Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, bullying, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, relationships > Traumatic Love: Is Your Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend Making You Sick?

Traumatic Love: Is Your Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend Making You Sick?

woman yelling at manDo you have trouble sleeping? A perpetual knot in your stomach? Do you experience chronic indigestion or gastrointestinal pain? Do you get stress headaches? Are you afraid to let your guard down with your significant other? Do you censor yourself because you’re afraid to speak the truth to your girlfriend or wife?

If so, you may have developed a trauma response from being involved in an abusive relationship. Stated more simply, you’re suffering post-traumatic stress from being involved with an abusive narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, sociopathic or non-pathological insecure and controlling woman.

Trauma, whether it’s physical or emotional, develops in two ways. It can be caused by a single, isolated event like being mugged, a horrific car accident or a natural disaster. Trauma can also develop from ongoing, chronic, relentless stress such as being in a war, being bullied at work or being in an abusive relationship.

Can you really compare being involved with an abusive woman to water-boarding, jail, hurricanes, and war?

Absolutely. Being emotionally and/or physically abused by these women can have the same effects as being in a war or a cataclysmic event. Combat, torture, imprisonment, tsunamis, and life with a controlling abusive woman share the following characteristics:

  • It’s unpredictable.
  • It has the element of the unexpected.
  • You feel powerless to control your environment.
  • The psychological or physical abuse is repetitive.
  • It’s intentionally cruel.
  • The abuse occurs in a setting or is inflicted by someone whom you once trusted and with whom you felt safe.

Being emotionally abused by the woman you love, who supposedly loves you, is experienced as betrayal and a fundamental violation of trust. Betrayal trauma is caused by emotionally abusive behaviors like gaslighting, mood swings, verbal attacks, rages, alienating your child(ren) from their normal affection toward you (Parental Alienation), being nice to you only to lure you in closer for another emotional sucker punch and/or physical abuse.

Being attracted to crazy, abusive women and being predisposed to trauma share many of the same risk factors. An abusive relationship causes psychological trauma and the same reasons you became involved in an abusive relationship also prime you for developing trauma. Because you experienced emotional trauma as a child, you’re attracted to adult relationships that recreate these conditions. It’s a vicious circle.

Some of the these factors include:

  • Having emotionally or physically abusive parents (e.g., they were overly critical, intrusive, neglectful and/or violent).
  • Being a parentified child (having to take care of your parent(s)’ emotional and/or physical needs instead of your parent(s) taking care of you).
  • Having unresolved childhood or adolescent abandonment issues.
  • Having a painfully traumatic first love experience in adolescence or early adulthood with an abusive woman.
  • Being the target of childhood bullying.
  • Being chronically ill in childhood, which may have led you to develop a dependent personality.

What’s the difference between PTSD and Betrayal Trauma?

The primary difference between PTSD and betrayal trauma is fear vs. anger. Historically, PTSD is considered to be caused by extreme fear; betrayal trauma is thought to be caused by anger. Both evoke a fight or flight response.

However, prolonged repetitive emotional abuse can create a third response. If you can’t fight (i.e., because your abusive wife/girlfriend twists reality, blames you for everything and puts you in no-win situations) or can’t or won’t take flight (i.e., dump her warped ass) you default to the third response. You numb out, shut down and experience a pervasive sense of profound learned helplessness.

When most people are hurt or betrayed by someone, they get angry, possibly end the relationship and steer clear of him or her in the future. However, if you’re predisposed to relationships with abusive women and trauma, it’s not in your nature to respond to hurtful behaviors the way most people do.

At first, you may  experience denial and disbelief that the woman you love could treat you so callously and cruelly. Then you essentially ignore her abusive behaviors. You minimize and excuse her indefensible behavior, almost seeming to forget the most vitriolic verbal attacks and rages. In fact, you really may not remember the worst of it.

Men who have developed a trauma response actually dissociate during the most bitter attacks. Dissociation is a defense mechanism in which your conscious mind shuts down, like when she’s screaming at you and you go someplace else in your head. After her rage has subsided, you actually can’t remember what happened. Your mind took you away to protect you from the abuse.

In order to protect yourself, you block out and forget the abuses (a form of psychogenic amnesia) in order to maintain the relationship. It’s a sort of “functional forgetting” or selective memory to protect you from the cognitive dissonance of being with this woman. However, there are psychological and physical consequences to ignoring the painfully obvious.

If you didn’t make excuses for, minimize, forget or deny the pain you experience because of her crazy, hurtful behaviors, then you would have to end the relationship. These are more defense mechanisms you probably developed as a child to protect yourself from the people who loved you. They helped you survive as a child, but as an adult, they’re enabling you to stay in an abusive relationship in which you’re emotionally and psychologically traumatized.

Next week, I’ll post the second part of this post. I’ll explain the three categories of symptoms you may experience as a result of staying in an abusive relationship: physical, psychological, and interpersonal.

Meanwhile, if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, please consider the harm you’re doing to yourself by not ending it. You’re an adult now. You don’t need to depend on this crazy woman like you had to depend on your parents for survival. You can break the psychological dependence and walk or run away.

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.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.


If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related content:

25 Signs your Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend is Traumatizing You

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Woman yelling at man on corbis.

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  1. NoSeRider
    February 21, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Or friend’s son.

    • Sonia
      April 21, 2016 at 6:04 am

      This also happens in lesbian relationships. I wish it was talked about more. I wish there were more websites addressing it so I didn’t feel like I’m the only one. Yes there’s information out there, but it’s limited. I also feel it’s severely limited for men who experience abuse from women so hats off to this site for that reason. I’ve read many great articles that have helped me from Dr. Tara and just change the pronouns when I read them. My borderline ex literally tortured me for 5 hours when I finally broke up with her and I would fill pages if I tried to go into detail of the numerous twisted things and abuse she put me through, the hours upon hours upon days of rages, the sword to my throat, the stabbing…I’m very traumatized

      • shrink4men
        April 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Hi Sonia,

        I’m sorry you were treated that way. I agree that there aren’t enough resources for gay women and men in abusive relationships. Male abuse victims are ignored because they’re men and the prevailing paradigm holds that men are abusers and women are victims. This is also why there are so few resources for lesbians in abusive relationship — because according to most domestic violence organizations women aren’t abusers. Credible research shows otherwise. Women perpetrate at pretty much equal rates as men. In terms of incidence, violence occurs at higher rates in lesbian and bisexual groups than gay and heterosexual couplings. (http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0125_NISVS.html) Abuse is not a gender issue. If you’re not seeking support to heal from the trauma and to understand what attracted you to that woman and why you tolerated the abuse, I encourage you to do so. I offer individual counseling services if you have difficulty finding a therapist locally (shrink4men@gmail.com)

  2. Lydia Bennett
    February 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Please help….My close friends son is being falsely accused of DV by his extremely Borderline ex-wife. She is absolutely horrendous…She is taking enough prescription drugs to kill a cow and claims it is because she has a pain syndrome secondary to a broken leg which she got while kicking the table in a fit of rage…However…she has reported to the police that my friends son stomped her leg, and kidnapped her (none of which happened) and he is facing felony charges that could result in significant prison time. It would take me days to document all the crazy things she has done…multiple sex partners..drug abuse…multiple marriages…false accusations…shoplifting…to name a few.

    How can you defend yourself against a academy award winning Borderline?

    • NoSeRider
      February 21, 2010 at 5:52 am

      Yeah, I’ve encountered a suspected Borderline that has filed false assault charges against co-workers and ex-spouses, but the law seems to be on the side of the person that files the complaint, especially if there’s prior incidents that have gone unchallenged. If it’s your son’s first offense, he can probably fight it and get off lightly……but if there are prior incidents, it’s a tough battle.

  3. Heartbroken
    December 24, 2009 at 2:09 am

    I also want to add one other thing.

    Lots of times these women will threaten restraining orders, tell their friends and family you are a stalker. Pretty much make up stories to get freinds and families on your side.

    This is perfectly normal behavior for the narcissist. Again they make you out to be the bad person. You arent trust me.

    If you think about it I think a lot more women are narcissists then we know about.

    Also if you read up on these forums about women who claim their men are abusive and how some won’t let go even after they break up. Well reason their men act like this is because they string them along. Making false promises of reconcilliation.. What do you expect the guy to do…

  4. Heartbroken
    December 24, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Hello everyone,

    This article is spot on! Unfortunately I was in a 3 year relationship with a narcissistic woman. Let me tell you, when they are finished you will be left an empty shell. They will suck every ounce of your energy, patience, and goodwill. You will almost feel as if you are void of a soul.

    I don’t want any of you to blame yourselves. First and foremost you could be brad pitt with the best personality on the planet. The narcissist does not care. All they care about is using you until there is nothing else. Once done they move on to the next mark. Lots of time these people have very low self esteems and date people who would normally be undesired or are below them. In fact it seems they pray on these types of people.

    There are a few points I want to make. Again, it’s not your fault. These woman most likely all come from very troubled backgrounds, and upbrinings. I know my Ex-girlfriend came from a very broken household, was constantly ridiculed in school, and had a history of associating with abusive people.

    My second point comes from one of the facts the Dr pointed out “A narcissist never admits they are wrong”. This is a perfect test. Have the woman you suspect come to this site, claim you are trying to get them some help, and show them how all the things they are doing fit exactly as the Doctor outlines. If they are a true narcissist 99 percent of them will deny deny deny, laugh at you, or just refuse to read it.. You see they are perfect, nothing is wrong with them, they could never admit they have a problem. This is why most narcissists never get help. They are also very good at turning things around on you, to make an obvious problem with them NOW A PROBLEM WITH YOU.

    Sadly I felt that my girlfriend was a good person. Not because of the BS she fed me or the pedastal she put me on.. But because I feel I am a pretty good judge of character, and could tell she meant the best. However, in the end there is only one possible result for the narcissist, that is horrible and horrendous defeat. Most either end up dead, or in prison. Lukily for the ones referenced on this board it seems they were with decent men. However they pull what they pull with a normal guy, they most likely will end up in the hospital, or dead.

    Their careers also will remain stagnant as a result of this disease. You see people/employers are not stupid. Most can see through the smoke and mirrors BS of a narcissist. Fact remains the narcissist only cares about one thing, and that is themselves. They will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, and the charm and BS can only hold up so long before their true selves come out.

    Im going to end this post with saying again that my EX in my opnion was an amazing woman. However, my biggest fear is how this disease will effect her longterm. Like I said there is only one direction she can go, and that is down.

    • Mr. E
      December 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm

      “Have the woman you suspect come to this site, claim you are trying to get them some help, and show them how all the things they are doing fit exactly as the Doctor outlines. ”

      I have to disagree with you if you’re seriously suggesting doing this. If you feel your partner is abusive DON’T send them here. Yes, they’ll deny they’re the abusive one, then they’ll remember all the details from this site and accuse YOU of them.

      It’s also tipping your hand.

      If you’re looking for a test, just wait for them to call you a name or be otherwise nasty. Tell them to knock it off, that it’s hurtful. They’ll argue with you about how they didn’t do anything wrong, that you’re too sensitive and then they’ll do exactly what you told them not to (or very slightly alter what they did) over and over.

      For example, I told my wife to stop calling me a pussy. So after a good long argument about how she wasn’t doing anything wrong, she started calling me a pansy instead. Gee, that’s way better. Thanks, hon.

      • shrink4men
        December 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm

        I 100% agree with Mr E. Don’t send you abusive spouse, girlfriend or ex here. It will not get you the validation/admission you want. The information here will be turned around on you and, as Mr E says, if you have any intention of leaving, it will tip your hand.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

  5. sailn
    December 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    I am a female with PTSD/abondement issues. I just finished a relationship with a “Narcissist” according to my therapist. ( I say that because I don’t want you to think that I came to that all on my own.)

    While your article is directed at men, I have found many of the behavior the same as what I was dealing with. However, so much of it was make to be my fault. I am trying to understand my role in the picture and also how to get over the situation.

    What do you recommmend?


    • shrink4men
      December 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Sailn,

      I recommend that you do the same things that I encourage men to do when recovering from a relationship with a narcissist. Work with your therapist to understand what attracted to your ex. What needs were you trying to get met and then learn how to meet them in a healthier way. I also encourage you to work with your therapist on letting go and mourning the loss of the relationship. Reconnect with friends and family that you may have dropped out of touch with while with your NPD. Most importantly, learn how to recognize a NPD before letting them into your life.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  6. Larry
    December 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Dr. T:
    I was raised in a popular cult which believes they will become “gods” by joining this church. Whenever my parents did something wrong, they would beat me with belts, sticks or whatever. I developed extremely low self-esteem dispite the fact that I tested high on IQ tests. I fully believe that they are NPD. I married a woman 30 years ago and I still do not know how she feels about anything. She will not let me close to her mentally. She lies more than anybody that I have ever met and then denys that she said what she said. This makes me feel crazy. Our children are raised and gone. She uses little mental tactics to beat me up.

    I feel like I have just awoken from a dream into a nightmare. I think that I have married a girl just like mom and dad. She has run off all of my friends. What should I do? I cannot live like this for the rest of my life.


  7. Taras
    November 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Dr. Palmatier, you’re absolutely right that an abusive relationship is no less harmful that being in the middle of a war, tortured or in jail. That is exactly how I felt during my childhood, and my marriage too. Another excellent explanation about abusive relationships and the damage they cause which should be required reading for young people. This is a cycle of misery that will if not stopped will continue from generation to generation leaving legions of broken souls and scarred lives in it’s wake. You’ve got it right that betrayal leads to anger, that is exactly why I was angry enough at my ex-wife to have physically harmed her or worse if I had stayed.

  8. Sam
    October 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Dr. T,
    Thanks a lot for all the information on this site. After reading all this, I feel I’m not alone.

    Have been in this marriage for the last 10 year and just recently realized that my wife could be suffering from NPD with some comorbidity with the other personality disorders under Cluster B of the DSM.

    We are currenlty in couple therapy for the last 11 months now and things have improved to some extent. From what i see I am being taught to change the environment for her and also learning coping methods to deal with her rage. Coping tools being learnt are listening, reflecting and validating.

    My therepist doesn’t want to admit that she has a personality disorder and will not divulge any information about her diagnosis to me in private and I can understand this is being done to protect my wife in all fairness.

    We have 2 kids 4(girl) and 7(boy) and it seems that the boy gets into a lot of fights with his mother, he has begun to rage in the same way as her and gets angry with the slightest reason. I’m concerned that he would be a budding NPD.

    As for me, I’ve recently recognized myself to be a co-dependent after trying to understand the direction of our therapy sessions and after doing some self analysis and research on the subject. Because of the trauma I have gone thru I am sure I developed PTSD cause I’m always tired mentally and physically, I experience bad dreams where I see her raging at me, I get startled easily especially in the mornings. I’ve lost interest in myself and the things I enjoyed doing in the past.

    Just recently, we have been shopping for a new house and my wife seems to have changed significantly, the rages have stopped , her negativity has reduced to almost zero. I’m wondering if this house search and the possiblity to own a new upgraded place is contributing to secondary Narcissistic supply for her which is keeping her in these good spirits. Will this be temporary or will this help her heal?

    A lot of questions come to my mind as a result.

    Should I give her another chance and stay in this marriage , will things improve in this new place, can new rules be setup in this new house that will help us to start over once again.
    It seems like I’m at a cross road now, should I be leaving her or should I try out this route with buying this new place and try to work it out.

    Will my kids become Narcissistic ?

    If I divorce her today, will I be saving the kids in anyway from becoming narcissistic ?

    I know divorce will hurt the kids and hence I feel trapped in this marriage.

    Your advise please.


    • B2
      April 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Sam, your wife is being nice because she wants the new house. This is a very confusing aspect of their behavior. My wife would always nit-pick me with criticisms, and act like her life was horrible. Then, suddenly, she would become nice. I started paying closer attention to her behavior and noticed that she was nice and gave added attention to everyone that she wanted something material from. After she gets what she wants she will return to her old self.

  9. Spencer
    October 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you for the insight. the more i read the less i feel it’s “me” even though i was never able to stop her dangerously self destructive behavior, the last incident was where she was drunk and slept with the two neighbors, a couple of kids in perspective,she’s 35 and they are 20 and 24. She acted real upset and mad at me for being upset, started blaming me for things in the past but more emotional things not real things, blaming me of not being able to listen, then being a bully, and accusations after accusations, and so many more my head spins.
    She was diagnosed bipolar 2 years ago after some other problems started including over a year without sex, pnemonia,all night drinking (including on her meds), all night phone calls to her ABANDONING father or at least many attempts,her nightly phone record would look like calls placed to whoever would answer at 3 and 4 am.
    this behavior never changed. then i was advised to read about BPD. It has been 10 years of trying to love more or else. we have a 5yo and im afraid he is the one who is going to suffer the most. I now have an attorny and she has been served, since 5 months has passed from the incident, she left the home, i have been taking sole care of our son but now since she “seems more stable” she wants him more and again blames me for the problem…then threatens divorce.
    well now she will get one,
    Thank you though for the extra REASSURANCE that im not at fault, that im not crazy.
    although somedays it does feel that way

  10. Tony
    July 19, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Hi Dr T.

    Thank you so much for this site. It all makes sense after so many years of trying so hard.

    I am married 21 years to a woman that I now realise is a Narcissist. I realise that there were signs very early in our relationship, when “getting out” would have been so easy, but I missed them (unbelievably), must indicate a failure in myself for that.

    My wife accuses me of constant criticism, but the evidence she gives to support her claim is either lies, or an unbelievable exaggerations of facts.

    Very often if I say the wrong thing or press my point in an argument she will fly into a rage. This will be unbelievably ferocious in nature and usually consist of a torrent of abuse that I can only describe as a character assassination. She will insult me, my family, my dead father, and say horrible things. She will absolutely refuse to calm down.

    All of this is torture enough but then she virtually NEVER apologises for anything. I find that this is the most tortuous thing of all. I will apologise freely and I am capable of apologising in the midst of an argument. She will dismiss my apologies as insincere. I realise that this is because they challenge her and show her up. This is infuriating as I never apologise for things that I do not accept. I am sure she views apologies as weakness.

    We have two ‘kids.’

    My daughter, 20, and son, 18.

    What I don’t understand, is that she will accept criticism from my daughter. She will run around after her and spoil her. My daughter, virtually never experiences her narcissistic rage directly, but has witnessed it only too often.

    My son is also a little spoiled, but he occasionally experiences, direct onslaught of this rage, but never as damning or full of vitriol.

    On the whole, though, they seem largely well balanced and honest.

    (My son and I can have heated arguments, but they blow and defuse so quickly. Often with healthy mutual apologies that it is almost refreshing that this is possible and I am not going insane.)

    They both tend to ‘keep out’ of arguments between their mother and me – so would I.

    My wife has no doubt adopted this behaviour in response to two domineering sisters (one a twin) and a third sister, that I personally witnessed “go on a rant against my wife (then girlfriend)” on one occasion early in our relationship. She tiptoes around two of her sisters when they visit.

    The third sister is now exhibiting Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy (her son was in and out of hospital for 12 years – dying) He is now 18 and I don’t recall him being cured. My wife has acknowledged this herself.

    My wife has also two brothers, who I liked a lot and seemed to me to be well balanced.

    However, my wife has too often ran away to them accusing me of horrors that virtually all relationships with her family and me have failed.

    I regret that, under a torrent of abuse, I have on occasion grabbed my wife. I have never hit her. Never intentionally hurt her. These I deeply regret and have admitted are wrong. She has so capitalised on this, that I am accused of being a violent and aggressive man – of course to her family, and our children. My daughter really bought into this for some time. I even did some soul searching asking myself if this is true. I have read so many abuse sites about men abusing and controlling women and searching my own heart – I know that I have no desire to control my wife.

    To complicate matters, my health has taken a very bad turn – I have developed early onset parkinson’s disease. I wonder if this is stress induced. My wife has developed angina.

    As I re-read this I can’t believe that it sounds so bad, at times she is a wonderful person, but she is so damaged and fragile.

    She has been getting counselling – I think for “having an abusive husband,” – I never pry. I have requested counselling, but will have to wait for the service. I think, having read your pages, I need out.

    • shrink4men
      July 23, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Tony,

      From what you’ve written, it sounds like 21 years of hell. If your wife has NPD or some combination of the Cluster B personality disorders, weekly counseling with a therapist is unlikely to make a dent. Do you have any supports outside of your children should you decide to divorce? You don’t want to put your adult children in the middle—although your wife surely will do so. Do you have any friends, siblings, etc. you can talk to about what you’ve endured all these years.

      I strongly encourage you to find a therapist of your own. Why do you have to wait for counseling services? Not to “become a better husband,” but to figure out what you want to do and get support for whatever decision you make. Are you receiving treatment for the Parkinson’s? I don’t think it can be caused by stress, but acute stress will exacerbate any medical condition. You need to put yourself and your health first.

      Please check back and let me know how you’re doing.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  11. Sven
    May 20, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for this site. I grew up with a BPD mother as a single parent. It was torture, and it took me until I was 20 to break away from it for the first time, and longer to fully sever my own emotional ties to her. Of course, it didn’t stop there and there have been a sucession of borderline girls parading through my life.

    Eventually I found myself mired in a 6 year long relationship with a true blue BPD person. It was as bad as it could get – totally codependent, I lived my life in constant fear of setting her off and basically stopped being myself. Once I had pruned myself totally and the criticism and fighting still continued I realised something was up. And I left.

    It was like untangling myself from a spider’s web. I have never experienced anything so hard in my life. The worst thing is, even though she basically told me to leave several times, she still ensured that I bore all the guilt for the failed relationship. Once I had fled I met a girl, and guess what, she was BPD. However, something had clicked, and the first time she acted out I told her I didn’t want to see her again.

    I remained single for 8 months, and it took that much time to sort myself out. I eventually met a girl quite randomly, and after 3 months she still shows every sign of being sane. She hasn’t been angry with me once in 3 months. This is like being planted in a sensory deprivation chamber after months on the battlefield. The scary thing is I find myself acting out in ways that resemble BPD, although I seriously don’t think this defines my character. Fortunately sites like this are available to help create perspective and awareness. I sincerely wish I had found it sooner.

    To all you guys out there caught in the spider’s web, I empathise and urge you not to form any financial bonds with this person WHATSOEVER. They will press you to take up shared financial obligations as this is the stickiest trap at their disposal bar suicidal acting out. When you do break out, try connect with nature and your own masculinity again.

    I took up surfing and it quite literally changed my life. It helped me regain fitness and focus, reintroduced simple fun into my life, and provided me with a landscape in which to confront fear and push myself beyond it. Some people get the same out of rock climbing or mountain biking, but whatever it is I feel that man can find himself when he tests himself against the environment without any props or supports.

    Reclaim you life, reclaim your masculinity. Good luck.

    • shrink4men
      May 20, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Sven,

      Thank you for reading and posting a comment. I’m happy to read that you’re extricating yourself from the web of BPD black widow spider women.

      You’re absolutely correct about not tangling up your finances with a BPD/NPD woman. They’ll run up your bills while you’re with them and, when you finally break up with them, they’ll try to bankrupt you as a form of punishment for not wanting them anymore.

      If you really want to avoid heartbreak: DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN WITH THESE WOMEN. BPDs/NPDs are the women who deny visitation, make up false abuse charges, and turn the kids against you. Do NOT have unprotected sex with them. Do NOT believe them if they say they’re on the pill. Wear a condom, every time. BPDs/NPDs have a habit of “accidentally” becoming pregnant as a way to tether them to you for the rest of your life.

      Finding a physical outlet to ground and help heal yourself is another great suggestion, Sven. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  12. Chris
    May 18, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Hello Dr. T,

    Great web site I have found so much info here. my ex of 12 yrs filed for (and was granted) a civil RO on DV grounds last June, I was ordered to DV Treatment (Washington State) a 12 month long quasi duluth based program, during that time she has refused to allow me to even get my clothes for our house. she has caused the foreclosure of one of our three houses, filed false child abuse charges (with my dv treatment practitioner) in hopes of violating me out of dv class (automatic child custody) dv provider called her liar but reported to Child services (no evidence so charge was closed), cleaned out all bank account prior to RO, removed/destroyed our three family dogs, violated temp parenting plan countless times, her first lawyer quit (filed a lien for $70k in unpaid legal fee’s), reported me as kidnapping our daughter, admitted to having four affairs (all at the same time) for 7 of the years we were together, ignored court orders, and the system has just loved her, it feels like there is no story she could tell that would not be believed.

    Our Parenting Plan evaluator says she is the victim and has no reason to feel like she should not be primary with our daughter and no decision making for me. My DV program says I “never liked her and did not respect her” and the I have a need to be in DV relationships, and I was aware of her traits but stayed in the relationship therefore I am the cause, I am confused on this as wouldnt that make the victim or at least the reciep of the abuse.

    Over the years we were together she filed sexual harrasment suit against her employer (no names but the makers of a well known and often abused painkiller) during that time I felt she was being truthful but she used the same verbage against me “I was in a constant state of uncontrollable rage”. Maybe 20 pastic surgeries the most recent in December last year even after the court put finiancial restrictions on needless spending. Says our relationship ended in 2005 even thou our daughter was born after that and in 2007 I bought her a $25k wedding ring to replace her first one. I better stop or this will get long.

    I am amazed at the lack of due process in the system and how a woman like this can just run crazy.

    I have had a very hard time throughout the years constant critism, never good enough, every thing I gave up all my friends years ago, it was all about her always.

    Parenting Plan evaluator order Physc evaluations only after repeated requests by my atty, tests were $275 and consisted of MMPI and MCMI and zero consultation time with me or ex and no review of any background documentation just rely on test results only and report of the scale readings, still have not seen it but the PP evaluator says her report is done already (PP) and will just attach the MMPI results to her report, so I guess it was just a waste of time.

    So there is some background. The DV class feels like I am in a mirror as it is her actions against me not me to her, I feel like it is just crazy making. And can not seem to get out of this “victim (her) blame” mode, I have yet to get to grief still stuck in anger.

    Divorce trial won’t be until Jan 2010 I would have walked, no ran away long ago but we have a three year old and an estate that was net worth about $1mm so financially I have to.

    I don’t know what the question is but I am sure there is some commentary you can give.


    • shrink4men
      May 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm

      My head is spinning from reading everything that has happened to you. You’re right. There is often a lack of due process in the court system. Judges and evaluators often believe the person in a case who is the most aggressive and emotional, no matter how false their claims and allegations.

      First, you need to calm down (although, you have absolutely every right to be upset) and evaluate your position. Are you happy and confident with your attorney? Does he or she know about or have experience with BPD/NPD? Attorneys refer to women like your ex as “high conflict personalities.” If not, you may want to find counsel who does.

      Second, you must obey the court, no matter how wrong and absurd you feel their temporary rulings are. In order to fight the system you have to work within the system. Third, start documenting the facts and filing counter charges to your ex’s false charges and allegations. Your attorney must be swift in doing this. The courts have a practice of responding quickly to charges of abuse “just to be safe.” You need to get your claims on record and back them up with facts, witnesses, times, dates, specific events. Under closer scrutiny, when your attorney gets to question her, her claims will fall apart as unsubstantiated. Your attorney has to demand better evaluators (which you’ll have to pay for).

      I just read two books that I recommend you purchase and read. Both are by William Eddy: Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist and High Conflict People in Legal Disputes. You can purchase the first title at bookch.com for $25 and the second through amazon.com for $19.95. Be sure to check back here, too, as I’ll be writing on this topic in the near future.

      I recommend that addition to your court appointed evaluators and BS dv program, that you get some real support for yourself. You should probably also dial down your anger hostility toward the dv evaluators/instructors, although you have a right to be angry for being erroneously forced to attend these things, because they’ll interpret it as evidence that your wife’s claims are true. It’s natural to be defensive when you’re falsely accused, especially after years of being abused by this woman, however, the person who presents the coolest head to the courts is usually the one to prevail. The more calmly you deny your ex’s charges and have your attorney present the facts, she’ll eventually lose it and expose herself for the deceitful, manipulative nutbag she is.

      Good luck,
      Dr T

  13. RichardP
    May 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    This sounds like my mother and how I responded to her.
    Perhaps you could write something on abusive mothers with BPD?

    • shrink4men
      May 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Richard,

      That’s a great suggestion—especially many men who date BPD/NPD women as adults had a parent with the disorder or its traits.

      I will add this to my list of future topics.

      Thanks Again,
      Dr T

  14. shrink4men
    April 18, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Sorry for my delayed reply. To answer your question, yes, from your description, her behavior seems very abusive. Alcohol usually exacerbates the problem. Alcohol will also affect the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. Are you sure it’s an accurate diagnosis? Borderline personality disorder and Bipolar share similar symptomatology.

    I can’t tell you what to do, but you’ve been involved with this woman for a significant period of time. It seems to me her bad behavior and treatment of you has worsened over the years. Odds are, it will continue to get even worse over time. Is that what you want?

    Emotionally abusive bullies view kindness in others as weakness, so she probably doesn’t respect you for being a nice guy. Do you want to be a jerk in order to gain her respect? If you do that, you risk losing your self-respect as well as the respect of friends and family who really love you.

    You get over a person/relationship with time, distance and by living a full life—pursuing interests and building new and healthier relationships. If you don’t renew your relationship with your emotionally abusive ex, I encourage you to understand what attracted you to this woman, why you tolerated her abuse, and then start making different choices.

    Kind Regards,
    Dr T

  15. richard
    April 12, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    alright….hi, im glad i found this site…i have a situation and you tell me if this is abusive. i believe it is according to all that you have said. the nitandgritty is that i have been with my gf for 4 years now. we love each other but she has been diagnosed with bipolar. i recently have been dig. with reg. depresson, probably cuz of her. anyway, we had a great realtionship for 3yrs but the last year, she has cussed at me, i walk on eggshells cuz i dont want to piss her off and she gets mad at me for stupid things. we are both in our late 30’s. she has been married before and has kids but they stay with her ex. she drinks everyday but isnt an alkie cuz she can stop or doesnt take a drink if she doesnt want to. anyway, she has kicked me out of her apt more than 3 times. she yells and curses at me. i keep coming back to her cuz i love her and she loves me but this is how she treats me. when she is loving, she is the most wonderful person, but when shes not, she is an absolute miserable person to be around. i try to understand her and make excuses for her behaviour but we had a big fight on valentines day and i tried texting her but she never answered me back and then made excuses to see me. bottom line, we are broken up. my quesiton to you is that i still love her very much…i dont know why… but i do. i need help from someone to see things objectively. i always treated her with respect. our mutual friend has told me that she loves me but doesnt respect me and thinks im not man enough cuz i dont stand up for myself…but i would avoid this cuz of the drama. should i fight for her back once again..or let it be. and move on. and if i do, how do i get over her? thanks very much!

  16. richard
    April 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

    hi i have sooo much to say…im a victim of this …its late at night and i was searching the web to see why i still love my gf….even after all that she does..ill write back tomorrow when im not so sleepy. i just wanted to say that im so happy to have read your posts!

  17. BrianC
    April 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I am in a predicament because my wife was not always the extreme narcissistic adolescent that she currently is. It’s only been the last 3 years of our 26 year relationship (20 of them married, 2 kids, 16 & 14). And I can only attribute the change to medication (for migraines: cymbalta, topomax for 3 years, and recently added a third, timolol maleate.) Her neurologist (for the headaches) has ignored my request to think about the effects of the medication, and her therapist just tells her that these things happen to couples! (She had an affair a year ago, and after telling me about it, moved out and left me with the kids, and without any emotional or financial support for them, she only sees them about an hour a week, and yet she only lives 1 1/2 miles away.) I am not one to give up on her, but how do I get her to question whether the medication is doing this, if it is…

    • shrink4men
      April 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

      Hi Brian,

      I’m very sorry to read about what you’ve been going through. It seems like she’s undergone a big personality change from what you’ve written.

      I’m not familiar with the medications your wife is taking, so cannot comment about possible behavioral side effects. Have you consulted another neurologist for a second opinion? Unfortunately, a lot of MD’s today have no idea what they’re prescribing their patients. They usually push whatever med the drug reps are peddling at any given moment. You also might want to consult with a psychiatrist about these meds and her sudden change in behavior.

      Ultimately, if your wife doesn’t want to acknowledge her behavior is a problem, there’s probably not much you can do about it. If it’s not the meds, perhaps she was unhappy or dissatisfied with her life for a long time, but didn’t tell you about it? Ending your relationship may have been something she thought about doing for years. That would make her departure less sudden, but no less painful.

      You can’t work things out with your wife if she doesn’t think there’s a problem. However, you can get support for yourself and children to cope and work through this. For what it’s worth, I’d focus more on helping your kids adjust to the situation and make them feel as loved and secure as possible before you invest anymore time in understanding what’s going on with your wife.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  18. Paul Sumners
    April 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    How do you know my ex wife?

    • shrink4men
      April 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      Ha ha! Good one, Paul. I don’t technically know your ex-wife, but I know her type. That’s what I find most funny about these women (funny as in strange and ironic). They all have a sense of entitlement that’s off the charts. They believe they’re unique creatures that deserve special treatment, when in reality, there’s nothing unique or special about them. They’re textbook, abusive headcases who are prone to confabulation and relentless maliciousness.

      I wouldn’t be able to write about these women as if I personally knew them if they all weren’t cut from the same crazy cloth. Oh, in case anyone isn’t familiar with the term “confabulation,” it means she believes her own bullshit. And hey, is it really a lie if she believes it? Of course, it’s still a lie, but good luck getting her to admit it. Even when you have documented evidence or video that proves the contrary, they still believe their own lies.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul. I hope your ex is very much out of your life and no longer causing you pain.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

      • Carter223
        March 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        Dr. T.,

        I recently discovered your website trying to get information on emotionally abusive relationships and my wife of three years clearly came through. We have only been married for three years and were engaged for one, the second we got married things completely changed. I have no doubt she has BPD by the way she treats me, others and her friends (the couple who still talk to her occassionally).

        In any event, now that i know the disease and all the symptoms all of her behaviour makes senes (in the sense that its consistent with what you say). And of course none of it was my fault or, as i made excuses because of her period, particular job she didn’t like or whatever excuse I made for her behaviour.

        I know now there are pretty much two options 1) we both get help or 2) I make preparations to leave.

        Based on your writings it doesn’t seem you have much hope for the first one. Specifically that she will truly want to get help and make some sort of good faith effort at trying. I haven’t approached her about conselling yet (am starting with a therapist next week and starting to set boundaries) and know things will soon get worse before getting better.

        My question is, in your experience even though rare, have you seen cases where the BPD has some recovery sufficient to maintain some type of stable/ reasonably helathy relationship?

        I am a Catholic and believe its for better/worse and sickness/health but know if left untreated it will get much much worse. In other words, I will take a bullet for the woman unless she’s the one pulling the trigger!

        Please let me know your experience. Thank you for your site, you really opened my eyes.


        • Chuckie
          May 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

          Leave her or you will die. If you don’t have children and don’t have huge amounts of shared assets, just find a time this week when she will be gone for at least two hours, pack everything you REALLY care about into a truck, and leave. Let your attorney do all the communication from here out. Do not respond to phone calls, text messages, or email. Change all your contact information if you must.

          Speaking from painful personal experience.

    • Rob
      October 27, 2009 at 2:04 am

      Find this website was such a relief! I could never understand the relationship I had with my soon to be ex wife – this article has helped me to learn about NPA and how my own codependance issues have brought me to where I am today. Looking forward to rebuilding my life

      • jham123
        October 27, 2009 at 2:37 am

        Good job Rob, take the next week or so to consume the entire Blog month by month. You’ll get better each day you do…

      • shrink4men
        October 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm

        Best wishes to you, Rob.

  19. April 2, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Great Article. Is this published in any professional journal? It should be. It really hits the nail on the head when dealing with narcicist relationships. Thank you so much for sharing this, it makes sense of the crazy-ness.

    • shrink4men
      April 2, 2009 at 3:48 am

      Hi Fred,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate it. Nope, this article isn’t published in a journal. I left academia a long time ago. Let the researchers gather the data and I’ll write about it, so that the rest of us can understand it. I checked out your site as well. Keep up the good work. I know what an uphill battle it is.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

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  1. July 8, 2009 at 7:01 am

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