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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

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.


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Photo credit:

Jealousy by Edvard Munch.

  1. charlie harrison
    March 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    i’d just like to thank the person that wrote this.

    you might just have saved my sanity. i thought i was going mad!

    • shrink4men
      March 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      You’re welcome, Charlie.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  2. JimmyB26
    February 27, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    So my story is that I was with this NPD 22yo (I’m 30) for about five to six months. She was an undergrad and had a guy in the wings who she’s now in a LDR with, and yet she maintained contact with me for months after she ended it under the guise of friendship. She tried her best to keep me from moving on and got jealous whenever new women entered the picture. I tried No Contact several times but it sent her into a panic, telling me how much it hurt her, acting like the wounded party when I was just trying to move on and respect HER DECISION. We kept texting for 7 months after the breakup, on-off, as “friends”, and when she sent me a couple of outrageously offensive, racist jokes via text, and I *politely* called her on it, she told me there wasn’t a need to get offended (implication being that choosing to be offended was my fault).

    Still naive as to the NPD, I tried to hold her accountable and demand an apology,
    only finally to be told to leave her alone. A month passed and I got in touch, and got no response until I said I was moving on and I’d met someone, and I’d be okay with being friends. THEN I started getting accusations of being a liar, not able to be trusted, that I make her sick. Obviously scared of losing me, as the cracks may be beginning to show with the new guy.

    Another month passed in silence. More cold shoulder punishment. Finally, three days after my birthday, after being told only four weeks prior that I was a liar and completely untrustworthy and that I made her sick, I get a text, “Happy belated birthday.” So she’s back to being “Jekyll”? Haha

  3. Mellaril
    February 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    My endgame experience was almost the opposite from that described but the result was the same. My ex-GF went on to a failed relationship and a failed marriage before I lost all contact.

    The weird thing about my experience was when my ex would talk about the other guy ahe would tell me all the reasons it WOULDN’T work with the new guy, how she was the one sabotaging our relationship because I didn’t “need” her, was only with her because I wanted to be and she was afraid I would someday leave her. She also told me all the good things about what we had together followed almost immediately by telling me she was going for a tryst with the new guy who she caught cheating on her.

    She could have been the poster child for the “professional victim” described in another blog. I actually called her that in the 1980s although I didn’t really understand the mechanics. The DSM-IV criteria lead me to think she was more BPD but based on Solomon’s “Short-Term Therapy for Long-Term Change” she falls more into the Narcissitic bin. Either way, the prognosis wasn’t good. Solomon says in a case study, “Changing such a relationship was like trying to capture smoke.”

    Excerpt from an actual conversation:

    Me: “Do you want to get back together?
    Her: “No, I want to make it work with ….”
    Me: “What do you want from me?”
    Her: “I just want to stop feeling miserable all the time.”
    Me: “I don’t understand. You’re where you chose to be, doing what you chose to
    do, and you’re sleeping with who you chose to sleep with. Who’s making you
    Her: “I’m late for work.” (click)

    Excerpt from another conversation, this one following a list of my virtues that should have had me enshrined in the “Boyfriend Hall of Fame,” got me canonized
    by the Vaitican as well as winning the Nobel Prize.

    Me: “So if I have all these qualities you like, why are you going to LA?”
    (for a tryst with the guy that cheated on her).
    Her: “It’s one of those things that feels good in the middle of the night but
    leaves you feeling cold in the morning.”
    Me: “Let me see if I understand you. I’m a pretty decent gun and have some
    qualiies you really like but you want to look around some more and if you
    don’t find anything you like better, you might come back here and settle for
    Her: “There’s some truth to that.”

    I had suggested we see a marriage counselor. She declined. She had a Tarot card reading done and claimed to have undergone a Past Life Regression. The gypsy said she had never seen such chaos in a reading. Never let it be said she didn’t seek professional help.

    I met the woman who’s been my wife for 21 years while this was going on. I know Dr. T recommends not dating after a relationship like this but if it hadn’t been for meeting someone normal, I think I would have been inclined to stay on in the hope it would change which it wouldn’t have.

  4. Lee Clark
    February 2, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Wow. The XXXXXXXXXBPGF sent another break up email Friday, I discovered this site Saturday, was OK with everything Sunday, Monday (today) I was feeling some post trauma remorse — i.e. I wanted to call/email her — but I’m back here and this article snapped me right out of it. AND made me laugh! Thank you Doctor. What am I nuts? (Probably)

  5. vincent
    January 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Dr T

    Things were going pretty good until a month ago , when she e-mailed me
    her best wishes for the coming year , health , friendship , love , happiness,
    and get this , wisdom.
    Now I am also trying to deal with the fact her new boyfriend moved in , it is very rough on me.
    Emotionally unstable women like her carry around a lot of excess baggage.
    They are non commital , selfish , financially instable, they are verbally abusive,
    dishonest and in her case often addicted to drugs or alcohol.

    Looking back , things began to unravel when I started to question the lies
    I was hearing , my refusal to bankroll a course in palm reading she wanted to take , my refusal to purchase a house she wanted , come to think of it, I would have been broke in a year.

    Why then am I so sad ……

    I should be thinking , you lucky SOB you got out of this alive ,

  6. vincent
    January 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Dr T

    I need to get in touch with you

  7. vincent laforest
    January 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Dr. T

    I am stuck on stupid

    It’been 6 months since I had this nasty break up with an abusive , alcoholic manipulating , lying , cheating , b…h ,
    Congratulations right , wrong…, I can’t shake this funk I am in.
    My wife and best friend died a very painful and slow death from cancer a few years back and I guess I should have been more careful but I dove into this new
    relationship eyes wide shut even though I was warned about this parasite .

    Basically she dumped me after we got back from summer vacation following a joy ride that lasted six months were I paid for everything, and it turns out she already had someone waiting in the wings.
    She lives a few doors down and we work in the same office building , I go out of my way not to cross paths but when we do meet she is showing off her new boyfriend
    ( the guy has money I can see it by the car and clothes ) and it seems she is rubbing my face in it.
    I know deep down that this relationship was a train wreck waiting to happen
    but I’m stuck somewhere between jealousy and rage and it’s bugging me
    that I can’t shake it .
    On a positive note I quit drinking the day she dumped me .

    • shrink4men
      January 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Vincent,

      Don’t be so hard on yourself. Women like your ex are total mindf-*ks/predators/con artists. You were vulnerable and she swallowed you whole. Encounters with them are often traumatizing and have the same psychological and physical symptoms of trauma.

      I encourage you to seek the support of a good therapist who has experience helping people through the grieving process. My hunch is you haven’t fully mourned the loss of your wife and have the most recent experience of loss and trauma layered on top of it. It’s good that you stopped drinking. It would only make you feel worse as it’s a depressant.

      If you have trouble finding a suitable therapist in your area, I’d be happy to work with you via telephone or Skype.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  8. Fred
    January 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    After I read some things that Freedom had posted I had a wonderful moment in all of my pain. I realized that I loved her the best that I could. I also realized that she loved me the best that she could. I could rail on about the abuse, etc., but that just keeps me connected to her. Feeling that maybe she will never find happiness keeps me connected to her as well. I had a “letting go” moment where I felt love for her and hoped really hoped that she found the right man who would fulfill all of her wishes and that she would be happy. In that moment I felt peace and the pain and stress started to leave me. I felt that I was ready to really move on with my life and not dwell or obsess over her. It was such a wonderful feeling. I’m trying to hold onto that feeling but I know that I have to go through so much more greiving, etc. before it will stay with me.

    Thank you for having this site so that I could actually get out and stay out of this relationship. And thank you Freedom for that brief moment when I could see what the future holds for me.

  9. CJ
    December 31, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Just came across this site.
    I was recently left 3 days ago by my on-off controlling, truth twisting, insulting, un-appreciative other half.
    We were on-off because she never wanted to be with me(so she says) but the 1 or 2 times i left her(compared to the 50 times she left me) she wanted me back.
    She was ashamed of me and never wanted to tell anyone about us and would ever so often go out with a guy friend(but just as friends she says)…by the way she has no girlfriends and all her guy friends have feelings for her.
    So she’s left me for good this time(I hope) and the day after she left me..she was already going out with other guys(whom she said were just friends), and that HURT me sooooo much. She moved on so quickly…
    I didn’t care anymore..didn’t care about myself, didn’t care to live…but after reading all of this i realise that I’m better off without her. But my heart just won’t let her go…and I’ll still be hurt knowing that she’s going out with other guys so soon after…I’ll take months to get over her.
    Why are these kinds of women so hard to get over and move on from. I just don’t understand…


  10. Stacy
    December 13, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Thank you, Dr. Tara.

    I’ve been working with a great therapist to accomplish just that over these last few months.

    I’m generally feeling much saner, much healthier and much stronger than I ever did when I was with my ex.

    I instinctively knew that she was manipulating me long before I could accept it and act accordingly. And even now, I sometimes succumb to nostalgia – not necessarily for her, but for a juvenile dream about what real romance ought to be.

    There are also times when I become so angry thinking about how it was that I nearly threw away every positive thing in my life for someone who, despite their protestations to the contrary, thought of me as a prop and our “relationship” as a game. The anger isn’t just directed at her; it’s also directed at myself.

    Then I admonish myself not to let anger get the better of me. She is what she is and is only barely cognizant of her pathology. And while her condition is certainly not her fault, it IS her responsibility. Meanwhile, my responsibility is to, as Simon pointed out, “get this thing right” in my mind and move on with my life. It’s not easy, but it’s getting easier.



  11. curiouswoman
    December 11, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Thank you again,

    It’s so hard. And I’ve found that with the recent of my father, I sought him for comfort since he has been someone I’ve spent 1/3 of my life with. I need to grasp the fact that he is not the same person anymore and I can to a certain extent but not 100% and it’s frustrating! Time really does tell. I can’t even tell you how I was this time last year; a wreck, couldn’t stop calling etc. I am able to be strong now and go about my life in a happy way without him, it’s just those little things that trigger me and I get sad every once in a while. I wonder why I was constantly never good enough, even though he is the one going no where in life.

    Since he’s been one of the most important people in my life, I can’t see us never holding any type of relationship together, but I guess that won’t be for a long and by then, I will hopefully have moved on and be with someone who loves and respects me.

  12. curiouswoman
    December 10, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    And also:

    He has shown his bad behavior with her, but she doesn’t know. (by coming to me and cheating)

    Basically we will go a few months without talking. I gain my strength back and then he appears and wants to talk and loves me. Then, one day he freaks out and tells me how much he hates me and can’t talk to me and throws me through this crazy cycle of his once again. I swear he’s bipolar. I started to feel that sickening feeling again and got upset, but with the recent passing of my father a few months ago, I’ve realized I shouldn’t waste my time on this. I went on, upset deep down, but know he is such a LOSER that I shouldn’t care, but for some strange reason I do.

    A few weeks later he shows up at my door professing his love to me and needs me blah blah. Turns out he is living wt another GIRL!! But, says she is not me and I need to be patient bc he’s using her to get his life on track. I of course crumbled to the things he was saying bc I’ve been waiting for him to say those things for over a year, but was very skeptical about this other “girl” Of course, a few days later, he freaks out and told me everything he said was a lie and was just “in the moment.” I can’t handle this whiplash anymore.

  13. curiouswoman
    December 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you Dr. Tara. I asked because I was put through 6 years of emotional abuse with my ex . We broke up last year due to his family issues and him saying “I need to focus on myself right now.” I tried to give him his space, but I ended up pushing him away. I couldn’t grasp the fact that he would want to push away the person who loves him the most in hard times. I’ve done everything for this guy…his parents do nothing. I’ve supported him financially and emotionally and basically been a mom as well as a girlfriend and friend. He can both the greatest and worst boyfriend and I’ve found myself in a crazy cycle.

    He’s lied to me before, laid his hands on me, yelled at me, called me names, cheated etc. No matter how furious I get or look at how much more I deserve, I still have this soft spot for this guy. I am actually going somewhere in my life, I go to one of the top schools in the country and have parents who love and support me. He has been my only boyfriend and I have this childhood attachment to him that I need to find out how to get rid of! I’ve seen a professional and they’ve told me only time will tell.

    I’ve found that the thing that gets me down the most is the fact that he should be begging to be with me. However, he finds these girls, who are nice, to take care of him and support him. He always comes crawling back to me telling me how they don’t compare, but are convenient for his life right now and how I am not and how I need to be patient. Then he comes off saying how happy he is and how he treats this new girl so much better than me. Those words are like daggers in my stomach.

    Is he really capable of treating another girl better than me, when I did nothing to deserve the emotional abuse he put me through? Whenever those thoughts pop into my head, I get sad and wonder why I’m not good enough, even though I know I am a billion times better.

    I guess I hate the fact that someone else is doing what I used to do. I feel like this guy doesn’t deserve that, but he keeps getting these really nice girls who are going somewhere in life to help him out. Then I wonder if he really loves her more than me and if he will ever do these things to her? I feel like I’m going crazy and I hate it. I know I need to move on, and I try, but it’s every time I hear something or he pops into my life again that that soft feeling comes back and I am stuck back at square one.

    For some twisted reason, which I am trying to figure out, I put all of that negativity aside. He has been my everything for most of my life and I guess I just can’t fathom the fact that he’s changed. It’s so twisted, but I want him in my life, but not like this. I want him to regret everything and realize he lost the best thing that ever happened to him. I’ve always been that special person to him.

    He says no one will ever compare to me or be better than me, so then why does he settle for something less!??! I don’t get it!

    • shrink4men
      December 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Curiouswoman,

      These types are mindf—s; nothing more, nothing less.

      The best advice I can give you is to completely cut this guy out of your life ASAP. My guess is that he’s treating these other women no better than he treated you. Don’t believe his bull. He says the complimentary things to keep you waiting in the wings when he wants an ego boost or to hurt you to make himself feel superior.

      Ask your friends etc. not to report the latest news about him and don’t let him pop back into your life. He will continue to do this for as long as you let him. The longer you let him pop back into your life, the longer it will take you to get go over him and you may miss opportunities to me a better man with whom you can actually be happy.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  14. WPSB
    December 10, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Dear Dr. Palmatier,

    Thank you for skillfully addressing both this and the other challenges facing those of us recovering from relationships with BPD-afflicted women.

    Also, many thanks to Simon, Recovering Alpha, Mr. E. and the many others who have already shared their stories here.

    I have never written a blog post, but I feel compelled to do so here. It has been six months since I parted ways with my clinically diagnosed BPD ex. For the past five of them, I have routinely turned to this blog for insight and encouragement.

    I’m lucky insofar as my BPD experience was relatively brief, never leading to a shared lease or a walk down the aisle. That said, my two-year journey through Crazytown nearly destroyed me.

    I’m on the mend now, and am grateful for my new found freedom. Yet, there are still some days when I suffer from self-doubt. There are many more days when I struggle to not let my anger at this person – and the shame I feel over being deceived – define me. In both instances, I find myself returning here for some much needed perspective. This site has been an invaluable resource during my recovery.

    Thanks again,


    • shrink4men
      December 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      Hi WPSB,

      You’re welcome and thank you for posting here for the first time. I’m happy to read you got out.

      You will get through this. The most important advice I can give you is to get very clear about what attracted you to your ex, what needs you were trying to meet, were you being the rescuer/fixer, etc. and then work through those issues as well. Otherwise, you may become prey to another woman just like the last.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • DL
        December 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm

        How prophetic Dr T. Over the past 25 years I have been involved with no less than 4 with women with BPD/NPD traits. I now realize that there is something wrong or missing in my makeup that caused me to be attracted to these women. All beautiful, all intelligent, seemingly normal. And they weren’t short relationships either. 2, 2, 2 and 13 years. Each started with everything being perfect and my feeling that it was “too good to be true” and “I must be being rewarded for something”. Each had a honeymoon period of 2 or 3 months before things began to change. Each time, I went from the penthouse to the outhouse as I tried as best I could to be worthy of being loved and “cared for”. After the 2 or 3 months honeymoon periods, I spent the rest of the relationships trying to fix me so I could fix us. My self esteem has been pounded to the extent that I don’t know if I’m even capable of a loving relationship in the future, or if I’m capable of totally surrendering my defenses to another woman.

        Sadly, I must confess that I have even allowed my two children (13 year marriage), who live with me, to become the victim of verbal abuse by a woman who is not their mother, and sometimes the victim of short term neglect by me as I tried to do whatever I could to be worthy of the relationship.

        The good news is, about a month ago I did a web search of “control and abuse by women” and found your site. It was amazing how the articles and posts felt like they were coming out of my own personal biography. I began to take a long look at myself and the women I have chosen to be with. About three weeks ago, my “girlfriend” and I broke up for the, oh I’d say, 30th time in the two years of this relationship. The other 29 times, I would feel a great sense of relief and freedom during the days we were split up. I would then get sucked right back in and there would be about 4 great days (a pattern) and then back to abnormal. This time, for the first time, it was my initiative. When I become weak, and I do become weak, I log on and read and re-read the articles and posts. They do give strength and make me realize, I am not the only one and it’s not all my inadequacies and incompetence as a partner. I do realize, however, that it is about me and my choices. It’s about me being sucked-in quickly and completely, being vilified on a regular basis, trying to fix things and be the man worthy of the relationship, and not only putting up with it, but pleading for the relationship to continue so that I can fix all of the things I do wrong.

        Ironically, I am CEO of a fairly large company and a dissertation short of a PhD. I would never allow the treatment I have received in the relationship in those settings, but I put up with being treated like dirt and crawled back for more. And, by the way, the woman I am breaking free from actually got me to quit the PhD program (other women there) and I was very,very close to leaving the company I have been CEO of for 25 years (nothing inappropriate, but she called it my harem).

        Anyway, thank you Dr T. Your site gives strength when “maybe it is me” or “if only I’d do this” begins to dominate. I still have hope that an “extraordinary relationship” exists for me.

        Thanks again,

  15. curiouswoman
    December 10, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I have to ask: does this apply to women with their ex boyfriends as well? As I was reading this, in regards to my personal situation everything applies, minus the gender.

    • Mr. E
      December 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

      Yes. Gender is irrelevant when it comes to abusive behavior.

    • shrink4men
      December 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      Hi curiouswoman,

      Yes, with a few minor tweaks, this information applies to women who are in relationships with abusive men. I’m not trying to exclude women from this site. In fact, I welcome your participation. I tailor this material for men because they have so few resources available to them at the moment.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  16. Chris
    November 14, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hello Dr Tara and to everyone who has posted on this website. I discovered this website last night and WOW this article is the extra 5% I need to understand for my own closure.

    I read most of the articles for about 3-4 hours last night and woke up this morning wanting to share my experiences incase it helps others.
    I met the X narc in 2007 via internet and trips to Portugal over a period of 3 months, (I live in Scotland) and the first time we met I was treated really well and had a great time, She seemed like the person I could relate to most, however after time this started to change. The usual things happened but for some reason I really wanted to experience a Normal relationship. She wanted to move and start a real relationship and eventually she did move to Scotland in Aug 2008.
    At first things seemed great but the facade soon slipped, all the typical signs were there, ” No one understands me !!!”. In Portugal she didnt drink at all but once she was here DAMN it was Partyzilla, and everyone else were her ” friends” it got to the point where I started feeling bad and uncomfortable in my own house. But again when confronted it was ” You are Paranoid ” followed by rages and then after ” I’m sorry!!!” etc. The thing was that she was leading a double life and things started to unravel about her. She had had a criminal past was into drugs etc, If I knew about this I would have ran a mile.
    The signs that people have talked about extensively on this forum were there and it was my ” gut” and constantly questioning my own values / sanity that really told me something was wrong ( I didnt know what Narcissism was then. So after a few blow ups etc I had to set a trap. When my house was disrespected in the same way that Steve from NZ described in his postings I asked her to leave. This didnt phase her and maybe this was what she wanted. I helped her move some of her stuff etc out but 2 weeks later she still was in the house and I think wanted to have the best of both worlds. In my head it was over and wanted rid of her ASAP.
    Then one night she came in and said ” i’m going out with my friends” possibly an all night drink binge. I snapped and said ” ok you go but you are not coming back here get all your things and GET OUT OF MY LIFE!!!!”.
    I had to stand firm on this and made sure she left. Even when I was driving her to the new ” run down ” apt she said ” You are so wrong about this !!!” to which I retorted ” You have no choice now I’d rather be wrong and happy than being used and miserable !!!”
    For me the learning curve had begun. I got rid of anything belonging to her or reminded me of her blocked e-mails and in time changed my number. She got everything that was her property.
    The pain was like a grieving process but in my heart and soul I knew I did the right thing by ME.
    My worst nightmare, or what I thought was my worst nightmare at that time happened when I bumped into her in a club with a new guy. Saw her kiss this guy at the bar and I couldnt avoid seeing it. However I didnt get sucked in. As soon as she saw me the facade came on and actually introduced me as her flatmate. I remained dignified pleasant and then she started talking about irrelevant stuff/people, I just said ” see ya later !!” and left the club quickly like a vapor.
    After leaving the club instead of feeling angry I laughed to myself and counted my blessings cause it was a lucky escape.
    I later learned that she went round all my friends trying to find out if I left the club cause of her and she wasnt seeing anyone else !!!, funny because I never mentioned the other guy to my friends. Lucky for me they were wise enough to shun her and tell her she wasnt welcome in their company. 5 months have passed since and I havent seen her and she still lives about 1/2 a mile from me.
    There are still questions but I realise now these will never be answered at least not truthfully.
    But other things materialised. A court summons came to my house for her ( she used my address probably trying to be smart when caught by police!!) however I went to the police they told me to contact the court. I did and this was my payback cause I told the court where she now lived and where she worked in a polite letter.)
    Mail came from her work to attend disciplinary hearings etc.
    This confirmed that she is in a place were chaos and trouble feeds her ego, and in time I hope she just moves away and sinks to the level using her destructive habits and behaviour
    So to sum up ( thanks for reading to this point )
    For me it was very hurtful to think you know someone and be decieved in such a way. Anger/ Confusion/ Hate etc but month by month this is getting easier, even more so now that I am able to share.
    Seeing other mens experiences has really helped me understand more about Narcissistic behaviour. because most other research was geared towards experiences with Narcissistic men.
    I also feel that the mistakes I made in my dealing with emotions ( Jealous Rages)were a learning curve and this persons actions were THE cause and I have got these out in the open and hopefully will not resurface once a really special person does come into my life.
    In retrospect I read a comment about the relationship these people have with their parents. WOW If I knew that so long ago (even having observed her mothers behaviour) and just trusted my gut at certain times This would never have happened.
    I really hope by writing this all out that it helps just 1 person. I think if I had a better understanding about Narcissism before having any serious relatioships
    I had to trust my most inner values to take SWIFT action
    Learning what went wrong was NOT all my fault
    It is very easy to get caught up in the anger/depression especially when you know you were just used and really didnt have a ” relationship”.
    Lucky for me I have great family and friends and I realise more than ever that it was a blessing to have got rid of the narcissist. I’m getting more comfortable in just BEING me ( Read the Power of Now by Eckart Tolle !!!” ) this is something Ihave discovered gives the upper hand over Narcisstic Behaviour
    I want to wish everyone who has endured this experience the very best of luck in dealing with their situations and to let people know that this website is invaluable especially when doubts about your decision making come into play.
    Thank you all for reading and I hope my experiences helps
    Regards from Scotland

  17. October 23, 2009 at 12:30 am

    [these people is they never go anyone really]

    Sorry should be “these people is they never let go of anyone really”..

  18. October 23, 2009 at 12:27 am

    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. (Yes! Once I started to see through her mask of insanity it was the beginning of the end for me— Thank you God!)

    * She finds someone with more money, more status and more time to devote to her never-ending needs. (This is one thing I can’t understand because my ex downgraded and in fact got involved with someone who was more like ex number 2. I had the pleasure (just joking) of meeting her ex husband number 1 and this guy is still dysfunctional to this day)

    * She senses you’re about to end the relationship, so she abandons you before you abandon her. (For sure! She knew I had enough and both the boys were getting older so her game was almost up. In fact my oldest son too had enough of her BS)

    * She craves more attention and orchestrates a competition or rivalry for her “affections.”
    (self explanatorily)

    Strange but for me what scares me is that if this new relationship doesn’t (which it won’t) work out for her and then she be knocking on my door. One thing I have learned about these people is they never go anyone really go and want to reconnect later for whatever they are looking for at the time. Which explains why we never really get closure from them. Well folks I making sure this will never happen. You gotten love NC! I giving both of my children and I a very good buffer zone.

    PS: Dr. T, I love your site and it’s clear you know your stuff. Thanks!!!!

  19. Matt
    October 23, 2009 at 12:01 am

    My jealousy raged and controlling,manipulative,lying ex often told me ‘no one will love you like I do’ and ‘I am not a liar,I don’t ever tell lies’,and that ‘the only person who will destroy this relationship will be YOU!’

    ‘You will never meet anyone as loyal as me’ LOL, what BS,ALL of it, projection….Good luck to her current boyfriend, he is still in the idealization stage, he can do NO wrong,and is PERFECT in every possible way: been there, done that,my sincere sympathy goes out to you man, I know you won’t run, welcome to OUR world (poor guy), won’t be long feller!
    We should all be educated about the Karpman Triangle in school,…….if only…..

  20. jham123
    September 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    @ Steve from New Zealand,

    Steve, you have the patience of Job…..You are to be commended for keeping your cool.

    “Never contact me again” That is your “Emancipation Proclamation”. Live Free forever…..

    Carry on Mate


    • Steve
      September 21, 2009 at 2:05 am

      Cheers Jham123! My family thinks so too.

      When I think back on all the formless and controlling behaviour she exhibited, I really kick myself. But when you love someone that much you always want things to work out…funny ol’d thing is love!..;-))

      Never lost my sense of humour though, which was my Godsend. Even when she flew into an explicable rage (a tipping point on too much wine mostly), I just let her go for it but I do mourn the women I thought she was.

      As I recall now that she had also lived in 17 places in the neighborhood over the past 5 years prior to knowing her. Well now she’s probably on to number 20, and her next victim.

      I kept my cool because my and her safety were paramount and really feel for other guys who just are about at their wits end and are legitimately scared c**pless.

      This is a fantastic site and has helped me understand the ‘beast’ I was dealing with, understand the work I need to do on myself and get at least some form of closure from losing a woman I dearly loved and cherished. But the thing is, she never really existed.

      Looking forward to Summer Down Under, matey! All the best!

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