Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, bullying, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, relationships > 10 Reasons You Can’t Communicate with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman

10 Reasons You Can’t Communicate with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman


Foaming-at-the-mouthEmotionally abusive narcissistic and/or borderline women are masters of spin control and pile driving their “reality” home through brute verbal force and emotional reasoning. If you’re involved with a NPD and/or BPD woman, you know these invective communication strategies firsthand.

This kind of woman clings to her belief system no matter how many times she’s confronted with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. In fact, the more wrong she is, the greater the outrage and histrionics she displays.

The next time you challenge your BPD/NPD partner’s points of view, lies, distortions, unilateral pronouncements or unfounded accusations, notice how she responds. Your discussion probably turns into a one-sided argument replete with vitriolic theatrics and threats very quickly.

Here are some common communication control tactics of emotionally abusive narcissistic and/or borderline woman:

1. The Big Bamboozle. Here’s how it works: Emotionally abusive woman  begin a conversation/attack with one topic. When you present facts that contradict her beliefs, she bamboozles you by going on off-topic tangents, changing the subject or making a brand new accusation. While you’re still defending your original point and why it’s valid, she blows you off (because you’re making sense) and distracts you by jumping to another topic that’s completely out of left field.

mouth_tape2. SHUT UP! When you try to explain your feelings or point of view, this kind of woman may explicitly tell you to, “Shut up!” Narcissists, borderlines and bullies not only “can’t handle the truth,” they go to great lengths to deny and obliterate it.

Your wife or girlfriend probably uses other tactics when you challenge her like walking out of the room, giving you the silent treatment or simply refusing to listen to you. In both cases, this is the adult control freak’s version of, “La, la, la, la, la, I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” They believe if they ignore or stop you from speaking the truth that it doesn’t exist like a small child who closes their eyes to “make you go away.”

3. Name-Calling. This is the last resort of bullies, such as NPD/BPD women. Because they can’t intelligently defend their position or their behaviors, they resort to emotionally-based personal attacks. It’s another distraction technique that sidetracks you from the original point of contention by disorienting you and putting you on the defensive.

Calling your boyfriend or husband names doesn’t prove your point; it’s merely an ad hominem attack. Here’s the logic: “Okay! Fine! Maybe the world is round, but you’re a bleeping, bleepity, bleep bleep! So there! That’s why I don’t have to listen to you. The world is flat!” You have two choices when presented with this kind of “logic;” sink to their level or walk away with dignity and sanity.

4. Projection. NPD/BPD women accuse their targets of things that they themselves are actually guilty of. This is a primitive defense mechanism. It’s the grown up version of the maddening childhood taunt, “I know you are, but what am I?” “But you’re the one who just…” “I know you are, but what am I?

5. Splitting. This is another very primitive defense mechanism. NPD/BPD women see people and the world in all-or-nothing, good vs. evil, black-and-white terms. They have no capacity for context or nuance. Either you see things her way or you must be crushed into the ground. You can’t respectfully agree to disagree with this kind of woman. Any criticism, difference of opinion or challenge to her “authority” is seen as a threat and will be treated as such in that you will be devalued and demonized.

6. Smear Campaigns. First, they split, then they smear. It’s not enough for NPD/BPD women to disagree with and despise you. Everyone else is the world, including your own family and friends, must hate you and see how wrong you are, too. These women go after you by attacking your ethics, integrity, sexuality and manufacture the most ridiculous nonsense in order to destroy your reputation. Unfortunately, the bigger the lie, the more gullible people tend to believe it.

7. Gaslighting. Women with these issues both deny things they’ve said and done and accuse you of the very same transgressions they committed. They also twist a grain of truth into a huge distortion until you begin to doubt your own sanity and look like the crazy person when you try to defend yourself.

8. Increasing the Volume; Not the Logic. The more wrong an emotionally abusive NPD/BPD woman is, the louder and/or more resolute she gets. Her level of fake outrage, vindictiveness or emotional withdrawal is in direct proportion to how accurate you are. She will either talk over and shout at you, repeating the same simplistic, emotionally-charged statements over and over until she drowns out all reason or give you the silent treatment until you submit and apologize for your “offense.”

9. Blame and Shame. NPD/BPD women blame others for everything that is wrong and never consider how they contribute to and often cause the issues and their own unhappiness. They shift responsibility to make you seem bad and crazy in an effort to shame you into submission.

10. Playing the Victim. When NPD/BPD women are called out for their bad behaviors and dishonesty, they then play the victim. They claim they’re being unfairly attacked for “standing up for the truth” and having the “courage” to speak out. This kind of woman frequently defends her indefensible behaviors by saying she was swept away by her emotions or passion and offers such chestnuts as, “I did what my heart told me to do.” Nonsense. These women are known to have temper tantrums when their bad behaviors are exposed and lash out with a verbal attack or pout in cold silence.

At heart, an emotionally abusive woman is a bully who will try to steamroll anyone who disagrees with her. It’s not just about controlling her reality, but controlling everyone else’s reality, too. When you allow a narcissistic and/or borderline woman to determine reality, you’re letting one of the inmates control the asylum. So the next time you’re on the verge of being sucked in by one of the above tactics, calmly look your wife or girlfriend in the eye, quietly say “No” and walk away.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

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Photo credit:

Foaming at the mouth from Getty Images.

Mouth tape from Getty images.

  1. Mr. F
    September 28, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Mike…well said mate :)

  2. Ron
    September 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    I comp;et;ey understand the desire to have real, concrete piece of abuse or infidelity as a reason for leaving. The other abuse, while often egregious, is not quite as clear cut and leaves you wondering if you are magnifying it. Journaling is a good idea.
    Once you are our, life bcomes a lot easier.

  3. Andre Bertomeu
    September 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I couldn’t even finish reading this…it’s exactly what I went through and still go through.

    The last time I presented the “evidence” to counter her lies…I was pushed and punched in the eye several times and threatened with a hammer (I thought I was done for when I saw that hammer). This was June 2008…. I recently filed for divorce, and now I have to testify in criminal court against her.

    No one will believe me.

    P.S. That picture is perfect. Brings flashbacks to her in my face yelling like that at me for the last 6 years when I stood up for myself. I can picture it so clearly….makes me sick.

    • shrink4men
      October 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      Hi Andre,

      I wish you the best of luck with the court proceeding. A new life is just around the corner. These women are truly parasitic predators. They always exact their pound of flesh.

      It’s truly maddening that they feel “wronged,” “owed,” and “entitled to justice” when they are the abusive aggressors who should be locked away from the rest of humanity.

      They’re something truly twisted and delusional about them. Again, best of luck and tell your attorney to show no mercy. She needs to be de-clawed and de-fanged.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  4. jham123
    September 25, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Dr. T,

    Don’t confuse what I said, I am not hoping she does “X” so that I can do “Y”. I don’t want to lose my family. I am hoping that she leaves for another man altogether. I cannot bring myself, nor can I afford to leave. If I do leave, we’ll probably lose this house as she cannot afford to pay for it even with financial support from me.

    So, no, I am completely (for once) in control of myself. I’ll stay and be nice……But these actions I’ve been taking…Let me describe them…

    Actions:

    She “cats” around a bit and I put a stop to it by checking her Myspace/Facebook/Email/online websites……We have a blow-out and she stops…..then she claims that I am watching her every move. She changes her passwords etc.

    Then She wants to go out with the Girls and cat around…first I’m ok with it then things happen where she doesn’t come home on time or call and then another blow-out occurs. Now I am controlling and victimizing her.

    Back to the Topic, all that ends with me. I can only hope that as I withdraw the attention (and we all know what happens next)…..as I withdraw the attention to these behaviors, she’ll only escalate them in order to further control the situation between us.

    BUT!!!! She may find her next target while her escalated “cat”-ing around is taking place!!! Think about it, it is a perfectly ingenious plan. How can she become vindictive of me leaving when she finds her next target to feed off of?

    One week it’ll be sort of tense around the house. She’ll be disengaged more than normal, She won’t feel like having sex, I’ll notice and then the tension will rise to a point and she’ll drop the bomb…” I’m leaving your for someone else”

    I’ll cry Crocodile tears and promise to change, but as many of you know that once they get to this point, their minds are made up…..secretly I’ll be saying “Go baby GO!!!” (Like NASA control when the Space-shuttle launches) and rubbing my lucky rabbits foot.

    I can only hope that it goes so well for me. I figure this will take probably until just after Christmas to transpire. I boasted to my friends after our huge blow-out last month that it’ll take her “62 days” to find a new boyfriend with me out of the house. I made a calender that counts down the days and hung it on the wall at work. That calender has ~29 days left on it. I’m not sure if I am ready to take back that boast or not. Hopefully she delivers on my boast.

    Her actions that night were pretty strong (calling 911 and having me almost arrested). So I think that due to her not having any money, she took me back. Also, today, She has actually gone for a Job interview that she will most likely land. (understand, she has not had an interview in decades). She is setting the pieces in place so that she can pull this off. Her not having a Job threw off her plan of kicking me out of the house. She realized that she was totally screwed when her support system (Her Mom and the Church) failed miserably to “Help her out” (Mom=$200 and the Church gave her Food vouchers from the local grocery chain = $400) So those “awakenings” for her have really taken her power away from her. The fact that I am the sole source of income for her made her concede that amount of control to me. So surprisingly to all of us, she actually started to send out some Resume’s and network for a job. Today she landed an interview.(I hope to god she gets it)

    So back to my original point, I even suggested that she contact her “acting” (Yes, she wants to be an actress) friend and have a girls night out this weekend…this surprised her to no end.

    New Job, New money, New woman,……..New Boyfriend………moves out with new Boyfriend…….GREAT!!…… I’ll even allow her to retain most of the custody

    I could be so lucky

    Meanwhile, I am healing myself and no longer obsessing about her actions and how they make me feel. Someone said on here Yesterday, that it is possible for the victim to disengage prior to break up and therefore begin to heal.

    She only has control of me if I play along.

  5. Mr. E
    September 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Dr. T – Yes, I see how entirely crazy it is.

    I guess I didn’t explain my point very well. I am going to get out sooner than later, as my journal shows nasty behavior (mostly little verbal jabs, nagging and “jokes” with the occasional rage) towards me on 11 days out of the last 24 (?!).

    What I meant to say was this behavior is so insidious that I wished for a clear, easily identified and explained problem I could point to and say “that’s it.” Eg. “She’s cheating on me, I’m out.” or “She hit me with a lamp, I’m out.”

    Instead, for approximately the last year (since I’ve opened my eyes) I’ve been plagued with “Well, she criticizes me a lot, but a lot of it is true and maybe I’m being too sensitive. Yeah, but she’s REALLY nasty sometimes. Yeah, but everyone has bad days. Yeah but…”

    Which is why my journal is so valuable. I can look at it and say “Yes, it really is that bad.” In fact, I don’t even have to look at it, I can just remember that I have such a thing, and that’s enough…

    I can also see, now, that wishing for a reason to get out is probably reason enough to get out.

    • Mr. E
      September 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm

      Thinking about this some more: my journal has become my clear, identifiable, explainable problem. That is to say, the tangible evidence. I can point to it and say, “That’s it”

      Dr. T, you’re very good. :D

    • Rebuilding - but still in pain
      September 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

      Hi Mr. E.

      I know you’ve followed my thread as you have commented on it. My divorce letter arrived from my soon to be ex, yesterday. Like yourself, I considered that I would “time it right.” I considered that things weren’t so bad now that I understand it all – this I believe still to be true. Knowing what you’re dealing with is immensely empowering. However, adapting my behaviour and protecting myself has precipitated changes that have flown out of control.

      My NPDW left the home and is now filing for divorce. She has done in a manner that has caused MAXIMUM damage and hurt to ALL the family. In spite of my constant suggestions that we should deal with things amicably. I recall Dr. T saying somewhere else that these women don’t care about collateral damage, just so long as they ‘win’ and you suffer. From what I hear, my wife is miserable and she has put on weight, but she will continue to steam roller towards destruction if I don’t beg her to stop. I just have to go with the flow.

      So, for yourself, Mr E, by all means take your time to prepare yourself for the worst, but knowing what your dealing with is to know that you can’t control the situation. You can however decide to take steps to protect yourself and, where possible, your family from the worst. I am afraid that you should also probably expect the worst, when it comes.

      Best wishes Mr. E. Stay grounded, know yourself and know what your dealing with.
      T.

    • Phoenix
      July 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Mr. E

      I did the same thing. Absolutely thought the same way. I got my concrete “out”. The moment of clarity that would show her solid proof of how bad she was to me…

      The cheating happened, she was caught red handed, fessed up, but then….

      It was turned around on me–just like EVERYTHING else.. ” it was my fault, I forced her to cheat, there was a flaw in our marriage, I wasn’t there for her” …. this it turned into something more insidious… think about it….

      You’re then telling people your out because she cheated right? What can then her story be to others? “yes, I cheated on my husband and I made a wrong choice?””— hell no!

      The party line becomes, ” he is evil, abusive, and angry…, my life with him was so terrible—oh, and yes he was the one who was cheating on me first( Doesn’t matter if it is true or not)…..

      I agree with Dr. T! Get out for ALL the right reasons! I did and I LOVE MY REDISCOVERED LIFE!!!!

      Don’t wast another minute with your crazy alien space child……RUN and RUN damn fast for the hills….

  6. Ron
    September 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Yes, looking at oneself and asking why I did not seeit and why I tolerated it is critical. You lose your innocence in dealing with a woman like my XW. I used to mourn that, but now I see it is a good thing.
    There are these vampires walking among us and accepting that and recognizing their behaviors is a big step in avoiding this down the road.
    Thank God, my XW cheated on me and I discovered it. It was my bright line that was crossed after years of abuse that I did not feel justified leaving. It wa my get out of jail free card.
    Bob, if you hang in too long, your life will be shortened and, clearly miserable.

    • Mr. E
      September 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm

      Wow. So has anyone else wished he would catch his wife cheating / find obvious evidence of it so he’d have a clear reason to leave?

      A couple months ago she came home from work and when I kissed her she smelled unfamiliar (like aftershave) and pulled away abruptly. That set off a flashing red light in my head, but I haven’t found any other “clues” since then.

      Earlier this year I caught myself wishing she’d hit me so I could say “Yep, it’s abuse” and bail.

      I’d been experiencing a “nice” period recently, and was on my guard but still wondering if maybe I was being too sensitive/reading too much into things. Then the other night she criticized me for everything, and didn’t even look happy to see me when she got home the next day (and I greeted her with a smile and an attempt at a hug)., and criticized me some more.

      …So that was a nice confirmation of how bad things are.

      • jham123
        September 25, 2009 at 3:43 pm

        @ Mr. E,

        Oh yes…..Ever see that Movie Tinman??

        “She was a Pariah around my neck”

        Richard Dreyfus plots a scheme to get back at Danny DeVito by sleeping with Danny’s wife Barbara Hershey.

        Dreyfus calls DeVito to intentionally let him know that he just got done boinking Hershey…….To Dreyfus’ dismay, DeVito is ecstatic that Hershey finally found someone else to cling to…..Dreyfus has his moment of epiphany; His actions weren’t netting the desired results.

        So, Yes, at one time I think I would be devastated if my Wife were to leave me for another…..BUT LATELY….it seems like a perfect solution to the entire episode.

        She’ll be supported by a much wealthier man than me so I will be off the hook financially, She be involved with another target; I’ll be safe from attacks…Maybe I can stay in this “small” ($500k) home….and she’ll “Be movin on up, to the East Side”

        it’s a win win win if you ask me…….

      • shrink4men
        September 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm

        Whoa. Hang on a minute guys. Do you see what you’re writing?

        You wish you’re wives would cheat on you so you could end the relationship? Screwing another guy would be the least of this kind of woman’s offenses. This is reminiscent of other men who have written they wish they would get a terminal illness so they don’t have to be in the relationship anymore.

        Take back control over your lives. What you’re exhibiting is called an external locus of control—i.e., letting another person or events determine the course of your lives. If it’s that unbearable (and obviously it is or you wouldn’t be here) pull the pin and get yourselves out.

        You’re not leaves being blown about by the wind. You are individuals who are smart, strong and capable of taking control of your lives, being proactive and getting out. You don’t have to wait for events outside of your control to determine your future.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr T

  7. Mr. F
    September 25, 2009 at 8:24 am

    In some cases I think the answers don’t present themselves to us until we realise why we attracted the person to us in the first place.

    Furthermore, the web of entanglement that ensues from us trying to find ourselves to blame can lead to us stepping over the line and endulging far too much in THEIR inadequacies, which is equally as blinding to us.

    The vicious cycle not only repeats in the relationship, but also in our own mind and soul as we try to get over what happened, because the answer is never there.

    I sometimes think that it’s a double edged sword with this type of scenario, because it seems ot me that the guys who attract these women are also the guys who have difficulty seeing reality, which is why we can’t see through their mask at the start when a healthy guy would tell them to f*ck off at the first sign of their games.

    You can’t turn hate into love, and you can’t hate someone you love, no matter how hard you try, this will just cause further conflict in your soul

    • Mike91163
      September 25, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      Mr. F:

      I agree with all your points, except one:

      “…because it seems to me that the guys who attract these women are also the guys who have difficulty seeing reality…”

      I disagree strongly for a simple reason: These women are MASTERS OF DECEPTION. You could be the most perceptive, rational, intelligent man in the world, and NEVER pick up on what lies underneath. It wasn’t until we were married that I started learning of my wife’s horrific childhood; her parents’ treatment of each other; and the BPD/NPD behavior on her part. The “mask” they wear is incredibly realistic, and impossible to crack.

      These women should be hired by the CIA, as they would make PERFECT spies…they are more than capable of creating an illusory personality with extreme ease, and masking their true intent until it’s far too late.

      • Mr. F
        September 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm

        Hey Mike,

        I see where you are coming from mate, I was trying to share my personal experience of this really, we aren’t all the same in this boat and I did see signs early on but chose to ignore them because she was so great in other aspects, I ignored the little voice of wisdom at my own peril.

        One common thing I see ina lot of replies on here is people say one line ot agree with the person above and then ramble on for a number of paragraphs about their own situation and how bad it is.

        Now don’t get me wrong, this place is a godsend and it helps me everyday to work through my situation and see the light of day, but I also know that by focusing on the bad points of my ex, it holds me back from getting over her.

        So many people in this situation seem to do this, but there is a reason we attracted and put up with this kind of relationship, if we don’t see that we will never meet anyone healthy.

        You see guys come on here and have a rant and feel better, then a few days later they are back doing the same rant about something different…the good feeling never holds because the answer isnt in the ex wife, it is in themselves.

        Please don’t get me wrong, I STILL do this now myself, I am speaking from the heart with this and I know how hard it is…it doesnt seem to matter what I do she is in my head all the time…even 7 months on from the break-up.

        I just know one thing man, that if i dont stop berating her and start figuring out my own demons and why I am not straight in my own head, the next one that comes along could be just the same devil in a different disguise.

        That is why I say you can’t hate someone you love, a lot of guys on here don’t see that no matter what wrongs she did, they love her, I love my ex…..in our own way it is love, just not healthy love. There is a reason for that which we all need to find….and trying to turn that into hate in order to get over it will never work in a million years.

        Hope this clears up what i meant lolol….

        cheers mate

        • DCB
          July 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm

          The fact that you can’t hate someone you love is something that finally occurred to me a couple of weeks ago with my BPDx. It’s a critical point.

      • Mike91163
        September 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

        Mr. F.,

        I can sincerely appreciate where you’re coming from; after all, you and many others here are in that post-divorce phase, which I’m not there yet.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that by acknowledging and discussing these issues while still in the relationship allows us to get a “jump start” on the healing process. Let’s face it, when you’re in this boat, you ARE going to have varying degrees of PTSD-these are the demons we must deal with. And yes, some of us are going to get burnt so badly that trusting and allowing someone back into our lives is going to be very difficult. However, by talking about our experiences, and sharing valuable tips and advice for dealing with the relationship both BEFORE and AFTER the breakup gives us insight and help into healing and indeed moving on.

        That said, I think that once you’ve had the chance to repair your psyche and emotional well-being, the best you can do afterwards is to maintain a HEALTHY sense of caution, awareness, and knowledge, coupled with a small dose of practical cynicism. Learn ALL you can about a “prospect” before making a committment: Observe her family’s interactions, talk to her friends, and so on. Being careful and cautious does not make you paranoid, just smart!

      • KO
        April 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        “These women should be hired by the CIA, as they would make PERFECT spies…they are more than capable of creating an illusory personality with extreme ease, and masking their true intent until it’s far too late.”

        Have you seen “La Femme Nikitta” ?
        Probably true: good for short and quick dirty missions, as lack of loyalty and long term perception would seem to jeopardize complex staged missions.

  8. Ron
    September 25, 2009 at 1:57 am

    You will notice in a relationship with a NPD, I believe, that it is always yours or someone else’s fault. That is one way to discrimnate between normal couple disagreements and ones with a N, IMO.
    I mean, what are the odds that it could always be you, I mean ALWAYS.

    • Bob
      September 25, 2009 at 3:19 am

      Thanks Ron–Yes, I even brace myself when something happens completely unrelated to me–like if she stumbles while walking…(I’ll wonder: OK, now this can’t be my fault right….) but she will immediately click to something: eg “you are so incredibly annoying” because just before she tripped I didn’t understand a point she was making about something very trivial. (Then when I–perhaps unwisely–pointed out that she became angry at me after she tripped–she became REALLY angry).

      I feel kind of dumb and babyish “recounting” all these tales about my wife, but everything here really resonates right on target…it’s also kind of scary..I’ve been married for over 20 years, and each time I think I’ve done something to “fix” the problem/get her what she really wants..new stuff comes up…at least now I recognize the syndrome and patterns, but I don’t have the strength or courage to really “do” what I need to do about it, though I am reading, working, trying and haven’t given up yet as I know that things/me have the possibility of change….

      • Kev
        September 25, 2009 at 4:51 am

        Hi Bob,

        In response to your examples:

        YES. THIS IS A PROBLEM.

        Put another way, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL.”

        My ex also engaged in this style of behavior (oddly enough, also obsessing about me washing my hands, among plenty of other things).

        You mention that you are trying to change… Again, to be blunt, STOP. This isn’t about you, and your “problems.” We all want to improve ourselves, sure. I’m all about personal growth. But you are engaged in a battle of the wills with someone who has no end goal for you in sight. In fact, a healthy relationship shouldn’t be about having to change to conform to another person’s demands. If you were doing something wrong, sure. But the things you’re doing that she has issues with are not only not wrong, they’re not your fault. You cannot prepare for every eventuality. You cannot guess what her mood will be about in regards to Subject of the Hour. As you said, new stuff comes up.

        THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. :)

        I’ll give you an example from my own recent foray into the Land of WTF.

        When my ex and I first started going out, she used to love waking up with me in the mornings. We’d lay in bed, laugh, cuddle, occasionally have sex, get up, have breakfast.

        One morning, she told me that she hated getting up with me, and was tired of waking up at the same time I did, and it was selfish of me to “expect” her to.

        So, when I had to go to work, I’d be as quiet as possible, to let her sleep in. “Sure, I can change to meet her needs,” I thought. After all, I’m a loving, supportive, caring person, and I want to be attentive to my partner’s needs (nevermind that I was hurt to suddenly hear about how she’d “always” hated getting up with me).

        After a few days of letting her sleep in, I was accused of “not caring enough to spend the mornings with her.” So, the next morning, I woke her up to have breakfast with me. She proceeded to scream at me for disturbing her.

        Fine. Soon it devolved into me having to ask her each night what she wanted. She didn’t like this, either. Then, if I would get up without her, and happen to check my e-mail before work, I was accused of cheating on her, and hiding it from her, by not waking her.

        You can’t win. And it’s not from lack of trying. It’s not because you’re flawed (hint: you aren’t). It’s because she has no stable idea of wtf she wants. This is because she’s not a rational adult.

        You’re a brave man. In fact, you’re braver than I am. I can’t imagine 20 years of this. I had it for only one, that nearly destroyed me (we’re talking suicide – I came through it all with “only” a complete nervous breakdown).

        I don’t mean to be dogmatic or harsh, but I want you to know I feel your pain. I’ve been there. And I hate to see others there. You can’t fix this. And that (like everything else) is (really!) NOT YOUR FAULT.

        I’m sorry. I just got back from a tough session of therapy this evening. Maybe it was the “hand washing” criticisms that called out to me in your response. I just don’t want you(or anyone) to have to endure this any longer, if at all.

        best,
        -Kev.

        • Recovering Alpha
          December 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm

          Reading all this gave me a sharp remembrance of an almost daily (nightly actually) occurrence. If I touched my ex-wife in ANY way while she was sleeping I WOULD GET HIT by a back hand. “Stop!” This is even if it was a gentle nurturing caress or whisper in her ear. She wasn’t like that at first but this eventually became the “norm” so much that I became used to it. But reading this reminded me that when I (years ago) asked other men if their wives did that they said “no.”. So just another bad memory that has recently surfaced after being away from her for 7 months now and due to reading this web page articles and blog. I’m afraid the more I read the more convinced my ex was BPD/NPD and I was abused — and that feels embarrassing to say since I don’t want to be in that role. Not me.

          Any ways, thanks again Dr T for this website, your articles, and to the other men who have contributed so many stories to help me better understand what happened.

  9. Bob
    September 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    This is very helpful, as I am constantly (daily) being angrily “irrationally blamed” for things that have nothing to do with me at all, and when I try to rationally explain it, I am accused of being “defensive” and that is the end of the discussion.

    It is very frustrating for me–but I have to ask: how much of this kind of male/female interaction is “normal”, in that men and women are so different and is just something we have to learn to live with; but how much of this or when does it become abusive and hazardous to one’s health, and NOT normal, and something just to put up with, laugh off, etc.? How do you know? I do know that it makes me feel tired, drained of energy, and unhappy.

    • Mike91163
      September 25, 2009 at 1:31 am

      Bob:

      First, welcome to the community! I’m sure Dr. T will chime in, but, I would ask you to provide a few examples of this behavior…see my post just above for a common one (computer issue).

      “How do you know…” when it’s abnormal? When there’s a chronic and continuing pattern of this behavior, that’s how. Yes, NORMAL couples argue and complain about “things” each other do, but normal couples work TOGETHER towards a resolution. In our situations with our BPD/NPD wives, virtually nothing works-the harder you try, the more YOU change to suit her, the more and more SHE wants, period. There is no compromise in this relationship, only what THEY want.

      Again, please give us some examples of “irrational” blaming.

      • Bob
        September 25, 2009 at 3:15 am

        Hi Mike 91163,

        Thanks for the good words. Here are just the most recent examples:

        My wife finds out she is teaching a course this summer that she didn’t want to–all night long I was berated for a range of irrational things like “it’s always about me” (??); I didn’t “toast her” on my birthday that past weekend to thank her for organizing a party; I complemented a friend’s cooking that night…

        The cat knocks coffee on her–so it became “I put her food in the wrong place, so she is on the table looking for her food and that’s what caused the coffee to spill”

        We go for a walk and she knows I have to end it after about 1/2 hour because of a dr. appointment, when I tell her I don’t think we have time to go any longer, she gets very angry, says there is “always something” and that because she doesn’t have a clock in her office to tell her that we should have left earlier, I should have told her the time earlier so we would have had more time to walk…

        Then just irrational tantrums/tirades in general
        She wants to have cereal but discovers we are low on milk: a major tantrum with swearing; we should have gotten some when we were out….batteries not working in the remote: “We NEVER have batteries.”; we did not pick up a morning paper and it’s sold out at night: extreme anger about how stupid we were not to have picked up a paper, and begins turning on me…

        I’m always parking the car the wrong way; holding the dog’s leash the wrong way; not washing my hands right; etc etc.

        There’s lots more, sadly….I’m working with a therapist on this too….

      • Mike91163
        September 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm

        Bob:

        Thanks for the examples…keep in mind, though, that many times there’s an “ebb and flow” to their behavior. I know that I have experienced this…after weeks and weeks of abusive behavior, my wife will through a phase where she’s not just tolerable, but downright pleasant and almost loving. Before I started learning more about BPD/NPD wives, I’d wind up letting my guard down, and then…BAM!-something will trigger her, and back into the black hole again…

  10. Ron
    September 24, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I ordered Langley’s e-book quite some time ago, and, she disassociated herself from the site at least a year ago. I am not sure if the e-book is still available. It was a breath of fresh air, coming from a woman (like this site) where she really held cheating women’s feet to the fire re their unrealistic expectations, their poor communication of their disatisfaction in the marriage , and their inability to listen to their husbands.
    I can tell you that never have I been treated with such contempt and disregard as by my XW. I cannot even fathom treating another person, even someone I disliked, as he did me. And, in retrospect, I cannot believe i tolerated this stuff for as long as I did. I can only believe I did it for the kids(although that was a mistake) , as , after a year or so of this nonsense, I lost all love and respect for her.

  11. Ron
    September 24, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for this site. I got so sick of reading abuse books and sites that presumptively use the male pronoun for all abusers. Patricia Evans does this in her books, and, although there is a disclaimer in the front indicating one can substitute the female pronoun, it is evident that Evans feels that men predominate in the abuser world. And, that gets very old and disconcerting after having been told for years how you are the problem.
    I started this journey into personality disorder research as the result of finding my wife was cheating with both our frozen food delivery man and her old HS boyfriend. My research on infidelity led me to the PD info, as infidelitity is pretty rampant among these women.
    In any case, I came across a website by a woman named Michelle Langely. It focuses on infidelity among women.
    In her second e-book, she also dispels lots of the assumptions about women’s behavior and the way husbands are viewed. She feels men are given a very bad rap re communication skills and willingness to be open with their feelings.
    As your site has pointed out, if men are not communicating(and often the man is the better communicator in the relationship). it is often because their wives refuse to listen and comandeer any conversation. If a man’s feelings do not mirror his wife’s, they are disregarded and the man is given the message that he better go with the party line or be punished or ridiculed.
    Women do not have a monoply on communication skills. I ave listened to many women discuss things and their discussions are every bit as vapid as a man discussing carbeurators or “da bears’.
    Men are well represented in literature, poetry, art and oration. Where does this myth about guys not being able to express themselves come from?
    My friends and I, many former college athletes that the current propoganda states should be pigeon-holed as neanderthals interested only in Nascar or boxscores, talk about our feelings and fears all the time. It is total Bs that men are not in touch with how they feel or do not communicate.
    Men just get the message from many women that their views are unimportant and to shut up.

    • Mike91163
      September 24, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      Ron, do you have a link to Ms. Langley’s 2nd e-book? I’ve searched high and low, and can’t find it.

      Excellent points about men’s communication skills and how our wives interpret us…but, as you can imagine, it’s hundreds of times worse with a BPD/NPD wife. Example:

      BPDWife: There’s a problem with the computer!

      Me: OK, let’s see…OK, just click here-

      BPDW: Oh, you just do it…you know what to do and it’s quicker.

      Me: OK. (problem w/computer fixed)

      BPDW: (mumbled thanks)

      One hour passes….

      BPDW: This #!*$& computer sucks! Didn’t you fix it?

      Me: Yes hon, but it could be a problem with website, etc.

      BPDW: Well it ain’t f**king working, what did you do to f**k it up?

      Me (swallowing a gallon of bile): Nothing, I said it could be the website…here’s what you should do if it hap–

      BPDW: NO, DON’T F**KING TELL ME, YOU’LL JUST TALK TO ME LIKE I’M SOME GODDAMN FIVE YEAR OLD, JUST FIX IT!!!

      Me: (silently fixes minor issue, while fighting back tears and trying to ignore pain from knot in stomach…)

      Lovely, ain’t it? Here’s a few more wondrous features of conversations with a BPD/NPD:

      –Always speaks in absolutes: “you always”, “you never”, “nothing” and “everything”;

      –Can recall incidents from a decade ago that portray YOU in a bad light, but she can’t remember the vicious verbal beating she laid on you yesterday;

      –Better yet, if she does remember, it was “your fault” or “you deserved it”;

      –YOUR family or friends tend to frequently get dragged into arguments, usually to illustrate what “garbage” they are;

      –Yet her family and friends are wonderful, and always looking out for you/her/”us”.

      Great fun, indeed…

      • John
        September 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm

        Amazing! Take away the F-bombs and I’ve had that same conversation many, many times. Same with all the other points you made, especially the familly stuff.

        Your post reminded me of something kind of funny: I had started to challenge her / defend myself when she would use the words “always” and “never” whenever I was on the receiving end of a complaint. “You never …..” “You always …….”
        I would respond with some sort of logical argument in regards to her all or nothing statement. Her responses ended up being “Oh I forgot, you cant’ stand it when I use the word ‘always’ or ‘never.'” The substance of my point/statement/defense of myself was never addressed.

        BUT I’M FREE NOW! MY DECREE WAS SIGNED BY THE JUDGE ON 9/10. JUST IN TIME FOR FOOTBALL SEASON!

  12. Ron
    September 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Yes, the cutout is a good idea. I often times just take the phone from my ear and let my X drone on, unabated.
    I agree that there seems to be nothing one can really do to survive with these types, except get out. The measures described in the eggshells book are just too much work and would seem to make life just too scary and lonely. Who wants to be with someone you must tiptoe around and who need all these tactics just to have some peace.
    I needed counseling after about 6 yearsof the most confusing, abusive, finanacially disruptive behavior I had ever seen in anyone, let alone an adult. My XW was mad as hell I was seeking therapy, and saw it as bot an indictment of her and a sign of my weakness. She admonished me repeatedly that I was to say nothing about her in therapy . I lied to keep the peace and told her I was dealing with FOO issues. But, all I was doing was talking about the abuse.
    Amazingly, despite my merely talking about my wife’s abuse, my counselor kept suggesting i read a book entitled “After the Affair”. Infidelity had never crossed my mind, but I must have been describing warning signs recognized by the therapist.
    Guess what? My XW was having affairs with two men. When I hired a PI and busted this , she was enraged and that was it. SHE COULD NO LONGER TRUST ME-I had invaded her privacy.
    Now, who can deal with absurd logic like that. I kicked her out and have never regretted it.
    Since leaving, she has been arrested in front of the kids for failing to make court appearances on misdemeanor driving charges and had her power turned off twice for not paying her elcetric bill. (I pay 2600 a month in child support).

  13. Rob
    September 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Good article,I thought I was crazy during some “discussions” with my ex. There was a topic, she disagreed, once that happened, it was over. Name calling, yelling, anger, cursing, it was like the devil overtook her.

    I have not seen her for a month, but, the collection agnecies are looking for her. She does not owe much, but, for some reason stopped paying even the minimum payment on her cards. About 6 months ago I offered to transfer all of it to a low interest card in my name, then, we will get it paid off, only about 1000 bucks. Well, she said I had nothing to do with her finances and am an asshole. Now, guess what? I call her and tell her about the collection agency knocking on my door with a summons, and, whew, she loses it, Guess whose fault it is? Mine, of course. Hah. She is 46 years old and acts like she is 6.

  14. shrink4men
    September 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Mike,

    No apology necessary. I don’t have much use for these so-called experts either. The only thing they seem to have expertise in is enabling the BPD/NPD, blaming the victim, perpetuating the cycle of abuse and not taking a stand in the court system when children are involved. You can bet your ass if the father was the abusive spouse/parent these “experts” would be in court testifying he should have no contact with the kids; not so when the NPD/BPD is a woman, however.

    The abuse is the problem; not the target of the abuse—hence the abuser needs to be the one to change his or her behavior. Telling the target that he or she needs to learn how not to trigger the abuser is mind boggling. Where’s the accountability when even the therapist tells you it’s “your fault?” Again, I believe there’s a double standard at play. If the abuser in question was a violent alcoholic male, the wife/gf wouldn’t be encouraged to “tough it out.”

    I think there are several factors and/or some combination of them:

    1) There are a lot of psychologists, social workers, counselors, etc., who are also NPD/BPD and they instruct the victim to behave the way they want their loved ones to behave—total acceptance and forgiveness no matter how outrageous their behavior.

    2) Some of these experts are the partners or family members of NPDs/BPDs and they didn’t have the courage to end the relationship and the abuse. They instruct others to stay in the relationship and tolerate the abuse to validate their choice to continue to be abused.

    3) Hubris. Some professionals don’t want to admit that sometimes you can’t help people to work things out. Sometimes another person truly is a lost cause.

    4) It’s a living. Who wouldn’t love a guaranteed client income stream for 5-10 years.

    6) Gender bias. No matter how abusive a woman is, you have to forgive her and be patient with her because she was abused as a child, etc. Again, many of these therapist wouldn’t be quite so encouraging if the abuser was a man.

    7) Religion. Many professionals let their religious beliefs get in the way of helping others. If they believe divorce is a sin of course they’re not going to encourage you to save yourself and get out.

    There are other reasons why I think these “experts” become enablers, but these are the primary ones.

    Hope this helps. I have a really bad head cold and I’m not sure if I’m making sense today.

    Best,
    Dr T

    • mike91163
      September 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks, Doc, and yes, you ARE making sense, and I hope you feel better…I saw on your FB page that you were under the weather…of course, as much as I’d like to make you a FB friend or fan, I can’t do that…the wife has my FB login info (control issues, anyone???), and if she saw that, there would be a serious shitstorm…

      Ironically, her “use” of my FB info was so that I could become a “Farmville” neighbor…yeah right! She’ll spend HOURS a night doing that damn game…this from someone who’s done no gardening, nevermind farming in her life! And, it’s funny how she’s taken it SO seriously…just the other day, she mentions that one of her relatively close friends (who’s probably BPD/NPD as well, but is “old maid” material herself, thankfully!) just moved up a “higher level” on Farmville, and she was PISSED! (NPD, anyone?) I mean, my wife will sit there and calculate point values and how long things take to “grow” so that she can maximize her points…incredible…if only she devoted 10% of the time and effort that she puts into this nonsense into our house and our relationship…

      • shrink4men
        September 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm

        Sorry, don’t know “Farmville.” I assume it’s some kind of web game. No worries about “friending” me or becoming a fan. I realize that many of these women would make great surveillance operatives.

        Some of these women are much for interested in virtual reality, in which they can take on whatever persona they like and totally control their environment. For that matter, if you think about it, they don’t have real relationships; they have virtual relationships. From the outside, it looks like a relationship, but they’re only interest is moving you around in the dramas they create. Good times.

        Thanks for the well wishes re: my cold. It’s more irritating than debilitating, but it is slowing me down a little.

        Cheers,
        Dr T

      • Mr. E
        September 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

        My wife HATES my use of facebook. Apparently I post FAR too much for her liking. And I just got scolded last night about how she doesn’t like learning about things I’m doing on Facebook. Well, if she’d LISTEN when I spoke, she would have found out my plans when I TOLD her.

        I also would friend/fan Dr. T, except I don’t want to experience the storm Mike mentioned either…

  15. mike91163
    September 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Dr Tara:

    I’m curious about your opinions on the variety of self-proclaimed BPD/NPD “experts” elsewhere online and their advice…people like:

    Bon Dobbs
    AJ Mahari
    Steven Stosny

    What irks me the most about these people is their INSISTENT message that:

    –BPD/NPDs can get better;
    –You (the “non”) HAVE to work better at avoiding triggers;
    –You have to work hard at coping strategies;
    –You have to work on YOUR anger management (!!!);
    –You have to be compassionate;
    –You have to work on your “core value tree”;
    –You have to…blah-blah-blah, ad nauseam.

    What all these experts miss is that the VAST majority of us nons have been doing JUST those things for very lengthy periods, with no success…so where do we go? They ALL acknowledge that getting the BPD to admit they have a problem is an adventure unto itself…unlike antisocials or bipolars, who CAN be treated with therapy and/or medication, BPD, so far, only responds to DBT, and even DBT is a crapshoot. When you consider those factors, anyone with half a brain has to admit that getting a BPD to some semblance of normalcy has very high odds stacked against them.

    But wait, there’s more…these experts all say that “remission” or control of BPD can take 5 to 10 YEARS of intensive DBT therapy; so, us nons, who are already at the end of our proverbial ropes, have to “tough it out” for another decade? And, hope and pray that our BPD partner doesn’t slip up or regress? Then what? It’s easy to sense that these experts think that more love, compassion, and patience can get us through this…well, let me tell you, my tank full of those things is just about out, and let me ask them this: Where are we supposed to “refill” our tanks from? We sure ain’t getting them from our BPD/NPD partners!

    Furthermore, while they tacitly admit to this, I really don’t think they completely understand the carnage and emotional damage that BPDs have inflicted upon their spouses, friends, and family, knowingly OR otherwise. Unlike Bon’s group and website, where comments and posts are moderated, here we are free to express ourselves as we see fit (within reason). And I’m sorry, a quick review of poster’s tales here frequently show that us nons have gone WAY above and beyond any reasonable means of dealing with our BPD spouses/significant others, so please don’t tell me that I have to learn yet more mechanisms for coping.

    Sorry about the vent, Dr. Tara, but it just pisses me off to no end when these “experts” tell me that I’M the one who has to change or adjust…been there, done that!

  16. Matt
    September 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    This website has been an eye-opening experience for me. I think I’ve read every article and all of them could’ve been written about her specifically. I had no idea until our marriage counselor sent me a link to “When Love Hurts: The Emotionally Abused Man” in an email on the sly. I once noted to my wife during counseling that in the hundreds of ‘disagreements’ we’ve had in our two year’s of marriage, not once has she ever thought I might’ve been right. She replied to the counselor, “yeah, how can I live with someone like that.”

    I’m opposed to divorce on spiritual grounds, but I honestly don’t know how much name-calling and other abuse I can tolerate with no hope of her ever changing.

    • shrink4men
      September 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Matt,

      I’m heartened that your marriage counselor sent you a link to my site, but why did he do it on the sly? Have any of your wife’s abusive behaviors been acknowledged or addressed during your sessions? I realize she probably won’t have continue in therapy if she’s confronted, but what’s the point of just going through the motions? It’s a waste of your time and money.

      Divorce is difficult, even when it’s amicable. In my opinion, abuse is a violation of the marriage vows, so your wife has already broken the marital contract. If you believe there’s no hope your wife will change (the fact that you marriage counselor is secretly slipping you information leads me to believe she’s pretty intimidating), it’s better that you make this difficult choice now rather than 10 or 15 years down the road after children are involved. If your wife embodies the behaviors described here, becoming a parent typically escalates the controlling behaviors and stress. It’s highly likely she’s only going to get worse. I encourage you to seek support individually to work through the spiritual concerns you have about remaining in this marriage. Your needs and feelings are just as important as hers and you have a right to a peaceful and happy life.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      Kind Regards,
      Tara

  17. Ron
    September 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    It is impossible to have a discussion with one of these NPDs. My XNPDW, if she senses the slightest dissension or difference of opinion, becomes very sarcastic, abusive, degrading and dismissive.
    One other thing I have noticed in trying to converse with her is that she just goes off on a filabuster. I can never get a word in edgewise.
    I’ve long given up on having any type of effective communication with her and have just taken to hanging up on her when she gets abusive. Invariably, a half hour later, she calls to apologize. Then, she simply starts doing it again.
    It is good that our contact is so limited. My skin crawls when the caller ID shows her calling.

    • She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
      September 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm

      “One other thing I have noticed in trying to converse with her is that she just goes off on a filibuster. I can never get a word in edgewise.”

      Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

      The longest I timed her was 15 minutes straight without letting me get a word in edgewise. Then she would complain that I constantly interrupted her. I would say that she would raise so many points during one of these tirades that I eventually *had* to interrupt her or I’d have forgotten what she said by the time it was my turn to talk.

      She of course denied ever doing any such thing.

      The only time I ever got her to confess a little was when she accused me of being a controlling boyfriend (no way) and I then said that she:

      1) Excessively nitpicked my clothing
      2) Grabbed a bunch of my clothing from my closets without telling me and took it to her place to “surprise” me with the gift of acceptable dress clothing to wear around her
      3) Went through my house and changed all my lightbulbs to CFLs without asking
      4) Insisted I wear the right cologne
      5) Nitpicked my table manners
      6) Complained that I laughed at the wrong times

      etc etc and she finally said “OK OK I might be a little controlling.” We broke up 2 months after that.

      I think I may have hung up on her once during the entire relationship. She made a practice of hanging up on me mid-sentence during our last month. she *never* apologized for any of it.

      • Kev.
        September 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

        Ah, the clothing.

        I came home one day to find all of my clothing on the bed, with the “suggestion” that I had to reduce the size of my wardrobe. I had “too many” clothes. Naturally, this was all a suggestion, but if I didn’t take her up on it, then there would have been Hell to pay. I lost about 70% of my clothes, including a number of t-shirts of sentimental value. I “needed to be more like her,” who only had maybe 6 outfits that she wore every week. After all, if I had more than that, I was being wasteful or vain.

        I was also nitpicked over all kinds of other things. Good times for all.

    • shrink4men
      September 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Ron,

      One of my clients occasionally sends me MP3s of very one-sided arguments he has with his NPD wife. She does exactly what you describe—she goes off on a filabuster and he can’t get a word in edgewise either. When he can occasionally slip in a valid point (i.e., the reality) she jumps off on another line of complaint/accusations to quickly change the topic rather than be confronted with the truth.

      I’ve half-jokingly encouraged him to go to Kinko’s and get a life-size cardboard cut-out of himself made so he can’t have it stand in for him when she goes off on one of her “filabusters.” They’re not conversations between two people; they’re monologues and it’s my opinion that you don’t need to present for them.

      Best,
      Dr T

      • Freedom
        October 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

        I have a good one concerning this… got into fight with my ex one time, and she was going off on another one of her hate-filled tirades, projecting like a crazy woman. so i stopped her mid-sentence and said in an excited voice “oh wait!!, hold on for just a second, i have to go to the bathroom!!!” and i ran off to the bathroom. at which point i grabbed one of the mirrored doors from the vanity, brought it back to the discussion, put it up in front of my chest, level with her face, and simply said in a calm voice, “i’m sorry for the delay…. you were saying…???”.

      • Mike91163
        October 3, 2009 at 5:23 pm

        Freedom:

        What did she do when you did that? I can guess, but, I’d love to hear it from you…

  18. She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
    September 23, 2009 at 1:32 am

    “I also write this for myself, as well. Because, right now, as I approach almost a year out (and no-contact) I’m starting to question if I could have done anything differently. Everytime I go back and read the narrative I wrote about the relationship (an exercise I highly recommend, if you haven’t done it already), I realize, that I was doomed from the start.”

    Heh, I’ve read your story. And as crazy as my ex was (and remains), yours wins!

    If I had never dated her, I probably would think she was great because she is otherwise very friendly and charming. The only head-scratcher that I always had with her at that level is that she immigrated her at the age of 10 but never quite picked up English grammar. While she has no accent, her grammar remains that of a recent arrival. And if you mention it, she gets mad at you for even bringing it up. So you just get used to her slightly broken approach to English. None of her siblings turned out that way though.

    • Kev
      September 23, 2009 at 3:26 am

      Oh believe me, I’ve only barely scratched the surface here. :)

    • Barry
      September 23, 2009 at 9:05 pm

      “If I had never dated her, I probably would think she was great because she is otherwise very friendly and charming”.

      I can’t thank you enough for that sentence!!! I thought I was alone in that experience / feeling.

      Some of my friends who casually knew the NPD girl I dated were surprised to hear about the way she acted since they thought she seemed friendly enough?? I’m wondering if this is common? No question in my case the person I saw and the person they saw were VERY different! Night and day!

      • mike91163
        September 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm

        Barry:

        Yes, this is VERY common…what goes on “behind closed doors” and the public persona of BPD/NPDs are two VERY different things…unless, of course, you (or someone else) hit a big “trigger” in public, then the fangs come out…

    • shrink4men
      September 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

      Please see my reply to Kev above.

  19. She was hot and smart, but also quite crazy...
    September 22, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    As times goes on, I can see that my ex focused on gaslighting, projection, and playing the victim…

    1. Since the breakup, the reason for its sudden occurrence one night started with her informing me that my practice of saving my money for retirement was incompatible with her practice of spending every penny she makes because she knows she has a huge inheritance coming her way some day so it’s over, to she was a trophy girlfriend but I didn’t treat her like one, to the most recent statement that she had to break up with me because she couldn’t make me happy. I suspect this is happening because our shared friends probably looked at her like she was a lunatic when she cited the first two reasons so she’s gaslighting the storyline here so that it maximizes believability and her victimization. The first two were over the top ridiculous but how can you argue with #3?

    2. She always used to tell me I had to forgive her of her past misdeeds, but in the end, I learned she was holding a grudge from a dust-up from over a year before (one I think was mostly her fault but even if it’s 100% my fault, that’s just stupid to keep that inside for so long). And the actions that followed from her holding that grudge led directly to our breakup instead of me proposing to her so I suspect it’s a good thing. Projection much?

    And yet, and this is what I hate about having ever met her, some part of my psyche to this day insists there’s a way to fix this while the rest of me knows that’s not the case. So why can’t 100% of me accept that she’s just not wired like other people when my intellect *knows* that’s the case?

    • Kev
      September 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm

      “So why can’t 100% of me accept that she’s just not wired like other people when my intellect *knows* that’s the case?”

      Because you (like me, like all of us) see her, in an adult body, and automatically, instinctively, reflexively, think she’s a rational adult, subject to and having the ability to reason. Unfortunately, what is inside of that adult human body is not an adult.

      It is (at best) a two year old prone to two-year-old logic, tantrums, and ways of being.

      The adult outer form is a disguise. And it’s easy to forget that, until you plunge into the dynamics of interaction. Even then, it will conflict with the visual sensory input, and we forget. We attempt to deal with an adult, and it’s not an adult.

      Maybe it can be fixed, maybe not. But it’s way beyond our capabilities, and, honestly, what do you hope to win out of it? You’ll lose your soul and your self in the process, and there’s nothing left of you to enjoy the victory, assuming there could be one. But that’s just it – there can’t be one, because to think that there is one, would again assume you’re dealing with a rational (albeit incredibly demanding) adult human being.

      Two year olds don’t think that way. They don’t have longterm ideas. They have whims. And these whims change unpredictably. You can’t keep up.

      Remember that.

      I also write this for myself, as well. Because, right now, as I approach almost a year out (and no-contact) I’m starting to question if I could have done anything differently. Everytime I go back and read the narrative I wrote about the relationship (an exercise I highly recommend, if you haven’t done it already), I realize, that I was doomed from the start.

      • shrink4men
        September 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm

        Kev,

        What you’ve written is very important. Yes, maybe you could’ve done things differently IF she’d been a different woman. Remember, with this kind of pathology, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s never good enough. You’re set up to fail from day one.

        The only thing you could’ve have done differently for a happy ending was to never have gotten involved with her in the first place and/or gotten out sooner when she removed the mask for the first time.

        Furthermore, and trust me on this one, she’s not torturing herself with recrimination and regret wondering what she could’ve done differently. And therein lies the irony. In order for your relationship to have worked, she’s the one who needed to change; she’s the one who needed to behave differently. However, In her mind, she’s the long-suffering heroine/star of the incredibly bad B-movie she has running in her mind and you’re the worthless loser/villain who didn’t deserve her.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

  20. Freedom
    September 22, 2009 at 5:40 am

    The thing with NPD/BPD people is they are frauds, charlatans, chameleons, actors, pretenders. i’ll use the trait of integrity for my example. they would rather be THOUGHT OF as a person with integrity than to actually BE a person with integrity. as Dr. T stated above, they can also be lazy. it takes work – daily – to build up a true personnae of a person of integrity. we’re often faced with choices that may play out our integrity. we’re forced to make the correct decision versus the one we might want to make (that may be the most beneficial to us), let’s say putting the other person’s needs feelings before ourselves. the NPD/BPD person would rather be thought of as a person who puts other’s needs and emotions first (cuz that makes them look good) than to actually do it, or to actually BE that person. that would mean putting themselves second, which can be disastrous to their house of cards, causing it to collapse. integrity isn’t about being right in someone else’s eyes, it’s about DOING right by others. the deed in and of itself is the right thing to do, and you do it for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do, NOT how you are going to be perceived. but for them, it’s the perception that matters. i have made many decisions in my life that may have angered one person, but benefitted ten others. life is full of tough decisions. a person with integrity will take into consideration the cost/reward of all involved in a healthy sense and make a decision based upon the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t benefit them directly. the NPD person is unable… unless it makes them look good. if it is not beneficial to them, then it’s not beneficial at all.

    i had a long talk with a former friend of mine (no it wasn’t my ex) who was actually diagnosed as BPD. she couldn’t seem to understand why people questioned her integrity. she would do these very absurd things that were obviously of questionable character, and i called her on it. i told her that if she had integrity 99% of the time, people would still question her character. she didn’t get it. 99% sounds really good doesn’t it? no… that means that 1 out of every 100 days she would do something that was really wrong and that people would question why. a big lie once every 3 months quickly transforms someone into a liar. going out and really doing stupid things once every 3 months earns someone a reputation of being unstable. 99% of the time wasn’t gonna cut it, because she was looking for that next time (her 1%) that she could go out and do hurtful, harmful things because she thought she’d earned it by being a good girl for so long. she would rather be thought of as a person of integrity than to actually be a person of integrity. in order to be trusted, one must first be trustworthy. an abusive rant once every 3 months – to me – quickly makes that person abusive, no matter the other deeds. and they can’t seem to understand that, because it’s not about them. they can not, or will not, see the consequences of their actions. for that would mean to take the mask off for all to see, namely them. the reflection is too hard to take.

    • shrink4men
      September 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      These are all excellent points. They don’t seem to understand or care how they’re volatile behaviors destroy trust. They expect all to be forgiven, if by some miracle, they apologize. Apologies are meaningless when they commit the same hurtful behaviors again and again whether it’s a day, a week, or a month or two later. Meanwhile, if you make one misstep, they will hold it over your head for the rest of your life and use it as a reason you should allow them to get away with their hurtful and outrageous behaviors.

      Best,
      Dr T

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