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.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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

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Photo credit:

Foaming at the mouth from Getty Images.

Mouth tape from Getty images.

  1. Joe
    June 27, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I wish you were in the Toronto area Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD. After 4 years 18 therapists, bankruptcy, dangerous sex with 17 men, oral herpes, years of pathalogical lying, arresting me, abuse our 9 year d twin boys with ADHD I have run out of options.

    • shrink4men
      June 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      I’m sorry you’re in such a toxic marriage. There are always options. You may not like the options, but there are options. I work with people via Skype and telephone all over the world. If you would like to work with me, please contact me at shrink4men@gmail.com.

  2. Carl
    May 9, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Wow that’s my wife! She does all of these!

  3. John Harris
    March 19, 2017 at 1:08 am

    I have gone through all 8 pages of comments and I can’t believe other peoples are going through something similar to what I’ve been through. This is so therapeutic to me. I am currently going through a divorce after going through the verbal abuse and disrespect some of you have experienced. I am fortunate to not have had kids with her but none of us leave without scars. The manipulation, the constant lying about trivial matters, and the failure to accept any responsibility for her actions led to me withdrawing and just wanting to distance my self. I hated to leave my stepsons with someone so unstable but I couldn’t “fix” her and she refused any type off therapy to address her issues (BPD, sociopathy). Now, I’m not perfect either. I’m a terrible communicator and I need to do a better job of listening to my partner, etc. The difference is I have enough insight to realize my faults and imperfections. My spouse was incapable. I’m very disappointed things didn’t work out b/c I like being married and coming home to a family. However, it’s almost like it wasn’t a marriage but just one big manipulation. I was a means to an end.

  4. Darren Glow
    February 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you so much Dr Tara for this entire site,i have been with a woman for 24 years and have been to hell and back. Everything is my fault,im the reason she does bad things,she tells me everyone hates me for what ive done,im very good at my work and she has tried getting me the sack,then tell me she was trying to help me,she is NEVER WRONG and even if i sit her down,talk calmly about whats happened she will sit there,screw her face up and then explode,saying its not me,its you. I feel when i talk to people about it they just dont fathom how bad it is,even when i have tried getting professional help,she woul sit there and look all innocent,sucking the professional into thinking that i must have done something to explain her actions. Just recently she said she wants to sell the house,be on her own so she can be herself again,and although I have wanted this to end for a long time i just didn’t know how to leave. Now,believe it or not im so shattered thinking of life without her,shes very attractive to look at and it kills me to think after 24 years one day she will be in someone else’s arms. But after reading all your pages about the NPD/BDP person,wow,its like it was written for me,i will be reading it over and over until the day that horrible feeling in my gut goes and im finally over what ever it is thats keeping me attached and finally be free. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Cheers Darren.G 😊

  5. Mike
    December 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    I’m kind of curious about something though. It seems that for every language spoken whether from a Psychiatric, Astrological or Biblical perspective they are all describing the same thing, the same person, the same illness, the same evil. Scott Peck called them Children Of The Lie. NPD or Borderline Personality with Sociopathic features.

    I’m wondering if astrological signs like Scorpio have more people with these disorders than any other. The typical Scorpio descriptions seems to be describing the very same thing, As does the story of Jezebel and Ahab in the Bible.

    Having experienced this woman first hand up close and personal for much longer than i should have NPD and BPD are far to kind a label. In fact, if there is something beyond evil that would be more accurate!

  6. R. Castagna
    August 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

    I am a Psychologist as well. Only stupid or poorly trained mental health professionals try to treat people with Cluster B disorders, such as NPD and BPD, because they are untreatable, and extremely dangerous as well. Many professionals have had their careers ruined by such women. I managed to get kicked off Quora (a hotbed of such women) by publicly saying I would not treat them, and consider them untreatable and dangerous. DBT is a farce cooked up by a female psychologist with co-morbid ASPD and BPD. Doesn’t work.

  7. Steve
    June 18, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I’ve been in a rollercoaster relationship with a borderline narcissist who strongly subscribed to the covert narcissistic model. In truth, I have huge compassion because I can see the trauma that caused it but, on the other hand, I am concerned about how aware they are.

    I’m told by a therapist that they have no idea what they are doing. My experience however indicates that they are fully aware of what they are doing and simply don’t care. This causes me a lot of confusion and pain. How can a person so in love with you one minute knowingly treat you like that the next. The gaslight is truly insidious.

    I know that my partner has been told many times by others about her problems, she saw a therapist who made no diagnosis and prescribed inner child therapy, but it’s made no difference.

    Ultimately it seems that they fully aware of their problens and simply don’t care enough about their partner to change. The example of trying to prove the world is flat is on the money. They don’t care about the truth, they only care about THEIR truth.

    I have compassion and understanding, the trauma that caused such a strong survival instinct must be huge. I tried to respect it by observing, not judging and accepting her but it’s hard to do when there such anger directed at you. Maybe I’m codependent to try. I need to learn to deal with anger better for sure.

    I finish with another analogy of my experience. Imagine 2 people fall into the ocean with no life jackets. One frantically pushes the other down to keep themselves afloat. Guess who’s who..

    • June 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Hey Steve, Your story sounds extremely familiar. You’ve really nailed the most difficult part about this type of experience. AS you/we are empathetic–we care. Furthermore, it’s sensitive people who are empathetic and caring. Much like it sounds you did, I sacrificed myself, my sanity and joy, in the hopes that there could be change. I know my ex had a very hard childhood and that made me very compassionate and understanding to her behavior. The problem is, when they are on the attack, they are destroying the very foundations of who you are as a human being. Your value, worth and legitimacy. In my experience, she easily went on with business as usual and I have a LOT of reconstruction to do. Take care and God Bless.

  8. April 17, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Your points are spot on. I am a woman who has a sister that is a narcissist. She has gas lighted me for years and over the last few years has mounted a smear campaign against me. She has put me down for years with insults and is an incredibly petty and jealous individual, who will try anything to try and stop me from being happy. Apparently they escalate with age?? I am attempting to go no contact, but when it is a member of your immediate family that can be difficult. It must be extremely difficult when it a partner as so many other factors ,like children and property come into play. My advice -run like hell and minimize contact.

  9. Ivano
    March 18, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I have a new twist – separated from the mother of my child who remarried. Sorted all that out, although it was tough for a couple years. Come out the end of the tunnel, all is good…..Wham! Straight into a narcissistic/borderline/alcoholic woman. So controlling, the gaslighting has been beyond what you could ever imagine.

    The woman I started dating was threatened by everything; my amazing new job, my ex-wife (who was now remarried), my interaction with her whilst we jointly raise our child, very much in peace, but most of all, threatened by my now 6 year old little girl (whom I dote on very much).

    Careful out there fellas, there are actually women who will date you, knowing you are a single father, and try to oust your child from your life. The moral is – don’t jump in too soon with a new woman.

    Especially if she drinks, is in her 40’s, has no children, and has never been married or in any significant relationship. This is the type of woman you must avoid if you are a father.

    I dunno, but I am starting to believe childless women in their 40’s with no man start to go batshit crazy.

    The one I am describing is definitely borderline, but also; she should probably be hooked up intravenously to a box of white wine, the amount she drinks.

    Unreal. Be wary fellow single fathers!

  10. Mike
    January 28, 2016 at 12:39 am

    So here we are I think 4 tears down the road and while recovery for me has been a somewhat slow and painful process, my ex-wife seems to have negotiated the waters of separation, divorce and moving on effortlessly with minimal interruption to her all important routine. For the 1st time in 20 years she has finally returned to employment, and the relationship she entered into immediately after I left seems to be holding together nicely all in all, every single thing one might look at to judge who was actually was the “crazy” one would re-enforce her position of righteousness in her role as dutiful victim.

    For my own sake I decided to take a harder look at myself and my own defects, where I had neglected to take responsibility, harboured resentments or been in denial. I returned to my AA meeting attendance and activities after abandoning those practices for 5 years and nearly returning to active drinking. (But for the grace of god and His divine intervention) I decided to focus on my health after the heart attack and make some healthier choices for myself in light of the circumstances.

    First, in spite of my loneliness I decided to remain single and resist the urge to go hunting not that I’d ever been a hunter really. My focus had to be emotional and spiritual healing and the decision to simply stop fighting anyone or anything. Stop arguing and trying to convince anyone of anything especially the ex-wife who would periodically send letters via email (since I stopped talking to her on the phone) posing as our young designed to motivate me into doing what she wanted by using guilt and shame, taking thinly veiled swipes at my pride and ego, presenting herself as the reasonable and responsible partner who was struggling to get me “the enemy” to do the right things, her way.

    But as usual it was all good as long as it was done her way, in her time, on her schedule and if you could accept her terms you could have what you wanted. Otherwise I could just go without, which is what I learned to do with greater ease and less emotional discomfort and emotion pain and that really bugger her. She couldn’t resist mentioning how well she was doing without me, how she was happily employed on a full time basis even if it was only the second time in her 43 years of life and after having no choice. She had to mention or help gloating about the relationship with her employed partner, she couldnt help pointing out that she didnt need my money and yet here she was again posing as my son, writing this email saying how much I was missing and baiting me into the hope of softness.

    My ex-wife, the NPD/BPD crazy maker on the surface appears to be more normal than most people, seems to have everyone around her fooled. Quickly pulls herself together, enters and maintains a relationship with the first guy she meets after her divorce. Even I have to admit out loud what I have periodically wondered who is really crazy? Standing next to her I look the crazy one. I struggle, I hurt and i take time to heal and I agonize whilst I do it at least for awhile. I review the past, I search for my part and I make amens. I experience guilt when I am wrong and sometimes even when I am not. On some level to some degree I have admiration for the sociopathic qualities my ex-wife possesses, the clever ability to manipulate reality into what you like it to be.

    But here’s my question – Where are the consequences for the NPD/BPD partner. When does it all fall apart, when does the new partner get smart, when does the veneer slip or peel away. Because without consequences, there can be no change. alcoholics who enter recovery often talk about a moment of clarity, a decisive moment, a turning point. crossroads or threshold at which point they changed course. I believe its the same with most emotional illnesses. There has to be the element of hitting bottom profound enough to bring about change. Or maybe that’s just me still hoping against hope for a bit of justice.

    • January 30, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Hey Mike, I would be interested to know more about your story, because it sounds like we’re asking similar or the same questions. When my wife and I met, I drank a lot, but always socially as I was very social. This is one of the things she liked bout me was being able to make friends nearly anywhere. Then as time went on, she liked the drinking less and less. But rather than have a respectful discussion about how it was making her feel, she just wouldn’t say anything and then explode with insults and personal attacks. And nothing good was ever good enough or worth showing appreciation for, while ANY negative was the end of the world. Anyway, as in your situation, she seems not to care at all that 15 years together has come to an end. The therapist told me that, because of the ‘relationship’ dynamics her mother and father modelled for her, she would have treated me the same regardless of the drinking, but said that the drinking may have exaggerated her behavior.

      But, as time passes, I begin asking myself, ‘What if I hadn’t drank so much?’. And, she is SO good and finding little bits of truth and tying them into a global picture of what a failure I am, that I often fall into her traps….or is she totally right? She is SO good at looking perfect. Hehehe.. I think you understand.

  11. ACE
    January 27, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I was with my wife for 7 years going through a divorce now. The crazy thing is I always knew that there was something off about her, but she is so beautiful to me that I decided she was just young and we would grow together. After all that’s what a married couple does right? Well after two kids and her leaving me once, and me trying to leave her once. Things started to seem to get better as I allowed God to work on me and my marriage exposing my family to regular church, and what I though was also for her a personal relationship with Christ. Then out of the blue she exclaimed she was never happy, always miserable and wanted out. Her behavior became even more irrational and abusive than normal ( which hind sight shows a clear pattern of gaslighting, projection, name calling, and at times physical abuse). Not knowing what else I could do after working on myself all these years getting better (because I believed it had to be my fault) I threw up my hands so to speak and gave in, and by that I did the only thing I could think of at the time and that was get my church and pastors involved. I exposed her actions and behaviors seeking help (thinking that this would be the only way after several failed counseling sessions) Surely she was listen to our pastors right? Wrong, instead she told them of things I had done the first year of our marriage like they happened yesterday, and then simultaneously laughed and cried with in seconds of each other. Said she was done. She continued on what was an 8 months stretch of drinking heavily and taking anti depressants and misusing the dosages ( as well as changing brands and dosages along that time period) When I tried to ask her for permission to talk to her (family practice doctor) about why she was taking these meds and voice my concerns, and ask for a referral ( like I had done before with her) she attacked me verbally emotionally, physically, vandalized our property with a knife, smashed glass with her bare hands, and so again I though perhaps if I called the police to come out and talk with her ( it would make her realize its not normal or ok to treat others this way)…well She was gone two days later took our kids to another state to live with her parents. The divorce is so far uncontested at this point and I can only thank God for being in control of that, because the one thing that doesn’t fit her NPD diagnosis ( that I have come to the conclusion of based upon prayer first and much research) is that she is allowing me to have the kids halfe of the time. Everything else remains fitting for the description of NPD. I still love her and still try to reason with her when I do talk to her. I stil find myself doubting that she has a problem. Its strange, but I guess that I am not fully healed yet over this. She left 3 months ago ive become so aware of what she has done, and am doing well because of that. It does seem like she has become unhinged sincse shes left, like she is a new person… nasty, short, vulgar, even more careless than in the past. She wont talk to me unless she wants money or money and to insult me or manipulate me or blame me, and she keeps telling me she cant wait to have me out of her life. Meanwhile Im trying to move the divorce along without any hitches, but she keeps expecting things that I do not agree to. Hoping not to get a lawyer, but might have to eventually.

    • Mike
      January 31, 2016 at 2:34 am

      Brother the whole drinking thing adds another dimension to the equation, only you can decide if it is a problem or not. But know this, I doubt very much if her behaviour had anything to do with you so I wouldn’t spend time personalizing it. These people are a breed unto themselves and present very specific challenges to the people who become most intimate with them. My ex-wife was a Scorpio and from what I have read a lot of those traits are also characteristics shared with people with BPD/NPD.

      From what I know now there were a lot of red flags that I simply ignored in the name of love and acceptance, I’m a Sagittarius you know empathetic, intuitive, compassionate etc. Not a great guy at all but I try. I could spend hours talking about her, in fact, I spend a lot of time talking with other men who’ve encountered this dynamic in a relationship and there are so many similarities, including the thinking that our situations are so unique and special, then we talk to someone with the same experience…..thats how I felt when i stumbled on this site after Googling symptoms. I remember thinking for the first time that maybe it wasn’t me and that maybe I wasn’t crazy afterall.

      Most of the trouble I encountered were results of my own defects, and my blind spots about them. Pride was a huge stumbling block for me and prevented me from recognizing my own limits. My own selfishness added fuel to the fire because i could only see from my own narrow perspective in terms of what I wanted to get or feared losing. Mostly it came down to my own unhealthy dependencies though. Although the relationship itself was painful I was willing to martyr myself for the sake of the marriage and the kids for as long as possible. But truth be told, I probably make a better boyfriend than husband and a better uncle than father. I’m really no good at the 24 hour 7 day a week 52 weeks a year same old same old, I have always known that yet always tried to fit myself into the stereotype and failed miserably.

      If nothing else the relationship and the aftermath provided the pain and suffering needed to motivate and maybe even correct some of my faulty thinking. I have to say the years following the separation and divorce were far more painful and confusing and I really needed to take time to be alone, to heal mentally and spiritually and psychologically. I spent alot of time writing. I wrote every day. I was stuck on having to understand and eventually had to let go of my need, my dependency upon understanding for one thing. I was committed to discovering what it was about me that attracted this woman to make sure I could identify her and avoid her temptations in the future. You see I have met her before, I just never got serious or to involved with her before but I did eventually recognize this woman as my mother. To be more clear my mother, I am convinced was NPD/BPD at the least though it was often masked by her alcoholism. I watched helplessly as a child as she employed the same tactics against the men in her life as my ex-wife employed against me, specifically in regard to our children.

      This experience nearly cost my life though and I had to get serious about looking at myself and resuming the activities I abandoned to keep the peace. I had to resume my AA meetings and various recovery practices. One of the troubling things about me is I tend to give myself up to make others happy or to avoid unnecessary drama or conflict. I do it so well and so effectively that eventually i find that I have completely disappeared. These people will demand every ounce of your effort energy and being, they will insist on your unreserved devotion and yet will give little if any, they are an empty hole into which you and I and anyone who becomes involved with them will be swallowed. I had to get smart, had to learn not to give away my power or be so careless about my emotions with people.

      It is why I continue to share on this site, its important and becoming a more and more common dynamic. I have not as of yet discovered a way to serve God and woman at the same time and I have not met a woman who didn’t want to be God in my life. This same dynamic, the same traits of the NPD and BPD can be found and very accurately depicted in the Biblical Story of Jezebel and Ahab. Maybe you can check it out, i found it in my search for understanding and came to believe the problem is much bigger than I initially imagined.

      • January 31, 2016 at 7:56 pm

        Thanks for your through reply. I just keep reminding myself, she met me in a bar. I didn’t meet her in a verbal /emotional /psychological abuse support group. Here is an example of the type of treatment I’d receive. Imagine I installed a new front door on the house to replace the old beat-up one. Instead of ‘Hey, thanks daring, it looks great’, I would get, ‘So, I supposed it’s ME who has to clean up the dust?’. Or if I vacuumed, she would only comment that I didn’t get behind one of the doors and I should not have had to be asked. I should KNOW when it needs to be done. I was expected to read her mind in every wish and desire she had, otherwise I was judged as ‘not normal’. The difference is, I was raised in a family where you don’t expect things…you appreciate anything someone does for you. You encourage with positive words. If my dad fixes something around the house, my mom will say, ‘My HERO, you saved the day. Thank you!’. I’m paraphrasing, but this is the idea.

        In 15 years, anything good I did was simply considered a part of my ‘husband duty’. However, ANYTHING, no matter how small, was harmageddon. Leaving dishes in the sink or cheating with the female neighbour would receive the same reaction. There was no balance or varying levels of anger. It was either ON or OFF. Got to the point that in my office at work, as soon as I noticed the time approaching ‘going home hours’ I began to tremble, feel nauseous, anxious. Sometimes I would just sit in my car, dreading the moment I would have to start it and drive towards ‘home’. This lead to going to the local pub instead of going home. I’m not excusing my poor coping choice, but at least I could muster up the courage to open the front door of my prison with a few pints in me.

        As my therapist who said I am seriously suffering (or was) PTSD, her mother treats her dad exactly in the same way. He has literally worked like a machine for that family, never skipping a beat. He has afforded them 4 houses including a vacation flat in the French Alps. No drinking, no mistresses, no nothing, but hard, old-fashioned work. So, I just keep reminding myself of this fact. Yes, I mishandled my feelings by suppressing them with drinking. I believed her evaluation of myself (complete loser, failure and psychologically ill), therefore, what’s the point in trying to change…for what? I’m garbage, so may as well tranquillise myself to death and leave the world a better place without me. THANK GOD, this is no longer how I see myself. But, people who have not been through this can not understand. They say, ‘Well, why didn’t you just leave? Why didn’t you tell her she was wrong to treat you this way?’ The answer is simple actually.

        I trusted NO one’s opinion more than hers. I believed her! So, why would I leave? What behavior of hers would I question? She had me convinced that she was the totally normal and healthy one and I was the complete mess. So…just accept it. Well, not anymore.

        If I came home with news I was excited about, she would reply, ‘Well, nothing’s happened yet, no point in thinking about it.’ If I expressed frustration or lost my patience with my son (never shouted or was abusive, just showed that I was struggling), she would tell me it’s obvious I don’t love him. Instead of asking a question, she would context it negatively. ‘Did you take out the trash?’ was ‘So, I doubt the trash will go out today’ or ‘I guess you decided the trash doesn’t need to go out’. I know these sound petty, but when it is from morning to night, ALWAYS put on the defensive, it just SUCKS your soul out of you. As you mentioned before, you lose ALL notion of who you are. You become a robot zombie…walking dead.

  12. Ellie
    December 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for this!!! Even though this is targeted at a male audience it rang true for me in regards to my own mother. It is a relief to know that I am not crazy.

  13. Allen
    October 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Dr Tara,

    For 6 years I have been involved with such a person. i al;ways considered narcisism to a deflection of ones guilt or shame but what ive read here. It’s like nothing Ive found before, still its none the less worrysome.

    When we met I thought I found the perfect match, seemed to like everythuing I like, nututring, caring, but shortly I noticed overly affectionate and openess to friends and family of mione she’s just met, (like her fathers suicide and he mothers abuse) Then hyper-sensitivity to my natural sarcasm. She made me an amazing dinner one night annd my repluy was “this was the best email I’ve had all day’ I expected somewhere betw a slightly amused and slightly perturbed reaction… well it was as if it was the worst insult of her life.

    So of course like a fool I carry on as we liked to party and had no idea she was alcoholoic which later became a massive problem, enabling one anbother, great sex, amazing.. and she would do anything for me. During our thriving sex-life it became appaerent that it was taboo to ‘pull out” So like an idiot I oblige, it was still fun, great cook, great sex, nurturing… and she really does have a good heart and I always hhheld on to that. Tghat and the emp[athy of her traumatic childhood. Though shortly after these fights would ensue… that just boggled me,. I was never right, reality was distorted, what i said of her she projected on me, and I dont know how many doors are walls I broke. But that 1st a That was my short temper and apparent intollerance of blatent deceit, lies, and complete lack of rationale.

    But soon after we had a child, her pregnancy, she becasme a new person, I was so happy but then around our daufhter first yr.. the mayhem resumed, not only attaccking me, my family, my friends. on and on… til finally i elft, very nbearby bevcasue it broke me heart to leave my little girl but I could not maintain sweetness and civility. I cant pretend

    Soon after I filed for custody, soon after she filed a PFA.. which she eventually dropeed but in it were suich heinous accusations., Remaining appart she continued the harassment, of myself and pleas for to get back together.

    Since then she had been fired wo aspriting jobs, evicted 3 times and two stints in rehab as a result.. and mom shorlty after went to rehab for 30-days. My lkittle girl was 4 then. Who was under the beleif mommy was in the hispital beccuase my daughters head broke her nose. Which actually did happedn accidentally but thats was long since. My daughter asked me one night, “cn mommy come home and live with us forever” I couldnt say no. So she came back to a home I had just purchased. I asked her only bto not to drink and not to lie. Well that laste 3-weeks and neeverr stopped. Lawst week thre police were called out for the second time in two weeks (18 times in 3.5 yrs) and the last time i was marked upa nd deneid it was her. The final time I was more noticibley marked and I told the cops it was my dog, she said it was me who skimmed her knee chasing me down the drive way. They arrested her for assualt, and I bailed her out. I advised her to setuop counseling so we can show the court and avopid legal reprecussiions, so we have to see a therapist this week… and a judge anmd somehow I have to convince them not to convict her, even though she may or may not be remoreseful or vengeful and declare self defense.

    Sorry for unloading in such depth but Im afraid.. I feel defeatwed. My career has suffered,m my health is suffering (mainly cause I cope with mild narcotics) but nothing oiut of control. Can therapy save her. I fear one day she or I will make a mistake that has last reprocussions on my little girl. Her health,happiness, and, ehr properisiy. She loves her mommy, she would take her side no matter what. But i dont care about favortism… I care about my child growing up, happy, nutured, prepapred and independent when its time fo her to m ake her own way…

    one scary thing ive noticed is my daughters, fear and unwillingness to say “im sorry”
    She is smart and sweet and affectionate, but there’s a fear of shame i see and it scares the hell out of me… I try to work on this and tewll her when yuo’re wringm, you say sorry and ya might not always be forgiven by the openou hurt but God will and you will feel better

    btw.. Im no saint but i will sleeep ona bed of fire for my little heart, I just dont know if thats the right thing

    • mike
      October 13, 2015 at 1:29 am

      Brother i can feel your pain because i been there. It was as if something magical clicked in my now ex when she fell pregnant with my daughter but there was something about their bond that was extreme for my ex, something about her having a girl child that was different from when she previously had our son.

      As the kids got older they looked less and less like her and more like me having blonde hair and blue eyes and blonder hair and brown eyes. Since she and I were separated by that time, she began a new relationship falling instantly in love and resembling a teenager more than a 44 year old woman with 4 kids (2 from a previous 17 year relationship the oldest having extreme Aspergers syndrome). She would show up at our sons school performance reviews with hickeys on her neck she didnt bother trying to hide and she would proclaim her adoration and undying teenage devotion on her facebook page to all her online pals to illicit support but more to shame me.

      As I said the kids look and sound less like (australian) and more like me (american) so I can imagine the comments she’d get from strangers would irritate and annoy her to no end until i discovered she went from having brown hair and brown eyes to having blonde hair and brown eyes to look more like the children which I found very odd. To this day, more than 5 years down the track she is still bitter, spiteful and vindictive because for her its about power and destroying me. I gave up the fight because i couldn’t refrain from engaging in the drama, I gave up trying to convince her or persuade her of anything because for her it was only used as bait. Knowing how much i love my children and having no other means to hurt me she continues to deny me access to them, she has insinuated and accused me of all kinds of horrible actions portraying me as a criminal and herself as a hero super mom protecting her kids from the potential harm from seeing me.

      So sadly I have been unable to see my children and while I miss them terribly at times she can not use my own unhealthy dependencies as weapons against me anymore. There is nothing left to bait me with. It took an emotional break down, joblessness, homelessness and a near life ending heart attack but i finally achieved the emotional distance I needed to recover from years of abuse and mistreatment. Now i am devoted to working with other men who share the same experience, I am attending AA again, something that threatened her while we were together, and working on myself and the issues that attracted me to her in the first place. I’ve moved into a new home and enjoy gardening and havent smoked a cigarette since the heart attack 5 years ago…I am fortunate to still be alive!

  14. At a loss
    October 2, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Upon googling my female roommate’s behaviour I came across your site. Very informative and I now believe that she is borderline as she throws childlike tantrums when things don’t go her way, is becoming increasingly jealous, controlling and vindictive. The cold shoulder after a tiff and general erratic behaviour with manipulate to make me do everything her way or not at all.
    She has bipolar as well and relationships with men and dangerous driving and spending sprees followed by deep loathing and self pity.

    What do I do when:
    She screams at me, especially at the restaurant I work at
    Acts out when I do something she doesn’t agree with
    Tries to manipulate me to stay at home with her and cancel my social plans
    Begs me never to leave due to her fear of abandonment
    The slamming doors, random screaming in frustration and the awkward home environment where I get death stares and cold shoulder treatment

    She is a very beautiful and kind woman, yet I feel like I am in a relationship with her and I am definitely not lesbian.
    She has a kind heart but her negative behaviour is far outweighing the good moments with her.
    I am at a loss what to do. Recently I have started standing up for myself but this seems to make the problems worse.

    Do I try tell her again how her behaviour affects me or wait until lease is up and move out. But in the mean time how do I cope with her day to day?
    I am exhausted and hate conflict. Home should be a place of sanctuary, yet when we are on good terms she suffocates me and if I ask to be alone so doesn’t listen.
    I look forward to her not being home and after an argument it’s worse to be here due to the negative “vibes”.

    Please help

  15. tony
    September 30, 2015 at 6:14 am

    I know this is an old post, but i am really hoping that somebody will read this and have some sort of an answer for me. I am not postiive that my girlfriend that is the topic of my discussion is suffering from one of the problems stated in this post, but if she is a lot our fights weve had seem to make a lot more sense after reading this. I never wouldve spent time searching the subject if what has happened beeteween us recently had never occured. but is has, and i would like to mention i have never posted online about anything, but this is something that i am not comfortable talking to with anybody i know so i guess this is something of a last ditch effort. After looking into the subject i believe my girlfriend might have been suffering from some of the problems explained in this article, but i was not aware of this while we were dating. Which we still are i guess………. i will explain more later. But if i had known such a (disease, problem) existed while we were dating i guess i couldve looked into it more, and im not a doctor so im not entirely sure this is what she has but i would like to think so because i would help me make sense of some things.
    For a little background information we have been dating for over a year. I initially had no intentions of us dating, but obviously she did and came onto me in that way. At the point where i started seeing her i was still ‘seeing’ a few other girls, but when i realized that she was different to me than the other girls i was seeing i have excluseviley been with her and never once cheated. at this point in my life the main reason to ‘see’ girls was for the sexual benefit, mostly because about three years before i started dating this girl i had been with the first girl i ever fell in love with, and it didnt end well so i was not ready to start a relationshiop. i was still very interested in seeing people but in no way was i looking for a relationship. then i started seeing this girl. at first for a few weeks maybe a month it was just like all the others, but for a reason unknown to me i finally was able to connect with her on a higher level and ended up finally letting myself in a relationship with her. It had a lot to do with letting myself trust her. which again i am not entirely sure why i let myself trust her when a lot of girls that i had seen before her i would generally see as a lot more ‘trustworhty’ in a usualy sense.
    :Like i said, i am not sure what was different about her that let me finally have emotional feelings again for a girl, but for some reason i could with her. and we quickly started living together. we stayed living together for a little more than a year, and we had a great relationship. barely ever fought, obviously we did here and there but much less than what i would view as how often a ‘normal’ couple would fight. I didnt realize at the time but looking back on it she displays a lot of the traits described in this article. I cant say with any certainty but i would wager that literally EVERY time we fought, i was the one that apoligized. Wether i believed it was my fault or probably more often that i realized there was no other way to end the ‘issue’ between us than to me to accept the blame. Also if this helps with any answer to my question, as much as i continually showed and told her that i loved her exclusively and she had told me the same thing, for some time she could not accept this fact and would only occasionaly bring it up to me but when she did she would be very emotional and seem to not believe me. Which at the time i saw as her just having a low self esteem, but now i wonder if there was some bigger issue.
    Anyways, we had a great relationship for a little over a year. One day, like we have had a handful of times, we got into an argument. It was a small one to me, and i assure you it was a small argument to her too. But after that day she has not talked to me since. it has been almost two weeks. As abruptly and suddenly as she came, she has now left. Im assuming i will hear from her at some point, but i have assumed that for the longest two weeks of my life and counting. I cannot figure out how to deal with this. i literally have brought my life to an abrupt halt without meaning to to try and figure out the reason she couldve possibly had to do this. I have never felt so abandoned and hurt in my life. The only way i have found so far to deal with it is to drink untill i pass out, which obviously i know is a terrible coping mechanism but at this point i truly feel like i have no other choice. I am 24 years old but i have had plenty of experience with rejection to deal with this appropriately, but it is mostly the suddenness and unexpectedness of all of this that i cannot find an appopriate way to deal with it. I have ran through my mind so many possible reasons why she may have just left like that, i probably thought of close to a dozen but none of them really make sense. And I truly think i am a better judge of charachter than to not realize she may have fallen for somebody else or to not have realized i have just for some reason been being played.
    I am truly lost. I have never had somebody that i loved romantically just dissapear (after over a year) without explanation.I have no idea how to deal with it either. Like i said it has brought my productionion in my life to an abrupt halt, i cant do any of my schoolwork, i cant sleep, i am drinking like a damn alcoholic. I have no idea what to do. I have never been depressed in my life and i have been wondering if depression medication is the way to go. I feel like i have no reason to live. Every attempt to communicate has been ignored. and before somebody gives me a good reason why she may have dissapeared, i texted her mother and asked if she was okay just to know that nothing had happened to her and she promptly let me know that she was fine.
    I NEED somebody to give me something to hold onto. I cant hold onto the girl that i finally decided to let myself love after years and years of superficial encounters and rejecting every girl that wanted anything more. I had finally found the one and now she suddenly dissapeared. Every call ive called she has not answered. Just about every text ive sent she has ignored. WHAT DO I DO? I am looking for any help i can get. Nothing has ever hurt like this. She seems to suddenly have no empathy and i am almost positive i did nothing to bring this on. I have finally been a good boyfriend for the fist time in my life, never cheated and i am hoping she knows this and realizes that i have always been looking out for her even more than myself. I truly have tried to put her wellbeing before mine for as long as ive known her. Im far from perfect so i know theres time where i havnt but the point i trying to make is that i believe i have done everything i can to make her realize that i love her as much as i love myself. And i know i have spoken more about my own feelings than hers so if anybody believes coming on too strong may an issue i can assure you that in the state i was in at the beginning of our relationship i would not have let that be an issue, even to this point in time.
    There are dozens of reasons that have came to mind why she may have suddenly started acting like this. and none of them make sense to me. all of them have reasons why they probably arnt what really happened, and i have been up for countless hours thinking about this so i cant imagine there is somthing that i havent considered. which is why i have turned for the first time to admitting my deepest issue to somebody else. If anybody could offer any help at all i would so greatly appreciate it. I am in the hardest position that i have ever in my life been in, and can not bring myself to feel anything but hurt, i feel like ive been played. I may well have been. The only thing i do not understand is that throughout all of this she has left her facebook profile picture as one of me and her, and her realationship status as in a relationship with me. If she has found somebody else im sure she would have changed that, correct? I am lost. And close to giving up. ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    • shrink4men
      September 30, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      You don’t “need” this woman. Have you looked into counseling for yourself?

      • Tony
        September 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm

        I saw my doctor yesterday and he gave me a card for a therapist because I guess he could tell I had been drinking. I didn’t tell him about any of what I mentioned in my post, he just had an idea something was wrong. Thank you for your response by the way. Do you have any guess as to why she might have done this? I know you obviously don’t know but i just don’t see why she could’ve done this. Thanks

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