Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, relationships > Will My Emotionally Abusive Girlfriend or Wife Be Different With the New Guy?

Will My Emotionally Abusive Girlfriend or Wife Be Different With the New Guy?

jealousy_munchWill my emotionally abusive girlfriend or wife be sweet, normal and wonderful with the next guy? The answer to this question is no, No and NO. Many men torture themselves with this highly unlikely possibility when they contemplate ending the relationship, after they’ve ended the relationship or when their on-again-off-again exes are treating them like a cat toying with a half-dead mouse.

What’s the Origin of this Irrational Fear?

This fear and faulty belief can be traced directly back to the source of all irrational distortions, insecurities and lies—your ex. This kind of woman explicitly or implicitly conveys that she’s always been a sweet, kind and loving person until she met you and that you bring out the worst in her. The implication is that there’s something wrong with you, which is why she treats you the way she does. Malarkey.

This is yet another example of how these women refuse to take responsibility for their behaviors and blame the victim instead. If it were possible for you to interview her past and future boyfriends/spouses you would hear eerily similar tales of the same relationship atrocities you experienced with her.

Unlike reasonably healthy people who change and grow across a lifetime; these women remain disappointingly the same. We grow and learn by acknowledging our mistakes and through loving and being loved. These women never acknowledge their myriad mistakes and don’t know the first thing about love. She won’t be different in a new relationship. A woman like this replays the same misery over and over again. The only things she learns from her relationships are how to control, manipulate and hurt others more effectively.

Lies that Feed the Fear

The following lies are control devices that undermine your confidence, fuel your insecurities and cement your emotional dependency upon your NPD and/or BPD girlfriend or wife. Some of these women deliver these messages loud and clear; while others imply or insinuate them so subtly that you don’t even realize what’s happening until it’s too late.

No one else would want you. This is nonsense. There are 6.7 billion people on this planet. Roughly half of them are female. Surely there’s at least one other woman who will find you attractive. Your wife/girlfriend/ex wants you to believe this because you’re less likely to fly the coop and she retains control.

No one else will ever love you like I love you. Let’s hope not. If by “love” she means, “no one else will ever treat you like crap the way I treat you like crap” then it’s a translation problem from crazy-speak to English rather than a lie.

I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You bring out the worst in me. Why do you make me act like this?! You don’t bring out the worst in her. Anyone who tries to get close to her and seeks intimacy and kindness from her brings out the worst in her. Therefore, all of her “love” relationships will bring out the worst in her.

How Can She Move onto a New Guy So Quickly After our Break-Up?

Just because your ex instantly lands in a new relationship doesn’t mean she’s healthy and moving on with her life. This kind of woman unravels  when she’s not in a relationship and receiving attention. She doesn’t have a core identity. The only time she comes close to feeling like a whole person is when she’s in a relationship because it provides her with the illusion of normalcy.

Being wanted validates her existence. If she’s not receiving attention from someone—it doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive—then she might actually have to look at herself and her behavior and she can’t handle that. She needs to have someone tell her she’s wonderful and someone to blame for the train wreck that is her life.

This is also a clear example of how these women don’t relate to others as individual people with whom you have a connection, but as objects with which to abuse and amuse themselves. These women usually discard you and move onto the next shiny object when:

  • You stop playing by her rules and she notices that you’re becoming immune to her tricks and manipulations. She senses she’s about to be confronted with the truth of her behavior and pulls the rip cord.
  • She finds someone with more money, more status and more time to devote to her never-ending needs.
  • She senses you’re about to end the relationship, so she abandons you before you abandon her.
  • She craves more attention and orchestrates a competition or rivalry for her “affections.”

Why Does She Flaunt Her New Relationship(s) in My Face?

She does this for several reasons, including:

  • To hurt you
  • To let you know “what you’re missing out on”
  • To see if you still care
  • To see if she can still jerk your chain and push your buttons
  • To make you feel bad and jealous about all of the alleged men who are “madly in love” with her
  • To rub your nose in the illusion that she’s moving on in her life and is doing “great” and is happy without you
  • To see if you’re still available (i.e., not dating). A BPD and/or NPD woman likes to keep her exes in a cupboard for a “rainy day,” so she can seek attention when she’s feeling alone and abandoned by the most recent guy she’s scared off
  • To test the waters to see if she can lure you back into a relationship with her.

If your ex directly tells you or broadcasts her dating escapades in such a way that you’re guaranteed to learn of them, she has not “moved on” nor is she happy. First, if you’ve really moved on after a relationship, you’re not preoccupied with your ex to the point that you parade your new relationships in front of him or her. In fact, you maintain a healthy distance and just go about your life. If you’ve moved on, you don’t invest time and energy trying to “get at” your ex. This behavior is indicative of not having moved on, being unhappy and trying to maintain some kind of connection, albeit a sick and hurtful one.

Second, when has your wife/girlfriend/ex ever been honest to goodness happy?

The closest she gets to experiencing happiness is when she’s controlling and hurting you, but this isn’t true happiness. It’s about making you so miserbale that she seems happy by comparison. If she’d truly moved on and was having a grand old time dating other men, trust me, you wouldn’t be hearing from her.

Some of these women are capable of “flipping a switch” and totally cutting an ex out of their lives. Finding a new boyfriend/husband/emotional punching bag is the equivalent of the “geographic cure” described in Alcoholics Anonymous—it’s their attempt to get a fresh start with a new partner. However, like the AA saying states, “Wherever you go, there you are.” In others words, they’ll continue to take the same problems, behaviors and craziness into each new relationship because they are the primary source of their relationship problems, not their most recent ex.

If your girlfriend or wife is this variety of NPD and/or BPD, consider yourself fortunate. She won’t be back for round 2 or round 1001. It may seem more cruel, but it’s for the best. It hurts because you’re not able to get closure, but you can’t get closure from these women whether they’re the “cut off” variety or the boomerang variety (i.e., she keeps coming back after every break-up).

Why Do I Care that She’s Dating Already?

The fear of her miraculously changing her personality (disorder) and being great with the next guy is completely irrational, which many men know intellectually. It’s like when children hate going to bed because they’re afraid they’ll miss something — like their parents bring out the best toys after they’re asleep.

You probably still care about her being with other men because you’re not quite over her yet. Trust me, she’s not going to be great and normal with the new guy. If he doesn’t snap to his senses soon, he’s in for the same nightmare ride she took you on. These women lie and distort everything. Remember how she would twist the truth and reality when she was with you? Then why would you believe this new man makes her happier than she’s ever been?

Here’s the deal:

1. When a woman like your ex tells you other men are pursuing her, it’s oftentimes confabulation, exaggeration or an out and out lie. She does this to make herself feel desirable and appear like an irresistible siren to others.

I had an acquaintance in college who used to go on and on about guys who were “so in love with [her].” By chance, I met one of these men at a lecture. We were introduced and I said, “I feel like I know you already, Frank. Dorothy’s told me a lot about you.” He looked confused and I then explained who Dorothy was. Turns out, she sat near him in an accounting class and he let her borrow a pen once. He wasn’t “madly in love with her,” he barely remembered her.

2. “My ex(es) won’t leave me alone/my co-worker won’t stop flirting with me/dozens of men on Facebook want to date me” is a control tactic she uses to destabilize you, make you feel insecure and get you to psychologically invest in fighting to keep her from being “snatched” away by would-be suitors. She’s trying to control you with the threat of loss of the relationship.

The message is: “If you don’t do as I say, put up with my crap and treat me like a Queen, Joe is waiting in the wings to take me away, so don’t you forget it.” If you’re not afraid to lose her, this (usually) empty ploy falls flat.

3. Oftentimes there really is another man or men waiting in the wings. Never underestimate the number of people who are willing to take a number and wait in line for their share of abuse. And, let’s face it, many of these women are incredibly attractive and can be very charming when they’re trying to suck you in. However, you know firsthand the monster that lies beneath the surface and how quickly her charms fade.

I recommend that you retire from active duty and let the new enlistee have at her. You’ll probably find him knocking around this site in 6 months to a year because he, too, will eventually be right where you are now. And so the cycle begins again and again and again.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

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Photo credit:

Jealousy by Edvard Munch.

  1. September 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Nick (and my other brothers)

    Ah, the irony. My first post on any site after poring over message boards and sites like this for the last 2 months. Guess how I ended up finding this site and a particularly pertinent article? My sweet lil Filipina waif drove me here! She wasn’t what she appeared to be. It wasn’t mail-order as she has been in the States about 5 yrs., but I got enough history to know that what was going on with her started long before she got here. In fact, the die was probably cast at the age of two.

    Little more irony? A twist on the holding out the hand routine…. She threw one of her cute little tantrums and made a show of packing some stuff up. I didn’t say a word. Then she comes out of the bedroom with an outfit asking me to take it to her suv and bring up her backpack. I just held my hand out with a “give me the keys” look. She looked surprised and fumbled around for her keys but maybe she was ready to go because she was having limited success with her tactics to begin with. Oddly enough, she still spent the night, woke me up to give me a hug, and left. My last chance to talk her out of it? I never attempted to contact her and her I, although I did get a couple suspicious phonecalls.

    A few days prior to this she had made a veiled threat to leave over something so petty and I responded with “I’d hate to lose you over that but you gotta do what you gotta do.” The next morning she loves me. That night she has a problem with how I talk on the phone she had welded to my ear. “Okay, well I guess I’ll take a shower and crash then.” The next morning she appreciates my patience and understanding with a phone call at 0600. And the day after that she was gone. Push/pull, push/pull. I believe she was getting frustrated I wouldn’t engage the BS.

    (My brothers. THEY MUST ALWAYS KNOW that you’ll walk out on the BS. Be a respectful gentleman, have empathy with integrity at the core of all your actions but HAVE A SPINE. They’re free to leave anytime and you’ll help them work the doorknob if they don’t know how. It keeps the good ones around and weeds out the bad ones pretty quick. You don’t buy your dog flowers after he takes a dump on the carpet, do ya? Don’t reward her bad behavior either. Be a good man, not a nice guy. YOU ARE A MAN, not one of her girlfriends with a penis).

    On to the topic of the Good Doctors article…. Almost a month to the day she left ,my sweet lil waif called and left a voicemail which sounded like her phone was in her purse. I could make out the “fact” she was hanging out with some guy having a grand old time. I’m 99.9% sure this guy was oblivious to the fact he was part of a voicemail. All this on the very same day her and I had planned to celebrate her B-Day.

    You would think that would be upsetting, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was a big part of my closure and it validated me in a way. She may have been with a guy but she was calling me. She unknowingly told me I had meant something to her and she hadn’t truly moved on while I could give Usain Bolt a run for his money. Now I sit here, laugh to myself, and wonder if I was ever a part of some unknown voicemail.

    I replied the next day (her actual B-Day) with a very nice, heartfelt B-Day/good bye e-mail wishing her well. Didn’t even mention her clever little v-mail which probably angered her more. Her little tactics didn’t fly with me. In response, I was ripped in her return e-mail but she confirmed my BPD suspicions by gaslighting the events of the night she left. I didn’t even dignify that BS with a response. Now I’ve gotten more unavailable/restricted phonecalls in the last month than I’d get in a year. You won’t have to take back the power if you don’t give it away.

    Good times!! 3.35 billion? We’ve got work to do, gentleman.

    Go easy, my brothers.

    PS: Thanks Dr. T. This site and your writings were my “ah ha” moment less than a week after she left. I knew I had just dealt with somebody who wasn’t quite right and you explained it all.

    • jham123
      September 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      This is M “Ah Ha” moment as well……

      It explains so so many things.

    • August 14, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Race. Great post you got some gonads man.
      I wish I had the knowledge b4 I embarked on a woman with BPD .
      I’ve never been weak, insipid, or a liar. Just an ordinary fella looking for love.
      Did I find it? Jesus my heart is broken.
      I’m at my wits end. Steve

  2. Steve
    September 15, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Hi Dr T,

    Just writing from New Zealand…..all the way across the Sth Pacific..;-))..I just broke up from an NPD..for sure..and until I saw these bulletin boards I thought I was crazy. For 18 months she manipualted by guile and malice aforethought and tried to cause as much hurt as possible, including infidelties for over a year and a burglary that she then accused me of in my own house! (Full home theatre and my nieces Xmas pressies)

    Just unbelievable, mate!

    The crowd she ran with was a bunch of no hopers and worse, but I put up with it in denial as I loved her)..

    That was only 7 weeks ago. She even caused me to get in trouble with my consultant manager who docked me on my hourly rate as an IT contractor)…btw..she was the one that placed me with him.

    18 months of sheer hell I can tell you. And the sheer amount this woman would drink couldn’t even be substantiated……..unreal.

    Its been tough getting on with life, but just imagine if I had been intimate???

    Bloody hell…!!! and I thought after 10 years working in Europe, that I’d seen it all!

    Steve in Auckland

    • shrink4men
      September 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate it! Congratulations on getting out after only 18 months. Being with a woman like your ex is rather like being unexpectedly caught in a science-fiction movie. She looks like a real person. She smells, feels and sounds like a real person, but she’s not. It’s “Close Encounters of the Narc Kind!!!!!!”

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

      • Steve
        September 18, 2009 at 5:37 am

        Dear Dr T,

        Not only is your column insightful and humorous, but very cathartic for me to read and thought I’d jot down a few memories also. Strange that you mentioned sci-fi. Her favourite ‘opera’ was the Rocky Horror Picture show’, which I felt sometimes I was inside of!

        I was with this NPD for almost 18 months. Didn’t even know what this was till I started to do some research. What an experience. I met her on the net (surprise, surprise…), whilst just back home in NZ from the UK. I found out that as a recruitment consultant, she trawls whatever medium she can use to make money for doing basically nothing. Essentially, this was to fund her alcoholic, binge-drinking and partying lifestyle. But I didn’t know that at the time.

        Anyway, I sent her my CV as a project manager, and she actually got me a great contract. This was the first act of using me as a business commodity to fund her lifestyle. (She made 22 grand on me over a 9 month period) Then, since she needed a flatmate with more money than sense (and by this time, I was falling for her…she is very attractive, but aren’t all NPD), she asked me to move in with her (easy to manipulate via environment and alcohol). I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, I assure you.

        I had a lot of stuff in storage, and was keen to look around the neighbourhood for eventual houses after moving house and living out of boxes for a year.

        Within a week of moving in, my friend and I were around at the flat, and I turned my back twice and she was in his lap twice hitting on him! Pushing buttons already…-). This was a week after I had said to her that I was developing feeling for her…at this point I should have got outta dodge I think as this was totally formless, but I stupidly put it down to a single aberration. Her gaslight response was that ‘it was just that we were all p*ssed and nothing happened, so what are you on about!’. The next thing after a week of moving in with her was her hitting the roof that I hadn’t cleaned the flat. Intuitively I knew that this was projection, as she is the laziest creature I’ve ever known. But I digress.

        For the first few months, she would give out mixed signals all the time (the 1-2-sucker punches), so just to set her traps and then rail against me for stupid things like ‘how dare you tell my best friend that I was dating…that’s gone right back to my ex!!!..How dare you! Yada yada yada…this was my 2nd WTF moment. Then there were the secretive phone calls, not so secretive txts and so forth, just to hurt me as she knew I had powerful feelings for her. Apparently her recent ex had ‘pushed her around’ after 6 months…and now I can see how a less tolerant guy would have reacted.

        She then went on holiday twice to meet up with guys out of town. I made up my mind to leave and find my own place.

        Unfortunately, she was also an alcoholic, and after 3 months the verbal abuse started with a vengeance. Nasty personal comments and ridicule, as she had nothing in her empty pitiful life. Because I have so much compassion, and I loved her, I let this continue as initially we could discuss things, and she did say she was sorry and ‘acted’ with contrition after her abuse sessions which sometimes lasted till 3-4-5 in the morning. A very bright girl with a double degree from Durham University in the UK. But basically un-resolved issues (she’s been in a cult at some point also, and torched cars coz her guru had asked her to…along with lectures about her vegan eating habits and Sai Baba!)…another WTF moment.

        When I bought my house, 6 months after being just housemates, things really started to amp up. I was so proud of my achievement, but all she could do was curl up in a ball and weep hysterically after I asked her to actually help me unpack…OMG. Within a week (on a mutual drink binge night…(I know…I know..), her black rage mask came down out of no-where, where-up she was yelling at the top of her voice and turning up the volume of the iPod-deck. After the neighbour complained, I tried to ‘manage the situation’ by asking her nicely to turn it down. She then turned it up. I turned it down…etc. After 4 or 5 attempts at this I pulled the iPod
        She then proceeds to two-leg heave the expensive equipment across the room. After I calm her down, she still turns the music up, saying ‘I’ll do what I want!!!..You turned the music up when we were at the flat, not caring about the neighbours!!..So I’ll just do what I want…you need to learn how to treat me!!!!..(More yelling and gas lighting).

        I then pulled the breakers in the garage and went upstairs to bed….

        Next thing the door bursts open and she hitting me with a lampshade!! I managed to disarm her, and the next day I get a txt saying ‘I think we need to talk..’ You think so?. Man, I gave her both barrels when I got home from work she looked like a deer stuck in the head-lights. Her response was’…well, I you hadn’t pulled the plug on the music..!’ WTF!!! Worse was to come.

        Since I had confronted her with her behaviour, she put a scheme into action for Xmas day. Basically, we all had a nice day with her friends over at my new house, instead of my family (I know, I know…). By the evening she announces that since she’s done all the work, she’s now gonna ‘get on it’ (her term for getting totally ratted). Then 2 guys jump the fence and proceed to help themselves to all the food….and her. in front of me. I put up with this for 45 minutes as I held my temper, but them couldn’t contain myself and asked her firmly to take it elsewhere. Then the guy starts to get mouthy at me shouting that ‘just because I had a nice house doesn’t mean that he can’t have her and he will do so whether I like it or not..!’

        I thought that this is gonna spiral, so withdrew and went to bed. My rationale was that if she was going to hurt me, let her get on with it, and I’ll deal with it in the morning.
        At 3am all hell breaks loose again with her shouting and screaming for this strange guy to leave her alone (from her bedroom). I intervene out of safety reasons, and get the police to eject this miscreant from my new house.

        When I go downstairs and 8am to clean up, her other boozy friend is on the couch sleeping…..and the plasma TV, PS3 and all Xmas presents are gone!!..Stolen.

        She gaslights me saying that ‘you should have locked the door then, and what a horrible thing to do to get the police to take this stranger away!!!…you evil person!!..WTF again. I’m getting exhausted by this point.

        I’m undergoing counselling myself by this point as she’s convinced me that I have ‘issues’ to be resolved.

        It took me an additional 3 months to have her leave, but continued to see her on a casual basis. I need to add at this point also for your readers that we NEVER slept together in the whole 18 months. This was her dangling carrot to keep her in my life. That if I was a good boy she might one day relent… Am I patient and stupid or what!

        Her final parting shot across my bow, as I got up and walked out from her last binge-ridicule session was to ‘NEVER CONTACT HER AGAIN’.

        I was free. I still love her but won’t ever go back to the alcoholic abuse and rages. Character building? Certainly. Naive? Totally….But lessons learned. Thanks got we never got it together and heaven forbid had kids. It’s been 2 months and I am recovering. Thanks to all your readers Dr T and I wish them and you Godspeed in their own healing process.

        • shrink4men
          September 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm

          Hi Steve,

          Wow. What a train wreck! It’s amazing how long you hung in there. It’s equally amazing how these women get their targets to go against their best interests and intellect. Christmas sounds particularly hellish. I think I would have curled up in the fetal position under the wreck of the tree and incoherently sang “Silent Night” to myself after that one. I hope you have a wonderful holiday this year—although, compared to that one, it wouldn’t take much, would it?

          Surround yourself with family and friends this year and reclaim the holiday. It sounds like you’re well done with her. However, I respectfully challenge you to reconsider that you’re “still in love with her.” I think you’re probably still traumatized by her and perhaps obsessively recounting what went wrong (which means you can’t get her out of your head) and hurting from it, but that’s not love. By believing you’re still in love with her, you continue to give her power. This is one of the ways these women brainwash their targets. I think it’s part Stockholm Syndrome and part faulty rationalization—i.e., “I must have been in love, otherwise why would I have put up with such bad behavior. Yes, that’s it. I was really in love with her.

          The abuse a woman like your ex dishes is disorienting, which helps to confuse her abuse with love. Try to catch yourself when you think or are about to say “I’m still in love with her” and challenge yourself on it. It’ll be like cutting the last of the tentacles away.

          Kind Regards,
          Dr Tara

          • Steve
            September 21, 2009 at 2:27 am

            Hi again Dr T!

            Yes, I totally agree with all that you say. It is scary and totally amazing how I could rationalise myself to think that it was in any way appropriate to have her around after that point, but Xmas was a complete blinder I must admit. Something that I didnt imagine in my wildest nightmares.
            Keeping cool under that sort of pressure was difficult and glad its almost 9 months behind me now.

            I was back-peddling as fast as I could go in order to manouver her out of the house at LEAST by that point. The assault in my darkened bedroom was only a week prior to Xmas also.

            Disorientation and psychological torture is a part of what she did best, and ‘Stockholm’ is right on the money. I am still quite a bit traumatized, and don’t expect to have all my faculties up and running until well into next year, but as you quite astutely point out, challenging my thoughts and feelings is paramount in order to ‘cut out the cancer’ of dependency I had on her.

            I also have had a pattern of these types in my life, so will work on this with lots of positive reinforcement from family and true friends.

            Warm regards for all your help. It may not sound like much, but understanding these dynamics has helped me in untold ways!

            Cheers again Dr T!!

          • Steve
            October 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm

            Hi Dr T,

            I’ve been doing as much research as possible (without trying be to be obsessive) over the past few weeks, aside from your excellent site. It seems to definitely help with continued understanding and furthers the healing process. It’s going well, with also being able to bat aside (with kindness) 2 mails from her over the past 2 weeks. I definitely don’t wish to get into another year-long cycle of being used and abused for her career enhancement or continued amusement. Or stuck in a never ending grief/anger cycle either.

            You’re right; ‘keeping me in the cupboard for rainy days?’. Alternatively, she may just want to stick a single barb (probe?) in for her amusement. I can’t assume she wishes me harm. Perhaps its just indifference as she probably has moved on to the next ‘shiny object’. Who knows.

            By the end of ‘09, I hope I’ll be mostly done I hope, and wake up one day without any nagging pains of ‘missing her’ or residual esteem issues. That’s just the way it works for me as I guess each person experiences this differently. Each month the pain of missing her does diminish a little further. And I now also reflect too, on the ‘instant’ attraction symptom you mentioned in a previous post (I knew the risks but went ahead too fast) which also played a catalyst in being controlled.

            Just wanted to ask you: is there any correlation between alcoholism and NPD/BPD? She may just be an abusive alcoholic instead but not being a Psyche SME (like you), it’s hard to tell. I can’t find that many specific links on the net, and would be grateful if you can provide either your insight, and/or some links?

            I can’t find that many links on the net, and would be grateful if you can provide either your insight, and/or some links? A good friend of mine who also grew up in an alcoholic family, recently said to me that ‘progress is only made when you continue to move forward’, which I’m doing with faith in myself.

            Thanks again for all your feedback and help to date,
            3rd month and counting,
            Best always Dr T,
            Steve in NZ

            • jham123
              October 6, 2009 at 3:03 am


              Are you making the case that she just drinks and this cause’s her to behave poorly??

              • Steve
                October 6, 2009 at 5:27 am

                Hey buddy,

                No not at all, mate. Perish the thought as she is responsible for her own behaviour (well in the world we live in at least! :-p).
                Constant enabling her with copious amounts of barley-juice to get on the same ’emotional level’ was just asking for trouble though, but I didn’t see that at the beginning as I was falling in love.

                I think (pure observation over a years period) that these issues always are there inside her but get unleashed when she drinks (apart from the ‘small kindness’ evenings when it was over-the-moon wonderful).
                Her envy at my IT contract rate always surfaced though-*RED FLAG as money and business oriented to the cost of everything else*, to dispense her abuse.

                If she wasn’t on a bender, then a total ‘workaholic’ temperament and magical thinker. As if she’s the next ‘Ivana Trump’.

                This behaviour was always there I think. Latent, and ready to spring like a cobra with venom. I’ll never know fully though as its impossible for her to admit fault and to fully understand her mind. It wasn’t honest enough with herself let alone anyone else.

                The next guy will have an even worse time of it. Poor sod.

                Best I keep taking the high road and wish her well though. Don’t want to sink to an unhealthy level though as the good doc has mentioned….I have no axe to grind; a good thing!! Just sad it didn’t work out.

                Hope things are working out for you too mate!
                Steve in NZ

  3. Ron
    September 14, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    A couple more things jumped out at me.
    First, my XW’s dad was married to a woman I believe my have a PD. When I first went to him inquiring why I was getting the silent treatment with regularity for things that were , to me , quite innocuous, he replied “welcome to my world, Ron.”
    After discovering my XW’s affair, I was informed by mutual acqaintences that she had been involved wit at least two married men as an affair partner before I knew her.
    I was told of her 2 year relationship with her HS soccer coach while she was a student. I was informed by her father that she had quit college and sent home fake transcripts fro a year(for our entire 9 year marriage , she told me she had her degreee).
    In any case, re the depletion of myself and all financial assets before she bolted, her dad told me :” it is no coincidence that once the $$ started getting tight, she started cheating.”
    I was a mess by the end.

  4. Ron
    September 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Wow, so much of what others have expierienced describes what I encountered with my XW. The gaslighting story re the wet footprint reminds me of similar events in my marriage. She finally did it in front of the kids, denying telling us we could bring a dog home and forcing us to return her. The kids went nuts as they had relied on her permission.
    Anyway, my XW moved on to a new guy, her affair partner and former highschool boyfriend. I am now free of her, although I am scared about what my children are seeing her do.
    Her relationship with her old boyfriend is quite bad. She broke up with him about one year after she moved out of our house to be with him. He begged her to reconsider for a year and now is back on the scene as her chauffer and to assist with her expenses(she lost her license over a year ago for failing to make her court appearances on two misdemeanor driving charges).
    Interestingly, her current boyfriend, as I mentioned, was her boyfriend back in HS and he broke up with her upon finding she was sleeping with her HS soccer coach.
    Now, he is back on the scene and involved with a woman who cheated on him in the past and cheated on her husband and kids to be with him this time. He is running himself ragged trying to placate her.
    These types of women do not change and they are not good to their next partner.

  5. Reg
    September 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Dr. Tara,

    I left a post earlier regarding the woman tat i was dating for over 4 years. As I said, I found out througha mutual associate that she was a prior lesbian. My question is….. does bpd play any role of a woman who has been a lesbian? does this affect the way her relationships are managed with men. she tells me that
    she no longer has a desire for a woman because that’s her past but with the way she tries to treat me, i don’t know. Your comments would be appreciated.


    • Knoppeh
      January 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      As I’ve understood it, it’s not uncommon for NPDs and BPDs to be bi-sexual (not that everyone who plays both sides is) because of the objectification of people. Since they want gratification or Narc-supply, some don’t care where it comes from. Hope it makes any sence.

  6. Nick in Texas
    September 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Ever hear of the 97 year old man who, at that age, finally figured out women? Problem was…he didn’t care anymore!!

    • shrink4men
      September 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm

      No woman bashing, please. Most women are not like your ex just like most men are not emotionless, jerks.

      It’s a waste of time to try to figure out women with BPD and/or NPD because, ultimately, there’s nothing to figure out. They’re predators and bullies who, instead of working through whatever psychological damage they may have incurred in childhood now incur emotional and psychological damage upon others.

      A healthy woman will accept you for who you are and wants you to do the same. You won’t have to be a centenarian to be able to understand her because a relationship between two healthy adults really isn’t that difficult to understand.

      Dr Tara

      • mike91163
        September 14, 2009 at 4:23 am

        Good points, Doc…but I think the reason many men TRY to figure their BPD/NPD partners out is because of our makeup-by that, I mean we’re “fixers”, or at least we want to try and understand WHY something broke…whether it’s an engine in a car, or a psycho wife, we are looking for “closure” in that sense.

        What I would urge anyone seeking understanding into their BPD/NPD’s behavior it to try and get at look at her parent’s situation. I married the youngest daughter of a woman who was probably the textbook definition of BPD/NPD, whose husband was the target of an incredible abuse campaign, since he used to drink in bars after work to escape the black hole hell at home. And YES, those traits passed perfectly intact right down from mother to daughters…I say daughters with a plural, as my wife has 3 older sisters who exhibit this behavior as well. Hmm, any surprise that all 3 of then now lead miserable, lonely lives as old maids…at least I give them credit for remaining “celibate” and not creating further emotional damage…not that they haven’t done this behavior to now ex-friends, but at least friends and acquaintances can walk away their situations without the financial and emotional ties that bind us!

        My advice to those getting back out there? Spend some time with her parents…see how they treat each other. If you see either one exhibiting signs of BPD/NPD, politely and safely terminate your relationship FOR YOUR SAKE!

        Trust your instincts, guys…they DO work, and if something just doesn’t feel right, and your heart, gut, and brain are warning you, PAY ATTENTION! The life you save may be your own!

      • Nick from texas
        September 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm

        Ok…point well taken…insert bpd/npd in front of women..that was actually the intent. Just trying to lighten the mood around here. I would also add that the older i get the less i care about the never ending quest to be treated right. But i guess those are just my “issues”

        • shrink4men
          September 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

          Hi Nick,

          No worries. I’m not uptight about political correctness. However, sometimes women who have an axe to grind show up on the site and try to claim we’re bashing all of womankind and I’d rather not legitimize any of their attacks.

          I don’t understand what you mean by the never-ending quest to be treated right.

          Dr T

  7. Reg
    September 13, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I was with my girl for approximately 4 years off and on. Not only was she demeaning to me in a subtle way, she also critisized evrything thing that i did. She did not work for the full time that we were together even though she had a degree. She had a company that i helped her create a credit profile so that she could move forward with her business. Her truck was giving her a problem so i bought her a nice used truck. It seemed like none of this mattered. When it came to intimacy, she was at first very aggressive, even though we never really had penetrative sex. Just ‘messing around to the extreme”. She said that i wasn’t intimate which could not be further from the truth. To top all of that , I found out that she had lived her life prior to me as a “lesbian”. I confronted her about it and she admitted it. I finally walked away aftter i was drained dry of any self respect or dignity. I have since then recovered pretty well. To this day, she still texts me occasionally and calls eventhough i don’t take the calls when i know it’s her. This story is a very short version of what i went through. All i can tell the other guys out here is that when you try and tyr and try to make her happy and you can’t; don’t blame yourself, it’s just time to move on

  8. Kev
    September 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    To the bit about “These women usually discard you and move onto the next shiny object when:”

    I would add one thing:

    “When she has completely broken you, and sucked you dry of any ability to function or ability to have an emotional response that will feed her.”

    I think you know I like movie analogies, and I think of Catherine Deneuve in THE HUNGER, with all of her former lovers reduced to living corpses, boxed up, and stored away.

    When my ex broke me, I was no longer useful to her. I was no longer useful to me, either, and could barely manage to remember to eat, get dressed, or go to work each day. My short-term memory disintegrated (useful for her, to “remind” me of all of the ways I’d harmed her that I couldn’t remember). I became almost an invalid. Simple things like dropping something would send me spiralling into depression, tears, and self-abuse.

    I couldn’t even do anything for myself, let alone her. Spent, I was of no use to her, and that’s when she decided to move on.

    Not without making sure she got every last bit of emotional response out of me, of course.

    I feel sorry for the next guy. And the next. And the next.

    Even though it feels like The End when these things are over (and, yes, I became suicidal), the thing that you eventually realize is that you can’t live in that space forever, and there’s nowhere else to go, but up.

    Still climbing out of the hole…

    • Jim
      September 12, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      Good post. This is exactly how mine ended. She basically had to leave because there was nothing more to be done really. And, like you, I had nothing left. I’m realizing so much from it all though which is a good thing. It was my first long term relationship and I accepted waaay to much from the get go. Lesson learned: you have to have very healthy boundaries. I didn’t even know what a boundary was. The more I allowed from her the more I lost myself and the more my sense of reality fell apart.

      Certain things happened in the fog of the relationship, though, that I’ve been able to hold onto as proof of the irrational/crazy. They are forms of gaslighting but they failed because I witnessed with my eyes what had occured (I only witnessed the evidence on a few occasions but this was enough). Example: At one time my ex stepped out of the shower and onto the bathroom rug, leaving a big water puddle where her foot landed. I noticed it but didn’t say anything. A few minutes later she commented on the soaked footprint. I tell her that I saw he do it. She rages. I then told her again that I saw it and that I was 100% sure that she did it. She still denied it and tried to say that I had done it. I don’t remember what happened after that, i just stopped arguing I think. This incident may sound trivial but it isn’t at all. This just makes me realize that she was doing this sort of thing all time (skewing reality) – at times when I didn’t have the type of self-proof that I did in this case. Even in this situation with the water I questioned my own perception for a second, EVEN WHEN I SAW HER DO IT.

      There is a book available on the subject of gaslighting. I haven’t read it but one of the comments on Amazon that rates it poorly is very important. Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Effect-Survive-Manipulation-Control/dp/0767924452

      It claims how incredibly dangerous gaslighting is and how it can destroy one’s perception of reality.

      Dr. T, do you have any helpful information about gaslighting? I’ve searched but can’t find much. I feel that this was a huge issue in my relationship and was a cause for my inability to remain rational.

      The thing is I know there is a good chance that she didn’t do this on purpose or consciously – that her perception is altered by her emotions/abandonment fear. To have to deal with this behavior though is totally draining and dangerous.

    • Freedom
      September 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm

      it’s ironic when you use the word “break”. cuz every time she would go off on her hate-filled tirades, i would tell her in a calm voice “you won’t break me”. and the good news is she didn’t break me… no matter how hard she tried. i’ve rebounded with enthusiasm, confidence and passion for all the good out there. and right now my life is awesome!!!

      thanks Dr. T… you’ve helped in ways that are immeasurable. thanks to those that i’ve conversed with as well.

      now… about that beer we’re all supposed to have together…. i’m buying!!!

      • Rebuilding - but still in pain
        September 26, 2009 at 6:50 pm

        Do you know, freedom? I would dearly love that beer!!

        Can you imagine the scene? All the guys on here meeting up. 20 year olds to 60 year olds. Tall thin to short and fat. Long haired, short haired, no hair! Black, white, yellow, red. All denominations. American, Canadian, English and Scots accents

        Everyone with a story to tell. When we’re done bitching about those awful women, maybe talk about football, fishing or cars, politics, 9/11, or the meaning of life or maybe even tattoos! ;)

        The shout goes “First round on ‘freedom.’

        Mine is cold light beer with a foamy head, condensation running down the glass.

        We raise a glass to Dr. T.
        We raise a glass to freedom. (Good name!)

        Then a dozen mobiles ring and the poor guys still stuck apologise and run home ‘in trouble.’ “Sorry guys – yes we understand, you got to go, We FULLY understand.”

        Man, I’d love that, bet we’d be surprised who we’ve been talking to.

      • Kev
        September 26, 2009 at 9:00 pm

        @Rebuilding – I’m in. If you all find yourselves in the Bay Area, let me know. :)

        You did, however, forget the bit where we all pull out pictures of our exes, and find out they’re all the same person.

        • Freedom
          October 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm

          Rebuilding and Kev…
          and a hearty cheers to you, my friends. honestly… you guys have helped in all of this too, as well as the Good Doc, and others. and may the next time your phone rings, or the next picture of the girl you have, may that be the girl of your dreams.

          as for me… i’m doing quite well. and if i can do it, so can you.

          cheers mates…

          • Freedom
            November 18, 2009 at 2:15 am

            in my best Mel Gibson voice… “she may take my sanity, but she’ll never take… MY FREEDOM!!” believe it or not… that’s exactly how i chose this screen name.

  9. Derek
    September 11, 2009 at 5:46 pm


    Thanks for your comment. Although i’m through with my ex, she’s been slating me very badly with mutual friends – distorting, fablicating stories and playing victim – and it’s been getting to me – will try to ignore it in the future.

    • Mr. E
      September 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm

      Derek –

      That really sucks that she’s been smearing you to mutual friends. I sincerely hope they see through her lies. Presumably they have known you long enough to have their own opinions about the kind of person you are. They’ve probably seen you in a variety of moods and situations. So if they choose to believe her, it truly sucks, but it’s their problem.

      You don’t have to explain yourself, you don’t have to justify yourself, and you don’t have to put up with people who will forget what they know about you to believe juicy lies. Friends don’t do that.

    • She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
      September 11, 2009 at 7:32 pm

      Yep, my ex talks all about my moodiness and how I insulted her culture when I “let” her pay for dinner one night shortly before we broke up. She does *not* mention how many times I did pay for dinner (at least 90% of the time), how I bailed her out of foreclosure, and that the very last time I saw her I not only took her out to dinner and brought her flowers, but I also went around her neighborhood gathering comps to estimate what her house (currently on the market) was worth. She does however mention that since she had a minor gum infection from picking her gums with a needle or something that day I was a horrible person to let her drive us to the pharmacy to get antibiotics rather than insisting on driving her there. Other times she has insinuated I’m lazy and weak because when I’m sick I don’t want to do much while she insists that she can party, hike, swim, etc just like she’s well no matter how bad she feels – she apparently just can’t drive to the pharmacy and don’t ever take her word on the above.

    • Freedom
      September 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      when i broke up with my ex for the last time – God that seems like a lifetime ago but it’s only been a few months – i told her, “i know you’re gonna blame me for everything, and my shoulders are gonna have to be big enough to carry that burden”. but what she didn’t understand was that burden weighed ONLY what i chose it to weigh. i know the truth, i know she had problems long before i ever got there, and that the next guy is in for a surprise cuz she’s got the previous issues before me, then the issues she created with me, and so he’s in for a 50-course meal full of lies that she’s gonna shove down his throat. hopefully he’ll be able to swallow it all and digest it. but i doubt it…

      if these mutual friends have any common sense, they’ll quickly come to the realization that you’re the decent one and she’s the troubled one. there’s only so many lies one can tell without becoming exposed, and then it all unravels, just like their personality. they’re both like a house of cards. you can not pull away a single card in that house, or it all will come crashing down. that’s why they defend it so desperately. as long as the house of cards is intact, they’re fine. the minute one card becomes unstable, the whole thing is in danger of collapsing.

      and that is the defining moment between healthy and unhealthy.

  10. Miguel
    September 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Funny stuff. My ex would invent that some model was hitting on her, which turned out to be a complete fabrication. They guy was never attracted to her.

    What do I do if her new boyfriend is a cool guy I know and like. The guy has a great future ahead of him and would be able to get a great woman or tons of great women, but he’s not experienced enough with relationships. He could get walked over and suffer hell far longer than me. Am I to keep the secret on her craziness? Should I tell him to enjoy her for now but hint that he can find help in me when things start to deteriorate?

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

      Hi Miguel,

      I understand wanting to warn the new guy. These women should all come with warning labels just like cigarettes or a bottle of poison, but do you really think he’ll be able to hear you? Would you have listened to one of her exes if he tried to warn you before you became involved with her?

      Unfortunately, many people have to go through their own hell with a woman like your ex before they get wise to her. I think it’s ok for you to warn him and offer him support when he needs it, but don’t be surprised if he initially ignores your advice.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Nick in Texas
        September 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm

        found a public resume- on line on the “psycho/abuser/stalker guy” who came before me. he went on to invent and do great things. has his own sailing business in the carribean and has earned a doctorate. more than once i have wanted to compare notes. I think that really-it is wasted motion. I know what he would say….why open the mans wounds??? Miguel….my advice to you….get busy living or get busy dying (from Shawshank Redemption)

  11. She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
    September 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Another thought is that if your narcissistic ex hooks up with either another narcissist or with a masochist in search of narcissistic abuse, she actually will be happier.

    In the first case, getting a dose of what she dishes out from day one will provide a different set of ground rules for engagement, and in the second, who wouldn’t be happy with someone that indulged and encouraged everything they do?

    And to be honest, if I regressed emotionally to the age of 25 or so, I could be pretty narcissistic myself. But I suspect being raised catholic and having real empathy for other people would ultimately sabotage that. And ya know, if I got my 25 year-old body back as well, maybe I’d take myself up on that offer and get myself a do-over of all the things I meant to do. Meanwhile in reality, I’d rather spend the rest of my life benefiting from what I’ve learned over the years.

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm


      This reminds of something another reader, JP, wrote awhile ago. He believes these women can only have “successful” relationships with hand puppets or an equal or greater bully/abuser. I think you’re both right.

      However, if you want to have a happy healthy relationship, you’re more likely to find it elsewhere.

      Dr T

      • She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
        September 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

        Absolutely, This woman pines for “the one that got away” 10 years ago and spent 5 years (her anomalous and longest relationship) with someone as bad as she is who would pick fights in bars and abandon her at parties.

        And initially, whenever I would just walk away from her BS, she inevitably came back for more (even brought an entourage with her once). I’m not exaggerating when I write that I saw a lot of my early 20s self in her but I grew up and she remained the same (or apparently was even worse when she was that age according to her parents). But that got old and I eventually just got moody and downtrodden, and that’s when she knew her work was complete.

        I have no desire to repeat this experience. I just want to finish severing her tendrils into my subconscious mind.

      • Nick in Texas
        September 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

        Been looking for a new relationship….so far all i see out there are women with tatoos and or 2.3 children that they want supported….along with the “abusive” ex husband stories ad nauseum. Oh…forgot to mention
        these ladies seem to have booze/chemical problems..
        and no i dont meet them mostly in bars or wal-mart.
        Its just the way it is around here…Arrrrghhhhh

        Do the phillipines have an e-harmoney??

        • shrink4men
          September 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

          Hi Nick,

          A mail-order bride is not the answer. I think that would create a whole other set of issues. I realize the search for a healthy partner is like finding a needle in the haystack, but it’s worth the search. Also, maybe you should take a little break from dating and see if the right woman finds you. Or, try going out with someone you’d normally overlook—the kind of woman about whom you’d typically say, “She’s really nice, but I just don’t know if there’s anything there…”

          Usually, that missing “something” is the abusive streak you experienced with your ex. Alternately, if you’re in a small town, you may need to venture outside of the local dating pool. Look for a woman with an education, a career and her own life. Someone who doesn’t blame her unhappiness on others and is quite content with herself, sans a romantic relationship.

          Kind Regards,
          Dr Tara

          • Nick in Texas
            September 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm

            Dr T.

            we’ve talked (by e-mail). you know what I aspire to achieve by next fall. I think i will lose the bad attitude..pull my head out, and throw myself into doing the best job possible. Really, i have no shortage of prospects-regards to women. My problem is a case of stepping over 10 good women to get to one B****.
            btw,the whacko continues to contact me……holy crap!!

  12. She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
    September 11, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Ya know, I saw some recent photos of the ex today, taken maybe a week and a half after the breakup. She’s out camping, on top of a mountain, fully made up, and leaning back seductively on some rocks as she arches her back for the photographer.

    She’s clearly ready for the next victim… In a _Jennifer’s Body_ kind of way…

    But that said, I was momentarily angry. And while I was initially mad at her for um whatever, I realized I was really mad at myself for falling for the schtick for so long. Watching from the outside it’s painfully obvious…

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      Look out world! I’m back!

      This makes me think we should implement our own version of the Terror Alert. I think this would put us at “orange.”

      I’m happy you have the clarity to see what her actions are really about.

      Dr T

      • She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
        September 11, 2009 at 8:12 pm

        I think you summed things up nicely when you said that while you’re mostly over the narcissists of your life, you’d experience some schadenfreude when misfortune befalls them…

        Sadly, guilty as charged. It’d be best to forgive them for our own sakes, but what can I say, I love what karma does for the universe, and it’s hard to give that up…

        It just takes time…

  13. John
    September 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    “Will my emotionally abusive girlfriend or wife be sweet, normal and wonderful with the next guy? The answer to this question is no, No and NO.”
    This is TRUE. I’ve seen it with my X’s sister, who is probably BPD as well. Her behavior is so over-the-top she is like a television character. I saw and witnessed the berating, complaining, nagging abuse of her first husband. I’ve seen her do it to the second husband. I’ve heard the stories about the problems with her and the second husband’s mother. Nothing has changed. I will give her some credit as she has improved herself by becoming a teacher and seems to have found a calling. However, she is still horrible and I do not like to be in the same room with her for more than 15 minutes. This is a 39 year old woman who acted like a 16 year old spoiled brat whenever we would all be visiting my EXmother-in-law’s house. Indescribable.

    My X fired one of her bridesmaids (after the girl had bought the dress) because she wasn’t paying enough attention to her and calling her enough during all the pre-wedding matters. That was probably a sign, huh? I expect the same if she remarries. I don’t know if she is seeing anyone. I don’t want to know and I am happily implementing the advice in your previous blog about moving on.

    I think that one of the bases for worry about Xs dating is the fear of loss of companionship and the failure to see all the opportunity for new relationships. If she has moved on, somehow you’re banished to being a monk. I realize that one of my mistakes is allowing my self-confidence to erode to such an extent that I lost sight of the fact that there ARE other women who are attracted to me, will be nice to me, and will want to have a relationship with me. I don’t have to settle for less. I can’t believe I put up with all that crap, but when you have children, a home, and you are not seeing that things can and should be better, you stay. There seems to be a double standard: Women who leave men are heroically freeing themselves from a bad situation, while men who leave women are just slime.

    “You stop playing by her rules and she notices that you’re becoming immune to her tricks and manipulations. She senses she’s about to be confronted with the truth of her behavior and pulls the rip cord.” I had talked to a relative who has her masters in clinical psychology (before I found this site). She told me repeatedly “S___ is a narcissist” and was emotionally abusive and emasculating with her behavior. Told me the next time she started in with her bs about me having a defensive stance, bad facial expression, negative tone, and the like, to just look her in the eye, hold my hand out straight, don’t say anything, and walk away. I did that and it flipped her out. She was visibly shaken as this was something totally new and it fried her neurons. I stood up for myself and S___ knew I wasn’t going to take her bs anymore. This time I didn’t apologize and beg for forgiveness, tell her I’d work on it and change, and grovel while she just toyed with me. She was out of the house and down at her mother’s in about 2 weeks.

    By saying I was in a “defensive stance, had bad facial expressions, a negative tone, and the like” was one of the ways my X used to mindf#$% me. Think about it, there is no real defense to that accusation. I’ve been censoring myself for years. I have always been a popular, sociable guy. People like me. I have friends and make them fairly easily. Her crap just wasn’t true. Maybe S___ was just so controlling and manipulative that she wanted me to not just agree with everything she wanted but to not even show a shred of disagreement non-verbally; like a dog is always happy to see you, happily wags its tail and does what you want no matter what it is.

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm

      Hi John,

      I realize that one of my mistakes is allowing my self-confidence to erode to such an extent that I lost sight of the fact that there ARE other women who are attracted to me, will be nice to me, and will want to have a relationship with me. I don’t have to settle for less. I can’t believe I put up with all that crap, but when you have children, a home, and you are not seeing that things can and should be better, you stay. There seems to be a double standard: Women who leave men are heroically freeing themselves from a bad situation, while men who leave women are just slime.

      This is all so very true. Every word of it. No matter what your wife or anyone else thinks, what ending an emotionally abusive relationship is very courageous. It takes a lot of strength to break free. In many ways, it’s easier to perpetuate the lie and retreat into the comfort of what’s familiar even if it sucks.

      The important thing for everyone reading this is to remember that you are not responsible for your wife/gf or her problems. She is solely accountable. You need to take care of yourself now.

      You can’t save, love or help someone who deliberately hurts and rejects you for loving her and wanting to help her. If you persist, she will probably only drag you down into the depths with her. She would no doubt like nothing better because misery loves company, but you have a right to be happy. Your needs, wants, rights and feelings are just as important as hers, if not more so. I’m sure your needs and desires are reasonable and meet-able.

      Love the tip about looking her in the eye, holding out your hand and walking away. It gives a very clear message of “I’m done and I’m not playing this game with you anymore” better than any words could—especially since these women have the ability to twist words into crazy pretzels.

      Dr T

  14. Laura
    September 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I think it would be great if you did a post just for translation purposes:

    crazy speak to English.


    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Laura,

      It’s on my “to-do” list! Thanks for your continued support and participation. I appreciate it.

      Dr T

  15. Tye
    September 10, 2009 at 4:53 am

    “Einstein Didn’t See It Coming”

    Can I bear the thought of losing her?

    Can I bear the thought of her?

    Can I bear the though of losing?

    I didn’t know I was choosing,
    But I am.

    She’s just beyond the event horizon.

    I want to see her
    By definition
    I can’t.

    If I get too close
    I get sucked in.

    Then there’s no transmission
    To the rest of the universe.

    It’s an alternative reality.

    I know it.

    I’ve been there
    And I don’t want to go again.

    Time bends there.

    Now I’m 25 years older.

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Tye,

      Becoming involved with one of these women can be like falling into a black hole/alternate reality. If you don’t wake up, the years will pass and you’ll be left wondering, “Why did I put up with this for so long?”

      You’ll experience regret and sadness over the time that you lost, but don’t let it immobilize you. Let it energize you to make the choice not to waste one more precious minute of your life with someone who abuses you and makes you feel less than.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  16. mike91163
    September 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Boy oh boy Doctor T, you NEVER cease to amaze me with your incredible insight and the straight-forward way you write. This gem sums up SO much:

    “Being wanted validates her existence. If she’s not receiving attention from someone—it doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive—then she might actually have to look at herself and her behavior and she can’t handle that. She needs to have someone tell her she’s wonderful and someone to blame for the train wreck that is her life.”

    Truer words have never been spoken…it’s funny how on weekends, when I’m doing mundane necessary tasks (cutting the grass, etc.), I can sense that my wife is “beside herself” internally because I’m not paying any attention to her…I’ve already gotten the “why can’t you do the lawn at another time? I want to do something…” Go ahead, knock yourself out, I got things to do! I’ve also seen strange behavior with her “friends”, in that she’ll be hyper-critical of them when speaking with me, yet face-to-face with them, she never says nothing…Ironically, one of her friends invited her a to get-together at her house this coming Saturday (I’m going to a baseball game w/my Dad), and in talking with another friend about it, she said how of the 30 or so people that will be there, she only knows of 5…SO WHAT? Are you afraid that these 25 other people will see you for the nutjob you are?

    Now, off on a tangent…maybe it’s because of the anonymity of the Internet, but I find it extremely ironic that us guys here are pouring out our emotions and hearts, yet, generally speaking, most women (including non-BPD/NPDs) consider us emotionless, cold robots. Newsflash, gals–maybe if you didn’t laugh at us and diminish our feelings, we’d be happy to share them with you!

    • shrink4men
      September 10, 2009 at 12:22 am

      Thanks, mike91163,

      I’m glad you find the post helpful. I find your laugh paragraph particularly astute:

      I find it extremely ironic that us guys here are pouring out our emotions and hearts, yet, generally speaking, most women (including non-BPD/NPDs) consider us emotionless, cold robots. Newsflash, gals–maybe if you didn’t laugh at us and diminish our feelings, we’d be happy to share them with you!

      I think this is definitely the case in many relationships. What a woman usually means when she accuses you of not expressing your feelings or being “emotionless,” is that you’re not expressing the emotions that she wants to hear and/or that you’ve expressed feelings that are different from hers. Being told your feelings are wrong, that you don’t really feel the way you feel or being called confused or immature would sure make me less likely to share my feelings with someone. Go figure.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  17. guy
    September 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    dr tara,

    this post could not have come at a better time in my recovery…..i read in a reply on the one about closure how someone suggested you write about this and here it is. you are an angel……and cannot thank you enough for being part of this journey you are guiding us on.

    i will be forwarding an couple e-mails to you after this post for your review. this was early on in the “idealiztion” part of our relationship and then when things started to go south afterward

    all the best dr. t.

    guy ;)

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks, guy. I’m glad it’s helpful.

      Best, Dr T

      • guy
        September 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm

        did you get the e-mails i sent you? i am very curious on your thoughts in what she sent me

  18. StillRecovering
    September 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Dr. Tara,

    Once again, a great article at exactly the time I needed it. This weekend has been a rough one, specifically because I learned that my ex was going on a camping trip with a bunch of friends from her “wilder days”, a group that a few of her exes are a part of. I kept thinking to myself, “I must have been really bad to her if she’s going back to guys that she claims were guilty of the same things that I am.” But, as the article states, she’s going back to exes she’s put away for a rainy day. She was successful finding victims in this pool of friends before, so she’s going to try her luck again. The sad thing is, not one of these people is even local. She can’t manage to find nearby friends, at least friends that are sane, that can stand to be around her for an extended period of time.

    As far as I know, the few guys she’s been with since our split have been from this group of “wild friends”. Not one of them is local, they just pop in from out of town for the weekend and then leave. Interestingly, in the 3 years I’ve known her, I never met a single one of these so called “friends”, and not one even attended our wedding. The only friends she had that attended the wedding were people she didn’t really even know, women she’d met on a bridal website.

    This has been a huge help in framing my thinking on this. I have been going over and over in my mind what I possibly could have done to drive her back to these people, and the answer I’ve come up with is nothing. I did everything I possibly could for this woman, and it wasn’t enough. No matter who she ends up with next, it will never be enough for her.

    • shrink4men
      September 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Still Recovering,

      It seems like your ex isn’t able to sustain real intimacy. This is why most of her “friendships” are cyber ones and her flesh and blood friends live a safe distance away.

      Keeping moving forward and focus on the future.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  19. jp
    September 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm


    Even if she leaves you for someone who “gives her what you couldn’t”, try not to agonize over it. She’ll find something else the new guy can’t give her and use it as a reason to punish HIM.

    My BPD sister tormented her first husband–a smart, loyal, funny, independent guy–because he worked too much (launching his restaurant), his income was low (she refused to work) and he wasn’t artsy enough to match her image of herself as someone with a uniquely creative sensibility (although she didn’t actually create anything).

    Husband number two seemed to fit the bill: another sweet, fiercely independent guy who not only owned his own business and but made a nice living and enjoyed a sideline selling his own photographs at several galleries and gift shops.

    But he turned out to be rotten too. He refused to support her “religious beliefs” after she became a Christian Scientist and refused to allow their baby daughter to see doctors, get innoculations, take medicine, etc.

    Tossed on the ex-husband pile and having lost the custody battle, he was left crushed and broke. (At least the judge told my sister that he’d have her back in court if she didn’t take the daughter to the doctor. )

    Husband #3 sounded like the jackpot. He was rich and retired with a hot air balloon, a fleet of cars and motorcyles and a house on the beach…AND he was a Christian Scientist.

    She dumped him this year. I’ve been out of the picture since husband #2, but I hear that by the time they split up he’d had to sell off the toys and go back to work. At least she made sure he paid for her law school before it was over.


    –…I’m quirky in that I think children have a right to medical care

    • shrink4men
      September 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm

      Great points, JP. As always, thank you!

  20. Freedom
    September 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    To add just a few sprinkles to this wonderful column… happiness comes from within. i told my ex over and over when we were together that if she could love herself that way i loved her, there would be no problems, no insecurities, no hate-filled name calling, and certainly no accusations of my integrity. that i loved her with all i had, and the best that i could love. and i also told her “no matter where you go, there you are” and that she needed to be kind to herself and just let the good shine thru. i exercised caution, poured out as much love and support as i could, and tried to be the best man i could be for her. but happiness comes from within. the girl was miserable, and in turn made my life miserable. being accused of things i did not say, things i did not do, and being blamed for everything that was wrong in her life was more than i could possibly take. the harder i tried to please, the more poison i got on me. that’s just who she is. and i came to the realization that she wasn’t gonna change, which is why i got out. i really do hope for the best for her, but the chances that she’s gonna magically pop out of it is pretty much nil. and IF by some miracle that she actually DOES find happiness with the next guy… trust me, i’m happy for her. i wish her the best… i think that is a healthy way of looking at things, especially after what she put me thru.

    as for me… i’ve moved on and am doing quite well. my love life seems to be blossoming again. i don’t think that i will bring any baggage into my next relationship cuz i’ve come to terms with what transpired with my ex. it’s over and done with, time to move on and find greener pastures. things are looking pretty green right now.

    • shrink4men
      September 7, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Freedom,

      You’re far more generous with your well wishes than I think I could be. While I don’t actively wish ill will upon the 2 NPD/BPD guys I briefly dated, I’m pretty sure I’d have a little schadenfreude if I were to inadvertently learn some misfortune had befallen either of them. Ah well, maybe someday…

      Good luck with your new love interest!

      • Freedom
        September 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm

        well… it’s like you said before in many of your posts…

        i did not cause it…

        her issues were there LONG before i ever got there…

        there’s nothing i can do about it. she is who she is.

        i don’t wish anything bad upon the girl. life is too short to carry around that much anger and resentment. plus, by carrying that around, that would still be giving her some measure of power in my life. and the last thing i would want to do would be to give her power or control over me even in her absence. cuz in some unknown cosmic sense… i think that’s what she would want all along. and ya can’t move forward to a good future if you keep looking back at the past.

      • shrink4men
        September 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm

        Very mature.

      • thaurin
        December 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        Another spot on article! Best of luck to the new guy that (she says) she’ll marry within two weeks of meeting him in person! It’s bizarre how much this site is my (past 11-month) life. Is this the Twilight Zone? Get out of my head! ;)

    • Nicholas
      December 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you so much for your post Freedom.
      I’m two months out of a relationship with a woman with borderline traits. Very insecure, could not accept my love for what it was etc. however, reading your post inspired me to take a harder look at myself, and I started writing out my part in the dissolution of the relationship. I’ve been so busy feeling victimized by her (she cheated on me) that I hadn’t taken the time to look at my behavior in the relationship. Just because I behaved better, doesn’t mean I was perfect. Anyway, I have come to realize that we weren’t that far mismatched in emotional maturity. I am a bit farther along, but only a bit. I made many mistakes too, just not as huge as infidelity.
      I’m not excusing her poor treatment of me, or the same poor treatment of her partners before me, but it was really liberating to bring the focus back where I need to be bringing it: onto me. Endlessly trying to figure her out will get me nowhere. All I can do now is let go, and not turn away from what I need to learn about myself in relationship with others. She’s doing what she’s doing, and hopefully it brings her more peace and happiness than she has known so far.
      So thanks for your words of compassion and wisdom. You don’t get that too often on these sites…

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