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.

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Ruby slippers on wicked witch on endofbench.

  1. J954
    March 30, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Wow… all I can say is spot on. I just got out of one. Every word I said I had to watch because it would either make her mad or she would is it and twist it in some way to make me feel bad about something. So much manipulation for over a year because she was controlling and insecure. Only thing I feel bad about is her bashing me after the breakup and flying across the country with her best friend that’s way more miserable than her because I hated her, she always tries to break us up because she was very lonely and wanted her best friend to be lonely. I need this list on my mirror. It’s funny how she blocked me like I was the abusive one

  2. July 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Dear Tara,
    Thank you for this article. I’ve spent countless hours combing the internet for information – seeking peace through the wisdom and understanding of the crazy train I’ve been on for the last 17 years.

  3. GVSR
    November 20, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hello Dr Tara,

    I read this article. Is really helpful to recover to normal life. Thank you to make my life meaningful.
    Two years love and dating all over. We worked in same company and now she moved to some company. After some misunderstanding she told broke-up the relationship there is no trust in love.
    Its really painful to me. Later friends posted in pics in social sites and now she is calling me. Who is she ? Who stand near to you.
    I almost come out of that relationship. Why she is watching me ??

  4. VisibleMan
    November 10, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Thanks so much for this post. I copied the list you propose, though I substituted all “you”-s with “I”-s.
    I’ve heard too much “you, You, YOU!” from my abusive females, that just reading it made me flinch, LOL.

  5. Francis
    August 24, 2015 at 12:52 am

    One word Thank you !

  6. kapali
    April 23, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Wow.. I am not alone. I got into a relationship with a BPD girl. Maan… cannot explain the excruciating pain she subjected me through. Generally first thing, they lack boundaries. They lie through their teeth to cover up their acts, feelings and almost everything that relates to a healthy communication. They are just emotional vampires and parasites. Ironically, you end up having feelings of sympathy for this person. This is the most destructive phase of ones life. It can erase the memory and can percolate into every relationship around you. Trust me on this! Their rage is brutal, can go any length to manipulate people around. The shock can engulf any normal human being.

    This girl was cheating with this guy for a good 6 months cleverly concealing all the facts by isolating me from all her friends. They are masters at manipulation. She cheated me.
    She never left me for good one year. Her current boyfriend got into fights with me on facebook and resorted to character assasinations etc. I took an extreme step of confronting both by using the most abusive languge possible and detailed out the facts. I made it pubic that she cheated. Looks like she is living with this guy now. Quite honestly, looking back I am so happy she left me from her own actions. I am sure she would have abused my feelings and would have eaten my soul alive. They just take take take… and you get nothing in return. They like drama, chaos and it is sad but it is also important to protect oneself.

  7. Perry Hillman
    March 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I am going through the post relationship smear campaign. Unfortunately I have a son with her and am trying to get custody. She has everyone believing her and I do not know what to do to get her to show her true colors.

  8. Jeremy
    January 16, 2014 at 5:02 am

    I’ve done ALL of these things before ever coming to this website. I got out of a horribly abusive relationship last September and all of these steps are necessary! If anyone out there is in shambles after a hard break up with a borderline personality disorder person, follow all these steps and it will get better. It took over 3 months for me to finally feel better and my life has seen such an improvement since then.

  9. July 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Thank you so very much for this article. I may not be a man but all the points I could relate to very deeply. It seems emotionally abusive people are pretty much identical in their methods in both the sexes. Same old cycles of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It can really make you soul search through all the negative critical things they same and question your own worth and sanity. I have spent years being tormented and tortured and attempted to scrape my way out of hell, the only effective way of elimanating a partner who abuses you (verball, psychologically, emotionally, economically and physically) is to stay determined and do what this article says, I promise it will work out if you maintain the vision of what you want to create for yourself, i even wrote a list of all the things i couldn’t do when i was with my ex, it keeps you inspired and empowered. The guilt or longing will pass soon. Anyone who has decided enough went by 5 miles back, these tips will truly help you end it. Abusers are so cunning when it comes to your fear, unsecurities and abuse your good nature for their self gratification. Don’t let them manipulate you, they are most dangerous when you plan to and execute your exit from the relationship. If they cry, apologise, beg, scream, rant or even threaten to kill you – they only mean one thing “you’re mine, you will not leave me, I am in control”.

    My heartfelt love and well wishes you anyone who has been taken advantage of and abuse. You haven’t failed and you are not weak, you have a good heart and you dared to love and trust someone. That, no one can take away from you ever. You are an amazing being, and you deserve a life you enjoy, to express yourself with passion and enthusiasm. To do what you dream, spend time with whoever adds more magic into your life with their presence. I believe you can, and you will.

    • ncstarbuck
      March 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you for these kind and true words!
      My list of things I couldn’t do in the relationship would be rather short: be myself.

  10. haiiiiilcoooom
    August 21, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Well my girlfriend says she loves me , but like she really becomes nasty .. like when she doesnt get her way she sweras at me so much ! and at the moment she wants me to stop playing soccer cause there are other girls around and she feels insecure .. i mean we both made mistakes in the past , i do trust her but i would like to be treated better . She left me so any time because i took a stand , but i always gave in ! i couldnt stay away from her cause it just hurts too much ! im 18 , its my first relationship and ive nevr felt this way . i just cant live wihtout her , my chest hurts so bad and ive never experienced this ever and it feels so bad :( whn she leaves .. she took me back , but before that when she left me she said she wil hurt me so bad ! like make me realise soccer was a mistake and that she will hurt me so much and all . and ontop of this if i say something its lie she doesnt care . i said okay i wont play , and shes all happy but as soon as i say 1 thing wrong , BANG she erupts and then because of that one thing she dumps me :( its not a game , i get so hurt , i tell her about this m she doesnt care :( im so hurt and depressed .. i have uni , and like she breaks up with me and i decide okay this is it dont do anything , then when i wake up the next moring i miss her so much !!!! like then i text her and she still trats me like shit and says shell never get back with me , but she does on her terms :( idk waht to do pleasse help me :(

  11. Laz
    August 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I broke no contact….after 2 month…im a fool.i felt sorry for her..anyway….it went like this..how are you…im so happy(this woman is a 5 year old)..me…i am happy for you,i sent you a link its pretty good did you read it?….her…No!!! Do you think I have time I just made a major move in my life….i stopped her and said.all you have to say is no…then she said call me tonight so we can catch up…..well at this point I was so mad at myself this woman is not even good looking sex at first was ok…but as tme went on..same crap she didnt know how to make love..well that night I emailed her that I wont call her and didnt need the crazyness…among other things..she responded with the most childish insults about my manhood …then she tells me I love you…i stopped for a moment and it hit me hard..this woman is sooo mentally screwed up…funny thing is I dont even like her..if you feel bad for going nc and feel guilty that you left your bpd ex…dont!!! Live for yourself and the people who love you…once you are over this bpd crap and date a normal woman…you will look back and say..wtf was I thinking…

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