Video: Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman and Suicide Threats
Narcissistic Personality Disorder/Borderline Personality Disorder women rarely make it easy to end a relationship with them. Once you finally decide you can no longer take the emotional abuse, the threats, accusations, outrageous demands, bullying, projection, projective identification and gaslighting, you probably feel a sense of relief. Then the maw of hell opens and the BPD/NPD woman ratchets her nasty behaviors a thousandfold.
Typical behaviors include: distortion/smear campaigns (lying to your friends, family and anyone who’ll listen in order to turn them against you); parental alienation (turning your children against you by badmouthing you, lying about you and putting you into no-win situations); and projection (blaming you for the rotten abusive acts that she is committing—for example, she engages in parental alienation and then accuses you of taking your anger out on the children).
Facing these threatening behaviors can be terrifying, which makes it all the more difficult to end the relationship. These women become unpredictable, wild animals when they sense they’re losing control. They don’t care about the collateral damage they inflict. They’ll bring the house down right on top of themselves if they think it will punish you.
I received an email request for advice from one of my readers, “Mike,” about breaking up with his BPD/NPD ex, “Susan.” He shared a rather lengthy email exchange between them, which I condensed into an Xtranormal video (with Mike’s permission). Here’s an excerpt from his email:
I guess my question is, “Where do I go from here?” I posted some of my experiences (under the name, fromCOtoAZ) previously on your blog. Your advice was very helpful and completely correct. Unfortunately, I didn’t adhere to your advice and got sucked back in. My ex promised she was seeing a therapist and that things would change. She finally admitted her words are hurtful and cause a lot of damage. I gave her one more chance to see if things really would change or if it was just window dressing.
Things were fine the first month, then they shot straight back to what they were by the second month. She has no problem throwing anyone under the bus if you try to hold her accountable. She blames others for her problems, even her kids. While we were together, I offered to buy her a car since she totaled her previous one in an accident. Even though I can’t afford it, I was willing to do it for her and her kids. Long story short, she blows up at me. Most girls would say, “thank you, what a guy.” Not her. She HAS to find something wrong with the offer, some reason to be offended, some reason to be completely negative and angry.
The profanity comes in waves, degrading words spew like bile, and it happens every time. It’s always someone else’s fault. So I finally had enough – again – and broke up with her. Now she’s playing the victim and it’s all my fault in her eyes. Here’s the dialog we had tonight. It’s a great example of how our “discussions” (my attempt) turn into fights (her attempt).
So here is my question to you: My nephew got into a fight with his girlfriend and hung himself when he was 21. I also made a very poor decision earlier in my life and considered suicide. Trust me. She knows suicide is very personal to me. I’m not asking you to have a crystal ball, but I’m scared that she’s serious. Then again, and I don’t mean to sound like a callous jerk, she could simply be playing that card because she knows it’s the ONE thing that will get my attention over anything else. So where do I go from here?
I can’t stay with her just because she threatens to kill herself. She’ll never stop being abusive and demoralizing and yet I don’t want to have that on my conscience if she does it. When I had ny own brush with suicide years ago, it was my decision, poor as it was, and I accept full responsibility. She would never see it as her choice. It would all be my fault. What should I do? This girl (“girl” -she’s actually a 43-year old woman with 3 children!) scares me in so many ways, but this is the scariest.
My head felt like it was going to explode while reading your email exchange with Susan. Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…
1. Your first mistake was going back into the rabid lioness’ den (i.e., reuniting). It happens though. You wanted to give it one more college try. I understand. You stuck your hand into the fire again and got burned. This is a valuable lesson. Remember it.
2. Your second mistake was offering to remain friends with this woman. You cannot, not, NOT remain “friends” with these women. If you don’t share a child, the healthiest thing is a clean break (or as clean as you can get with a woman like this), which means no contact.
First, this woman is not your friend. A friend doesn’t abuse you. Second, as one of my other readers so eloquently stated, “As adult as you may think you are being by developing a “friendship”, this is not a normal adult relationship and you need to end the behavior patterns in order to move on. If children are involved, communicate by email with very direct, but not curt communications. Do not initiate or engage in any dramatic episodes even on email – Kind, Direct, Simple, the end.”
3. You’re using too many words with her (Mike’s email responses to Susan were very long). These women don’t process dialog/conversation like the rest of us. Crafting long, factual explanations–especially ones that don’t fit with their distorted version of events–are completely lost on them. Even if it seems like she’s reading or listening, she’s just scanning for specific hot-button code words that she can twist around, distort, and blow completely out of proportion in order to use your words against you. These women should become professional taffy pullers. Their ability to distort facts so that they fall in line with their distorted emotional reasoning is unparalleled.
4. Never agree with these women’s insults and name-calling. Appeasing these women by agreeing with them in order to get them to stop the verbal abuse (i.e., shut up) is usually a bad idea. They take it as a green light to keep going and that their behavior is acceptable. You can’t humor these women. It only amps them up.
5. When they invoke the authority of a therapist, attorney or some other professional it means they’re getting desperate. It’s like saying, “I told mommy/daddy/teacher on you and boy are you in trouble now!” It’s a control/manipulation/shame/fear tactic. No competent therapist would encourage a patient to emotionally blackmail a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, ex or family member by threatening suicide.
In fact, Psychologists adhere to the Tarasoff vs. the Regents of the University of California ruling, which means they have a duty to protect their patients from harming themselves or others. This includes breaking confidentiality by contacting the authorities or having them voluntarily/involuntarily hospitalized if the Psychologist decides the patient has intent, the means and a plan to kill herself.
I highly doubt she even showed your emails to her therapist. Then again, perhaps she did and that’s why Bonnie is recommending inpatient treatment. Furthermore, just like NPD/BPD women twist around things that you say and do; they also twist what their therapists say if it helps them to control and abuse others. Additionally, if Bonnie criticized you it’s probably because your ex has given her a highly distorted account of your relationship.
6. You are NOT responsible if this woman takes her life. Period. This is classic emotional blackmail. Don’t bite on it. If you’re really worried about her, call or email her therapist and let her decide if Susan needs to be pink papered. Forward Susan’s emails to her therapist. State you understand she can’t discuss or even acknowledge that she’s treating Susan, but you’re worried that she may harm herself and her children by exposing them to her parasuicidal threats and possible gestures. Mention your experience with your nephew and that’s why you feel obligated to notify her. And truly, Mike, that’s all you’re obligated to do.
I apologize if my feedback comes across as harsh, but for goodness sake, I feel violated reading her attacks on you secondhand. Do you have a therapist or someone who can help you set and maintain your boundaries and figure out what attracted you to Susan and what makes you susceptible to women like her? If not, I strongly encourage you to focus on that instead of being friends with Susan or having anything else to do with her.
Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
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