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. August 13, 2015 at 2:03 am

    I fell in love with a NPD and I still have a hard time comprehending why she is incapable of thinking more deeply than on a superficial level. She can never explain her extremely hurtful behaviors and when I point them out and ask her WTF, she just tells me I’m wrong, tries to change the subject or avoid by leaving me. I tell her that just because she tells me that I’m wrong doesn’t make me wrong as to why she behaves in a certain ways.

  2. July 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Man, you might as well described my mother. Ladies and Gents, think dating this is bad? Try 18 years of living with it as your normal.

  3. Jessica
    June 27, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Welcome to my husband, the total Narcissist, constantly changing the goalposts, name calling and putting me down, shouting hysterically so the children can hear, vile, vile human being!!

    • shrink4men
      June 27, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Yep, narcissists suck.

      • August 13, 2015 at 2:05 am

        I just don’t get them. I don’t understand how a narc can be so superficial and apathetic, cold and cruel to someone they claim to love.

  4. maerhynes
    March 20, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I stumbled upon Dr. T’s site about a month ago. This article and Dr. T’s site are a Godsend. This article is my wife to a tee. What a torturous existence. As difficult as it is to deal with a BPD spouse, it’s really difficult once you become enlightened to what has been happening to you, and you realize your whole marriage has been a sham. After a month of dealing with some really intense resentment, I’m starting to come out of the FOG and am now coming to grips. I could go on and on with some horror stories, instead I’m going to inject a bit of comedy to mix. Comedy for me is Sort of a way as coping, like looking at the bright side. Here goes…
    Right before my birthday a bond in my front tooth comes loose. I went about looking like Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber for a day before getting it fixed. It ended up costing me about $200. Now, my birthday comes and goes, and I get no cards, no present, nothing. I did get a cake, though that was more for her enjoyment than mine, I’m not big on cake. So I after a few days waiting patienly I finally pose the question, what’s up with my present? She says, “It was your new tooth, happy birthday!”.
    Now, I’m not real big on birthdays and all, but come on! Seriously….what if the roles were reversed????
    Could a man ever get away with that?
    BTW she doesn’t work at all but for a menial job once a month or so that brings in maybe $200-$300 a YEAR! About 2% of what I work my ass off every day to bring home, to HER!
    In her twisted mind she’s resentful that $200 of her ‘hard earned’ money went toward my new tooth!!! Unbelievable. …..

    • maerhynes
      March 27, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Clarification, it’s .2% of what I make in a year (income well into six figures).

  5. March 11, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Dr Tara,

    First, thank you SOOOO much for your blog! It shocks, amazes and sometimes scares me how your words seem to express so precisely what I have been feeling for so long, but strangely unaware of. Oddly enough, after seeing words put to my experience. Now that I look back, I can remember feeling all these things quite clearly. Just believed I was wrong or crazy and that all her attacks on my core as a person were totally valid.

    I am a man who has spent maybe 8-10 years in an increasingly and extremely emotionally/verbally abusive relationship. The exact number of years is unknown, because of the ‘frog in heating water’ analogy…tough to pinpoint exactly when it started, or got to a level to be noticeable as abuse. It builds so gradually that the problem went unnoticed for FAR too long. Just believed her than I was a complete mess and failure. Anyway, I finally woke up (whole other story) and have literally scoured every article I can find on the subject of abuse and biblical divorce, for fear of being a ‘whining, mid-life crisis spouse, simply looking for an excuse’. Although I love and care for her deeply, I can no longer stand to be in the same building with her. Gives me profound anxiety.

    She comes from a European Catholic family where ‘acceptance’ is 100% performance-based and emotions and feeling are never discussed, supported or encouraged. I come from an American Lutheran family where every person’s value is God given and the sharing of feelings are always welcome and respected. I have arranged many meetings with several Pastors, Christian and non Christian marriage counselors and therapists. None seem to have any grasp of this form of abuse, but appeared to try their best.

    Although she no longer calls me the pejorative names she used to, she seems to have upped her skill for (while remaining incapable of saying things in a respectful way) simply criticizing and demeaning the very core of WHO I am as a husband, provider, father and as a human being in general.

    I think the best way to describe the situation is that I am expected to be a content (not happy) robot/machine who performs its duties as and when expected…even if the expectations are unspoken. The moment I fail to do so, or express anything resembling disagreement, individuality or personal struggle (including: humor, independent thought, feelings of loneliness, concern, sadness, etc), I am treated as a malfunctioning piece of equipment which must be verbally beaten back into normal operational conformity (French culture is VERY conformist already). I think I’ve been getting an extra dose.

    My wife comes from a very respected family in France. She is extremely cultured, refined, elegant and any other classy adjective (until we’re alone together). I’m the son of a loving country Lutheran pastor and a school teacher (cliché, right?). In the very early years, she made me feel special, simply by the fact that someone with all the previously mentioned attributes would want to be with me…a simple country boy. This is certainly a contributor to my long-term belief in, and acceptance of, the legitimacy of her tirades. On top of being made to feel like a failure as a human being, I felt culturally, professionally and financially inadequate and inferior.

    In the early years, since I didn’t understand what they were saying, I assumed there was good reason for her family’s arguments and the turmoil. Turns out that the reasons for these explosions could not be more ridiculous. As my French got better and my understanding of her family’s dynamics became more clear, I realized that the emotional intelligence displayed among her family members, and from herself towards me in private, seemed to be at the level of very young children. I grew up being free to discuss feelings and have them addressed with respect and value. My family discusses disagreements respectfully and with a calm tone. In her family, feelings are literally, never discussed. Except anger/rage or stress, but these are not discussed…they burst forth. They have gone to bed crying after a massive argument. Then the next morning, ‘all is fine’.

    When I simply bring up how her past treatment of me and the words said have made me feel, this is precisely how my wife expects me to deal with the past 8-10 years of abuse. And, if I attempt to discuss my feelings with her, looking for ‘dialog’, then I am told, ‘I said sorry. You just say the same thing I’ve heard before over and over. You need to just get over it, you’re too sensitive, negative, depressed, troubled and disturbed. I’m not a psychologist, you need professional help and medication’…which sadly, I tried. It only numbed me further to the abuse.

    I moved to France about 6 years ago to fulfill my promise to live close to her family, if the possibility presented itself. Now on her turf and totally isolated from all my supportive family and friends in the US and isolated in France by language and culture, I became an individual who knows the deepest sense of the word ‘alone’. I think I have a good taste of what Hell is like. On top of this loneliness, anytime I mentioned my feelings of loneliness or that I missed my family and friends, her replies just consisted of attacks on my manliness (not being able to very simply adapt and accept my situation and my duty as a husband) and several other types of attack on who I am as a man and person. ‘Be a man and deal with it’, ‘It’s your normal duty as a husband to do this’, ‘If you can’t handle it, then leave’, etc.

    I admittedly began drinking, not for the social aspect, but because I was less and less inclined to go home to the snake pit and had nowhere else to go. If you don’t already know someone in France it is very difficult to meet anyone who would care. I was never rude, mean or abusive to my wife. I simply could not bring myself to be around her. The thought of going home would make me shake, tremble, nauseous, anxious…you name it.

    She called me every name in the book and without the softening pretext, ‘You are behaving like…’. No, I WAS a ‘________’. Fill in the blank with anything you like. But, as you know happens, as this increased so gradually over the years, I didn’t stop to ask myself whether she was wrong or not and I simply believed everything she said about me, even to the point of defending myself only by responding with, ‘Because, I’m just a big, stupid idiot’, thinking that would be enough for her to call off the attack. NOPE.

    In all the counseling and therapy sessions, whenever I mention anything about her treatment of me, no matter how concisely, lovingly and respectfully I expressed my feelings, she simply dismissed it all by saying, ‘Well, you drank too much’. That is her Ace. It makes all my feelings, challenges of her treatment of me, and all the pain from her words, meaningless. I saw that this move was successful on the face of several counselors. ‘Ok, so she may have been a little hard, but, Aaron…drinking is very tough for a wife to handle.’

    Since having come to the realization that I am not simply garbage and that the rest of my life does not necessarily have to include her degrading treatment and dismissal of my feelings, I have moved out and I have all but stopped drinking. The farther she is from me, the less I even think about drinking…almost a relation which seems you could mathematically calculate. Don’t need it anymore. No longer am I suppressing my feelings and hiding from (or blind to) reality.

    What you wrote about sex was also exactly as my experience. Earned by obedience and even in the process, it felt like performing a medical procedure—with steps. I literally learned to freeze in a particular position and was careful not to move anything or touch anywhere, which may disturb her concentration. If I did, there were facial expressions and sounds of disappointment expressed. YIKES! I was also criticized for not initiating the right way, but your article summed the reason for that up also. How can I have the courage to try, when I have been beaten down in every aspect of who I am as a man? This was another major point of confusion for me. She is very attractive…what was wrong with me? Now I see quite clearly that the idea of proximity, much less intimacy, scared the crap out of me.

    But, I will always wonder. If I were a ‘real man’, a strong and Godly man, shouldn’t I be able to show her enough love and understanding to break her from this curse? Hmm…

  6. January 28, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks Dr Tara – Incredible. Reading these insights into the relationship I have come out of with a BPD partner, has assisted me tremendously in objectively assessing what was wrong
    in our relationship and i am now well on the way with my healing process. The strange thing is that while I was under her constant attempt to break me, I knew she was acting inappropriately towards me but kept giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    I kept attributing her lashing out at me[when drunk at first, then as time went on, she didn’t need the alcohol] with her verbal abuse at me, as the stress she was going through with the loss of her husband of 30+ years [whom she said she detested – I guess that should have raised alarm bells] and the way her manipulative verbally abusive children [CHILDREN!!! – the youngest was 27] were treating her – In hindsight I can see where they inherited that behavior. It truly was a case of my being the frog in the pot of cold water on the stove with her turning up the heat gradually. Although, part of me knew what was being done to me, I always believed my sense of self was strong enough to withstand it and I guess from where I’m at today, I was.

    I knew what was happening to me, that it was illogical the way she was acting and blaming me for her not being happy but I just kept being patient, in denial of what was really happening, believing in the ‘good’ in her and loving her unconditionally, trying to create an environment for her to grow and accept herself. But no – she saw this as weakness and continuously told me what my faults were and projecting her own feeling of inadequacy on to me.

    Everything you have highlighted as traits and the manipulation has been spot on. Thank you.

    My sincere regards

  7. January 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Just want to thank Dr T again for this website. It has been a real lifesaver for me. I found it just before I was about to move in and marry my NPD girlfriend. When I say Dr T saved my life,I mean that literally. My gf was pushing hard to get married. She said she loved me more than she had ever loved any man. And,naive as I was,I believed her originally. She sure knew how to stroke my ego and say just the right thing,at just the right time,in just the right tone of voice,with just the right facial expression. She just had an uncanny sense about those things. But here is what I believe now. I think she just wanted to marry me be cuz of the amount of money she would have gotten as my wife in the event of my death. Thru my employer,my wife would get over 200 grand if I die,from life insurance and money in my retirement plan. Tax free money. And I made the mistake of telling her that early on. I loved her so much I just wanted her to know that if something did happen to me,she would be taken care of. After several months of no contact now,I am able to look back and see things much more clearly. And am starting to better understand some of her crazy behavior. And what I believe now is that her intent was to marry me-then have me killed for the money. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that,but I really do believe that now. As Dr T has pointed out many times,these women are complete sociopaths. Which means that they are all quite capable of MURDER,under the right circumstances. And 200 grand would have created the right set of circumstances for this woman,I now believe. Oh,she would have had to justify it in her mind somehow. But being a complete narcissist she would have had no trouble doing that! “He’s a SOB be cuz he did this…he’s a rotten bastard cuz he said that….he is so cruel cuz he didn’t buy me that 5 thousand dollar diamond ring I want…rotten bastard,I know he’s got the money-or at least he can get it on credit…selfish MF’r! ” u get the picture. She would have kept a score sheet of all my horrific transgressions until she would have finally reached the point where she decided I deserve to die. And she would deserve to benefit from my death. And I don’t think it would have taken long either. Just a few months tops. Forget that I was extremely good to her,loving,kind,patient,forgiving,and took on a lot of debt to help her. To the point I finally had to file bankruptcy. But…forget all that… I deserve to die! The one thing I wonder…how would she have done it? It’s scary to think about it,but I really believe this now. Would she have shot me herself,late one night? (She keeps a pistol in her apartment,in spite of being a convicted felon.) I could well picture her calling the police in a frantic tone of voice,saying she had just shot her husband cuz ‘he attacked me’. And turning on the crocodile tears when officers arrived at the scene. She was always good at that….turning on the tears on demand when it’s to her advantage. But more likely,I think she would have had one of her street thug accomplices do it. Send me to the corner store late one nite on some pretense or another and have him waiting for me. Shoot and kill me and take my wallet to make it look like a common street robbery. And when the police knocked on the door to tell her that her husband was killed in a robbery,oh how I can picture her turning on the tears and sobbing ‘uncontrollably’. She was always good at that. Again,it’s scary to think about it now,and it’s very hard to wrap my mind around this. But I now truly believe this is what she had in mind-and why she was pushing me so hard to get married. Thank God I didn’t do it. And thank Dr T and her website,cuz that’s what finally woke me up. After several months no contact,it still hurts,deeply. But I am doing better,and am starting to heal,albeit much slower than I had hoped. I still experience a lot of sadness when I think of her. A deep,deep sadness. I thought I had finally found the woman of my dreams after being thru so many relationships,only to have it all blow up in my face. I never knew that people like her existed,but I sure as hell know now. And I am working very hard to insure I never get into a relationship like this again. And that means working on my issues-not hers. And more and more,I see why no contact is so important. Time really does heal all wounds,I suppose. But sometimes,it takes A LOT of time. And so it is with this. But I have hopes of a better future,and better times ahead. Thank you again so much Dr T,for all your hard work and insight. Like I said,I now believe that you-literally-saved my life.

  8. October 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    This article for me hit the mail on the head.. It was very informative and made me realise that your wife girlfriend or loved ones could have narcissistic tendendencies. Just coming out of a seven year relationship I can truthfully say I have looked for the answers as to why my former partner acted the way she does. Upon reading the traits I counted 6-7 points which totally described her to a tee. I am not an argumentative person and I never have been so I have watched and listened to her over the years argue in the very same way. It has put my mind a little at ease but it’s obvious there is no getting through to a person like that unless they’re arecwillingvto take responsibility for they’re own actions which she never did. Also apologies was not one of her strong points, she was a pro at denying and name calling and seemed to thrive on the anger she portrayed to me over the years. How can you love someone like that. Thanks for the article I salute your research. A disgruntled man who dated narcissist.

  9. Clara
    June 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I know a female N who is a N socially. She has taken a stance which is unpopular within her social group, but rather than working with the people concerned, or getting out of her own accord because she doesn’t agree with them, has over time whipped the whole thing up intoa Facebook frenzy claiming she is the victim..The interesting thing is that people outside that community who don’t know what she’s like and.haven’t met her coo over her, whereas those who actually have to deal with her can’t stand her. She had had problems throughout her whole life and everywhere she hoes, also because the work she does she doesn’t know the first thing about!
    Oh and should I mention she seduced my ex husband away from me, (she had a partner and was looking for a replacement) then after we divorced placed herself right under the nose of someone with standing in the community. And married them. I think everyone hates her now though cos she needs attention 24/7 and apparently her business is up for sale, probably the only asset she has left!!
    Her Nism is seriously through the roof though it is above and beyond normal, I spoke to someone connected with that community today and voiced my opinion on her GOD did it feel good to get that out after so many years finally I have confirmation of what I thought of this person all along! I feel like a huge cloud has lifted and some of the pain has gone.

  10. Itza Sekret
    March 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    About 3 years ago I found this webpage, for the same reasons you might be reading it now. The “relationship” was on the Rocks and, altho she was pushing for marriage, the landmines kept exploding under my feet. I knew there were “communication” problems (her not listening… lack of empathy) and her expiring H1-B created additional pressure. As did her “outspoken” mother… who had just wrangled some guy (poor sap) into marrying her, thusly giving her access to US citizenship… and all of his pension, land, and assets. Now Momma could devote her Full Strength to manipulating (with money, guilt, you name it) her daughter, my GF. And there were situations where…. if she supposed herself just a little disregarded… she blew a valve. (Like if I fell asleep before she did…) But she seemed to neeeeeed me…. tough childhood, poppa dead, momma incompetent. And she seemed a quick study, with 4 college degrees (high functioning). There was potential, I thought. And I was pretty hooked.

    Long story… shortcut…. with me, she had a chance to grow up as an independent woman and escape her Mom’s narcissism. She took the other path. I read this page many times, letting it sink in… and read many many of the related pages. Things began to make sense.

    After all… I suspect she had only packaged insecurity as devotion to me. As an only child (essentially) her Mom’s training was tooooo Iron Clad. So she betrayed us, and ran to be co-narcisstic with/to Momma. And she betrayed her self, ultimately. And I suspect she may do the same with several more men in her life.

    To anyone reading this blog page the first time… good luck. You will find your way, just as I did. You will see things objectively again, you will have better understanding, and you will feel better. It’s a damned fine, sunny day here.

  11. October 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    As a man, it is sometimes embarrassing to admit to being abused because we are supposed to be the “strong” ones, but I stayed in my marriage for years and my ex showed EVERY one of these signs and convinced me that I was the problem. Even when I finally left, she portrayed herself as the victim and cut off anyone that saw through her. Thank you for sharing this!

  12. Jon
    September 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Firstly, many thanks for your WordPress site shrink4men. I have just read your article “10 reasons why you can’t communicate with a narcissistic or borderline woman” and am currently working my way through the many comments.

    My (female) partner has been diagnosed BPD. She is a text-book case, and the relationship we have fits the template of ‘caring, giving, well-meaning guy’ and ‘energy draining, reality-contorting, BPD woman’. We have been together for 1 ½ years. We have never lived together during that time, but we live fairly closeby to one another.

    I have noticed various episodes throughout the relationship, and only recently have understood that these are commonly referred to as borderline rage. The contortion of reality in discussions also began to lead me to question my own grip on reality. As a person who also works as a coach (albeit in another specialized field), I am fairly aware and in-touch with my own behaviour, always questioning myself first in the case of a dispute or unpleasant exchange. eg. “Did I express myself in a disrespectful manner, and if so, how can I change my behviour to avoid this situation in the future?” etc etc.

    Around three months ago I noticed my usually high energy begin to wane, but put this down to feeling under the weather, or anxieties regarding income and future employment. (I am a professional classical musician. However over recent years I have been coaching/teaching more and performing less, due to several reasons, including the economy. My financial future is uncertain.) I also noticed a general feeling of being drained, and that even small and seemingly insignificant tasks were becoming a struggle. Shortly after I first starting noticing this, I realised that this energy-drain effect was most pronounced immediately after spending time with my BPD partner. I realised that as a ‘giver’ I was certainly giving, which is fine to an extent, but I was not ‘receiving’ from my partner, as she is by and large, a ‘taker’ – a black-hole for positive energy, even though I don’t think this is a conscious decision on her part. For her in her reality, “life is hard.”

    Two months ago, although just the thought pained me, I realised that the situation is probably never going to change – no matter how much I wish it would. Occasionally, my partner would offer a teary apology for her behaviour, stating “It’s not me, I can’t control it” etc. I respected these statements, and as a giver, tried to offer support as well as ideas or possible solutions for how *we* could avoid these situations – or “storms in the brain” as I called them – in the future. However, as mentioned, I started to see past the attractive “Dr.Jekyll” side of the personality – that which I *thought/hoped* was the real core of her personality, and became more aware of the vampyric “Mr.Hyde”. The “borderline switch” as I call it, was turned off at the beginning of our relationship, but seems to be turned on more frequently thesedays.

    At the same time as I started to accept that I would have to leave her, her father became ill. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer, became quickly ill and was hospitalized, and died just over 2 weeks ago. Of course, during the period leading up to his death, there was anxiety, worry, fear, sadness, grief etc – all of these negative feelings that anyone would experience. However, these have triggered the borderline switch of course, which now seems more or less stuck in the ‘on’ position. I have tried to be there as a supoort during this difficult time, but find that my energy reserves are low, and have tried to make this clear to her in a respectful manner, saying that “I want to help more, but I feel drained – like I have nothing left to give”. To complicate matters, in dealing with the funeral arrangements, my partner has discovered that she has 5 half-siblings (I know this to be true from goverment papers about family records – it is not an invented reality). So, she has had one shock after another.

    In addition, several months ago she decided to surpise me by buying ‘me’ a ‘birthday present’. I use inverted commas here because:

    a) The present in her mind is a holiday to France. She has arranged the accommodation. I of course still have to pay for the flight – and it is likely she will expect me to loan her the money for her flight tickets too. (I have already loaned her a considerable sum of money to help her with old bank debts).

    b) My birthday is on the 12th of October, hers is on the 1st of October. The holiday is set to take place from the 29th Sept to the 5th of October.

    c) I have never felt very positive about this particular holiday as firstly I have been to this location 3 times before (which is more than enough) so it’s not a new or exciting thing for me – the last time with her, when I paid for the whole vacation as a birthday present for her, exactly 1 year ago. When I mention that I feel resistance to this, and that perhaps we can find another solution, I am met with the response of: “You can’t take this away from me” and “I’ve been looking forward to this for such a long time now” and “I deserve this after everything I’ve been through recently” and “My father is dead, and you don’t even want to go to France with your girlfriend – what the f**k is wrong with you?!?” and “I’ve worked so hard to arrange this birthday present for you and you don’t even want to accept it. You have no idea how hurtful that is!”

    What I want is for her to learn how to turn off the BPD switch and be as she was in the beginning of the relationship. I’m normally a very positive person, always looking for and focussing on solutions. However, I really feel stuck and lost right now.

    The possible options I see are:

    1) Go to France with her, despite feeling resistance. Hope she gets better. Carry on.
    2) Withdraw and eventually say “I’m empty of energy and need to sort my own life out. So, I am unable to offer you that which you need right now.”
    (of course in a non-toxic relationship it would be obvious that the other partner would offer support. However in this case, I believe that my partner is emotionally unable to do this.)
    3) Take the advice of a friend, who said: “If she acts well, reward her by allowing her a place in your life. If she misbehaves, distance yourself until she realises that she needs to improve her behaviour”
    (A little like applying child psychology I guess)
    4) Take the advice of another friend who said “Concede to reality. She’s a bitch. Tell her to f**k off”

    It was never my intention to write so much here! I guess this situation has been plaguing me more than I realised.

    Any advice will be gladly received!

    • Itza Sekret
      March 12, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Jon – my advice… concede to reality. You didn’t create this, and it’s not your job to fix it. Remember in any “rescuer” situation in real life… the rescuer can become the actual victim. Think about a lifeguard trying to save a swimmer/victim in heavy surf… then the swimmer/victim climbs atop the lifeguard & drowns him. Your vacation story sounds a lot like one of my own – it’s designed to give you a chance to make her the center of your -undivided- attention. Not a vaca for you, my friend. I realize the time has passed, and maybe you’ve moved on with your life already. If not… know that other men have struggled to understand the dichotomy of these personalities/characteristics. They’re both. Or all three. And they’re pretty much inseperable & insoluably distinct. And a real rough ride.

  13. September 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Wow!!! I’ve never heard a woman advocate for the men victims of bpd, for a fleeting moment I actually felt that someday I could reunite with my original self someday, it truly gave me ” hope ” that a female could understand how evil a woman borderline can be to a male psych ……and the fact that she is caring and empathetic assures me that not all women are evil soul sucking emotional vampires out to crush everything that’s good and caring about us as men. These people are like viruses: drop one in a healthy loving family and stand back and watch the destruction happen, and none of them would know what hit them, leaving a long and lasting devastation for many years.
    There is no question in my mind that whoever made, wrote or created the movie ” case 69″ had intimate knowledge of borderline personality disorder first hand, chilling similarities even thou its fictional horror.
    I don,t speak to anyone other then some close family members, and even then my sanity is questioned . You can,t make this shit up ! And if you tried , nobody would believe you, but a borderline could convince the pope he’s the devil.

    Thank you freetobe………….very refreshing.

    • Texan
      September 19, 2013 at 3:04 am

      Steve your comments about no one believing are spot on. I have a whole group of now former friends that don’t believe me and think all the stories I told about my sociopath ex were lies.

      Hell one friend even accused me of fabricating emails and other evidence I showed him to back up what I had been talking about for a long time. That hurt. Bad.

      All they saw for years, was me struggling with depression and anxiety … without knowing the real cause. Once I told them, the sociopath used my past depression as proof that I was nuts. So, she created the severe depression in me and then used that to claim I was mentally “unsound”. Depression doesn’t cause “delusions”, but try explaining that to ignorants.

      I found out she was a big time slut. Was actively involved on various cheating web sites, was doing coworkers/bosses and a good friend, embezzled from the job she got fired from, etc. Killed a pet to get revenge and so much more. I had proof for much of it. But she convinced our mutual friends that I was delusional.

      Instead of wanting to see what kind of creature she really was, they chose to see me as the problem. I’m hurt. I’m frustrated and I feel like the world has been turned upside down.

      They said it sounded too crazy to be true. It WAS crazy and that is the whole point. It made no sense that someone would act like she did. But she did. The Jekyll and Hyde personality, the callous disregard for others, no empathy, fake tears to manipulate, no remorse about anything, ever, extreme promiscuity…

      I didn’t want to believe it either. But I can’t deny what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I made excuses, until the day I caught her messing around with her ex highschool boyfriend.

      • Trebor
        April 27, 2014 at 9:03 am

        Bunny Boiler then!

      • Trebor
        April 27, 2014 at 9:05 am

        I turned to a mutual friend to try to get some support — and that friend turned round and accused me of ‘undermining’ my now ex-wife!

  14. Alla Kirichenko
    August 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    What if you are the parent of bpd and npd grown women. How can you keep relationship with her your grandson and your son in law?

  15. J
    August 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    My god. I’m on the receiving end of all of these behaviours right now with a now former friend. Thank you for giving me insight into what’s going on. Although I was friends with her for many years I always felt I was always walking on eggshells with her and I ended up trying to be supportive of her issues with her partners (even though I pitied the poor chaps). But looking back I realise she used her explosive tantrums to ‘punish’ people and then bat her eyelashes and innocently ask to be friends again (which people always fell for because they didn’t want to be a target for further abuse, they wanted to be civil…) but looking back I was totally enabling her and making her think her behaviour was acceptable. Just scrolling through the barrage of messages I’ve received in the last two days, (which I am ignoring) she is using all of these tactics!
    Thanks again

  16. bill@gmail.com
    July 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks for this. Posts like this are typically about men. So it’s nice to get something to balance it out. Signed, Anonymous Victim of a Narcissistic Ex-Wife

  17. California Grandma
    July 3, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Your article describes my daughter-in-law. She had an agenda from the moment she met our son and that was to completely alienate him from his family. Took her 6 years to accomplish that – it’s almost as though she’s erased his memory. He came from a good family, she did not. Now we’re the bad guys, the enemy and our son is her ‘protector’. We can’t see our grandkids and there is no communication at all.

    There were constant false allegations from her (and he went along), constant criticizing us, blaming us for everything. If they had marital problems, it was our fault because we didn’t show enough PDA when he was growing up. Weird things, and we were always thrown off guard during this six-year period.

    Our granddaughter adored us and especially her Grandpa; I know our son’s wife resented how much our granddaughter loved my husband and sure enough, it came to a complete halt – by floating out innuendos that she didn’t trust my husband with her daughter. Never a specific allegation, just planting little seeds of doubt – which was an evil form of slander. We knew then that she was a danger to us, our well-being and our freedom.

  18. Texan
    June 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Wow. Just read this, and it explains everything. I am/was (status is still undecided) in love with a woman who was never wrong. Everything was always someone else’s fault. Every time facts were brought up to dispel those notions, all hell would break loose. Nasty comments would be made and then very long periods of the silent treatment would occur. I wasn’t allowed to “‘discuss” any issue.

    I never once heard her take personal responsibility for anything. Even when apologies had to be made she would never acknowledged that she did anything wrong or accept her direct part in it. They were always of this sort; “I’m sorry that happened to you” not “I’m sorry I hurt you”. It was baffling.

    She distorts, plays word games, and goes through massive convolutions to avoid simply admitting anything at all… no matter how small. It’s odd, because I’m an understanding and forgiving person (except when lied to). Even the worst of bad behaviors would be met with “ok, let’s try to figure out how to handle this”. But you can’t fix something when the other person won’t acknowledge it.

    Other odd behaviors: She would disappear from my life for a long time, only to appear again out of the blue. If I took the bait, she would pull back again.. leaving me hurt and confused. If I ignored her, she would continue trying to suck me in. Repeat this scenario several times.

    She would claim she loved me, but why would a normal person repeatedly pull away from someone that loved them back?? Mind boggling. Of course, why couldn’t I get her out of my mind and heart? I guess that part is on me, my problem.

    She would also make mountains out of a mole hills. I would say something totally innocuous and she would twist it into some kind of horrible comment. I would often be stunned by her reactions to even compliments (that just weren’t “perfect” enough for her). And those would be excuses for her to pull back again, withdraw and cut me off.

    I understand the concept of “she just isn’t that into you”, but she told me she loved… many times. She pursued me many times after I broke contact.

    I now believe she possibly used me for an ego boost, a backup plan and to gain some pleasure out of inflicting pain on men. I want to believe it wasn’t out of malice, but I’m not sure. She certainly did everything a person can do to emotionally destroy someone. And I’m sure she’s still sitting somewhere thinking “it’s all HIS fault!”… and I don’t even know what I did wrong.

  19. Tam
    May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Can anyone help me with how to deal with a female colleague with NPD. While these women make their mans life a misery, they seem to pick on other women at work and to be honest I have seen my fair share of bullies, but nothing as insidious as this. I am left questioning my own sanity.

    • shrink4men
      May 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Tam,

      I’m sorry you are being bullied at work. First, document every interaction with her. Second, try to have a witness with you if you have to interact with her. Third, do some reading on workplace bullying, mobbing and high-conflict people. Fourth, start looking for a better job or to transfer departments away from her – especially if she has friends in HR or management (oftentimes, bullies do). Typically, when a bully has you in her or his crosshairs, they won’t stop until you’re gone. They then find a new target within 2 days to 2 weeks.

      Dr T

  20. countdemonae
    May 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I was in the dumps closet alcoholic and drug abuser until I viewed this site. My gf has everyone fooled against me even after a stint in jail from Domestic Violence in which I had taken part of. Court Ordered counseling and Anger Management didn’t help. Yeah, the certificate is great, but u still walk away feeling empty. Thank you for the insite and informative reading. Now if I can get her to read this lifes work is half done! :)

    • shrink4men
      May 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Hello countemonae (nice Mel Brooks reference),

      I am sorry to read what you have been through because of your girlfriend. If you think she really fits the behaviors described on S4M, I strongly recommend you do NOT show her this site. Why are you going back to someone who has hurt you so badly and caused you so much trouble?

      I would say half your work is done once you end this relationship and start focusing on yourself. Namely, why you tolerate such behavior from someone who claims to love you and why you’re attracted to such a person.

      Dr T

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