Another 5 Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Women
This is part three of Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman and 5 More Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman. These strategies aren’t guaranteed to help you avoid an attack or “fix” your relationship. If a BPD/NPD woman is determined to raise hell, she’s going to do it. Even if these strategies aren’t effective every time she’s looking to hurt you or get a reaction out of you, they can help you become aware of what’s going on in the moment and not get sucked into another endless conflict.
These women want you to react to their hurtful behaviors, so they can feel righteous, indignant, hurt and justified. If you don’t react, that upsets them, too. Remember, ultimately, there is no winning with this kind of woman. You win by not giving her the reaction she wants, disengaging, and if you can do it, ending the relationship and recovering yourself. Maintaining this level of hyper-vigilance and behavioral maintenance would be emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausting and I urge you not to do so:
11. Just the facts, ma’am, i.e., hold her accountable. Some of these women may become violent if you hold them accountable for their behaviors. If your wife or girlfriend is the non-violent type, holding her accountable may give you a respite from the yelling, carping, kvetching, insults, accusations, etc. She won’t admit you’re right. She’ll never accept responsibility for her abusive behaviors, lies, and distortions. You won’t get the validation and vindication you long for, but it may make her blink and go speechless, if only for a short while.
Don’t yell. Don’t get in her face the way she gets in yours. Calmly and clearly bring it all back to the facts. Commit these phrases to memory: “That’s not true.” “I won’t admit that’s true no matter how angry you get.” “That’s not how I remember it. Here’s what happened. . .” She’ll probably continue to talk or shout over you, change her story as she goes along, deny it ever happened and/or call you a liar, but that still doesn’t change the facts of her behaviors and events.
12. Choose your battles. You can’t respond to everything she says, does or demands. You just can’t. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Figure out your bottom line. Make concessions on small issues to allow her to feel like she’s “winning” and stick to your guns on the big issues. This will help to preserve your sanity.
13. Contain any and all emotions. Whatever you do, DON’T ask these women to explain their feelings and DON’T express yours. Yes, women complain that men don’t express how they feel enough, but expressing your emotions to a woman like this is a trap. It will be held and used against you in the future if you tell her what you’re thinking and feeling.
BPD/NPD women can’t handle their own intense emotions much less the emotions of others. That’s why these women are human projection machines—engaging in what I like to call “emotional projectile vomiting.” Think of feelings like anxiety, fear, self-doubt, worthlessness, self-loathing, anger, etc., like a case of food poisoning. As the bile starts to rise in your throat, you vomit, sometimes violently, wipe your mouth, burp and then say, “oh, that feels better.”
These women do the same thing, but with their emotions and guess who’s the toilet. . . you. You become the receptacle for their emotional bile. After they deposit the contents of their highly disturbed psyche onto you (projection) or into you (projective identification) they feel better because you’re now carrying their toxicity for them.
Of course, this leaves you upset, which these women don’t understand. They feel better, so why don’t you? You’re upset because of something they did? What’s wrong with you? You’re making things up. You’re being too sensitive. If you don’t just take it and pretend you’re alright afterward, it may trigger another attack episode. Remember, these women are genuinely taken aback when you express displeasure with their abusive behavior (see #7).
So when she starts projecting, don’t discuss her feelings—because that’s a bottomless pit—and don’t tell her how bad she’s making you feel because she’ll interpret that as an attack on her, which will then compel her to attack you again (that’s in addition to her initial attack). Briefly acknowledge her upset feelings and then direct the focus to something else.
These women are too emotionally raw and vulnerable, no matter how shut down they appear to be at times. Discussing feelings with them will only trigger her to escalate the abuse and dump on you some more. Don’t ask her how she feels, but rather, what she thinks you and she should do about it, assess the feasibility and proceed from there.
14. At the risk of sounding like a Zen devotee, because I’m not, DETACH FROM THE OUTCOME. You can’t control her. You can’t make her change. All you can do is make choices for yourself, decide how much you can tolerate, set boundaries and decide when enough is enough and end the relationship, which leads me to. . .
15. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Ordinarily, I’d encourage people to expect the best from others to create a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. However, expecting the best from women like this will only lead you to feel broadsided, perpetually disappointed, and hurt.
For all their crocodile tears and hyper-sensitivity, these women are emotional predators and bullies. If you stay in a relationship with one of these women, the best you can expect is more of the same. You may achieve some periods of “peace” if you can learn how not to trigger her 30% of the time (remember, she’s not responsible for her behavior; you’re responsible for her behavior and your behavior and all the other problems in the universe), how not to take her attacks personally (even though they’re extremely personal in nature), and how to maintain your boundaries through implementing behavioral consequences a small percentage of the time.
Again, these strategies are meant to be short-term coping skills, not long-term solutions. Next week, I’ll post the next 5 techniques, so please check back.
by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
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- Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman
- 5 More Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman
- Why We Stay in Bad Relationships
- When Love Hurts: The Emotionally Abused Man
- How to Deal with a Borderline Woman
- 12 Signs You Should Break Up with your Boyfriend, Girlfriend or Spouse
- 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Involved with Another Crazy, Emotionally Abusive, Narcissistic or Borderline Woman
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- Relationship Boundaries, Part 2
- Relationship Boundaries, Part 1
- Emotional Toddlers: Narcissists, Borderlines and Psychopaths, Part 1
- Winning an Argument with a Narcissist, Part 1
- Winning an Argument with a Narcissist, Part 2
- Emotional Toddlers: Narcissists, Borderlines and Psychopaths, Part 2
- How to Be a Successful Narcissist
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