NARC’D! Encounter with a Female Narcissist

narcisisstic-rageI received the following email from a reader who believes that his ex-girlfriend is a narcissist. He asks for my feedback about their relationship and wants to know if he really is “weak and insecure” as his ex claims.

Dear Dr. Palmatier,

I recently had an encounter with what I think to be Narcissistic woman and wanted to share some of my experience. I had met this young woman around 6 years ago. She was around 23 at the time and now 29 and had grown into a gorgeous, seemingly intelligent young woman. I decided to pursue a romantic relationship with her and in the end nearly ended up putting my head through a window because I had truly had begun to  think I had gone insane.

There were many warning signs along the way. I chalked up some to regular woman stuff, like trying to get you to change your hairstyle etc., but then she started to exhibit many signs that I now see as narcissistic. Initially, I didn’t understand what she meant when she explained she she could be physically intimate, but was incapable of emotional intimacy.

She had wild mood swings. I never knew which girl to expect on our dates, but her default mood was very negative. For example, she was always putting others down and actually made fun of small children, whom she open claimed she hated. She also explained that she hated public displays of affection and even wouldn’t hold hands in public until she did a 180 one night.

She showed up for our date all prim and proper, decked out in her mother’s jewelry and played the darling sweet girlfriend, holding my hand and being openly affectionate in public. She said she wanted to go on holiday together (something she’d always avoided). I couldn’t figure out what was going on until her assistant from work suddenly showed up at the table. Little did I know that my ex had invited her. I figure this whole act was a display to show her assistant that she could actually be normal.

Things got weirder as our relationship advanced with so many twists and turns in logic that my head was spinning. About 3 months into a very hot sexual relationship she dropped the A-bomb. We’d been apart for a week due to our work and she began a very flirty text messaging campaign. It culminated with an invitation to her apartment after work one night. Since work would keep us apart for another week or so, I thought we were both anxious to get together. I arrived, we got to business and, as usual, I took care of her first. Once she “got hers” (sorry there’s no delicate way to put this), she rolled over while I was kneeling in front of her and declared she no was longer interested in me F*#king me and that we shouldn’t see each other for awhile.

I was dumbstruck, but tried to be compassionate and told myself it was work stress.  When she said we shouldn’t see each other, I got up angrily and started to leave when she she stopped me. She was crying and acting all sad that she hurt me. She then sat me down on the couch “to talk” and proceeded to rip into me for not leaving and said I was being “too nice” to her. Huh??

Things got even better after that. She went away for work and started the whole flirty texting campaign again. I thought everything was healing and we were moving on until she invited me for dinner at a crowded restaurant and very loudly broke-up with me. . . again.

Ok, I should have walked then, but I thought I was in love with her, so decided to go back for more punishment. The next three weeks were filled with barbs and jabs and poking for weaknesses that you write about in your column. The sex was gone and she kept me around for when she needed to be cuddled and held on the couch. At the same time, she was quick to proclaim that I wasn’t her boyfriend anymore. When I asked her what we were doing or where our relationship was headed, she got very defensive and basically made me feel stupid for asking such questions.

This last weekend was the final straw. We canceled our plans for dinner because she said she was ill. Later that night, I learned she was out partying with other friends. I called her on it and she flew into a rage blaming it all on me for checking up on her. She shouted that I was weak and insecure and an idiot and hung up on me. I actually started to think that she was right and called to apologize. Then she said I was humiliating myself and never to talk, text, or email her again and to stay out of her life.

So know I’m left wondering if this is narcissistic behavior or if she’s right and I’m just weak and insecure? My head just spins. Any advice or feedback would be appreciated.


Hi Jay,

You just got Narc’d!

It’s sort of like getting “Punk’d” by Ashton Kutcher except that it’s not a prank and there’s nothing funny about it.

I can’t diagnose a person I’ve never met, however, your description seems to indicate that she meets many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If she’s not a full-fledged NPD and/or BPD, she’s at the very least incredibly unstable and emotionally abusive.

You are not weak and insecure. Come out of the fog this woman has you wandering in and re-read the email you sent me as if your younger brother or best friend had written it to you. Would you think he was insecure and weak or would you tell him that this woman is a head case?

Honor her request (i.e., command) to never contact her again. *By the way, only a narcissist or someone with narcissistic traits “punishes” people by denying them access to their special brand of sunshine. In their mind, cutting you out of their life is akin to a death sentence. Meanwhile, most people feel better after time away from their NPD. Being banished serves two purposes: It’s a form of punishment so you can “think about what you’ve done.” It also sets the stage for you to play the role of the humbled and contrite supplicant who comes back on bended knee to plea for her forgiveness. If I were you, I’d run and never look back.

Unfortunately, it’s rarely that easy. As soon as she realizes that you’re not crawling back for more, you’ll probably hear from her again. Either she’ll pretend like nothing ever happened to test the waters (i.e., are you open to being Narc’d again) or will express displeasure and offense that you didn’t chase after her to try to win her over (forgetting that you were actually respecting her wishes—remember, there’s no winning with these individuals). Then she’ll give you mixed signals and imply that she wants you in her life or something equally ambiguous—just like she did before. As soon as she feels confident she has your affection, she’ll emotionally sucker punch you. Bam! You just got Narc’d! Again.

Why would you even give this woman a second thought? According to your email:

  1. She flat out told you she can’t handle emotional intimacy. The whole point of being in a committed relationship is intimacy, emotional and physical. You need both to have a truly satisfying relationship.
  2. She doesn’t even reciprocate physical intimacy, but uses you as a stud service and/or “security blanket” when she wants a cuddle.
  3. She only shows you affection when she’s putting on a show to appear normal to others. You’re her relationship “prop.” This is yet another way this kind of woman uses people as objects.
  4. She has wild mood swings that cause you to walk on eggshells so that you can never really relax in her presence. Over time, this will create a trauma response within you if it hasn’t already.
  5. She has a negative attitude, which doesn’t make for very good company.
  6. She puts people down for her own amusement and to make herself feel superior. This includes you. After a while, this will erode your self-confidence and riddle you with self-doubt and other insecurities—i.e., more trauma.
  7. She makes fun of small children and explicitly states she hates kids. She doesn’t sound like future-mother-of-my-children material, to me. In fact, if she were a cat, I’d have her spayed.
  8. She got mad at you for being “too nice to her.” This seems to indicate that she has some script in her head that requires men to be jerks while she plays the long-suffering victim. This is not good. If you stay with her long enough, you may start reacting to her like a jerk once projective identification begins and the emotional abuse continues to escalate.
  9. She got mad at you for busting her in a lie when she should have apologized to you for lying. Instead, she attacked you and blamed you for her dishonest and abusive behavior.
  10. She broke up with you in a crowded, public restaurant. Even if she isn’t a narc, at the very least she seems like an insensitive jerk.
  11. She belittled you and tried to make you feel stupid for asking very legitimate questions about your relationship after the highly confusing mixed messages she gave you. “Hold me. Make me feel desirable, but, hey, don’t think I’m your girlfriend or that I want to be in a relationship with you. What are you? Stupid?

You’re neither weak nor insecure. You got Narc’d!, which can leave you feeling weak and insecure. Consider yourself fortunate she cut you loose and don’t respond when she comes trawling back around to make you her human scratching post again. You deserve better and by better I mean someone who will treat you with basic decency, kindness and reciprocity, which should be your baseline requirement for all future relationships.

Kind Regards,

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

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Narcissistic rage on open-secrets.

  1. Sandy
    November 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Jay,
    Not to excuse her behavior, but I’ll give you a woman’s point of view. She may have started to feel something for you. I get super flakey when I’m attracted to someone.

    However, I do my best to not put that guy down. I just get so uptight with “he probably doesn’t feel the same way so I have to behave as if I don’t care”.

    Again, it’s only a reason, not an excuse for her bad behavior.

  2. Keiichi
    October 31, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    The odd thing is you describe her as your friend.

    It sounds odd to me also, because she doesn’t act like a friend. Maybe I’ve been describing her that way because I’ve still been thinking of her as one. Being honest with myself isn’t easy where she is concerned. It will get easier though the longer I’m away from her, and don’t communicate with her.

    • Keiichi
      October 31, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      My last comment was in response to NoSeRider at comment #44. Still learning how to quote from other comments.

  3. Recovering Alpha
    October 31, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Dr Tara

    I keep coming back to this site and EVERY time it brings up another painful memory regarding my ex. You said something about the archetype “Devouring Mother” which brought back a VERY POWERFUL memory when I first met my ex’s mother. This is really weird, so bare with me. Why I stayed in that relationship for 18 yrs — I think — attests to the love I feel toward my 4 sons whom I’m afraid of leaving alone to her toxic behavior.

    I was a grad student. Ex lived in her own (parent-owned) condo about a mile away from campus. She was an under-grad. She called and told me that her Mom had flown in and wanted to meet me. We were only dating at that time. It was after dark, but I went over to her condo. I got there and she let me and we sat down on the couch. I recall only a end-table lamp light on. Her Mom came from the left out of the bedroom. I’m kind of bashful guy, so I was totally FREAKED out to see her in a complete body see-thru neglige — I mean I could see EVERYTHING pubes, nips, etc. She was late 40’s. She walked STRAIGHT to me and started talking (I don’t recall what exactly) but she was drunk and slurring her words. She bent over and gave me a kiss attempting to make it a french-type (I’m sorry). I pulled away. I recall my ex exclaiming “OMG! I’m so embarrassed!” or something. I felt sorry for my ex.

    What dovetailed with your “Devouring Mother” archetype was that after we were engaged and I had moved in with the ex in her condo, she had a recurring nightmare EVERY night which she’d share with me. Basically it went something like “My Mom had sex with you (me) and took you away from me.” WTF?! Is that the devouring mother?

    I’m sorry to have been so graphic and gnarly, but that memory was completely buried until I read your article. Wow!

    I’ve told at least half a dozen guys in my gym about this site. Many are muscle heads and I hope come here and read your wisdom. These articles have given me a great deal NEEDED perspective.


    • Recovering Alpha
      October 31, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      I what I meant to say about “muscle heads” is that I think many of those guys seek out and put up with very NPD women. I don’t know why that is the case, but I think the number of them relative to the general population of men is a higher percentage that put up with it. Just my small sampled population observation, so could be bull.

      • Mike91163
        October 31, 2009 at 8:38 pm


        I think you’re on to something here…as a VERY average guy (5’9″/160), I perceive many muscle-bound guys AND gals are extremely narcissistic…I mean, I have no problem with folks who go to the gym to keep in shape and maintain their physical well-being, but the people you describe take it to the max…and when I see people like that showing off, all I can think is “who cares?” Unless you NEED to be muscle-bound for your employment (NFL lineman, etc.), what’s the point? Ah, self-love…

        Methinks that any relationship between fellow NPDs is going to be intense, but very short, as both will tire of the “one-upsmanship” aka “I’m better than you” game very quickly. OTOH, if they can find an “average” sucker who can supply them with their CRITICALLY-needed narcissistic supply, all the better…

        • Recovering Alpha
          November 1, 2009 at 1:18 am

          To clarify, I used the term “muscle-head” as a term of endearment. Most of my best friend throughout life are “muscle-heads”. I just said this about them liking NPD because I care about them. What some one takes to the “max” is a personal matter, IMHO. By analogy, because someone reworks their pet 1960’s vintage GTO in their off-time to be “maxed out” doesn’t make them a professional car driver. Maybe some of the guys maxed out in muscles just like working out. You’ll notice that many of the better ones “cover up” when out of the gym because they don’t want to show their “body under construction” until the day of their bodybuilding show.

          No offense taken from your comments; just wanted to clarify my intent. Good day mate!

  4. Keiichi
    October 31, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Hi NoSeRider,

    I know someone very much like that, although there are some small differences. The woman you described sounds similar to my friend/ex who I mentioned in my first comment here. Hopefully you haven’t started feeling a emotional connection with her. If you have, then I suggest walking away now, and never looking back. Spend enough time around her, and she may even convince you to be in a relationship with her. Women like her may do this even if she doesn’t find you attractive in the least. She could do this if there isn’t anyone available who meets the criteria of who she wants. Don’t let yourself be fooled, she would do this not because she wants a relationship with you. She would do this out of feeling bored, and wanting to amuse and entertain herself. After she is done with you she may keep you around as a friend, although she would still torture you to the fullest of her enjoyment. She would pull you in close, only to push you away when you are the most vulnerable. This pulling you in close, only to push you away could happen over, and over again.

    My friend/ex even convinced me to brake up with my girlfriend who I was dating at the time, so I would date her. She didn’t want me, until I was dating someone else. It only lasted a few months, then without warning any emotional, and physical forms of affection quickly disappeared. I ended up braking up with her. I did it not because I wanted to end the relationship. It was because even though I was already discarded by her, I believed somewhere inside her heart she actually loved me, and would put forth effort to repair the relationship. I was wrong. Me breaking up with her is what she wanted me to do, and I’ll never know the answer why.

    The cycle of pulling me in closer, only to push me away has happened a number of times. Currently I’m in the pushed away place. The weird thing is somehow she has it all turned around inside my head as if I pushed her away. When we do talk she tells me how great, and wonderful her new boyfriend is. She has a way of telling me that I’m less then (fill in the blank) in many areas, without actually saying it. She is cruelly intelligent. It’s only since I’ve been reading A Shrink for Men, that my eyes are truly starting to opening. Where I am at now it’s almost like she is saying “Sit inside this box. Don’t move a muscle unless I tell you to. Don’t speak unless I tell you to. If you do as your told, maybe, just maybe you can still be a small part of my life.” The real mindscrew is that she won’t tell me anything, she expects me to know what she wants me to do.

    All of this is years after we dated. Every day that I read this blog I understand a little more, and every day I say to myself “Oh piss!” I’m still mixed up, confused, and part of me still thinks I love her. I’ve been in good, healthy relationships since I dated her, and still she has a hold over me. Trust me NoSeRider walk away from the woman you described in your comment. Hopefully, even if I have to read this comment daily, I’ll be able to walk away also, and never look back.


    • NoSeRider
      October 31, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      The odd thing is you describe her as your friend.

      I feel this person is more of an acquaintance, yet I’m still attracted to her.
      I never initiated any relationship with her, yet she would constantly talk about her personal problems with me and other people around her. I would never talk about my personal problems to people that I consider acquaintances…..I only do it here out of anonymity.

      What I’m getting at is her mannerisms I mistook as being intimate. Telling people intimate details about herself and in a way that seemed to be playing on on your sympathies and sense of urgency to help her…to fix things.

      She was trying to play on my sympathies, yet she has a secure job, she had several husbands, several homes, a fantastic child……I can’t feel sympathetic towards somebody that is just simply greedy and has had more opportunities then myself.

      It seems to me that when you have BPD/NPD you’re emotionally greedy. You expect admiration and approval….CONSTANTLY! She’s an adult. I expect adult behavior.

      I can only suspect there’s this idolized persona in her head of what she feels the perfect person is. And perfectionism seems to be the qualities she admires….it’s unattainable.

    • AnonymousT
      October 31, 2009 at 3:40 pm

      Keiichi, you’ve hit another of my nails on the head with this comment:

      “I ended up braking up with her. I did it not because I wanted to end the relationship. It was because even though I was already discarded by her, I believed somewhere inside her heart she actually loved me, and would put forth effort to repair the relationship. I was wrong. Me breaking up with her is what she wanted me to do, and I’ll never know the answer why.”

      In my case, I ended up divorcing her rather than just breaking up, not because I wanted to, but because I (and my counselor) were sure that she had discarded me. Part of divorcing her was to protect myself, part I think might have been to call any bluff because I always hoped she still loved me and was just confused or panicked. But she immediately went with the divorce, and never asked for a chance after that, and I guess it’s really what she wanted. I also doubt if I will ever know exactly the reason why. I would pour my heart out in letters, phone calls, and emails trying to figure out what she ultimately wanted, but I could never get what felt like a clear answer back. Just ultimatums.

      • shrink4men
        October 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

        Hi AnonymousT,

        You’re describing the classic no-win situation. Even if you’d met all of her ultimatums, it wouldn’t have been good enough and the only difference is that she would’ve completely drained and broken you before she left. It’s like how the Roman army used to totally pillage and loot a country before it headed back to Italy except at least the Romans built roads and aqueducts. They at least left something of value behind. Cluster B’s just leave behind emotional devastation and ruin.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 6:14 pm

      My friend/ex even convinced me to brake up with my girlfriend who I was dating at the time, so I would date her. She didn’t want me, until I was dating someone else.

      This is a classic NPD/BPD/HPD behavior. These women only value what they don’t have and once they get it, they tire of it very quickly.

      It also feeds their ego to “steal you away” from another woman because in their mind it makes them feel “better than,” prettier than, sexier than, more desirable than, etc. It really has nothing to do with you. It’s all about them throwing coals into their bottomless pit of ego needs.

      Keiichi, I hope you get yourself out of that box she led you to (but that you continue to sit in of your own volition) very soon.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Keiichi
        October 31, 2009 at 7:46 pm

        It’s true that I can choose to walk away, and that I have the free will to do so. I just need to want to.

        Thank you,

    • jham123
      November 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      NSR and Keiichi,

      I’m sorry, but if I weren’t in a relationship with kids…..There is no question where I’d be now…..NOT here…or NOT with her…

      Your net is not cast wide enough. There are tons of fish in the sea. Cast your net a bit wider….and through out the catch that is not desired.

  5. NoSeRider
    October 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    “Most understand it takes time to heal and learn from mistakes from our last relationship but not so with our NPD/BPD.”

    I encountered a woman that kept repeating to herself she was not a ‘whore’, yet she had all the symptoms of NPD/BPD. Maybe she wasn’t a whore, but she certainly was a succubus. She was quick to judge and tease you, very flirtatious. Her emotions were very apparent and her opinions of you were severe. If you slighted her in the least, minor critical observations, then you were evil, but she was more then happy to criticize you. As long as you never said anything critical of her, that is her opinions and she deemed you attractive in some way, she would gush all over you. It was love and hate, nothing in between…….I’m also aware she had 2 divorces in 5 years. It’s like you only had value if you met her approval. There was no compromise.

    The odd part is, she is attractive, and I’d imagine men swoon over her all the time. But last time I saw her she was dating guys 10 to 15 years her junior. Apparently she’s a ‘cougar’ taking advantage of the uninitiated.

    I’m also aware that she spent time in the psych ward and has a psychologist. More likely clear evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder since a Narcissist would never dream of admitting they needed mental help. She’s high functioning, in the sense she has a job, but her interactions with people seems very anxiety prone.

    Basically, I’m looking at it from a point of view of a person who is single and has never been involved in a relationship with a person with this extreme of behavior…..I’m single and all the more reason I should be aware of it.

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 6:07 pm

      Many of these women date and marry younger men because:

      1. They’re emotionally arrested. Emotionally these women are about 5-years old to 12-years old.

      2. Most younger men are easier for them to control than their “peers” (a man equal to her in age and life experience).

      3. Because of their distorted false sense of self, many of these women still believe they’re the young hottest thing in shoe leather.

  6. James
    October 30, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Welcome Leaving one behind

    I too just found this site and really can’t say good enough about it. It’s been awhile since my healing began but like the old saying “Time heals all wounds” is true..

    Still it’s interesting about how quickly these people found new supply (Narcissistic Supply) and move on to yet another soon to be victim. Of course this shows us how really shallow they are and their ability to morph into yet someone else to become more like the new target. This chameleon ability/trait is always astonishing to me which also explain the emptiness (i.e. shallow personality) inside of them to be allow to again move on and in with the next target with lighting speed. Most understand it takes time to heal and learn from mistakes from our last relationship but not so with our NPD/BPD. No they can easily find a new target and BINGO they are in a new relationship and most of “soon to be married” yet again in no time at all. While we can wish “them” luck in reality it’s the new target we should be wishing luck too…

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 6:03 pm

      …or “time wounds all heels” (from Animal Husbandry).

      The reality is that her new beau may very well be clicking around this site in 6-24 months. She’ll chew him up and spit him out, too. It’s the nature of the Cluster B.

  7. Leaving one behind
    October 30, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Dr. Tara,

    I love your site. My soon to be ex is about to come over. Lots of her stuff is still here, so she could keep her foot in the door, right?, and I need all the help I can get. We are nearing divorce, she cheated and moved out 4 1/2 months ago, but now we’re in the final stages.

    Won’t bore anyone with the abuse stories, except one – at times she was physically abusive when raging – once, she bit my arm, and another time, gouged her fingernails in so deep I had to wear long sleeve shirts for a couple months to hide it.

    (okay, that’s over – she left)

    Now she tells me she’s moving in with a guy in a week she met three weeks ago!

    I am thanking my lucky stars I just filled out the divorce paperwork today, and she agrees to no alimony (though I’m taking the debt on).

    She wouldn’t go for an annulment based on unsound mind though – I’m not ready for a legal battle to pursue that.

    Thanks Dr. Tara, and everyone else for their stories! I stayed up all night reading them and my desire to be with her under any circumstances again disappeared. (knock on wood – I hear there’s this boomerang effect and it makes me want to change my name/phone/email, and pull a zipcode)

    • jham123
      October 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      LOB, Stay strong….yes the stuff left behind “IS” the boomerang. Let us know how it goes.

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Leaving One Behind,

      Thanks for the kind feedback. I’m very happy to read you’re getting out. Congratulations! Just make sure you get the alimony waiver IN WRITING.

      It’s not a bad idea to get a new email address, etc. Eventually, the new target will disappoint her and she may try to triangulate you and him (use you to make him jealous to control him and/or get an ego boost from you when the new guys attention isn’t enough).

      If you don’t have children with her, I encourage you to begin a strict NO CONTACT POLICY (my version of “no means no”) and let your attorneys handle all correspondence.

      I also encourage you to get some support to recover from this relationship and find out what attracted you to this woman so you don’t end up in another relationship just like it or worse.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • StillRecovering
      October 31, 2009 at 7:26 pm


      My ex did something very similar, and left many of her belongings behind when she left. However, she happens to be of the NPD variety that can “flip the switch” and cut an ex out of her life immediately, which really confused me as to why she would leave everything like she did. Now it’s all in the possession of the trash man, so it’s no longer my problem.

      I had only been married to my ex for 8 months when we split, but it felt like years. We split in May, and the divorce just became final a few days ago. She actually really wanted to have an annulment, but I refused. Her reasons for having the annulment would have been a complete lie (she wanted to claim that we never consummated the marriage), and I wanted her to be held accountable for her actions. Luckily I’m not left with providing alimony of any kind, but I did end up taking on a good amount of her debt. A month before we split, she convinced me to get her the SUV she’d been begging for, (non-stop for months on end) and I finally gave in. We traded in her sub-compact, which she was almost $15,000.00 upside down on, and I’m now stuck with the SUV. I’m a very fiscally conservative person, and it is a great testament to her mind control abilities that I willingly supported the purchase of this car.

      My ex was not physically abusive, and she was not prone to rage attacks, but I was subjected to a constant stream of covert attacks. Subtle insults, rejection, with holding of affection (at the time of our split, we hadn’t been intimate in 7 months. She claims it was because I was cruel and hateful to her, and that she wasn’t happy with my performance in the bedroom). None of my friends or family liked her. She would insult me in front of them and make other embarrassing or insulting comments. My family would make comments to me about how she had been insulting or rude them, and when I would tell her about it, she would throw the blame right back at them. She would claim they were overly sensitive, and that it wasn’t her problem if they were offended by what she said. She would then turn around and trash them on a bridal website she was obsessed with (and still is. She is what I would call a bulletin board rat). During the wedding planning, she insisted my family stay out of her way (even though they were helping to pay for the wedding. Her family contributed nothing). She made the comment to my mother and stepmother that if they were going to continue to try and remain a part of the planning, they should remember who the mother of their grandchildren is going to be. She was a master at throwing out these veiled threats.

      What Doctor Tara has said about these women wanting what they don’t have and then becoming bored with it once they do get it is absolutely on target. In my case, once we became engaged, she was consumed with planning the wedding. The true definition of a bridezilla (which also happened to be her favorite show at the time). Once we were done with the wedding, she had to have a house. I didn’t have enough money to buy, and she wouldn’t help out, so we rented one. That held her interest for a few weeks, and then she had to have a dog. We got the dog, and a month later she wanted to start trying for a baby. I told her we needed to pay off her debt, which amounted to almost $70,000 in credit cards and student loans (and she still has no degree), since she planned to quit working after she got pregnant. She didn’t want to hear any of this. She just expected me to deal with the debt, and claimed I was just trying to avoid having children (of which she insisted on having 4, all within a year of each other.) When I continued to insist that we needed to take care of some real world issues before trying for a family, she grew more upset and distant with me. She was in the role of constantly taking and requesting, and I was in the role of trying to figure out how to meet her demands. And here we are today.

      Sorry for the long post, but today is kind of a significant one for me. Our first date was on Halloween night, 2006. It was a date I didn’t even really want to go on, but went against my gut feeling. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in all of this is to trust your gut feeling. Also, thank God above that you got out of the marriage without this woman having children.


  8. L
    October 25, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Dr. Tara,
    stumble upon this site was a blessing for me and I thank you. It has given me a clear perspective and an understanding about my recent dating with a NDP woman. I found peace and was able to let go.
    Thank you!

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 5:55 pm

      Hi L,

      I’m glad you got out early.

      Best wishes,
      Dr Tara

  9. James
    October 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm


    This is a web site that I found early in my research about NPD. Hope it helps…

    “ I always have the problem that I get fed up and stay away from THEM long enough to forget exactly what the trouble was, then they come around again, and every narcissist I’ve known actually was quite lovable about half the time so I try it again. A clue: Run for cover when they start acting normal, maybe expressing a becoming self-doubt or even acknowledging some little fault of their own, such as saying they now realize that they haven’t treated you right or that they took advantage of you before. They’re just softening you up for something really nasty. These people are geniuses of “Come closer so I can slap you.” Except that’s not the way they think about it, if they think about it — no, they’re thinking, “Well, maybe you do really care about me, and, if you really care about me, then maybe you’ll help me with this,” only by “help” they mean do the whole thing, take total responsibility for it, including protecting and defending them and cleaning up the mess they’ve already made of it (which they will neglect to fill you in on because they haven’t really been paying attention, have they, so how would they know??). They will not have considered for one second how much of your time it will take, how much trouble it may get you into in their behalf, that they will owe you BIG for this — no, you’re just going to do it all out of the goodness of your heart, which they are delighted to exploit yet again, and your virtue will be its own reward: it’s supposed to just tickle you pink to be offered this generous opportunity of showing how much you love them and/or how lucky you are to be the servant of such a luminous personage. No lie — they think other people do stuff for the same reason they do: to show off, to perform for an audience. That’s one of the reasons they make outrageous demands, put you on the spot and create scenes in public: they’re being generous — they’re trying to share the spotlight with you by giving you the chance to show off how absolutely stunningly devoted-to-them you are. It means that they love you; that’s why they’re hurt and bewildered when you angrily reject this invitation”

    (Web source: )

  10. JoeD
    October 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Wow,I just stumbled across this site and believe I am a victim ! Idk? here are some examples : shows disrepect to my parents and friends, blames me for anything that goes wrong,example: she did not pay alot of bills for 2-3 months and ruined my once great credit to a now 450 fico,she said I spend to much.She comes home with $600 damage to a new car and when I showed alittle concern and upset she said ”come on who’s the the strong one here,your weak” ..tells me to ”shut up” in front of guest after I speak my mind[non-offesive to any ].claims ”I have no brain”tells me whats ”normal” and ”whats not”and tons more !! here is a good one,even after I tell her I’m leaving and packing my bags she said ” you have alot to do around here before you leave,buddy ”tells me i’m crazy and need help !..All I did for the last 19 years is work my ass off so she can stay home and take care of the kids,I always offered to take getaways, dinners, ect. she even said no for my birthday, so I went alone.I dont talk with my mother any more and my kids” are not allowed to see her ”without a million conditions ! meanwhile he is the one to fear !!! classic case.. no?

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      Hi JoeD,

      What you’ve written describes much of the criteria for the cluster B spectrum. So what are you going to do about it?

      Dr Tara

  11. Mr. E
    October 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Hey guys, could I get a reality check on an event? The other night we went to a birthday party for our friends’ son. At present-giving time, she told him she had thought about giving him [a thing he really wants and likes] but then decided not to.

    My jaw hit my chest, because this is a LITTLE kid. His parents either didn’t hear her, or ignored it, and thankfully the kid was too hopped up on sugar and birthday excitement to listen (so I don’t think he really heard what she said).

    So, thankfully, I’m the only one (as far as I know) shocked and offended. I’ll be hanging out with the kid’s Dad in a couple nights, so I’ll find out for sure then.

    But that was pretty mean, right? I’m not being overly sensitive?

    • shrink4men
      October 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      Mr E,

      That isn’t just mean; it’s sadistic. Vampira strikes again. . . and just in time for Halloween.

      Dr T

      • NoSeRider
        October 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm

        This Sam Vatkin documentary keeps getting deleted off of youtube because it’s copyrighted material. If you see any value in this video I suggest you download it. Here’s some free software to help you download youtube videos:

        • Mr. E
          October 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

          Creepy! Thanks for posting that.

          “Narcissism IS the narcissist’s personality” he says.

          So boiling this all down into layman’s terms, they’re jerks and bullies because that’s who they are. That kind of goes with what I’ve thought about it all along. :)

          • jham123
            October 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm

            Yeah 6:02 is where he goes into what I was trying to describe.

        • shrink4men
          October 31, 2009 at 5:51 pm

          Vankin has good information. However, I find his presentation pretentious (NPD-I get it) and he’s totally creepers. I can only take him and his material in very small doses. However, if you want to get in the mind of a cerebral narcissist, his writing is a good way to do it. Kind of like watching a movie about a serial killer as being narrated by the serial killer. Ultimately, I find it too disturbing.

          Dr T

    • jham123
      October 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm

      Yeah Mr. E. that is pretty awful to do to a kid. A slick way of pointing out to the kid that they DID NOT get what it is they wanted for their Birthday.

      You do understand that the kid was getting too much attention and therefore “Deserved” to be destroyed??

      • Mr. E
        October 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm

        Thanks for the feedback, Dr. T and jham.

        jham – when you point it out, yes, I suppose so. I’m more interested in why the kids parents don’t say something (I know why, actually. It’s because she’s combative and never wrong…).

        I’ve mostly stopped trying to figure out WHY she behaves the ways she does, because I need to focus on the fact that she really does treat me, and others, badly. That is to say, over the last year I’ve mostly been coming to terms with the fact that her behavior is actually toxic.

        Since I’ve been keeping track in my journal, I can’t believe how many nasty little things she says/does. And I can’t believe I put up with any of it, and even thought I deserved it at times.

        • jham123
          October 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

          Did you see that Youtube vid that NoSeRider posted?? The one that interviews an Aware Narcissist. That Vid gave a good insight as to “why”. The NPD Male states openly that only because another person is standing in front of him….then the other person is a threat and must be destroyed. The Other person need not challenge the NPD in any way for the NPD to come to that conclusion. I’ve been watching my Wife with this “Filter” firmly in place since I saw that Video.

          Your BPD/NPD saw that kid as a threat to the “available attention” in the room and reacted in her sick way.

          The Parents or the Dad is your friend, they put up with it cause they like you.

  12. Mr. E
    October 13, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    “She got mad at you for being “too nice to her.” ”

    I’ve got an entry in my journal from just a couple days ago where I got into trouble for being too considerate and thereby making her feel guilty.

    …Because I asked what SHE wanted to do.

    I can’t check ALL of the points, but 8 out of 11 isn’t good.

    I hadn’t thought it applied to me previously, but I also recently experienced the “affection when others are around” tactic. In front of family and friends recently, I was wonderful, fun, smart, charming, etc, etc. But alone she was cold, cold, cold towards me. Whee!

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 5:48 pm

      Classic no-win. “You need to consult with me before making plans. You never do anything I want to do. You don’t care about my feelings!

      Honey, what would you like to do today? What would make you happy?

      Why do I always have to be the one to make the plans? Can’t you ever think of anything on your own? Why is it always my responsibility to make this relationship work? You can’t do anything. Why are you acting like you care what I want? Why are you being so nice to me?

      Seriously guys, aren’t you tired of this?

      Dr T

  13. edgar
    October 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    hi keiichi,

    Something else might be going on. My ex keeps “friendships” around in order to kick up jealousy in me. Her ultimate goal is to get me to hand over cash to fix her f’d up world. You may just be a guy she throws in her current victims face in order to control him. One thing for sure is your a N source of supply. She is feeding off you. You unwittingly boost her ego and give her a measure of “see I’m not so bad…decent men hang with me”

    • shrink4men
      October 31, 2009 at 5:43 pm

      This is a good point, Edgar. A woman like this like to pit her “knights” against one another and arouse jealousy within them to further her control over them.

      They willingly agree to terms, conditions and demands out of the fear of “losing” her to another guy when, in reality, they’d win if another man took her off their hands permanently.

      If you feel like you have to compete for a woman or prove yourself in some way, take a moment to consider what you’re actually trying to “win.” It very well may be a “booby prize.” (*This is not a reference to the female anatomy!)

  14. jham123
    October 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    shrink4men :
    Try to figure out what keeps you drawn to this woman and what “winning” her means to you. For example, if you win her affection what would it mean? That you’re worthy of love? That you’re good enough? That you’re cool or successful?
    No one else can give you these things. You have to be able to do that for yourself. Once you do, you’re attraction to this woman should diminish and then you’ll be ready for a relationship with a woman who returns your interest and affection.
    Hope this helps.
    Kind Regards,
    Dr Tara

    I think that sums up the whole Enchilada in two short paragraphs.

    I always picture myself as David in the Movie “Artificial Intelligence”. In that movie David is seeking the “Blue Fairy” from Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy will make him into a real boy so that then his mother will love him again.

    I, always thought that if I found my Blue Fairy and got whatever deficiency in myself fixed that My wife would love me…….It’s been a two decade un obtainable quests

  15. Keiichi
    October 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Dr Tara,

    Thank you for your reply. :) The first part of your reply confirms some things I’ve been wondering about. The rest gives me somethings to think through, so that I can resolve this, and move forward with my life in a healthy way. Yes, it does help. :)

    Thank you,

  16. Keiichi
    October 8, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Dr Tara,

    A few weeks ago I found your blog as I was searching for answers, and insight into what is happening in my life. The commentary written by you, and others here is both comforting, and helpful. I still feel confused, and uncertain of what to believe. So maybe if I talk about it here you can help make it a little more clear for me to understand.

    I’m friends with a woman who I’ve know for years, and once dated. She is very charismatic, and dominate. The friendship is emotionally intimate in a non-sexual kind of way. Although I don’t feel like there is any real balance or equality in our friendship. Since I have known her there is a repeating cycle of closeness, and distance. When we are close the friendship feels really good, and I feel happy. When she chooses for there to be distance the opposite is true.

    Our friendship today has the same qualities that our relationship had years ago. I am aware that there isn’t any reason why I should believe that it would be different tomorrow if we restarted a relationship. The emotional part of me though has me thinking that the years of personal change, and growth would make it more possible.

    She knows that I would like more balance, and equality in our friendship. She also knows that I would like a second chance for us in a relationship. There was a lot of chemistry between us when we dated. She gives me mixed signals about what she wants, and it’s difficult to understand what she is trying to tell me.

    Just before the end of her last relationship with someone else we started to get closer. We talked more openly about the memories of the relationship we had shared before. She confided in me that she had thought about sleeping together, although I didn’t pursue it. Partly because she was still in a relationship, and partly because I don’t believe that sleeping together without both of us looking for a relationship would be emotionally healthy for me. We have never been sexually intimate before. Sometimes I regret not pursuing it, wondering if maybe she would have started a relationship with me. Both my heart, and mind tell me though that it was the right choice to make.

    Soon after her last relationship ended, she started a new one with someone else. When she did, the closeness between us stopped, and the distance started again. She has shared with me a lot about her new relationship. Any time we do get to share together, which isn’t often, her new boyfriend is also there. The events that have taken place since her last relationship have hurt a lot. I miss her, and the closeness.

    Dr Tara, I don’t want to lose her friendship even if it’s not always a stable one. I know I probably sound really mixed up. Hopefully with your help I can see things in a healthy way. Thank you for listening, and for any help you can share with me. :)

    Thank you,

    • shrink4men
      October 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Keiichi,

      It appears that you’re suffering from “just friends/nice guy” syndrome. You seem to be this woman’s emotional security blanket/teddy bear/ego boost/stand-in pseudo-boyfriend until her next real boyfriend comes along. This is never a satisfying role, especially if you want more.

      You sound like a warm caring guy and you deserve to find a woman who can return your affection and wants you as her actual boyfriend as opposed to being a “bench warmer.”

      Does this woman represent an unattainable fantasy ideal for you? Do you have a habit of being attracted to emotionally unavailable women? Try to figure out what keeps you drawn to this woman and what “winning” her means to you. For example, if you win her affection what would it mean? That you’re worthy of love? That you’re good enough? That you’re cool or successful?

      No one else can give you these things. You have to be able to do that for yourself. Once you do, you’re attraction to this woman should diminish and then you’ll be ready for a relationship with a woman who returns your interest and affection.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  17. George
    October 7, 2009 at 3:38 am

    After reading a few of these articles about NPD/BPD women, I’ve been wondering, “Are these people just mentally unhealthy predators?” There are plenty of men in prison who are mentally ill with demonstrated behaviors that are dangerous in society. I’m not seeing much difference between that and some of these NPD/BPD women. Lastly, if they are predators what qualities might we be exhibiting that might make us look like prey to them? Does just being a normal healthy nice guy make you look like prey to them?


    • melove54
      October 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      absolutely, we’re not only viewed as prey, more accurately, “suckers!” Literally every man’s response on this site proves without a doubt, the mental quandary each are or have experienced, as well, most have portrayed the “good traits” i.e., empathetic, sympathetic, desire to be intimate, good morals and ethics,etc. Where we as men with such qualities make our mistake is we try to fix it, figure it out, it’s part of our nature. Then we believe we should become vested, that somehow the good outweighs the bad, when it is indeed, just the opposite. We convince ourselves she has good qualities that supersede her egregious behavior. We give them so much benefit of the doubt, and little do we realize, we’ve been manipulated to believe such.

      For most of us that have gotten out, we can recognize the signs early on in future relationships and step away. I believe that most can concur with the fact that in the back of our minds, “how did we ever allow ourselves to get mind F’d the way we did.” Trust then becomes an issue within us. We become more cynical about future relationships. Hey, I look at it like this, it’s like the old saying for women, “you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.” In my case, I’ll just kiss a few vampires to find my princess! I’ve gone through a few vampires already and said “bye-bye”, lose my number! I immediately stepped aside the moment the drama began. Now, I believe I’ve found a truly wonderful person, however, only time will tell. Am I cynical? Cautious more accurately describes my need to be certain. Without risk there is no reward! Just know when to “holdem” and know when to “foldem.”

      One thing I would like to say to all is this, “don’t let your bad experience change your personality, your demeanor, your need to convey intimacy, etc.” Be proud of who you are, that you can freely exhibit emotional maturity, and realize there is another out there that will be willing to reciprocate. My X-N used to make fun of me and say, “you have an ovary.” i.e., you have emotions much like a woman.” I look at it as, I have feeling too, I can be hurt and vulnerable as well. Doesn’t make us any less of a man,.. we’re simply human.

      • shrink4men
        October 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

        Hi George and melove54,

        I agree with what melove has written about the qualities of predator and prey.

        NPD/BPD women are scam artists par excellence. They lure you in with the good ole’ bait and switch routine. (Although, some of these women expose their terrible natures from the get go).

        The same qualities that make you prey to these women would also make you a target on the streets of NYC—open, friendly, giving, empathic, eager to please.

        These are not bad qualities; they’re wonderful qualities. However, YOU NEED TO DEVELOP STREET SMARTS when it comes to these women. How could she treat you like that? Why would she do that? Because you let her. You let her sucker you, take advantage of you and abuse you and then apologize to her for it. It’s genius, sick, but a genius con.

        Dr T

      • jham123
        October 7, 2009 at 8:19 pm

        Dr. T,

        Yes, I always get hit up from the Street Bum for change. I can be standing there amongst 30 people at a street corner…they walk right up to me and hit me up for money while leaving others alone.

        Yes, it shows on me.

        • Lordbaltimore
          January 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

          That’s a spirit of giving/empathy/compassion that people can discern. It’s good to have it. Predators, however, can see your spirit too. The women described have the discernment to spot it in you. They can literally see you coming.

      • LosingMyself
        October 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm

        Well, I know that feeling! My girlfriend even stated specifically that she does not view men has having feelings.

        Not to mention, her dad is an awesome guy. Probably one of the most level-headed people I know.

        Sometimes I wonder if he was too level-headed though. According to my girlfriend, he doesn’t get riled up about anything.

        I think its healthy for us to show emotion in front of our kids. When you are upset, be upset, when you are happy, smile. Etc, etc.

        I just wonder what “made” her like this.

        Although her mom is great, I’ve seen her mom have minor blow ups, and I know her mom has mellowed out over time. So I think to myself, what role did her mother play when she was younger?

        I’m curious regarding what Dr. T said about the devouring mother. Because if the phrase reflects anything about constant attention, then I wouldn’t be surprised.

        My girlfriend’s daughter has been exhibiting signs too of the same problem. The need for constant attention, acting entitled, putting others down. But on the other hand there are times when her daughter is extremely compassionate to others, caring, etc.

        Is it an act? I don’t know. For the moment I help out where I can, and steer the girl in the right direction.

        Heck, her daughter calls me Dad, and its one of the reasons its twists my heart and stomach to have to leave.

        My girlfriend goes back and forth, like Jekyll and Hyde, one minute she tells me I’m a great dad, then next she says I’m screwing up her kids.

        It’s a constant no-win situation. I’m on my way out the door, I’m just biding my time till I can put the funds together to get out, and get my own car.

        She got the car on her credit, so she’s already threatened to take it away from me, and the kids for that matter. Since I work about an hour away from home, not having a car would severely impact my job.

        Its not a fun position to be in!

        ~ LosingMyself

  18. Jim
    October 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    A Jungian analyst once told me to watch the 1930’s film “Blue Angel” about a femme fatale played by beautiful Marlene Dietrich. She played a hypersexy cabaret singer who lures in a prominent and prim professor to eventually destroy him, literally making him into an insane clown. Jung called it “animus possession.” I see those traits in my X, and in all the crazymaking behaviors described here about NPD and BPD women.

    As a person who has lived with being used by a person like this for twenty years (and had children with her too), I hope you all heed the good doctor’s advice here. Don’t get caught in a wicked chick’s spell. Staying means simply wasting your time. After all of her twisted hostility, I cannot even remember any good times – it has been erased from my memory like magic. So it was all a big waste of my life.

    Don’t beat yourself up about it, or try to figure out her mindset. You can’t. What causes such evil in her, or in the world – do you think you are going to find an answer?

    Instead, find someone who cherishes the ground you walk on and visa versa. Even being alone is better than having a twisted person disrespect or harass you for her own sick pleasure.

    • shrink4men
      October 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Jim,

      Animus possession (in women) and anima possession (in men) are fascinating concepts. I worked at a Jungian psychology conference for 4 weeks/year in Zurich (2 weeks in January/2 weeks in July) while I was in grad school. The lectures I attended were some of the most thought-provoking I’ve ever heard. I treasure the time I spent there.

      Animus possession may be part of the problem, but I think in many cases, it’s more likely to be over-identification with an archetype (e.g., the devouring mother, the great mother—whatever you want to call it). The level of personal devastation these women cause can be so powerful it would seem to be archetypal in nature.

      Given that you can find these women all over the world, this is something that takes place within the collective unconscious—meaning BPD/NPD transcend the personal and immediate cultural level.

      Thanks for sharing such good advice re: the futility of trying to understand why and finding a relationship filled with mutual acceptance and “cherishing.”

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Jim
        October 8, 2009 at 9:30 pm

        Dr. Tara,

        I do want to tell you that I feel better and more at peace just because of visiting your website here. Thank you for helping me.

    • Mike91163
      October 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      Excellent advice, Jim…I especially like your point about not remembering the “good times”…I recall (only because it was a few years ago) when my wife and I went to that huge theme park near Orlando for a week, kind of a 2nd honeymoon. I was truly hoping that this would improve things, but even though the majority of the vacation wasn’t bad, it was peppered throughout with examples of NPD/BPD behavior, with a good measure of HPD (histrionic) thrown in…the usual “I have a headache”, “I’m tired”, “My stomach hurts”, and the catch-all “I don’t feel good”…therefore, the “good times” that we did share were tempered by the frequent negativity…not exactly what you hope for when going to “the happiest place on Earth”.

      And yes, being alone, and having to answer ONLY to yourself, is a thousand times better than being at your crazy spouse’s beck and call, and wearing a hard hat while waiting for the other shoe to drop..

  19. Bert
    October 6, 2009 at 5:26 am


  20. jham123
    October 6, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Funny, even though this is not my email, I can go down that list and put a check mark on almost all of them as my Wife has committed them at one time or another.

    • Keith
      October 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      My ex Narc pulled everyone of those on me ! She even went as far as blaming my because ( I made her lie to me) ! How F***** up is that? Because I caught her in a lie with another man! I was suppose to turn my head and not confront her because they were ( Just Friends ) I do have to say I JUST LOVE THIS SIGHT ! EVERY MAN ALIVE SHOULD SEE THIS > TO PROTECT HIMSELF FROM THE VAMPIRES!

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