Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, relationships > Friendship, Enabling or Collusion? Email from a Friend of a Potential NPD or BPD Wife

Friendship, Enabling or Collusion? Email from a Friend of a Potential NPD or BPD Wife


sisterhoodThe following is an email exchange I received from a concerned friend of a woman whose husband is divorcing her and citing the information on A Shrink for Men as a reason to end the relationship. I decided to open this dialog to my readers because there is important information to be gleaned from it. I’d also like to know your thoughts.

What are your thoughts on couple’s counseling before divorce?  I have a friend whose husband (soon to be ex) refuses to go see a counselor with her, siting many of the articles on your web site as his reasons.  It seems to me that if he has really done nothing wrong as he says, he should go to at least 1 session with her before throwing in the towel.  He simply quotes you, saying there can be no closure with a narcissistic/borderline woman, so there is no point.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated, as I hate to see my wonderful friend’s marriage fall apart because he found a blog he can relate to.

Thanks,

Lois

Hi Lois,

If a couple has decided to divorce the only reason I can see going to couples counseling is if children are involved. In which case, the couple would have a session or two re: how to tell the children and so a therapist can explain what parental alienation is and, in no uncertain terms, that neither parent should trash the other in front of the children.

Couples therapy isn’t supposed to be used to assign blame or to coerce someone into remaining in a relationship. When you write, “if he has really done nothing wrong as he says, he should go to at least 1 session with her before throwing in the towel” it sounds as if he’s on trial and that his claims of emotional abuse aren’t to be believed. Would you encourage a female friend who was being abused by her husband to go to therapy before “throwing in the towel?” He’s the one who lived with the woman. I don’t know who this man is, but if that’s his experience, it’s his experience and he shouldn’t have to prove it to a therapist, to you or to anyone else. If your friend truly does have the issues I write about, then it doesn’t matter what her husband has or hasn’t done. He could’ve been the kindest, sweetest man in the world and she still would’ve dumped on him. If this is the case, I can see why he wouldn’t want to go to therapy to become the marital scapegoat again.

Kind Regards,
Dr Tara

In rereading Lois’ first email, I neglected to mention in my response that my blog is not the cause of her friend’s divorce, but her friend’s abuse of her husband. I nearly missed that twister-roo. Very subtle mis-assignment of blame. Hat’s off, Lois. Have you ever wondered why he can relate to my blog?

Here’s Lois’s reply three days later. My guess is that she had to consult “her friend” for a pow-wow:

Thanks for the quick response.  The only problem I see with the advice on your website is that so many men could claim some of these personality traits applied to their wife/GF at certain points.  What woman doesn’t go a little “crazy” now and then? If you say a normal woman doesn’t, then you’re not living in reality.  It’s almost like you’ve created this fabulous brand and are selling your product to these men without them realizing that they are being controlled by yet another woman.  I think the woman you describe on your website is actually a small percentage of the women all these men claim have npd/bpd.

It would be interesting for you to write about the possiblilities of some men using this as an easy way out.  What easier way to not have to deal with the repercussions of divorce than to simply say, “She’s crazy, there can be no closure, so I can’t even discuss this with her further.”

I guess I’m so bothered by all of this because I’m watching your advice in action.  My friend is a good, nice person.  She deals with anxiety issues and can have some pretty bad pms moments, but overall she is great (she is like a sister to me so I’ve seen her at her best and worst.).  Her husband is a good, nice man that deals with some anxiety issues and addiction issues (he is most recently being prescribed to 40+ mg of Adderall a day– having been prescribed to this before I know how it can make you feel by the end of the day).  She questioned his abilities to own his own business which was probably a serious blow to his manhood and he has never been the same (she supported him while he was starting a business; he had already abandoned one business and decided to try this one out).  They immediately separated and he has since taken to quoting your advice when she tries to talk about anything with him.  Your advice seems to have gotten in the wrong hands! No where do you talk about the fact that this can happen.  It seems that a good dr. would lay this all out for her patient.  Unless they are more like customers and what customer is going to come back if they’re not hearing what they want to hear.  I’m not sure if this is the case with you, but you need to realize that these are real people’s lives you’re playing with, and it’s frightening to think of the damage you are doing.

This website is a great resource for men involved with npd/bpd women- definitely.  I’m just inclined to believe that it is a small percentage of women that actually have this disorder.  Can you honestly say you’ve never had a “crazy bitch” moment in your life?

In my opinion, maybe you shouldn’t look at marriage as so disposable.

Thanks again for your time,

Lois

Here is my open reply to Lois:

Hi Lois,

Let me address your most recent email point-by-point.

1. The only problem I see with the advice on your website is that so many men could claim some of these personality traits applied to their wife/GF at certain points.  What woman doesn’t go a little “crazy” now and then? Actually, this isn’t the only problem you have with my advice as you go onto cite many more. If you have at all bothered to read my site, you’ll notice I’m very clear that these behaviors aren’t isolated, one-time incidents. They’re a pervasive and consistent established pattern of behavior demonstrated across time.

Furthermore, most healthy non-abusive women do not go “a little crazy now and then” like NPD/BPD women do. No one’s perfect, but having a bad day isn’t on the same par as being emotionally abusive. Having a bad day isn’t the norm and an adult acknowledges that he or she was out of line, doesn’t blame their partner and tries their damnedest not to behave like that again.

2. It’s almost like you’ve created this fabulous brand and are selling your product to these men without them realizing that they are being controlled by yet another woman. First, I don’t get paid to produce this website. I write it in my spare time and it’s free of charge. Second, just because your friend’s husband recognized his wife’s behavior as abusive through the information I provide (which is documented on many other websites and publications, but usually directed toward female targets of abuse) doesn’t mean he’s being controlled by yet another woman.

It just means that your friend is losing her ability to control her soon-to-be ex-husband and he’s making choices for himself. There’s a difference. I can’t make anyone do anything nor would I even try to do so. I believe in empowering through education. This means encouraging an individual to gather as much information as possible to make the best informed decisions. Additionally, I don’t go out trawling for readers. They find my website by searching the Internet for explanations for their wives’ or girlfriends’ behaviors.

3. It would be interesting for you to write about the possibilities of some men using this as an easy way out.  What easier way to not have to deal with the repercussions of divorce than to simply say, “She’s crazy, there can be no closure, so I can’t even discuss this with her further.” Divorce is never an easy way out, especially if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship. Prolonged abuse disorients a person, causes you to doubt yourself and your judgment and completely strips you of your self-confidence. Ending this kind of relationship is often painfully difficult because when the abuser senses she’s losing control, she ratchets up the abuse and bombards her target, for example, by enlisting her friends and family to interfere in the process.

4. My friend is a good, nice person.  She deals with anxiety issues and can have some pretty bad pms moments, but overall she is great. . . PMS or Narcissistic rage episode? Anxiety issues or borderline insecurity riddled accusations? Po-ta-to—Po-tah-to. To-ma-to—To-mah-to. PMS is not an excuse to take your rage and anxiety out on another person. Unless she has pre-menstrual psychosis, in which case she should be hospitalized.

5. Her husband is a good, nice man that deals with some anxiety issues and addiction issues (he is most recently being prescribed to 40+ mg of Adderall a day. . . I assume a licensed Medical Doctor is prescribing him Adderall for attentional deficits and not because he’s addicted to crank. How do you arrive at the conclusion this is an “addiction?”

6. She questioned his abilities to own his own business which was probably a serious blow to his manhood and he has never been the same (she supported him while he was starting a business. . . So which is it? Did she undermine his confidence and belittle him or support him? You can’t do both simultaneously. How do you define “support?” Financial? Emotional? Do you mean your friend had to work while her husband was starting a business? If so, that’s not going above and beyond. That’s what a well-functioning couple does for one another.

7. They immediately separated and he has since taken to quoting your advice when she tries to talk about anything with him.  Your advice seems to have gotten in the wrong hands!  No where do you talk about the fact that this can happen. Separation and divorce doesn’t usually happen out of the blue. There’s typically a build-up of hurt and frustration. However, for many women with BPD/NPD, it does seem to happen “all of a sudden” because they do not have the capacity for introspection nor the ability to hold themselves accountable.

As for my advice “getting into the wrong hands,” I’m sure it happens. Just like it happens when emotionally abusive NPD/BPD women find sites for female targets of abuse and use the information therein to attack and abuse their husbands or boyfriends and justify their bad behavior. It works both ways and I can’t control this.

8. You need to realize that these are real people’s lives you’re playing with, and it’s frightening to think of the damage you are doing. Again, I don’t force anyone to do anything. I offer information and options. Instead, you might want to consider the damage women with NPD/BPD do to the people in their lives. It’s very real and, contrary to your beliefs, it happens far more often than you think. For every man who shares his experiences on this website there are thousands more out there suffering in silence.

9. This website is a great resource for men involved with npd/bpd women- definitely.  I’m just inclined to believe that it is a small percentage of women that actually have this disorder.  Can you honestly say you’ve never had a “crazy bitch” moment in your life? Thanks for the backhanded compliment, Lois. As previously noted, the statistics indicate that the gender ratio of abuse in a relationship is about a 50-50 split. Why is this so hard for you to accept? Would it cause you to have to look at your own behavior in relationships?

Also previously noted, everyone overreacts from time to time and says or does things that they regret. However, these moments are out of character and infrequent, not the norm. When I have a bad day, I don’t go crazy. I maintain control over my emotions and insecurities by thinking them through rather than lashing out at others. On the rare occasion when I become inpatient or short-tempered, I recognize my behavior as hurtful and out of line almost immediately, get myself in check, acknowledge what I’ve done, apologize and then make the effort not to do it again.

However, this isn’t about me. You’re writing to me for your friend.

10. In my opinion, maybe you shouldn’t look at marriage as so disposable. Nowhere do I state that marriage is disposable. I take marriage just as seriously as I take abuse. Emotionally or physically abusing your spouse is a deal-breaker. It breaks the most fundamental marriage vows to love, honor and respect. I would argue that emotionally abusive women view marriage and their partners as disposable because they certainly treat them like garbage.

Instead of focusing on helping your friend try to keep her husband in a marriage he clearly no longer wants, perhaps you can help her think through how she arrived to this outcome, so that she doesn’t replay it in future relationships.

Best,

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

Photo credit:

Sisterhood on Sistersincelebration.org.

  1. melove54
    October 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    In general, what I have come to realize and I hope Lois reads this, the diagnostic criteria for any personality disorder, has many overlapping as well as definitive traits and characteristics. We as men can drive ourselves crazy trying to diagnose our significant others, however, there are certain things we must keep in mind. You could take NPD/BPD, and write down all the traits and characteristics of each. Then you can logically deduce, there are truly minor differences. Then you assign however many traits and characteristics apply to your S.O. Out of approx. 12 characteristics, you only need around 5 that apply to classify yourself in an abused position. In essense, we only need to know that the abuse exists, not to know what specific condition our crazy woman has!! Below are few statements Lois makes that jerks my chain the most:

    Your advice seems to have gotten in the wrong hands! No where do you talk about the fact that this can happen. It seems that a good dr. would lay this all out for her patient. Unless they are more like customers and what customer is going to come back if they’re not hearing what they want to hear. I’m not sure if this is the case with you, but you need to realize that these are real people’s lives you’re playing with, and it’s frightening to think of the damage you are doing.

    What is frightening is that she expects a client to come back only if they hear what THEY WANT TO HEAR! That is the problem in the first place, these crazy women only hear what they want to hear, and damned what everyone else says or thinks! If a person exudes the characteristics and traits of a personality disorder, they won’t listen anyway, unless of course they can dupe someone into believing them. Secondly, Lois makes the statement, “it seems that a good Dr. would lay this all out for her patient!” I’m sorry, isn’t that what Dr. T does on a daily basis, lay it all out for us, to aid us in making our own decisions based upon enough traits and characteristics of our S.O.’s to understand, WE ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP! Lastly, the lives that are being played with, are the men’s and the children if present. That is what NPD/BPD’s do best, F’n with people’s lives with no regret for the consequences.

    After I reread this a couple of times, I’m beginning to believe a previous poster stating that LOIS may be the wife. Why not, what would the wife lose by making the enquiry herself, unless she felt she would lose control.Logically, it doesn’t necessitate being in cognito to get the answers you desire. To each their own on that one!

    Based upon the Lois’s perceived merit of her statements, Dr.T definitely held control by debunking attempts to present what Lois considered, viable rationale. Lois presented in her first enquiry with somewhat of heartfelt concern for her friend. Though her colors showed thereafter. Essentially, Lois’s rationale has no merit. If Lois is truly Lois, then she needs to let her friend deal with the debacle of the relationship. I believe friends advice is good when the friends relationship is relatively normal, otherwise, leave the intricasies of the relationship in their own hands.

  2. Ron
    October 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Rod Van-Zeller :A man who puts up with a woman who goes a litle crazy now and then loves her more then he loves himself which means that he has a serious self esteem issue caused by his mother abusing him when he was a kid.There is a double standart in this society that says a man has to put a up with womens nonsense but women dont have to put up with mens nonsense.

    I completely agree that a large part of the problem is that I( we) seem to have lost myself in an attempt to have made the relationship work at all costs. I really think that I would have been much better off had I had the confidence and self respect to have ended the relationship after the first few incidences of abuse.
    We really have much more power to end this crap than we seem to think. I never took the committment lightly, But, it really was clear to me relatively early on that the woman I married was selfish, abusive, and a user.

    • Steve
      October 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm

      I agree as well. What I’ve asked myself (in therapy and out) is why I could stand up to people, draw lines and enforce boundaries with clients and other business associates, but not do the same with my wife’s behavior. In fact, my wife has asked me the same thing, “Why didn’t you stand up to me?” Which I have since understood as her way of not taking responsibility for her own behavior. My only answer has been, “Because you were my wife.” Her reply was why I insisted on holding her to a higher standard than anyone else. My response has been that I don’t think of it as a “higher” standard, just a different one… one given to a partner and mate, and not just someone in an adversarial business relationsihp. Marriage isn’t supposed to be adversarial. We’re supposed to be looking out for each other even more than we look out for ourselves. Business is just the opposite. I was looking for something else and.. I think… deserve something else, something more mutually satsifying that resembles a true partnership. I hope to find it some day. Part of me, however, does wonder if she really wanted me to treat her like a business associate. I have a hunch she REALLY wouldn’t have liked that!

      • Mr. E
        October 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm

        “Part of me, however, does wonder if she really wanted me to treat her like a business associate. I have a hunch she REALLY wouldn’t have liked that!”

        You are correct. There is no way to make these people happy. EVERYTHING we do is WRONG. All she really wanted was to beat you down some more.

        My wife gets mad at me on a regular basis for not arguing with her.

        There’s a saying here on the internet: Don’t Feed The Troll. It applies in real life too…

      • shrink4men
        October 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm

        Hi Steve,

        I think this is just another variant of “no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do—it’s not good enough.”

        These women respect other bullies. That’s probably means by “standing up to her.” However, if you do that then you become the abuser and I’m sure she would’ve like that in a really sick way.

        Good riddance.

        Cheers,
        Dr T

        • NoSeRider
          October 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

          Actually, I wish you’d expand upon that ‘these women respect other bullies’ statement…maybe even make an entire article based on that?

          I was emotionally blackmailed by one of these women. She made me feel as if my behavior was callous and inappropriate, then she’d turn it around and gush with admiration about somebody I thought was absolutely overbearing, to the point of being manic, and abusive to others.

          These cluster B type women seem to be more impressed with ‘power’ then conduct….as long as misconduct is not directed towards them.

          • jham123
            October 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm

            Oh yeah, My wife loves to hang out with the 3XDivorcee. That woman (the divorcee) is a horrible example of a human and has “bitten” my wife three times in the past. I mean, she did things to my wife that made her cry…..but My wife forgives her and runs back to her in time.

            I tell my wife to no longer complain about 3XD…..Don’t complain about getting bit when you dangle your feet in the crocodile pit.

            What I find fascinating is the attraction my STBX has for this toxic person.

  3. Mike91163
    October 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    One more thing that came to my attention: The Adderall issue. Funny, if you Google “Adderall+depression”, you’ll find that there’s a growing body of evidence that Adderall is quite effective in combating depression. I found this comment on a forum very enlightening:

    “Treating my ADHD cured my depression and stress. Adderall is a great help with my ADHD and it also completely cured my depression and greatly reduced what had been an intense lifelong stress level.”

    Well, golly gee, what do y’all think life is like living on the edge, aka “walking on eggshells”, a freakin’ picnic? Duh, of course you’re stressed! So, perhaps the husband in question in “Lois”‘s email has a good doctor who’s treating him for his physical and mental exhaustion and depression. Since when is that “addiction”?

  4. Mike91163
    October 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Dr. Tara:

    After reading through this exchange, I re-read it, and this caught my eye:

    “It’s almost like you’ve created this fabulous brand and are selling your product to these men without them realizing that they are being controlled by yet another woman.”

    Read carefully this: “…they are being controlled by yet another woman.” So, Lois, by saying so, trying to make YOU look bad, is effectively ADMITTING that the husband’s wife was CONTROLLING!

    Amazing what people will type without reading it thoroughly before hitting the “send” button…Freudian slip, perhaps???

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 1:36 am

      Hi Mike,

      I didn’t pick up on that one. Good catch!

      Dr T

  5. Anonymous Coward
    October 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    As someone just exiting a 10 year relationship with an BPD (exiting as in nuclear explosion child custody battle with all the usual vile accusations) something just occured to me.

    I reckon this will make a better test / definition than anything else that I have read here.

    In our entire 10 years of on/off relationship, I can count the number of times she said “Thank you.” to me on the finger of one hand, and have enough fingers left to smoke a cigarette.

    Kudos for the site Doc.

    • jp
      October 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

      AC,

      Change your screen name. Words have power, and you should be kinder to yourself.

      JP

      • shrink4men
        October 21, 2009 at 1:35 am

        Agreed. Anyone who’s lived through one of these relationship and is getting himself out is not a coward.

        Best,
        Dr T

        • Anonymous Coward
          October 21, 2009 at 12:01 pm

          No, I’m not a coward, but the court case is ongoing, so best to keep things compartmentalised for now.

          cheers

      • Anyonymous Coward
        November 18, 2009 at 6:11 am

        I would presume the A/C above reads Slashdot. :) It’s the default name for anonymous posters there.
        (I am not the above A/C.)

  6. Laura
    October 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    It almost seems like someone wants to pick a fight?

    The only people that will truly know what is going on in a marriage or why it is breaking down are the people in the marriage.

    Blame gets people nowhere.

    I’m sensing a lot of insecurity coming from Lois and friend.

    I don’t think it’s really any of our business what meds someone may or may not be on as meds can be given for lots of different reasons and to treat different things.

    This site is about BPD/NPD and for men to work through things since they do often get the short end of the stick and a good therapist is hard to find.

    Dr. T., I don’t know if this should really be posted unless Lois said it was alright to have it up for display. It could make things on this site go sour and possibly lead people to not contact you for help thinking something may be broadcasted for the internet world to see and comment on and that sometimes really badly/negatively affects people. This could also potentially hurt the man currently trying to deal with things as who knows how many people he knows will be told to check out this particular posting and cause judgement and further alienation of him, his wife, Lois, etc.. going through a rough time in life. This one just doesn’t seem to sit right with me. We may not know them, but others do.

    • jham123
      October 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm

      I disagree. I benefit from the interactions and the explanations of how seemingly normal communications are manipulative.

      Furthermore, The man in the scenario is already on the way out. How could this hurt the man trying to deal with it? He is leaving……your comment leads me to believe that the man could be “further alienated”. Alienated from what? A soon to be Ex-wife? And by “Dealing with it” do you mean that you feel that the man should be staying? Again, you also dismiss how he stated he felt. If He is being abused and abuse can dealt out by women just as much as men….then why would you feel that the man should remain with an abusive woman…..lest you feel that women cannot abuse.

      • Laura
        October 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

        Everything can seem manipulative.

        I’m glad he’s working on bettering things. I’m thinking about people he knows, maybe even co-workers, his employer finding about about this particular posting and it ending up badly for him when he’s already had to put up with enough.

        No, I don’t believe anyone should stay in an abusive relationship. I dismissed nothing. I never said he should remain with an abusive woman. I also never said woman cannot abuse, so please do me a favour and don’t manipulate my post or try to put words into my post that aren’t there.

        jham123: You are welcome to disagree with me, but don’t try to twist my words.

        • jham123
          October 20, 2009 at 7:11 pm

          All I’ll respond with is this…Do you think that the man’s acquaintances do not already know that he is getting Divorced?

          How would someone seeing the actual reason he is divorcing (i.e. She is crazy pants) make any difference now? Men do not think like women do. If someone at his office saw that he was leaving his wife do to BPD….and they stated that they saw it here….the man would most likely be relived that He didn’t’ have to explain the whole thing all over again.

          I frequently steer my acquaintances right to this sight and tell them that I use jham123 as a handle. Saves me from having to describe what I am dealing with.

          At this very moment an old friend is reading this blog. I gave her the address two nights ago…..(it takes about a week to read all of it) She sends me comments via Facebook about things she has read.

          So, again, if there is some off hand chance that “Lois” is a real name…and somehow someone can trace this back to anyone…I doubt the Husband would care. And Most likely He would like to know that Lois is not one of the acquaintances he should keep after all is said and done. Remember, many can stay neutral during a spit up and those are ones you can stay in touch with…however, there are many that feel the need to take sides. Once this is known, you shouldn’t ever “feed” anyone from the “other” side any useful info. Lois is definitely siding against the Husband here.

          And who knows, if the husband is reading this blog regularly, he may love the notoriety and chime right in….a view of Lois from HIS perspective would be absolutely priceless/Delicious.

          • Laura
            October 20, 2009 at 7:25 pm

            jham123: Do you even realize how you responded to my post? (My post #18, Your post #19) You were putting words in my post that weren’t even there. You’re entitled to your opinions, but don’t project stuff onto me.

            I think it better to be wise and not assume anything from the husband’s position just because you’re a man and are having an experience of your own.

            Ease up on the projection and have a great day.

        • shrink4men
          October 21, 2009 at 1:32 am

          Hey you two,

          I think this is just a simple misunderstanding. This material brings up a lot of emotions. I value both of your participation and contributions.

          Disagreement is a natural and healthy part of discourse. Let’s just keep it cool.

          Thanks,
          Dr Tara

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 1:26 am

      Hi Laura,

      As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know this man or his story. To the best of my knowledge he’s never corresponded with me. As for “Lois,” I don’t know if she’s the friend (as she states) or if she’s actually the wife.

      I found her first communication a little “off.” After receiving her second email, I decided to make it an open reply because of the nature of its content—the blaming, the contradictions, the minimization of crazy, hurtful behaviors.

      “Lois” is not the woman’s real name. I don’t even know if the name she used in her email to me is her real name. On my contact page it states that I reserve the right to publish my responses to email correspondence. I did so because I wanted to illustrate many of the things that are now being discussed in this thread. I operate this site in my spare time and don’t earn any money doing so. My emails to Lois took about an hour of my time. My time is valuable and I used my content here to make a point.

      Lois wasn’t contacting me for help. She was contacting me to enlist my aid in getting this man, who ever he is, to agree to attend therapy with his wife. She was therapist shopping, just like many abusive women do in an effort to control their husbands/boyfriends. She contacted me hoping she could go back to this guy and say, “Even Dr Tara thinks you should attend at least one therapy session.”

      She doesn’t care about this guy, his feelings and what he may or may have not been through. She was trying to help her “friend” control this guy through me.

      I’m not sure how this post could possibly hurt this man. If Lois and her friend try to hurt him with it, it will probably strengthen his resolve to end that relationship.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laura. I appreciate your participation.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  7. Rod Van-Zeller
    October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    A man who puts up with a woman who goes a litle crazy now and then loves her more then he loves himself which means that he has a serious self esteem issue caused by his mother abusing him when he was a kid.
    There is a double standart in this society that says a man has to put a up with womens nonsense but women dont have to put up with mens nonsense.

  8. Chris
    October 20, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Yes, well, as to his business ability…its as if all thats a given…that it shouldnt stress a man, the provision stuff is an atmosphere…it exists, its not anything that has a place in the marriage relationhip right?
    I mean that would actually occupy part of his brain, and that part could be looking at more ways to meet her daily changing fickle set of emotional needs, and if he doesnt…well then, she is “abused” neglected, and outta there! (complete with a chorus of “you go girl” and “follow your heart” friends)

  9. Keiichi
    October 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Dr Tara,

    After reading your email exchange with Lois, here are the impressions I have. First of all I don’t think Lois sees that both men and women equally have the ability to be abusive to their mate, family, and friends. Possibly she doesn’t even see men and women as equals at all. It especially clued me into the opinions that Lois may subscribe to (most likely magazines at the grocery check out) when she says things like, “Can you honestly say you’ve never had a “crazy bitch” moment in your life?”.

    It isn’t OK for a man to act like a bastard to the people around him, and it’s not OK for a woman to act like a bitch to the people around her. Unfortunately pop culture now a days says that it’s empowering for a woman to be a bitch to those around her. That it will make them strong, and impervious to feeling pain or being hurt, and that they can get what they want in life by being that way. When in reality feeling free to be a bitch to others means they are making themselves impervious to caring about their own emotions at all, or the feelings of those around them. My friend/ex who I’ve mentioned elsewhere here proudly thinks of herself as a bitch, and believes that it’s empowering for her to treat those in her life that way. Every chance she gets she tells people that she is proud to be one. I’m moderately sure that my friend/ex and Lois would get along great.

    When Lois wrote “She questioned his abilities to own his own business which was probably a serious blow to his manhood and he has never been the same” that was a second clue for me to what she believes. While she way cognitively understand how this could effect him, I don’t think she has any amount of empathy for him. Damage to a man’s confidence, and self-esteem to some women is nothing but something to make jokes about, and laugh about. Damage to anyone’s confidence, or self-esteem is never funny, or something to be laughed about.

    I know it has already been mentioned. If a woman looked for help for herself because of a abusive husband and found the help and strength to leave the abusive relationship, would Lois cast the same judgment on the help the woman received? Which brings me back to what I said before. I don’t think that Lois sees men and women as equals. There is the potential in both sexes to act in a caring, loving way, or in a abusive, cruel way.

    I’m thankful for your bloq Dr Tara, and for everyone’s help here. You encourage us here to feel good about ourselves, to not accept being emotionally abused, and to always treat others with the same caring, kindness, and love as we would like to be treated.

    • jham123
      October 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm

      “Damage to a man’s confidence, and self-esteem to some women is nothing but something to make jokes about, and laugh about. Damage to anyone’s confidence, or self-esteem is never funny, or something to be laughed about.”

      Ya know Keiichi, reflecting back…I ran my own business for three years…’94, ’95 and most of ’96. We were a shooting star and then huge companies started competing with us and the business waned. We sold it and I went back to work for others.

      My point that I’d like to make, I did something HUGE in our industry and I built it up from the trunk of my car into a company that was shipping products internationally…….Did it last forever? No. Did it pay the bills?? Yes….

      But to hear her tell it, you think I’d dare to go for round two of trying in business again? Hell no….She tells it as if I was the biggest failure ever known to man.

      I constantly correct the History.

      “I” did do something great….If only to me….If only in my eyes…that is what counts. She tries desperately to take it away from me.

      Ron said “An occasional, abusive outburst or behavior, repeated over time, causes immense damage. Things are said that can never be taken back. They ring in one’s ears forever.”

      It is true, I can never forget the ugly way she describes my short stint in business.

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 1:04 am

      Hi Keichii,

      Thanks for the kind feedback. You make some very good points. Building yourself up by tearing others down is never okay. Unfortunately, there are many women and men who operate on this premise. I try to give these kinds of people a very wide berth.

      Best,
      Dr Tara

  10. melove54
    October 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Apologies as it relates to NPD/BPD personalities is a joke at best. Dr.T, has mentioned, that the form of apologies we men receive from our tormentor are lame, sometimes conditional, and the biggest share of the time, non-existent. Normal people with healthy emotions cannot endure the pain of hurting someone they love and will make the effort to rectify the situation almost immediately. The NPD/BPD is in constant emotional turmoil/pain, and we(the normal people) feed them constantly in futility. They expect it, even demand it, therefore, why should they apologize for something we give them freely? It’s like giving a child too much power, and/or allowing them to do the same wrong thing over and over, then decide to punish them and asking them to be SORRY for something the parent(s)allowed all along! No difference between the child and an adult NPD/BPD. I have to believe this is where part of these disorders begin,i.e., children having too much power and influence over the parent(s). In the case of female NPD/BPD, parents are subservient to their “princess.” Hence, begins the fantasy of her identity.

    • Keith
      November 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm

      Very , Very well said ! A child who has been the boss in the family all of their lifes ! They no nothing different than to control everything to what they want . lie cheat steal ANYTHING to get what they want at the moment. If you dont comply they throw a temper tantrum to make you feel bad for not believing them !

      • Kari
        April 3, 2010 at 12:11 am

        AA has a phrase for that: King Baby

  11. October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Having just recently found your site I look forward to reading more of your threads articles and comments as my personal time allows. On a more personal level please allow me to thank you for taking time and effort in the great need for further education and information on this very topic. I myself had been involved in an very toxic relationship spanning over 17 years and not knowing what I was dealing with. I also like to note that my children and I have been in NC for 3 years now. Whenever one gets involved in an abusive and dysfunctional relationship, there is a great need for healing for the victim(s) as well as for those that do indeed suffer from a PD. Many of us are reaching out for answers and support. Sites such as yours are in fact reaching back and giving encouragement and hope where at one time there was none for that person.

    Thanks again and I hope you will keep up the good work!

    Sincerely
    James

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:51 am

      You’re welcome, James, and thank you.

      Best,
      Dr Tara

  12. NoSeRider
    October 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I have no doubt that the way people behave in public is totally different then the way we behave in private.

    You don’t have sex in public.
    You don’t go to the bathroom in public.
    You don’t use people like an emotional toilet in public.

    If you do these things in public, then you’re generally labeled as being crazy, and craziness seems to be something we save for the ones we love?

    However, I was told that if you make people like you they’ll accept you, but if you act like you’re crazy, people will make you their leader. Maybe we’re just hard wired for craziness for the sake of controlling our environment and others?

    Basically, I think the enabling or collisional friend is looking at things from a ‘friends’ point of view, but how are you suppose to look at it from a partner/mate point of view? Are you suppose to accept the abuse?…..in sickness and in health, for better or worse….just as in most marriage vows say.

    Supposedly you love them for who they are. Supposedly you knew the job was dangerous when you took it? And it is a job. That marriage is a contract, not a license. A breach of contract has consequences. A license you can just give up.

    • Mike91163
      October 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm

      Excellent analogy re: marriage=contract. Indeed…for the most part, we spouses of BPD/NPDs have lived up to our our of the “contract” and then some…BUT, for the “Lois”es of this world, it’s OK that these women can BREACH the marital contract willy-nilly, and we’re just supposed to accept it under the “sickness/worse” clause, particularly when the wife refuses to acknowledge said “sickness”? Sorry, wrong answer, not happening!

    • Kari
      April 3, 2010 at 12:08 am

      NoSe: Good point. Keep in mind that in order for a contract to be valid, it must be ‘delivered’ by BOTH parties (i.e. if one person doesn’t hold up their end, that invalidates the contract, thereby ending the second person’s responsibility to ‘hold up their end of the bargain’).

      I’m a woman who has had emotional abuse in various types of relationships, most recently with my ex-husb. The things Dr. Tara says about women on this site were could easily have been a descriptive of him – very narcissistic, I deserved the treatment, etc. Never hit me or actually put me down, but rolled his eyes, gave me dirty looks, undermined my every move, rewrote history (gaslighting?), denied, denied, denied!! Took me a long time and a lot of healing to trust men again.
      I thought the same thing – he seemed to charming and friendly to the outside world(but had NO close friends, and throughout the marriage, I lost any close friends I’d had), but was completely different behind closed doors.
      What made me nuts was that he would start an argument at home / blame me for something, ask me “You’re just doing that to piss me off, aren’t you?” for something as egregious as not putting the groceries away properly, then when we were out with people, he’d subtly bring that topic up again, so that only I knew what he was talking about. I would fume, and imagined others thinking “That poor nice guy…how can he put up with such a crabby b—-?”

      I came to this sight in concern for a male friend who is married to someone who seems at least BPD, if not NPD. I don’t know all the details, of course, but just the little bit he has told me (which left my mouth hanging open in shock) and the way he talks about himself…he has all the signs.

      I’m hoping to pass this informatino on to him, as he has already agreed to couples therapy, a self-help book /DVD (“Fireproof”) and all manner of compliance with her – including ‘ending’ his friendship with me due to her outrageous jealousy and accusations – the therapist told him that he needed anti-depressants!! Not only that, she kept him up half the night (knowing full well that he was slated to work long hours the next day) griping about what he had said at the session. Right out of the playbook.

      Having gone through it myself, I can’t with a clear conscious do nothing. I hope I’m not pushing by passing the information on to him.

  13. Mr. E
    October 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    How is one supposed to get a person to go to counselling and admit they might have some issues of their own when the slightest criticism results in a rage/silent treatment? Counselling with another rational person could work – communication issues can be resolved. The problems in a relationship with abusive people are not communication issues.

    Earlier this year, my wife had some kind of blowout argument with a neighbor (who, curiously enough, also has controlling/bullying tendencies). She vented to our friends, who are also friends with the neighbor in question. One of our friends confided in me that they felt caught in the middle of my wife and neighbor’s feud.

    I mentioned this to her as gently as I could, which was a HUGE mistake. 1st off – what did I say to him to make him bring it up??? And how did I respond to his response, and what else did I possibly do wrong in the conversation? When I gave up and stopped talking, she raged at me about not trusting her, went off and sulked for several hours. And she didn’t talk to our friends for a couple of weeks.

    Now, how the hell am I supposed to get any kind of positive change in my relationship when she can’t even handle a friend’s polite request to stop talking about the neighbor without raging at me?

    This morning I realized/reminded myself that love is NOT getting angry at the person whose feelings you hurt, just for feeling hurt. If you love someone and hurt their feelings, you apologize and try not to do it again. You don’t rage at them for reacting in a way you didn’t like.

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:50 am

      The problems in a relationship with abusive people are not communication issues.

      Excellent point, Mr E. So is the last paragraph. I honestly don’t know how those of you who are still in these relationships do it. I understand intellectually, but it just seems like sheer hell. I’d rather be on an island by myself with a herd of pugs than be involved with a man with similar issues. Actually, for the record, pugs are excellent company.

      Cheers,
      Dr T

      • Keith
        November 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm

        I AGREE Dr t Id much rather spend my life with loveing pugs ! They allways love you and never complain! They do seem to have a personality of there own, but are very loving . Much more than any npd or bpd.

  14. Ron
    October 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    As pointed out, this friend, Lois, has no way of knowing what the wife is like behind closed doors. And, I agree, normal, healthy adults simply do not “go crazy” every once in a while. They control themselves and if they do something hurtful, on a rar occassion, they apologize and take responsibility.
    If this man has reached a point where he recognizes his wife’s behavior as abusive, disordered, he is well advised toget away from this person. If the wife wants to save the marriage, and by her own admission, goes a little crazy from time to time, she should get herself into therapy.
    An occassional, abusive outburst or behavior, repeated over time, causes immense damage. Things are said that can never be taken back. They ring in one’s ears forever.
    Again, I am sorry. But, non-abusive folks simply do not go a little crazy on others from time to time. Where did anyone get the idea that this type of pattern is normal?

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:45 am

      Thanks for commenting, Ron. You make valid points.

      Dr T

  15. melove54
    October 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    It’s difficult to see a friend go through divorce, especially when you believe you know them well. Lois wants to be a good friend, and her intentions are good, what she does not realize is what goes on behind closed doors. That possibly, her friend only relays the truth as she perceives it. This is the nature of BPD/NPD personalities, how they perceive, believe, and convey truth, is far from reality and by design, to protect only themselves. In essence, it is possible Lois is being duped as well. I know that my former X-n’s friends wrote off her mood swings as just having a “bitch” moment. These friends live out of state and only had to endure her for short periods of time. My X-n did not have any close girlfriends locally and the ones she did perceive as close, she may see them once every two-three months. I will say that my X-N made note of being glad that her out of state friends of 20 years (sorority sisters) did not live locally for she could only take them in small doses. That’s how she delt with everyone, in small doses.

    Men typically want to fix things, it is their nature to do so. When knowledge and options run out, they seek resources to aid themselves. In the case of an interpersonal relationship with rhetoric, lies, deception, control, etc. it is truly disorienting, difficult at the very least, and the effects are mentally and physically staggering. I’m sure Lois, like many other good friends could never imagine that someone close to her could be described as many of us men describe our present and former female abusers. As none of us knows what goes on behind closed doors with friend’s marriage, nor does she. Not judging her friend, I believe Lois needs to open her mind up to the possibilities of abuse.

    It’s like Kev said, he may view this as a matter of survival (mentally and physically.) There is a point at which everyone “snaps”, they epiphanize and move on, they go into PTSD and need professional help, or they simply end their lives.
    It is human nature for men and women alike to protect themselves, we live with self 24/7. We are all capable of stretching the truth for self-serving needs. I would suggest to Lois to read Dr.T’s articles in more depth the difference between normal human interaction Vs the egregious and deceptive behavior of such personality disorders. Lois’s friend’s husband came to this site because he ran out of mental options, he was most likely at his wit’s end.

    Great article by the way Dr. T. It shows the lack of awareness to these disorders. It doesn’t surprise me the equal split has already been attained. Maybe this will speed up the process of recognition in the courts to these disorders, thereby giving children a chance for an emotionally healthy future.

    • Jon
      October 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm

      “Men typically want to fix things, it is their nature to do so. When knowledge and options run out, they seek resources to aid themselves. In the case of an interpersonal relationship with rhetoric, lies, deception, control, etc. it is truly disorienting, difficult at the very least, and the effects are mentally and physically staggering.”

      I like this statement. I, like many if not all of the men visiting this site, view myself as a ‘fixer’. A trait that I have always viewed to be a positive one until after my relationships with two separate BPD/NPD women, where I’ve found it now to be to my detriment.

      The reason being, I’ve found that BPD/NPD women find those of us who view ourselves to be of the fixer mentality and then use that very trait against us. They take this character trait of compassion and turn it around on us as though it’s our own weakness.

      I call it ’emotional arson.’ Example: BPD/NPD girlfriend comes to you – states there is a problem in the relationship and that you’re the cause of it. Because of our compassionate nature, we stop, listen, and offer to improve the situation in any way that we can. They in turn, lay the blame and then cut us off, refuse to talk about it, walk away, sulk, or just glare (evil-eye) in silence. So there we are, trying to fix a problem that’s been presented without any input or help from the ‘offended’ party. This is a complete and utter communication breakdown.

      It’s as though she’s come into the room, set a fire, and then run away leaving us without any water. Hence = ’emotional arson.’

      It leaves us with that ongoing feeling of obligation, guilt and shame. Complete manipulation on their part. And the end result for us ends up being a feeling of emasculation because we’re prohibited from doing the very thing that would feel the most empowering as a man in that particular situation – to try and fix it.

      And as the above poster stated: the emotional effects are staggering.

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:43 am

      Hi melove,

      I wouldn’t hold my breath re: the courts getting up to speed on these issues. Spousal support keeps the government from having to pay these women welfare—given how many of them consider working anathema. Heck, even welfare eventually runs out, but in many cases, not spousal support. One lapse in judgment and you’re on the hook for the rest of your life. There’s also lots of money to be made by the courts from keeping these draconian and unjust policies in place.

      Dr T

  16. Steve
    October 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I agreed to that “at least one counseling session” suggestion. Here’s what happened to me. We went to her counselor who had been listening to her side of the story for weeks now. I got five minutes to present my perspective. This was followed by a pretty intense “dump on my husband” session which included all manner of “blame” placed on my shoulders for almost everything wrong with her or with our relationship. She actually started to blame my family and accused my mother of being “repressed” and enlightened me to the fact that her family said, “Well, it’s always been about him hasn’t it?” All of which was not only tolerated by, but encouraged by the therapist. At one point the therapist concluded (after 30 minutes) that I was “seething” with anger (even though I was my normal calm self) and the reason she could tell was because I was obviously repressing my own anger (hmmmmm…must have believed that my mother was repressed too) She also said, “I can tell you’re seething with anger because (as she pointed to my wife) she’s so upset. What? My wife is out of control and that proves that I’m the one who’s seething with anger? What? The last straw was when I told the therapist how my children (one’s an adult, the other close) responded to me after I confessed an affair I had years ago in the midst of absolute hopelessness over the marriage. Both kids responded by saying, essentially, “Dad, you’ve always been there for us. You’ve always supported us. You taught us to forgive. We forgive you. We support you. No one’s perfect.” I questioned their response, asking if they weren’t angry or disappointed, etc… Although I know they probably are, they still maintained their love and support for Dad. The therapist’s response to me, rather incredulously, was to say, “And you believe that!” I was speechless. She accused again, “And you believe that!” The therapist actually had me going there for awhile, but finally I said, “Yes, I believe them.” I know they’re hurt and probably angry, but I do believe that they forgive me and love me. How dare you question that! That’s pretty much where the session ended. She proceeded to have a private conversation with my wife about their next session. Never said goodbye. Never said thank you for coming. Just ignored me as I left the room. Lucky we came in separate cars because I was so upset I couldn’t go home for three hours. I had to call my sister and my father just to make sure I wasn’t nuts and seeing this in the wrong light. I wasn’t. I didn’t. And I never went back. And I never will. She will probably never, in my presence, admit her own failings because, in her own words, “it would destroy me.” And that’s the crux of BPD as I’ve seen it. Enormous self-loathing that cannot allow even a glimmer of accountability or acceptance of their own “issues” that contribute to the breakdown in the relationship because it will, by their definition, destroy them. Without that, however, there can be no reconciliation. Reconciliation goes both ways. A one way street is nothing but control and abuse. Good luck to the man in question described in the email. Hope you’re reading these responses.

    • melove54
      October 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm

      I will never forget when my X-wife and I went to our first marriage counseling session. It was a female counselor (masters in phsyc.)and she wished to talk to us individually first. She saw my X first. Forty-five minutes later I was called into her office and my X was still present and I was asked to have a seat. Once I sat down, I looked over at my X and she had this smirk upon her face. I turned to the counselor and asked if her and I were going to have our private session. She then advised me that it was her conclusion that my wife and I should seek separation in the best interest of the marriage. I was floored!! I stated to her that such a conclusion when I had not even spoken to her was absurd. I then asked her on what basis did she make such a conclusion and she stated it was confidential between her and my wife. Fortunately we drove separate cars, and I walked out. Never returned and filed for divorce a few days later.

      My X wife was a very high functioning personality disordered woman, undiagnosed, but had most of the traits and characteristics. The woman I speak of frequently on this site was an interpersonal relationship of 5 years, who was far more aggressive. (yes, I was a glutten for punishment, 23 years total.) Obviously a slow learner as well, for I did not know what I was up against in either case until 11 months ago! My research since then has not only opened my eyes up to the disorders themselves, also to the lack of experienced counselors/psych’s who are duped by these disordered individuals. It’s an amazing mind, and skillsets these manipulative creatures have! Barr none, Dr. T’s site provides the most comprehensive, straight forward, and insightful information available to men(and women). Dr.T, maybe you should provide a school/seminars for these green pea counselors and psych’s!

      • shrink4men
        October 21, 2009 at 12:35 am

        Wow, melove. That was quite a one-two punch. I am so happy to be out of the clinical environment and that particular type of practitioner it breeds.

        If you break rank, which I often did, those so-called “helping professionals” can be quite merciless. After my last 3 years at a not-for-profit agency (2002-2005) I would rather be a hot dog cart vendor than work in an all-female clinical setting again. I’m very familiar with the kind of “therapist” you and others have described on this thread. They’re truly frightening and the system does not hold them accountable, which is why I opted out of the system.

        Best,
        Dr T

      • Kev
        October 21, 2009 at 1:29 am

        Hi melove,

        you said that “She then advised me that it was her conclusion that my wife and I should seek separation in the best interest of the marriage.”

        I wonder if there might not be an alternate reason for this. Towards the end, my ex started seeing a therapist (or, so she claimed – I really don’t know), to help her “cope” with “all of [my] bullshit,” since I was (obviously) the one intent on destroying our relationship.

        She told me one day that “even her therapist agreed” that things were beyond repair, and that she (my ex) should leave me immediately, and make a clean break.

        At the time, I felt judged, and more than a little like I was trapped in a Kafka novel. Since then, I’ve begun to wonder if maybe her therapist (who may or may not have existed) was able to see through all of her crap, and make the recommendation to potentially save me.

        Sure, I’ll never know, and sure it’s a total fantasy on my part. But it does make for an occasional pleasant diversion to think so.

        Maybe after talking to your ex for 45 minutes, the therapist was trying to do something similar for you.

        My ex (for what it’s worth) didn’t make a clean break, but tried to drag it out for as long as possible, in order to continue to control me.

    • Hayden
      October 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm

      I talked about counseling with my ex-NPD, and her admissions on the subject left me stunned. After dating her for a year and getting different stories at various times about her divorce, she admitted suggesting counseling to her ex-husband before their divorce. She then admitted that she was never sincere about reconciling with him, but she needed time to get the money for the best divorce attorney and to manufacture a case for child custody. The counseling she led this man into was a contol and manipulation tactic by her and worked perfectly. When I asked her to go to a couples therapist with me, she told me “why they are only going to ask me what I think is wrong,” and that was it. Honestly, my-ex is so evil and manipulative that I am a little be scared of her.

      By the end of the relationship, I was so emotionally exhausted and my mind so confused by her constant comments about my shortcomings in her eyes that I could barely work or finish a sentence. I talk for a living, but was broken by her. My profession as a trial attorney gave me one advantage that stopped her in her tracks during one of the final sessions of verbally abusing me. I suggested that I would pay my regular poligrapher to test us both with any and all questions about fidelity and personal history that we could each prepare in advance. I suggested it at the time because I sincerely wanted to show her that I had been loyal to her, but it had another effect altogether. She immediately stopped, changed the subject from her accusations and never raised the issue again. Projection, projection, projection. I wonder now at the fact that I sincerely wanted to stay with a woman that had taken me to that point. There are so many painful memories from that relationship that I think that I have lost something of myself that I will never regain. At least I have a chance to recover without her in my life. Please do not trust NPD/BPDs in counseling.

      • shrink4men
        October 21, 2009 at 12:38 am

        Hi Hayden,

        Your story is a perfect example of how NPD/BPD women use therapy as just another device by which they control and torture others.

        The anecdote about the polygraph is priceless. I wish you all the best is recovering yourself and moving forward.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

      • Brian Gard
        December 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm

        It is painful at the time (going through
        couples counseling) but when it backfires
        and the therapist and Psycho-Deranged-Nuttjob BPD/NPD wife go on the attack,
        it helps the trapped spouse/victim
        get out easier. In a short time,
        and sooner than you think, you will
        be thankful that the therapist sided
        with the blood sucking vampire spouse.
        There is no such thing as ‘closure’
        and no right or wrong, you just got
        to get away to save yourself.

        Brian

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:31 am

      Hi Steve,

      Unfortunately, that sounds about right. Sorry you had that particular “therapeutic” experience. Also unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon. Congratulations on maintaining your sanity and perspective and for getting out.

      Cheers,
      Dr T

  17. October 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Dear Doctor – I’m a big fan of your site and the insights you dispense.

    The one thing that concerned me about your interaction with this “friend” (and I’m sure you probably realize this) – is that it may not be a friend at all. I recently had a similar experience and I’ll spare you the details at this point.

    When dealing with a divorce with a borderline or suspected borderline (with which I have experience) – the likelihood of a successful relationship is extremely slim. Worse, that friend “Lisa” suggesting counseling would require the potentially disordered person to acknowledge responsibility for her actions, which is highly unlikely in my experience and the experiences of those with whom I interact. Counseling simply becomes a new forum for the abusive party to continue to spew their stories.

    The characteristics I see in the alleged “friend’s” missives strike a very familiar chord. In case it’s not abundantly obvious – the friend may very well be the wife.

    • shrink4men
      October 21, 2009 at 12:29 am

      Hi Mister-M,

      Thanks for voicing your concern. I’m well aware that Lois may be the wife and not the “friend.” In either case, it doesn’t really matter as I expressed to Lois exactly what I would’ve expressed to the wife.

      You’re absolutely right. In order for any kind of treatment to be successful, an individual has to admit that they have a problem or, if it’s couples treatment, admit that they’re contributing to the problem. Otherwise, it just becomes a blame and bitch session and why pay a copay or out of pocket for that?

      Best,
      Dr T

  18. CohabitatingWithANarcisSister
    October 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    The good doctor has enlightened me in a number of ways. Perhaps the most profound revelation is how much this is about one person’s desire to control another person. Instead of reeling from the venom that is offered by my wife, I now attempt to see past the laundry list of specific manifestations [insults, rage, one-way discourse, competition, maliciousness, drama, absence of graciousness] into the engine behind the chaos…it is apparent that “control” is the fuel.

    I don’t know if this is typical, but in the weeks since I began benefiting from this blog, episodes with my wife find me enthusiastically assertive and fair with her and it seems that she has become perceivably more collaborative and calm in her behavior. My doubting the genuineness of this reform [after 4 yrs of the chaos] is probably reasonable. Proceeding with caution is my plan.

    • jham123
      October 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm

      Cohab, You are now interacting with your wife with knowledge. That Knowledge gives you power. I, Too, have been having a very peaceful 5 weeks since I found this Blog. We’ve only had two interactions that could be noted as non-positive.

      Dr. T., This is one of those people I mentioned earlier, the message that you provide is painful to some. Therefore, they must destroy the messenger to return to their comfort zone.

      This is the same as that time I presented info to my wife that stated clearly “Women were just as likely if not more likely than men in initiating violence”. The fact that there were 119 independent studies with over 100k participants over 10 years that led to this conclusion….non of that mattered to her. The myth that the man is always the abuser remains ensconced in her cranium.

      Better to state it this way. You’ve said what most are thinking out loud. Now you must be corrected for “stating the obvious”. The errors of your ways must be changed and you must be re-educated by Lois for allowing any “truthism” to spill from your lips…….Why can’t you get in line……don’t you know that all women are victims and all husbands have a duty to stand by them at all cost? C’mon man, you should know better by now……

    • shrink4men
      October 20, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Cohabitating,

      Perhaps your interactions have changed because you’re no longer biting on the emotionally-charged senseless hook she casts for you. When you don’t take the bait, you retain control of yourself and your dignity.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  19. Tom
    October 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Dr. Tara, Kev,

    I’ve been reading this blog for several months now and decided to break the silence just now because of this posting.

    I wanted to say THANK YOU, both of you, for breaking down the sick argument that has been put up and replying to them, point by point, helping me better understand its twisted nature. What a great epiphany!

    I’m a person that tries hard to improve myself, therefore I’m constantly seeking my own weaknesses and sore spots.

    Being so focussed on my own wrong-being, it had become very hard for me to realize that sometimes it wasn’t me who was wrong, it was her. And it was even harder when other people held up ideals against me, like “save this relationship” or “I’m just human – accept me as I am”. This coerced me into defending my own well-being person against an abstract, ideal concept.

    Having said that, I think Lois’ original question (behind all the arguing) was “why wouldn’t he go to the therapist with her?”. After all it appears to have been on her initiative to save the marriage, hasn’t it?

    Before I quit my abusive relationship, I would have been *so* happy, if my GF had actually asked me that and I would have happily agreed. Is that a bad thing? Why are you saying that there is no hope at all for the marriage? Or is that not what you’re saying?

    Thank you for your blog Tara. Please keep it going.

    • shrink4men
      October 20, 2009 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Tom,

      First, I’d like to comment on these two oft used statements: “Save this relationship” and “I’m just human. Accept me as I am.” Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a NPD/BPD woman you are in a lopsided one-way relationship. There is little to no reciprocity.

      Therefore, it falls upon you to do all of the work to “save” the relationship (from her best efforts to undermine and destroy it). You must accept her in all her abusive crazy glory while you twist yourself into knots and jump through hoops to become her “ideal” man (which is a trap because nothing you do will ever be good enough).

      While I don’t know for certain, I think “Lois” had a few objectives. In her first email, she seems to want me to say, “your friend’s husband should attend therapy with her.” For reasons stated elsewhere on this site, I couldn’t in good conscience do that and stated the circumstances in which I think seeing a mutually agreed upon therapist would have merit. When Lois didn’t get the response she wanted from me, she took a different approach. She tried to enlist me in some sick form of “sisterhood” while simultaneously attacking my integrity. In doing so, she makes several contradictory statements that simply don’t add up.

      Second, I don’t think it was bad that you wanted to attend therapy at the end of your relationship with your ex. That’s a choice everyone must determine for him- or herself. Sometimes a person has to exhaust every available option before they’re able to let go. I’d rather spare a person the pain, time and money, but everyone has his or her own process.

      I didn’t say there is no hope at all for their marriage. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never corresponded with the soon-to-be-ex-husband. The only information I have is from the alleged friend of the wife. I responded to Lois’ question about why this man possibly refused to seek therapy and challenged her on the discrepancies and contradictions in her email. I don’t think any of this is Lois’ business. It’s between the couple in question—whomever they are; unless one of them contacts me.

      I posted this dialog to illustrate the double standard belief system many women have, the absurd rationalizations for abusive behavior (e.g., “all women go a little crazy“) and the manipulative communication style and how you break it down point by point.

      Hope this clears things up a bit.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • AnonymousT
      October 25, 2009 at 1:26 pm

      Brian, thank you for summing up just about everything I have been through, and everything I have felt, so perfectly, and yet without acrimony. I am bookmarking your post.

      Posts like this really help put perspective on things. These women really do wreck you without giving it a second thought, and there isn’t any point in trying to figure out why. They just do it. I don’t feel so alone.

      Thank you.

  20. Kev
    October 20, 2009 at 4:38 am

    I think you’ve covered just about everything I can think of, though I wonder a little bit about how secure “Lois” is feeling in her own relationship, and slightly wonder if this is truly one of those “I have a friend, who…” situations, or if it’s the usual preface we’ve all used at one time or another when discussing our problems with people. I honestly (and obviously) don’t know, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

    I’d like to address a few things, though.

    In regards to “What woman doesn’t go a little “crazy” now and then?”

    –I’m sorry, but unless you’ve lived through what we’ve (sometimes just barely) lived through you have no concept. NONE. This is akin to me saying “I only hit her occasionally. After all, what man doesn’t go a little ‘crazy’ now and then, especially when his wife won’t listen?” To dismiss the abuse (verbal, emotional, psychological, and, yes, physical) that we have been through as occasional craziness or PMS (just try suggesting that as a man sometime), is callous, insulting, and ignorant. I’m sure Phil Hartman’s wife (to use a recent example on this site) was having issues somewhat beyond just cramps. Guess what? She wasn’t an isolated case. I and the other men who frequent this site are still alive, but I promise that we’re not complaining because our partners are or were simply nagging.

    As for Mr. Soon-to-be-Divorced’s being on medication for anxiety issues.
    –Ever wonder HOW he got those? Obviously I don’t know him, but I’d be willing to bet they’re either a recent development, or have been exacerbated over the course of the marriage.

    Finally, Lois, you suggest that perhaps there is a danger about marriage becoming disposable, because we should put up with our partners’ occasional “craziness.”
    –For how long? I lasted a year, and almost KILLED MYSELF. I’m talking SUICIDE. I’m STILL BATTLING THESE THOUGHTS REGULARLY. Why is my life more disposable than a relationship with someone driving me to the brink of death? I’m one of the lucky ones. I got out before marriage, and before children. There are men who frequent this site who’ve been in these relationships far longer than I. I’m talking DECADES. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t know how they’ve survived. They have my utmost respect. How “disposable” is a marriage of this sort that’s lasted that long, because the men have tried everything they know how to do to keep the peace, prove their love, and do everything in their power for their partners? Are they just giving up? Or maybe they’ve finally had enough.

    If the genders in these descriptions were reversed, we’d all be clamoring for the poor abused woman to leave, to get out, to get to a shelter, to partake of the billions of charities and legal services out there for abused women. The fact that there are so few resources out there for men in these scenarios makes these men’s decisions to finally leave brave, and even heroic in my eyes. By the time we do leave, many of us are practically spent – physically, psychologically, emotionally, financially, and more.

    It’s a matter of survival.

    If we thought these relationships were “disposable,” we never would have put forth the efforts we did. We wouldn’t be in the condition we’re in.

    We’d be off galavanting around with our next partner.

    Like our exes are doing.

    • shrink4men
      October 20, 2009 at 4:42 am

      Well said, Kev. Very well said. Wow.

      Dr T

Comment pages
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: