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.

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

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

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Photo credits: Mood swings on ccmbuzz.

  1. David
    July 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks anon. this site, Dr T, posters, all have helped. its early days, I will get better, i know me, I am resilient, just took a harder blow this time from an expert. Ive been hit twice on separate occassions while driving the car, never an apology or acknowledgement, its was me provoking her?? the head took the blow even though the fist didnt make contact with the head. ive read in the past about the way peoples heads get messed up but neevr really understood it, guess its one of those things you need to experience. but I will come out of this, she will always have her problems and so will any bloke who comes into her life

  2. Anon.Father
    July 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    So David, here’s an option, breathe deeply and sweetly. Let it happen automatically. Eat well. And simply, just don’t go insane. Done. Smile. Sweat out the anxiety attacks, do despite the doubt, and never friggin question your feelings. Quite simply, get the help you need. Work with a healthy and helpful psychotherapist and possibly a body-based therapist. And well: simply just don’t go insane. Who needs it? Smiles and support comin’ your way…

  3. David
    July 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I wrote it, it just came out, someone may have said it in the past, Im not aware, just seemed to sum my feelings up because its exactly how I feel. I dont like the me now, confidence has gone, riddled with doubt, questioning my feelings and feeling like Im going insane, I dont like it, its not me, nor is it a lot of you.

  4. Anon.Father
    July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Old Guy, wow, one-fingering your way to such eloquent, informed, and kind posts, now that’s something! Your posts have made me think “I’m approaching middle age…do I want to deal with this into old age?” The answer is no, and I am making direct moves towards getting help. I am willing to undergo psychological evaluations and request that my wife do the same. I don’t know if she will. Wish me luck in making enough money FAST to move out for a “temporary separation” with emotional, verbal, and physical abuse as the fundamental reasons.

    and yes, i like “I don’t want her back, I miss me more” a lot too…who wrote that?

  5. July 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    David :I dont want her back, I miss me more

    Great Quote! Thought it deserved to be brought forth.

  6. Anon.Father
    July 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Dear Old Guy, thank you very much for your posts. They are very caring and insightful. If I stay with my wife, I can hear my voice in your words.

    It’s such an incredible struggle.

    • July 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks, Anon.Father.

      As a one fingered typist, my sometimes rather verbose comments take me a bit of time to complete, so it’s nice to know that at least some of what I write is helpful to other readers.

  7. Stefano
    July 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    You are welcome David and yes we can see how much it hurts but you are not alone. We have all been there. Keep smiling and life goes on :-)))

  8. David
    July 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Your dead right, all that I had of her has now gone, entries on my phone, numbers pics, all pics on pc etc deleted, card, momentos. thanks to a good friend, and my ex wife ironically, reassuring me of all people and this great site, I can see clearly for the first time in I cant remember how long. The gut wrneching anxiety has suddenly lifted, the self doubt is going, my confidence feels like its returning. as I said to my friend yesterday, I dont want her back, I miss me more!
    thanks for the advice and replies Stefano, and to all the other contributors to the site, I hope the impact the posts have had on me is reflected in others althogh its obvious some have had far more traumatic experiences than me, bless the lot of you

  9. Stefano
    July 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Also…One last thing…In the guys book of rules…Never date anyone from work and never date anyone from your own neighbourhood. Maybe worth remembering :-)

  10. Stefano
    July 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Hi David. If you are going to do this and do it for good then you have to go no contact. That includes texts, even if she texts you at 3 in morning, delete it without reading it, I blocked her number on my mobile then she couldn’t call me but she still tried textin for a while. I have no idea what they were about because deleted without reading and that is the only way to do this.
    She now doesn’t text or ring because I didn’t give her the “hook” to get back talking to me. They are masters at throwing “hooks” out and if you read anything bingo you are back hooked, even if you ring up seething because the text is horrible you are still back on the funny train to oblivion.
    Stop it! and stop it now! I know it’s hard to not read but you can do it and after a couple of weeks you are free.

  11. Stefano
    July 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Hi ya David…I’m afraid it’s all par the course for these women and how they react when it’s over. I have had the Police down at my house 3 times in full view of the neighbours and no doubt she has texted the lady across the road and made me out to be the Devil himself. Pffff so what…if they want the dark Lord then I’m happy to play the part! You have to get thick skin and get your confidence back, don’t care what silly narrow minded women think, don’t care what lies she tells.
    I will tell you a story which helped me…I was out for a drink with a friend of mine whom I have known since I was 18. Just like you I was telling him how the whole neighbourhood would no doubt think I was evil by now and feeling really sorry for myself…My mate looked me in the eye and said “mate where have you been, don’t you know it’s pretty cool these days to be a bit of a bastard, so what if they think that, at last they won’t cross your path or park in your parking space, chill out dude it’s OK and not important.”
    Fact is he is right…you are obviously a good, sensitive guy or this wouldn’t bother you. Do you really want her to do more damage to your mind? Thought not, then move on, walk tall and know it’s not you that has the problem. Appear cool, calm and confident and I guarantee it will all blow over with other people and if it doesn’t hey at least you have a free parking space.

    • David
      July 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Stefano, during the last verbal onslaught my head was battered. I didn’t get angry, I simply said I cant do this anymore, it continued later and I stormed out, which I often did for days to sort my head out, I got criticized for that as well, she wouldn’t give me time or space and she obviously had no concept of the hurt she inflicts despite me telling her. Stupidly I backed down and she then turned it round as if she ended it. Guess who ended up pleading?? Yeah me, she wouldn’t reply, then said its no good she doesn’t feel the same way about things, she did contact me at some weird points when her friend was with her, she is so good at the mind games, my phone rang briefly, I text to say what was that about? She text back much later to say she was deleting my number and pressed the wrong button!!! She is a power freak, its only just dawned on me that after all of the attacks and onslaughts, she has never once apologised for any of them or even accepted any fault or acknowledged the hurt they inflict.
      My problem now is the potential damage at work, her friends I couldn’t give a sh.t about, ive seen how subtle she can be at character assassination and she has a little ammo. I have prepared some ground though and alerted certain individuals. Im quite happy for people to question me, I have no fear, she however is terrified of that side to her coming out because only a few people have ever seen it.

  12. David
    July 17, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Hi all, what a real find this site is. I’ve just come out of a two year relationship and feel pretty messed up, had some help from friends which is invaluable and have only really just had my eyes opened to what is going on. I worked in the same field as her, we came into contact a lot due to work, I got to know about her divorce, I was married at the time and although there was an attraction, nothing happened, she then cam to work in our building, she met a new guy and he was the very best thing to ever happen to her, I had an image of a man in blue lycra with a red cape! However the wheels came off and the blame and mudslinging began, she told everyone the guy had Mental health probs and even insisted he seek help, which it turned out he didn’t need. All of this was disclosed to everyone at work as she embroiled us all in how bad he was. She did a very convincing job, she looked like she had been incredibly unlucky to met this guy. Ive never met him so I can’t comment. I was no in the process of divorce, my ex wife and I had grown apart and agreed to separate. Eventually me and this woman got together, she is funny, attractive has loads of energy and life, however she is deeply insecure. I then got to hear more of her ex’s, the marriage failed as she had gone out and got a little too close to another work colleague but told her husband before it went to far, he erupted, apparently took to following workers around, threatening to cut brake pipes etc. he threatened to kill her apparently and she insisted this be recorded in the divorce papers. From people who know the guy, this is very out of character as he is normally an easy going guy. At this point I was left with a picture of her having two failed relationship which were with two pretty messed up guys and she appeared every inch to have been the victim. Not long into our relationship, we had an argument, over something, which to be fair, was my fault, however what followed was concerning. The ‘arguments’ (I’m not sure they are because it was a dialogue, I wasn’t allowed to counter argue) became really damaging, id be lectured in a very controlled but venomous way, the reasons for the arguments got smaller and smaller, even because of a lazy comment, this was one way, I daren’t make comment about any of her sarcasm or the look on her face or tone of voice, these were all my problems. It dawned on me there were two sets of rules in play. While she was at liberty to chuck careless comments about I wasn’t, I was accused of dragging issues on, well when your not allowed to answer back, you need time in your own head to sort things out, I wasn’t allowed this, she would intrude in my head and demand it got fixed but I could never challenge her because I knew how damaging her rants were. My head would literally swim, my head felt like it would explode because each time I tried to interject with a valid point, the lecture would immediately be railroaded to something else I did a week/month ago, then that process would go on and on and left me utterly bewildered and exhausted, she did this to me while driving, she talks over me if I try to answer which is incredibly rude and disempowering, I tried raising my voice and she told me to stop shouting, I said if your not going to listen, I don’t want to hear you, turned the volume up on the radio, she became hysterical and punched me in the shoulder while I was driving, this happened on another time when I was driving. Some times when the fights happen I left to stay at my own place, we would break up and get back together, I was always the one to blame though, my faults and flaws always highlighted, she never admitted responsibility or acknowledged any of the damage she did, we weren’t allowed to go there. She has gone through my mobile phone, made snidey comments about my kids and ex wife, who incidentally is a lovely woman. My only recourse to having my say was when we would split up, Id send texts, and some of them were hurtful but I like to think had a constructive element. I did resort to name calling as a means of retaliation, I know I couldn’t get talked at and felt I had to defend myself and ‘balance the books’. I’ve done this twice now and I really don’t like what I’ve become but I also know what the trigger is. I feel as if I’ve been emotionally mugged. When I have opened up to friends and even my ex wife, they are amazed at what I have allowed to happen. Now the relationship is over, Id said Id had enough but it has turned out that to all it appears she has ended the relationship. It will all be public now, the finger of blame will be pointed at me, the victim has another tragedy to cope with, she has been dealt another harsh blow by life, she is like a human car crash, she will gather friends and close work colleagues around her and sow seeds among them. It’s potentially very dangerous to my work life. As she is incredibly skilled and convincing. Of course this does not mean it’s all her fault, im not perfect, I am tolerant, accepting and will try and work things through but I really find it impossible to work through anything with someone who has an emotional myopia. I do not like to pathologise what maybe just someone who has ‘baggage’ but her propensity to blame and yet refuse to accept her role and responsibility is staggering, she has not pursued her career due to not waning to accept responsibility, she works with people and is in a position to influence lives but has no accountability for the outcome. I’ve never experienced this in a relationship, also she cultivates a public image, incredibly friendly, charismatic, smiling, hard working helpful and fun and yet she has a very nasty controlling streak in her which she utilizes with devastating effect, those who suffer are those who have a relationship with her. Is it fair to diagnose someone in this instance? I do have some insight into mental health problems, I would like an expert opinion on this.
    Once again, great site, it has been incredibly helpful

  13. Stefano
    July 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Hi JustMe…Sounds a good idea. You will find my ramblings on here all over the place because when I first started going through it, I needed to get it off my chest and needed help. I’m not sure Dr T meant us to ramble on like I have but I send her a huge hug for allowing us to do it on here. Without it I think I would have crumbled and had her back again and been right back at square 1.

    Read all the writings of Dr T, take them in and think about them. You will soon see that the women fit into nearly all the points being made. It is quite an eye opener and knowledge is power when you are fighting one of these demons!
    Also if you need advice then just ask, most of us have either done it or are doing it. I needed advice over possesions etc and without that advice I would have made it much harder.
    Never under estimate the seriousness of their pathology. I thought “she won’t do that” but I will tell you my friend she did everything these people told me should would do, even had me arrested for assault because she had a bruise were I restrained her from attacking me. So you see the word demon is not a loose term but a fitting description. Anyway it turned out OK and now I’m free and my life starts from here.
    Main piece of advice is expect trouble and cover yourself by using witnesses and if necessary the Police when getting your things back or giving her things to her. An arguement can go sour in a heartbeat and guess what? It’s you that gets busted because we are guys and poor little woman couldn’t possibly have attacked them. Thankfuuly even the Police are wising up to the fact that some of these women are nasty beyond belief.

  14. Ran Mir
    July 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    The article describes my wife of 8 years to the T, especially POINT NO. 10…but isn’t this the story of almost every household/family. All my male friends have the same story. And therefore, I have come to the conclusion that we guys have to live with it – I guess! I have also had a police caution and had to spend 4 hours in a Police station, actually, it was like a solitary confinement (dont know what they call it). It was a cell…We had an arguement over something very minor which resulted in a tussle…and we both hit each other for the 1st time in our 8 year marriage…and she called in the Police…AND the Police just believed her and her crocodile tears and the sobbing…She acted very well, and yes, she was the victim and I, the aggressor!!! Better to accept that I am a LOSER…
    …and life goes on…FULLSTOP…

  15. Ran Mir
    July 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    The article describes my wife of 8 years to the T, especially POINT NO. 10…but isn’t this the story of almost every household/family. All my male friends have the same story. And therefore, I have come to the conclusion that we guys have to live with it – I guess! I have also had a police caution and had to spend 4 hours in a Police station, actually, it was like a solitary confinement (dont know what they call it). It was a cell….but life goes on…

  16. Stefano
    July 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Hi JustMe…On the very day that my Ex had one of her violent, abusive episodes and I told her it was over…she invited in a neighbour and sat in conservatory glugging a bottle of wine with her new friend. She was so lovely and offered all sorts of advice to the lady about her love life, thinking I couldn’t hear them. The point is they all play this game of treating you like dog s*** and then they are the life and soul of the party with everyone else.

    People that had met her with me were shocked when I finally told them about her outbursts and tantrums. It’s always the case, they can switch you off like a TV set if they so desire and then expect you to jump through hoops when they think fit to speak to you again.
    Also be aware that it starts with the silences and then when you have read a bit and learnt how to deal with them, it escalates further to throwing things and then finally to physical assaults on you. I’m not saying all will go this way but if you take advice and learn the ropes then they just get more and more infuriated and strike to hurt you in different ways.

    I don’t want to see any relationship break up but in my case I was left with no option, just like the other guys on here I was terribly confused and unhappy. If it has got to the stage were you dread going home or dread being in her company then my friend it is time to look long and hard why you are putting up with it.

    All the Best

    • JustMe
      July 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Stefano. I appreciate your comment. This website is a God-send to me because I can communicate with people who are going through or have gone through what I am experiencing. I’ve felt completely alone and on my own with this for so long. My wife is what you may call a “go-to” woman in our community and circle of friends. People come to her for advice on all manner of things and she can dole out the best advice and be as helpful as anyone could possibly be, but let me ask a question or need something or just want to engage in a conversation and that warm spring of well wishes and charm dries up instantly. We’ve had one instance where she physically attacked me for making a minor request. In my response to Old Guy’s comment, I said that my wife now appears to me like a different woman. In other words, I am seeing her through different eyes. I have decided that this is not what God put us her to endure and I’m ending this torment. There’s someone out there who will love me and will accept my love; who will encourage me and ask my advice on things and really “want” to be with me. More importantly, there is freedom for me outside of this ordeal and I aim to go after it.

      I’ve decided to start a blog to chronicle the things that have happened over the years. It has helped me to read and communicate with others who’ve gone through this and I can assume that someone may benefit from my stories. Also, there’s a certain healing that takes place when you release those painful memories whether by talking with someone or writing them out. I’ll post to this site when I get it going. I have a TON of material to post! Hope you’re doing well and thanks again!

  17. JustMe
    July 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for posting this information! I have been married for just under 10 yrs, however, only the first 2 were “good”. My wife doesn’t call me names or get violent. her weapon of choice is withholding affection, attention & anything that would be deemed to be loving or nurturing or that validates me as a person. It’s been 3 years since our last intimacy. Before that it was a year and before that another year. She REFUSES to talk to me, but when ANYONE calls or comes over, the warmth just oozes out of her pores. I am in emotional solitary confinement! Whenever I say something or ask something, she never acknowledges that i’m talking. I have to repeat it 90% of the time. then, her response is usually a dismissive “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” If not that, she’ll act as if I were whispering and say she can’t hear me; however, if someone else comes in the room and says something in a softer voice than mine, she can hear fine. She only looks me in the eye when she’s angry w/me & tries to use her scowl to intimidate me. The turning point from good to bad in our marriage came just after the birth of our 1st child. She went from a loving wife to someone who lives in the house. She made a very serious allegation against me & has used that to justify getting me out of the bedroom and effectively out of her life. Certain members of her family believe the allegations though they won’t say so. They’re behavior screams that they believe it. We’ve been to a couple of counselors & each has said her allegations are unreasonable & that her behavior after the alleged events doesn’t support her claims. After that, she stops going to the counselor. I must confess that @ one point I started questioning my own sanity & even said I must’ve done these things but somehow got amnesia <– ridiculous! It's all lies. She claims that my family doesn't like her & stopped visiting & inviting them over. I call myself trying to "prove my love" to her so, I turned my back on my own family for almost a year but the relationships with them are now healed. My only accepted role is to pay the bills (for which I work almost around the clock) and of course she controls the money. I am always on edge & find peace when I'm at work. Many times when I come home from work she has taken the kids somewhere & I can relax a bit, but "phantom" sounds of her pulling into the driveway send these spikes of pain into my heart & stomach. I'm a pretty intelligent guy, but I can't seem to put three words together when she glares at me. I've learned to avoid eye contact w/her altogether. She loses it if she thinks you're ignoring her. It has been a form of therapy just typing this message out. She has an impeccable reputation & is thought to be very "together" by most people. They don't see the other side of her.

    • July 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Yep, been there and seen that.

      My wife often wouldn’t give me the time of day when I tried to converse with her. As she’d have “that look” on her face, I’d think it was because she was out of sorts or just not talkative however, then the phone would ring or someone would drop by and she’d turn into Ms. Sociability, chattering happily away.

      I gave up after awhile and the last few years mostly left her to her own devices.

      Then she turned around and said … to both me and others … that I never spent time with her, talked to her, showed affection, etc.

      Then for a couple of years, she made herself unavailable for any intimate moments by falling asleep on the couch every night watching TV.

      Of course, on the few occasions she wanted to talk or be intimate, I was expected to be ready and available.

      So if we’d spent a day together with her doing the disinterested routine whenever I tried to talk to her and I eventually went off and became involved in an activity I enjoyed, all of a sudden she’d turn up wanting to talk or be affectionate.

      If I pointed out that I was in the middle of something, I’d hear the “I should be more important” line, usually followed by sage advice as to how I should “get my priorities” right.

      Yes, she was a real “delight” to be around.

      • JustMe
        July 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm

        Ho Old Guy and thanks for your comment. Are you still with your wife? In my case, there’s no need for my wife to come up with any pretenses to avoid intimate moments. I was “expelled” from the badroom years ago and now we have absolutely no physical contact, No hugs, no kisses, no handshakes. Not even a pat on the back. This used to hurt me terribly until fairly recently when something changed in me. When I look at her now, it’s like she’s another person. Not to say that she looks different than she once did but there’s a “disconnect” inside me between the woman i married and the woman who lives down the hall now.

      • July 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

        Hi, JustMe.

        My wife moved out a couple of weeks ago.

        I find the home atmosphere far less stressful/more relaxing.

        For the most part, I felt the “disconnect” you mentioned for years now.

        • Aapeli
          August 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm

          “”phantom” sounds of her pulling into the driveway send these spikes of pain into my heart & stomach.”

          Yeah! I have the same. I get nervous about when she gets home. I will go to the windows to see if she has arrived (hoping she hasn’t).

          If I hear the front door opening, I think “ok the evening is now ruined”. She works a job with 3 shifts and she usually doesn’t tell me when she will be at work – I notice it when she leaves for work. But I can’t be sure when she will come home and if she really went to work or somewhere else. Sometimes she works 2 shifts consecutively, so if she left in the morning she may not be back until about 10 P.M. I’ve noticed I actually hope that she will work more shifts as then I can breath normally at home for a longer time and don’t have to “walk on eggshells” so much… this is sad.

          Sometimes she is being nice to me, but most of the time not. I have to remind myself of this now that I try to sort my things out and break up with her. I have to remind myself that overwhelmingly most of the time she is not being friendly to me at all. She can be nice too, but most of the time we have lived together she has been bullying me and saying many kinds of really insulting things about me, like regularly calling me crazy.

          Her behaviour went from very nice to very bad “overnight”. It really did. We just had to start living together. She is always very kind to guests, she is very considerate and polite. But when she is with her “inner family” then she acts nasty and rude most of the time. I guess before we started to live together I was like a guest to her. Then when we started living together I was “inner family” and then she could start treating my like she treats the rest of her inner family, being rude, manipulative, talking herself up and others down pretty much all the time, being very calculative, like if there is a funeral coming she will say she will take the flowers home from the funeral because the flowers cost so much. As far as I am concerned that’s terrible. If you take flowers to a funeral the flowers are intended to stay there and not come home with you.

          I could write a book about this, I have so much to say about this subject. I have actually written quite a lot to keep a log for myself. That log could be interesting reading for other people too. I could publish it with the names changed… I don’t know. Maybe I will just keep writing but keep it to myself. Writing things down does help me clear my own mind and it helps me to better understand what’s going on. I recommend writing to all who are having these kinds of problems. You don’t have to show your writings to anyone, it will still help.

          • JustMe
            August 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm

            Aapeli, it sounds like we have a lot in common. That dread that is felt when you think she’s about to come home is pure stress! It reminds me of an animal in a cage that can’t go anywhere, but lives in fear of its keeper who comes in and rattles the cage and leaves you a wreck. I get the same spikes when I get a text message. I came to pray that she wouldn’t be home. When she is home, I pray that she goes to bed soon.

            Personally, I think the idea of writing as therapy is great. For one, you’re able to express that poison from your mind and heart. Keeping it bottled up can do serious harm to your health. Secondly, writing a journal chronicles events that you may need to bring up during divorce process. It’s easy to forget things. Thirdly, when you come out of it, you can either write a book or make your writings available to someone else who may be going through the same thing. I too have kept a journal for years. I started reading through it to get organized in order to post some of it to a blog to benefit others. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had similar journal entries!

      • Mr. E
        July 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm

        Been there, Old Guy. My wife gathers everything possible around her on the couch, including a laptop desk in front of her, then will get mad because I won’t “work for it.”

        Give me a break. And after hearing “no” to the last 90 attempts at initiating intimacy, why would I try again?

        And I’ve heard the “I should be more important” line plenty of times.

    • Joe
      July 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      I can relate. While my wife doesn’t entirely withhold affection, unless she’s into it (about once a month) our physical intimacy lacks the same physical affection we had earlier in our marriage (though even then, there was always the feeling of her holding back.)

      Just this morning, I went to huge her from behind and give her breasts a squeeze and she snapped at me “the kids can see.” “No they can’t,” I said, and they couldn’t. As I left the house she shouted out “I love you.” I felt like shouting back, “bullshit.”

      This type of rejection is common for me and is very wearing. All our physical intimacy is on her terms. Especially lately, so is our emotional intimacy. We haven’t had a meaningful conversation in years. Ever since we married, she’s had emotional walls, but in the past six years or so it’s gotten much, much worse. By happenstance, I know some of the things she’s confided in others and it’s very painful to me that she won’t even hint at me about these things. (For the curious, one of these places was, of all things, Twitter–she doesn’t grasp that it’s public, even when you post to another person!)

      Like your wife, she is highly regarded by others. This isn’t undeserved–she is a genuinely good person to her other friends. She’s an excellent girl scout leader and a good mom, but a very lousy wife.

      Like you, one of the most wearing parts is how lonely it makes me feel, if with occasional sex (especially since sex is to some extent, always about her.) I also know the feeling of feeling the heart pains when she returns from being somewhere.

      After struggling with this and coming here, I fear that the main thing she’s hiding is that she has nothing to hide. Strip away the walls and there is no deep emotional longing or love for me or physical affection just wanting to get out. I wonder if that’s why she so soundly rejects counseling; she’s afraid that the truth will come out and once I know the truth I’ll leave her. She’s right, but doesn’t know I’m going to leave her if she keeps herself closed off like this (we have a fourteen year old at home, so four more years.)

      (Until she was six to eight, her father went on several overseas tours for the military while her emotional abusive mother raised her and her brother. So yes, we’re talking attachment disorder, though I’m not convinced it rises to the level of BPD or at least what many people here describe.)

      Unfortunately, I have few answers for myself, none that are working, and few for you. I extend my sympathies, let you know that you’re not alone. I won’t tell you to get a divorce, that’s something you have to work through and I totally understand the children thing (which is THE reason I’ve stuck around–just the other day my twenty-one year old daughter thanked me for that!), but I can tell you by experience that you will pay a steep price; it will leave you a shell of a man and you will continue to believe that you’re the crazy one.

    • Mr. E
      July 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      “Whenever I say something or ask something, she never acknowledges that i’m talking. I have to repeat it 90% of the time. then, her response is usually a dismissive “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” If not that, she’ll act as if I were whispering and say she can’t hear me;”

      Been there, buddy. Another trick my wife seems to like is to ask me a question about something important to me (eg. “How is that important project at work going?”) and giving me just enough time to start talking before interrupting me with something unrelated and unimportant (“Hey, look at this shiny object”).

      About a year ago, I stopped talking after she’d interrupted me to see if she’d notice. She hasn’t yet! ;)

      • JustMe
        July 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm

        Hey Mr. E. Thanks for sharing that…my wife doesn’t do that. What she does is completely ignore me. Don’t ask or say anything that could be construed as interest in me as a person or things that are important to me. Then, when the phone rings or someone comes by, she laughs extra hard at every dry joke; hangs on every word and goes out of her way to ask what others think about something, all right in front of me. She even goes so far as asking someone else questions about MY area of expertise. There are times when I’ll share with her something I’d heard on the news or read or something. She won’t say anything at all. Then later, she’ll regurgitate what I said to someone else in front of me as if she was the source of the information. It’s literally as if I am completely invisible. It sad, but sometimes the things she does are so contrived and obvious that I have to laugh to myself. I tell you, i fell like a veil is being lifted off my mind or, as the bible says, scales are falling away from my eyes.

        • jp
          July 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm

          Guys, this behavior is only confusing if you start with the premise or belief that because she’s your wife/girlfriend she must care for you.

          If you presume instead that she hates you it all makes perfect sense.

          JP

          • July 17, 2010 at 2:50 am

            That’s what opened my eyes…when I finally realized…he doesn’t love me…all his ‘crazy’ behavior finally started making sense…and everything began linking up. Great observation, JP!!

          • JustMe
            August 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

            JP, you are right about us having the wrong premise/belief about how our wives/girlfriends must care for us. I did accept as “granted” that my wife loved me. However, in a counseling session a few years ago she told the counselor (in front of me) that she does not love me and “never did”. She married me b/c she saw that I needed some help. She’s not that helpful!

            I recently discovered something that she wrote and now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, not only does she not love me, she hates me. everything about me “turns her stomach”…except my paycheck. That probably gives her euphoric glee! I’m done! I’ve decided to get off this train wreck.

    • buddah
      July 18, 2010 at 6:47 am

      I have to ask. Why do you stay? Isn’t it time you took your testicles back?

      Granted, she sounds like NPD/BPD rolled into one, but you do have a choice.

      Do you hate yourself so much that you would continue to stay with someone that controls your life and heart in this way?

    • serenissima
      May 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      omg. my ex was the same way… witheld sex and any type of emotion when she was upsset (which was often), and disrespectful by NEVER acknowledging things that I said, even in public/in front of people. i would speak or ask her a direct question, and she would just sit there in silence. after i asked maybe five or six more times, she would tell me to stop repeating myself and that i was being ‘annoying.’ when i said i just wanted her to answer a simple question and stop ignoring me, she would say that she was taking a second to collect her thoughts (mind you this was normally after 10-15 minutes had passed and i had asked her over and over). when i would tell her that was fine, i just wanted some kind of acknowledgment that she even heard me, she would usually launch into a rage about how everything always had to be my way (because i wanted her to answer right away, or at least say she’s thinking about it) and how i dont know how to speak to her, how its all my fault that we cant have conversations without arguing, how she can speak to all of her other friends and family for hours at a time without them nitpicking her… EVERY SINGLE ONE of our conversations used to turn into disasters.

      ill be writing a longer post later but i just had to replay to this…

  18. July 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Wish you the best, TiredOfIt.

    I’m in my mid-fifties and have been married for many years and known my wife for many more.

    I’m glad you didn’t take the “psychoanalytic navel-gazing” type comments the wrong way.

    Everything I write is based on my own experience.

    I’ve always been curious about how things work and, in respect of humans, why people do what they do. Mr. Spock was one of me heros growing up, which should tell you a lot about me. I’ve always looked for some “reason” why an individual and humanity in general acts as they do and have often over-thought things to the point of complete inaction/indecissiveness.

    I’ve spent many, many, many hours through the years trying to figure out why my wife does what she does and trying to think two steps ahead of her … because after awhile everything became a game rather than a marriage.

    The two steps ahead thing is because I realized long ago that her expectation is that the world, including me, is out to “screw her” and consequently she spends considerable time scheming away on how she can get the upper hand in a game that exists only in her own mind.

    I came to realize awhile back that living in this type of relationship is “nuts” but, for a number of reasons couldn’t figure out how to get out of it on the terms I wanted, e.g., without … in my own mind … looking bad in the eyes of family, leaving children to the mercies of someone I didn’t view as sane or healthy for them, etc.

    My wife left of her own volition a couple of weeks ago and things are for my part “over” however, I have the same sense of uneasiness some other commenters have expressed re: how “over” things will be for her given her propensity to brood about the “injustices” she chooses to see as being visited on her by me.

    Everything you mention, e.g., the “mental trigger”, is fine in a normal relationship between two “adults”..

    It’s only that these don’t work in a relationship with this type of personality because you’re not dealing with another “adult”. You’re dealing with someone who is of adult age and has adult experience and knowledge however, has the emotional maturity of a two or three year old.

    And, as Dr. T. has pointed out in various posts, children that age don’t see you as being another equal human being with your own emotions, needs, etc. They see you only as an extension of themselves that exists to serve their needs.

    So, trying to deal with them on the basis of their being a peer is an exercise in futility and everything you do that would work well in a normal adult relationship will not work with them, in fact it will be used against you.

    I comment on this blog only in the hope that my experiences might help others to avoid what I, and a number of other commenters here, have chosen, for whatever reason, to live with for many years.

    Obviously, I’m not God, so I can’t state with absolute surety that no one with this type of personality disorder has ever changed or that this is beyond the realm of possibility.

    However, for the purposes of this blog, I will stick to this line because I truly believe that even if the occasional BPD/NPD type can change, it isn’t worth the gamble or waste of years of your life in the likely futile hope that they will.

    God knows, a relationship with a “normal” person is hard enough … no need to stick with a BPD/NPD in some Quixotic quest to “save” them and plenty of other healthier fish in the sea.

    It just isn’t worth it, or sane, to focus your life on an individual who can’t add anything good to your life while destroying the healthier relationships with friends, family, etc., we have.

    I think this Gahan Wilson cartoon … “I think I’ve won” encapsulates the end result of the BPD/NPD “life”.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gahan-Wilson/97543324363#!/photo.php?pid=2370883&id=97543324363

    I’m sure anyone who has spent considerable time with one will get the point.

  19. TiredOfIt
    July 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I am in a relationship with a girl who must have BPD. Every symptom is accounted for no matter what resource I go to.

    I am by nature a very passive person. Only after years of dismissing the behavior and then trying to deal with it ‘when she calmed down’ am I realizing that I have been doing myself a dis-service and that this DOES NOT WORK.

    Now that I am trying to show a little backbone, it’s getting a lot worse and we find ourselves fighting regularly.

    What I don’t understand is why I put up with it. I consider myself mostly rational and try to approach all topics with the understanding that the way I see things may not be the way they are; and with an open mind to the idea that I may have something to address to get past the complication.

    When I am with her and we are not fighting things are great, but the problem is now always in the back of my mind, which I am sure is affecting things at least on a subtle level.

    I have decided many times that ‘next time is the last’ or ‘if she say’s she wants to leave me again, I’m going to let her instead of talking her into staying’.

    The problem is, as soon as I am in the actual altercation, I immediately default to trying to show how much I love her; and to subsequently discuss all I can to normalize the relationship so we can move forward.

    So why after years of abuse do I want it to end when things are calm, but then scramble to save it once she is losing control. My considerations are

    *Do I just somehow ‘need to be right’? I always think things could be perfect if she would just learn to control the emotional outbursts toward me. I view our problems as her fault when it comes to our ability to communicate about problems in general. It’s almost as if when she turns the tables on me to make things my fault, that I then switch to this mode of proving that ‘no, if you just didn’t act like this everything would be fine’ and ‘I love you, and I will put up with anything to prove it’. All the while hoping she will eventually realize her part in our communication failures and one day miraculously apologize and alter her behavior. I sometimes think that I am sticking around because I need it to end in a way that we can both see the reality of. Maybe I’m just stubborn in my own way?

    *Could it be something deeper than that? I read in this thread that taking on an ‘adult role’ as a child could be damaging in certain instances. In analyzing myself and my past trying to understand my motivations; I can see that I have acted this way before and almost exclusively have been in relationships with similar traits. When I was young, in the realm of say 3to5 years old; I remember several times being taken by my mother in a car to ‘leave’ my dad. Each time I vividly remember having to deal with her; it felt to me as if I was convincing my mother never to leave her family during her emotional outbursts. I think I may be subtly affected somehow as this memory comes up more often the longer I am in this relationship. I wonder have I somehow placed the value of commitment to a relationship above the needs of the people in that relationship. I think I have, though I don’t know why… I’m not even married yet to this one.

    I have been accused of being a ‘serial relationship-ist’ if that’s even a term. But I can acknowledge this as a truth. Once I care for someone and am in a relationship with them; it is very difficult to get me to throw in the towel. I am not a stalker and if she decides to she can leave at anytime without an irrational action by me – but I will put up with essentially anything from someone I have decided I care about. Does this make me the problem?

    She hates my family and dislikes it when I have any plans with anyone that aren’t cleared well ahead of time. This creates a trapped feeling like I have never experienced. My friends and family don’t really know why I have become so distant; and it is because I am ashamed to admit that I am being controlled. I feel silly to say that I have to clear every detail of everything I do with my girlfriend before I can say it’s okay. I have stopped doing pretty much everything I used to do because of this. She can’t see it this way and doesn’t even acknowledge how her dissaproval of me causes me to alter my own natural patterns. She doesn’t always have to verbally dissaprove, sometimes you can just see it in her face and you know it will be a pain if you do what you want, so you just give in before it starts. This is probably the worst consequence of all of them to me. I have no support from the people in my life I have commonly been able to speak to about my problems. Even those that I would still talk to a year ago about my problems I have stopped. Mostly because I don’t want to sound like a broken record when talking to people, constantly reliving problems that I am obviously not prepared to do anything about. It seems so simple to everyone (even me), ‘why not just end it’? But in the heat of the moment, I always blindly try to save things.

    Am I just nuts?

    • July 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

      “Am I just nuts?”

      We’re all “nuts”.

      It just comes down to whether your “nuttiness” aligns closely to the “nuttiness” of the majority, in which case you’re “normal” or whether your particular brand of “nuttiness” differs from the norm.

      Too me it just sounds like you haven’t yet been able to make the decision to leave.

      No direspect intended, but my own view is that society, or at least North American society, has gotten way too far into psychoanalytic navel-gazig the past thirty years or so.

      At this point, it really doesn’t matter why you ended up with this person or why you continue in what comes across as pretty miserable circumstances.

      I’d suggest that all you need to consider at this point is whether you want to spend years living with this or whether you don’t.

      If you don’t, you need to first get out of the relationship, then give yourself some time to figure out how you got into it in the first place and can avoid getting into it again.

      I’ve been there and I understand that, all the psychoanalytic stuff aside, there were good qualities you saw in this person to begin with and likely still see and there are good times that continue to give you hope when you’ve reached the point you’re ready to walk away. I know it isn’t easy.

      However, you need to accept that it is hopeless, unless your goal in life is to be a martyr on the altar of another person’s “sickness”.

      What is it you fear more about leaving this person than you do about remaining with her?

      • TiredOfIt
        July 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

        Your summation of “nuts” is great. How I feel exactly. Maybe me and my gf are just nuts compared to each other, lol. I need to find someone that is nuts in the same fashion I am…

        “Too me it just sounds like you haven’t yet been able to make the decision to leave.” Well if that doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what will :). That is exactly it. I am trigger shy. Hearing(seeing) it stated like that makes a lot of sense. That is the mistake I am making to prolong this.

        I have been over-complicating things. I think that maybe I have been spending so much time and effort trying to get through to her in my own way, that I have not spent enough time determining what I need to do for myself based on the situation. This approach leaves me with plenty of ammo on what she could do better, but at a loss for what to do for myself.

        No offense taken at all to “psychoanalytic navel-gazig”. I am the type that will internalize and over-analyze my position to a fault. Funny, I am thirty or so… looks like I am part of those affected by what you observe. I am often too much in the head and not enough with the instinct.

        Part of my fear of leaving her is that we have many obligations together (financial, otherwise). I need to ignore that and just deal with it. Other than that, I seem to have some mental trigger that causes me to fight for the preservation of the relationship in the heat of battle; where if we ever managed to have a purely rational conversation it probably would end the relationship easily. I think that maybe I have become obsessed with finding a win/win situation where we can both walk away happy it’s over.

        Having read this thread thoroughly and considering your thoughtful response; it’s become clear to me that I really know what to do, I just haven’t summoned the guts to commit to the decision.

        I definitely don’t want to live with this further… and if I’m going to be a martyr, I would want it to be for something more meaningful than this :).

        I think maybe after secluding myself to the point I have for the past several years, that I simply could not gain confidence without some discussion with others to put it in perspective a bit.

        Thank you for discussing this with me. I know now that I need to stop delaying the inevitable and get on with my life… and I will gladly take the suggestion of taking some time myself to figure out what about me causes me to choose/prolong situations like this.

        I am going to commit to the decision of ending this craziness.

        My suggestion to others based on what I learned here today. Stop trying to relate to your significant other once it hits a certain point. Assuming you can eventually get on the same page after so long of seeing their repeat behavior will put you exactly where I am. If I had woken up years ago, we would have had less of a life together to be concerned about breaking. The longer I let this go, the deeper I have gotten into it with her. I am sure that the logistics of breaking it off are going to get hairy, but so be it… I have to stop worrying about that.

        I have been with her for over 5 years, trying to figure out how to deal with this for more than 3+ years when the behavior started to get really bad (and continues to escalate). If you see the warning signs, take them seriously.

        Thank you OldGuy and thanks to all on this post who shared their experience. It’s good to know that I am not in such an unusual situation.

        I’ll come back and let you all know how it goes when I make the stand.

    • jp
      July 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      TiredofIt,

      It sounds like you’re afraid of being alone and/or someone thinking you’re less than a ‘great guy’. Also your self-admitted passivity isn’t helping.

      It might very well hurt like hell to find yourself alone but it won’t last forever, and in the meantime you get to spend some time finding out what you’re all about and strenghthening that part of you that’s dominated by a fear of abandonment.

      If you never work through your fear of being alone you will always be dependent on someone or looking for someone to depend on, both of which are a turn-off to healthy women and to female predators an invitation to abuse.

      Also, if you’re goal is to make it though this life with everyone you know thinking you’re a ‘nice guy’ you’re going to end up making yourself miserable.

      Also, if you’re passive by nature, and unhappy in a relationship, then you’re at risk for the kind of affair where you use the affair partner as an escape hatch. You’ll like yourself a lot more if you avoid this trap by facing your fears directly and ending this current relationship with integrity. Believe me.

      JP

      • jp
        July 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm

        oops, should have been “…your goal…”.

        Man, I wish we could edit these things.

      • TiredOfIt
        July 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

        Very good observation and likely true. Where I tend to think of it as being afraid of confrontation; there has to be an element of fear to be alone. I say this because I have pretty much hopped from relationship to relationship my whole life. I cannot remember ever going too long being alone.

        When I was young, I was a real jerk… caring more about myself than anyone else, acting on emotional whims, treating others as if they were here for my amusement. There was a time when I had to deal with a parent who was the same way. I was able to see myself in them and many years ago worked very hard to become more aware of what I was doing from moment-to-moment and to become less selfish and reactive and more thoughtful.

        I think I have overcompensated to the point I am willing to ‘martyr’ myself for the emotional needs of others.

        I think you are right. I have a need to be a ‘Great Guy’ in the eyes of those I care about. If I don’t care about the people I don’t particularly care either way; but once I care about you, it’s important to me that I am viewed that way. That is something I need to look at closely and get over… thank you for your insight.

        • jp
          July 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm

          Separation fear/fear of loss is powerful. It’s one thing to think about leaving and know rationally that you must, but as you’ve seen, when you come face to face with the reality of splitting up, the fear–which is almost instinctive–takes over and you’re instantly overwhelmed.

          This is why it’s a good idea to put all the practical requirements into place before you break it off. Get a place, have a plan for moving, notify your key supporters, whatever. Also, visualize yourself having already broken the news and how much relief you’ll feel. Concentrating on the ‘after’ state should reduce the scale of the unpleasantness you have to confront.

          Also, keep in mind that there is a lot at stake here. You may be receiving some payoff in that you get to see yourself as the guy who can love someone and stay committed even though they’re frequently mistreating you–a dynamic you need to look hard at–but while you’re playing that role, her control and bullying is doing a lot of damage to your sense of Self, your confidence in your own reality, your self-respect, etc. The longer you stay in the worse it will get and the harder it will be to assert yourself, get free and rebuild.

          Good luck,
          JP

        • July 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

          “When I was young, I was a real jerk… caring more about myself than anyone else, acting on emotional whims, treating others as if they were here for my amusement.”

          Just wanted to say that the key phrase here is “when I was young”.

          My opinion is that your statement describes most, if not all, young people.

          Part of growing up is acknowledging that other people have feelings and that these should be respected.

          I’m not sure we all learned this “nicely”, i.e., without it being pointed out to us is a way that left us feeling bad for not being more sensitive to the feelings of others.

          The point is that most of us learned but, the cluster b personalities types didn’t.

          And to my mind, a lot of this is choice on their part.

          When you get down to it, life is a lot simpler if you don’t think about the feelings or well-being of others and concern yourself only with what’s good for you and how you “feel”.

          And realistically, there are likely to be quite a few cluster b personality types who have done materially well for themselves in our society because the competitive “winner takes all” mentality society sometimes seems to venerate is beneficial to to people who don’t care how much damage their actions may cause others on their route to the top.

          Anyway, don’t think you have anything to feel bad about re: your younger years.

          Just part of being human.

  20. July 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Broken.

    I know exactly what you are saying. I went through the same thing you did…though my marriage lasted 12 years. My wife told me after we got married it was time to change…

    Towards the end when I became disabled through illness she told me I was no longer useful for her…yet when she spoke to our pastor and others she would put on such an academy award. She told me that she was going to discredit me so badly that I would never be able to minister again.

    The day I left I had to live in my car for 6 weeks, my church had turned their back on me. This was in Feb 2009. I remarried last week on the 26th of June 2010 to a Godly Woman who is very supportive of ministry and encouraged me to begin and finish my chaplaincy studies….I will be going back next semester to finish the Theological Degree I started some years back.

    In reading between the lines it sounds like you are questioning the issue of divorce and your right to be involved in ministry. This depends on your denominations position. For myself I have come to a place of peace and reconcilliation with myself and God.

    What ever you do you need to make the decision yourself…. I went through 12 years of hell with prayer and fasting and made many mistakes also in the process. You can read more of my story here.. http://mencanbeabusedtoo.wordpress.com/my-story-part-1/

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