What Can I Do to Protect My Unborn Child from My BPD-NPD Ex-Girlfriend?

devouring mother tribal maskDear Dr Tara,

I’ve recently gotten out, or at least mostly out of a relationship with a very uncompromising and controlling woman.  I say ‘mostly’ out because unfortunately to make a long story short, I didn’t become aware of her nature until about the time she became pregnant with my child.

Now, even though the relationship is over I’m still attached to her for life through my innocent child.  She masked herself very well and with the exception of one major fight before her pregnancy, everything seemed great.  Once pregnant, the fights started. She had to have her way with little or no compromise. When she pushed hard (for example, she wanted to move in with me and I felt we weren’t ready because of the fighting), I started to push back.

Ultimately the relationship ended over many small disagreements many over stupid trivial things and we are now in a cold war with little communication except for lots of emotional vomit from her side. I’ve been doing lots of reading and talking to different people and learned about what is called a ‘high conflict personality’ and ‘Cluster B’ personality traits, which describe her very well.  She also closely matches many of the qualities you describe as BPD/NPD.

My first question is with a baby on the way, how do I deal with her as to not jeopardize having a relationship with my soon to be daughter?

Secondly, is she a danger to the social development of my daughter?

Third, what resources such as books, websites, doctors local to the ********* area can you recommend for me?  I’m asking for me because she is firmly against any sort of counseling.  Her opinion is counseling doesn’t work and is non-productive.

Thank you for your time,


P.S. – Please feel free to use anything I’ve written above (anonymously of course) as material for publishing or helping others.

Hi Patrick,

What an ordeal this must be. She’s already using the baby as a weapon and she’s not even out of the womb yet.

1. Keep all of your communication with this woman short, to the point, courteous and business-like. The business at hand is protecting and caring for your unborn child. Try to limit your communication to email and texts (this way you have a paper trail of what was actually said between the two of you). If you have to have face-to-face contact with her, invest in a small digital tape recorder you can keep on your person.

2. Do not be alone with her. Women like this often call the police claiming violence to jeopardize your ability to get joint custody.

3. There’s nothing you can do to have a good relationship with her. She isn’t capable of it. With much effort, you may be able to have a civil relationship with her, if you can get enough distance and build your immunity to the traps these women set. Bottom line, you can’t appease or please them.

Even if you allow her to totally dominate you, it won’t be enough. Therefore, you have to take steps to protect yourself from her and remain strong and healthy for yourself and your daughter. Start establishing boundaries for acceptable behavior now. She may or may not respect them. Avoid antagonizing her, but don’t capitulate just to keep the peace because there is no peace with a woman like this.

4. Get a well-seasoned attorney now, not after your daughter is born and begin to build the case for joint custody. You want to try to lock this down before the confusion and exhaustion of having a newborn sets in. Plus, if you can get her to act out now and expose her crazy side to court evaluators before the birth, all the better.

5. BPD/NPD is my shorthand for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. They both lie on the same continuum known as Cluster B. These are also the same people who are referred to as “high conflict personalities” and “persuasive blamers” in the legal system—they’re all terms used to describe the same type of individual.

6. Yes, your daughter’s emotional and psychological development is going to be compromised and impinged upon. Having an emotionally abusive, personality disordered mother who doesn’t manage stress and conflict well, who can’t tolerate the slightest criticism or challenge to her “authority,” who doesn’t take responsibility for her behaviors, who treats people like disposable hand puppets and is incapable of having a healthy relationship is never a good parent. Your ex will also no doubt interfere with your relationship with your daughter, which is why it’s important to start working on custody NOW.

7. Your ex is right. Counseling probably won’t help her and would be highly unproductive for all parties involved. However, you can certainly benefit from some extra support. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in the ******area. I offer private phone consultation and coaching services if you’d like to go that route.

As for books, check out William Eddy’s books High Conflict Personalities in Legal Disputes (available through Amazon) and Splitting (available through BPDcentral.com for much less), and check out a blog I just saw today, http://www.mrcustodycoach.com/blog/ . There are lots of books available on parental alienation. I’m reading a book now which touches on this re: custody issues, Defusing the High Conflict Divorce: A Treatment Guide for Working with Angry Couples by Gaulier, Margerum, Price & Windell (available through Amazon).

I hope this is helpful.

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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Blind, devouring mother tribal mask, Ruben Art Museum, NYC on Jungian Therapy/Jungian Analysis.

  1. Eric
    July 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Sorry if this is an old post…

    I find myself in almost the exact same circumstances as the OP. My “crazy, controlling, clingy” girlfriend made my life miserable for a year. I finally got her out of my apartment, into school and a job (which I paid for/facilitated) and then broke up with her, in January. She was “utterly devastated” and begged for a second chance. After several months of strict no contact, I finally gave into her pleading voicemail in a moment of weakness and called her, and agreed to let her visit me “for closure,” which she insisted she needed. Well, one thing led to another, we ended up having sex, (a decision which, of course, I will rue until the day I die) and, to make matters even more fun, now there’s a baby on the way. Meanwhile, I’ve done research, and now I’m almost certain that she has BPD. I’m no psychologist, but she sounds like a textbook case to me, from what I have read. She’s also been diagnosed with OCD. Anyway, I’m 24, and don’t know what to do. It doesn’t help that I live and work in a southern state, while she is from New Jersey. She is pressing me to marry her ASAP “for the baby’s sake,” but even though this is “traditional,” and would save my reputation a bit (all our friends are conservative Catholics who will no doubt consider me the scum of the earth if they know I not only had premarital sex, but refuse to marry the girl when she’s pregnant… she presents herself very well and they have no idea how absolutely chaotic she is) …anyway, even though marriage is the traditional course, I can’t help but think it would be incredibly foolish in this case. She’s intolerable now. How much worse when she’s not my girlfriend, but my wife? I made a horrible choice by not sticking to my guns and ignoring her, and now I’ll be paying for it, but I simply don’t know what I can do. Try to help her while being in a relationship with her? break up with her? try to cut her loose and wish her best of luck? try to get full custody of the child if possible? (I know NOTHING about custody/family court/any of that stuff….) Oh goodness…..

    • shrink4men
      July 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Eric,

      Looks like you got “oopsed.” Any chance she’ll consider putting the baby up for adoption? Silly question I know as the baby was most likely deliberately conceived to trap you and give herself a hostage.

      Forget about your friends and the church. They are not the ones who will have to live with an unstable and abusive partner. I would be very clear that you have no intention of marrying her and that you do not want to co-parent with her. I would also strongly encourage her to go the adoption route. Her behavior will most likely only become worse after the child is born and after marriage when she legally has you over a barrel. It will suck to co-parent with her, but it will suck exponentially more to be married to her/divorce her. Please don’t do it. This website is riddled with stories of men who “did the right thing.”

      If you do not want to be a father, tell her. You will be financially obligated to pay CS, but this was not your choice. She stole your choice from you. Yes, it’s heartbreaking that another child will be born to and raised by another damaged, unstable, abusive woman who is unfit to be a parent, but the reality is that this child is just a drop in the bucket. Furthermore, if she decides to play games with custody, unless she is overtly over-the-top crazy, she will be able to snow custody evaluators and judges.

      Your best hope is that she will find some poor other sucker who she will persuade to adopt the child. If you can make it clear that you want nothing to do with her and that there is no future, she will play the victim/martyr, but may move onto another target/source of narcissistic supply. Then she will want to pretend you never existed and make the new guy the baby daddy.

      A lesson to all men reading this: Beware of Crazy if she wants to get together to “just talk” after breaking up. Especially if she’s ovulating. Don’t have sex for just one last time. Odds are, she’s looking to trap you. And if you do, WEAR A CONDOM.

      One last thing, I would insist on a paternity test. Yes, a paternity test. It happens.

      Good luck,
      Dr T

    • Mellaril
      July 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      There are a couple of other angles. Do you even know for sure she’s pregnant? Once you’re married, she could easily “lose” the baby. Or, she may also play the abortion card in an attempt to extort you into marriage or a relationship. Should you disengage, from what you said of your Catholic background, even if she never was pregnant, she might well play it just out of spite. I hope she doesn’t go that low but she could.

      If you’re up for it, I recommend a look at “BLACKMAILED INTO FATHERHOOD; Borderline women, and men who love them.” By Shari Schreiber, M.A. http://www.GettinBetter.com

      Since it seems to be more of a one time event, the article may not apply but it could give you some insight into what you tangled with.

      Like Dr. T said, Good Luck!

    • shrink4men
      July 31, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Eric,

      I expanded upon my reply here: http://www.shrink4men.com/2012/07/31/oops-a-bpd-did-it-again-another-post-break-up-pregnancy-to-trap-a-man/

      I am sure many other community members will wish to offer advice and support as well as ask questions. Please register with http://www.shrink4men.com to participate.

      Dr T

  2. Dr. P
    September 9, 2009 at 2:17 am

    Dear Dr Tara, First of all you are very brave honest authentic and a great help for many people! Great job!

    Just some thoughts….
    I have experienced the same as Patrick and I wonder if it s not best to make your own arrangements rather then going to court to get custody. I still have no rights and I am not on the birth certifcate either but now I start to wonder if that s so bad in the end. Because even if you get custody the mother in most cased can make your life hell and there s no police who will force her to make you being able to see your own child (at least not in Europe not sure about the USA). I read about cases of father having the rights but not been able to see their child for the last 7 years. So, I am planning to make my own bank account for my daughter and give her support myself rather then letting the mother control that part. Of course she can decide any moment she will not let me see my daughter, which of course she will sooner or later but she can do that when you have custody too as far as I udnerstand even if it s against the law. I do not know what is best either to protect my baby and how I best can help her (take her with me far away from the mother is my impulse but probably not the best idea) just have the feeling that court cases are not helpful with people suffering from BPD because is that not what they actually love….attention drama blaming victim etc…?? The fact she does not want to give custody already indicates she likes that power and wants to fight for it if you desire those rights..that I already noticed because I have been trying to arrange parental rights from the start. In other words anyone suggestions on this issue of getting custody or not… best wishes, Aragorn

    • jp
      September 9, 2009 at 4:00 am


      You should not do anything in this area until you’ve talked to a lawyer who knows family law in your country/state.

      And I would NOT take her away, as tempting as that may be. I know how agonizing it is to feel powerless, but no matter how shitty your situation is, breaking the law will only make it worse. And once you break the law, you’ll never again have credibility in a court of law.

      Think tactically about how to achieve your objectives…don’t give in to the emotions of the moment, no matter how intense they are.

      Good luck,

      • shrink4men
        September 9, 2009 at 9:38 pm

        Hi Aragorn,

        I agree 100% with JP. Unfortunately, the mother often gets away with behaviors in family law for which fathers would be crucified. Your ex can probably be as destructive as she wants, however, you must remain above reproach, legally speaking.

        I encourage you to consult with an attorney regarding your parental rights. Especially regarding future child support. Just because she doesn’t have your name on the birth certificate now doesn’t mean she won’t file a paternity suit and come after you later for money. I’m not sure if this is possible, but I seem to remember reading that women can come after you for accrued child support from birth until they legally identify you as the father. You don’t want to owe 10 years of child support. Plus, don’t you want to have a say in your child’s welfare, schooling, medical care, etc.?

        I wish you the best and once again strongly encourage you to find a good attorney.

        Kind regards,
        Dr Tara

  3. Georgie
    September 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Don’t walk away from your daughter. I have a mother with NPD and she has wrought absolute havoc in the lives of me and my sister. I am 43 now and only just beginning to make sense of the fact that my mother threw me away like a disposable hand puppet at around the age of three when I started asserting my personality and she couldn’t get the emotional gratification of having an entirely helpless manipulable being in her clutches. Unlike my sister I was naughty so she couldn’t bask in her wonderful mother with perfect child image either. I cannot tell you how damaging and painful it is for a child to grow up with an NPD mother and have no ally, not one person to validate that the child is really OK and loveable and not the monster. I am so angry with my father for standing by and doing nothing to protect me. For simply revolving uselessly around my mother, for pouring all his energy and care into looking after my brother because that wouldn’t bring him into conflict with mother, whereas loving his daughters would have. How could he have sacrificed his female children to be thrown away by this woman for the sake of an easy life. What a coward. What a waster. Don’t be like him. Please.

  4. Frank
    August 28, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Hey AP! Mooie, Mooie, Mwah, Mwah, MWAH! (love and kisses!)

  5. JustAnotherSorryGuy
    August 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm


    “Give the kid a break: give him a temporary membership card here, let him know the door is open if he needs to join for real later, but for now (and this is what I am saying to you also, Dr. T) how about helping him make the decisions that will help keep him from joining the fraternity?”

    There is no membership. There is no men’s club. No fraternity. If you read this site you will find men in great pain. Some of the stories I read here, make my hair curl! – Metaphor ;)

    Dr T’s advice is frank, matter of fact, and something most, or all, of the men posting here need to hear, again and again.

    In spite of some of the terms you hear here – “medussa”, ‘crazy bitch’ – the men here are not down on women. We are men who have tried hard to love the wrong woman. The men who are hurt will use such terms, because they fit. I once, in an argument called my wife a “witch.” I am not proud of this. She beat me with that fact for 17 years. I apologised again and again for calling her this. She never tried to understand what I meant by the word. It was a metaphor ;) i tried to explain to her – she simply seemed at the time to show no empathy. She was causing the man she ‘loved’ great pain in her narcissistic attack and didn’t stop regardless.

    Doubtless some woman will be challenged by what they read here, but for me it has been a ‘light bulb moment.’

    Take care, AP. I wish you well.


  6. AP
    August 28, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Hey, “a hard case”- I’m comfortable having called Frank “a hard case” earlier, given the nature of his remarks. The other comments in your post are fine and don’t seem to need a reply from me other than to say I’m glad (and congratulations) that you are in a good situation (really).

    The presumptions and jumping to (wrong) conclusions about me by Dr. T and by some of the commenters here is fascinating to me. The degree of presumption and jumping to conclusions with regard to Patrick’s situation was my initial reason for posting, so I hardly feel chastised by the comments suggesting, for example, that I’m a BPD woman. I’ve seen enough of this stuff from enough different angles to know that it’s not really about women vs. men, even if that is how it seems to many of you.

    Gentlemen, keep your minds open and your flies up. That’s the only advise you’re going to get from me.

    • melove54
      August 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm

      I don’t believe any of us, especially Dr.T, jumped to conclusions. It was a personal and professional attack. Your candor lacked finesse. Typical of NPD./BPD. It’s not about women Vs men, because all the characteristics are the same. You just stuck you foot in your mouth, and now your efforts to back-peddle are inserting the foot even deeper. Suggesting we keep our minds open and our flies up suggests to me, that in your mind, it’s still about one Vs the other. If you feel the need to communicate with us GUYS, then offer something with regards to how your condition affected your relationship(s), share your experiences, tell us that you want to be one of those that want to change. I’m sure everyone here would support that. Things like this are more productive for all involved. aka frank

      • AP
        August 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm

        OK, Frank. You’re not a hard case. You’re a big, lovable teddy bear.

  7. melove54
    August 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Good for you AP, you’re on topic today!! In this arena, crazy is a relative term. Apparently, we who have experienced crazy, didn’t believe our mates were crazy, and many of us, thought we were the crazy one. We eventually discover we’re not. We’re just temporarily disoriented.

    BPDs/NPDs believe they are not crazy. So if I confide in friends, family, etc. about how crazy she is, do I deserve whatever craziness I get later?(this is a test AP!) I don’t know you, and I don’t know your reasons for being here, and apparently you’ve followed Dr.T’s blog for some time now. (btw, I’ve only been here a couple of months. Wrong Frank apparently.) If you have any first hand experience with NPD/BPD/Histrionic, then you treat the situation as if they were the “anti-christ.” Doesn’t mean you treat them poorly, you avoid them, disengage yourself from them in every possible way. If you treat a crazy person like they are crazy, the craziness will become exacerbated. If you treat a crazy person (BPD/NPD) with kindness, and compassion, you will still get craziness. It’s the result of the plague they carry that most would prefer to avoid. Taking the passive approach with these types only lends them to believe you are weak and they will continue their ploy. There is nothing any of us can do to help them, so the viable option is to offer help to those that are abused. Patrick will have to deal with his “anti-christ” due to the child. Patrick has the advantage now, to gain the knowledge far in advance to deal with her predatory ways. She will not change and in fact, she could likely get worse. He will learn to adapt in the best interest of himself, and his family. This site is a fantastic source from which he can derive viable methods to create such adaptation.

    Been nice having you back in reality AP! K.I.T. Crazy is as crazy does! Mwah!

  8. shrink4men
    August 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Hi AP,

    While I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think it’s wise if you’re potentially dealing with a BPD and/or NPD individual. We don’t know for sure that Patrick’s ex has one or some combination of these disorders, however, it’s better prepare and be safe now rather than sorry later.

    The reality of custody issues when one of the parents has a cluster B personality disorder is that he or she will play every dirty trick in the book, manipulate the system, lie, distort, and try to alienate the child(ren) from the other parent.

    Patrick didn’t go into great detail about his ex’s behavior, however, according to his email, he’s done research and consulted with others. He states her behavior is congruent with what’s described as a “high conflict personality” and cluster B. He’s not a trained psychologist, but I believe he’s capable of taking behaviors he’s observed firsthand and identifying them on a behavioral checklist.

    Unfortunately, his ex won’t see a therapist, so she may never receive an “official” diagnosis. On the other hand, perhaps she’s already seen therapists and already has a diagnosis, which is why she refused when Patrick asked her to go—because she’s afraid of what a therapist may reveal.

    Considering his child’s welfare is potentially at stake, I don’t think Patrick can afford to take a “wait and see-benefit of the doubt” approach. Too many men who’ve been involved with women like this have given them the benefit of the doubt time and time again, only to get blindsided and sucker punched.

    If Patrick’s ex has one of these disorders, he’s already light years ahead of the men who are “hard cases.” First, he recognized something wasn’t right early on and ended the relationship instead of hanging in there and hoping she’d change. Second, he’s already taking steps to protect his rights and his child rather than taking a defeatist, resigned approach that he’s doomed to a miserable life because he got her pregnant.

    I still think Patrick should establish strong boundaries, keep communication with her brief and courteous and bring a 3rd party with him when he has face-to-face interactions with her. If that means he’s treating her like a crazy person, so be it. It’s okay to hope for the best, but given the potentially explosive circumstances, I think he’d be foolish not to prepare for the worst.

    Dr Tara

  9. Frank
    August 26, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    That’s o.k. AP, I finish it out for you… “I’m sincerely sorry Dr. T for being a complete bonehead. Metaphorically my ass! Sounds like something my X-N would have said, along with the lack of apology. ( did I just take a polarizing position!?) Sorry AP, I needed some humor tonight!

    • shrink4men
      August 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm

      Wow, Frank! I feel like I’m in an echo chamber. WINK-SMILEY FACE, LOL, IMHO, OMG!!!

      • shrink4men
        August 26, 2009 at 11:51 pm

        That’s okay, Frank. I think she’s gone. She didn’t request an email notification for any new comments on the thread. A typical dump, uh-oh I’ve been called on my BS and run tactic.

        Now I need to go rent Zohan so I can understand the reference.

  10. AP
    August 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    It’s hard to know what to say about this post and about the response(s) to it.

    While I don’t deny the possibility that everything here is at it is presented (that the woman in question can only be handled as one would handle nuclear materials), given what is actually contained in the letter from Patrick is it at all possible that all that is going on here is that a woman became pregnant by a man who is more or less as irresponsible and narcissistic as she is and, realizing that state of affairs, she became justifiably anxious and panicky?

    Patrick writes: “When she pushed hard (for example, she wanted to move in with me and I felt we weren’t ready because of the fighting), I started to push back. Ultimately the relationship ended over many small disagreements many over stupid trivial things and we are now in a cold war with little communication except for lots of emotional vomit from her side.”

    What’s that you say? You were in a relationship with a woman and got her pregnant and then you decided then that you were ambivalent about your relationship? And you say that when you did that to her (and, of course, you did that in a completely cool-headed, unemotional way) and then you withdrew more and more from her (gotta keep clear of that emotional vomit) leaving her pregnant and alone she then became hysterical? No kidding, really? Who’d a thunk that would happen?

    I can tell you this: that a woman becomes, uh, unmanageable under those circumstances is hardly a sign that she has a personality disorder. Patrick says he has determined that she has “cluster B” traits, and maybe she does, but the first rule of amateur headshrinking is that everybody turns out to have every psychiatric disorder there is. Isn’t that right, Dr. T?

    Patrick’s inquiry about this is not at all unreasonable. He’s in a situation he doesn’t understand and, quite admirably, he is seeking help. That’s he is doing so and the woman is not does suggest that he is responding to the situation better than she is.

    But Dr. T, the advice given in your reply is completely irresponsible. If you think you can diagnose this woman with a personality disorder without even having spoken with Patrick at length, and if the reply you gave above is actually what you communicated to him privately, then you should report yourself to a professional review board.

    • shrink4men
      August 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

      Hi AP,

      Yes, it’s possible that Patrick is “a man who is more or less as irresponsible and narcissistic as [his ex] is and, realizing that state of affairs, [his ex] became justifiably anxious and panicky.” However, if this is the case, it’s unlikely he would go to the trouble of seeking possible answers and support in an effort to be a responsible father and protect the welfare of his unborn child. If he were indeed irresponsible, I doubt he would have contacted me or the other professionals from whom he’s seeking information.

      In what way was he irresponsible? Because he didn’t let his pregnant girlfriend move in when they weren’t getting along because her behavior changed so dramatically? Perhaps the pregnancy was unplanned. Perhaps his girlfriend lied to him about being on birth control in order to trap him into a relationship and it backfired on her. I think a man who wants to be involved in his child’s life and is trying to figure out how to make it work, especially if his ex has a personality disorder, is very responsible. Letting her move in with him would have made him a martyr; not responsible. If I were him, my first impulse would be to run for the hills, but then, like Patrick, I would take care of my child as well as myself.

      Based upon the information Patrick shared, he didn’t become “ambivalent” about the relationship because his ex became pregnant. Please note, he states: Once pregnant, the fights started. She had to have her way with little or no compromise. Nor does he appear ambivalent about his ex or their relationship. Her dramatic personality changes were so distressing that he ended the relationship—no ambivalence there.

      His ex appears to fit a common pattern many BPD and/or NPD women have of putting on their best false self until they feel they’ve cemented the relationship, say by getting pregnant, then the mask and the gloves come off and the pathology comes out. In other words, his ex, uh, became “unmanageable” before he ended the relationship. In fact, if I’m reading his email correctly, it’s the main reason he ended the relationship and tried to maintain a healthy distance from her.

      Being pregnant doesn’t give a woman a free pass to act out and behave abusively. Patrick isn’t “abandoning” his child; he broke up with her mother after her behavior took a turn for the worse and she became abusive. He very clearly loves his unborn daughter, wants to be involved in her life and is making the effort to figure out how best to do so. “Abandonment” is an emotionally charged and manipulative word that BPD women love to throw around, especially when it’s their behavior that drives other people away. He says he wants a civil relationship with his ex for the sake of their child so, how is that abandonment?

      I think Patrick exercised good judgment by creating a boundary and not letting his then girlfriend move into his home when they weren’t getting along. Another common BPD and/or NPD behavior is anger and rage when their partner puts a boundary in place, which is what appears to have happened when he began to push back.

      Furthermore, I didn’t make a diagnosis. This is a blog; not therapy. People come here for support and information. I explain the abusive behaviors of BPD and/or NPD women. People can then draw their own conclusions based upon their experiences, just like when they read a post about Type-II Diabetes on WebMD. From Patrick’s description, his ex seems to have some NPD/BPD traits and I offered him information based upon this. Since Patrick’s not a patient, but a person who read my blog and asked some questions, I find your charge that I should report myself to a professional review board ridiculous and suspect, unless of course you’re referring to a professional blogger review board, which is equally ridiculous.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Frank
        August 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm

        WOOHOOO Dr. T!!!! We the members of the PBRB find you, NOT GUILTY!! You are now free to move about the cabin!!! AP, you shouldn’t mess with Zohan!!

      • AP
        August 26, 2009 at 11:23 pm

        There are a number of things in your reply which I might respond further to, but as you say, it’s a blog and it’s your blog at that.

        As far a my “review board” remark goes, I should say that I meant that metaphorically and not as if you should literally go report yourself to someone. My making the remark is either evidence of my cluster B tendencies or else of my thinking that taking a polarizing position was just the way we talked around here. ;-)

        In your reply to me you say, “I didn’t make a diagnosis” even though, for example, in item 6 above you seem to give her the label “emotionally abusive, personality disordered mother.” We both agree, that opinion is not a professional diagnosis.

        • shrink4men
          August 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

          Hi again AP,

          I stand by item number 6. An emotionally abusive, personality disordered mother will cause damage to her child. This is a general statement; not diagnostic. However, if Patrick’s ex meets the criteria, then it will probably apply to her.

          As for your review board comment being metaphorical, I disagree. It was an attack on my ethics and integrity. Claiming now that it was “metaphorical,” a joke or that I took it the wrong way is a common tactic with which most of the male readers on my blog are all too familiar. Adding the “wink-smiley” face is a weak attempt at camouflaging your words for what they are: a written assault.

          You ignore the logic based points I made in my first response to you. You also make another veiled jab with the “polarizing position” statement and another attempt at twisting my words re: #6. Want to keep going or shall we stop here?

          • Frank
            August 27, 2009 at 1:00 am

            It probably was my X-n, I had made reference to your site to a mutual acquaintenance when they asked what happened to me and my x. It was easier to tell them about the site and say that is what I lived through rather than rehashing old stories. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it were her?? Loved the way you handled them, it was O-matically gratifying!

            You have rent Zohan, it’s great mindless entertainment. He’s an ultimate bad ass with a feminine side (he aspires to be a hair dresser).


          • AP
            August 27, 2009 at 1:17 am

            No, s4m, I’m still here and I can respond a few more times if necessary.

            I don’t disagree entirely with what you are doing here, but I did criticize what you wrote in reply to Patrick. That’s not going to go away, although as you say, eventually I will go away if this becomes about attacking me. All that will cost is one occasional reader of your blog.

            If what I posted offended you, or anyone here, to the point where we now need to talk about me, then I overshot the mark and apologize.

            • Frank
              August 27, 2009 at 1:35 am

              For what it’s worth, what we do here with Dr T is share experiences to help us understand that we’re not alone. In sharing those experiences, like those that Patrick shared, will enable some to not endure what so many of us went through for years on end. This is not about the “drug store diagnosis” nor is it true therapy, it’s the reality of the relationships we all went through, and IMO, it is not to determine the nature of the beast, rather, to know the beast exist. So, if you take an adversarial position, human nature only dictates, you will get adversity in return,..to a certain point, and then we’re done.

              I’m sure Dr T and all the rest of us would like to hear your opinions, if they are on topic and have something to offer someone, besides yourself. (please excuse my candor, I’m done).

              • AP
                August 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm

                Frank, thanks for taking the time to explain. I don’t object to the idea of helping anyone understand that they are not alone. For someone like you (if you are the same Frank who wrote in March about a long running bad situation), I think the advice given here is right on. Identifying the beast, not continuing to fall into the same traps/landmines, and preventing getting one’s self-esteem sapped is a worthy enterprise. I understand that part of what goes on here.

                Patrick is facing a difficult situation but I don’t see that it has become the kind of fixed problem that it can become. His thinking now does not seem especially distorted. He is acting in his self-interest (and I mean that here in a good way) and he doesn’t appear to be making bad decisions now.

                Patrick asks, “how do I deal with her as to not jeopardize having a relationship with my soon to be daughter?” I don’t think the answer at this point is “treat her like she is the anti-christ.” That’s the nuclear option, and I say where is the need for it in this case? If you treat a crazy person like they’re crazy, sure that doesn’t change anything, but if you treat someone who’s not crazy like they are (and you go around calling them crazy, as well), then I say you deserve whatever craziness you later get.

                Patrick is not yet a hard case like you are, Frank. Give the kid a break: give him a temporary membership card here, let him know the door is open if he needs to join for real later, but for now (and this is what I am saying to you also, Dr. T) how about helping him make the decisions that will help keep him from joining the fraternity?

                • hard case
                  August 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm


                  this is the first time i’m posting here but i read this site all the time. i don’t know what your experience is with women like my ex, frank’s ex and patrick’s ex but i don’t appreciate your condescending remark about ‘hard cases’ and a ‘fraternity.’

                  i think what the good doctor tara and other people here are trying to do is help patrick to avoid the same mistakes we made with our exes so that he doesn’t find himself 10 years hence on the web late at night trying to realise what has happened to him.

                  referring to us as ‘hard cases’ and a ‘fraternity’ minimizes the pain and abuse we endured and makes us seem like we’re women haters who are trying to recruit more ‘pledges.’ our stance may seem hard to you, but if i’ve hardened my heart it’s because my ex tortured me for years until i was basically an elective mute in my own home.

                  i gave my ex the benefit of the doubt more times than i care to remember. i made excuses for and rationalised her behaviour. i was patient and stayed committed to her even though i knew with every fiber of my being how much harm she was causing me and our children.

                  calling us a ‘fraternity’ seems to imply we’re some group of middle aged duffers who are indoctrinating other men. i wouldn’t wish the experiences i had with my ex on my worst enemy. while i find it comforting to see i am not alone in my experiences, it saddens me to know the abuse that borderline and narc- women call love is so widespread.

                  it also saddens me to know that another child is to be brought into this world and warped by its disturbed mother just as i had to sit back and watch my ex do to our children. at the time i couldn’t see any other options. i was told to be patient and forgive. now i am watching my eldest son, a good and kind boy, on the verge of marrying a controlling and hateful piece of work like his mum.

                  there are nights i can’t sleep wondering if i’d left the relationship sooner and he’d had a chance to see me in a good relationship if he would have chosen this woman who is sure to make his life as much of living hell as mine was with my ex.

                  i wish i’d had a label. i wish i’d known what i was dealing with. i wish i’d had resources like this and other men i could communicate with. there are far more sites for women who have been abused. would you encourage them not to take a hard stance against their abusers? to ‘give him a break’? what precisely do you mean by that? not to scare him about the dangers of emotionally unstable women? i believe his ex has aldready done that! i wish i’d had been clever enough to follow my instincts about my ex at the beginning like patrick. more men should join patrick’s ‘fraternity.’

                  AP, your point of view and attitude resonate with the ‘bpd’s in recovery’ whom i occasionally encounter in support forums. you advocate patience, tolerance and non-judgment toward these women because in all likelihood you’re one of them, albeit a clearly educated and well-spoken one. nevertheless, you occasionally slip in the way you express yourself and what i is see is very familiar.

                  for the record, i am happily remarried to a woman whom i love deeply. she is kind, gentle and considerate. we have our spats now and again, but she doesn’t become a feral beast and try to demolish me. i feel blessed to have found her after what i went through with my ex and wish every man here the same happiness.

                  a hard case

  11. August 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Patrick,

    Well I’m in the same situation as you but a bit further along. When my child was born she left me off the birth certificate. She also had him christened without me being there. I wasn’t invited to it and this was while we were together.

    After the baby came, her control just got worse and worse and her lack of empathy really Is something else. I’m just going to court now as I ended the relationship about 6 weeks ago because I couldn’t take anymore of it. These women are the deadliest, manipulative crafty species you could ever meet. Get out know before it’s too late.

    You haven’t had your child yet. Don’t hurt yourself, be strong and walk away instead of a life of misery. My son knows me and yet I can’t see him at all now. Even when she dangles a carrot at me, it’s always on her terms, by me taking her out shopping or the pub for lunch. I fell Into this trap thinking it was a normal relationship.

    After months of reading, I realise my mistakes. It’s easier to walk away now as you haven’t seen the baby. If she’s like my ex then she’s deadly. she really is. she will use the baby to control you like a puppet on a string, cause rows and fight over nothing.

    My mother has seen my son once in 16 months. I’m not allowed to take my own son anywhere. The anguish and stress it will cause you is unimaginable. can you imagine being in that situation? that’s were I am. she only lives up the road from me and I haven’t seen my son in weeks and won’t until the courts sort it out. even then, I might not get access to my son. who knows what she will make up in the court room?

    I call her the “Medusa” (lol) I have a picture on my iPhone of the Medusa when she rings to keep myself on my toes and not get reeled in again. I hope you make a decision and stick with it. I wish I would of walked away when she was pregnant. She caused so many problems. It was unreal. She damaged my cars and my van with scratches. She kicked my front door and broke my locks. She had men stand outside my home, threatening me physically. She took an overdose of pills in my flat. Head butted me and was arrested. She attacked the same guy who was threatening me and made his nose bleed. I could go on and on.

    it’s been around 6 weeks since we split, but she keeps ringing and texting abd trying different things to get me back. I’m still
    being strong. This site has been a blessing because I didn’t have a clue and would have put up with it for god knows how long. thank you, dr tara. I read stuff on here most nights to reiterate everything. She is evil, there’s simply no other word—evil.

    I feel angry for allowing myself to be dragged down to this low level, but I’m on the road to recovery and will get my life and mind healthy again. I won’t let her abuse me any more. It’s over. She already has moved on to another man and that’s why
    the txts and calls have recently stopped. Good look to that man. I wish him all the best in his quest to for fill her dark bottom less pit.

    The mad thing is this woman blamed me for everything wrong in her life and showed no remorse–none, zero–for everything she did. Even though I’m the one who works, runs my own business, and am bringing up my other 2 children from a previous relationship while she is unemployed and living at home with her mother. I don’t think these woman can hold down a job down.

    Patrick, what are you going to do? Don’t underestimate this woman. keep a journal. write down and record everything that happens Good luck and I wish you all the best.

    • jp
      August 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm

      “I don’t think these woman can hold down a job.”

      Brian, you got that right.

      My older sister is BPD. She’s 48 and hasn’t held a real job since she was in her early twenties. At the time she was married to the first of 3 husbands. He was working day and night, 7 days a week, to keep his new restaurant afloat while she refused to work at all. Finally he found her an easy part time clerical job at the local university.

      She quit after a few days.

      Her reason?

      “I refuse to work under flourescent lighting”

      Ultimate irony is that she just finished LAW SCHOOL (paid for by now-divorced husband number 3). God help us.


      • shrink4men
        August 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm

        Dollars to doughnuts your sister still won’t work, even with a law degree. I know of women with multiple advanced degrees who could be earning 6-figure incomes and still refuse to become adults and take on the responsibility of a job. Please tell me she’s not going into Family law…

      • Anthony
        August 27, 2009 at 12:49 am

        Hey JP and Dr T.

        Just reading as always, because it helps with my sanity. You all know my situation. JP, you said in your comment that BP’s rarely hold down jobs. My ex was diagnosed with BPD/NPD and holds down a job and makes good money. It wasn’t always this way because her ex-husband supported her for many years before he pulled the plug. Maybe she holds down a good job and makes money because she doesn’t have a choice right now? Meaning, she has two children and hasn’t found a new meal ticket? Or, I hear they become obsessed with work and/or money to divert themselves from their problems? Some also say that money is their security for not ending up alone?

        Does race and/or nationality play a role with BPB/NPD? My ex was Asian. Are the ones who are more narcissistic capable of holding down jobs?

        Also, big question… how do these people hold down jobs with these types of emotional problems? Doesn’t it eventually surface in the work place? I also hear that most can’t advance into management roles.

        Love to hear your comments on this topic…

        BTW, Dr T. nice job with AP… He or she sounds like my ex with a thousand excuses:) That deserves a smiley face!


      • August 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

        Don’t bet at all that BPDs cannot hold down a job. Many BPDs are the “high functioning” variety and can do quite well, for the most part, in a public setting. You will often see people refer to them having a “public persona and a private persona.”

        They wreak havoc on people at every turn. At the risk of seeming like a “shill” for my own story, if you feel so compelled to see the real life drama from a divorce and custody situation with a BPD, click on me.

        It’s awful and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Family court LOVES having these litigious types spend everyone’s money to fill their pockets at the expense of themselves, their target, and their children.

        • shrink4men
          August 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

          Hi Mister-M,

          There are “high functioning” NPD’s/BPD’s who can hold down jobs. However, they’re often the office bullies and/or the co-worker who’s causing drama and conflict at work. They do have public personae, but if you spend enough time with them, their veneer soon begins to crack.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Dr Tara

          • Mr. E
            August 27, 2009 at 10:07 pm

            Just to chime in with an example: My wife practically confessed to being the office bully to me the other day. She regularly gloats about giving a particular co-worker a hard time at every opportunity, and she goes on about how much she can’t stand this person. She got pretty defensive when I didn’t immediately cheer her for tormenting this guy.

            She almost always has some kind of conflict with her co-workers. For a while, I thought I must be getting walked on at work because I didn’t have as many arguments with my co-workers as she did. Hooray for having my eyes opened – turns out I’m not the crazy one!

            • Mr. E
              August 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

              The example was, of course, directed at Mister – M.

              Strange how these comments post, sometimes.

  12. melove54
    August 26, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    To further add to this scenario you are in, I would emphasize, like Dr. T did, the importance of custody, if you believe you can provide a better environment. Looking back at the last relationship I had with my X-NPD, she had a young son that I spent time with from 5 years of age until he was over 10. One of the issues her X-husband related to was their son’s ability to manipulate situations. He basically believed the son had too much control in her household. Her X was more of a disciplinarian, whereas, she was the one that never followed through. Her son was able to pitch fits, talk back, snuggle up to her when she became angry at something she deemed he did wrong. She simply would not follow through with discipline, hence, the child had control of her. If I were to advise her of any wrong doing he did, she give me the evil stare, and never follow through. Some NPD/BPD women see their children as an extension of themselves, therefore the child should receive many of the same entitlements as they perceive. As an example, if her son was to get into a fight with one of the neighborhood boys, whatever her child said happened (usually to his advantage), she would look no further, it was the other childs fault. Even if she found out later, her son told some untruths about said fight, if there was any truth to it at all, she remained biased towards those small truths.This child was savvy enough to blend certain truths and untruths, to have a plan B, maybe even a plan C. I witnessed this time and time again, standing there in awe at this child’s ability at such a young age, to control and manipulate. He was able to maintain control, because he knew precisely what she wanted to hear.

    So place yourself in my X’s former husbands position, and imagine what he feels when he knows exactly what is transpiring with his son at his x-wifes home. He is truly concerned, as he recognizes his lack of presence (due to her being primary) to influence a healthy environment. An environment whereby his son can understand there are and should be consequences for his bad behavior. He hates going to his father’s home because he has no control there, he views his father as mean, therefore, the father is at fault. The small amount of time (comparitively speaking) he spends Vs her time with the son, has him concerned and worried about the future of his son’s perceptions and values. I can speak from this experience, as I tried my best to converse with my X-N about what I alone witnessed, the disrepect he had shown me, her inability to follow through with the punishments, and where I in reality saw it going. This of course, was an effort in futility. Her son remains today, a devil in a kids suit. I just wanted to provide a true example of what future difficulties you could encounter. Like Dr. T stated, the time is now to do something about it!

    Do some on-line research(state statutes) on custody in your state. This will help you have more intelligent conversations with your attorney and give you a better sense of your lawyer’s knowledge and abilities. Since many states favor the woman, where it concerns child custody, you are at somewhat of a disadvantage.Short of her being a drug abuser,addict or having open sex in the presence of a child, it is very difficult for the man to attain custody. Due diligence in researching the attorney’s that specialize in Family Law that have good track records and longevity in the system will be to your advantage. Try first the lawyer’s that are closest to the county seat area. Do not bring an attorney, from outside the county, unless they are popular or high powered and are recognized well in your county. Many judges have favorites where it concerns attorney’s and this is usually a result of their years of interaction in the court system. My X-N was a Family Law attorney, and I will have to say this, she had an excellent record in custody cases for men. But, their were many stories I heard about how Judges feel about the mother being the care taker. It’s a warped sense of moral and ethics where it concerns the mother being integral in the nurturing process and that men lack such ability. Justice is truly blind in many of these cases.

    Not to be negative, you have your work cut out for you, and you have to do what Dr. T was advising. Do the recordings, even if you have to manipulate the manipulator into reacting, be it openly to record her egregious nature, or in email form. Emails tend to have more validity and credibility. Some states, recordings are inadmissable in court, however, these recordings can be to your attorney’s advantage, possibly enabling him/her to bring out the worst in her during depositions and/or in the court room.

    Just wanted to give you a peek into the future of what can happen to your child when dealing with the NPD/BPD personality disorder. Although I was not the father of my X-N’s son, it truly hurt me to see how much he has turned out to be controlling, much like his mother. His future in interpersonal relationships has a very grimm outlook. I sincerely wish you the best in your pursuits towards providing a better life for your child.

  13. melove54
    August 24, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Might I add as well, “the fruit don’t fall too far from the tree.” You will have to deal with her immediate family as well. In my first marriage, my x-mother-in-law was a BPD and was also the matriarch. All my family was deceased and the only grandparents she had was from my x-wifes side. They were divorced, the Grandfather was a compulsive liar and the Grandmother, the NPD. Needless to say, I had great difficulty with my daughter because they doted upon her and would always find ways to circumvent my authority as her father. Today she is 24 years old and has tremendous difficulty with truths and realities. She also has the propensity to frequently display characteristics of NPD/BPD. I had a very normal and loving family..I just wished my daughter could have known her GF and GM.

    You have the advantage now to do something about this now before the damage is done. Pursue this for the sake of your future family and for your sanity as well.

    Best wishes in your future.

  14. Judy
    August 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Please listen to Dr. Tara’s advice, particularly #4! If the lawyer doesn’t advise a paternity test, then move on to a new attorney! I know that may sound harsh but you will not only be protecting yourself but the baby as well in the long run. Also, you will be showing her that you mean business and (hopefully) she will get the message that you will not be pushed around. Someone I know is married to a “cluster B” and they have children together. His life is one big cluster f@#k. Protect yourself and protect the child.

  1. July 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm
  2. December 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm

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