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. c
    June 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I visited this website for information and insight from a different point of view, not for therapy. Many times when examining yourself, it helps to see how other people are thinking, especially other people familiar with your same issues. Most women therapists are more sympathetic to the woman’s point view and take a different approach: Get out and forget him, end of story.This blog is by a woman telling men how other women are, and how to deal with it, i.e. Get out and forget her, end of story.

    The comments by others are very insightful to how a man might be feeling.

    • shrink4men
      June 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      Actually, there’s a lot more to it. Such as understanding yourself, figuring out what attracted you to an abusive relationship, what needs you’re trying to meet by staying, how to get yourself out of the relationship, recover and move on to have healthier relationships.

      The reason most therapists, people who have been abused and I encourage men (and women) who are in an ongoing relationship to get out is because, usually, the abusive partner will not acknowledge that their behavior is abusive and that they need help. You can’t heal yourself while still being abused, which is why you have to end the relationship. It may seem black and white to you, but it’s not.

      Furthermore, I’m sympathetic toward anyone, regardless of their gender, who is being abused. However, my site is geared specifically for men because, unlike women, they don’t have myriad resources to educate them about emotionally abusive relationships. And, when they go to these resources, they’re either turned away or have to read literature that talks about what jerks men are.

      You seem to be trying to take responsibility for yourself, but it’s still smacks of, “I did this, but this is what he did.” That’s not really taking responsibility. To work through this, you need to focus on yourself and your behaviors and your boyfriend needs to do the same. If you want a woman therapist who is totally sympathetic to you and will tell you that you’re completely right and your boyfriend’s a jerk, you should have no trouble finding one. Or you can find a therapist, be it man or woman, who will help you confront your choices and behaviors in order to end your mutual cycle of abuse, which may necessitate that you end the relationship.

    • Bill
      July 17, 2009 at 11:23 am

      A woman who calls other women on their crap? This is a miracle. You’re a dream come true doc. Keep up the fantastic healing crusade.

      • shrink4men
        July 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm

        Thanks, Bill. I’m not the only one. There are plenty of non-abusive women out there. You just have to adjust your radar!

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

  2. T
    June 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Dear Doc, I am using your site for the purpose of getting a better understanding of myself and what happened between C and I, and past relationships. I am now doing therapy and I thank you for your contributions and those of everyone else who frequent this site. I have abused but unfortunately I live in a country that is not in tune to the reality that women can be abusers as well so finding somewhere like this has helped me a lot over the past month. Once again thank you.

    • shrink4men
      June 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      You’re welcome and I wish you the best in your recovery.

  3. ralph
    June 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    C—- would you please send my ex an e-mail? She falls into the “souless bitch” category. Maybe you could make some headway with her. ==R

  4. ralph
    June 6, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Interesting letter, don’t know the background though. I actually wish MY ex had wrote it because at least this woman recognized she did SOME things wrong and is willing to investigate on some level what the problem is. So there appears to be hope. My ex would never acknowledge even that much and I guarantee it.

    • ralph
      June 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      excuse me. WRITTEN it.. lol. Bad grammar this early in the morning!

  5. c
    June 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    You are completely mistaken. Your website was recommended to me and I read most of the stuff on here. Most recently with a more open mind.

    I am responding to the topic from a different point of view. Not all people fit the exact stereotype of a souless bitch, maybe some people are actually interested in changing.

    • shrink4men
      June 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      If you truly wish to change, I wish you well and continue to encourage you to find a therapist offline. If I’m mistaken about your intentions, I apologize. However, the comment you left last week, in which you went through a checklist of abusive behaviors and said, “WOW… I’m a woman and I think this description applies to my ex man! Everything. 1-13. Especially the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde thing… and esp #11…” struck me as something deliberately inflammatory that you might have sent a link to your boyfriend to read.

      If you can recognize some of the behaviors of abusive women described here, that’s a great starting off point to bring to a therapist. Physically abusive relationships are not something you can fix by reading a blog site. It’s something you need live, in person help for and the sooner the better. As I mentioned before, by your description, you and you boyfriend seem to be in an equally abusive relationship dynamic. You seem to want to unravel who did what to whom first and assert that, “He’s abusive, too. He has problems, too.”

      In an ongoing physically and emotionally abusive relationship, it doesn’t matter who did what to whom first. You need to stop the “tit for tat” abusive behavior. It only escalates things. And, I agree, if your boyfriend is physically violent toward you, he definitely has problems, too. However, as far as I know, your boyfriend has never emailed me nor identified himself in a comment on my blog.

      Here is the link to my reply to your previous two comments regarding physical abuse. I stand by what I wrote last week and hope that both you and your boyfriend can extricate yourselves from this mutually, highly destructive relationship and break the mutual cycles of abuse.

  6. c
    June 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    The man i love sent me to this website to show me how he was feeling. Due to the fact that he has so many problems of his own that contributed to the downfall of the relationship, i declined to agree i was anything like the women described on this site. and for the most part, i am not. i didn’t cheat on him or scream at him or anything. i am very affectionate with him, more so than he is towards me. I am sympathetic and empathetic but he says it is towards everyone but him.

    But looking at it from a blank point of view, and taking out his horrible behaviour ( a lot of which he did in other relationships before me), i can see why he thinks i am the Narcissistic type.

    – I DO want him to love me no matter what I do. Or else!

    – This part here: ““I thought you were a kind and generous man. I see now that I was wrong.” She never ever takes personal responsibility for her hurtful actions.” is what I would say, and how I deal with the reality of my actions is usually to deny them to myself and therefore expect everyone to deny it too.

    The part about having empathy at his expense, I think is relative. He tends to have an attitude that everyone is against him, and has fallen out with all of my friends and my family for his own actions and treatment of me. When I try to show him that maybe it is his negative perception, and not just that everyone hates him for no reason, he accuses me of taking their side. As a natural peacemaker, a person who needs harmony and wants to just have a peaceful life where we all just get along, I don’t understand his need to not let the little things go. Many things I simply chalk it up as not enough to get upset about, he sees differently. In reality, I spend a lot of time defending him to the same people he falls out with. And they all think I am brainwashed or stupid. He wants me to stick up for him, but I have a fear that I will alienate myself from my friend and family just for him, and then he will treat me terribly and it will all be a big mistake.

    I know that I am more of a giver than a taker. I do expect a lot from him, but then also of myself towards him. I put him thru hell in how I dealt with my ex, I acknowledge that and regret so much the way I expected him to be there for me no matter what, when I was not handling things right and pushing and pulling him. I abused his love for me, by thinking he should love me no matter what I did.

    It is easy for me to blame him (and only him) for the disastrous state of our relationship, because he did do many awful things to me and my family and friends. I can’t just say that I drove him to it, because he has done it before. But if he is predisposed a certain way, then like alcohol my behaviour is a trigger for what freaks him out.

    I have tried on my own to be a better person, to make him feel more loved by me. But it doesn’t work. If I wanted to accept that I do have these traits you describe, how can I go about changing them for the good? This is the man I loved without reason or question, and if my self played a part in losing him forever, then I really, really need to find out how to fix it. He might be gone, but I don’t want it to happen again. And I don’t want to be some dysfunctional bitch who does everything wrong.

    • shrink4men
      June 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm

      As I have already told you in response to the emails you privately sent me two weeks ago and the comments you left last week, you need to find a therapist offline and work with him or her on addressing your owns issues and the same goes for your boyfriend. You can’t fix, heal him or make him change and he can’t make you change either. If you truly believe you might have some form of BPD or NPD, I suggest you find a Dialectical Behavior Therapist.

      I considered deleting this comment from my blog. I removed one of your comments last week that was, I think, a purposefully inflammatory comment left to anger your boyfriend. While I can’t be certain, it’s my sense that you and your boyfriend are using my website to further abuse each other. If he’s really being physically abusive, you will be better served seeking psychological help offline rather than leaving comments here for him to read as a way to push his buttons.

      Please get help.

  7. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I know, I just thought she loved me. Soulmates. I waited my whole life for a woman like her. Now I realize I was looking in the mirror at myself. Thanks.

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      Hold on, Brian. You were NOT looking in the mirror at yourself. You are not a cruel, soul-less, unempathic person; she is. You were lured in by the false front she put on when you first met her. I’d be willing to bet her true awful nature emerged gradually over time. The first time you get a glimpse of the emotional vampire that lurks beneath the surface it’s shocking. You don’t want to believe that’s who she is, so you accept her blame and believe the lies that it’s your fault.

      And then it happens again and again, wearing you down and destroying any sense of self-esteem you once had until she has you running around in circles like a dog chasing its own tail, trying to make her happy and get her to be nice to you again.

      Trust me, you did not wait your whole life for a woman like her. These women can’t be any man’s soulmate BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO SOUL. You’re not stupid. You’re not a bad person. You fell in love with an image of her that she wanted you to believe in. Many highly intelligent men and women have fallen for the same trap. You deserve better and you will find your soulmate, but she’s not it. You need to let go of this woman, recover yourself in order to find that soulmate. It can happen, but you’ve got to climb out of this black hole you’ve dug yourself in rather than dig yourself in deeper with self-recrimination.

  8. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    My ex wouldnt yell. She would wait until the next day when I was thanking her for joining me on a date. She would say things like “I cant beleive we were at dinner for only 2.5 hours, I am a woman, I would like to have money spent on me.” The next time I would try harder, go out and she would tell me “This is the wrong bar” why cant you find a place for us that plays live music. I write this stuff down and I cant help feeling sick inside knowing we went out, had sex and then she would put our night out together down so I would feel bad.

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm

      Ok, so yours isn’t a screamer. Does that make her covert (thanks, Mr E) attacks any less painful? She’s shut you off right now and isn’t directly abusing you. However, you’ve picked up the mantle and are torturing yourself for her in her absence. You’ve got to stop for the sake of your well-being.

      Take a break. Go for a run or whatever positive activity you like to do to blow off steam. You’ve got to get out of your head. This isn’t helping you right now.

  9. Mr. E.
    June 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Forgive me for telling more stories about my wife’s behavior, but here goes:

    Prior to xmas, she’d been hinting around about getting me an expensive item I’d wanted for a while but couldn’t get her permission to buy. One day we were out to eat and she said “do you want to go over to [the store] and show me [the thing] you want?”

    Of course, I got excited and said, “Heck yeah!”

    Then she started laughing, and said “you thought I really meant it!” She laughed for a long time. Meanwhile, I felt like a dope for getting excited. She thought she was absolutely hilarious.

    And one last event to get off my chest – we were at a store with a couple friends, and a particular song came on the radio. In the past I had admitted to my wife that I thought it was a beautiful song and it choked me up the first time I heard it.

    So this song comes on and in the middle of the store, loud enough for everyone within 50 yards to hear, she says “Hey, here’s that song! Mr. E is going to CRY!”

    I’ve mentioned before, I make up my mind that she is abusive, and then I doubt myself because, hey, I’m not good at taking a joke.

    Moving on, it would be great to see a post about some of the more covert abuse. It’s hard to remember, especially with all the horror stories some folks have shared, that abuse isn’t all screaming and throwing stuff.

    An example might be: asking if you’re sure after every single decision / continuing to present options after you’ve made a decision.

    Such as “Do you want tacos or chinese for dinner?”
    “or we could have steak”
    “I want chinese”
    “Or there’s always barbeque”

    Or perhaps, “You don’t want to donate THAT shirt,” -repeatedly – when you’re going through the closet.

  10. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Why do they devalue us and then discard us and run off somewhere else so soon. She dumped a 22 year marriage, dumped me after 2 years and within a month she has a new guy. How is it she told me all this love stuff and then just dump me and blame me for everything going wrong. I took her to dinner just like anyone else and she would pu me down the next day and tell me it was the wrong bar, restaurant, ect. What do they get from this?

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm


      You’re looking for reason and logic where it simply does not exist. It’s natural to try to make meaning out of your pain, but the only answer to all of your “why” questions is as follows: SHE SUCKS. SHE’S A MISERABLE EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING. THAT’S WHY.

      She does what she does to hurt you because causing other people pain is the only way she can make herself feel good. That’s it. There’s nothing more complicated to it. There’s nothing more to understand. There is no deeper meaning to be found. Why do sharks kill seals? Why do rattlesnakes strike? Because it’s their nature. You’re going to drive yourself and your friends and family crazy if you keep trying to find some deep cosmic meaning to her shitty behaviors.

      Read JP’s last reply to you. Educate yourself about emotional abuse and NPD/BPD and then start focusing on yourself, why you were drawn to this woman and how you’re going to heal.

  11. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I just had two more I wanted you to help me with. I invited her to a concert and she yelled at me for asking. That night she went to a Halloween party with her friends. She thinks its different days and she wrote she wanted to go out and I wouldnt do it. I got yelled at for asking to go to a concert. Her response is the bold.

    Also, read about her affair. I have to ask you guys what you think if a woman says this to you. Thanks.



  12. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I struggle with the fact that she said I didnt listen to her. She says she told me EXACTLY what she wanted and I wouldnt do it. I am hurting inside because in some ways I wish I could do more but financially couldnt. It just seems like I couldnt do anything right, all I wanted from her was to say thank you I had a great evening. We went out, made love, and the next day she put my date down. It cut like a knife in my heart because she was upset with things like the amount of time we went out, it was the wrong restaurant, ect. I am really struggling with this because I want to be a good man to the woman I love. I dont know if this makes sense but she is clearly lying in her email to me, but she really beleives that is what happened and she truly dumped me and doesnt care. How didnt I reach her heart when she told me she loved me, and begged me to saty a year ago. I am reading this stuff but I just dont understand how she can be so normal in the community and then just start freaking out when it was just us. I dont get it.

    • jp
      June 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm


      This site offers a brilliant analysis of emotionally abusive women and the affects of their behavior on the men in their lives.

      We can trade horror stories all day, but at the end of the day what counts most is your understanding of YOURSELF, not of these women.

      Most people run from abuse because it FEELS so bad. But others seem to dig their heels in, determined to fix it, or think their way out of it, or stay stuck in denial or indulge in other non-reality based thinking like,

      – if I love her MORE
      – spend more
      – understand her more
      – tolerate her more, etc

      she’ll HAVE to

      – be nice to me
      – give me what i need
      – love me for real, etc.

      But these are ineffective coping strategies based on flawed thinking.

      Forget about her for a minute and start asking:

      What is it about YOU that makes you vulnerable to this abusive woman? What’s the hook she uses to reel YOU in? What’s YOUR Achilles heel, YOUR kryptonite? Where’s your confidence in YOUR reality?

      You may not know the answers to these questions, but guess what? She does. And she’s driving tanks through the gaps in your line. (Sorry, was watching Band of Brothers last night.)

      Until you can identify and strengthen your weak point(s), you’ll be open to further abuse from her and from others.


      • shrink4men
        June 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

        These are excellent questions. The bottom line is that her abusive behavior will continue for as long as you remain involved with her. So why are you drawn to this woman? What are you getting out of it? What early childhood or adolescent relationship dynamic are you playing out? What unmet childhood needs are you trying to resolve through this woman, who, by the way, will never be able to meet these needs?

        Maybe she’s really nice once in a blue moon or really pretty or the sex is really great, but, at the risk of being crass, no blowjob, no matter how exquisite it is, is worth putting up with an abusive nutjob.

        Think about it.

  13. June 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm


    Read through this entire blog and can relate 100% to each and everything you shared. Been there, done that.

    My only comment is that maybe we’re better off to NOT SAY WE STILL LOVE THEM? Isn’t that a subtle form of self brain washing?

    My mantra is: I don’t want her, I don’t need her, I do not love her. This is what I tell myself every time the feelings of dispair, loneliness, guilt, etc… all well up inside.

    FYI, my EXBPDGF is a second time arounder for me. We initially dated from the time she was 19 through 24, at which point she broke up and moved out on me in the most cruel way. Didn’t speak or communicate for 24 years. Then one day, last September she runs into me and the whole relationship starts up again.

    She promptly dumps her BF of 7 years for me and moves me in to her home. Then we spent the next 6 months playing the push-pull game, with her all the time trying to manipulate my jealousy via contacts with her ex. In the end, I left in April – only to then get drug back in a couple of times. In the end (at least it was for me) I just stopped all contact with her and she’s giving me the silent treatment.

    This is okay; she’s evil – even more so than 24 years ago. I’ve gone out and begun dating some nice people (some of whom I had to immediately stop dating because they were BPDs in sheep’s clothing), and am on the mend.

    The bottom line is my emotions are such that I will never say the word ‘love’ and her name in the same sentence again, except when in the context of “for a lack thereof”. To me this would be like saying I loved a mass murderer.

    Take care, and good luck!

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

      That’s great, DerDane. Saying that some part of you still loves this woman IS a form of brainwashing. That hadn’t occurred to me before.

      Excellent, excellent point.

  14. ralph
    June 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Brian. YOU did not let her down, she let you down.. She’s a sick puppy. Get mad at her for abusing you instead of wanting this vampire back. Realize that you hurt because you have been emotionally abused. Just like we’v’e all heard of those abused women who get beat up by their husband and always go back. I could never figure out why a woman would do that. Well, now you and I both know cause she felt just like you feel now, and how I USED to feel.

    You are that abused woman right now. You’re in the hospital with a broken jaw. And you’re saying it’s your fault? Different angle and circumstances but it’s exactly the same syndrome. See what I mean?

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm

      Ralph’s analogy is absolutely spot on, Brian. When a woman tells you that nothing you do is ever good enough, it will make you feel needy as you frantically search for a new way to please her. The thing is, THERE IS NO PLEASING A WOMAN LIKE THIS. They take and take and take and take and take and IT’S NEVER ENOUGH.

      She hasn’t really moved on. If she was truly content and satisfied with whatever new poor bastard she’s gotten her hooks into, you wouldn’t be hearing from her. She’s rubbing your nose in it as a way to hurt you and make you regret telling her she has problems and you’re unhappy with her. It’s designed to make you crazy and to go running after her to beg her to be with you again. The question you need to ask yourself is why in the hell would you want this woman back? It’s much better for you if she really does move on and gets her jollies by making someone else miserable.

      And as for her highly abusive statement that she would have cheated on you in Cancun if it wasn’t for her friends—sod off! I would have handed her a one-way ticket back to MEH-HEE-KO, a box of condoms, divorce papers and said, “Adios, chica loco.” (Please note: I don’t speak Spanish, so I may not have gotten that last bit entirely correct).

      You’re still in the early stages of sorting this out, Brian, but please stop second guessing and beating up on yourself. Hasn’t your ex beaten on you enough already?

      Dr T

  15. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 10:03 am

    my ex did that to me with her Cancun comments about how I am lucky she has friends with her to prevent her from cheating on her husband. The weird part is that it came out of nowhere. I am sitting here in total shock about her email and how she is lying about the events that took place. Her claims about me not wanted to do go out, everytime we went out the next day she would put it down. I would try harder the next time and next day another stab at me.I guess my biggest regret is that I finally lost it and threatened to leave. I feel huge amount of guilt thinking I am wrong to threaten relationship. I just didnt know what else to do. At the end she was telling her girlfriend how needy I was. That bothers me so much inside because I started becoming that way because she would never be happy with anything I did over the last three months. She would dump on me retract, and then act like nothing happened until the next time I took her out. I cant beleive this is happening, I miss the woman i met so much and now she is giving herself to someone else like our 2 years meant absolutely nothing. She is over me and with the way she wrote the events as she saw them, I know I am the bad guy. That is why I hurt so bad, I never wanted to let her down. And she says I did. As a man, that hurts because I didnt know what else to do.

  16. ralph
    June 5, 2009 at 7:10 am

    At the risk of over-blogging here. I have to share one story about my ex that I consider one of her best “moves”. It was one of hundreds, but ranks in the top 10 for effect, and number 1 in the deviously simple but horribly evil catagory. I swear, I never could figure this out until recently, maybe everyone else would have seen it right away. I have never told anyone this, even my closest friends. I hope it’s not too gross, but it’s true.

    One night we were out to dinner, having a great time, bottle of wine, etc. On the way to the car, I remember it like yesterday, she blurted this out.

    “You know, I used to date a black man who had a penis (not the word she used) that was SO big he could throw it over his shoulder and burp it. I tell you Ralph, men like that really have special powers over women!!!”

    That’s a direct quote. Now I could care less if she dated a black man or whatever. What was weird was that she just blurted it out. And what to me was the weirdest part wasn’t that it was a black man, but the part about the size of his unit and how “spellbinding” this guy was. I never got out of her if the “spellbinding part was his unit size or that he was black. So can’t comment on that.

    At the time, we were not discussing the subject of big units, or past loves or lovers, or anything remotely close to the subject. I just looked at her and said…”WHY would you tell me that?? She looked offended that I would even ask. I dropped it at the time but it ate away at me for months. I am not or I should say WAS not concerned about my performance in that area, but it was a thought seed she planted in my mind.

    Again, what bugged me wasn’t the statement per se, but WHY she would tell me this! When I brought it up a later, just to ask….”hey babe, WHY on earth would you ever tell me or ANY man you were dating something like THAT??”

    She got very offended that I would even ask!! She just said she was just feeling comfortable with me and sharing and talking. Sort of a “hey, we can tell each other anything right? It meant nothing so just forget about it you boob!! sheesh you overthink things!! “.

    That was her entire explanation. Forget it was completely out of context at the time, totally out of left field, and just plain weird.

    Needless to say I was never satisfied with her answer. Now that I can see clearly, I realize it was another way for her to MindF–k me and plant the thought that I was maybe not all she wanted. Or maybe that I could never “measure” up to her expectations. Just a little comment that she threw out so non-chalant you would have thought she was discussing the weather on the way to the car!! I totally get it now, but it bugged me for over a year and was always somewhere in my head when we were doin our thing. Now that I know what she was doing it totally blows my mind.

    How’s that for a little sample of what these women are capable of? It’s so simple for me to see this now, but I have to give her credit for being “elegantly evil”. So innocent, so simple, yet devastatingly effective. All in one little comment. What do you think of that one? lol. I would like to know what everyone thinks. Thanks!!


    • StillRecovering
      November 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

      My ex did same thing to me. In my case, we WERE having difficulties in the bedroom (anxiety and some major trust issues), yet she would make comments about what she would do with her past boyfriends, and how great it was. Of course, I would tell her that the comments bothered me, and then she would tell me “that’s why I can’t tell you anything. You just get upset.” It also had the side effect of making things worse in the bedroom, and gave her an excuse to avoid intimacy. I am finally away from this woman, the divorce was finalized last week, but the pain is still there. I have no remaining romantic interest in this woman, but I’m still mourning for what could have been, the woman I thought she was. I’m hoping that the saying “time heals all wounds” is accurate, because the pain can be difficult to deal with.


    • March 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      mine did something simliar, it was out of the blue and randow but what she said is sometimes i just like to get fuk’ed really hard lol

  17. ralph
    June 5, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Dr. T,

    You are so right!! (you are really starting to scare me!!) She is already e mailing me that “you really missed the boat” and could have had the “most wonderful woman in the world” and that “you have no idea how great a wife I would have been” etc etc.. Talk about dodging a bullet? I think I dodged a cannonball!!!Talk about serendipity, I found this blog days before and during the time I was almost ready to cave.

    I do have a question though. Tough to admit but I was deeply in love with this monster. I know on some level I still am even though I know what’s up. Will time take care of that? I’m ok if that’s the answer. Right now I know I’m using anger, shock, and disbelief to deal with it, which is fine. Just don’t want to re-lapse so I want to be prepared. Thanks you’re the best Dr. T.


    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Ralph,

      I wish I could take credit for being a genius or psychic, but I’m neither. These women are all cut from the same cloth, which makes them extremely predictable in some ways—their attitudes, entitlement, inflated sense of self, fake outrage, lies, and hurtful behaviors. Nearly everything with these women is projection, so don’t forget it.

      She’s the one who would have been so lucky if she’d actually been able to trick or browbeat you into marriage. It’s going to take time to grieve the loss of this woman. Not the loss of the “monster” she is in reality, but the loss of the ideal, fantasy image you constructed in your mind and heart and the relationship you wished you could have with her. This fantasy image of the great sex and fleeting moments of sanity isn’t her true self, the monster is her true self. The woman and the relationship you love and miss exist only in the Land of If Only.

      In other words, “if only she weren’t so crazy…” “If only she weren’t so cruel…” “If only she wasn’t such a liar…” You’re going to have to go through this grieving process in order to get through it, let go and move on. The five stages include:

      1. Denial. You were in denial when you were with her and whenever you consider getting back together with her. When you catch yourself thinking, “She’s not that bad. She really does love me. I’m not perfect either…” you’re diving headlong into an ocean of denial. She is that bad. She doesn’t love you. She’s not capable of loving you or anyone else because deep down she loathes herself.

      2. Anger. This is a good step. Hold onto it for awhile. It’s what keeps you from going back. Try not to get stuck at this stage, however. Feel the anger and then let it go. This is when you’re aware of how badly she treated you. You’re angry with her for treating you the way she did and angry with yourself for putting up with it. It’s natural to feel angry when someone is cruel, dishonest or treats you unfairly. You had to stuff your anger when you were with her because expressing it would have led to more conflict and nastiness. You have a right to feel angry. Just express it in a productive manner (don’t hurt yourself or others), create boundaries for yourself and channel the energy into something healthy like sports, exercise or a project.

      3. Bargaining. This stage has a little bit of denial mixed in with it. It’s when you deny the reality of the situation (or the extremeness of it) and make deals with yourself. For example, “She said she’s really sorry and that it’ll be different if we get back together. I’ll give her one more chance and if she starts acting crazy again, I’m out of there.” “Maybe if I’m a little more patient and am very careful and avoid pushing her buttons, it can work.” Or this old chestnut, “I’m just going to have sex with her, but not get emotionally involved.” You can’t bargain with someone to treat you well. Either they’re capable of it or they’re not. It doesn’t matter what you do or how nice, patient and understanding you are with her. She is what she is and what she is is a controlling, cruel, abusive, parasitic nightmare.

      4. Depression. This is when it really sinks in that there’s no going back to this woman and that the woman you loved never existed. You mourn the loss of time and the abuse you tolerated. You direct the anger at yourself and feel stupid for being with her and fear getting into another relationship lest you get involved with another woman just like her. Like the Anger stage, you don’t want to get stuck in the Depressive stage either. Feeling sadness over this relationship is natural, but don’t let your experience with this woman distort your view on all relationships. Not all women are like her and, if you can feel the painful and difficult feelings that ending this relationship brings up, you’ll get through it.

      5. Acceptance. While you’re not ok with what happened, you accept the reality of who this woman is and there’s no going back. You’ve let go of the anger and sadness and are ready to move on in your life. You may always feel a little pang when you think of this woman, like when a combat veteran remembers some wartime atrocity, but it won’t control you. Eventually, that little pang will quickly turn into a “What was I thinking?” attitude when you remember this woman, followed by murmuring to yourself, “nutjob.”

      Hope this helps,
      Dr T

  18. ralph
    June 5, 2009 at 2:52 am

    No Brian, you couldn’t win. Not now, not ever. Like I said, they lack empathy. Go read up on what that’s like as well. That’s why they don’t feel bad or have remorse for lying, stealing, cheating, or whatever else they do. It’s all your fault she lied, it’s all your fault she cheated, it’s all your fault she stole. She HAD to do it because you are such an a—hole. Get it? You made her do it you schmuck… lol!! Remembe? They don’t take any responsibility for their own actions. Re-read the blogs man. The answers are all there.

    Don’t blame yourself or wonder why she got this by you either. I thought mine was the “love of my life” and my “soulmate” that I had finally found!! The “outbursts” started after she knew I was helplessly in love with her.(Which honestly I still am today. For some odd reason that never goes away)

    They are masters at playing the game. I got sucked in as well and I’m a damn smart person. Successful career, successful business, couple of degrees, etc etc. So just consider yourself lucky you found out what was going on in time. I do. If I hadn’t found this blog I might have lost my mind or else married her as a “last resort to make her happy”. Now how smart would that have been? lol. I know it hurts pal but hang in there and when you feel weak, or she’s coming back at you (which she will, especially if you cut her off, then she will turn up the heat even more).. get on this site and READ READ READ this stuff over and over. I’m telling you it worked for me and I was hopeless.. It’s all here and it’s all true.

    • shrink4men
      June 5, 2009 at 3:07 am

      Hi Guys,

      This is a great discussion thread. Thanks for reaching out to Brian and sharing your experience with him and others, Ralph. It’s very kind and generous of you. However, you forgot one thing. If you had actually proposed to that woman she would have acted like she was doing you a favor by marrying you! Now that’s what I call “dodging a bullet.”

      Brian, my heart goes out to you. These women are mindf-cks. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why, why, why. Ralph’s giving you sound advice. Untangling oneself from these women is a process. It’s like giving up a drug. You may have a couple of relapses, but never forget that staying with a woman like this will eventually destroy you.

      Hang in there,
      Dr T

  19. Brian
    June 5, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Thank you for responding. I wont contact her again, but I had time to settle down my nerves and reread everything she wrote and its all flat out lies. She tells me that she spent extra time buying me gifts because she cared, for my 40th birthday, she bought me a subscription to Mens Health Magazine, and I paid for dinner and drinks. She never even offered to buy me a drink. I know its a waste of time, but I dont know how she was able to get this by me for so long before she started freaking out. How do they do that and not even feel bad lying I cant beleive what I am reading, its like she made everything my fault and she did nothing wrong with her hurtful words. I just couldnt win.

  20. ralph
    June 5, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Brian. It is senseless to argue with her about anything. This is the kind of stuff that will drive you crazy. You have to accept the fact that trying to reason with her is pointless. She’s not a rational person, and you are trying to deal with her on that basis. You are dealing with a monster that only sees what she wants to see. I spend countless hours carefully reconstructing events and conversations, all to no avail. Let me re-state. ITS POINTLESS. You could have a stenographer in the room and a video camera documenting everything. It would not matter. There’s an old saying that’s very true in these situations which is.. “you ain’t had enough till you’ve had enough”. At some point you will realize you’ve had enough. But until then, trying to figure out why she isn’t responding to normal conversation and thought is a waste of time.

    I spent three years trying to get through to this woman.. to get her to “see the light” or even acknowledge things and all for nothing. Even when you do spend countless hours laying the groundwork for a meaninful analysis or discussion, they focus on the WORDS and not the MEANING. They don’t hear a f—ing thing you are saying, and then they will sieze upon one word out of 100 and want to debate or criticize you for using that word. I got to the point that I had to carefully think about ANY words I used when trying to talk to this woman. Didn’t matter, I was spitting into the wind, wasting my time, and getting abused. This will not change. You are bringing a knife to a gunfight. Surrender, and save yourself from more abuse and possible insanity, or worse, you will find yourself doing things you never thought possible. Then you will have even more regrets and she will have even more ammo to criticize you with. Trust me, I speak the truth cause I “been there done that”. Good luck man. I know how hard it is, I really do.


    • Jim
      December 18, 2013 at 4:48 am

      Ralph, Im looking at your post from June of 2009, so im assume you’re long gone, but this post summarizes what im going through perfectly, and I refer to it often just to get grounded. Its almost weekly that the smallest thing I say gets exploded into ww3, and to your point about bringing a stenographer into the discussion, we have a stream of texts documenting what is said (because she wont answer her phone at these times) and yet she completely ignores it and pushes her own version of what happened. I have gritted my teeth and wracked my brain trying to understand and comprehend what she is saying, and what her perspective is, but it is always so contradictory to the truth. She is so volitile. But she didnt start that way. She was perfect; sexy, beautiful, funny, an amazing hard worker in anything she did, and yes, that carried into other areas, but wow, when there was a disagreement, it was ww3. Everytime. And it would last for days for even the smallest of issues. I continually fight going back to her, and then she pulls me in doing what she does best. I find strength in your post to break, but based on other posts here, this type of person, apparently combined with my admiration for her, or what she was, only results in continued abuse…

      • August 8, 2014 at 2:55 am

        Jim, just like your resply to Ralph, Im not sure you’re out there, but your comments are spot on to what I experience. The draw of this woman leaves me depressed because i want her so bad yet I have cut her off for the last two weeks. Im even going to a counselor to help get over her but the draw is huge. I cant get over it. I was involved with her for 11 years, and I think in hindsight how I could have put up with her constant abuse. I would hear what she is saying to me with my mouth open in amazement becaseu I didnt even knwo what she was talking about: her accusations, her twisting reality…endless. I dont knwo why they have such a hold on a person in spite of the endless pain they inflict, but Im trying to escape it, and its damn hard

        • October 20, 2014 at 11:30 am

          Hi Jim
          I was only in for two and half years and we have been separated for about six months, but the pain when looking back is excruciating.

          I knew she had a troubled past and factored this in for her behaviour, in fact looking back outrageous behaviour, jealousy, accusations, name calling, cold shoulder, walking off when out together, public put downs, the list goes on. The truth is I loved her, probably more than I loved anyone else and thought our relationship would grow, but the excuses continued, the staying out late to became more frequent and for longer periods, the lies were obvious and the apologises never forth coming.

    • Kevin Romero
      September 22, 2014 at 5:04 am

      i am really going through this right now, reading your post made me feel a bit better knowing i am not the only one going through this, the only thing really scaring me though is leaving her and losing my 4month daughter that i love more than life itself and if i leave her she will take her away from me and move back to her home which is in anohter state and that is my biggest fear not seeing my kid grow up and courts always reason with the mother no matter what and i am so lost idk what to do.

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