Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder > The Emotionally Abusive Personality: Is She a Borderline or a Narcissist?

The Emotionally Abusive Personality: Is She a Borderline or a Narcissist?

Two Face WomanIf you’re involved with an emotionally abusive woman, at first you probably wondered, “What’s wrong with her?” If you’ve been with her for a significant length of time, you probably now wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why does she treat me so bad?”

Emotional abuse grinds you down over time and leaves you feeling depressed, anxious, helpless, and worthless. You don’t deserve to be treated badly. You’re not the one with the problem. People who are emotionally abusive typically fall into specific personality types and in extreme cases, personality disorders.

The Cluster B disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) are often abusers in their relationships. These disorders lie on a continuum. Depending on the day, hour, minute, or second, your wife or girlfriend may exhibit different characteristics of these disorders. They’re all similar flavors of crazy.

So how can you tell if your emotionally abusive girlfriend or wife has Borderline or Narcissistic traits? The following are general rules of thumb I use when trying to tease out the difference.

How do they approach relationships?

The Narcissistic Woman: “Love me–or else.” If you don’t unconditionally accept the NPD and all of her horrible behaviors, you are, as one of my readers describes it, “unforgiving and mean.” At first, many of them charm you and then they often try to bully you into loving them. If you reject her or she thinks that you’re criticizing her, you’re treated to a narcissistic rage episode or cold sullen withdrawal and the death stare.

Every now and again a narcissist will be nice to you, even affectionate. This is because she is

  1. about to manipulate you into doing something for her;
  2. making a public display in order to be seen by others as magnanimous or loving;
  3. celebrating because she’s duped or tricked you about something; and/or
  4. lulling you into a false sense of security because she’s about to clobber you again

In other words, if she’s being nice to you, be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Borderline Woman: “Please love me. I didn’t mean it. Don’t leave me.” Initially, the BPD will mutate into the woman she thinks you want her to be. This ideal fantasy woman has nothing to do with who she is in reality. She’ll do everything in her power to please you in order to make you love her and then the mask starts to crumble.

Can you feel sympathy for her?

The Narcissistic Woman: The NPD woman is a very unsympathetic creature. It’s damned near impossible to feel sorry for her. If she manipulates you into feeling sympathy for her, it’s to get you to let down your guard so she can steamroll you again. They invented the term crocodile tears for NPDs. She cries when she’s terrified of losing control over her half dead mouse–that would be you–or of having her true self exposed.

The Borderline Woman: Even when she’s off the charts crazy, there’s still something sort of pitiful about her. It’s easier to feel sympathy for a BPD, but pity and guilt shouldn’t be the glue that holds a relationship together. It doesn’t negate the consequences of her emotionally abusive behavior, whether the hurt she inflicts is intentional or unintentional.

Is she capable of accepting personal responsibility?

The Narcissistic Woman: She rarely, if ever, admits she was wrong unless it’s to zing you with a thinly veiled insult. For example, “I thought you were a kind and generous man. I see now that I was wrong.” She rarely if ever takes responsibility for her hurtful actions. If you call her on her bad behaviors, she claims it was your fault for pushing her into it (in other words, you deserved it) and you’re a bad man to make a good woman like her act that way. You should be ashamed of yourself!

Alternatively, she’ll use dime store psychology, dogmatic religion or false consensus building to justify her inexcusable behaviors. For example, “A true christian practices forgiveness” or “You have unresolved issues with your mother” or “My therapist said I should do what my gut tells me to do” or “I told my family and friends about this and they think I’m right and you’re wrong.” These are nothing more than tactics for deflecting responsibility.

The Borderline Woman: The BPD will admit what she did was wrong, BUT she’ll follow it up by blaming you for triggering her. That’s not real personal responsibility. It’s what a 5-year old says when they get caught doing something wrong. “Yes, what I did was wrong, but it wasn’t my fault” or “I was really hurt and angry, but I didn’t mean to say all of the horrible things I did, so you have to forgive me.” The NPD usually won’t acknowledge any wrong-doing unless you really have her on the ropes or you’re about to end the relationship–that’s the difference. Most NPDs believes she was right to hurt you; some BPDs might feel bad about hurting you, but she was hurting, so she had to hurt you and ‘couldn’t help [herself].’

Is she capable of empathy?

The Narcissistic Woman: The NPD is virtually incapable of feeling empathy for others. She is 100% ENTITLED, which means other people’s feelings don’t really matter.  There is one exception. If someone else is giving you a hard time, the NPD will say, “Well I never had a problem with ‘Joe.’ He’s always been nice to me. He must be really stressed. You’re probably bringing this on yourself.” The NPD woman shows empathy for others at your expense.

The Borderline Woman: BPDs can be guided to feel empathy by reminding them of specific instances when they felt bad, but it’s usually pretty fleeting. Bottom line: A BPD’s emotional distress takes precedence over everything and everyone else, no matter how empathic she may seem to be from time to time. Furthermore, empathy from a BPD often comes with strings attached.

Is she capable of giving?

The Narcissistic Woman: That would be no, no and no. NPDs are primarily takers. It’s definitely a one-way street when you’re involved with a narcissistic woman. She may make a show of being kind and generous in front of others, but that’s only because she wants to protect her highly controlled public image. Alternatively, if she does something “generous” it’s because she believes “those are the rules” of etiquette, society or her religion. NPDs are big rules and regs types. She will then expect to be lavishly acknowledged and praised for her act of generosity (or something as minor as cleaning up after herself in the kitchen) and never lets you forget it.

The Borderline Woman: BPDs are givers, but it comes with a price. It’s part of what I mentioned earlier about doing anything to please you to get you to love them.

Most of the behaviors I’m describing are entirely unconscious. These behaviors are learned at an early age and some of them may be hardwired. Whether she’s more NPD or BPD, both traits are extremely painful and damaging to the people who love them.

Counseling, 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 or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

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Photo credits:

Two Face Woman by matthew manuel puentes on flickr.

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  1. Brian
    June 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    This is a sample of our email conversation- I wrote the first statment of our conversation, she wrote the big version and then I wrote in () what she really said. I dont understand because everything she wrote is totally insane and she acts like I am the one who caused her to be mean to me. She actually told me I am not the same guy she met and that she dumped me because she doesnt like the way I fight because I am right and she is wrong. Look at this stuff, does this make any sense of why I would be upset. This is only a partial list

    1. you said I didn’t make enough money for you to order off a menu, how about just saying thank you instead of putting me down. – I NEVER SAID THAT AND I ALWAYS SAID THANK YOU WHEN WE WENT OUT. I BELIEVE MY STATEMENT WAS SOMETHING TO THE AFFECT OF “I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE GOING OUT BECAUSE I KNOW YOU’RE STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY”(she said that she was tired of feeling like she couldnt order off the menu because I couldnt afford it)

    2 you said you don’t want to emotionally and financially support me but wanted a man who could help you if you needed it. – THIS STATEMENT I SAID.

    3. you said I should feel lucky you are with your friends because you were going to have sex with a man in Cancun. This doesn’t make a guy feel bad, say that statement to your new guy. See what happens. – WE’VE DISCUSSED THIS THOROUGHLY, AND YOUR INTERPRETATION WAS NOT HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE TAKEN. I’VE TOLD YOU OVER AND OVER, NOT THE BEST WORDS FOR ME TO OF SAID, AND I WAS SORRY. (she denied saying it and now look at her answer)

  2. ralph
    June 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Brtian. I understand believe me. I went through 3 years of “why the heck is this woman acting like this??!!!”. There is no explanation. There is no reason. There isn’t a “trigger” that sets her off, there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it. That’s the hardest part about dealing with these people and that’s what will ultimately drive you nuts if you let it. There is NO REASON and you have to accept that. I tried everything under to sun to stop this behavior. I tried rational discussion, tried the “I love you hun please don’t do this”, tried “please babe you’re embarassing me”, tried the “dammit knock it off”, tried the “what’s wrong with you? go see a therapist!!”, tried the “let’s just go home babe”, tried the “what can I do to make you happy”. NOTHING worked. Then, the next day, she would deny anything happened or recall the events that transpired in a totally different way than reality. This behavior WILL ultimately make you lose your mind, and I also realized that it will also make you do or almost do things you never dreamed of. They push your buttons until they have you on the edge of insanity. I came very close to losing mine until I found this blog. In addition, they lack the “empathy” chip. So your problems, your feelings, your desires, your requests, all go straight in one ear and out the other, and have no effect on her at the time or in the future. Bottom line Brian, there is nothing you can do to change her behavior, and there is nothing you DID do to to cause it. I know you love her, and I know it’s painful. Trust me, I know. But they are evil.. Sad part is they don’t even realize it. And don’t even try telling her to look in the mirror or do any self realization. Even if you present the information in the most loving, non-aggressive, hun is this possible?- hun would you consider? hun read this please, manner, she will take it as a criticism and shut down immediately. They will not listen, and in fact absolutely refuse listen, even if you present them with documented facts. The truth does not matter, nor do the facts, nor does reality. Let me know how it goes. It’s not easy man. I know.

    • ralph
      June 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

      In addition, be prepared to hear that “you just lost the most wonderful woman in the world”, and that “you don’t know what you’re missing” stuff. Mine always kept saying that if I would only “marry her and make her an honest woman” or that I would just “love her kids” that the tantrums would stop. Thank god I didn’t do that. I sensed something was wrong about 3 months after we started seriously dating. I could never figure it out and nearly went insane trying. And if you want some examples of the nefarious and sicko ways they get at you, I got some that would knock your socks off. I could never figure it out before, but it’s all clear to me now. Knowledge is powerful. Read these blogs over and over and over. I did and it really helped me.

    • J.Smith
      January 29, 2016 at 4:09 am

      I can verify you’ve been through this! I’ve never met you nor do I have any connection with you or this site! You just nailed it…..my wife is identical to your comments. I just left 3 months ago and it’s progressed since then. Exit strategy is my concern at this point!

  3. Brian
    June 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I just emailed with my ex. She told me I am not the guy she thought I was because she needed a guy to comfort her thru her divorce. She said I tried to push her into a relationship, I never did any of that. After today I realize there is no way of rationally dealing with this person. I hurt like hell but she said all this is my fault. I just dont know what happened? One day we are very happy and the next she is dumping on me. Is there anyone I can talk to about this?

  4. Brian
    June 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I guess I just need to know a few things. 1. What did I do to trigger her behavior? 2. How do these women go from being so great so nice to such a crazy woman almost overnight 3. Why is she running off to a new guy so soon? 4. How does she take a 2 year relationship(friends first, then lovers) and just start beating it to death with telling me that everything I do is wrong? All she kept telling me over the last three months is that I should plan her dates because her personality wont just go with the flow in the evening. She wants it all planned so that she knows she is going to have a good time before we walk out the door. How do you win? Why isnt she doing this to the new guy? Im sorry for being in such chaos, but I just never dreamed this was going to happen. All she did was tell me how much she cared for me.

    • jp
      June 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm


      There’s no need to apologize for how you’re feeling. Your confusion is a normal response to her erratic and cruel behavior.

      You’ll probably never know what caused her transformation, if that’s what it was. You could ask her 100 times “why??” and you’d get 100 different answers, each one confusing and painful

      You’re looking for logic where there isn’t any. She’s operating on primitive feelings alone, and she doesn’t care what damage she leaves behind.

      To answer your questions:

      1. Why do you assume it was you who triggered her behavior, as if you’re automatically to blame? Maybe you think that if it’s your fault you can fix it.

      Look, she cheated on her ex for 8 years and doesn’t even feign regret. The reality is she does whatever she wants, when she wants, feels totally entitled about it, and if you demand that she explain herself she’ll just make-up something absurd on the fly to get you to leave her alone.

      I doubt you had anything to do with it, but if you want to take the blame I’m sure she’ll agree with you.

      2. While her outward behavior may seem to have changed overnight, her track record suggests her actions were almost inevitable.

      3. It’s part of her script, isn’t it? These women can’t be alone.

      4. She had to devalue you first to justify her abandonment.

      Her request that you ‘plan her dates’ is infantile and manipulative and she was setting you up to fail. How do you win? You can’t.

      She will do it to the next guy. But she has to give him the honeymoon period first so he can have warm, fuzzy memories to sustain him when she begins the abuse.

      Listen, you’re in pain and it’s disorienting. But it will end when you want it to.

      At the very least, you need to go NO CONTACT. And do yourself a kindness and stop blaming yourself. With a woman like this you could be Jesus, Gandhi, and Brad Pitt rolled into one and she’d still have you believing you’re not enough.

      Good luck.


      • jp
        June 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm


        In re-reading my last reply I saw that I included an ill-considered and grossly simplistic statement: “But it will end when you want it to.”

        I didn’t mean to suggest that you’re wallowing, or to minimize what you’re going through or suggest that it’s easy to move on. You’ve experienced profound betrayal and a painful rejection. It will take time and work to put it behind you.

        Please ignore that comment.


      • shrink4men
        June 5, 2009 at 3:10 am

        Hi JP,

        Your explanations are exactly right. Thanks to you for responding to Brian. I value your participation and contributions.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr T

      • MM
        December 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm

        @ JP –“She will do it to the next guy. But she has to give him the honeymoon period first so he can have warm, fuzzy memories to sustain him when she begins the abuse.”

        I’m a female friend witnessing this stage my friend is going through right now with a new girlfriend he quickly got together with and now lets her live with him in his house only two weeks into their relationship.

        She had at first isolated him completely with his friends, which caused one of his friends to post on his SM page where did he go and other friends chimed in then she caught wind of the discussion and cut into it “fear not friends, he isn’t dead yet but soon. Stay tuned” with a very unflattering picture of them sat together.

        Guy who started the thread said “he looks dead” (to me it looked like he’d been crying- she laughed that off and then stated that I ruined the thread by stating that we were all concerned about him because she kept tagging him to very disparaging memes from her page whenever she had spun out of control with herself and then later makes very long worded soppy/”I love you” apologies where he does reply a one worded thing -that we’re sure she made him do because she says she reads and looks at the computer right next to him everyday, which to us means she’s monitoring his actions on his computer in his own house- She has children and I think she is showing them that he might be either new poppa or making it clear he’s her boytoy for the moment, but already saying she sees them together for 10 years or for life in just their first month together where she had openly lost it twice a week on him and had told me he has to be there for her to calm her crazy ass down.

        Sadly i also feel that my friend had done this rash move of getting this serious with this very wrong woman because he is still going through mourning the death of his mother only 5 moths ago and like myself and another friend we’d both fell into a mental fog of bad judgement and recklessness in our 5-7 month mark of losing our mothers.

        He will not talk to me -I was unfriended but his lady convinced him to unblock me after I decided to accept her friend request – She is requesting all his friends onto her page so she can make him abandon his own page and we speak to him through only her page and she “relays” what he says instead of letting him type for himself like I’ve seen other couples do on joint accounts you see them take turns, while she speaks for him, which to us is another red flag away from him not defending us friends when she says veiled insults.

        I can’t tell if he’s just so consumed by her overdone attention “honeymoon”phases as you coined it or he’s aware of how she is but letting it go because he’s a man and she’s just upset because she’s having a bad day/week and he’s there to fix it up for her everyday and this will become a relationship dreams are made of, as so of course she is implanting into him. He is truly a softy romantic the union seems forced and unnatural and sadly I do not think he had encountered such a very vile insidious soul as she is and I hate to know that this bubble of adoring is going to bust in the worst way just when he really feels in her full grip 100%.

        This is just like seeing a mouse in a sticky trap, you can’t do a thing about it but watch them die or get very abused mentally if not physically. She does not take many pictures with him in the shot or have any full body pictures together (I think it’s because she is very overweight and he is pretty lanky and normally she is not at all his type nor does he want kids, his own or otherwise)

        I’m just mainly here to state what really looks like a very unsafe and heavily controlled relationship. I’ve only had short verbal interactions with her so far but already see so many flavors of crazy you had stated her all in her and so have a few friends who’d suffered mental and physical abuses from their exes. She says this is her issue too but I think she is not really a victim like us because she is inflicting all of the abuse she had happen to her in the past slowly onto my friend or as she also said laughingly “Slowly eating him alive” which got us pretty rattled of just how far would she go to her abuses.

    • 20yearsin
      October 19, 2013 at 2:51 am

      1) nothing, they can’t wait to be triggered so that the true “them” genie can come out of the bottle, justified at last.
      2) you got tricked. The way they are after the overnight is the true way they are. That is their true homeostasis state, a sick one of course, but their true self so far. They are fake and they learn to do the right thing, to behave the right way but not having their heart into it.
      3) Because they are truly users, they can’t function without sucking the life out of someone. Men are prey to them. Preys to be killed and consumed. Their psychology calls for that. And they are entitled to it for whatever reason( born like that, mom was mean, dad was mean, “I’ve been sexually abused”, the list never ends…..)
      4) she doesn’t care about the relationship, at least not the way you care for it. A marriage for example is somewhat a sacred thing but they disrespect it. They lie, steal, cheat it. They usually don’t want to divorce you when you ask for it because they would lose power over you. God forbid after a divorce you would find a decent woman who treats you right. That would expose them for the abusive fakes they are. They actually will try to prevent you from doing that if they can, still trying to have power over you and at least trying to put time between your painful parting (just yours really, she never was really vested in it for much more than crocodile tears) and your next relationship, hoping that the fog of time will take over the fog of the relationship. that way they don’t get revealed. These women look at relationships as excuses for gaining power over men. They look at men not as the object of their love but as the object of their power, which they will exert and assert as much and as far as possible. They substitute trust with control. So love and trust are replaced by power and control. They cannot be vulnerable by trusting. They do that through the abuse you feel. Your loss of power over yourself, your life, your career, your family is their gain through some sort of sick mental gymnastic.
      You don’t win, ever. You are meant to be the loser to the core of their psychology in what is truly a one-way relationship. The words of caring and loving are empty words and just excuses to keep you enslaved. At best the empty words will keep you in the situation and in the fog, further confusing you because of the incongruence between the words and the behaviors.
      The only way you win is by not engaging in the relationship, or withdrawing from it and let them find other preys that hopefully will withdraw and reject them as well, until they figure out that something is wrong with them out of a repetitive stimulus and get therapy for it, if ever. Hoping for them to change is futile as hope is love and that is just non-reciprocal fuel they are looking for. You can enter the realm of control yourself out of desperation and anger, by being bad, violent even and nothing will work( you will end up in jail with a DV charge and will be another peg down in life, now a criminal who won’t be able to find a job with such a record). To let them go is the only win. That is the hard part. You love at first and then love is seen as just wanting to love and staying together but that is not a reciprocal thought and behavior.
      As they age it becomes harder and harder to pretend to a long term relationship with any man as their diseases grow and are less hidden, their beauty faded, and older men preferring to live alone or pay for sex than suffering the craziness. They already had their children, their divorces, and are in no frame of mind to put up with stuff. Justice comes at last, and the sick ones end up alone living a life of misery, of shallow and short term sex-based relationships with equally shallow men, as birds of a feather roost together, with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain in their souls. Because they end up knowing what they did even if they say otherwise. .

      • TardnFeathered
        May 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

        Wow…. 8 years I’m in relationship with a woman who behaves exactly this way. I am not married to her thank God but wow…. She’s had me so snowed and I bought it hook line and sinker. The gaslighting was unbelievable – I would just sit there and blink in shock and awe at the brilliance of it. Never being accountable for behavior because the behavior “never happened.” A tender kiss goodnight only to wake up the next morning to scathing texts about how I didn’t call or text to say that I made it home safely and “good luck with the next woman who tries to love you – I’m going to pray for her”. Followed by a week of silence and no response to my profuse apologies for hurting her feelings. Then when I throw my hands up and nose dive into another depression… A lone text comes in “pastor asked about you in Bible study – I told him I wasn’t sure what’s wrong with you. Hope you’re ok”. When I respond I’m ok it’s met with, “so you’re fine – not sick – and you can’t even let the woman you supposedly love know you’re ok? This is how a Christian man behaves? No time for your games or drama!” Then another week of silence. Then more texts. Always texts. This site saved my life. NO ONE believed me until I printed off two years of texts and emails just to prove – IM NOT NUTS -THIS REALLY HAPPENED! Last Sunday she was unusually talkative on text – then snapped at me out of the blue then quickly recovered. She NEVER quickly recovers. Then a text telling me she has yard chores to do so I won’t hear much from her for a few hours. She’d been texting me all day between chores. I smell a rat. So my teenage sons and I grab some ice cream cones and decide to drop by her place with a nice cream surprise (yes… I was absolutely checking out what my gut instinct was telling me). She’s not outside choring, the shades are drawn – it’s broad daylight and she NEVER does that. The garage door is open about two feet – she NEVER does that either. My 8 year old who adores her and even puts on my cologne when we’re going to see her – shoots under the garage door and calls out – Dad? Did Miss Crazy get a new motorcycle? Who’s she talking to? (Voices carry from the house to the garage). Oh man…. Let’s go home, boys – looks like she has company. But, Dad…. She texted and said she was too busy to have company today – she said she was working on the yard! Sigh…. we rolled up on a cheater. A couple hours later she texts me with honey this and sugar that. Gods blessings and goodnight. 7am the next morning she texts several paragraphs about a woman who posted that she thinks I’m hot on my Facebook page three years ago (a platonic friend who is marrying another friend of mine next week – miss crazy was invited to the wedding). She tells me that I hid the soon-to-be-married friend from her (helloo – invited to wedding!) and that she is sick of my drama and games. Relationship over. Good luck in all your future endeavors. And of course… the texts keep coming… The charm comes. Ok… 8 years and what I write here is just a tiny fraction of the bizarre and completely irrational and exclusively “MY FAULT” episodes. I’ve been beat down so much I have anxiety attacks and depression that makes the world look dull and bleak. I can’t live like this anymore. This site is the validation that I’m not nuts – that I needed. The charm and oh so helpful kindly thoughtful “just saw a doghouse for sale on xyz street-know you’ve been looking for one” texts keep rolling in. Only this time – for the love of God – I’M DONE!!! I’M DONE with YOUR games! I’m done with the sweetly delivered hate and put downs and dismissals and loveless ness and unending projects on HER house with absolutely ZERO reciprocation because “if I love her and knew what was on her plate in life I wouldn’t dream of further burdening her to the breaking point of her single-no-kids-no-mortgage life that keeps her so busy that she can’t ” take care of my house too”. Smh. This time… I’ve said “get my property assembled for pick up -I’m gathering yours too”. Her usual Facebook stick the knife in and elude to other men – shut down and shut OFF! Emails – blocked! Photos – CLEARED… from EVERYTHING! Phone and text soon to follow – when property exchange is complete. All texts until then are short, cordial, and matter-of-fact. She gets no reaction to the now flagrant and escalating venom she spews. I hurt like a mutha… literally have to work in 90 minute chunks with 20 minute relax breathing intervals. But this will pass. I won’t always have a panic attack at mention of her name. The ONLY WAY to recover control of self with a pervasive and perverse woman like this – is 100% complete and utter LOCKOUT from my life. Any communication whatsoever will be used and twisted into some form of threat to her – and with the shut-down / no contact – she’s looking for any opportunity to sink her blade of destruction – devil may care who gets hurt in the process. I win! The prize is ME! I get (eventually) a man in the mirror I once again RESPECT. A man who isn’t so consumed chasing his own tail with a NPD, that he’s actually the kind of friend a friend would like to have. And yeah…. It REALLY WAS…. THAT bad!

        • 20yearsin
          June 2, 2014 at 3:50 am

          Good for you, that you cut her out of your life, even if it doesn’t feel good. it’s an effort for sure, but does it really takes a bigger effort than that of sustaining attack for hours and days ? The more you try the less they are happy and the less they care. Stop caring to stop the abuse and save your energy for yourself. stay away. give her the wall. no text no call no answer. I called my soon to be ex-wife “do not answer” on my phone so I make sure not to. I keep trends of patterns of contact for scientific purpose, events rating, alcohol abuse episodes and severity and correlation coefficients calculations as well( statistics). The best I could do with my ex was to turn her into a guinea pig for statistics purpose: Hey, I got lemons and made lemonade. The good news is that after three months of “realer” separation I don’t miss her. I just have to remind myself about the negative scenes and the hatred and I get a day’s worth of vaccination for sure.

          I plan on registering a business as soon as the divorce is final and “get rich” for now. I figure my emotional life is destroyed so I’ll focus on the material for now while I heal from a 20 year debacle. Yep, she’s on the back burner now….I hope to be happy and wealthy and I’m sure she’ll find out and I will still have to go no contact and ignore her, that will be tough ( not). I’m getting the advantages of my disadvantages, and vice versa for her.
          The excitement of starting a business and having a much better future is incredible medicine. I suggest the guys try it someday. That is like saying “yes” to life for me. Pouring whatever strength I regain into a positive enterprise( the opposite of my ex) is already paying out. I am optimistic and confident in my future whatever it may be. Maybe there is a God.
          Like a thoroughbred horse, point your nose into the wind and nothing will stop you. Leave the stragglers behind to their own kind, as they are happy together( not really for long of course but that’s their problem).
          My wife joined another whack job to form a Drunkle ( a couple of drunks) and she seems fine with it. That is going to be “sport” when they run out of money and they got to go to work, and one doesn’t want to go work and not drink for the other one to be able to not work and be able to drink . no way this will go well. Chico and Harpo will be duking it out sooner or later. The wheel turns……….

        • gary
          September 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm

          Good for you, It will get worse before it gets better, hang in there. Save everything because if she is using the pastor to get to you; your family is next, warn them and protect them. Then comes child protection agency and restraining orders. Do not violate those restraining orders and go to court with a lawyer and file a stalking order against her to protect yourself and family. She will be two steps a head but use a lawyer and therapist to present the truth on your behalf. I have been through all of it, protect yourself!!! my prayers are with you and your kids.

  5. Brian
    June 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm


    I am a guy who just went thru hell with this and I really need some help. My ex went from being my best friend and lover to kicking my teeth in over a three month period before she jumped on the internet to meet new guys. We had a conversation about her ex husband and she stated she had no remorse and cheated on him for 8 years and didnt think it was that “bad” When I told her I felt that cheating is wrong, my life fell apart. After 2.5 years together she said she hates the way I fight because I am always right and she is always wrong. I never fought with her except when she kept putting me down for everything. She already has a new guy and it hurts because I really loved her. I guess I am just trying to find out if this kind of stuff happened to you as well because I am sick inside knowing I cant reason with her. She wont even take my calls. I just cant beleive she was so wonderful and then she said matter of fact “all you saw was the good, now your seeing some of the bad” Its very scary knowing I shared my bed with someone who can be so mean and brutal to me. I wish we never had the conversation. Thanks for listening. Any suggestions to move on would be helpful. Thanks.

  6. William
    May 25, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Dear Doc,
    It sounds as if you just described my recent ex perfectly but I am still curious about something. Is it “normal” for a man to become physically abusive in relationships with these type of women? And why would he stay anyway if he does and doesnt respect himself for doing so?

  7. tndy
    May 25, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Wow, everything that has been said on this website fit mmy bf’s ex to a T. When he told her she needed to get a job because they were not exactly financially stable she told him “no man I’m with will ever make me work”. She had him believing he was crazy. She is keeping his child from him becaause she says we are on drugs with “evidence”. She tried to put a protective order against me stating I was stalking her when I don’t even know what she drives and never go near her home. She had a job for a few months and then got pregnant, married the man and quit. She made up a myspace in his name, even hacked into his ACTUAL myspace and printed out emails that he and i supposedly wrote. Every month his child has some kind of illness or another. I am scared for his son and hope we are able to expose the person she truly is in court and get full custody with no visitation. I am a mother to a now 5 year old and never in my life have I ever acted this way towards my ex-husband. He has every right to see his child and he knows I take care of our son to the best of my ability, I am a cna and emt and could never imagine not working, especially the way the economy is now. Do you have any advice to fight this psycho woman?

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 1:11 am

      Hi tndy,

      Sorry for my delayed reply. I lost your comment in the shuffle. Your bf’s ex sounds like a real piece of work. He’s lucky to have you for emotional support through all of this.

      My advice is to document all of her crazy behaviors. Save abusive emails and voicemails. Have your bf bring a witness with him when he picks up and drops of the kids. That’s when some of these women like to call the police with false abuse allegations.

      When she files a frivolous complaint in court, file a counter-complaint as quickly as possible. Don’t wait to argue your side in court. If she hacked into your MySpace account, call your local police department. What she did is called cyberstalking and it’s ILLEGAL.

      Get copies of his son’s medical records and speak to the doctor to find out if he thinks the illnesses are related to possible neglect, abuse or stress. Also, find an attorney who specializes in high conflict personality cases.

      Hope this helps,
      Dr T

  8. TB
    May 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I’ve been reading the posts and relate as my npd wife moved out 15 months ago. As time progresses, I find myself getting back in touch with myself. A narcissist only as power if his/her victim is afraid of loss…loss of the “relationship”, loss of status, credit…as long as the victim tries to protect themselves from loss, the narcissist is in control.

    The things I was most afraid of losing were built on shifting sand…I was spending my time, money and energy trying to prop up something that never should have been. What is funny is my npd-stbx got very frightened when she realized she would lose too.

    There is NO relationship…anymore than a mirage in the desert is real, so you are not losing anything…Your relationship is in the future…the narcissist can only look forward to more of the same, until they end up alone, old and living with one of their children, if that child will have them.


    • shrink4men
      May 3, 2009 at 12:08 am

      Hi TB,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. The description of your NPD is very apt. If you’re afraid of losing the relationship; they have you. If you try to be reasonable and kind; they have you. If you offer them love; they have you. The only ting NPDs fear is losing control, being exposed for who they truly are and actually having to support themselves financially (at least the female variety).

      You’re right. You’re relationship is in the future and I hope you find a relationship that gives you comfort and peace.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  9. hermes
    March 31, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Thanks Dr T,

    My question at the end was really rhetorical, because I knew the answer, but I was reflecting with a great deal of sadness on what the future might hold for my husband’s daughters.

    As you say, only time will tell.

    Another thought that I’d like to share with you and your readers from dealing with a malignant narcissist of the highest order (amplify what you’ve written about by 50 times), is about the narcissist within ourselves.

    I believe that to truly liberate ourselves from the insidious, soul/life depleting NPD connection, whomever that person might be, we need to look at our own personal internal narcissist. It’s very very hard because everything inside us wants to deny that we have someone like that inside us, particularly if we have been dealing with one that is horrendous!

    My husband, and even I who have been unwillingly drawn into the orbit of a malignant narcissist, have had to examine our own narcissistic traits and understand these as the ‘hooks’ used by the malignant narcissist to reel us in and feed on us.

    That light that you talked about shining on the ex wife’s secrets we have had to shine on ourselves as well – and it’s been BLOODY hard! (Excuse me, it’s an Australian expression.) In the case of NPD it’s really easy to lay all the blame on the other person simply because their behaviour is so awful and so extreme … the internet is full of people complaining about their shocking experiences with NPD (and I do not want to diminish this).

    However, my husband and I believe that in the end, to truly sever the energetic connection with toxic people like this (and to recover), we must look at what has created it within ourselves. In our case, and especially my husband’s, it was his own inner narcissist (albeit somewhat dormant).

    Shining the light on it, understanding it, confronting it have really assisted to begin the process of disconnection with the malignant ex wife, have begun to disarm the poisoned hooks and shown her up for the emotionally bankrupt, shivelled up, tragic human being that she is.

    There are times, when despite everything, I feel sadness and compassion for the tortured and frightened inner child within the narcissist. Having said that, I do believe that NPD is a spiritual disease and that deep down they know the truth that what they do is morally wrong.


  10. hermes
    March 30, 2009 at 6:13 am

    My husband’s ex wife is a malignant narcissist and I can assure you that I have NEVER met anyone like her. Never. What an innocent I was!

    I have read extensively on the subject, in order to understand how we might respond to her continued abuse, but much of the internet writings ignore the fact that women make extremely effective and brutal narcissists.

    The effect that a female narcissist has on family relationships is toxic in the extreme, but it is generally hidden to the outside world and close family members are often scared or ashamed to reveal the dysfunction for fear of the consequences.

    My husband’s response has been to try and minimise contact (with her) as much as possible, but it’s very hard as they have 2 daughters and we see them regularly. Now that they are teenagers it is easier as he contacts them directly, but we are left with the legacy of her narcissistic programming and the fact that she has brainwashed them to believe that he is no good, has never done anything for them and does not care for them. Of course none of this is actually true, but it is believed regardless. These beliefs have been so deeply inculcated and are so unquestioned that their relationship with their father will always have this negative spectre in the background.

    My husband’s daughters have been denied the experience of having a good relationship with their father, because she needed to devalue, humiliate and emasculate him to make herself look good.

    The really sad thing is that the children of narcissists carry these behavioural models into their own dealings with people. How will his daughters treat the men in their lives as they begin to make their way in the world and then create families of their own?

    • shrink4men
      March 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      “How will his daughters treat the men in their lives as they begin to make their way in the world and then create families of their own?” They’ll recreate the cycle of destructive relationships they learned from their mother. They’ll devalue men and blame the men in their lives for their self-created unhappiness. When they feel criticized or slighted, they’ll punish their men by raging at them and cutting them off. They’ll behave unreasonably, be critical, demeaning and abusive and then blame their men. Basically, they’ll be younger versions of their mother.

      Hopefully, at some point, they’ll recognize the crash and burn relationship pattern and seek help to gain awareness and make new relationship choices. My blood began to boil for you as I read your post, Hermes. I agree, narcissistic women are highly effective abusers. They’re emotionally brutal and toxic beyond belief. Minimizing and ending contact is really the only way to deal with them.

      Sadly, for men who have children with female NPDs, they can’t do this. Although, many of these women engage in parental alienation (by the way, what your husband’s ex has done to their daughters is called Hostile Aggressive Parenting, which has resulted in Parental Alienation Syndrome), which causes irreversible damage. It’s a form of child abuse and a way for the NPD to continue to abuse her ex by remote access.

      Don’t keep this woman’s secret. The best way to end abuse is to shine the unflinching light of day on it. Most NPDs are aware of what they’re doing and how shitty they are—they’ll never admit it, of course—they’re deathly afraid of exposure. I have no sympathy for these women. They’re some kind of alternate life form that passes for human. They’re emotional predators. Vulnerable individuals (children and kind, generous, gentle, and loving adults) need to be protected from them.

      I have my own vicarious experience with an NPD. I try to educate my friend about what’s really going on, that he’s not the crazy one, and that what he experienced over the years isn’t normal, but an insidious form of emotional abuse. It’s a difficult road.

      A female narcissist is extremely adept at brainwashing her victim into believing he’s bad and crazy and, “lucky” she “puts up with him.” (Try as I might, I still find that last one so absurd that I can’t wrap my mind around it).

      Basically, anyone who has been involved with a NPD needs to be deprogrammed. Every now and again, a former victim will defend the NPD and say, “She wasn’t that bad” or “She’s just hurt and scared” or, worse yet, believes her lies. When a man begins to say things like this about his ex-NPD, he’s setting himself up to be sucker punched by her again. It’s helpful to remind him that she really is that bad and that narcissists don’t play fair if they have no compelling reason (to them) to do so.

      Your husband’s best bet is to remain a patient and loving presence in their lives. However, he should NOT tolerate verbal/emotional abuse from his kids. When they start lashing out like their mother, I recommend he tell them that he loves them dearly, but that verbal abuse is unacceptable.

      Some experts argue against telling kids the truth about what is going on in cases of PAS. I don’t understand this. If an adult has been programmed/brainwashed by a cult leader, their loved ones and sometimes the authorities do everything in their power to snap them out of it and free them from the destructive spell. When a mother is brainwashing her children to devalue and hate their father, we tell the father to “be patient,”” to take the abuse, and not say anything about his ex to the children about her bad behavior. Finding a way to illuminate the truth without trashing the alienating parent is probably the best course of action if possible.

      Perhaps, when children are very young they need to be shielded from how out of whack their mothers are, but teenagers more than have the mental capacity to be told the truth. By not acknowledging the mother’s abusive behavior, you send the message that how she treats people is ok and the kids will emulate these behaviors that have been modeled for them.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

    • Robin
      April 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      The effect that a female narcissist has on family relationships is toxic in the extreme, but it is generally hidden to the outside world and close family members are often scared or ashamed to reveal the dysfunction for fear of the consequences.

      AMEN! I just said this in my post it is my fear. I’m very afraid..

  11. Ray
    March 22, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I asked why she want to be involved with such a horrible person (me) more than once. She would tell me I have a victimization problem. Back then I didn’t accept her comment and I never really understood it. Now since I have read the article on “Professional Victim” I know it was another incident of her projecting her disorder onto me.

    Early in our relationship I recognized that most of the things she accused me of were true of her. But then I just got worn down by the abuse and lost site of what my senses were trying to tell me. We had both been involved in alanon so I expected truth and compassion from her. That misplaced trust set me up to accept her abuse but it also gives me a way back to sanity.

    Confirming a previous comment, when I suggested couples therapy she said in an angry matter-of-fact tone, “I’m only going to tell you this once, and then never again. I have been in therapy X years and in alanon for X years. So I’m telling you that couples therapy is not going to help until you address your problems.” I think that she perceived my suggestion that we equally confront our problem as an attack on her false sense of superiority.

    • shrink4men
      March 23, 2009 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Ray,

      These women are masters of projection and projective identification. They’re truly gifted when it comes to hanging their shit on others—sorry, can’t think of a more eloquent way to state it. Good for you for recognizing what she was doing.

      These women can absolutely wear you down; even when you intellectually know better. The professional victim/bully-predator-abuser are opposite sides of the same coin. They attack those whom they perceive as weak (i.e., kind, gentle, vulnerable, honest) and when you call them on their abusive BS, they play the helpless, trod upon victim and accuse you of being abusive. It’s a twisted mind trick. I’m glad you didn’t bite on it.

      Thanks again for posting. I hope you’ve moved on from that toxic woman and are with someone who is kind and capable of reciprocating warmth, personal accountability and affection.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  12. alwaysjan
    March 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I happened upon your blog this week and have already referred several readers to it. I’m a teacher and wrote a series “Close Encounter with a Narcissist” about my own “friendship” with a man with NPD. Many people have written comments, including quite a few men. I have no experience with women who have NPD, and I think your posts could help them greatly. You’re an excellent writer. And when I saw your first comment was from your mom – well, how sweet is that! My blog is planetjan.wordpress.com. Consider yourself blogrolled.

    • shrink4men
      March 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Jan,

      There seems to be a double standard when it comes to emotional abuse; we kneecap men who perpetrate it and enable women who hurt their loved ones. Psychology and society give women a pass who engage in abusive behaviors and vilify men. I believe that abuse is abuse, no matter the gender of the offender. When I used to practice therapy, I can’t count the times I had to educate my male patients that their girlfriends/wives weren’t “just being emotional;” that they were emotionally abusive.

      Thanks again, Jan. I’ll definitely check out your blog.

      Dr T

  13. Jon
    March 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    “They seem to use therapy (usually with a shrink they’ve manipulated into believing their tales of adversity in the face of lesser beings who can’t appreciate how wonderful they are and who stifle their creativity, talent, intellect, blah, blah, blah) to cloak themselves in a false shield of individuation. “I’ve done my work, you haven’t. I know, you don’t. I solved my issues, my therapist says you’re angry.” Meanwhile, the opposite of everything they say is true.”

    wow – no truer words could have been written about my exgf. She knows all of the jargon (I don’t know if she’s ever actually been in any type of therapy other than self-help books/groups), has read all of the books, and even has a job as an ‘intuitive healer’ and practitioner of ‘NLP’ (some say this is a positive form of therapy. I personally believe it is the study of manipulation…)

    Every problem that we had in our relationship, according to her, was due to my issues. That I needed to do more ‘work’ on myself, and that I needed to address my communication issues. (oddly enough, she seemed to be the only person in my life that I had communication ‘problems’ with. ) When I’d ask her to be specific, she’d never really tell me what my ‘issues’ were, but just that I needed to do more work on myself the way that she had. Now, mind you, her idea of ‘work’ was going to LGAT (large group awareness trainings) sessions that in my mind, only seemed to foster an attitude of selfishness/narcissism and all ended up being upsell multi-level marketing schemes. Truly astonishing levels of deceit.

    In my case, her ability to be manipulative was obvious and it actually made sense – because she’d made a living out of it and was continually honing her skills. The lack of empathy was the hardest thing to take. A complete inability to see things from anyone’s perspective than her own.

    • shrink4men
      March 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

      Yes, these ladies are quite the mindf-*ks. They project their own pathologies onto their nearest and “dearest.”

      I told a friend that when his ex begins psycho-jargon name calling—which is what assigning diagnostic labels with the intent to belittle and demean someone is, nothing but a 50-cent version of name calling—to remember everything that she says to him or accuses him of is, in reality, true of her.

      She’s the one who needs to have her head examined. She has no empathy. She’s a narcissist. She’s labile. She’s angry. She has mood swings. When dealing with NPDs/BPDs, you need to dip yourself in a kind of psychological Teflon, so that when they project their sh*t onto you, it doesn’t stick.

      Dealing with someone without empathy can be truly maddening. You can’t quite believe what’s happening and their distorted interpretations of reality. You begin to question your own sanity and then, worst of all, start to believe their nonsense.

      Thanks again for the comments, Jon. They’re very helpful in bringing light to these abusive personality types.

      Dr T

      • Robin
        April 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

        “n regards to your comment”

        “When dealing with NPDs/BPDs, you need to dip yourself in a kind of psychological Teflon, so that when they project their sh*t onto you, it doesn’t stick”.

        Please Dr. T, tell us where this TEFLON is. Tell us where to obtain it. I need some and like, yesterday! I am amazed at what I’ve found here on your site. Although I realize it’s mostly men who are seeking your expert advise maybe they can learn from other’s it’s not limited to ex-wives or exgf’s.

        There are 69 year old women who are NPD’s/BPD’S who some HOW? managed to partially raise 4 children in her lifetime, all the while being such a manic suffering from NPD and BPD. I could go on and ask why our father’s didn’t come and take their children away from this insane woman. She had zero business raising a bird let alone 4 children. I’ve always called her, “Mommy Dearest.” (under my breath because if she heard me, she would knock me out) she is violent if she needs to be. It’s amazing we’re all 4 not in mental ward’s. I’m the only child who sought out help. I knew something was very wrong so I got help. I’m so grateful I had the presence of mind to get help early on in life. It’s made me a better person.

        Being her child was been a real chaotic job! She never smiles, never laughs, joy and happiness is something that eludes her. Her chaos, lies, bullying, manipulations, anger, rages, and mood swings is a chore to deal with. Just imagine being a little child and this is the Mother you get stuck with! How I got stuck with her (as an adult) I’ll never know. She’s always ran from everything all of her life. All of our lives she would murder (kill) our pet’s if she thought we loved them more than her. She would beat us into submission if we didn’t like it.

        I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to cope with what she did to me.(us) One rule I made at age 21 is I promised myself I’d never, ever, ever, be like that woman! At age 21 I honestly had no clue how mentally ill she is. I’ve learned this slowly over the years. Honestly until I came here. I didn’t realize what she really was 100%. I’d been told she was this & that by some of my therapist over the years.

        I got so lucky and married at the age of 28. I had a truly beautiful man in my life he was my true soul-mate. I finally broke down and told him all about her and our history. I was so afraid of being judge and I could not truly bond or trust anyone due to her constant chaos of “I’ll love you IF, now I don’t love you because” the daily routines with her love (if that is what she calls love. To me, love is unconditional) Her love comes with extreme conditions. And I can’t honestly say she feels love or has the capability to love anyone but her own insane behavior. She gets a thrill out of torturing other’s. I’ve watched her do it. She will give an evil chuckle type sound that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. She’s scary and I do believe she knows she scares me. I’ve never verbalized my fear of her to her. I’d be too afraid because she would use it against me to further abuse me.

        My husband knew she was a big bully and she used threats to control everyone. She never attempted to control him. He was the buffer between me and the family. It was a place he fell into naturally as he analyzed the situation a few times. It was the only time in my life, I felt safe. He was killed in 2001 in a MVA. He was the only person who seen her for what she truly was and it was not because of what I told him. He had a keen eye for dysfunction. He came from a large family of psychologist, psychs, and therapists from CA. He was in the “know.”

        Women like her are great at manipulating other’s into thinking they are Carol Brady (far from it) more like the Devil in disguise. Since my husband passed away I’ve been forced to deal with her insanity. She keeps injecting herself back into my life. I can’t get away from her.

        Strange thing is, she ran off and abandoned us all when we were little children. She was always threatening us when she was unhappy that she was just going to LEAVE us all one day and that day came. Imagine spending your young life wondering what you did that was so bad your own mother left you? I felt this shame and pain daily. It was so painful, thinking about it brings me to tears.. It wasn’t me that made her leave and even though I know this now it doesn’t erase the pain I’ve suffered at her hands. She left me at the age of 10, my brother at the age of 4..Of course, she says it’s all a big fantasy I created in my vivid imagination. I WISH! I wish it weren’t true. I would be grateful to have all of the thousands & thousands of dollars back in my bank account I’ve spent in therapy over her insanity.

        The small circle of family that is still alive knows she did it. Her friends at the time all turned their backs on her. In the South you don’t leave your children or they will banish you for life!

        People like her do not need to ever be Mother’s or wives or girlfriends. I feel sorry for the men who had to deal with her. And there were MANY! Nobody respected her and most people who know her, knows she is mentally ill and they treat her like a fool but she eats them up and stabs them in the back.

        She is extremely superficial and she uses people to gain what she needs. I’m not sure I mentioned this before but she is a very, very, ANGRY woman. It oozes from her pores. I have spent my entire adult life trying to never, ever be like her..And I’m not. I’d never bully a person into getting my way ..

        My husband always comforted me and told me he had no clue how I came from that family. I was the most normal person he’d ever met in his life..that I was good, kind, giving, loyal and true. He was so right, now that I look at my life vs. hers. I could never be that way. Her chaotic mothering style has made me very outspoken and I tell it like it is because I can’t deal with people who are liars and backstabber’s like her.

        I’ve always told my friends. If you want the honest, blunt truth ask me. I’ll give it to you. And I’ve done it many times. They always know (my friends) they will get the brutal truth from me. I refuse to candy coat anything I say because of the way she is. Now mind you, I don’t go around being rude, hurtful or kicking other’s. I am a kind person and when I am asked for my opinion I give it very diplomatically. I’ve been called, Julia Sugarbaker..I’m so thankful that I didn’t turn out like her.

        I’ve hurt all of my life over her running off and leaving us..Now I’m sort of glad because had she been around all of my life I could have taken on her issues. I didn’t thank GOD! I honestly need to get control of my situation and soon. I can’t see living with her in my home another 6 months or a year.

        It’s time she bullied someone else and call them liars and mentally insane! OH The names she calls me! She will do it to the very next person she lives with and then lie on them. I’ve seen this behavior all of my life. It’s a shame. What I would have given in life to have had a semi-normal Mother. Its just not in the cards.

        Love your Blog!

      • racketman1103
        March 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

        I did that with my ex. I asked her “Why do you want to see me or talk to me if I’m so incredibly abusive and all these horrible things you say I am” I got a true deer in the headlights look and she then quickly changed the subject.

  14. Frank
    March 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    My question is, where was the Internet back in the 1980’s when I met and then (after she asked me to) married into my NPD’s nightmare. I always knew there was something very wrong, but who knew of this type of bizarre personalities back then. I certainly didn’t.

    After she continually pulled me back in after incident after incident, I became a dutiful co-dependent for 17 years. Seventeen years I wish I had back. After building her the million dollar dream home, she thanked me by running around with any married guy who seemed worth the conquest. She even said at one point, “why do you care what I do with my free time as long as I am happy.”

    It took the 9/11 incident to build up enough courage to put my chaos to an end. We promised to keep all the craziness from our family and friends for the children sake. Then she quietly went about telling lies and distorting truths to everyone we knew. When I asked for the checkbook, which I hadn’t seen in well over a year, she called 911. The officer had to ask her to please hand the checkbook over to me, but now she could say she had to call the police on me.

    I gave her a very generous lump sum child support package. She used it to buy herself a beautiful new townhouse. What about the children? I sent them away to private school to keep them away from her as much as possible. So, she got their money and not them (nine months out of the year), so she’s pretty happy. Satisfied? No, NPD’s are never satisfied.

    Me? I’m still miserable. After seven years since the breakup, I’ve finally opened up to others about what I went through. I just realized keeping the madness to myself wasn’t helping me and to move on, I needed to share what occurred.

    I wouldn’t wish the misery on anyone. I hope anyone dating someone that they find peculiar finds your website and reads this information. And then, most importantly, walks away (run away is my advice) from that person. She (he) will not change, not for you – not for anyone.

    Thanks for this site!

    • shrink4men
      March 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for posting a comment. Looks like you were dealing with classic NPD behaviors. These people are truly, at heart, despicable. They only behave nicely when they’re feeling magnanimous or when they’re afraid of being found out and/or punished.

      NPDs perceive being generous and nice as weakness, so I’m not surprised that your ex wasn’t satisfied. At least she allowed the kids to go to boarding school. Strange, since that means she had to give up some control. Unless she’s of the schizoid variety type and doesn’t like to have her precious time intruded upon—even by her children.

      I’m glad that you’re finally connecting with others and talking about your experiences. While it doesn’t change what happened, it’s strangely comforting to know that you’re not alone. I think of it as a kind of camaraderie of people who’ve gone through battle together. Unless you’ve experience these horrid creatures you really can’t understand what it’s like.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  15. Ken
    February 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I am very hopeful right now in reading such a spot on profile of my ex girlfriend who “accidentally” got pregnant twice (while supposedly on the pill) while early on lavishing me with expensive gifts (later found to be opened on credit fraudulently in my own name). She subsequently became more and more abusive throughout the relationship and attempted to control every aspect of my life. She succeeded for 11 years because I devoted myself to being a loving parent until I could no longer take the abuse of the relationship. Now that I have left her she has alienated my children completely, (I don’t know if I will ever reestablish the bonds we had) is costing me as much money as she possibly can sueing me for child support retroactive to my 10 and 11 year old boy’s births. This is truly a nightmare, this woman plays the victim to everyone while absolutely abusing my children and using them as tools of vengeance against me. Then she blames me, and my children and her family and seemingly the courts not only believe her; but empower her to destroy my beloved bond with my boys. She also has other children who are older from a previous marriage and they absolutely employ this mobbing behavior you spoke of. My boys don’t have the slightest chance to resist this abuse and I am nearly powerless to fight back without winning a lottery or two to cover legal expenses. This is especially so since she makes over 6 figures a year in healthcare and comes from a well to do family. There is so much to tell in my story that absolutely fits the profiles for PAS and NPD and crosses into a couple of the other categories that I could write all day and not tell you everything.
    Please….if anyone has successfully dealt with a maniac like this, I am in desperate need to know what best to do to salvage some semblance of my relationship with my boys. I am shocked and appalled as I write this very moment with tears in my eyes. I just can not believe that as a Father I am chased out of my childrens lives by this bully. She may not be big and tough but she is smart in all the wrong ways. She is playing the system like a fiddle and I WANT MY BOYS BACK!

    • shrink4men
      February 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Ken,

      Reading your email makes me so angry that I’m shaking. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m just now becoming familiar with parental alienation. I want to believe in justice and fair play. I want to believe there isn’t such blindness and prejudice in the judicial system, but I’ve been naive.

      It seems as if the system colludes with abusers, as long as you’re a woman or if you’re a man with connections. When I worked in direct clinical services, we “joked” that if you really want to screw a kid up, you hand them over to children’s services—the federal and state organizations that are supposed to protect kids. It’s not funny, but we used gallows humor to cope. The whole system is like looking into a funhouse mirror—twisted and distorted.

      Stories like yours need coverage in the legitimate media, not just the blogosphere. Why aren’t shows like 20/20, Diane Sawyer, and Oprah Winfrey doing shows on parental alienation and men and children who are emotionally abused by women? I just did a search on Oprah.com and there isn’t one piece of content about parental alienation. The media only covers the extreme cases when there’s a body count or a celebrity like Alec Baldwin, but what about cases like yours that slip under the radar?

      NPDs in particular are highly adept at putting on a good face to manipulate others and the system. I assume that psychologists and psychiatrists are called in to evaluate these men and women in family court, why aren’t they knowledgeable about these issues?

      If you’re not already involved with PAS support groups and organizations, I encourage you to get involved. It may not solve your relationship problems with your children, but you’ll feel less alone and get some support.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

      • 20yearsin
        February 16, 2015 at 7:24 am

        A few years later but still true… the Feds, the states and the counties are incompetent and actually worsen situations for abused people and particularly children. Children have no voice in the judicial/legal system and abused parents are treated like dirt. It is all turned into a big Legal money maker mascarade.

    • Will
      February 12, 2010 at 3:05 am

      sounds just like my ex. Have patience Brother, the Boys will soon learn the truth from their own experience. My Boys (18 and 19) have nothing to do with their Mother, they recognize a nut when they see one. I had the same problem with WEALTHY in-laws.
      They would buy her expensive Lawyers but never a dime for child support. (I had custody because of her drug use) I actually screamed outside a court room “You can pay people to tell yourlies, but you can’t hide from the truth” (her lawyer dumped her soon after) I gave up on trying to fight her after I learned my five year old was raped three times by her stepson and she filed court papers saying it happened at my house, I knew about it, was OK with it,and that our other son did it!! It happened when he was five and I didn’t find out til he was ten. I asked him why he didn’t tell me and he said “I was afraid you wouldn’t love me” I cried for months.

    • Roy
      July 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      My son is going through EXACTLY the same as you. She even convinced the judge that she was the victim in all of this!!!! Their daughter is the pawn she uses for vengeance. Stopping the child from going to Disneyland just so dad would suffer! Creating ‘situations’ in front of the child then twisting it so that it seemed he was causing the hurt to the child. Utterly pathetic. Why are these women allowed to mentally abuse their children and ruin other family members lives?

  16. Bryce
    February 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    What I wrote was very tongue in cheek.

    While it is interesting, in an academic sense, to discuss traits and disorders and try to dissect them according to DSM criteria, in real life, I have found this to be as maddening as dealing with the crazy behaviors themselves.

    When it comes to the abusive behaviors of the cluster B variety, it is, as you so eloquently point out, irrelevant to which diagnoses is applicable.

    Said another way: “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck”

    Or something like that.

    My ex never accused me of MH issues, as it was never discussed concerning HER behavior.

    I was totally naive about PD’s and related issues during our relationship. I only found out what I had been dealing with after the relationship ended.

    I found out more about her past, true character and former MH issues after I pulled the plug (for behavior that would be unacceptable regardless of MH issues)

    I found out that she had once tried to commit suicide, that she had been taking Prozac for years, I even found out about past relationships that she had never divulged, (including ones during our relationship).

    It was all like a giant jigsaw puzzle that only made any sense at all once I was able to put a name to it and recognize it for what it was.

    Of course, by this time, I DID have a MH issue in the form of PTSD symptoms!!…lol

    Like you said: “these women need to come with a warning label”

    As always, keep up the good work.


    • shrink4men
      February 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      I know, Bryce. As I mentioned before, I appreciate your sense of humor. It reminds me of one of my dear friends who is part Scot and part Welsh (poor man;-).

      Yup, I agree. I think the diagnostic particulars are irrelevant. I write about them as a way to educate those on the receiving end about what and whom they’re dealing with and to help them understand that what they’re experiencing is abuse. There’s initial comfort in finding out “the why,” but knowing “why” doesn’t solve the problem, unfortunately.

      Thanks for your continued comments, Bryce. It’s a great source of encouragement for me to continue writing.

  17. dbear
    February 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    “NPDs just beat you down and BPDs wear you out with all of their internal chaos and neediness. It makes me tired just thinking about it. ”

    Based on this statement I think my spouse is both! I am beat down and worn out. I have also experienced being diagnosed with everything under the sun. She knows all the psychological jargon and uses it on everyone. She even buys the clinical textbooks not just the layman’s self help books!

    What is MH?

    • shrink4men
      February 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

      Whoops! I apologize for slipping into jargon. “MH” is my shorthand for Mental Health.

      I’m shaking my head as I sit and write this reply, dbear. I’ve been wondering if the “junior therapist” role some of these folks take on is another textbook behavior or unique to the few cases I have direct experience with. It reminds me of religious fundamentalists who use the bible (or the holy writings of any sect) to justify their hateful behaviors—except these folks use psychology instead of religion.

      • Alreadylost
        October 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm

        With the rise of the Internet the ability of the NPD to “diagnose” her victim has risen exponentially. It’s not a few isolated cases any more. I, for instance, am “anti social, bipolar, manic depressive, abusive, a victim of child abuse, have Aspergers syndrome, have an addictive personality, and am a sociopath” according to my abuser. All brought to you by those wonderful folks at google. Funny thing though. My therapist has never said anything about any of those problems.

        • shrink4men
          October 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

          I would call that “self-diagnosis” followed by a serious case of projection, Alreadylost.

          • Alreadylost
            October 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm

            Well they do seem to be able to twist anything to fit their world view. Not that I’m without my flaws but I don’t think I fit all those categories if any. It’s a long road back to reality from here but one step at a time

  18. Bryce
    February 15, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Gee Doc;

    I am almost envious of those whom have only had to deal with a borderline woman.

    B :)

    • shrink4men
      February 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      If only it were one or the other. As you’ve said yourself, there’s a lot of overlap. It can be quite a tangle, diagnostically speaking. I think relationships with both are equally bad in their own way.

      NPDs just beat you down and BPDs wear you out with all of their internal chaos and neediness. It makes me tired just thinking about it. Did your ex accuse you of having MH issues in addition to everything else? There seems to be a certain strain of these personality types who co-opt the therapeutic process as a way to pathologize their “loved one” (and/or anyone who challenges, confronts or criticizes them) and projects their issues and bad behaviors onto them.

      They learn just enough psycho-jargon about their own pathology, but instead of recognizing the abusive behaviors, distortions, and emotional issues in themselves, attribute it to everyone else. Everyone else is crazy. Everyone else is a bully. Everyone else is a narcissist. They even buy books on these topics and begin diagnosing their partners, friends, co-workers, and family.

      They seem to use therapy (usually with a shrink they’ve manipulated into believing their tales of adversity in the face of lesser beings who can’t appreciate how wonderful they are and who stifle their creativity, talent, intellect, blah, blah, blah) to cloak themselves in a false shield of individuation. “I’ve done my work, you haven’t. I know, you don’t. I solved my issues, my therapist says you’re angry.” Meanwhile, the opposite of everything they say is true.

      I don’t think traditional insight therapy works with these folks. They twist the helping profession into another weapon in their arsenal of interpersonal torture devices. When I used to practice therapy, inevitably, I’d get a patient who just wanted to focus on how awful everyone in their life was and how badly they were being maligned. That was always a red flag for me. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn’t. I’d let them run with it for a little bit and then turn the focus back onto them.

      I’m always dismayed by MH “experts” who collude with them in this process. You go to therapy to work on you, not to complain about and change others. That’s another telltale sign that you’re dealing with one of the abusive personality types. It’s another version of not accepting personal responsibility, except they use the fields of psychology and psychiatry to do so.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Bryce. It’s always great to hear from you.

      Dr T

      • Keith
        November 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm

        Can they be borderline and Somatic Narcissistic at the same time? My ex was both I believe histrionic also? Sometimes it seemed like y6ou never knew which one would show its face ! do they often overlap and change depending on the situation?

    • Steven
      April 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Bryce :
      Gee Doc;
      I am almost envious of those whom have only had to deal with a borderline woman.
      B :)

      I am too..thank g-d for her saying I needed to see a therapist as I’d still be suffering

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