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

10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully

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

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

Do you recognize any of the following behaviors?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Result: You feel manipulated, used, and controlled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Photo credits: Mood swings on ccmbuzz.

  1. Gordon Broadley
    February 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Wow talk about hitting the nail on the head.
    90%approx…( i get in shit for using percentiles) of what i read rings true for my wife.
    but ive noticed that ive developed somewhat of a narcicist attitude back toward my wife.
    I used to be the nicest guy in the world, i was told that alot by my friends and their family. People used to be drawn to me because of my kindness and my outgoing personality to help everyone i possibly can in my life. Now its like i dont have any friends and the one i have managed to keep was a victom of much of the same abuse from his girlfriend. Now i have 2 beauti-wonderful girls 1 is 14 other is 2. Things have gotten pretty bad over the last 14 years. Seems like the responcibility of being a parent first and formost has eluded my wife. See puts more energy and effort into looking after the bengle cats she breeds, and the dogs and horses and keeps to fill her emotional gap. None of it seams enough to satisfy what she is lacking on the inside. Wy wife cheated on me 14 yrs ago when she was pregnant with our first. I was an on call plumber working as hard as i could to satisfy our financial needs which seamed to never be enough. Moneys dissapeared alot with little or no explination i ended up getting a earful when ever i brought the subject up that she was spending too much. Thinking this created an anxiety of some sort, because the attitude and abuse seamed to double down on me. I didnt find out about the infidelity until 4 yrs after we were married. I took it like A light breeze even though it destroyed me. Coincendentally my father was passing on and i had to go see him every weekend which was a 3 1/2 hour drive each way. This went on for almost a year before he finally passed…god rest his soul. There was no support from my wife during this time. It was put out there like it…i was a burdon that i had any emotional need. As a result the infidelities kept comjng in so meny ways it makes my head spin now when i thik about it. Its been a constant emotional battle for the last 10 years. Im border line walking out the door always now. The few things keeping me here now is my youngest daughter who is now developing her mothers shit attitude my eldest daughter who on a every other monthly basis tells me she wishes i were dead ( learned it from her mother) the pathetic thing is me. Not being able to leave even though i know kids are better off living in a seperated home rather then a broken home. The fact that my plumbing career was ruined. My current boss pays me well but theres no security in the job because he refuses to sign me up on the books. So as a result i have the wife bad mouthing me that my job isnt good enough. Rock and a hard place. Too much time at work = enough money = wife acusing me of cheating.
    lost that job now i work just as hard at construction= not enough money= acusing wife= more infedelitus ways. The infidility is more emotional now that i know of. So bottom line. My kids are growing up like their mother. Genetically i cant win there. I am not allowed to parent my kids without my wife telling me im a fucking looser or to interupt me and the child with a total subject change to stop me from having any positive credibility with my kids. Need to change my life but seams like no matter which direction i try to go my wife makes me look like the bad guy to our kids. Telling them im a fuking looser and im going to abandon them. Then im told when exactly im going to be able to see our kids…im done so lost in this life. I cant take descriptive messages because my wife controls and envades all privacy. Not that i beleave there should be any secrets between spouces…but this ya. Think of the responce id get.

    P.s. thankyou for the opertunity to vent a bit.

    • onemeremember
      February 27, 2017 at 12:53 am

      I don’t mean to upset you, but I do need to ask you if you have had a paternity test done on both children. I know you love them and that is not the issue. The issue is, when you get involved with lying individuals, you never know when the lies start or stop. You can do this yourself, you don’t need her permission although a court may have other ideas. I’d just do it to know. Then, depending on results, I would consider my next move.

    • Not Proud
      February 27, 2017 at 4:43 am

      Gordon – from “one of the nicest guys in the world” to another – I feel for you, and can understand your pain. I am in a marriage that is much easier to get out of, but I keep staying in it and am trying to figure out why. Currently reading the book boundaries and know I am the one who let her take advantage of me “the nice guy” and wearing me down day by day to a carcass with little to no life left. I wish I had the answer for you – but I do know that I do understand your pain.

      • Sim
        March 21, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        HI Not proud and Gordon. I can relate to both of you. I am scared what my son will think of me, taking this abuse from my so called wife in his earshot. And not leaving.

        Kids i dont think appreciate you staying there for them. They also blame you for leaving if you do. Hard and rock place…of course. But that is parenthood my friends.

        i am also one of those who are called ‘nice guy’ by almost everyone who knows me. I am one of those who let mother of their children take advantage of their niceness.

        Is the fault with us or is it the notion of our ‘duty’ towards our children no matter what they will think of us?

        Is love our weakness or are we afraid to leap into the ‘alone world’ or are we set into the rythem of ebb and high of our spouse’s emotions and have become ‘resilient’ over time to the abuse and think it is making us emotionally stronger!!!

        I, I think is questioning all the above and don’t have the answer. If anyone has a solution, i am all ears.

  2. Help
    February 24, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I have just read this article and I’m afraid my wife ticks all 10 of these boxes. We are still together, we have four children and they are my entire world. I cannot begin to imagine a life where I do not see them everyday. By leaving the family home there will no longer be family holidays or Christmases.

    I am scared of the effect a separation would have on them but our relationship has deteriorated so much recently.

    I don’t have any friends or anyone to confide in. I never see any of my family because of my wife’s reaction to them. She hates my mum and my sister, and never misses an opportunity to criticise them.

    She tells me if we were to split up she would move away so my family won’t be able to spend any time with our kids. She tells me she will ‘take me to the cleaners’ and have half of my pension whilst keeping the house. She tells me I will only be able to live in a bedsit, where I’ll be alone and unhappy. She tells me she will go to court to seek an injunction to prevent my mum from having any contact with the children, and if I break her request for her not to see them, she will stop them from spending time with me too. She tried logging into our joint savings account and transferring all of the money out, telling me I wouldn’t get a penny.

    We are currently hitting day 5 of a period of silent treatment brought about because she checked my mobile phone records and saw I had a 15 minute conversation with my mum on the phone. She thinks we must have been talking about her.

    I know her behaviour is wrong but she turns everything around by making claims I have caused all the issues in our relationship. God knows I have made mistakes, but she refuses to acknowledge that she has done anything wrong.

    She has recently started going to counseling because she suffers from anxiety. I don’t know what she has been telling her counselor but she has started coming back feeling justified that the way she treats me is okay because I am the one that has been emotionally abusing HER.

    She keeps calling me a narcissist at the moment, but I am almost the polar opposite of that.

    Her experiences of counselling are making our relationship even more difficult than ever.

    I know it isn’t going to last, but because of all the threats she has made I don’t know what to do. I feel trapped. I am so unhappy. I don’t know where to turn or who to talk to.

    • Not Proud
      February 25, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      I really feel for you and please know you are not alone. Many of us men in this forum are suffering the same – and don’t know where to turn. Me too – this is the closest I have to someone who understands what I am going through, without me looking like a baby.

  3. TJ
    February 19, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Dear Dr Tara,
    All of the points you describe above are very familiar to me. I’ve been married for almost 20 years and have three wonderful daughters aged 10, 14 and 17.

    For the last 5 years the problems have got worse and for the last two years, we’ve almost broken up at least three times. The thing is, I keep on saying to myself it’ll get better – but it never does.

    I want to protect my children from a divorce situation but in reality I think right now it’s more important to protect them from my wife. It’s such a difficult situation for me. As write I’m in tears wondering what and how I can approach such a difficult discussion with my wife. At the same time, I want to keep my house and home for the girls and I’m afraid I might lose the girls if I force the break with my wife. I’m lost.

    No matter what I give my wife she is never satisfied. Your advice would be very welcomed. Maybe we could Skype also?

    With thanks in advance,


    • shrink4men
      February 20, 2017 at 1:38 am

      Please contact me at shrink4men@gmail.com for professional inquiries, thank you.

  4. Jerry
    February 14, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Happy Valentine’s everyone. Did anyone get a card? I got a text message last night from the ex saying that today would be “difficult” which, true to form, made me feel like it was down to me to help make it “not difficult”.
    Thankfully I only replied by saying “you mean it’ll be difficult because it’s v. day?” and slept on it. This morning came the one-word reply “yes” which doesn’t invite an immediate reply. I’m fighting the wretched and guilty feelings by not responding; to respond would give her what she wants in the short term but would only lead to recrimination and regret.

    Stay strong, guys!

    • Not Proud
      February 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for your story Jerry – stay strong indeed and don’t feed the beast!

    • Myles
      February 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Why not just say its only going to be if you make it hard. Too many people worry too quickly too easily about too little. I have an ex that worries about everything, we both want to be together she just won’t let us for no reason other than she simply won’t. How can you beat that? You can’t, you just give up.

      • Jerry
        February 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        I take your point, but to enter into discussion would only invite a response and escalation…I’d just rather not go there

    • Jerry
      February 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Getting the full force “Look I really need to speak with you. I’m feeling pretty fragile. Don’t make it worse please.”

  5. Jerry
    February 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Would like to reply to you all but easier to relate my own experience. Married 20 years, together for 30, two grown-up girls (21 & 18). I left in December after the control tactics started to take in messaging my friends about me. I’ve lived with subtle undermining, criticism, not being good enough, all that time…basically if i ‘did’ it wasn’t good enough…if i ‘didn’t’ I should have done.
    Recent things have included that I’d never made her feel desired when she, in fact, told me never to approach her for sex, so she was in control but complained i never took the lead.
    Yes, i still see her because one of my girls is trying to get into uni and still at home so maintaining some civility but I’ve recognized a lot of the signs over the years without knowing what it was all about, and convincing myself that the more i did as i was told the easier it would become. It didn’t, it just made me more reliant on her telling me what to do/what was acceptable so i didn’t get anything wrong. that created a cycle of me not doing things -> more complaints. That made me put her on a pedestal and think I loved her even more, that the sun shone out of her behind. Fortunately she broke that spell by her own stupidity and insensitivity: I woke up, stayed for two years while the girls grew up, then made my excuses and left.
    Now she’s ill and has an op scheduled for a month’s time. I will be around to help her through but afraid she could use that to control when i turn up, for how long, etc. so need to be strong. Anyone got any good coping strategies?

    • James
      February 14, 2017 at 2:38 am

      I am now of the belief that men have always been far more sensitive than women on matters of relationship. I think we got a bad rap back in the cave man days when the first man encountered one of these “beasts” and reacted by pulling her by her hair out of the cave. For centuries we, as men, were held accountable for that drag her out action but finally the truth is coming to light as to why.
      As a man you have a unique gene that actually is killing all men on this site. We all care! Even though every social stereotype has always told us we are the sex without emotion. That same gene forces us males to want to fix relationships to make all things better. There is nothing in our DNA that warrants self preservation in relationship even though the world has recently flipped all the gender roles around while we grasp to tradition, taught to us by our mothers by the way.
      You are not God, at least not anymore in this new world, and your ex’s life is no longer your responsibility. You did better than most and made the split but complete the mission toward your own happiness by separating completely. Weakness will have you back for every little detail the control freak can come up with if you do not practice self preservation and focus entirely on your personal pursuit of happiness

      • Mike
        February 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

        Good point and one I have concluded on my own a long time ago.

  6. Timothy Brown
    February 12, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Remarkable how completely accurate this is. I read it and immediately realized how terribly ive been treated and how much time I’ve wasted trying to figure this woman out. All along there was no answer because there is no right answer. It’s the impossibility of reason. It’s a horrible way to live.
    Thank you.

  7. Dennis
    February 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Hello i have a question. I was married for a 1,6 year and i left my wife. I had my mistakes too but she was really bossy. She was always nagging me about Fitness,Soccer, a tattoo that i wanted she gave me an ultimatum if i get it she will leave me so i didn’t got a tattoo. I was going to school at that time and i was early home and i make a dinner clean a house and take care of a 6 months old baby and she also hit me once. Now my question is that we are talking about getting back together again but she is giving me an ultimatum all ready because i wanna join a National Guard she is saying no i don’t want that and so on what should i do. Sorry for a bad writing im not from the US.

    • Jerry
      February 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Don’t get back together, Dennis. if the reasons you left her in the first place are still there, then why go through it again? Sounds like she’s still got you where she wants you

  8. Gary
    February 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I made the mistake of marrying a woman with issues, the madness that occurred during our time together was out of this world, it was a learning experience and it and it has actually made me stronger and more determined in life, I hope anyone in such a relationship will see the light, stop wasting their time and get out sooner rather than later.

    These are some of the things that happened:

    No trust, apparently I was having an affair and had to be told this once a weekly basis, there was no affair, I kept asking for proof of which there was none. Once I found her going through the bin in my home office, she found a tissue that I had used to soak up some blackcurrant juice but she was convinced it was blood from a woman’s period and the woman had been over to the house to sleep with me.

    She would keep running out of the house when we would argue or I would say something that had upset her, once she came back saying she had tried to kill herself by stuffing the car exhaust with cloth, how that would kill her, I don’t know.

    Every time there was a family or friends event such as a wedding she would find a way to start a fight the night before and not come to the event or even worse she would come to the event, cause a scene and walk out. She drove my car back from my friends wedding reception alone after she had been drinking (I drove there, she was meant to be sober to drive back), she damaged the car on the way back and I had to buy a new one as a result. I had to find a hotel that evening and take a 3 hour train journey the next morning.

    She would try and control my career and insist that we move to the capital because that is where all the “successful” people live, she wanted me to get a job near hers so we could have lunch everyday.

    She once told me that she was going to tell the police I had tried to rape her.

    After all this I finally I packed my bags and left, got a new job, moved away and filed for divorce. That was the best decision I ever made, regardless of how long the divorce took, how many death threats I got during my divorce or how much money she tried to take (she didn’t get a lot in the end). My career is back on track, I have a good level of financial security and a clear mind, its amazing!

    Sometimes I laugh at the things that happened and the things I tolerated, how could I have been so stupid? It won’t happen again, that’s for sure!

    I hope that my experience enlightens others and helps someone before its too late for them (too late would be having children and being stuck imo). It’s tough but think of your sanity and getting the rest of your life back rather than wasting it, get out while you can.

  9. February 1, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I identify with all of these examples–not to the nth degree as they are outlined here, but even in small ways, all of these things happen in my relationship with my wife of 20 years. She makes me feel guilty for feeling or thinking a certain way. She says belittling things to me that are on the cusp of mean, but not quite, so if I complain, then I’m being too sensitive and childish.

    • February 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Unfortunately, we have three children together, all boys, 20, 19, and 17. She does live them, but she’s so incredidibly critical of so many things, that she inadvertently cuts them down and they feel insignificant and probably at times, unloved. I’m terribly concerned that our 20 year relationship/example to these young men has made them believe that this is what relationships with women are supposed to be like. I watched my dad be miserable for 40 years with my mom–she was manipulative and withheld sex from him for my entire life: I was the last of six children, and he confessed to me that after I was born, they were never intimate again.

      My wife likes sex, however, she withholds affection, not like a tool, but rather in the attitude as though I’m not making her feel loved enough, so she’s never in the mood to be affectionate. She says she hates PDA–well, what’s wrong with me coming up from behind you whenever I feel affectionate, and nobody else is around? She pushes me away, and then later tells me I’m not romantic enough. I’m so sick of the bi-polar rollercoaster that I’ve been on for so long.

      • shrink4men
        February 3, 2017 at 12:11 am

        Your children are grown. What’s keeping you in it?

      • can'tdecide
        February 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        Melonfilms –

        My wife is the same – over time she has refined her way of belittling me to a very subtle and mean way including in front of the kids (4 and 6yrs) and I haven’t been affectionate with her since the last pregnancy (can’t imaging feeling affection when I am constantly belittled or criticized for being a pathetic
        and incapable husband/father).

        My question to you given your kids are older … was it worth it to stay for the kids?

        I am constantly weighing if the damage to them is greater by staying or leaving. I know the damage to me is another factor.

        • February 6, 2017 at 7:39 pm

          Leave. I agonized leaving for 4+ years. I wish I left sooner. There will always be a struggle communicating your soon to be ex, but someone needs to show your daughter what a stable and loving family life is like to balance out the insanity in the other household. Save yourself. Get your life back. Stop walking on eggshells. You are better than that.

          Talk to an attorney before hand to get paperwork started, save enough money that she cant touch and move out. Another thing I wish I did was record her outbursts better.

          Your ex will be vicious and poison your child. Be prepared to fight back.

        • Not Proud
          February 6, 2017 at 11:04 pm

          I am in the same situation – my wife wants sex, and is a beautiful woman to me, but I simply can’t go there. All the years of criticism, walking on egg shells, fear of criticism and comments have me walking around without sex for 4 years now. I feel like half a man, as I am not the sex giver that I used to be (our sex life was tremendous at first). This is a second marriage for us both, so we don’t have children together (they are grown anyway), our finances (except for the house) are separate, and for the life of me – I am trying to figure out why, why I am still in this relationship. My friends as sick of hearing me complain, and it’s to the point it is embarrassing for me to bring anything up. Perhaps I am lazy of not wanting to move and leave a beautiful house, or perhaps I worry what others will think, perhaps I have “given my word”, perhaps it is potential loneliness, or perhaps it is what my mother (who is still alive) will think? Again, this is embarrassing.

          • James
            February 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

            Please don’t take this the wrong way, I believe you are in pain but it sounds like neither of you ever committed to the relationship. There doesn’t seem to be anything “invested” in it.

            • Not Proud
              February 7, 2017 at 6:29 pm

              James thanks for your note, and in no way do I take any offense to your comments. I have tried to combine our finances, but she wants to keep them separate. That has always been very odd to me, but so be it. She lives a fear based life, and there is no way I can win with her neurocese. So much fear based thinking it is highly limiting. We have a house together, but she didn’t want to “go into her investments” so I paid the downpayment and paid for a custom book case for her office. I could go on and on – but why waste our time. The bottom line is – I am still keeping myself in this relationship and need to solve why I keep staying in this. I am financially able to be on my own. I have a grown daughter, so nothing is holding me back but me. And perhaps I don’t want to admit failure in marriage for the 3rd time. Yes, 3 times, and I am horrified as I only thought I would be married once – for life. Thanks for your thoughts James, much appreciated.

              • drk
                February 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm

                I have the wife that meets all 10 points. In regards to financial; we have had our finances separate since we were married. I was in the military and they recommended it in the event I got killed and everything of mine gets frozen.

        • February 7, 2017 at 9:33 pm

          I divorced my wife after 7 years of marriage. We were divorced for 4 years, but kept in constant contact specifically so our young boys at the time (6, 4, and 2 yrs), still had positive parenting (the best we could). After 3 years of separation, we started spending more time together, doing activities as a family again. She had a job that empowered her, and to me she was a completely different person. That brought some joy to her life, she was happier, nicer to all of us, and was key to us getting back together, remarrying, and we’ve been married again now for another 10 years. However, she lost that job shortly after we got married. Nonetheless, we stuck it out ever since.

          Her mood changes are situational. There’s no way she isn’t textbook bipolar. Hasn’t been tested for that since 1992, before I met her. But her happiness is dependent on financial security. If she feels like I could be more aggressive and assertive in my career, she will strike out in frustration and anger.

          I’m not an advocate of divorce. I think that if there’s something that can be done to save a marriage, not only for the sake of the children, but for the sake of making two people who can be happy, happy, then something should be done to save the marriage. Something brought the two of us together in the first place, and that is what we should focus on to build on that. Everybody has problems. Getting divorced from somebody that you did fall in love with and then finding somebody else who also has problems and then marrying that person doesn’t change you in any way. You are still the same person, you still have the same habits, and divorcing one person just so that you can get out of that marriage doesn’t make you a better person. You’re still the same person you’ve just copped out given up and chosen an easier path. A path of less resistance. You have not grown and become a stronger person.

          Four years ago I made a decision that I was not going to let her bully me anymore. I was very assertive, and I just couldn’t take her treating me that way anymore. Over the past four years I have put my foot down, so to say, and refused to let her treat me that way. Those were very very difficult moments in my life. Fighting against, and telling my wife to, “shut up!”, “get out of my face!”, “you WILL NOT talk to me that way!”, etc., brought us close to divorce many times. I even called for it a number of times, but she crawled back to me (albeit, she was not passive about it). Now that the boys are older, I have established a better, stronger, more self secure “me,” and I refuse to be bullied, although it’s in her nature to try.

          I have stepped up and taken control, although I’m not the best at this and when she feels her financial security is threatened, (I work freelance, so we have good months as well as very bad months), she lashes out, and of course, when I’m not making good money, I’m easy prey for that onslaught.

          My boys are older. They’ve seen me at my worst, and they’ve begun to understand and recognize my wife’s “crazy,” and associate it with “inappropriate behavior.” Nobody is going to be the perfect example for their kids, but if the relationship you have with your wife is destructive in nature, then you should not stay with her.

          I took charge. I changed myself–which is the only person I can change. I think I’m doing well enough to stick it out until after the kids are all moved out and on their own. I’d really like to see if this woman I’ve spent 22 years of my life with is a person I can continue in happiness with, or if we may then go our separate ways–at this point, I still don’t know. But we’ve talked about it. We are very open about these discussions because we’ve “had it out” many times over the course of the years. Life has been a tremendous struggle. If you’re not up for that challenge, then by all means get out of it as soon as you can, if you’ve got the gumption to stick to that decision.

          God didn’t put us on this earth to be unhappy and live in unhappiness for the majority of our lives. But he also didn’t put us on this earth to be stagnant and unchanging, and continue in bad habits without improving ourselves and growing. A lot of my growth has come because I chose to stay in this relationship. If I had stayed divorced I don’t think I would have changed and become a stronger and better man of the last 10 years as much as I have because I stayed with her. Nonetheless these last 10 years have not been without struggle. Neither will any other relationship. You will take your character defects into any another relationship, so why not try to adapt in a positive way to the one you’ve already invested time in?

          This is definitely NOT the easy route. Nor will it work for everyone. Just because I don’t advocate for divorce doesn’t mean I’m not willing to do it–I did! Things just worked out that we got back together again. We still struggle, and at times–even for the last few weeks for me–currently–we are at odds with each other. Sometimes I wish I had it easier. But I’m choosing this path for now. And yes, I’m writing posts on this website, complaining about my struggle–but yet, supporting my decisions as well.

          Yes, I do want to smile regularly again. But so does my wife, and I’m pretty sure she wants to smile ‘with’ me, rather than by being single. I’m pretty sure she’d rather stick it out too than to have to go out and search for someone that’s going to want her with all her baggage. I know her baggage, and I know my baggage. So why not try to work these things out with maturity and love and respect, and definitely expect that of her in return. All I can say is, stand up for yourself, and do what you think is best, because only you know that, it is your life. And you know your children better than me. And you know your wife and all of her baggage, and what she is capable of. Are you willing to take a stand and overcome this challenge? Or would you prefer to take a completely different path? Either way, life will not be without its struggles. But don’t let the struggle deter you from trying your best.

          Today my mood is both happy and sad. I take them both together because that’s what is handed to me.

          • Getmeoutofthis
            March 5, 2017 at 7:19 pm

            No offense by this post brother but you did divorce your wife for a time. You also got back together with her because “she got better” and “treated you better”…I think that’s great man. Unfortunately for many of us men our wives do not get better. We go mad trying to “stick it out” because “the Bible says so”. I am a Christian as well and that is the only reason I am still with my crazy and abudive wife of 5 years now. What do you do though when she is cruel and vindictive and will not change? Are we supposed to just “stick it out” in misery and being bitter toward our wives because they are so cruel to us? Everyone’s story is different but yet the same in some ways. I am definitely considering a divorce even though I am religious, I am doing this because this has gone beyond “growing in character” through abuse. It is mentally and emotionally killing me. How about this scenario…say a husband hits, scratches and throws objects st his wife, he tries to control her finances, relationships and life decisions, he calls her horrific names to the point of telling her she is “not loved or cared for by anyone but him” but that “he doesn’t want her around and niether does anyone else”…would it be good and godly for her to just “stick it out” with him because of her religion?

        • TT
          June 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm

          Melonfilms…1st off, this is not healthy & controlling all forms of Luv…& Sounds like she is associating certain methods of affection as violating to her, possibly had a very bad past…still, 2 people need to communicate any issues not use them against you…I mean no disrespect when I say anyone who battles these conditions (ex.bipolar) has to willingly want to help themselves & do something about it to seek help & maintain all methods to better themselves & to still have happiness with others to maintain that as well…but she gotta want that more than the want for control & abusive behaviors…if not, get out now, b4 she becomes so unstable & future actions toward u will become volitile & can even turn into violent abuse

      • TT
        June 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        Melonfilms…1st off, this is not healthy & controlling all forms of Luv…& Sounds like she is associating certain methods of affection as violating to her, possibly had a very bad past…still, 2 people need to communicate any issues not use them against you…I mean no disrespect when I say anyone who battles these conditions (ex.bipolar) has to willingly want to help themselves & do something about it to seek help & maintain all methods to better themselves & to still have happiness with others to maintain that as well…but she gotta want that more than the want for control & abusive behaviors…if not, get out now, b4 she becomes so unstable & future actions toward u will become volitile & can even turn into violent abuse

    • TJ
      February 19, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Hi, I think we are in the same situation. Have you left her yet? Do you have any children and if so what will happen to them if you split. The women always gets the children but in my case, I think she is harming them mentally by behaving the way she does and as that is the case, I will fight her for custody. Horrible to think that it could come to that but I have no alternative. How about you??

    • TT
      June 3, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Melonfilms…To add to, to be helpful…this is how you know that she’s in love with the control of a relationship, not the relationship with you. She wants the relationship “of you”, to control . she belittles you just enough to keep you from a healthy positive …this is how they keep men from true growths & true happiness so that you feel there is nothing & no 1 better for you which is why it’s as u said, the cusp of mean… A relationship is about 2 people loving each other, supporting each other, & filling each other & communicating when u disagree…wait til your “drill sergeant” takes over everything else & then blames u for everything as her back bone reason to take everything from u …trust me, u haven’t yet felt bankruptcy, both inside & literally…also sounds like she enjoys the whole conquest of dragging u around for her beck & call & the whole conquer & divide thing…show your boys by either saying to wife this shit for years has been wrong & shit’s gotta change or leave, so they too realize this is not ok…hope this helps…:)

  10. Luc
    January 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Wow! I was just searching for an explanation for this type of behavior this morning and found this article that described exactly what i was going through. It seems for the most part that i’m going down a dead end street and should leave to minimize the damage. However we have a 2 year old son and she has a 7 year old from previous marriage that we are raising together. I know somewhere deep down inside,buried, is a really good person that wants to be happy all the time but unfortunately the negative and passive agressive personality dominates her emotions. I feel like i can’t leave these kids with her. Without me they would never know what is sensible and logic. She is somewhat conscious of her horrible and unreasonable behavior and the damage it does,and agreed that she needs to talk to someone that can help deal with her emotions. Please i need some good advice on how to deal with this.

    • James
      February 7, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Be careful of the little string these woman leave. Men like us will elluminate to the extreme that one chance of saving it all. Your trap could be “She is somewhat conscious of her horrible and unreasonable behavior and the damage it does”…
      Answer yourself this question, if you were switched places and knew this about yourself wouldn’t you rush out to help yourself and in turn the people you say or supposedly LOVE?

  11. Luis Hernandez
    January 24, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Wow… i am speechless from reading this. It is in every way, shape, and form. This describes my girlfriend, well i should say ex because i put an end to it. The thing is i want to help her and she has agreed to get help under the circumstances of her having a “chance” of getting back with me. I have also notice other several problems with her during the 2 1/2 years we have been together. I need a place to start so she can get help asap. Any recommendations are appreciated

  12. JJ
    January 23, 2017 at 8:33 am

    My girlfriend is a perfect fit for 1 – 9. My problem is that I’ve gone way past Stockholm Syndrome, I want to leave her and end this torture, but the thought of doing so kills me inside. I know the pain of her not being there will eventually go (see I’m part rational) but I can’t do it. I’m just staying, a miserable emotional punch bag (and have been a physical one too)

    • James
      February 7, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Draw energy from somewhere you have to leave if you are getting hit. You will find that leaving is the easier part. I would disappear because the hardest part it the show that is put on to get you back into being a “punching bag”.

    • TJ
      February 19, 2017 at 11:30 pm


      I am the same but I have made a decision this evening after reading points 1-10 above. I have to get out or I’ll be miserable until my dying day. The thing is, how on earth do I tackle such a difficult discussion with three children? It’s going to break their hearts not to mention my wife’s but in the end it will work out fine I’m quite sure. If you want to contact me for some mutual discussion let me know. I’m sure Dr Tara will pass on my details.


  13. January 22, 2017 at 12:46 am

    I’m definitely in a relationship with an emotional bully who thinks she’s the victim. I got involved with her during a difficult time when my sister had just died and my dad had a debilitating stroke within months of each other, so I had a lapse in judgement. I panicked, we quickly rushed into having two kids and buying a house with both our names on the title.
    I stopped short of marrying her because I started to see that she was a serious emotional bully.
    My issue is that I refuse to let my kids grow up without a father because their mother is insane. It should be the reverse if anything, the sane parent should be left with the kids if separation is inevitable. If it weren’t for the kids, I would have kicked her to the curb and sped off in a cloud of tire smoke. She’s incapable of respect, affection, love, giving compliments, sexual contact, etc. I given to trying.
    My question is, how can I get her to leave me and my kids alone? We live in a very matriarchal court system, and though she is insane, she’s not crazy in the books, and she’s still functional and has income.

  14. Robert
    January 21, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Omg this is the problem every single word is right on point and I’m so in love with her wtf do I do it’s been 7 years I tell her she’s doing these things and nothing will change or it will change for a little wile and then go back
    To the way it was and the worst part I’m more scared of losing her then living the rest of my life miserable I’m so confused you answered so many questions but raised so many more I have so much to think about

  15. Bobthecat
    January 20, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Amazing this article covers every single thing she did to me.Looking back she was utterly horrible.

  16. VJ
    January 17, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Some of the posts I read on here feel like I wrote them.

  17. Ann
    January 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Do you still do this? How can we contact you?

  18. Myles
    January 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I once dated a girl, she was my dream woman, she basically left for no reason while i was falling deeply deeply in love with her. She came back to me 2 years later and ran away after a couple of meet ups knowing how i felt about her and told me “we cannot just be friends” and left it at that. 2 years after that (last december 2016) she came back to me asking if i wanted to go out for the christmas drink she denied me a couple of years before. We met had the most amazing time and really enjoyed being with each other. We met up again a few days later again having the most amazing night and she left that night wanting to spend more time with me and wanting to kiss me but left before she did. she said she wanted to meet again and finally my hopes we up that, even against my better judgement that this third time might be the charm, perhaps maybe this time she might actually go for it and give us a try after all this time. For the next couple of weeks over christmas we talked constantly and had some brilliant chats talking about meeting up. However slowly over the following couple of weeks leading up to this week (17 january 2017) her communication has got less and less, ranging from lip service to constant chat back and forth, all the way to finally ignoring me for the last 2 days…..the reason for this? There isn’t one, there is no reason why she should do this. A couple of weeks ago we were talking about how amazing our kids would be, what a fantastic time we would have together never sleeping and exploring the world and how she would look after the dogs and i would look after the kids and now she doesn’t even acknowledge my existence. a couple of weeks ago I asked her if she had time to see me over the next couple of weeks she said “she is so busy with work and studying that she doesn’t have time” which of course, like a sap, i accepted. I have since found her on a dating website fully trying to find someone else, anyone else, as long as they are not me. So evidently, she does have time, she just doesn’t have it for me.

    Is she just an emotional bully coming back to me after two years of my healing knowing how i feel about her, knowing we cannot just be friends, knowing how she was going to behave and fully well knowing she wasn’t in any way shape or form ever even thinking of giving us a chance to finally try and just lying through the last 4 weeks? I believe she has some form of underlying mental problem, which if i could understand i would accept and work with her, at least from what i can tell, but is there any way to perhaps help her break this habit of needlessly ruining things that are great? She exhibits the same pattern of behaviour each time. She comes back, is really nice, we have amazing times together she almost promises the world and then she runs away and ignores me for no reason. Is there an explanation for this behaviour? Does she wilfully deny herself happiness in a relationship because she doesn’t believe she deserves it or will get hurt? is this a self defence mechanism that she uses to protect herself? I am at my wits end trying to work out why she does this. By next week, i am giving her the ultimatum. You either give us a go or never speak to me again as i just cannot keep doing this with her. My nerves are shot and i am stressed to high heaven and unable to sleep because of her….i just want to scream, we are five words away from an amazing relationship “lets give it a try”. Only she has the power to say them.

    • shrink4men
      January 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      It doesn’t really matter why she does what she does. She does it. Why are you allowing yourself to be treated like crap and going back for more?

      • Myles
        January 18, 2017 at 9:05 am

        I guess cos it is the only girl i ever felt this way about. I spent 37 years looking for it, finally get it and it is from a mental case who worries too much……thanks for your reply though :D

  19. Bobby
    January 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    My girlfriend constantly hits me Over nothing, playing but still hits hard and doesn’t care what I say about anything. Disregards me and its all about her, she is always right

    • shrink4men
      January 16, 2017 at 2:16 am

      That’s domestic violence. You are being abused.

  20. Mark
    January 12, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Incredible information and eye-opening for me.
    My wife and I have been married 25 years. Of course we’ve had our share of arguments through the years but I’m realizing anymore that when we do, I barely get to say a full sentence or follow through with statement or a point of view before being talked-over loudly and aggressively. If I attempt to continue speaking I find myself straining my voice to do so and when I stop to hear what she has to say while waiting for my opportunity to speak, she continues incessantly – and I never get to say what was on my mind. After several attempts at trying to say anything, I usually get aggravated and go outside (even while she continues) to let off some steam before considering whether trying to make my point again is even worth it.
    Unfortunately, silence on my part seems to work best.
    We went to counseling separately, then jointly for a couple years and confidently stopped almost two years ago, believing we were on a better path.
    My individual therapy basically revealed that I had passive aggressive tendencies and lacked assertiveness. Go figure.
    Not sure what was revealed about my wife really, other than anger issues that were apparently expected to disappear as things got better – which they did for a while.
    Anyway, joint counseling, and my awareness of those tendencies helped me move past years of undeserved verbal and emotional abuse but I fear we’re revisiting the past and it might be time to finally save myself.
    Awareness certainly helps. Thanks again for the valuable information.

    • Sim
      March 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      i think we are having a very similar experience minus the counselling part. Keep strong

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