on my mind knowing that i’m trapped into dealing with her in any way. Partly because i hate what she is inside and partly because its exhausting to always have to be on high alert defending against the latest ploy from her. The gaslighting just never stops….” I never said that”….” You are mean to me” etc. Today i foolishly spent time with her at the beach with our child……she was hoovering so i figure whatever alternate guy she has on the side must not be doing something she wants. I told her quite frankly that she must want something or she wouldnt be acting so nice to me. Her response of course was ” What does that mean? You think im trying to use you or something? What have YOU ever given me that i couldnt get for myself?”. Simultaneously she was declaring/reminding me that she is a big girl and doesnt need me but then was angry because i didnt want to come over later and watch a movie. I told her only a nut like her would come on to someone and then get angry when it didnt go like she expected lol. She couldnt figure out why i wouldnt want to go spend time with her alone at her house. The amount of psychological games she plays are astounding sometimes. Of course everyone on this web site reading this knows how this game goes…….its so clever and crazy that you just can’t explain it to people who have never dealt with these women.

    I just want to say to all the guys reading this…….Yes she really is nuts if she seems to follow the same patterns that the other guys write about here. Its not you…..she is crazy. She may have a good job, be pretty, and look normal in most aspects but if she follows these patterns in your relationship she will ruin you given enough time. You can’t fix them…you can’t help them. If you are dating end it……if you are married look for a way out. I’m sorry but it will not work. Get out. Being alone is better than living with crazy……she will break you one way or the other. Salvage what is left of your life and get away from her.

    • abner
      May 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks Ryan,

      You described my ex to a T! i f’n dentical!!!

      • Ryan
        May 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        Abner isn’t it astounding how men (and women) from all parts of the world are encountering the same exact personality types? I had no clue people like this existed…….I thought if a person were mentally unstable it was relatively easy to spot and you just avoided people like that. Now i realize problems like Borderline PD are about as deceptive as they come. I wonder if these types have always been around or if something in our modern day world is creating much more of them? Hope i dont meet any more!

    • Free at Last
      May 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Guys, I just posted a link to a stunning Law & Order TV episode on Dr. T’s “Professional Victims” article at:


      Ryan, this might help you wrap your mind around the fact that these people can and do exist, and in frightening numbers.

      • Free at Last
        May 26, 2012 at 3:22 am

        Unfortunately, it appears that WordPress has automatically deleted my posting because the illicit link to the particular TV episode was in China. Here is the link again, but you’ll have to slightly reformat it:

        [http://] video [dot] sina [dot] com [dot] cn [slash] v/b/60473888-2141122312.html

        The last 7 or 8 minutes of this episode are just brilliant, as Miss Kim tries every trick in the book to appear as the victim, when in fact she’s a cruel and heartless psychopath and con artist.

        If nothing else, this episode illustrates how convincing disordered women can be.

  20. May 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    You are all so kind,and I thank you from my heart.I read all your comments over and over to try and sound it down into my exhausted mind.Its difficult to recover coz she still tryin to make trouble for me and make me feel guilty for walking out on the family sayin ive screwed my kids heads up .Shes been quiet recently but from last week shes been on one ,having confrontation with my sister and anyone she sees as supporting me.Sh also screeched up in the car ,dropped the cats off and sais she hopes I rot in hell and that the least I can do is feed the cats seeing as im not providing for my kids,and she threw my 13 yr olds DS and mobile I bought him at me and said she hopes im proud of myself for screwing my kids head up.I feel physically sick when she starts,coz the one thing I cant live with is ,if it is my fault ive screwed my kids heads up by leaving.But I hold on to your words of encouragement ,especially that youve helped me to believe that in time I will find a woman who will genuinly love me.I am plugging on and fighting the negative emotions and thoughts with what little strength I can muster.Thanks again to you all ,please feel good about yourselves you can never know how much your compassion and concern are keeping me alive.

    • Free at Last
      May 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Chris, thanks so much for checking in and letting us know you’re doing OK. I know how tough it is for you right now; people sometimes ask me when I broke up with my ex-girl-fiend and I just can’t answer, as it happened over an extremely painful four-month period. Disordered people have a desperate need for total control, and when they feel they are losing control over you, the manipulation and abuse escalates to unprecedented levels. This is what your wife is doing now.

      Disordered people are also notorious for using everything and everyone as weapons against you – your family and your children included. I’m fairly certain that your wife told your son that YOU took his mobile and DS away from him, just to turn him against you.

      But fear not, your leaving will not mess up your kids’ minds. She’s the one doing that. You’re doing the best possible thing for your children’s mental health. Think a year or two down the road: you have shared custody of the kids, and you’ve found a kind and supportive woman. Your kids spend some time at your ex-wife’s place (in a stressful, high-conflict environment) and some time at your place (in a peaceful and loving environment). When they grow up and choose their own partners, which kind of relationship are they going to prefer?

      In a nutshell, Chris, you have permanently broken the ongoing cycle of abuse and your kids are not going to suffer as you have. You just have to remain strong for now and weather your wife’s ridiculous antics for a few more months until everything is settled. A few years down the road, your kids will tearfully thank you for it.

      If you don’t believe me now, just watch what happens to your cats over the next few months. Cats are very well tuned in to their emotional environment, and they’re just going to blossom! I’ve seen it first-hand.

      Another thing you can expect soon (from my own experience and that of many others here on this blog) is that your wife will find a new victim. Very soon. And she will use him against you also. She will tell you how great he is, how much better a lover / provider / surrogate-father he is – all in a pathetic attempt to make you feel like a failure. Don’t fall for this ruse; have compassion for her new victim instead. He doesn’t yet know what he’s in for. My ex found a surgeon (poor guy!) soon after I left, and tried to make me feel bad for being “just an engineer.” Sheesh!

      Hang in there, Chris, and check in with us from time to time. We’re here to support you.

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