10 Things You Need to Do After Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman
DING 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.
by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
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- How to Make Changes in your Relationship and Life
- Can a Man Break the Cycle of Emotional Abuse After Being With a Crazy, Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend?
- Can a Man Who Was Emotionally Abused By His Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend Have a Relationship with a Healthy Woman?
- How to Have a Healthy Relationship After Being With an Emotionally Abusive, Borderline or Narcissistic Woman
- 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Involved with Another Crazy, Emotionally Abusive, Borderline or Narcissistic Woman
- 5 Stages of Letting Go of a Relationship with an Emotionally Abusive Woman
Ruby slippers on wicked witch on endofbench.