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. Tony
    November 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    yes, i still think a lot about her actually. Havent fully recovered but I’m getting there. I think one reassuring thing is that we know its highly unlikely these women will be any different with their next guy. I actually remember her telling me, she argued a lot with previous b/fs. So I suppose I should have realised, it was probably the same story with them. In fact her longest relationship was a year and a half, so that says something in itelf. I would be pretty sure the next guy will soon be on the end of her rages before too long….it will be an ongoung pattern.

  2. Jeff
    November 20, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Im happy for you Tony.. I was with my bpd wife for 6 years all together (married for 4 1/2 years).. I wish I could say that I’m happier now, but honestly I am not.. I have my good days and my bad days.. I still love her, but I have realized that I cannot be with her any longer.. The accusations and everything that goes along with that has totally shattered who I was/am. Im just trying to keep my chin and up and keep moving forward. I feel like that all I can do.. I know I deserve better and hope that one day I can look back on all of this and just say, “Wow what a mistake that was hahaha”..

  3. Tony
    November 20, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    thanks for the comments guys. Actually that relationship ened a few months ago, so I’m pretty much ok now. Altho, I did find it kind of traumatised me in a way, more so than other break up, that is true. I’m now reunited with an old g/f from the past and its so refreshing to interact with a normal woman again. We can laugh together, debate things, even have disagreements without those hideous NPD temper tantrums.

    You can see the difference in how the current g/f reacts to things as apposed to the narc. Her easy going temperament, the ability to say sorry if she thinks she has done anything wrong. The compromises that we both make to make each other happy, its like day and night – a real adult mature relationship. Im feeling so much better now.

  4. Tony
    November 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I stumbled upon your fantastic website and I suddenly had a my eyes opened to what had been going on in my relationship of a year which just ended (she ended it). Your descriptions of the behaviour of an NPD/BPD woman made the hairs stand up on my neck, almost like you knew my girlfriend!

    Here’s my story. We met a year ago, I am 46, she is 40. She at first seemed a very sweet girl and was pleasant on dates, then one night about 6 weeks into the relationship, she found a picture amongst the many pictures I keep on my mobile (which she always tried to look through) of an old girlfriend (face pic!), suddenly I saw this sweet girl turn into something I didn’t recognise. She shouted at me and threw the phone which hit me on the head and demanded I remove the picture. At the time I remember thinking that was a disproportionate response to quite a small thing. Little was I to know the rollercoaster ride I was put on over the next year!

    It became exactly like one of your articles described. A few weeks of pleasantness and then she would blow up at the slightest thing. The mere mention of an ex girlfriends name, would cause her to erupt, and I have never in my 46 years, seen anger like it. Way, way beyond what I have ever seen in any ex girlfriend or indeed my ex wife. Her face would go white with rage and she would hurl sickening abuse at me. Many occasions I was so shocked, I was speechless. How could this sweet little girl, who other people thought was so nice, hide a devil inside!

    In fact I started then to become afraid of her, I started to walk on eggshells, terrified of saying the wrong thing, in case it would spark a rage. We went to the canary islands on holiday, where on 4 occasions she flew into a rage over tiny things – nearly always involved looking through my phone and trying to find something suspicious. (I have to add I never cheated on her by the way). On this holiday she flew into a white hot rage on the day of her birthday and refused to talk to me for a whole day or night. When I tried to converse, she just blanked me.

    One night while having a quiet drink outside a bar, I gently and calmly challenged her (for once) over an issue she was going on and on about. Her response was to shout at me in front of people, rush from the table, jump into a taxi and go back to the villa where she locked me out! I was so miserable I contemplated booking a flight home quite a few times

    This behaviour continued on in a never-ending cycle over the months, Once while out having a meal, she stormed out of the restuarant with my mobile phone – she started then to text an old ex g/f of mine (who is now just a purely platonic friend) she pretended the texts were from me and texted that I still loved her, trying to get a response from my ex, who never replied, thank god. She later arrived at my house, came in screaming abuse and in fact (by her own later admission) was literally foaming from the mouth. I was actually scared of her, I’m a lot bigger, but I was rooted to the spot with fear, I have never witnessed white hot, uncontrollable rage like this in my life.

    The other thing about her, was that I noticed from the start that she talked about herself a lot. As months went on, she talked constantly about herself. She appeared to have lost interest in my everyday life. Phone conversations consisted of her talking literally non-stop about what was going on in her life, and it got to the point where she never even said ‘how are you’ when she phoned, she just launched into telling me all about what she was doing. She commented to me once, that a relative once told her she was a “boring bitch, who never stopped talking about herself” actually, so I think my observation was accurate.

    She got me to do lots of things for her, but rarely if ever, returned any favours, many times I said ‘H, you are using me’, and she just laughed and said no I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, there were many times she came across as sweet and loving and even generous, but the rages (mainly irrational jealously issues) in between were terrifying and soul destroying. and she NEVER, EVER said the word ‘sorry’ throughout our whole relationship (I’m not exaggerating). If I brought up the subject of the rages, she would say it was my fault for making her do that. Or the next day she just totally pretended nothing had happened and I was too afraid to bring the subject up again.

    Her lack of empathy was startling, she never once showed an insight into how I felt after she had screamed abuse at me. Any attempt to get her to understand later, was only met with further arguments and total resistance and making me out to be to blame.

    She phoned me one night because she noticed an old female friend of mine had added me as a face book friend. I had only ever added this ONE person . She shouted down the phone, about how dare I add a female friend. The ironic and sickening thing about it all, was that she had around 25 friends (male and female) on face book, including an ex b/f! Her hypocrisy at times was breathtaking! She fell out with me over this and made me remove my face book profile, which, as I had become a total wimp by this stage, I did.

    I cannot describe how bad it was to have this person screaming and shouting uncontrollably down the phone at me on many occassions. You simply could not reason with her, it was futile. I tried on occassions to record it, because no-one would recognise the sweet friendly girl they knew as having this side!

    But as you say Tara, an example of how they make and bend the rules to suit themselves.

    All the signs I read in your blog were so accurate. As the relationship was waning, I sent her a lovely email, saying how much I loved her etc etc (sad I know!). She replied saying “Thats lovely, but I haven’t time to give you a proper reply, cos I have an interview to prepare for in 2 days time. I will send a nice reply after that.” I thought to myself what a pathetic response to my email. I phoned her and mentioned that I didn’t think a lot of her reply and she screamed down the phone “I have an important job interview in 2 days time and all you can f**king think of is yourself and your insecurities! Grow a set of b*lls , you stupid b******d” That is exactly what she said and slammed down the phone.

    The relationship ended a week later, when she told me that she loved me, but there was no future for us. So it did actually end quite well thankfully enough and we have spoken a few times since and she did say ‘she loved me to bits and that I was wonderful to her ‘ But I am convinced from reading your blog , that she def had NPD or BPD or both. I knew all through the relationship that here was a girl who was displaying behaviour that I had never seen before in any women that I had dated. I was sure that she had some kind of disorder, and I believe I have stumbled on it now. She had tragically been abandoned as a child by her parents and later suffered sexual abuse, so I then realised all the defining history was in place for this person to probably develop NPD/BPD.

    I have only mentioned a few examples of her rages and unbelievable hypocrisy, there were many more, too many to mention. – it was a case of one rule for me, another for her.

    I actually feel sorry for her now and what has led to her developing this disorder but there is nothing I can do to help. She still sends me the odd text and its always about what she has achieved (ie, i got this new job, I got the highest marks in my course…tc etc) Typical narcissistic behaviour. The texts are never to see how I am, only to boast of her achievements and obviously seeking my praise, which i have stopped giving.

    So this is my experience with a damaged personality and boy have I learned so much from it!

    • Kev
      November 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm


      I’m glad you escaped, brother.

      My ex did identical things to what you’ve described. That’s one of the eerie things for me, reading otehr people’s stories, is that oftentimes, it’s not just “similar,” but identical. If you hadn’t mentioned her age, I’d wonder if we’d been involved with the same person.

      It sounds like you’re doing well, but beware, as the fallout from these relationships tends to be radioactive – sometimes you don’t notice the symptoms until much later. If you aren’t already talking to a therapist, consider it. It will definitely help in the long run.

      Good luck, and welcome back to reality.

      • Jeff
        November 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

        Tony and Kev,

        I had the same experiences.. My stbxw would constanly look through my phone, read my text messages and would get an itemized phone bill. She would then look through the bill and call the numbers back, trying to identify who they were. Nothing I ever did was good enough.. She would ask me who was texting me and what the message said. Then she would began to question me about the meaning of the message. God forbid, if I would ask her why she was being this way and where did all this come from. I would then be told, “why are soo defensive, what are you guilty of. You are telling on yourself”.. WTF.. I tried everything including 3 different counselors.. NOTHING worked,, I had to leave.. NEVER AGAIN,, Well anything like this every happen again.. I seen all the red flags and I ignored them.. Good luck guys

      • Tony
        November 27, 2009 at 7:13 pm

        hi Kev

        if you get a chance post some examples of your ex’s behaviour. Always good to read others experiences


  5. KJ
    November 12, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Dr.Tara – I’m new to this site and I must say it has been very helpful. I am curious about my STBX (15 years, her second marriage, my first) and her tendencies. She doesn’t seem to be a raging, “off the chart” NPD/BPD, but she is what I call an emotional “stuffer”. She does not exhibit violence (I’ve never been struck or injured), and doesn’t fly into uncontrolled rages, which is why I’m unsure. Is this (stuffing) common with NPD/BPB types, and is it the same or similar to not taking responsibility for ones own feelings? She blames me (more accurately, our marriage) for her insecurities and unhappiness, but it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that the baggage she is toting around goes back to way before me and the marriage.

  6. David
    November 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm


    2 yr’s ago through research,I found out what this N did to me.I would still read more and more articles about these crazy women.
    This (10 Reasons You Can’t Communicate with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman)summed everything up instantly.I wish all the guys out there could read this,and cut to the chase.They would save themselves a tremendous amount of time.Nothing has been more accurate and straight to the point as this.

    And what does poloitics have to do with this.Damn!!!!!!!!!

  7. jham123
    October 26, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I don’t know where else to post this…but it seems I cannot communicate with her over the simplest of things. I have to lay this out for a sanity check.

    I am the Photog for my Son’s Football team. She is a real Photog and that is why I have good equipment (not that she actually has a job…..she just likes to pretend…so a $1600 Lens is not out of the question for things she wants). Anyway, These Camera’s use the little SD memory cards for storing the Photo’s

    When I get home from a Shoot I like to download all the photo’s into one folder so I know what and where they are. If the Card had multiple subjects it take time to DL into different folders….three different folders could take me 45 minutes to separate…..(I have a crappy 5 year old PC but that is beside the point)If there is just one subject on the card…..you tell it where to download and allow it to do its thing in the background….you do whatever you want.

    So you see the problem, I need a card for every subject and I DL and clean each card ASAP when I return home.

    She had numerous cards herself and as soon as I started snapping pix for the Team I invaded her space by trying to use cards of “hers”. Solution? I went and bought three 2GB cards for my use. I marked them with Sharpie “Dad’s Card”

    Well, here is the deal. She has a really nice iMac with a huge drive and another huge external drive. Despite that fact, she takes photo’s and then fails to DL them into her computer….then forgets exactly what is on those cards.

    She had 7……SEVEN cards in her desk drawer that have some photo on them that She cannot bear to lose, so those cards are NEVER to be touched by me. Let me include the fact that ONE of those 7 cards are MARKED “Dad’s Card”.

    So I am relegated to having 2 cards. Which I can work with…..However….here comes the trouble. She wants to DL the game photo’s into her comp. She also will grab the Camera and shoot pix of odd things or the other kids..whatever grabs her attention. She uses my cards in the process.

    Why is this an issue?? It seems so insignificant? Well, I’m out at the Freshman game the other day, The third quarter ends and I look down (just out of curiosity, note that the cards hold ~500 photo’s and I usually take about 225 photos each game) and I see that I only have 41 Photo’s left!!! WTF?? I look at the beginning of the card to see what was on there and it was the Varsity Game from the Prior Friday night!!! Now wait….did I DL those pix?? Did she DL the Pix?? If I delete any of them will I lose something?? My system is totally whacked out…..No worries, I’ll just go to the back pack and get the spare 2GB card……WRONG!! It is GONE!!! dammit….

    I made due with the 41 shots but I did delete some of the fuzzy shots in the memory……..What is so bad about this?? Rather than shooting the game…..I am staring at a screen with the sun glare trying to determine if it will be ok to delete then the crowd roars and I’ve missed a great catch by one of the kids……You see the added stress??

    Then I get home and the “other” card has Birthday pix, Halloween costume pics….Soccer game pix on it……All unsure if she has DL them at all….and I have a game the very next day to shoot.

    I spoke to her at great length and used nice terms like….”there is a breakdown in our system”……I continued to tell her that we have to use the stickies and write each other a note to say if the pix have been copied and it is OK to format yadda yadda…She agreed and we finished that convo….seemingly she understood.

    Friday night I take shots of the game on a card. It was late when we got in…so I just stowed the back pack away and went to bed. We had early Soccer games the next AM with the girls.

    Saturday, I’m at the field coaching the girls Soccer and STBX shows up with the camera and starts to shoot….OK…..no worries.

    I get home and later that day, she has shot Flowers, And two different kids Soccer games on the same card as the Varsity game……..

    That is four different folders for me……almost 30 minutes to DL ~450 photos and then I have to go and “check mark” each photo to go into each folder…..Sheesh!!!

    Granted, it is NOT That labor intensive….it’s the idea….

    To solve my problem or to have my wishes respected, I have to A) Go buy more Memory Cards…..or B) get into a bitchen fight to get her to respect what I have asked of her….

    Can anyone understand how frustrating it is?? And she is oblivious to the fact that I am upset at this system…….Here I have three cards and all should be fine for me, but because of her laziness (Why can’t she just take a moment in her busy “Stay at home Mom” life to DL the 7 cards in her desk?) I have all this added aggravation.

    I can’t go on….I could but I shouldn’t think about it any further….just cave in, go buy more cards and look the other way………….

    • Mr. E
      October 26, 2009 at 8:55 pm

      So if you use her cards, you’re invading her space, but if she uses your cards it’s OK?

      Nope, nothing frustrating about that. ;) Just like there was nothing frustrating about getting CHEWED OUT for not replacing an empty toilet paper roll one time, and then constantly finding empty rolls she’s left for me to replace.

      It’s not wrong when SHE does it, just when YOU do it.

    • Q
      November 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

      perhaps you could set some boundaries – “I will be formatting all of my cards this weekend. Please download the pictures you want off them before then.”

      Or, download them for her and label the folder with her name. That’s what I do in my similar situation.

    • Trebor
      April 27, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Ah yep, I recognise that. Mine had a thing of always making a big mess of shoe brushes and shoe polish — she always got crud in them and they were unusable. I have a system with my brushes (won’t bore you with the details) so for a while I kept my own set of brushes and polish in my office — so she wouldn’t mix them up and mess them up. When she found them she want ballistic for ‘not sharing them with me’. I told her that I didn’t want my brushes and polish to get covered in crud — and it triggered one of her rages and the sulking lasted for days :-(

  8. JT_Fan
    October 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the insightful blog. It sounds as though this was an experience you will never forget and prompted us to find out what it was we were dealing with. I know what you mean about the attraction being so strong that you seem to be drawn into the brainwashing even though your instincts are telling you that something is very wrong. I found that the NPD / BPD has honed their craft to abuse the helpers, rescuers, and sympathetic hearted people. We truly do not want to believe that the admiration they show for us is a ploy to pull us into their controlling world. One of the difficult things for me was the realization that the BPD person I spent 9 months with truly did not exist. Everything that was shared was by design and none of the core qualites they claim to have are actaully real. They have the victim role down to a science and it fascinates me about the diverse friends they aquire that fit the true personality and the fake one. I’m truly happy that you were able to pull away and remove yourself from the abuse. This website is a blessing and it describes the behaviors of NPD / BPD people so acurately that it’s alomost like having your own therapist.

  9. Mike91163
    October 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Greetings everyone! Here’s a true story from just two days ago…

    Friday afternoon, my wife has an eye doctor appt. She last had one 2 yrs ago, and when she got her new glasses then, she had great difficulty with them. Now, I had worked in the optical field for quite a few years, and while the change wasn’t that big, everyone is different, so after trying them for a couple of weeks, she gave up and went back to her old glasses. OK, fine…but recently she’s been having eye strain headaches and a tough time reading.

    Anyway, we’re in our car, have just left the house, heading down the street. She says “I know they’re going to change the glasses, and I hope I can adjust to the new prescription.”

    I reply, and I quote EXACTLY: “Well, the last time they made a substantial change in the distance, and you couldn’t deal with it.” (“It” being the change) Uh-oh…

    Her, screaming: “What the f**k do you mean, I couldn’t deal with it? I wore the f**king things for two weeks-why are you saying I couldn’t deal with it? Why do you always have to be so f**king negative? You’re always a negative person, always with the negativity!!!”

    Me, as calm as I can be: “No, I’m not being negative-”

    Her: “Yes you are! You said I couldn’t deal with it, like it was MY fault.”

    Me: “No, I said there was a substantial change in the distance-”

    Her, really screaming now: “You never f**king said that! What are you trying to do, make me think I’m crazy? (umm, well, you are, but…) You always do this sh!t to me, trying to make me think you said something when you didn’t say sh!t! (begins violently pounding dashboard with fist) YOU DO THIS TO ME EVERY F**KING TIME, trying to make me nuts! Motherf**ker!”

    At this point, I just shut down…said nothing, focused exclusively on the road. Once we got to the doctor’s office, it was like NOTHING ever happened, and the rest of the day and evening was the same. Naturally, I walked along on that razor’s edge, making damn sure I did nothing to trigger a repeat…

    So, in this short 3-5 minute episode, we dealt with gaslighting, splitting, and a full-blown rage fit, complete with a torrent of language and abuse that would make the hardiest sailor blush…

    Let me ask “Recovering” and the other women who have dropped in here and “claim” to have BPD a question: How long are us guys supposed to tolerate this abuse? Why do WE have to adapt? Why do I have to adjust what I say, knowing FULL WELL that any NORMAL person would have heard the COMPLETE sentence, and even if they were offended, would not have erupted the way my wife did? Why do WE have to live in FEAR 24/7 that the most innocuous things that are said or done could trigger a rage of epic proportions? Answer THESE questions, “Recovering”, and please don’t give me your “if you love someone enough…” line-we’ve BEEN doing just that for many years, and just can’t do it anymore…

    • Freedom
      November 18, 2009 at 2:47 am

      Hey Mike,
      let me add something here to go with what you just said. be it the person on here named “Recovering” or some other person who thinks they have all the answers to your situation, yet never spent a minute in your shoes, WHY do they think they have the right to pick how much abuse YOU get to take? why do they feel the need to pick YOUR breaking point? “if you love someone enough…” how about if you love someone enough you learn to treat them as a person of value in your life, with dignity and respect, not as a beast of burden that she can whip to do her bidding. i used to tell my ex over and over again… the words you use and the anger you display are not going to be tolerated, they will never be ok, you do not get to treat me in this manner. and if it persists, i’m gone. time after time, i stood my ground. she kept coming with even more of the same, only louder, more consistent. so i got out. and i’m STILL the evil rotten rat bastard because i left for my own sanity.

      and for anyone who witnessed the garbage she put me thru to tell me that i need to “stick it out” or “if you love someone enough, you’ll be willing to look the other way while being treated like this”, my response would be something to the effect of “then you’re just as bad as the person who is doing this to me”. look the other way… ummmm…. no. life is way too short to be treated like that. and no one, in my life, gets to decide that but me. the more you sit there and take it, the more you’re enabling them to continue doing it. and you’d think that would be obvious to those who want to choose your breaking point.

  10. Freedom
    October 9, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Perhaps this is a good analogy, perhaps not.

    You lose your wallet on a trip/journey to wherever it is that you want to go. now… you can waste the entire trip/journey obsessing over the lost wallet, beat yourself up over it, even waste time time going retracing your steps to find the lost wallet, tho you know it is gone. of course we’d all go back for a little while to try to find it. but sooner or later you gotta realize that the wallet is lost, you need to replace that which is lost, take care of your affairs to make sure the lost wallet – and all that you were carrying in that wallet – doesn’t come back to haunt you… and then you move on. the wallet is gone… that doesn’t mean your world needs to come to a screeching halt. identify, realize, and move on.

    REMEMBER THESE MANTRAS (a variation of what Dr. T said in a previous column):

    she is who she is…

    the relationship is what it is – – or was what it was…

    you can’t fix her…

    you can’t fix the relationship…

    you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is unhealthy…

    staying in will only make you unhealthy…

    she wants to devour you, and any morsel is tasty…

    whatever you do, it won’t be enough…

    this is not a bad reflection on you, cuz no one can survive…

    no amount of love, effort, or understanding or support will be enough cuz she will always find a reason to be unhappy…

    her version of love is all about control, and you are/were her beast of burden – someone she can harness and guide and whip to do her bidding…

    she was like this LONG before you got here…

    the answers to the question of “why is she like this?” you won’t be able to understand because it’s not meant to be understood…

    she will not take responsibility for anything wrong…

    there are no workable answers…

    it is a no-win situation…

    no matter what you do… YOU WILL LOSE… you are not allowed to win in any given situation… and it doesn’t matter how right you are, you’re still wrong. and the more right you are, the more problems you will face (see all of the above mantras).

    and then ask yourself, “why am I doing this?”. love doesn’t conquer all. find a better girl. there are plenty of them out there.

  11. dc
    October 9, 2009 at 2:52 am

    wow…she just left me a message saying i cheated on her with a co-worker 4 years ago. Im sneaky and untrustworthy. Oh and I looke like “shit the other day when she saw me.”Plenty of guys would love to be with her etc…I am no longer depressed. it could be a temporary enlightment but i feel invigorated for some reason. Just thought I would share this as it seems this is an m.o. and really loving person. exactly the behavior to the T decsribed on thsi site. This site has been incredible for me to realize I am not crazy. Thank you DC

    • jham123
      October 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      Now you are talking….No you aren’t crazy. Stop beating yourself up as well.

      You didn’t sign up to be Priest with no sex for ever…

      You didn’t sign up to be invalidated as a man….

      You reacted.

      If you poke a cute little fuzzy puppy with a stick for a long enough period of time….that cute puppy will react negatively soon enough to you.

      The Invigoration you feel is the same as a prisoner being released from jail…Only you were wrongly convicted of any crime.

  12. dc
    October 9, 2009 at 12:30 am

    excellent advice. I am going to do just that. I am taking the power back for me and moving on. I do feel bad for some of the things I did and said but i am Man enough to acknolwedge that I was wrong. it hurts but im not going to be a whipping post for her insecurities any longer.

    • shrink4men
      October 9, 2009 at 12:31 am

      Good for you!

    • Mike91163
      October 9, 2009 at 1:24 am

      DC: ATTABOY! Now you’re talking!

  13. dc
    October 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    no i cheated on her and at times didn’t treat her with proper respect for a women or a person for that matter. but i thought we dealt with these things and yet they seem to keep coming up as a negative. I am willing to take responsibility for my actions. I’m just concerned this is turning into a “why i suck” fest.

    • Kev.
      October 8, 2009 at 11:57 pm

      Hi DC,

      I hate to break it to you, but as long as you keep her in the loop, this will continue to be a “why you suck” fest.

      You said you’re willing to take responsibility. You say also you thought this was dealt with. How many times are you willing to keep taking responsibility? Because she will NEVER LET THIS GO as long as you continue to maintain contact.

      You messed up. You’ve taken responsibility. There is nothing further you need to do, nor is there anything you CAN do that will make her let go of it. In my own case, it was an imagined infidelity (scratch that – several imagined infidelities) that I paid for, repeatedly. I, too, thought a number of times it had been dealt with. Yet, as you said, it kept coming up.

      Let it go. You’ve apologized (I’m sure). You’ve taken responsibility. Let it go.

      There is nothing – NOTHING – you can say or do that will get her to let it go. If your relationship with her is over, then you don’t need to keep up this game. There is no closure, as Dr. T has written. You will never get it from her. Additionally, you don’t need it from her. She will string you along, and string you along, letting you think one day you might be worthy of her acknowledgment. That day will never come. And if it appears to, it’s only because she wants something from you.

      If anything, she is not worthy of YOUR atttention, and continued self-flagellation.

      I’m a little worried about your therapist, if he/she is pushing for this meeting. It won’t help. It won’t give you the results you desire. It will only backfire and make things worse.

      Break free. Let it go. You messed up. It’s human. Don’t do it again. You admitted it. End of story. You require nothing further from her.

      I wish you the best…

    • Mike91163
      October 9, 2009 at 12:22 am


      I had to re-read your original post just to make sure…but the way I read it, you and this woman were STRICTLY in a boyfriend/girlfriend type of relationship, right? You never married her, right? OK then..and I hate to sound harsh, but-

      DROP HER, and “IT”, NOW!

      “Your” therapist sounds like a real ass…let’s face it-unless you have other legal or financial ties to this woman (which I already addressed), ENOUGH. You say you’ve admitted your mistakes; why the insistence upon closure? Read the posts, man…there is NEVER closure with these women…particularly if YOUR therapist (or YOU) are gonna keep going round ‘n’ round about it. Drop the freakin’ therapist while you’re at it…it’s fairly obvious that they seem to be “stringing” you along for $$$…the more times you go to them, THEIR cash register keeps going “ka-ching”!

      DC, let me tell ya something: I have gotten SO much better advice from Dr. Tara and the other participants here on this blog than I ever got in the “couples therapy” sessions I went to last year!

      You were man enough to face up to what you did, you took your lumps, now MOVE ON with your life.

    • jp
      October 9, 2009 at 1:57 am


      I blew up my marriage with an affair that I regret about as much as you can regret anything.

      I aplogized, begger her forgiveness and tried to make amends.

      For two years after she booted me, I gave my wife 100% of my 6 figure salary so she could stay home with our toddlers and have plenty of time to get back on her feet professionally.

      When I wasn’t working the two full-time jobs this required, or taking care of my kids, I was basically curled up in a ball, consumed with regret and self-hatred. I fantasized about suicide constantly.

      All ‘our’ friends abandoned me. I was more isolated than I’d ever imagined possible. Meanwhile, with her at home with time enough to collect new friends, her social circle exploded. On nights where she’d be hosting weekly parties of 20 people, I’d be tending bar till 3:30 am (after working my day job too), or at home on a night off, too broke to meet a friend for a drink. I went two years without a day off, three years without a vacation.

      And I apologized some more. I asked again to come home. She said no way and punished me ceaselessly with covert emotional and verbal abuse. In fact, as time went on, she got angrier and nastier.

      Near the end of the two years I was hospitalized when exhaustion compromised my immune system and a scary virus left me too weak to steer my car.

      It cleared up in a week and I was back to the two jobs. When I told her that two years was enough, and that I had to phase out the second job or risk being hospitalized again, she flipped out about the inevitable reduction in her financial support even though she was back at work by this time….part time RE broker.

      I tried to get her to see reason…I said to her, “what would you do in my position?” and she screamed, “I’D FEED MY CHILDREN!” and slammed the door in my face.

      I knew it was crazy, but I had to show her that I was at heart a “good guy” so in year 3 I still gave her much much more than my state’s support guidelines require.

      She hired a weekly cleaning lady, hosted dinners and parties throughout the week, while I remained too broke to go on a date or get an apartment with a second bedroom for my kids to sleep in.

      I met with her and her therapist to make my case that this was unfair. After calmly explaining my position her shrink told me I had rage issues.

      Now it’s year 4 and I ‘only’ give her what the guidelines require…which is around 50% of my take home pay, and more than enough to cover every single one of our kids’ expenses with a sizable pile left over to help with her rent, car payment, etc.

      She’s furious that I won’t pay for additional school fees and extra-curricular activities.

      dc, are you seeing a pattern here?

      I was faithful and devoted (and frustrated and starved for affection) for 14 years. Then I had an affair. It had a beginning, it had an ending. I was genuinely contrite. I did everything humanly possible to make amends and support her. I was ready to reconcile at any time. I’m an excellent, devoted father.

      And all of it MEANS NOTHING TO HER compared to the injury her ego suffered over the affair.

      I realize now that had I given her just the guideline child support starting the week I moved out, I’d be at EXACTLY the same place I am now with respect to how she treats me, except I’d have spent the last 3 years working one job, enjoying vacations, staying healthy, and buying a house.

      dc, people make mistakes. Sometimes they make really big ones. You’re hardly alone. Even in countries where adultery is punishable by DEATH people still do it.

      There is a time for regret and contrition. And then that time is over, and you move on.

      Good luck,

  14. dc
    October 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you everyone for the comments. i have a follow up. I met with a therapist today and i feel like everyone seems to think that my behaviour was the problem. I have taken responsibilty for my actions as I was disloyal to her and and disrespectful to her. Through therapy I have come to understand were that came from.I also think her behavior, that being the verbal abuse, the outright fits and the outright attempt to demean me were obvious contributing factors. In fact, I think they were a major factors of me emotionally withdrawing. My therapist recomended that I ask her to come to therapy so i could get closure and explain were my actions came from. I asked her and she reluctantly agreed to come and listen but i have to bring a check for the money I owe her furniture etc. She also proceeded to tell me recently that she was transferring in her job because there was nothing for her here. She then admitted she lied to me and that there is no pending transfer. In addition, she has told me that she didnt want to attend therapy session because it would get my hopes up and there is little chance she would ever go back to me. I am alarmed as i think i am walking into a giant set back emotionally if I lay my emotions on the line and she out right says thats great not interested and were is the check? Should I just say thank you for agreeing to come but I cant do it? and go against my therapists advice? i have already revealed to my therapist some inportant info she did not inform her of when she went the 1 time. I need advice ..thank you. DC

    • shrink4men
      October 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm


      Quit apologizing to your ex and quit blaming yourself. If you reacted poorly to her behaviors it’s probably because you developed a trauma response to her abuse.

      The only reason she agreed to attend your therapy session is to extort money from you. I don’t think your therapist understands the kind of woman you’re dealing with—-there is no closure with an abuser, at least not in the way your therapist is trying to arrange.

      Please read this post:

      Divorce and Break-Ups: There is no closure with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman

      Then this one:

      Why Couples Counseling Rarely Works with Narcissistic and Borderline Women

      And then this one:

      10 Things You Need to Do After Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman

      Your ex is a liar and a predator. She emotionally abused you. How exactly were you “disloyal” and “disrespectful?” By standing up for yourself? For not sitting there and taking her abuse like a good little boy?

      My advice is to EMAIL your ex and tell her you don’t feel it’s necessary for her to come to your therapy session, now or ever. Then tell her you agree that it’s best you not get back together. Wish her well and then END ALL CONTACT.

      Then find yourself a therapist who understands the trauma NPD/BPD individuals inflict on their partners and work on healing from this soul-crushing, self-esteem grinding encounter you had with this woman.

      Stop feeling sorry for yourself, snap out of the fog this woman has you stumbling around in and get street smart. She is an emotional predator and extortionist.

      Don’t focus on closure. Focus on building your immunity to this woman’s manipulative BS.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • Mike91163
      October 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm


      Doctor T’s advice is right on..GET OUT AND STAY OUT!

      I would only add this:

      IF you indeed LEGITIMATELY owe her money for something, get a certified bank check (since you’ll have a hard-copy receipt of who it’s made out to), and send it to her via UPS or Fedex, signature required, or certified mail return receipt. Once you have proof in hand, get this blood-sucking vampire virus out of your mind for good.

      • shrink4men
        October 8, 2009 at 10:48 pm

        Great point, thanks Mike!

        Also, apologies to everyone for not keeping on top of all the comments the last week. I was under the weather and now am working under a deadline for a Beta launch next week for the company I work with, which I will write about next week here.

  15. Mike91163
    October 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Nick:

    While reading your comment, I have NO idea what made this pop into my head, but I realized that Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me” song was quite an appropriate theme…here’s a link:

    Oh how true the video and lyrics are! “…every now and then, I wanna talk about me…” yeah, wishful thinking…

  16. Bob
    October 8, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Thanks for all who confirmed what I really already knew about my wife’s behavior–much of what was said here reminds me of a phrase from AJ Mahari who is a gifted writer for persons who live with borderlines (she calls us “non borderlines), which is the futility of “making sense out of the senseless”.

    My biggest issue seems to be that even when I become completely rationally convinced that this relationship is completely unhealthy and I must leave for my own sanity and soul, I have not yet had the ability to summon the strength or courage to do so–I am not generally a fearful person, but for some reason I have intense fear and guilt about telling my wife this–so much so that I’d “rather” keep going-suffering in silence–than feel the intense discomfort of telling her it is not working and I need to leave.

    This further makes me feel quite–well there’s no other word I have to say–cowardly–about this, not much different that someone who has a toothache, is afraid of the dentist, and “chooses” to have his tooth decay and become ill rather than summon the will and courage to go to the dentist.

    Any tips or advice on this would be appreciated–though I think that perhaps my problem is so “fundamental” and basic to human growth and development that it is almost a matter of” either you find the strength to do something, or you don’t, and then suffer the consequences.

    • jham123
      October 8, 2009 at 12:49 am

      All good points Bob, all very valid……and yet I sit here just like you, without the courage to do what needs to be done and secretly growing ever more angry with myself for doing so.

      I’ll…..We’ll….figure it out soon enough.

      • nick
        October 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

        guys, what happens is eventually there is nothing left of the relationship. I honestly got to the point where all i had was the once every ten days or so…one sided sex. the rest of my time was spent being “less than” and “never good enough” meanwhile she shot off in every direction…never happy…always bitching and putting on a false persona for anyone she needed to impress or sell something to. For me and others in her close circle, the person we got was usually pissy and complaining…alternatively needy. And lets not forget the never ending drama. Again, you havet o ask yourself-what the hell is it -that your hanging onto? Will this person ever put you first. Will she ever ask “what can i do to make YOUR life better hon?” When will she build you up instead of being the confidence eating cancer she personifies? The answer is never! The false person of your early days will not return. It downright sucks…the reality of it all.

  17. dc
    October 7, 2009 at 12:22 am

    I am currently going through a rough time due to a 10 year relationship being just completely abandoned by my ex and I started reading things regarding her behavior. I simply cannot believe that “I am not the one to blame.” She got up and left and blamed me as I “pushed” her to a point she could not take it anymore. I have no idea what the hell she means by this other than i did start to stand up for my perspectives and began to slowly withdraw emotionally. I then suggested we see a therapist as she would continuously berate me about not marrying her. I wasted 10 years of her life etc…During the relationship I cannot begin to describe the amount of times that her irrational behavior and tirades were so full of hate. She would say, “A real man” would do this. Or my perspective was crazy and there was absolutely no compromise in her at all. Now I have to say I am an intelligent, young professional but she actually would use my intellect to say I was demeaning her. By giving a more well rounded perspective etc..the verbal abuse was so vicious I would have to just get up and leave sometimes. Sometimes she would say sorry sometimes she wouldnt. The anger in this person is so deep that after 3 weeks if break up she has stated that she hates me at least 4 times. Everything is my fault etc. During our relationship she would fly off the handle about the smallest of issues and then cover about 6 different topics that had nothing to do with the original argument. I use that term “argument” on purpose because I do not recall the last time there was an actual discussion. Everytime a topic was raised it was an argument and regardless if I said I understand your perspective the answer I gave simply was not good enough. I can’t believe I allowed her to manipulate and emotionally abuse me to the point that I began to question my identity and perspectives. I would not marry her until we went to therapy and discussed her behavior and why the relationship had really hit a standstill. She moved out to get some ‘space.’ Went to two therapy sessions by herself and then told me she didnt want to be with me anymore because it was too much work and I had done too many things to her in the past. She then proceeded to bring up issues from, and i do not kid, 5 or 6 years ago that I thought were discussed and concluded mutually. This one, however, really caught me off guard. She was the Maid of Honor in her best friends wedding a year ago. She was not sure if she would have enough money (which was always an issue) so of course I volunteered to help out if needed or whatever support she needed. I helped he with her speech etc..She continuously complained about being the Maid of Honor and that no one would help her etc… To the point, however, she was obviously in the wedding party so she had her things to to do that day. i arrived at the wedding at 4:30 and then around 10:30-11pm I decided it was a wrap for me. I told her to enjoy herself and be careful etc. She drank some more with the wedding party and got home about 1am.No problems. Then all of the sudden as she is telling my why i am a horrible boyfriend and why she is leaving she says the fact that I didnt stay at the wedding until 1am was a slap in her face and any other boyfriend would have stayed. It just shows what type of person I am and she does not want that kind of person in her life. At this juncture I simply am stunned and ask her what in the world she is talking about ? She then says, “see you dont see anything wrong with that.” Again, stunned I said, “what did I do wrong?” And why did you never say anything to me ? Her answer “I should not have to.” Please tell me I am not insane. This is just one example of the hundreds of similar arguments that I start out saying “you are crazy “and i walk away saying “maybe I am wrong.” There were also many issues of not taking care of her, being there for her etc. I often felt she was looking for a father rather than a partner in life. When i voiced my opposition it was a huge argument and “I was crazy.” Needless to say, I am devastated by the fact that after 10 years she has simply said ok im not happy bye bye. I am beyond depressed and am questioning what I did wrong? I do this although I do not think it was my fault. I do take responsibility for my actions and I did cheat on her 5 years ago but I though we discussed this and moved on, yet it was always raised as a point of contention with her. Of course, the fact she did the same thing to me was irrelevant and she would often say you are “tit for tat.” The point I was always trying to make, however, was that I forgave and Forgot about her slights but she NEVER let go of mine. She now says she hates me, everything is my fault and she is not attracted to me anymore. More hurtful statements until the end. I started therapy on my own and it did strike me as odd that when we were suppose to attend therapy together is the time she bolted. Not sure of the correlation. I hate to say this because again I am an intelligent, handsome young professional with a lot to offer but i am an emotional wreck. Her rational is that i would not marry her and a myriad of issues that have all the sudden popped up. She says we are done yet will send text messages here and there and to my astonishment she has already started dating three weeks into a 10 year break up. I really need some input….Thank you DC

    • jham123
      October 7, 2009 at 2:57 am


      Wow, you are just at the stoop of awareness. First and foremost you should be happy at this point. You didn’t marry her and you have no kids. I know that you are feeling depressed but that is the spell they cast over you. It is not love….you are just lost as you don’t have your abuser around to tell you what to do.

      Listen, read the blog, Dr. T has put a ton of info on this site and it is all here for you to benefit from. Read the whole site….every syllable. all the input you need is here in the form or Dr. Ts articles or the replies “us guys” have written.

      A clean break…..I envy you immensely

    • nick
      October 7, 2009 at 4:19 am

      DC…be cool…don’t freak out and DO NOT beat yourself up. I went through 15 years of the same kind of crap…10 married. BELIEVE ME. It aint you! Keep nosing around this site and you will find variations of your same story.

    • Mr. F
      October 7, 2009 at 11:26 am


      Dig around here mate, you will see many people who have shared similar experiences, and the doc’s advice is golden…..read as much as you can and make yourself aware of what these ladies are capable of doing to your mind…

      Sometimes in these situations the women make a false self to hide their lack of empathy and ability to feel real emotions, which is why they can leave after such a long time and be with someone else straight away.

      A sane person won’t do this because they correct themselves from the last mess before meeting someone new, so as to make things better next time. She is running away from her issues by doing this, and karma doesn’t miss out people who run ;)

      Keep your head up and try not self doubt……it takes 2 to tango, and thats in a healthy relationship mate, in these scenarios the tango is out the window and we get danced on!

    • shrink4men
      October 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm

      First of all, thanks to nick, jham and Mr F for being so supportive.

      Second, keep reading, DC. From your description, your ex sounds like a narcissist or has some strong narcissistic tendencies.

      The best advice I can offer you is to enforce a strict NO CONTACT policy with this woman. Do not reply to texts and emails. Do not answer when she calls. Do not open your door when she knocks on it. You need to go cold turkey and sort out your head. Re-read the story you posted above. If this were happening to your best friend, what would you advise him?

      Try to take yourself and your emotions out of the equation and look at what you wrote as clearly and objectively as you can. Women like you ex are like emotional radar scramblers. They confuse and disorient your feelings and judgment. Don’t make excuses for her behavior and don’t try to understand it. This will only keep you confused and hurting.

      Her behavior was abusive, irrational, unreasonable, crazy and wrong and you deserve better. Period. You didn’t do anything wrong; she did. I strongly encourage you to get some support and talk to your friends and family. Ask them what they think and tell them not to worry about sparing your feelings. If you’re not comfortable doing that, find an objective third party like a therapist or coach. I offer private services if you can’t find anyone in your area.

      Bottom line, you need to clear the fog this woman put in your head and see her very clearly for what she is or the pain will only continue.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  18. Brady
    October 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I discovered this site after the beginning the quest to find answers to my ex’s behavior. I acknowledge that I am far from perfect so it is hard for me to “diagnose” my ex as being a BPD, however many of the posts I have read I can relate to exactly as if I had wrote them myself.

    I have been on and off with this girl for close to 3 years and the last breakup being number 4. She is the one that ends them and it is me that takes her back when she seeks me out as I patiently wait hoping that this time things will work out. It is so hard to not be objective about the situation when I believe there is a side to her that truly cares about me, even when she puts me down, throws her fits, slams doors, etc. I could write a book about everything that I have gone through with her.

    After the last breakup we didnt speak for a month and now for the past couple of weeks she has been “sneaking” into my house a couple of nights a week while i am sleeping and crawls into bed with me.
    Last week she came over and basically said that she wanted to spend one last night with me to say goodbye and that we can never be together anymore. We got into an argument and when I brought up a few things that she didnt know that I knew, she just up and left and said to take care of myself.

    I feel sad in some way thinking that we will never talk again, even though I know everyone will say it would be a blessing for me. I am in such a tough place as far as how I care about her and love her but can never seem to get past trust issues from the past with her that eventually lead to the downward spiral of our relationship and in a way feel that I let her down.

    Hopefully the logical side of me will be able to suppress the emotional side of me that often puts me on a wild rollercoaster ride of feelings so I can once and for all move on with my life.

    • shrink4men
      October 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm


      First, “sneaking into your house” at night is actually “breaking and entering” and it’s illegal. If a man did this to his ex-gf, he’d be arrested for stalking and B and E and have restraining orders issued against him.

      Change your locks, lock your windows at night and if she does this again call the police.

      You need to get a support system in place and call them when ever the emotional side of your brain tries to take over. I also encourage you to write down every nasty, hurtful thing she ever said or did to you and keep copies of it by your computer, your phones, your carrier pigeons—whatever form of communication you both use—to remind yourself why it is a blessing she’s out of your life—well, for now anyways.

      You apparently confronted her with the truth of her behavior, which is like shark repellent to these women. She scurried away to lick her wounds and to put her defenses and delusions firmly back in place. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you hear from her in another 4-6 weeks.

      Use that time to build your strength. Hang out with friends, family—the people who really care about you and tell them about what you’ve gone through. Start doing the things you used to enjoy before she consumed all of your time. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Take care of yourself.

      The healthier you are, the less susceptible you’ll be to her, for a lack of a better word, “charms.”

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Brady
        October 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm

        Thanks for the advice Dr. T.

        I find that each breakup becomes easier but I still find myself questioning what the truth was behind her actions. She was set to go overseas for a year and she entrusted me to take care of her house and finances while away. She also seemed to expect me to propose to her before she departed. I was a bit apprehensive about doing so because of issues from the past and in part due to the pressure from her constantly talking about a getting a ring.

        I find myself thinking about her often but it does not invoke a great emotional response. Im sure Ive been densensitized over the years of dealing with this. I remember the first breakup being a great mental tribulation for me… many sleepless nights and overwhelming anxiety at the very thought of her. My job leaves me with 3-4 months off during the winter and I know that this bothered her immensely even though I tried to explain to her that me body needs the down time to heal from the rigors of 60-70 hour weeks doing construction. As much as I tried to help, it was never enough. I was shortly after booted out. It was hard being yelled at that cold winter day in front of her 2 kids telling me that my stuff better all be gone as well as me when she comes home after work.

        One thing that concerns me is that I was so carefree when I first met her and now im worried about being able to trust anyone in the future. She could talk to any guy and I would not care, in fact this bothered her because it appeared I didn’t care enough. I did not exhibit any signs of control because thats not me and also I firmly believe love demands a choice… free will. After time eroded my trust in her I would find myself going through her phone after strong suspicion and would almost always find inappropriate texts from old bf’s. I confronted her about it one time and the response was as I feared and we separated shortly after. I made every effort to trust her this last time, but after a few months she would again start texting them and I remember one friday night after work her texting “nobody” for 2 hours while I watched tv. The facial expressions were enough to invoke strong doubt. It was a convo that I wish I had not looked at, but like an ostrich, back into the sand my head went. This ate at me until we went on a trip and we got into an argument at the hotel. I said my piece and was through dealing with her so I pulled the sheets over the separate bed I knew I would be sleeping in. She become infuriated and ripped all the bedding off of me onto the floor, which I gathered up and pulled over me again. This was one of many event filled nights I wont miss.

        I wish I was not so bound and determined to find the truth about her. Is she traumatized by not having a father growing up, the failed marriages she went through, her daughter leaving her to live with her dad. She said she always comes back to me because I understand her and can deal with her best. I want her to be happy but I cant walk on eggshells the rest of my life either.

      • jham123
        October 6, 2009 at 2:26 am


        She is sick……Read the Blog and answer for yourself the “why’s”. Your problem is that you are looking to her for the answer to “why” and you’ll never get there from here….

        I’ve been in your shoes for 18 years…there is no answer inside THEM. Dr. T has written out all the answers for you.

      • shrink4men
        October 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm

        Hi Brady,

        I strongly encourage you to stop wondering about “why” your ex is the way she is. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

        Instead, focus on why you’re letting this abusive, sick woman have so much control over your thoughts and emotions. Wondering why a tornado destroyed your home and not your neighbor’s doesn’t do anything except make you crazy. Focus on rebuilding yourself and feeling good again.

        Get in touch with your anger. You ought to be angry with how she’s treated you. Furthermore, her own daughter doesn’t even want to live with her, which is hugely telling. She’s toxic.

        I strongly encourage you to get some support and focus on healing yourself. This woman is probably already torturing her next hapless victim. So you couldn’t “fix” her or “love her enough” to make the relationship work. So what? It is NOT a reflection on you; it’s a reflection on her.

        She’s never going to have a successful relationship. No one will ever be enough for her. She is a black hole and you’re still fighting the pull of that vortex.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

  19. Ron
    September 29, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    By getting out and living a healthy life without a steady diet of this type of abuse.

  20. Mr. E
    September 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    “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.”

    Mr. F – Guilty. ;) Of course, I’m not out yet.

    I think that later in the recovery process, there does indeed come a point where one has to stop complaining about the other person’s rotten behavior and focus on themselves.

    On the other hand, I’ve found the examples other readers have provided very helpful, and I hope the situations I’ve written about have been helpful for others.

    At least for me, writing this stuff down helps me see out completely crazy it is. As does getting some feedback in the form of “Yes, exactly, and here’s what my wife did to me.”

    Dr. T –

    I think this weekend the blinders I’d had on came off completely. Frankly, it’s been a rough weekend. I’ve been wondering why the heck I put up with her garbage for so long, especially since some of it was so nasty. I realized just how constant the criticism is – it’s not all overt nastiness in my case. A lot of it is extremely subtle – barely noticeable. Of course, there’s overt stuff too: she’s even taken to criticizing me during sex recently!

    I’m feeling worn out from carrying the weight of the world for the last 12 years, and angry. I’d thought I was angry before, but now that the doubt about her behavior is gone it comes in waves that are almost overwhelming. I know I need to feel the anger instead of swallowing it, but how can I cope with it in a healthy way?

    • shrink4men
      September 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Mr E,

      Continuing to expose yourself to the abuse isn’t going to help the anger dissipate. I encourage you take care of yourself and get plenty of exercise. Swing away at golf balls. Pound the tread mill. Build something in the shed. It doesn’t matter, just do some physical activity. Plus, if you actually do leave, it’ll help if you’re in tip top, fighting condition.

      Talk to your friends or family and get support. Express your feelings with safe people and try not to let the cancer of abuse eat away at you. Focus on your end goal and keep moving deliberately towards it.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Mr. E
        September 30, 2009 at 6:10 pm

        Thanks for the advice. Recently I’ve been leaping at opportunities to get out of the house. I do have some “shed” projects, so I’ll spend some time working on that stuff, and I’m going to start going for walks at night.

        I’ll have to try to find some safe people to talk with. I don’t really have a confidant anymore, and all of our friends (at least, the ones I hang out with) are mutual – so I’m worried about things getting back through the grapevine.

        Anyway, I’ll keep getting things in order, and get out.

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