The No Contact Rule: Ending an Abusive Relationship

man looking at phone1But she keeps texting me. . . But she keeps showing up at my gym. . . But she’s emailing to say she still loves me even though she’s dating a new guy. . . But what if I just text to tell her to stop texting me. . . But she keeps calling me. . .

No buts. No what ifs. No bargaining with yourself. No Contact.

If you’re fortunate enough not to have had a child or children with a controlling, emotionally abusive woman or man of the Cluster B variety (narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, anti-social), the very best thing you can do for your emotional and physical well-being is to institute a strict No Contact Rule.

No Contact doesn’t mean No Contact except for x, y and z. By No Contact, I mean NO — zero, nada, zilch — Contact. To use Freshmen Orientation parlance: No means no.

[This is the first of a series of posts I’m writing about no contact and gaining emotional distance from an abusive ex. If you share a child, you can’t cut off contact entirely, but you can establish strict boundaries and emotional distance, which I’ll address in the coming weeks.]

Breaking Up Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic or Sociopathic Style

There are primarily five ways a break up with an abusive individual plays out:

1. You end the relationship and want nothing more to do with her, but she won’t leave you alone. Individuals who are more BPD or HPD tend to behave this way. Most NPDs won’t chase after you or grovel to get you back—they’ll bully and threaten, but not grovel.

2. She ends the relationship, cuts you out of her life and begins dating other men immediately. You wonder if you ever meant anything to her at all. You convince yourself that you’re still in love (Stockholm Syndrome) with her and contact her only to be ignored or emotionally smacked down. Most forms of Crazy are capable of this behavior. They view people as objects to use, therefore, everyone is replaceable after they suck them dry.

3. She breaks up with you and then begs you to take her back or “magnanimously” offers you another chance. You reunite, she breaks up with you again and a pattern of her jerking your chain develops. A BPD is more likely to beg and plead, while a NPD will make it seem like she’s doing you a favor by reconciling.

4. She breaks up with you/you break up with her and you receive a flurry of angry, hurtful, conciliatory, desperate and/or seductive emails, texts, calls and/or voicemails. She spews the most vile things at you—insulting your manhood and threatening “revenge” for the audacity of not wanting to further subject yourself to her abuse—or tries to lure you back in with her crisis du jour (e.g., my car broke down, someone threatened her, someone’s being “mean” to her) or explicit sexual come-on’s. The more you ask her to leave you alone or try to reason with her, the more she amps up her stalking-harassing behavior.

5. You get caught in a sick dynamic in which you’re both breaking up with each other (sometimes several times in the same day) and hurl insults back and forth via text or email. Then you get back together or plan to get back together or have sex, everything blows up, you break up again, compete to see who can hurt the other more and create a sick and highly self-destructive cycle of mutual abuse. If you’re engaging in this particular dynamic, I urge you to take a step back, look at what you’re doing and get professional help to break the cycle. This dynamic is typical when both individuals have one or some variation of the Cluster B disorders or if one partner is extremely co-dependent and the other abusive.

Why no contact?

If any of the above scenarios apply, you must distance yourself physically and emotionally from your ex and that means No Contact. If you’re having difficulty implementing and/or maintaining the No Contact Rule, ask yourself why and be honest. For example:

  • Do you have hope you can work things out with your ex?
  • Are you caught up in the conflict and drama?
  • Does it give you a rush?
  • Do you need to have the last word?
  • Do you want her to acknowledge you’re “right?”
  • Are you still clinging to some rescuer-white knight fantasy?
  • Do you think you can’t live without her?

You’ll have a difficult time establishing and maintaining No Contact if you answered yes to any of these questions. If your ex has a personality disorder, the qualities and behaviors that drove you away, caused her to abuse you or discard you are highly unlikely to change. If  you’re easily sucked into the drama, want to save her or don’t think you can live and be happy without her, you need to do some work on yourself to understand why you’re so dependent upon your ex.

No one else can love you enough for you to be able to love yourself. True happiness is contingent upon you; not what someone else does or doesn’t do for you. You need to be able to do both of these things for yourself before you can find happiness and love with another person.

Think of No Contact as going cold turkey. In many ways, a relationship with an abusive woman (or man) is like an addiction. A heroin addict cannot have just a little heroin nor can you handle just a little contact with your ex. In the best of circumstances, two reasonably healthy and emotionally mature individuals can be friends after breaking up. The opposite is true if you were involved with a borderline, narcissist, histrionic, sociopath or some variation of all of the above. An abusive relationship is not a normal relationship, therefore, you cannot be friends afterward.

Do not view No Contact as a way to “win” your ex back. This is a losing strategy. No Contact is to help you gain emotional, psychological and physical distance in order to heal and move forward in your life. The goal isn’t to make her miss you or to punish her. The goal is to establish peace of mind and freedom from the pain your ex caused you. Your ex is the source of your pain. To stop hurting and mend, you need to avoid the source of the pain.

Next week, I’ll publish the second post in this series that explains why No Contact is so important to your overall well-being and physical and mental health.

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.


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  1. Simon
    November 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Oh and by the way, the comment made by Jonathon is spot on in my opinion. She always comes back, the last time I stayed strong for two months, ignoring everything. It was driving her loopy to the point I was checking outside before I went to bed. But…then her grandma died…the good part of me could not help but wish her my best. All of a sudden everything was back on! I had been sucked back in and to cut a long story short two weeks after the funeral of her grandma…wham!!! i was dumped again…
    It hurts..

  2. Simon
    November 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    What can I say. This website has helped me deal with probably the most painful time in my life this last year. So firstly thank you for that. I have some amazing stories I could share on here of some of the most incredible BPD behaviour, but like so many do, I went back for more under the delusion of love. These women are almost comical if they werent so damaging, every article I read on this site fits to an experience I have had with my ex or feelings that I am still going through. My self esteem has been rocked and basically destroyed by a phycotic behaviour pattern from her. But thanks to this site I now know that it is her who is seriously ill and that I will move on to a better life whilst she stands still in her vicious little mind. What was it she last text me? “you made me do this” jees wake up and smell a consellor will you!!
    If anyone wants to comment that would be great but I am just concentrating on re-establishing myself as a person, oh and by the way, No Contact is the only way forward. It does not matter what they have to say, in the end if you want a good life, stay the hell away from them

  3. Jonathan
    November 19, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I’ve heard that in many borderline break-ups, the emotions are in reverse.

    For instance, in the beginning of the break-up, the boderline is fine, but the person with healthy emotions is hurt. Yet, as the days, weeks, and months continue, the borderline begins to *miss* the person whilst the person with normal emotions is beginning to heal and or feels fine.

    So, it’s a sort of role reversal…one that might disrupt the no contact policy if one weren’t careful, because as you heal…”they’re back”. If they did come back during a role reversal, one would think they would return with the “needy” “honeymoon” side of their split personality.

    But who really knows…they are like the weather–entirely unpredictable and yet accurately anticipated.

    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Jonathan,

      This is a good point. I think it all depends on who initiates the break up. If it’s the female BPD, she breaks up with you to hurt and punish and seems fine.

      Oftentimes, they do this to get you to beg you to get back together. If you don’t do that, then the emotions come in reverse because you’re not playing out the dramatic script she envisioned in her mind. This is further evidence of the game-like quality of how they behave in relationships.

      My advice is once you’re out; stay out—no matter who initiated it and no matter how many tears and tantrums ensue.

      Dr T

  4. Rooster
    November 17, 2009 at 11:52 pm


    The object of the game in divorce recovery courses is, well, recovery….

    Recovery is a difficult enough journey as it is without sitting in a room full of people that have a pre-conceived notion you’re a schmuck.

    I found out my ex started her distortion campaign months before I left her. It’s a very difficult barrier to overcome.

    Get a fresh start. Find a new place and begin your journey there.

    Best of luck!

  5. Jon
    November 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    “You wonder if you ever meant anything to her at all. You convince yourself that you’re still in love (Stockholm Syndrome) with her and contact her only to be ignored or emotionally smacked down. All cluster B’s are capable of this behavior. They view people as objects to use, therefore, everyone is replaceable after they suck them dry.”

    EXCELLENT! I just today shared a few links from your collection of fantastic articles. My friend (a female) suddenly broke up with her boyfriend. I really wasn’t expecting that, but apparently she’s ready to stop the cycle. I just hope she doesn’t cave in.

    Thanks as always for your great site!

  6. AnonymousT
    November 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    P.S. Is it normal to have some kind of trauma response, like a sick feeling in your stomach and a burst of anxiety, when you have to have contact with one of these exes? I have never gotten completely over this, and thus my no-contact rule for peace of mind.

    Whereas she seems never to have been bothered in the slightest to initiate contact with me, from the moment she left.

    • Mr. E
      November 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

      I would guess that “yes,” a burst of anxiety and a sick feeling are normal. I mean, do you ever recall feeling happy to see a bully?

      Her “polite warning” might have just been her screwing with you some more. I mean, she isn’t going to want to to go and tell those people all about her. On the other hand, she might be right. Either way, I’d find a different group if she has already participated in that one.

      Good luck!

  7. melove54
    November 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I’m assuming the two of you are married? Most people going through divorce leave it up to the attorney to request return of such items through the courts, however, it only lengthens the dissolution process and fattens the attorney’s bank account. Married or not, it’s a matter of personal value, or attachment to these items. Also, what is the value you place on your sanity Vs these items? She will use these items as leverage. As an example, she already has told you she prefers not to pack these items, therefore, she has leverage for further contact. If you decide to not retrieve these items and move on, she could possibly use it months or years later to contact you, i.e., “I want you to come by and get this shit out of my house!” Especially if she is moving later on and has to take the stuff with her. If she truly moves on with her life, she’ll discard those possessions anyway. However, this cannot be predicted.

    Is the house in your name in any way, shape, or form (be it leased or owned?) If it is, and you have a key, simply take what is yours(when she is not home). Take only what is actually yours, items you owned before the relationship, not items that you shared costs. If there are items of shared expenditure that have significant value, you may have to negociate with her for a buyout/sellout situation. So don’t take anything that either of you could legally claim, you two have to settle those issues. Otherwise, if such shared cost items have minor value, don’t bother. Remember, things like this can create further adversity and emotional upheaval. Neither of you need that for it simply delays and encumbers the process, the goal of limiting contact. So it’s important for you to be the one that is sensible. Think ahead and cover your ass and keep it legal.

    If you have not created a list of those items you want back, I would do so in an email form. What you want from this is an acknowledgement from her in the reply about these items. One that will hopefully state she acknowledges these items are indeed yours. Do it informally and say whatever it takes in this email without adversity,..smooze her in other words. Once you have this, she could still make claims to it, but you have evidence that to the contrary, and local police can allow you to retrieve these items with such evidence. However, at any point in time that she makes claims to your property, you then have to decide, “is it really worth it?” Call upon your intellect to make rational decisions, not emotional ones. I walked away from a newly furnished home. I purchased 30k worth of curtains, furniture, and appliances from my trust. One year later, we divorced. I didn’t want any of it, for the legal battle was not worth it to me. I was happy to walk out with the shirt on back. In my last interpersonal relationship,(my X-N fiancee)I made sure everything was gone before I officially broke it off.

    My opinion, get it all now, or at least the items that have the most significant value to you personally. Do it now to prevent future drama. If you’ve assessed that these items hold no true value in your life, just walk away.

    Change your phone numbers on cell and home if feasible. Choose a new active email address. These are ways to solidify no-contact.

    • JimmyJim
      November 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      MeLove –

      Thanks for the advice. Some answers to your embedded questions:

      * We are not married.
      * The lease for the rented house is in her name only.
      * I do still have a key and have been clearly allowed to pull my things out previously, however, I have not returned to that house in several weeks.
      * The only items that I want are somewhat minor, but useful items that clearly belong to me, though as I stated I can walk away.
      * I do have a list of the items already compiled.

      The upside is that I have managed to uninvest emotionally so the process will be more amusing to me than anything else even if it is unsuccessful. I have no agenda beyond the list of stuff. This will not be an emotional upheaval for me, nor will it be cathartic. It’s a transactional process designed to get some of my things. I do not plan to invest much in it, but may be able to get some things and get away quickly.

      Based on more research and stories I have determined that while she exhibits classic symptoms she is not as bad as most others. She has periods of lucidity and reasonableness (not that I will count on those). Additionally, I think that she will get bored with me very quickly so the need to go undercover is unnecessary. But maybe she has yet to even start ramping up.

      The thing I am most trying to avoid is having her go completely postal (which she has avoided to this point). Our breakup has been most like #2 from DrT’s list above. She has essentially ignored me since dropping the bomb. Once I went silent she started to ramp up the unsolicited contacts but they have not yet been either aggressive or annoying (just amusing). All of her venom spewing has been said to my friends and family, and none to me directly. To me she is pretending to play the “I’m the nice one” role, so I guess can use that as leverage.

      In summary, it appears that I need to review the list and determine whether my desire to obtain these items is worth the trouble. If so, I would like to get everything while she has left the house, but I will assume that since I have no legal claim to the house or property that may be a risky choice. Therefore I will send an e-mail that is clear, concise, and pleasant but not apologetic. Stick to the facts.

      Let me know if you disagree.

  8. JimmyJim
    November 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Amazingly, I found this posting by DrT yesterday immediately after finally deciding to look online for some help handling my now ex-NPD. Even more amazing is that on my own I decided to go what I called “Radio Silent” three weeks ago. I guess I am not as crazy as she made me feel. I managed to maintain no contact (form me) until she finally arrived uninvited, unannounced, and unwelcome in my new apartment last Sunday. After managing to get her to leave without too much drama I have not broken radio silence again.

    Now I need some practical advice from anyone here on how to finalize the split. When I left our house I took what I could in a few extended smash & grabs. There are no shared children, joint property or debt so the issues are small, but there are some things of mine I would like to have back. She has returned some inconsequential items, but tells me that she is “not comfortable” packing my antique glassware (huh-huh, she packed it twice before). Here are the choices I see:
    1. Do nothing and lose what’s been left behind.
    2. Go back to the house during a time when everyone is gone and get what I want.
    3. Hire a lawyer and let him handle all contact.
    4. Use a friend to retrieve the items or as an assistant to watch any interaction.
    5. Use e-mail to negotiate a return of items (e.g., leave them on the front porch).
    There are pros and cons to each option. Please feel free to add something better.

    I want to do this quickly and with a minimum of contact and drama. Regardless of my approach I know that I will never get everything that’s on my list so I will need to shut down the process short of total success.

    Please throw in your two cents. If you are interested I will keep you posted on the results.

    • Rooster
      November 17, 2009 at 4:04 pm



      Tell her you want to come by and pick a few things up. She may agree to it if for no other reason than to have the opportunity to inflict additional torture.

      Bring a friend to witness. Instruct the friend never to leave your side.

      Get your stuff.

      Get out.

      Don’t go back.

    • s.e. rolf
      October 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      I know the arguments can come from out of nowhere and things can happen fast. It wont help you now, but for those still caught in their relationship, do what I did. A booty haul.
      Not a booty call.
      A booty haul.
      Start to preposition your stuff, you may have to be sneaky about it because if she sees whats happening, she will intuit your action and then hammer you right there. If that happens, you wont be getting your stuff back without the cops. Sneak stuff out little by little (this implies you have made the decision to leave already). Get the stuff that matters that cant be replaced. If you can buy it, dont worry about it. The $$$ loss is well worth the price…Just get the stuff dear to your heart and then go off the net. I admit, no contact is hard for me right now but am maintaining that. Actually, so is she. I am actually afraid of her showing up somewhere and catching me in a public place where she will further humiliate me. I feel on edge hoping she wont pop up somewhere. Isnt that crazy?
      A booty haul.

  9. November 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I want to thank you all for sharing your personal stories. It help even today (been three years of NC) whenever I read them. I read so many stories that I could have written and so times word for word. While we all are different in many ways the experience and outcome of having a relationship with these people are so much alike, it’s just plain weird at times. The red flags (check) The pathological behavior (check) The lies and emotional manipulation (check)! Again and again the same. So thanks for the many confirmation that she was indeed a person who suffer from this cluster B disorder..

    While I would never wish this on any person it’s still nice to know I am not crazy. Something I wasn’t sure about many times.

  10. Adam
    November 14, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Dr. T, this website has become my ‘bible’ since only a month ago I was (as Ron brilliantly stated) “idolized and then suddenly discarded” by a woman I now suspect to have some combination of BPD/NPD/Histrionics. I’ve read EVERY article on your site about people with these types of disorders and I’ve even begun to think/speak like you! ;)

    This recent post could not have come at a better time as the woman in question emailed me two days ago and its been difficult for me not to respond back. I find myself wanting to hang on to the memories of when things were really fantastic with this woman, but as I process the information in your posts I understand that in the end it became an unhealthy relationship for me… I started ‘no contact’ about 3 weeks ago. Its excruciating and maddening for me not to answer when I get a text/email from her, but I’m finding comfort in the support network you have built here. This has been the most awfully painful breakup that I have ever dealt with as we were soon to be engaged, but your wisdom is giving me a much needed perspective. What I mean to tell you is THANK YOU SO MUCH for what you are doing!!!

    Keeping busy and distracted for me has been the key to success with No Contact thus far. Fortunately for me, I was able to leave the country this month for work so I don’t have to deal with seeing any kind of emotional reminders (i.e. places we went on dates, and the like) that could make me relapse and rush for the phone to call her. I know it would hurt me more to speak to her and it would ruin all the healing that’s taking place.

    I’m looking forward to your next post and thank you again for your generous support of myself and everyone here. You are helping me through a very dark time.

  11. Ron
    November 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Very good article. I am anxious to see what you have to say about the type of contact one must keep when there are kids involved.
    I have had to deal with my firs wife, a classic NPD, IMO, for almost 14 years since we divorced. Our boys are grown , now, although one is disabled and we still need to coordinate some logistics.
    Over the past 14 years, I have learned that one of the most effective ways of handling contact with her is to simply hang up on her when she becomes abusive. This has happened many times over the years, as she likes to get profane and disrespectful whenever there is a difference of opinion on anything(if I can even get a chance to talk , as she never takes a breath.)
    I simply hang up. Then a half hour later, she calls and apologizes for “our” having gotten into it. It is amazing. She will swear or deride or whatever, and then characterize it as mutual.
    On 500 Days Of Summer, I recognized the disorder in that young woman almost right away. It was very much like a relationship I had been in, where I was idolized and then suddenly discarded. I even got the weird, flirtatious e-mails afterwards.
    I just do not know what drives these people.

    • Young Man
      November 14, 2009 at 4:16 am

      Ah yes, the classic “non-apology” from the N. I would get these all the time. Usually in the format of “I”m sorry that what I did made you feel that way”. I don’t think I EVER got one sincere apology. Weird creatures.

  12. November 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Fantastic article!!!!

    Boy how I am never disappointed whenever I come to this site and read learn and read more!


  13. Janice
    November 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Amazing the articles you’ve written that have pertained to what my son has gone through lately! Bless you for your wise counsel — you have helped him and all of us in so many ways in dealing with a woman who fits your descriptions to a “T”. It’s been a nightmare, but with your articles and help, we are getting through this! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

  14. nojustgoodfriendsrule
    November 13, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Oh yes Shyamalan, he of “I see dead people” fame, got to be annoying. If you do find 500 days in the video store, maybe check the back of the box first before renting. The film actually isn’t so bad, and I think the writers/director kind of have the right idea, but maybe just need to read this blog!

    Just like a relationship with an npd the ending did leave me feeling a bit sick, and also because I’m afraid to say I did find the Summer character uncannily like pretty much all of the girls I have really fallen for (yep, I’m working on that…). The kooky-cute-seemingly-vunerable type that only have to smile, say something “cute” like “I liiiikkkee you” and all is forgiven.

    I realise now it should have been so easy for me to break contact with my npd ex as it seems as though that this type are actually far too lazy and self-centered to make grand gestures to get your attention (i.e. anything beyond an occasional smiley or unsmiley face text message) and my jumping-to-attention was way over reacting…

  15. Derek
    November 13, 2009 at 9:19 am

    “You’re trying to get your integrity back from the one person on the planet who is never going to give it to you.”

    Thank you for sharing that. It’s really hit the nail on the head for me. I’ve long realised the futility of trying to defend myself as it just allows her to drag me into her distorted world. But I’ve hoped to one day get some recognition for the behaviour that I’ve struggled to deal with over the years. I know that is very unlikely and that quote is priceless.

    • November 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      @ Derek…I recognize you buddy! I really do. That is my weakness wishing that someone would recognize I just went through a meat grinder.

      I know your struggle. I salute you for making it through without jumping off a building or landing in jail!

  16. Jack
    November 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I think it’d be great to give examples of NPD/BPD/HPD from movies and television shows. Have you seen the pregnant girl on Glee, she’s definitely got some personality disorder going on. Then again, she is pregnant in High School which has to put a person on edge. Dr. T, how do hormonal shifts like PMS, pregnancy, and menopause affect behavior? In other words, what’s normal and what’s a red flag?

    • Steve
      November 13, 2009 at 7:54 pm

      I’ve often thought that the character “Carrie” from the TV series “King of Queens” and Debra from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond” portrayed these kinds of tendencies. Controlling, emotionally and verbally abusive, demanding, and ALWAYS right. And, of course, the husband characters are portrayed as dolts who probably deserve it anyway… all the while we’re laughing because it is funny. Personally, I think shows like this have served to characterize this type of abusive behavior as “normal.” I always wondered why my wife never liked either one of those shows. Suppose she saw herself in there Dr. T?

      • NoSeRider
        November 13, 2009 at 11:19 pm

        All of the sitcoms are pretty much neurotic as hell. Remember “Welcome Back Carter”..up your nose with a rubber hose…or “Alice”…kiss my grits.

        If you ever watched the Movie “Network”, the about to get fired anchor man shouts at the televistion audience, “you believe the tube, you act like the tube, you dress like the tube….you’re brainwashed. It’s madness!”

        I do believe people actually immetate what they see, even on TV….worse yet, maybe even their own family and neighbors.

    • Recovering Alpha
      November 14, 2009 at 12:19 am

      The BPD/NPD wife in literature:

      1. Little House on the Praire — Mrs Olsen (the wife of the Merchandise Store owner) she was classic

      2. Carmen by Bizet ( )
      A good man destroyed by his love of a controlling woman

      3. Socrates in some of Plato’s Dialogs seems to have a hen-pecking wife Xanthippe ( ) — see “The Symposium” (II recall in my own philosophy class in college the prof said Socrates wife’s name meant “horse” and that the name was symbolic for a woman with lots of teeth and yelling …)

      4. Others …

  17. Rooster
    November 13, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Mine was #4.

    I left her, and received a flurry of false accusations, “guilt grenades”, etc. I, of course, was fool enough to think I needed to defend myself, and did so until my counselor gave me the line that was my ticket to freedom:

    “You’re trying to get your integrity back from the one person on the planet who is never going to give it to you.”

    Since that revelation, I have had zero contact with her that wasn’t through my attorney, and my personal sanity has returned.

    • Q
      November 13, 2009 at 1:56 am

      I haven’t watched the film myself, but I can imagine the damage it can do to the people in our situation who hasn’t been educated about NPD behaviour!

      • Q
        November 13, 2009 at 1:57 am

        Oops, meant to reply to the previous post, sorry!

    • shrink4men
      November 13, 2009 at 3:35 am

      You’re trying to get your integrity back from the one person on the planet who is never going to give it to you.

      Hallelujah and amen (and I’m not even a religious person).

    • s.e. rolf
      October 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      I love this site!!!!
      “You’re trying to get your integrity back from the one person on the planet who is never going to give it to you”

      This site is a goldmine! I am still sad about the break up but see that I a not alone in this. This is incredible.

      No contact will be hard for me….You guys are making it easier.

  18. nojustgoodfriendsrule
    November 12, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Hey Dr T., thank you for another article which helps clear any remaining narcissist-fairy dust from my eyes.

    After the break up with my npd ex, despite my urging no contact, she would keep contacting me wanting a variety of “favours”, and also as someone to tell her troubles to: that her boss takes advantage of her (yeah right, i think more the other way round), that the police pick on her because she’s foreign, although she parked her car the wrong way round on a one-way-st, almost ran someone over and then got a ticket (lots of tears from her). Soon after the break-up she started seeing someone new, but would still refer to me (and to everyone else we knew) as “her good friend” (rather than “ex-boyfriend”).

    Its been a while for me since it has been over with my ex (she still emails me from time to time for favours but I just click ‘delete’), your blog appeared when I was already beginning to make some connections between the crazyness that happened and her npd, so I’ve really appreciated your writing and the contributions here.

    Hope this isn’t too off tangent re. this article, but I just watched ‘500 days of Summer’. So I liked most of it. Indie-hit, quirky, fairly true to live, until the end…! It really annoyed me! and exactly because of the behaviours you describe above (and in other articles – particularly ‘Will my emotionally abuse gf or wife be different with a new guy’). In the film the axis II ex ‘Summer’ (not exactly sure what type of disorder here… but played by Zooey Deschanel) post-break up with the protagonist Tom, plays out the classical npd/bpd behaviour. First she sends “I hope you are ready to be friends” emails, mysteriously appears at key events/places – a wedding of someone she barely knows but he knows better, at of the blue she appears at what is established as Tom’s favourite place in the film. Ok, so it’s a fiction but… isn’t this a fictional version of classic post-break-up stalking by an npd/bpd?

    The worst thing is at the end of the film the Summer character suddenly transforms herself into a woman truely in love, who admits that her cool, aloofness and bad selfish behaviour was only because Tom wasn’t really “the one”. The only possibly redeeming clue at the end of the film is that she tells heart-broken Tom that her new guy first spotted her reading ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’. (the all-time-classic narcissist read)

    I’m really curious to know what others here thought of the film. Is it again that society (even the Sundance awarded/indie film generation) is in the end willing to give npd/bpd behaviour the benefit of the doubt?

    • shrink4men
      November 13, 2009 at 3:34 am

      Hi nojustgoodfriendsrule,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I haven’t seen “500 Days of Summer.” Movies that showcase NPD and BPD behavior as normal or romanticize tend to really get under my skin. However, next time I’m at the DVD rental shop, I’ll look for it.

      I just saw something with Zooey Deschanel in which she also played a character that was really annoying. What the hell was it? It also starred Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo. Hold on. I’ll Google it . . . Got it. “The Happening” by M. Knight Shyamalan. Two thumbs down, definitely.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • November 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm

        i saw the movie right smack in the middle of my no contact phase…in fact, i saw a couple of chick flicks that day (about 5 of them) and woke up the next day feeling really good. so good that i thought i was fooling myself somehow. anyway, i didnt like the way she was instantly in love either but understood it. my ex is, or will soon be in love and cohabitating real soon because those are her spots. overall the movie was good. i liked it. i could feel my heart getting crushed by zoe at the end which in a weird way helped me feel much better…

  19. Laura
    November 12, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Dr. T! :)
    Can I get this article on a foam bat so I can help some of my friends out? Telling them no contact is the only way doesn’t seem to sink in… I’ve noticed that they really struggle when trying to truly end things and move forward. It makes me wonder if they truly do want to move forward and feel better?? Perhaps making it available as a backwards temporary tatoo for the forehead or chest when looking in the mirror (less trauma compared to foam bat idea)…?

    • shrink4men
      November 12, 2009 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks and I know what you mean. I’ve had friends with the same problem and struggled with this concept myself in my 20s. It reminds me of a scene in one of The Simpson’s episodes in which Bart burns his hand on the stove, says “ouch,” touches the stove again, “ouch,” touches the stove again, “ouch,” touches the stove again, “ouch,” touches the stove again, “ouch.”

      The problem is that the friends you mention do want move forward, however, they haven’t made their peace with the fact that the only way forward is without the person who’s treated them so badly. They’re probably clinging onto some misplaced hope that he or she will change and that they’ll be happy “if only…”

      The reality is that they’re only going to be happy if only they get their ex out of their hearts and minds.

      Dr T

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  1. November 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

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