Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, relationships > 10 Things You Need to Do After Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman

10 Things You Need to Do After Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman

wicked witch ruby slippersDING DONG THE WITCH IS GONE!

1. Spring cleaning. Purge your home or apartment. Get rid of mementos of “the good times.” If you’re not ready to throw them away, put them in a box and store it somewhere out of reach. If she’s left personal belongings, tell her it’s fine if she comes back to get them later and then quietly pack them in a box on your own and ship them to her or, if you don’t know her new address, send them to her mother, her friend (if she has one) or her office. When she sends you a nasty email or leaves a nasty voicemail for doing so; ignore it.

These women leave personal belongings behind as a way to keep a “foot in the door.” Your goal should be to firmly close that door—for good. Furthermore, if she has any of your belongings or owes you money, either get them back on the day of the break up or kiss them goodbye. Your peace of mind and a life without her is far more valuable than a sweatshirt or $200.

2. Delete emails and all other electronic messaging equipment. Delete the 700+ emails you exchanged with her. They’re just something you’ll torture yourself with in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep wondering, “What if I’d responded like this? What did she mean by that? How could she say she loved me and that I’m the greatest guy she’s ever known and then do x, y, and z? Look at how great things were between us for that hour on March 9th. Why couldn’t we stay like that forever? I wonder if she’s thinking about me as much as I think about her? Maybe I’ll just email her to say ‘hi’ and make sure she’s okay. . .”

Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Delete these emails unless you need them for potential legal proceedings. For example, she’s taking you to court over money she claims you owe her and you have emails in which she states she owes you money. Or, she’s made false abuse charges or there’s custody issues. You’ll want to give the crazy, abusive emails to your attorney. The same thing applies to texts, sexts, voicemails and hand-written notes/letters/cards.

3. It’s times like these for which Caller ID was made. You’ve got Caller ID, so use it. Screen you calls. If her name appears on the screen; don’t answer it. If it reads, “private caller,” “unknown number” or a number you don’t recognize; don’t answer it. It means she’s figured out you’re not taking her calls and has either blocked her number or is calling from a different phone.

Let it go to voicemail and then delete it. If she begins to harass you by phone, for example, calling and hanging up multiple times daily, call your phone company and have them trace the call records. Then you have the option of contacting your local police department or sending an email to your ex saying you have the records and if she doesn’t stop, you’ll contact the police.

4. Avoid your favorite hangouts for awhile. Don’t go to the restaurant or bar you used to go to together. Go to the gym at a different time of day or join another gym if you think she’ll start popping in at your current one. Your goal is to keep as much emotional and physical distance between the two of you as you can. Granted, that won’t keep her from “accidentally running into to you” (i.e., stalking you), but you don’t have to make it easy for her. If you can’t avoid these places due to work, geographical limitations or that’s where your friends go, at least change your schedule.

Change beer and darts night from Tuesday to Thursday. Go to the gym before work instead of after work. Park you car on a different street or in a different lot. Go to a different grocery store. This is for your benefit as well as hers. Sometimes all it takes for these women to start messing with you again is to see you drive past them on the street or if they bump into one of your friends. It’s much better for you if you can stay out of sight and out of mind.

5. You gotta have friends (and family). Get back in touch with the people who care about you. If your ex isolated you from your friends and family whilst you were together, reconnect with them. The same advice applies if you isolated yourself because you didn’t want to deal with the embarrassment of her nasty and unpredictable behavior. You need your friends’ and family’s support now more than ever.

You don’t have to have weepy heart-to-hearts with them. Just distract yourself for a few hours doing things you enjoy together. It will help to debunk all the lies your ex fed you during the relationship like, “You’re a loser. You don’t have any friends. No one likes you. There’s something wrong with you.” The reality is your ex is the loser that no one likes and, if she has borderline/narcissistic traits, there’s definitely something wrong with her.

6. Spill the beans. Stop lying, making excuses for and defending you ex to your friends and family. It’s time to be honest and expose her for the crazy, out-of-control abuser she is. First, it’s a good offense. Emotionally abusive, NPD/BPD women often begin smear campaigns against you after you break up and, sometimes, while you’re still together to play the “victim” and gain sympathy.

Second, you’ll probably be surprised when the people you confide in are not surprised by what you tell them about your ex. Some of these women are especially adept at putting on a good front and making you out to be the bad guy, but most people can tell something isn’t right—no matter how well you think you hid it.

Third, one of the things women like your ex fear most is having her nasty, crazy behaviors exposed. It will also make it more difficult for her to worm her way back into your life. Once your support system knows the full story, they can serve as “sponsors” à la 12-step program-style. When you’re feeling nostalgic for the few nice moments you had with her, call your friends and family for a much needed reality check.

7. Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Improve your nutrition. Exercise. Start doing the things you used to enjoy again. Establish a new routine without her in your life. Do everything you wanted to do that she bitched and moaned about while you were with her. Leave the toilet seat up. Drink directly out of the milk carton. Give yourself permission to be yourself again. She’s not around to come down on you for it anymore.

8. Take a break from dating. You need time to recover from this relationship. Rushing back into the dating pool while the wounds from your ex are still fresh leaves you vulnerable to other female predators. Like cats in the wild, these women can spot the antelope with the limp at 50 paces.

Take some time to figure out what attracted you to this woman, what needs you were trying to meet, if this is a pattern for you and then educate yourself on how to identify this kind of woman in order to avoid another abusive relationship in the future. If this is a pattern for you, I encourage you to do some work and learn how to become attracted to healthy women. It can be done.

9. Distract yourself. Focus on your career. Strengthen your friendships. Take up a new activity. Take a class. Go back to school. Read all those books and magazines you’ve been meaning to get to “when you have the time.” You have the time now. An abusive, NPD/BPD woman is a huge time sink. She demands constant attention and, when you’re not showering her with attention, you spend the rest of the time thinking about what you did wrong and how you can please her so that she doesn’t go ballistic or give you the cold shoulder again.

If you don’t find something to occupy the chunks of time she used to consume, you’ll inevitably begin thinking (i.e., obsessing) about her, what you used to do together and what she’s doing now. It’s like giving up cigarettes; you need to replace the unhealthy habit with a healthy habit.

10. Get real with yourself. Commit the following statements to memory:

  • She won’t change.
  • You can’t make her better.
  • She doesn’t love you.
  • Things really were that bad.
  • You can’t be friends with her.
  • She’ll keep abusing you for as long as you let her.
  • She isn’t going to move on to a new man and suddenly be great and normal. She’ll continue to be the same miserable woman she was when she was with you, no matter how much she rubs your nose in how “terrific” her life is without you. THIS IS A LIE.
  • A few wonderful moments don’t make up for how abusive she is the majority of the time.
  • You deserve better.
  • You had a life before her; you’ll have a much happier life without her.

Write this list down. Tape a copy to your bathroom mirror, next to your phone and on your nightstand. You can break the psychological and emotional dependency this woman fostered within you.

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.


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Ruby slippers on wicked witch on endofbench.

  1. Lazaro
    July 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    All of the above…no contact no fb change your number emial…..whatever it takes !!!!!! If you want to be misirable and sick …go ahead stay!!! Get it thru your heads my friends…….it will never work these woman are sick….without serious proffesional help your relationship is never ever going to make it!!!! Even with therapy its highley unlikely…..Run away dont walk run…its like being in a gang….you will end up in jail or dead….even worse broke and fucked up in the head…im just glad I made it out…you know the facts!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Paco
    March 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    So lucky to found this site,

    Is helping me a lot to reinforce myself, its been hard to let her go but im doing it
    Some days are good some thays are difficult, but i want to find peace and love in myself, and i know one day
    Some nice girl will appear in my life

    Muchas gracias for the support

  3. hearts2big
    October 23, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Alrighty…here I go. I left a relationship with a girl with BPD a while ago, and the last time I was on here, and another similar forum, I was in a great deal of pain. The worst emotional pain on top of the worst guilt, on top of much confusion – even amongst much newly found information through research, on top of the most unnerving and frightening, almost debilitating physical manifestations of my growing stressload, on top of the most encompassing, undeniable feeling of emptiness that I have ever known…. I don’t want to ever go through this again in my life.

    Quick timeline to put this post in perspective:

    I met my ex girlfriend in early March of this year.

    Fell for her (you know, the illusion of her, yipes!) hard within weeks, and of course, it was within about 5 or six weeks that red flags started actually hitting me in the head and bursting through my ‘love-blindness’.

    I should mention that I’m not any kind of ‘player’ at all – I was a perfect target for this girl, single for a long time, super-nice, down to earth romantic type, blah, blah blah… RIPE for the picking in other words.

    Wow, so I fall hard and then go through the hardest, saddest, most confusing, painful time of my life for 4 months straight, basically enmeshed in her life 24/7, except for the 4 times in 4 months that I left, almost running down the road, exasperated, hurt, relieved, confused, sad…oh God, never again. The fifth time I left it was for good, I was losing myself in all ways possible, and my life was going into the toilet fast. Bad bad bad – mental and physical deterioration.

    Had the balls, care and integrity to break up with her in person, with as much love, care and concern as was really there, which was a ton.

    Crap, now I’m rambling…we ‘Nons’ all know the pain that can be part of an intense relationship with someone suffering from BPD.

    This post is for those that might be on here lately, typing through tears, trying to find the words to convey their story, relieved that they have found a few spots on the net like this, but all the knowledge in the world only helps you understand and put the pieces together – it does next to nothing for the deep, cutting, grinding, bitter hurt and pain and emptiness that you are experiencing. I know I was only in for 4 months, but it was INTENSE, ENMESHING, and BAD BAD BAD! Then I allowed almost two weeks of horrible, low, low guiltmongering AND hoovering on the phone (foolishly, but you know how it is, I know you do.), then, after a brief respite, was getting calls again, so tried to deflect to email as a default way of post breakup-finishing up the breakup while going through intense pain and guilt of and reliving the original 20-hour breakup. Then the emails took the inevitable turn for the worse and when she realized I was not going for the bait and guilt I was finally split so black that it was actually almost helpful that she was so ridiculously mean and nasty >>> it made it hurt a little less to be away from her for real and for good.

    So add a month of aftermath stuff before I actually was able to achieve the NO CONTACT thang.

    That puts me actually ‘out and away’ at the end of July.

    This post is for those that are in the midst of the aftermath. I know exactly and intimately the pain you are grinding through your heart and soul right now.

    I didn’t think it would ever get better. Maybe a little, but nowhere near the level of ‘Okay, fine, I’m alright’ like before my unwitting BPD adventure. I was so sure the emptiness and tragic sadness and sudden, overwhelming feeling of great loss and bitter, grinding heartbreak would never subside enough for me to feel like the whole ‘Me’ that existed before, flaws and all.

    The only way I could even BEGIN to describe it to someone not in the loop would be to say ‘ Imagine you find one morning, out of the blue, that your lottery numbers match the newspaper, and then you are told, yes, YES, you have won, you are SO LUCKY! Come pick up your cheque for 12 million bucks!!! Yopu go through all the genuine emotions of thinking that you must be the frikkin’ luckiest man alive WOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    Then. after spending a ton of dough you don’t even have yet, and spending the entire time on the long drive down to the lottery office making a list of all the incredible, unimaginable, undreampt of wonderful things that you will do with your newfound wealth, only to discover upon arrival at the office that there was a terrible, embarrassing mistake and you did NOT win! Not even a dollar!

    then, when you get home, you discover that the love of your life has packed up and left, leaving only a confusing, snippy note behind, and your dog died.

    Now, times that by 100.





    Guess what?

    IT GETS BETTER!!!! Sure I still have pangs of regret and loss. Sure, each time I was sure I had cried out the last of the pain and was getting somewhere, inevitably that time would come again that the lump in the throat and the tears had to come….but you have to go through it. Let it come… let it go. Over and over. It may very well be the hardest thing you ever go through my friends, do not trivialize my experience in your minds just because my time ‘in’ was short. It all almost brought me to my knees…it almost got the better of me, I had times where I worried that I may not be able to function the way I needed to.

    The only way around it is through it.

    It will seem like it will never end ‘OH God, how much more pain – NO MORE!! NO MORE PAIN!!

    Those times will get better and better.

    I never imagined they would.

    That’s a personal hell I really wouldn’t wish on anyone, but time actually does do a good job of healing all wounds.

    Do the work.

    Go THROUGH the pain, it is unavoidable.


    Longer and longer between the need to cry it out, more and more stuff makes sense, your sense of relief will actually be enjoyable once you let yourself and her off the hook of blame and guilt.

    Before you have realized it, the tremors will have subsided, your legs won’t feel wobbly when you go down stairs, the back of your neck won’t turn into an instant brick when you think about her a bit, or you go by one of your old common places, or that song or two come on the radio and always catch you off guard.

    And yeah… you will actually start thinking of her less and less.

    Believe me, before you know it, you’ll be saying “Holy crap, that was most of a day, and I forgot to think about her.


    In fact, as the pain subsides there actually comes a pretty solid feeling that you’ve survived something huge and unique, and are much wiser and much more in tune with yourself. Be careful to actually learn from this all without becoming bitter or jaded, and you are actually coming out ahead.

    Yup, I said ahead…. you are actually more than you were before.

    And you know what folks, it’s going to be all the sweeter and more satisfying and appreciated when you do hook up with someone capable of a healthy, loving reciprocal relationship. in fact, it just might feel like you’ve won the lottery. For real.

    EDIT: I looked at this post quickly just before submitting it, and thought I should add;

    I hold no animosity towards, nor do I think badly of folks who suffer through a life of BPD. I actually know enough now to be able to still empathize with anyone afflicted with BPD. I went through a little ‘healthy’ anger when I realized the extent to which she was deceiving me with seemingly no conscience, but you have to experience your anger when it comes, then let it blow away as you concentrate on building your self-esteem.

    I feel big-time for persons with BPD, i just can’t be with them.

    Nor is this in any way meant to be advice on whether to stay or go when things get bad in a BPD relationship, that is each individual’s own life and personal way.

    Just remember, once you go, go through all the pain as healthily as you can muster, do the work, build the self-esteem, forgive, release and move on – and before you know it you’ll be writing a post like this with a much, much, much lighter heart, and lots more smarts and soul-force.

    • Irene Gallegos
      June 28, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Thank you SO SO SO SOOOOO very much for this!! Totally needed it right now!!! I know it will get better. Just gotta go through the pain for a bit. Ugh! Thanks so much! Hoping all is well with you!!

    • Lawdog
      September 29, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      I just found this post and boy I could’ve written it. Six months later I still miss her. Beautiful, strong and intelligent but the reality was shallow, selfish and belittling. She even assaulted me twice. I chose to forgive her and stayed with her for three years. Now, I don’t believe I’ll ever be the same or love again. I wanted this to be forever. I was the one to sacrifice everything, paid for everything. Much like you, I had been single for awhile, have a huge heart and fell hard for her. The red flags were there. I was initially happy and over looked them. The put downs, the arguments over trivial things, the demands and ultimatums all became too much. I ended it in tears and almost a nervous break down. I second guessed myself for months, still do. She cut me out of her life and never returned my emails. She began a 100 days of happiness after our breakup. How can anyone Start a 100 days of happiness after a 3 year relationship and we were engaged to be married in less then 6 months? She was cold, heartless. I know it was for the best but it is the most painful time in my life ever.

  4. J
    July 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I love this site….Thank you Dr. Tara!

    I know my bpd ex is dating someone else and I so want to warn him. Tell me I should not! I really have this desire to fix her ass though…..

    • July 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm

      I think you’ll end up feeling a lot better if you try to just let things go.

  5. Fred
    January 10, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Dr. Tara,
    I think it’s important for me to tell you how much you and your contributors have done for me and countless others. We may not post on your site but we read and learn. I won’t go into the details of my marriage, divorce, continued struggles except to say that you have pegged her behavior perfectly. I would still be lured back into this abusive situation if not for you and the others on this site. It’s still difficult and I have to reread your posts but I know I will eventually find myself again. Thank you so very much.


  6. DSquared
    December 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks Dr T and Mr E as well. Those are all very good questions and I’ll be sure to start working on them in therapy. I don’t know if other guys suffer from this too, but I have a very difficult time even telling when someone is hitting on me. Is spotting this different for someone who has been in an abusive relationship or do I just need to improve at reading women? Thanks again.

  7. DSquared
    December 22, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Sorry for bringing this post back from the dead, but I have a question with step 8. In particular:

    “If this is a pattern for you, I encourage you to do some work and learn how to become attracted to healthy women. It can be done.”

    I’ll briefly relay my story. I’m 27 and was with a BPD for a year, was my first real long relationship, lived together etc. That was almost 2 years ago now; I have tried to date a few people, but I realize that all the women I’m attracted to (or have tried dating) are like her (ie, abusive, childish, chasing after them, etc.) So, my question is what work do you suggest? How do I “learn” to be attracted to women that are healthy? Is there anything particular I should be focusing on in therapy?

    • Mr. E
      December 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      Look at WHY you’re attracted to these women. Do you want to “save” them? Are you trying to get the acceptance you didn’t get from your mom or your first girlfriend? What will happen if you get these women to be nice to you?

      Check out this post: https://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/how-to-have-a-healthy-relationship-after-being-with-an-emotionally-abusive-borderline-or-narcissistic-woman/

    • shrink4men
      December 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm

      Hi DSquared,

      As Mr E points out, focus what attracted you to these women in the first place. Are you trying to recreate an early relationship with a disapproving and controlling parent? Are you trying to rescue because you had to rescue mom or dad when you were a kid (e.g., put their emotional needs first, take care of them, etc.)? These would be good things to focus on in therapy. Alternatively, perhaps you’re not trying to do either of these things and you just became attracted to a pretty woman with issues.

      I suggest learning the early warning signs these kind of women put out there—it looks like you’re already familiar with some of them—and then try dating women you’re not typically attracted to. By the way, I don’t mean date unattractive women—physical attraction is important. I’m referring to the kind of woman of which you typically think, “Well, she’s cute and smart and nice, but I don’t know. I’m just not feeling it.” The “it” you’re not feeling is probably the “exciting” craziness and abusiveness of the type of woman to whom you’re typically attracted. Ride out your initial impulse to flee, get to know the woman and remind yourself that you actually want to be with someone who is stable and can reciprocate your feelings. This is also something you can focus on in therapy.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  8. Laura
    October 20, 2009 at 1:39 am

    It sounds like you should look into relocating, Dan. Sometimes things get really ugly with BPD/NPD. Look at the Phil Hartman tragedy… Safety first, then sanity. Sounds like she wants to make sure you’re still thinking about her. Maybe she wants to reconnect? But what she did was trespassing…stalking…Be careful.

  9. Dan
    October 20, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I have a question. I dated a girl for close to a year and a half. The first three months were incredible, these were long distance and then she moved in. She was completely different as soon as she moved in. To make a long story short, she was good at doing things that related to the work end of the relationship- making dinner (although sometimes she ate before telling me dinner was ready and I ate alone), yard work, laundry etc. She lived for free, I took care of all bills, and anytime we went anywhere I paid. She became abusive, yelling, screaming at times, constantly finding reasons to be upset with me, withheld sex, then when I would finally reach a point of being upset would become the person I had met orginally and be loving and caring and sexual with me again. I ended up having her move out, and we tried dating several more times over the next year, and each time within a week she was angry and screaming about something again. She would vasilate from I want to have babies with you to anger and screaming within the same day. I couldnt take her on any trips with family or friends because she would act in ways that would make her look awful to them etc. I was hung up on many times, she even left me sitting in a restaraunt, the gym, and other places where she would just storm out and leave. This was always followed by very loving and caring statements later. She did admit to have faults and wanting to get through them together- even stated I was the only person who could see her through that. In the end I was beat up for over a year and a half emotionally, spent thousands taking care of her, and finally had to block my phone number and email etc. She sent me a couple emails and left a note on my car after about a month, and I did not respond. I got home the other night and this is now roughly 3 months after we broke up and there is a gift from Canada hidden behind my skis and ski rack in the garage. a bag frienship stacking rocks fro Canada, where she went on vacation over the summer- after we broke up. These were hidden behind things I would get out in the winter and I can only guess she came by sometime when the garage was open, and sometime over the last couple months and put it there. This may seem like a dumb question but why would she do that? I figured she was gone and off dating some guy because she is very attractive and that would be easy for her, and she herself admits to rebounding when she is out of a relationship. I gave everything I had to this girl, she referred to me as the love of her life, and there was nothing I could do to keep a happy relationship with her so why in the world at this point would she actually hide that in my garage? Why not leave it on the door step? It all seems crazy, and I know im not perfect either, however I do truly feel I dealt with a Narcissistic or BPD person with her, and I am working through things on my end to get over it but I do get stuck at times and wonder what happened? Why it all went like it did, could I have done anything else, and then why in the world would things be left inside my home? Any comments from your end would be great. Thank you for your time.

    • jham123
      October 20, 2009 at 1:37 am

      Dan, Read the article about why there is no closure with BPD women. It explains why she keeps coming back. Read the whole blog, you’ll not ask “why” for much longer.

      Glad you got away when you did. Stay strong.

  10. Danielle
    August 30, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Please forgive me if I am repeating myself, but the documentary “Dear Zachary: A letter to a son about his father” gives a chilling account of just how bad it can get with these women. The synopsis:

    “On November 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania; the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, promptly fled the United States for St. John’s, Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s child. She named the little boy Zachary.

    Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, Andrew’s oldest friend, began making a film for little Zachary as a way for him to get to know the father he’d never meet. But when Shirley Turner was released on bail in Canada and was given custody of Zachary while awaiting extradition to the U.S., the film’s focus shifted to Zachary’s grandparents, David & Kathleen Bagby, and their desperate efforts to win custody of the boy from the woman they knew had murdered their son.

    What happened next, no one ever could have foreseen…”

    I have watched it online several times through Netflix, and I am sure there are other sites where it can be viewed. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here is the movie’s site for more info: http://dearzachary.com/

    All the best,

  11. Pyscho Rescuer
    August 22, 2009 at 3:38 am

    I love this website.. thanks so much! You have no idea how much it has helped me since i discovered it a few days ago. I am new to this world and shocked at my behavior. I feel sad, depressed and most of all angry at myself.

    I hope my story doesn’t come off too strange.. but here goes… life is life…

    I mutually broke it off with what i believe now is a “NPD/BPD girlfriend” of a year in May.. we lived together and i WAS THE FIXER and she was the willing VICTIM for the last three months of the relationship .. i quickly realized no matter what i did she wasn’t changing and she realized it herself as well! we talked and agreed that she should really follow her dream of moving to the east coast. We broke up. She moved out the next day. But in hindsight there was never any real closure.

    It all seemed good and mutually beneficial so we still continued to communicate via text messaging and acted as “friends” (it was more like her bragging about where she was traveling and what her life plans and dreams were). It tore me up inside once again. I became obbsessed with thinking about what happened and what went wrong in our relationship.

    So August 1st she finally moved across the country to “find her passion”.. (and i stopped texting) … truth be told she is a 29 -year-old exotic dancer and she has never worked a real job and has no idea what to do in life unless a man is paying her way. She has lived in 4 different cities in the last 5 years. She is beautiful, fun, outgoing but extremely lazy. She has always had plenty of men to fill up her narcissitic needs… but never any real boyfriends UNTIL ME… so i knew she would never be heartbroken over our split.

    Amazingly enough the emotional torment she has dished out to to me since we broke up has been worse than ever and i continued to take it beacuase i have not followed the rules of no contact!

    We hadn’t spoken for a few weeks until last weekend when i ran into a friend of hers and let her know that what he said wasn’t exactly nice about her. Of course.. when i told her what he said… she blew it off.. told me “that is history.. i have a new life now.. very happy.. truth be told i have moved on from everything.lol”

    I finally got the courage and told her off after she said that…

    ME: “You are running out of places to hide and you keep moving and chasing something that you can’t find… and in the process you are ruining other peoples lives.. i hope that karma doesn’t catch up to you”

    HER (2 minutes later): “I love fast.. east fast.. shit fast..hurt fast.. move on fast.. fall in love fast.. goodluck.. mooove on… im happy now.. i have a new life here… dont text me anymore”

    I was SURE that it was over for good! The witch is dead!! I laughed at the time and shook my head… “what an idiot i have been. i got suckered by this loser. how could i have let this monster into my life?”

    So last night at 3:45am EAST COAST time… i was shocked when i received this from her –

    “hi …hope we understand.. i will always care for u n my bailey (my dog)..dont ever forget that.. last text 2 say sorry.. please know and understand :)

    then 10 minutes later 3:55am!!! another message..

    “that text meant 2 say hi.. n sorry if i hurt u.. but i’m living my new life”

    HUH? I know this whole thing must sound ridiculous!!.. but i am confused with the apology at this point. I thought these blood suckers never apologized? I know she is in another city.. she says she is happy and has moved on.. i tend to believe she has… i dont want to contact her and tell her off again… and tell her that i finally figured out she has a mental disorder.. so i am choosing to say nothing. She is certainly dating someone new and hadn’t texted me in weeks. I know it’s ridiculous. But will this madness continue? Why the appology?

    • shrink4men
      August 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Psycho Rescuer,

      First, if your ex was happy with her new guy, she’s be with him at 4 ‘o’clock in the morning, not texting you. They probably had a fight or he dumped her and she wanted some attention, which you wisely didn’t give her.

      Second, it wasn’t really an apology. She’s lumping you in the same category with her dog, Bailey, and basically said that you’re just one of the casualties of her living her life the way she wants—Whoopsy! Sorry if you’re hurt by my insanity and selfishness, but I sure am having fun! Alternately, maybe she was drunk and feeling sentimental. Who knows. Does it really matter?

      It was a fishing expedition. She wanted to see if you’d take the bait to see if she can still control you. Good for you that you didn’t take it. Now it’s time for you to take care of yourself and put your life back together.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  12. Jim
    August 17, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you for the website.

    I was in an intense relationship with a young woman for a little over 2 years. Things were great at first but steadily became more difficult as the relationship progressed. The last 6 months of this relationship have to be one of the strangest, most diffucult times of my life – a blur. I started looking for answers online as to what had happened. I was pretty sure that this was not a “normal” relationship or a “normal” breakup. I started reading about codependence and I found that my relationship mirrored the examples – I was the provider/enabler (the hero) and she was the victim. I had no idea of boundaries and how they need to be communicated to your partner and negotiated throughout the relationship – the idea that boundaries aren’t meant to force the other person to change but to allow you to know how much you will accept from them. I found that I was accepting actions from this girl that I would never accept from anyone again. Because I was allowing these actions to take place (infidelity, lying, deception, passive-aggressive behavior, etc.) I became more and more repressed as the relationship went on.

    From all of the events that took place it is pretty evident, to me, that this girl has BPD. I won’t go into the details because there are so so many. I could take up 20 pages with stories that mirror those I’ve read in regard to BPD sufferers and those who can’t seem to leave them. That’s the biggest difficulty I have with all of this – that I was unable to leave. I felt so many conflicting forces acting at once. I felt responsible for her and for all of the craziness that was taking place. I also felt tremendous guilt and shame.

    This is the way it ended: Two months before we broke up she was was planning on taking a trip to europe (she was taking language classes at community college). I promoted the trip and helped her plan it. I thought it would be good for her and good for us to get some space. However, during this time she started emailing some guys on a social website and started making plans to hook up with them when she got there. It turns out her whole plan was to fall in love over there and then invite one or more of them back. She needed this buffer in order to break it off with me. I found out about her plan through a friend. Anyway, she tried to get me to move out before she left for the trip saying that she just needed some time to think about stuff. Long story short is that I found out about it, I told her I wasn’t going to move, and she freaked out. This is the point where she “changed” permanently into this “other” thing that I had seen before but that was never lasting. It was this really nasty, monster-like part of her that would come out during her fits of hysteria and rage during the relationship. When she got back from her trip and raged on me when I told her I wasn’t going to move, this side of her seemed to become permanent towards me. From what I can tell, this would be when she finally split me black to the extreme. I didn’t know about any of this then though, or anything about BPD for that matter. In the following few weeks she had contained herself somewhat and now seemed to be trying to manipulate me to the extreme. I was still enmeshed with her and confused about what had all taken place. I thought there was a chance we could reconcile. This was after everything that had happened! I can’t believe it in hindsight but it’s true. She was still in control of me and I still thought I was in love with this person who had done sooooo many terrible things to me.

    Her plan with the guy from overseas evidently fell through (he flew to see her but something happened and he left) and when it did she emailed me begging me to see her. When i went and saw her she acted like it was nothing and told me that she just wanted to be “friends”. She commented on all of these guys she was seeing and how she now realized how much men are really attracted to her. It was common for her to always be talking about guys to me even while we were dating (I’ve read that this is an unconscious controlling action used by many women with BPD to emasculate the men they are with). She then acted cold towards me for a few weeks. She continued contacting me but when I didn’t respond warmly she raged on me in an email and said that I was a manipulating person for not responding to her and going out of my way to contact her. She said I was responsible for the breakup and that I should be doing everything in my power to contact her. I fell for this one last time. I went and met her at her new place. Again, she acted like no big deal. When I asked her about the crazy email she just said I was overreacting. I asked her why she wanted to be friends. She said that it was because she knew that I needed her support during this difficult time! The final straw was when she then began telling me about yet another guy who she was seeing. This one was “serious” she said. She showed me his website (he’s an artist like me) and bragged at how successful he is. She found the guy on Facebook (I met her when she first messaged me through Myspace) and he lives two blocks from the apartment we used to share that she moved from! she knew he lived in our neighborhood. I was blown away but unable to even comment on any of this. After I left I finally got the courage to go no contact. At first I changed me phone number. A few days later I saw her on the street with the guy but they were at a distance. The next day she emailed me saying that she would like for me to be able to be casual when she saw me in the future with this guy. She also said that she was “doing well but that she has a heavy weight hanging over her.” She asked that I contact her or meet her for coffee to discuss how we could work it out. I didn’t respond to this email. Instead, I blocked her email address completely. This was all so troubling to me and I have been distressed. I’ve seen her and this guy a few times since then but they didn’t see me. She is with him 24/7 and is acting super affectionate, like they’ve been together for months. The same thing happened when I first met her. Now I’ve heard that he’s moving into her place, after one month of knowing her. For her to move on so easily after our relationship is amazing to me. I guess it was as easy as making him her white object?

    The problem for me is dealing with everything that has happened. I feel that I need to see a therapist to work on issues of codependency and my attraction to women like this. I’ve been in short term relationships with many other women who have acted in similar ways. This relationship is different though, and it was my first long term. I was so entrenched that I’ve had difficulty finding my way out. The most troubling aspect for me is this whole issue of splitting. To be split black by someone you have felt closer with than anyone else is a huge deal. I thought she was the person I was most close to in life. This girl was always talking about marriage and kids with me – which was also totally inappropriate for the length of time we were together and the relationship difficulties we were having. I still don’t know how to comprehend it. It’s as if I was in a relationship that didn’t exist. There is no closure and there is no resolution. There is only walking away.

    I actually feel fearful at this time and I haven’t been consciously afraid like this since I was a child. I’m afraid of her and of having to deal with her ever again. This is what I’m struggling with.

    • melove54
      August 18, 2009 at 12:01 am

      You sound like you’re in your 20’s. You’re young and have the whole world ahead of you. Get the “f” out!!!! Read this article by Dr. T as many times as it takes for you to understand what you must do. It can happen to any of us at any age,..I’m probably old enough to be your father and then some, and it happened to me! I can assure you, that is not where love is!!

    • Freedom
      August 18, 2009 at 3:26 am

      cue the circus music again (if you read my previous entries you’ll understand this, it’s meant in levity and not as anything bad)…

      holy moly, talk about a roller coaster ride. do ya feel like a yo-yo yet, being pushed away, brought back, pushed away, brought back? the girl is using you, was using you, and will most certainly continue to use you if you allow it. a lot of times people like your ex have the need for a safety net, or Plan B. do you want to be Plan B? when you were Plan A, she had a Plan B in the works, several times. and all of this was gonna happen behind your back and at your expense, on more than one occasion. now that she has “moved on”, she flaunting this new guy, still manipulating you, and making sure you are absolutely certain that she is in control. if you were to get a female friend and go get coffee together and she saw this, she would probably wind up on the evening news. i seriouysly doubt that you’re gonna like this part, but dude… you REALLY are better off without her, and the sooner you get her completely out of your life the better. she is treating you as tho you are disposable. and to her, you just might be. except for the fact that if you were to exit her life, then she wouldn’t have anyone to parade her new beau to and hurt and feel superior. say your prayers and thank God every night that you got out of this while you could, didn’t marry her, and didn’t have any kids with her. therefore… you actually get a clean break, painful as it may be. look thru this site at how many guys wound up married or fathers to children with these types of women. you can waste a few years, but do you really want to waste any more time? and it IS gonna be a waste if she’s willing to do this over and over again and not blink an eye. everything you’ve said has been focused on her, and she’s led you right to the fountain to drink. what about you? therapy might be a good idea just because it’s your first “real” long term relationship, just so you can find out and prove to yourself that it wasn’t “real”. don’t be a puppet. she doesn’t care about your feelings unless they are in direct synergy with hers, and then only because it reinforces her feelings about her, not because it’s you. she wants to feed off of you, and any morsel is tasty. a real woman worth having – a woman you deserve – is out there for you, but you gotta get this girl and put her FAR BEHIND!!! only then can you walk forward toward a better future, and walk with confidence. cuz if this is your first shot at love, i’d hate to see it have a lasting effect on you.

    • shrink4men
      August 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Jim,

      What a mindf*cking she gave you. I agree with the other comments posted here. Everything she did to you, she will do to her new guy, no doubt about it. Be grateful you’re out and now get started on recovering from this woman.

      I strongly encourage you to get some support for the trauma you suffered because of this woman. You were in a relationship with a woman who doesn’t exist. These women are phantoms. They play at being human; at heart, they’re predatory monsters.

      You will never get closure nor resolution from this woman. Just as with everything else in your relationship, she will screw you on this, too.

      You can get closure for yourself, however. You were involved with a highly toxic, crazy and abusive woman. It’s impossible to have a relationship with them. There’s nothing you could’ve done to get her to treat you with love and kindness. Not because there’s anything wrong with you, but because she’s not capable of it.

      That’s your closure. So is having no contact with her, healing and moving on in your life. Now, please get some support, even if it’s reaching out to your friends and family.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  13. melove54
    August 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Yeah, the house cleaning is imperative. I did do one thing that has me a bit befuzzled. It’s football season (pre-season now) and I joined facebook through my team’s website. I got back in contact with several old acquaintenances. Now, my X relationship has been over, with no contact for over 8 months. Not one of the half a dozen contacts I’ve made knew about our breakup. These contacts are in another town (same town my X lives in). I’ve been treading carefully due to this fact, however, these were mutual acquaintenances, people she would have stated were good friends, in reality, they were good people I would have liked to associated more with during the relationship, however, she normally limited our interaction with them. Are there some precautions that should be entertained in such a scenario? I’m just having a hard time understanding how they have no knowledge of our breakup? Is there a chance I could be set up?

    • Mr. E
      August 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      It’s possible they really don’t know. My wife doesn’t open up about anything with anyone, except for on a couple of rare occasions. My wife also gets “annoyed” with people and cuts them off on a regular basis for an arbitrary amount of time until she’s done being upset with them.

      I always suggest not posting anything on the web or Facebook (without appropriate anonymization) that you wouldn’t want to see splashed across newspaper headlines. So, be tactful, answer questions honestly, but save commentary for one-on-one, in-person conversation.

      I’d also suggest keeping things to yourself until you’re sure your conversations aren’t going straight back to your ex.

      • melove54
        August 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

        I suspect somebody knows, I just don’t know who? It’s not unlike her to create a smear campaign. She creates such campaigns primarily with her family and her only two real friends that live out of state. I was fortunate that she didn’t go through the gyrations of phone calls, emails, stalking, etc. It’s been a very clean break for me.

        My X was always annoyed with someone, and also cut people off arbitrarily for periods of time. It’s amazing though, the fact that she’s an attorney, people either fear her or want to be associated with her. She is highly cognizant of this fact , and it most certainly feeds her ego. For the most part, she’ll criticize them(behind their backs) either way, and blow them off for however long she felt necessary. Although she confided with her parents often, I also withnessed her chastising them like children, and would blow them off awaiting a submission. She respects no one.

        In any case, I’ve limited my facebook correspondence to “couldn’t take the BS, so it had to end.” or it’s “It’s a chapter in my life I’d rather not bother others with.” I’ve always been a proponent of “giving people benefit of the doubt,” however, I will apply some “healthy cynicism” in this case and watch how it all plays out.

      • shrink4men
        August 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm

        I agree with Mr E. Super advice. Facebook is fecund ground for a lot of high school nonsense.

    • shrink4men
      August 19, 2009 at 7:28 pm

      Hi melove54,

      I’m inclined to think that these people don’t know. Narcs don’t really have good friends. She probably either didn’t think these people were important enough to tell about your break-up or that the end of your relationship wasn’t important. Alternately, maybe she’s afraid she’ll expose herself to criticism if she “goes public.” In other words, people might speculate or talk about how awful it would be to be married to her.

      I think the private one-on-one conversations are the best way to go.

      Dr T

      • melove54
        August 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm

        I’ve been fortunate where it concerns a clean break from this relationship. No contact has worked well for both of us. I met a lot of people through her, ones that I believed were worthy of possible friendships.

        We were at one of these peoples party one evening and my X was in her “roaming mode”, seeking attention somewhere. As I was conversing with others, the tone of a conversation got a bit loud across the way. It was my X and a gentleman getting a bit heated about something. As I approach them, it seems he took offense to something she said, and he conveyed that he abhorred the haughty and arrogant attitudes of lawyers. I never did find the truth about that conversation, however, 30 minutes later, she asked that we leave immediately. She seemed to be having an anxiety attack. I asked why, and she replied, “that same guy is hitting on me, he is stalking me everywhere, let’s go now!” Yeah right, just when I was having a good time!

        She is socially adept, however, interaction with others was limited to short spurts of conversation, and to keep on the move. It seemed that she so fears her personality being exposed, that it is necessary to keep moving and not really get to know any one person well. She apparently spent too much time in the one group where this man called her down on something she said. Others witnessing her receiving a tactful tounge lashing I believe did induce a panic or anxiety attack within her. That was 4 years ago and she never let that happen since.

        At that time, 2 and 2 were hard to put together,..now I can truly see why she cannot have meaningful friendships. It’s simply too risky for her. I’m probably safe where it concerns who knows what about our breakup and I will heed the advice of one on one disclosure.

  14. melove54
    August 17, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I don’t know how many of you guys out there have experienced infidelity with your NPD/BPD.. Dr. T, due to the promiscuity of NPD/BPD types, I would love to hear your insights on infidelity/mongamy/adultery (as it relates to BPD/NPD) in an article form.

    I’ve been doing some research on this topic myself for some time now and recently came across a site, http://www.CheatingWays.com. The author plays the devils advocate role throughout, however, it is apparent that the author(woman) is both extremely narcissistic (portrays such a mentality) and is simply there for the money the site produces. To me, it’s a prime example of how society influences play a role in our decision making process, our entitlements if you will.

    Sorry for being a bit off topic here, however, I have high regard for your opinions and this is one topic I personally believe is integral to the association of BPD/NPD women. Thanks.

    • shrink4men
      August 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      Hi melove54,

      I just visited the Cheating Ways site and, yes, I think the author is incredibly NPD, heartless, entitled and completely devoid of empathy. It’s good reading if you want to understand how these women’s minds work, but I had a hard time just getting through “30 Reasons Not to Leave Your Husband.” Because you’ll “never see the inside of Barney’s again” and will have to “furnish your new crappy apartment with Ikea?”

      I’m beginning to understand why some men decide to get mail-order brides from third world countries (but not quite).

      As for the tendency of some NPD/BPD women to be promiscuous/unfaithful—it’s about what everything else is about that they do—bolstering the black hole that is their ego, feeling desirable, in control and hurting you.

      I think I need to go take a shower now.

      Dr T

  15. Freedom
    August 16, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    one of the things i would always TRY do when my ex would go on one of her tirades, throwing tatums and foul obscenities, is that i would remain as calm as i could and ask the very basic and simp,e question of, “ok… so what is the correct answer?”, which of course would send her off further into orbit. and, of course, she never once would give me a workable answer. that’s because there wasn’t an answer. i was constantly put in no’win situations, where nothing that i tried, nothing that i said, nothing that i id would be acceptable to her. she needed someone to vomit on, and since i was the only one that didn’t rely on her fo anything other than the relatonship, i got the front row seat. it’s like emotional whack-a-mole. something would always pop up and it would be my responsibility to whack it down, then another, then another. meanwhile she’s sitting on the sidelines keeping score. and if i didn’t get high score, then i’m a rotten selfish bastard who is only focued on himself and… fill in the blank with anything rotten you can think of. it got to the point where i could pretty much predict exactly what she was gonna say, it was just a matter of which order she as gonna put them in. and then the circus music would start in the back of my head… what FUN!!! not…

    how about this… since we were using movie anecdotes… in the immortal words from Monthy Python and the Holy Grail… RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY!!!

  16. Freedom
    August 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    John Small,
    since you were using movie analogies (and Dr. T brougt up the word tyranny), i have one that comes to mind. do you remember the scene in Gladiator where he has to go to battle in the arena – again – and he finally wins, but comes out battered and bloodied and barely alive – again. then he looks to the crowd and the one that put him there and makes him keep fighting, and he screams, “are you not entertained?!?!!!”. he doesn’t want to fight, he doesn’t want to keep doing battle for the amusement of others, he just wants to go home and find peace in his world, and live a happy, simple life. but each and every time he is at the mercy of a thumbs up or thumbs down from the ultimate critic. i think it’s a good analogy.

    when i was a kid, i used to think that if i put 200% into a relationship, that it would somehow magically balance out to 100% per person. it never worked, and left me very frustrated. it’s an overfunctioning/underfunctioning mindset. most people don’t react well to ultimatums. and people like your girl especially won’t react well cuz it truly foreces them to put up or shut, and they’re likely not to want to do either one. they’re “happy” with where they’re at, especially if they feel in total control. why would they want to give that up? but Dr. T is right… you should never have to beg, grovel, bargain, negotiate with someone that is supposed to love you to treat you like a decent human being. my ex used to say over and over that i wanted someone who is perfect. nothing could be further from the truth. but she flat-out could not comprehend that what i wanted was someone who’s gonna treat me like a partner, an equal, a lover, and someone who has value to her. to me, those things should come standard with every model. i never wanted a parade, nor even an applause for anything that i did. but what i got was rage and filth and verbal violence over the most miniscule of things. i’m a lover not a fighter, but she could never approach me in a civil manner, state her case of what was wrong with any measure of sensibility, dignity, and respect. therefore… i had to go. i can’t help her, i can’t save her, i can’t “fix” anything, because no matter what i was willing to do, it was never going to be good enough. there would always be something brand new to bitch and cry and point fingers about, another reason for her to tell me how much she hated me. she always demanded more, more, more, and what i got in return was more of the same. UGH!!! enough of that. leaving isn’t abandoning, it’s survival. and in my case it was like those old Bugs Bunny cartoons where there’s the outline of the character thru many walls, and the sound of my voice screaming in the distance.

    • Kev
      August 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

      Okay. Gonna try that again.

      Freedom – “because no matter what i was willing to do, it was never going to be good enough”

      I know that one all too well. Everything you do is wrong, including the exact opposite of what you’re doing.

      I swear, the more I read the comments, the more I wonder if we all have the same ex.

      There are days I wish we could all go out for a beer.

      • del
        September 17, 2011 at 2:47 am

        I just found this site after many 3 months of surfing for self-help/recovery of a divorce and little did I know until i found this sight how much I related with many of the scenarios presented by men who dont seem malicious just flat honest—with an almost “what the hell was I doing to deserve that?/what the helljust happened and attacks,etc…..Ive just been going down history road with an enlightenment of not being alone …..holy crap is all I can say and pray that I get my head out of my ass and get better

  17. John Small
    August 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Oh and btw these traits I now have are new to this relationship. I have never dealt with anyone the way she and I “relate” now. I feel like it has been so gradual as well. I would NEVER have in the past tolerated the ‘better’ treatment I get now, much less the worst. I couldn’t even have imagined myself being treated like this. I feel like the whipped dog in your analogy. I have truly been blindsided and blinded. Thanks again, your advice is what I need to hear and it is very encouraging.

  18. John Small
    August 15, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Dr. T.,
    This website is great and has been a real eye opener. I’m a bit confused though. I have been dating (two years together and one out of state) an extremely volatile woman who only seems to be getting worse. She flies into rages that last for hours when we are together and days and weeks when we are apart, only to later bawl and apologize, though this often gets repeated. This cycle recently happened five days in a row. She has kicked me out of her house when I was visiting from out of state because I would not drop a very unresolved argument. She even called the cops on me when I didn’t want to leave (I had no place to go). I am nothing like this. I have never been violent or even a “yeller” and have never been in a relationship like this at all. My self esteem has been shattered to the point where old friends say I am completely different and I feel it too. I feel like my confidence has been stripped. I feel like I love her very much and believe her when she says she loves me. I can relate to so many (by far most) of the “signs.” I deal with the “gaslighting” thing frequently (that’s why I sought therapy) and also especially not being able to ever express myself at all. Resolving an argument usually involves me getting the silent treatment for days before I give up and give in and then it is usually revised by her and dropped. But I am not fully convinced she is this way, because many others don’t relate. She is not constantly overtly critical nor does she actively insult me. I also exhibit many of the traits that are listed here too, and she would probably say I am more like this than she is (which I am certain I am not). But I feel like if I am to blame then I would like to focus on that first before I throw in the towel completely. I am currently in therapy and have sought couple’s counseling, which she does not want to do and I felt we were making headway (not just one sided either) but she does not want to make plans to go again. We live in different states and so it takes some planning for this to happen and it’s very easy to sabotage them when they are made. I am really confused though and maybe a bit brainwashed I dunno. I wish I knew what to do. This relationship is eating my soul and yet it can be so great sometimes. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • shrink4men
      August 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm

      Hi John,

      I’m sorry to read you’re in a relationship that’s causing you so much pain. Let’s break down your query statement by statement.

      1. I have been dating (two years together and one out of state) an extremely volatile woman who only seems to be getting worse. She flies into rages that last for hours when we are together and days and weeks when we are apart, only to later bawl and apologize, though this often gets repeated.

      “Extremely volatile” is never a good quality and should be reserved for inpatients in a psychiatric ward. And, “she’s getting worse” means you’re going to be in for it if you continue to pursue this relationship. If this woman weren’t your girlfriend, but rather a co-worker or acquaintance, would you want to be anywhere near an extremely volatile person who’s getting worse? Or, would you keep your distance and protect yourself from their foul temper? Yet, you’re still in this relationship, hoping it will work.

      2. This cycle recently happened five days in a row.

      This is an established pattern and she’s rapid cycling, like a female Tasmanian Devil. This isn’t an isolated incident. It’s been going on for two years. It’s part of who she is. It’s not about her having a bad day or you being accidentally insensitive to her feelings. These kinds of rages are disproportionate to their triggers, and the triggers are generally utter nonsense.

      3. She even called the cops on me when I didn’t want to leave (I had no place to go).

      Were you threatening her? Did you strike or shove her? Or, were you trying to calm her down and figure out what was going on? Highly abusive, NPD/BPD women call the cops with false abuse charges to shame and control you. You’re lucky you weren’t arrested because of this wingnut.

      4. I am nothing like this. I have never been violent or even a “yeller” and have never been in a relationship like this at all.

      Therefore, odds are she’s the one with the problem, not you.

      5. My self esteem has been shattered to the point where old friends say I am completely different and I feel it too. I feel like my confidence has been stripped.

      As a result of being in this relationship, you’re experiencing trauma symptoms to the point where your personality is changing. So much so, your friends have noticed, much like if you were abusing drugs. Being in a relationship with an abusive NPD/BPD woman is just as self-destructive as abusing heroin or other narcotics.

      6. I feel like I love her very much and believe her when she says she loves me.

      I suggest you stop listening to your feelings re: this relationship and start paying attention to your intellect. You KNOW there’s is something wrong with this woman and that your relationship is incredibly unhealthy and damaging to you. The conflict and excitement with which these women ensnare you is all feeling based with very little to do with reality. She tells you that you love her and that you’ll never meet anyone else like her. You’re disoriented and beat down from the constant mood swings and abuse until you don’t know which end is up. You convince yourself that what you feel for this woman must be love, otherwise why would you tolerate her crazy, hurtful and toxic behaviors? This is a trap into which many men in your situation fall. What you have with this woman is not love. Generally speaking, these are codependent relationship dynamics based on abuse and control on her end and a fear of loss and a need for approval on yours.

      7. I deal with the “gaslighting” thing frequently (that’s why I sought therapy) and also especially not being able to ever express myself at all.

      You’re seeking therapy, yet, she’s probably the one with the personality disorder. She is the one who should be in treatment. At this point, if you were my patient, I’d be trying to help you see how bad this relationship is for you and supporting you through ending it and recovering from it.

      8. Resolving an argument usually involves me getting the silent treatment for days before I give up and give in and then it is usually revised by her and dropped.

      She engages in both overt and covert abuse. She attacks you or shuts you out.

      9. But I am not fully convinced she is this way, because many others don’t relate. She is not constantly overtly critical nor does she actively insult me.

      In the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) an individual doesn’t have to meet every criteria on the checklist to be diagnosed with a disorder. I believe you only have to meet 6/10 criteria. If what you’ve described is accurate, your girlfriend meets a good number of the criteria.

      10. I also exhibit many of the traits that are listed here too, and she would probably say I am more like this than she is (which I am certain I am not).

      Which traits do you exhibit and was this how you behaved before you became involved with this woman? Or, are these traits a trauma response you’ve developed as a result of being with her? Even the most gentle of dogs, given enough maltreatment and kicks, will eventually snarl at its owner. Additionally, these women use the defense mechanisms of projection and projective identification. Projection is when she accuses of being a certain way or doing something that is true of her, not you. Projective identification is when she behaves in such a way as to cause you to act out and experience her feelings for her. For example, she pokes, needles and rides you until you finally snap and then she accuses you of being an angry jerk.

      11. But I feel like if I am to blame then I would like to focus on that first before I throw in the towel completely.

      I think you’d benefit more from therapy that focuses on why you’re determined to stay with a woman who treats you like this, what needs you’re trying to get met and how you can get them met elsewhere.

      12. I am currently in therapy and have sought couple’s counseling, which she does not want to do and I felt we were making headway (not just one sided either) but she does not want to make plans to go again.

      You can’t fix a relationship when the other person refuses to acknowledge their part in it or do anything about it. As I’ve said many times, THESE WOMEN ARE NOT GOOD CANDIDATES FOR THERAPY. Good therapists hold you accountable, which these women won’t tolerate and probably why she’s sabotaging your attempts and refusing to go. You can’t fix her, you can’t change her, but you can help yourself.

      13. I am really confused though and maybe a bit brainwashed I dunno. I wish I knew what to do. This relationship is eating my soul and yet it can be so great sometimes.

      Listen to your intellect. You know what you need to do. A good relationship doesn’t “eat at your soul.” This is not a great relationship. The “great times” are what a friend of mine calls “the tyranny of small mercies.” You have a spectacular date or moment; everything seems to be perfect and then, when you least expect it. . . BAMMMMMM! you’re emotionally blindsided again. This is actually a brainwashing technique that makes you dependent on your tormenter for the few infrequent scraps of kindness they throw at you. It makes what people in healthy relationships take for granted as common kindness and makes it seem like sweet manna from heaven. This is also what keeps you clinging to the fantasy and futile hope that things can get better.

      I wish you the best in finding your way out.

      Dr Tara

      • John Small
        August 15, 2009 at 11:24 pm

        Dr. T
        Thank you for your advice. Those questions are exactly what I am trying to figure out in therapy. After re-reading my own post, it is kind of obvious. In answer to your questions: No I have NEVER shoved or been violent in any way. . In fact then night she called the police I was doing exactly what you speculated. I was trying to calm her down and trying to be able to stay there as I had no place to go. She has been physically violent a few times to me though. She is very adept at making me feel like these things (her reactions or mine) are my fault I don’t even know how this has happened to me. It is so covert almost subliminal. It is never overt in the “you can’t get better than me” sort of way but somehow those very beliefs are communicated and unfortunately somehow I have fallen prey to them and believe them more than I ever would have if someone actually SAID them. I don’t get it, but I guess that is what therapy is for. Hopefully. Does one ever give an ultimatum ( a concept that she riles at worse than Dirty Harry) or anything as a last chance type of thing? Or is it best just to “abandon ship” so to speak?

        • shrink4men
          August 16, 2009 at 2:48 am

          You’re welcome, John.

          You can issue an ultimatum if it will give you peace of mind re: you gave her one last chance to get her act together and treat you with love and respect, but I doubt it’ll work. She’ll twist it into you’re being abusive and controlling.

          Your girlfriend has probably been this way for a very long time. Giving her an ultimatum/last chance isn’t going to get her to change. Furthermore, why would you want to be with someone you have to give an ultimatum to in order for her to treat you with love and respect? Isn’t that what she should be doing anyway because she supposedly loves you?

          Again, look at the language you’re using. You’re not “abandoning” her, unless you’re putting her in a wicker basket and leaving her on the doorstep of a church. This is a woman who’s been treating you very badly. She betrayed and abandoned you and the relationship the moment she started her abusive behaviors.

          Kind Regards,
          Dr Tara

  19. John
    August 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    “You have the time now. An abusive, NPD/BPD woman is a huge time sink. She demands constant attention and, when you’re not showering her with attention, you spend the rest of the time thinking about what you did wrong and how you can please her so that she doesn’t go ballistic or give you the cold shoulder again.”

    Yes, more time than I ever knew! Its amazing how much time I seem to have now! I’m no longer “mothering” the mother of our children. Something I’ve been doing for about 8 years. Or at least that is what I’ve felt like I was doing.
    The soon-to-be-ex would complain about when I was going to do the yard work, because it made her job with the children “so much more difficult.” She had to watch them while I’m out in the yard mowing, edging and picking weeds !!! I should have asked her if she wanted to mow and edge while I watch the kids!

    Also, the time I’ve been spending with my kids is more quality time than I ever had before. There is no undermining and belittling. Since this started, I haven’t heard my children say once “you’re not the boss of me, mommy is.” In fact, the kids seem to be doing better: a lot less whining and complaining and more playing and “just being happy kids” when I’m with them.

    • jp
      August 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm


      I can’t echo enough this point you make: “…the time I’ve been spending with my kids is more quality time than I ever had before. There is no undermining and belittling…”

      My kids give me the most of joy of anything I’ve ever experienced, and when my ex was around I couldn’t enjoy my time with them due to her constant interrupting to “correct” me, to take over, to smirk at what I was saying to them, etc.

      I’d become so accustomed to her controlling behavior that after splitting up with her (3 yrs ago) it took another 4-6 months before I stopped hearing her voice in my head, criticizing and trying to control me from beyond the grave of our marriage, lol.

      No my confidence as a parent and a man is back and though I’m still digging out financially, life is great.

      Now every minute I have with my kids is a blast. Even if they’re being difficult, I enjoy the challenge of leading them back into their normally happy frame of mind–something I was never given enough time to do by my ex who would jump in seconds after I started to deal with some kid drama, interrupting me mid-sentence, and dismissing my efforts with contemptuous body language and belittling comments before I’d barely had a chance to get started. It’s a whole different world now.

      In fact I just ended a week vacation with them, travelling to visit friends and family, hitting the beach and public pool, staying up late for extra story time, etc. and we had a f*cking ball the whole time. The kids are thriving and they adore their dad.


      • shrink4men
        August 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm

        Hi JP and John,

        Thank you both for making this incredibly important point. Lots of guys are afraid of how divorce will impact their children and relationship with them.

        It’s not healthy for kids to see their fathers being abused and mistreated. When you’re in a healthier and happier place, it can’t help but positively affect your parental role.

        You may not see them everyday, but your time together will eventually be far better and have a greater impact.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

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  1. December 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm

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