The No Contact Rule: Committing to It and Making It Work

The Power of No

Whether you’re a man or a woman who’s been on the receiving end of an abusive relationship, here’s why the No Contact Rule is the best policy after breaking up.

The sooner begun, the sooner it’s done. The sooner you make a clean break and stick with it, the sooner the healing process can begin. It’s natural to sentimentalize an ex after a break up, however, you’re playing with fire when you wax nostalgic for an abusive ex.

She may have been nice from time to time and occasionally very sweet, sexy, etc., but these fleeting moments don’t make up for the pain and damage she caused you. Each time you initiate contact or respond to her overtures, you have to start the healing process all over again.

Re-initiating contact only prolongs your pain. It’s the difference between ripping a band-aid off quickly and all at once or peeling off the adhesive very slowly, one arm hair at a time. Ouch.

Do not apply salt to an open wound. Engaging in contact with your ex, even a little bit, is like rubbing salt into an open wound. Some men maintain no contact for a year or more, run into their ex and Bam! They’re caught up in all the old painful feelings again. This is why it’s just as important to really explore why you were in that relationship while maintaining No Contact so that you’re not susceptible to your ex or others like her in the future.

If you give her an inch, she’ll make a grab for your kidneys. You may think you’re being nice by accepting her calls and responding to texts and emails, but you’re not. You’re giving her permission to keep yanking your chain. If you give an abusive ex an inch, she’ll take a mile.

This woman interprets your willingness to maintain contact as interest in rekindling the relationship or that she still has you on a string — and if you respond to her, she does indeed still have you on a tether. She’ll continue to be possessive and intrusive. All she needs is the smallest bit of attention — negative or positive — to keep her going.  If you want her to move on and find another target, you must starve the beast. That means no contact and no attention.

How to do it:

1. No calls, no texts, no emails, no smoke signals, no carrier pigeons. Make a list of every nasty hurtful thing she said and did to you and keep a copy near every communication device you own.

2. No “accidental” meetings (if you can help it). Change your routine. Go to the gym at a different time or on different days. Find an alternate sports pub. Go to a different grocery store. Yes, it’s unfair that you have to change your lifestyle for the moment, but time and distance is how you’ll heal. Alternatively, even if you have to have your best friend lock you in your apartment/house, do not go to places you know she’s likely to be. Even if you think you’re doing this to show you how happy you are without her, this will backfire on you. Don’t do it.

3. Avoid places that remind you of her. If it makes you turn into a sentimental mess to go to the restaurant the two of you went to every Friday night; don’t go.

4. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Ask your friends, family and associates not to tell you news of your ex or act as her intermediary. For example, when a woman like your ex can’t reach you because you’ve gone No Contact, she’ll often enlist others to contact you for her.

Alternatively, some people think they’re being helpful by telling you about your ex’s latest crazy antics or newest boyfriend. Nip this is the bud and explain that you prefer not to hear about your ex. Tell them that you know they mean well, but for the time being, you don’t want to know what she’s doing, who she’s dating or what her Facebook status is, etc.

5. Don’t keep a foot in the door. This applies to your foot as well as hers. Whether it’s leaving a few things behind at your place or negotiating visitation with a pet, you must cut your losses. When you break up, get all of her stuff out of your home asap. Pack it up yourself and drop it off at her new place when you know she won’t be home or have it delivered.

If you’re the one who moved out, do your best to get all of your belongings at once. Don’t leave anything behind that you can’t live without. Do not allow her or yourself an excuse to resume contact. If you adopted a pet while you were together, I know it’s painful, but just let her have the dog, cat, ferret, etc., and be grateful you only shared a quadruped and not a child.

6. Don’t take the bait. Many of these women send cruel, demeaning and often obscene emails, texts and voicemails. Your initial impulse may be to defend yourself or be “right.” Don’t fall for this. If you do, you’re taking her bait to keep you engaged. The only way you can “win” with a woman like this is not to play her sick games and get on with your life without her.

7. The eternal sunshine of a spotless mind. Pack away photos, gifts, notes, etc. that remind you of her and “the good times” — all 2 or 3 of them.

8. Delete her from your life. Delete her name and number from your phones. Delete her email addresses. Delete her from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and every other website on which you’re currently connected. Block her incoming numbers, texts and emails.

Do not answer calls from unknown or private callers. An abusive, crazy ex is the reason Caller ID was invented. Exception: If she is physically threatening you, blackmailing you or threatening to lie about you, save these communications and contact an attorney. You may need them for a restraining order and/or to press cyberstalking charges.

9. Avoid alcohol and other inhibition reducing substances. Drinking and dialing is generally always a big mistake. You don’t want to let this woman back into your life because you had one too many gin and tonics. Plus, if you’re feeling down or depressed about the break-up/divorce, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and will only make you feel worse.

10. Reconnect with yourself, your family, your friends and your life. Get in touch with the people you weren’t allowed to see because your ex threw a fit if you did. Start doing the things you used to enjoy. Pursue your interests again. Make a commitment to exercise/working out if that’s one of the things that fell by the wayside while you were with your abusive ex. The goal is to make yourself healthy and strong in body, spirit and mind.

One of my readers refers to No Contact as “living in the bunker.” Here’s a list he shared with me on how to be a successful “bunker dweller.” Everything on this list may not be feasible for everyone, but I think it’s a good example of the level of personal commitment No Contact requires:

  • Ability to give up personal comforts and not care at all.
  • Refusal to be influenced in any way by threats, further intimidation, or bad consequences.
  • Ability to change residences quickly and frequently. I have moved three times, soon to be four.
  • Decisive severance of any residual communication links–mutual friends, Facebook, etc.
  • Absolute refusal to feel shame or be put on the defensive–especially in your own mind.
  • Insistence that any discussion of the facts begin with the words “abuse,” “destruction,” and “control”
  • Refusal to negotiate until there is absolute capitulation (*he’s in the process of divorcing).
  • Satisfaction that she picked the wrong guy to F*** with
  • Accept collateral damage philosophically as the cost of freedom and further evidence of the rightness of your cause
  • Extreme patience–don’t be worn down by any reversal, surprise, or consequence. Stay in the bunker as long as it takes

Next week, I’ll post the third piece in the No Contact series about developing emotional distance for those of you who can’t go No Contact because you share a child(ren), work in the same office or some other reason.

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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Photo credit:

Caller ID made at

  1. ron7127
    November 30, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Sounds very familiar. The best thing I think you can do is hire an attorney and fight her. Let your attorney deal with her.
    Do not provide her with any financial support. Support your kids and that is it.
    I had to do this,as well.
    You will not beleive, after the dust settles, how much more peaceful your life will be without her.

  2. Mike H
    November 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Folks: Please help me with some perspective. I am separated from my wife of 8 years. She has been rather high-maintenence from the start but that’s all history. We have two boys 5 and 3. She is an at home mom and develeoped a major drinking problem about two years ago which culminated in me having her arrested two months ago. She was violent, abusing me and the kids. Her family immediately rushed to her side and blamed me for her drinking!! Said she was unhappy in the marriage, etc. To date, I’ve received no apologies, nothing other than threats of custody and threats of financial ruin. Her “reputation” was tarnished and she has turned on me like a rabid rottweiler. She has been fabricating stories of “verbal abuse” and “financial abuse” and that I didn’t “support her well”, despite paying every bill and loading up her savings accounts. She’s now playing the kid card like a pro, threatening this and that. All complete bullshit, but horrible destructive. Her mom, the prime enabler, is in on it, having “discussions” with our boys about dad and basically doing her destructive part. I just tried to nail down a parenting schedule for Dec. and she is now blocking my emails. All complete nonsense. I rented a house for myself and that is what has really turned the tables in terms of the outright fabrications and malicious lies. Is this common with BPD? What in god’s name am I dealing with?

    • shrink4men
      December 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Mike H,

      Yes, this is common BPD behavior. I agree with Ron. Get yourself the best attorney you can afford and nip this nonsense in the bud NOW.

      Don’t feel one iota of guilt about dragging every bit of dirty laundry re: her alcohol abuse out in court. These women fear being exposed for the trainwreck/parasites they are, so hit her with the law and hit her hard.

      Furthermore, see if your attorney can file charges/complaints against the grandmother for trying to cause parental alienation.

      Quit supporting your ex financially beyond what you are required to do by law. You need all the leverage over her you can get.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  3. Jim
    November 25, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Excellent once again. Unfortunately, with minor kids and “sharing” holidays, I can’t avoid all contact (as much as I wish I could). I finally persuaded the family therapist that I should do even sit in the same room with the x-spouse (after a month of no contact I feel great – no crazy-making sessions once per week!). She still sends emails but I just delete them quickly and banish them from my inbox and more importantly, my mind.

    But of course, it is the holidays and she is acting up today (she always had a penchant for wrecking the holidays and then trying to blame me). It is comical. Why in the world do these weirdos have some deep down need for a sad holiday? I read Ekhart Tolle’s cool book “A New Earth” and he says all this negative spiritual baggage they have from a lifetime just makes them miserable – vacillating from ego defense to negative pain. I’ll pass on that.

    Last year I had a wreath with lights on it spelling JOY in my kitchen around he holidays and I kept it lit all year. I kept it lit 24/7 until it burned out. But I still want more joy (and no baggage). The X spouse wants and needs drama and misery (and to shovel that on me). No thanks.

    Again, there is justice in the world because I AM NOT HER (I am indeed thankful for that!) Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Tara, and many, many more to you, yours and all.

    • Keiichi
      November 25, 2009 at 10:07 pm

      The wreath with lights on it spelling JOY is a good idea. When I look at life during the past 2 months there are my own personal examples of “lights spelling JOY” in my life. Jim, when you find something like that it really does help heal your emotions, mind, and spirit. :) Sometimes it’s the small things that are easily over looked that help people find their way back to where they want to be.

    • shrink4men
      December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Jim,

      I don’t know why so many of these women have hang-ups about the holidays, but many of them do. I think it’s related to their general penchant to suck the joy out of any celebration or just every day good time.

      It’s as if they have a micro-chip in their brains that detects whenever someone is about to have a good time and then they go on a seek and destroy mission to make sure no one has a good time. In fact, these individuals seem most gleeful when they’re making everyone else miserable. They must get extra double bonus points for spoiling national holidays in addition to birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, bar mitzvahs, office parties, celebrating promotions, etc., etc.

      Wrecking a holiday is also a way to make sure everyone’s attention stays on them and that people jump through hoops to try to make them happy and/or not set them off.

  4. November 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    My difficulty with No Contact is that Sweetie and I both belong to AA in a small city and she is hard to avoid, especially since she has planted herself into my circle of friends. They maintain AA correctness and don’t discourage the seating arrangement, they are cordial towards her but several have rebuffed her obvious sexual advances. They are sharper than me. To me they complain about her wackiness but do nothing about it. Not that I would expect them too. I think my cold war strategy is having some effect but now and then I become agitated at the complete absence of human boundaries exhibited by this BPD. Others have told me her actions seem pathetic. No one quite understands the dynamics of the BPD/other relationship. I am amazed at the attraction that still exists, it’s my issue and I’m working on it. Thanks for listening (reading).

    • shrink4men
      December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm

      Hi eselei,

      Ugh. Are there any closed AA groups in your area that you can join and which the AA facilitator can exclude her from for privacy reasons. Many areas offer private groups for lawyers, physicians, etc. that have privacy issues. Is this an option for you?

      Dr Tara

    • September 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      eselei: She is practicing what is known as “The 13th Step” in AA, an action which should result her her being banned from that particular AA group. That should NOT be tolerated. It should be brought to light, and she should get kicked out – she should find an all-female AA group, b/c she’s obviously not in ‘your’ group for the purposes of getting better. She’s only there to manipulate and coerce…not a good sign of somebody working at getting healthy…more like the actions of a ‘dry drunk’
      I’ve been there; that’s why I’m here. ~Kenny Chesney

  5. James
    November 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Bunker Dweller,

    I personally couldn’t agree more on your analogy on NC and/or this “cold war”. Back in May 22, 2006 I thought hard how I was going to survive this. I didn’t want to “win” because like any type of war there are only survivors and really there are no true winner in any war.

    However, when thinking how to survive and what to do, it hit me like a bolt of lighting. I told myself to do “nothing” for knowing any actions on my part could and would just be played against me by her or others that would aid her and of course by her manipulating them. So I thought could it be this easy? Well in some ways it is but still in other ways it can be the hardest thing any person could do. We all have a natural need to protect one’s self but when dealing with any pathological person it sometimes is best not too protect, still we can and should defend ourselves at all times. Planning ahead is always a good enough reason in life but more so whenever dealing with a dysfunctional person.

  6. NoSeRider
    November 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    It didn’t end cordially….like in most of these relationships.

  7. NoSeRider
    November 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    More Sam Vaknin stuff. I like this video because it actually shows how differently
    our brains work at a biological mechanical level. Just because they look like you,
    doesn’t mean they think like you. Narcissism and Self-Centered behavior is really
    close to Psychopathy.

  8. Bunker Dweller
    November 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I am glad that the field manual for waging a successful campaign against one of these creatures has found its way onto the web. The grand strategy is to wage a blitzkrieg-style war; do the big things quickly and decisively and then sit back and wage a protracted siege. These women love when a fight gets hot and harsh words are exchanged, but they have no sense of strategy or insight that become necessary in a cold war. Almost instinctively, they seek opportunities to inflict pain on you, so nothing f***s with them more than absolute, unadulterated nothingness. =) They’re fighting on your turf, you move the pieces, and you grind them into a slow but beautiful checkmate.

    The best part, I’ve found, is that once the siege begins, your wife will start to flail around for any damage she can do to you–again playing into your hands, and you will get anyone who is watching to understand how bad it truly was. My wife surprised even me when she tried yelling at me in a counseling session, calling my parents, seeking the help of ministers, and most recently, trashing our old apartment. She left bags of used cat litter behind for me to pick up. Even worse, though, she made a picture mosaic on the bed of all our “good times” and threw her neglige on top. Malicious indeed.

    So you see, a Cold War campaign wins; nothing she can do works, and the more she does, the more my family supports me. Fly above the conflict, and you will give her enough rope to hang herself.

    • Brady
      November 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      Awesome I like the war analogy… I am going on two months of no contact with my ex and so far so good

    • shrink4men
      November 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

      Fly above the conflict, and you will give her enough rope to hang herself.

      Great advice, Bunker Dweller, and thanks for the tips.

      Dr T

  9. Janice
    November 22, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Hi Dr. T: My son is into the last week before the divorce is final. His soon to be “ex” is now calling and trying to sweet talk him back into bed with him. Thanks to YOUR insight, he’s much smarter than he was months ago about her! I gave him your latest “No Contact” article, so I hope that he’ll heed all our advice! Thanks again!!! You’re amazing!

    • shrink4men
      November 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Janice,

      Congratulations to your son. I hope he can make the break stick. Many of these women know how to turn on the charm when it’s in their best interests. What their targets need to remember is that it isn’t sincere. It’s nothing more than a ploy to regain control.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  10. November 21, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Thanks so much for sharing “living in the bunker”!!!

    All 10 rules are very good and very successful if one sticks by it. So again thanks Dr. T for sharing these with us and me and whoever wrote them for they are indeed a very wise person.

    Looking forward too the next article in the series and can‘t wait.

  11. checksinthemail
    November 21, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Interesting on the drama aspect. It’s entirely drama. If you sit back for only a moment and view your life as it was (or is now), vs. how it was with your S.O., you’ll see you were an unwitting actor in a fantastical drama where the lead actress always comes out on top (or wants to seem to).

    About dating her students – didn’t Rodney Yee (famous 90s Yoga guy from Oakland) do that in 2001(?), and screw up his marriage/fame?

    One thought to ponder – who, as a leader of a group of say, more than 12, doesn’t have _some_ narcissistic qualities? Exists in politics, business, churches, schools, special interest groups, volunteer organizations, etc.

    NoSeRider :
    I should state those enabling students were all guys.

    • Recovering Alpha
      April 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm

      Scipio Africanus is considered one of the greatest military commanders of all ages. It is stated in modern writings using ancient sources (Plutarch) that Scipio was very near the most humble leader in Rome. So, maybe it is rare for leaders NOT to be narcissistic, but it can happen.

  12. George
    November 20, 2009 at 3:53 am

    Dr. T.

    How does the no contact rule work when you have kids with the BPD? I’m in the process of divorcing my abusive ex-wife, but I still have a teenage son with her. Do you have any advice for this situation. One added complication is that my BPB ex-wife is also waging a pretty severe parential alienation campaign against me. Do you have any advice for dealing with that as well?


    • KoP
      November 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm


      You stole my question. In our situation communication is unfortunately mandatory if we hope to have a life with the children. I’ll never be free of her.

    • shrink4men
      November 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

      Hi George,

      First, tell your attorney what’s going on and have him send a letter to your wife’s attorney documenting the alienation and that if it persists, you will pursue “action.” Let your attorney frame it however he or she thinks best. The point is to document, document, document. You should also be keeping a written record of these behaviors, communications, etc.

      Second, find your kid(s) a child therapist, asap. Tell him or her everything that is going on and then let him or her meet with your ex to spell out in no uncertain terms that HAP (hostile aggressive parenting) is a form of abuse.

      Third, keep your communications with your ex brief, civil, polite and to the point. Don’t allow her to engage you in conflict. Try to keep most of your communication in email so you have evidence for the courts if she threatens you or behaves crazily. When you pick up/drop off the kids, bring a third party witness when possible.

      Dr Tara

  13. guy
    November 20, 2009 at 2:50 am

    dr t, and everyone else

    in this msg i have included lyrics to a song the monkee’s used to perform (am i dating myself? hahaha) anyway read them closely and go on you tube to listen to the song…. you want closure w/ your x ‘n’ this song will help ..

    they are thiefs, emotional and otrherwise, you seal the deal with a kiss and they get their kicks trying to steal it…… its how they operate

    everything they say is designed to help themself and nobody else read on:

    Girl, don’t you know everytime I see you smilin’?
    Hurts so bad cause when I see you, I start tryin’.
    Try everything to stop but there’s no denying.
    Falling in love with you girl is just like dying.

    Ohhh, don’t walk away.
    Ohh, How can I make you stay, don’t turn away
    I can still hear you saying those

    Words that never were true.
    Spoken to help nobody but you.
    Words with lies inside,
    But small enough to hide
    ‘Til your playin’ was through. Ah!

    Girl don’t you know we can work it out with talkin’?
    You won’t turn around or slow down your walking.
    I’ve given you everything with kiss to seal it
    You had to get your kicks with tryin’ to steal it.

    Now, I’m standing here.
    Strange, strange voices in my ears, I feel the tears
    But all I can hear are those


    Now, I’m standing here.
    Strange, strange voices in my ears, I feel the tears
    But all I can hear are those-


    • shrink4men
      November 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks for the lyrics, guy. I remember watching the Monkees after school when I was a kid (MTV had a Monkees revival back in the mid-1980s). I remember the song you posted. I think Micky Dolenz was the singer.

      Dr T

  14. nubiansage
    November 20, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Dr T, once again thanks for the latest article. I wish you can publish a new article everyday but I know that’s not practical! I do have a recommendation….I would love to see some articles dealing with narcissics in the workplace. I had to deal with a guy like that who was my boss. It was a horrible experience….but I wasn’t afraid of him though but he apparently liked to lie or cover up things. I can share all kinds of stories regarding this guy but to make the long story short I left the company. At least, my headaches disappeared! Keep up the good work!

    • shrink4men
      November 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks, nubiansage. Bullies in the workplace can make your job a living hell. Even when they’re not the boss, they’re protected by the boss or HR.

      Unfortunately, many of the bullying behaviors aren’t illegal, but some states are currently working to pass legislation that makes bullying in the workplace just as illegal as sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  15. Christophe
    November 20, 2009 at 1:00 am

    What can go wrong if you don’t follow DR T’s essential advice!
    After two years of hell in which the person I was trying to ‘save from drowning’ was actually trying to drown me and use me as a life raft I managed to get away to the safety of my own home. What an incredible relief.

    At first it was pretty easy to ignore her phone calls because I felt so angry but as I started to feel better and regain some sense of self about three months later I agreed to meet her.

    We had a very long talk in which oddly I did most of the talking (was her lack of response due to the fact that she didn’t have the faintest idea what I was talking about?)- I still thought I could make her see how hurtful and damaging the things she said and did were and therefore, once she understood, create a decent relationship. She cried, I felt sorry for her again, (she couldn’t cope without me etc) …. we got back together. In three months I went from this incredible sense of freedom in making the break back into chains and I’ve been trying to get free again ever since. Ten years later I’m still here and we have a 4 year old son.

    My point is that if I’d recognised the nature of the relationship as so well described on this blog and taken this no contact advice I wouldn’t be in this mess (although on a positive note I’m delighted to be father to this incredible little chap). I was deluded about the possibility of change, I followed my feelings, got sentimental about the domestic scene I’d left (somehow editing out the nasty bits), and probably missed the feeling of ‘coming to the rescue’. (I know I have issues!)

    If you anyone is thinking about leaving an abusive relationship Dr T’s advice is spot on. You need to be armed with these insights to stop yourself getting sucked back in.

    Looking forward very much to the next article in the series.

    • shrink4men
      November 20, 2009 at 1:07 am

      Thanks, Christophe. I’m very sorry to read that you were sucked back in. Children are wonderful, but they are the tie that binds. I very much hope that you will be able to find a way out and still have access to your son and your assets. No one should have to live with abuse.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  16. Janice
    November 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Amazing your insight!!! This is EXACTLY what my son needs at this time. You’re articles have been AWESOME and right on target!!!!

    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks, Janice! I always appreciate knowing that others find my writing helpful.

      Dr T

  17. Chris
    November 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I’m really looking forward to your next writing, since it’s my situation on the spot. Even though we ended a year ago, i’m still working with a lot of her friends..( she slept with at least 4 of them) – and it makes it harder to let go.
    Thanks for all your help in putting my mind in the right direction.

    Best regards


    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

      Hi Chris,

      It’s always wonderful to see you posting. Sounds like your ex was a very busy woman. That’s so awful. I’m glad you got wise to her and are moving on. Here’s a tip in advance: Pretend like your ex is a character on a really bad television sitcom. It’s a little less painful if you think of these folks as fictional, two-dimensional characters, which, by the way, isn’t all that far from the truth.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  18. November 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I’m thinking you should checkout a new show on Comedy Central called “Secret Girlfriend”.

    Poor Mandy has a bit of a problem with the “No Contact Rule”, as well as lots of other mental issues. Excellent fodder for what you do NOT want in a girlfriend.

    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm

      Hi Matt!

      I will definitely check it out. I’m always looking for new sources of mirth and schadenfreude. Thanks for the rec.

      Dr T

  19. NoSeRider
    November 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Does this no contact rule even apply to people of authority and people who are in a position where supposedly they should be helping you?

    There’s a college professor that is female that admires the above instructor, who dates her students 10 years and greater her junior. You stated NPD/BPD people admire bullies. Well, I consider that youtube video bullying, he got fired for sexual harassment if you doubt it’s bullying. Back to the female instructor, what if a person of NPD/BPD traits is in a position of authority, and you need to be in her sphere of influence in order to advance yourself as a person?

    Well, she’s a teacher. Would being instructed by such a person be advantageous or just mess you up even more?

    Does the no contact rule only apply to intimate relationships? How dangerous are these people?

    Here again another Sam Vaknin creepy insight:

    I don’t believe this subject matter is confined to just personal relationships.
    I believe emotional abuse occurs in all positions of life.

    I know I’m going off the subject matter a bit, but I think I get it, and I beleive this isn’t too far off topic.

    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm

      Excellent questions, NoSeRider. Yes, abuse happens in all kinds of relationships—including professional and academic. In fact, much of the research done on bullying is based on bullying and power imbalances in academia.

      When your livelihood or degree are being compromised because of an abusive boss, professor, adviser, etc., you need to make a decision about how much you can tolerate. If you only have 6 months to graduation or have another job lined up, you may decide to tough it out.

      Alternatively, you may want to consider filing a grievance against the offender. However, most work and school systems often protect the bully. It’s messed up. I wrote three pieces this spring that touch on these issues. Here are the links:

      If you’re truly stuck because of financial or other reasons, then I recommend documenting everything (make a paper trail—you may need it later), lower your expectations of the person and the system and develop emotional distance.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • NoSeRider
        November 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm

        What really kills me is that both instructors consider themselves followers of Buddhism. How delusional is that?

        Here are the three poisons of destructive emotions per Buddhism:
        1. desire or attachment
        2. anger or aggression
        3. ignorance

        Next time the instructor tells me she admires bullies and starts treating me with contempt, I’ll point out her Buddhist values.

        • shrink4men
          November 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm

          I’ve known a few rage-filled Western Buddhists (i.e., caucasians who “practice” Buddhism). All of them were in higher education settings.

          • NoSeRider
            November 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

            “The eternal sunshine of a spotless mind”

            Ah, a movie reference. You might want to explain the metaphorical impact of that movie for those of us that didn’t immediately recognize the HPD/BPD/NPD references in Tangerine’s behavior?

        • TK
          December 8, 2009 at 5:59 am

          Well if they’re only “practicing” Buddhism, maybe they’re not very good at it yet? ;)

      • Taras
        November 21, 2009 at 1:03 am

        I have encountered that on the job and in college, and a couple of times I stood up to them as well and fed them their aggressive behavior against me. It has cost me a couple of jobs, but no job is worth the abuse I faces or others I knew faced. I hate bullies, and a few found out the hard way that a guys like me underneath are like a Cossack warrior.

    • Keiichi
      November 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      That she is dating her students shows that there is something really sick going on. If it were a isolated, one time situation where she dated a student from her class that may be different. Although that isn’t the impression I’m getting. To build on something that Dr Tara has said, I get the impression that the woman you mention is like a cat in a room with a dozen mice. She is having fun, she is playing, and won’t stop until either every mouse in the room is dead, or someone walks into the room to put a stop to the carnage.

      • shrink4men
        November 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

        Great point, Keiichi. It’s definitely a power imbalance. People in positions of authority who target their employees and students are incredibly predatory.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr T

        • NoSeRider
          November 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

          I saw the instructor drive students out of her class with her rages, narcissistic rages. I saw a student ask her out on a date. I saw another student protect and fawn over her to sooth her insecurities. I saw another student guard her whom she was dating outside of school.

          The drama was just incredible. I later learned she use to be an actress, but this isn’t acting class.

          I guess I’m offended by it because I was off balance, I didn’t know what to expect or how to behave. I never encountered anything like that before…and I don’t want to. Drama sucks. It was very predatory in nature.

          • NoSeRider
            November 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

            I should state those enabling students were all guys.

          • NoSeRider
            January 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm

            I just discovered she was going through a separation yet she was still living with her potential ex husband ex student at the time….dawahwhawhwha?

            Why would you be dating other guys yet still be cohabitation with your ex? Isn’t that not only disrespectful to yourself but everybody around you that’s involved with you personally?

            Aren’t there any boundaries?

  20. Man I. Pulated
    November 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Looking forward to the next installment in this series! Thanks a lot, Tara!

    • shrink4men
      November 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Man I. Pulated! I’ve been busy in NYC all week and almost didn’t have the time to finish this piece and next week the holiday season begins. That’s another article I want to write, “Meltdowns and Mistletoe” or something to that effect!

      Thanks again,
      Dr T

      • BPD Newbie
        November 20, 2009 at 4:01 am

        Hi Dr. T,

        You’re in NYC this week? Wow, it’s crazy you’re in my town during perhaps my final bout with my 12yr BPD girlfriend. I’d buy you lunch and ask you questions but I can’t afford the rates :)

        • BPD Newbie
          November 20, 2009 at 4:03 am

          By the way, this is my first comment on this board and I have to say it is a godsend to men across this country. I don’t think you know how important this place is….

          • shrink4men
            November 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

            Thanks, Newbie!

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