Abusive Women, Cults, Brainwashing and Deprogramming, Part II


In Abusive Women, Cults, Brainwashing and Deprogramming, Part I, I discussed the shared characteristics of cult victims and abused men and the similarities between abusive women’s courtship behaviors and cult recruitment. This post explains common techniques cults and emotional predators use to break you down and control you.

Techniques Used by Cults and Abusive Women

1. Isolation. Emotional predators and cult recruiters isolate you from the outside world. They make you totally dependent upon them, which makes you more susceptible to their distorted reality and other abusive behaviors. They “cut [you] off from the outside world. . . to produce intense introspection, confusion, loss of perspective and a distorted sense of reality. The members of the cult become the person’s only social contact and feedback mechanism” (Layton).

Sound familiar?

Abusive intimate partners isolate you in a multitude of ways. For example, they explicitly forbid you from seeing or speaking with your friends and family. They start smear campaigns against them –“Your family is so controlling. They’re dysfunctional. It’s unhealthy for us to be around them. Your friends are a bad influence. They’re disrespectful to me. They’re trying to break us up. It’s me or them.

They schedule activities or plan crises that conflict with holidays or special occasions — e.g., she gets a migraine when you’re supposed to have dinner with your parents or desperately needs your help when you’re supposed to go out with your friends. Spending time with friends and family means you don’t really care about her, don’t respect her, she’s not important to you, you’re a momma’s boy, you’re an immature jerk, blah, blah, blah, blah and blah.

2. Thought Stopping. Cults use methods like chanting, meditating and repetitive activities to induce a state of suggestibility and to help the target shut off their ability to engage in critical thinking. Abusive women use non-stop talking, verbal tirades, rage episodes, chanting and withdrawing in cold silence which causes you to obsessively ruminate about what you did to upset her rather than wondering what the hell is wrong with her.

Thought stopping techniques include anything that gets you to turn off your better judgment, reasoning and any counter narratives such as, “This is nuts and I need to get out of here.”

3. Induced Dependency. “Cults demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty and submission. A cult member’s sense of self is systematically destroyed. Ultimately, feelings of worthlessness and “evil” become associated with independence and critical thinking, and feelings of warmth and love become associated with unquestioning submission” (Layton). The same is true of abusive relationships. Taking care of yourself and healthy pursuits are seen as a betrayal to her. Love means control.

Inducing dependency employs several techniques including:

a. Fear and Guilt. This involves sharing secrets, fears and other intimate “confessions.” Abusers use this information to create instant intimacy and to keep their targets in an emotionally vulnerable state by using covert and overt threats and alternating punishment and reward. She accomplishes this by:

  • Punishing you for any doubts, challenges to her “authority” and your ties to friends, family and colleagues through criticism and alienation. They are bad and you are bad if you continue these associations. You are bad if you question, challenge or disagree with her. She turns everything around so that you feel bad for speaking the truth and pointing out the facts of a situation. To quote a client’s wife, “The truth is mean. Facts are mean.” She was saying this in the face of being confronted by her own behavior. I kid you not. I heard the audio recording. You receive “love” or are “rewarded” (or aren’t actively abused) when you renounce your other relationships and your own will.
  • Making you feel bad, embarrassed, worthless, ashamed, guilty or afraid to express any special skills, talents or gifts you have. They’ll punish you for being creative, musical, outgoing, funny, business savvy, competent or any quality you possess that makes you feel good and that she envies. This causes identity confusion and diminishes your self-worth.
  • Alternating love and praise with contempt and punishment to keep you unbalanced and confused. This creates feelings of self-doubt and a desire to “work harder” to please her. It also makes you cling to belief that the kind and loving person is her real self and that the abusive behaviors are an aberration. In reality, the opposite is true.
  • Making you publicly confess your “sins.” This subjects you to public scorn and ridicule, which induces self-doubt, shame and a sense of worthlessness. You are loved again when you publicly commit to devoting yourself to her and her happiness. Several men have told me they were coerced into making public confessions about how they “wronged” or “sinned” against their girlfriend/wife via Facebook and other social media websites. It’s crazy. They did it in a vain attempt to finally prove how much they loved these women. If your partner wants you to publicly shame yourself, you need to end the relationship. This is beyond abusive. A person who really loves you protects you from public scorn; they don’t subject you to it.
  • Putting you in no-win situations. Creating double-binds to ensure that you fail. No matter what you do, you’re wrong. This creates a sense of learned helplessness and increases your dependency.
  • Punishing you for the sins of others. If your mother is disrespectful to her, it’s your fault. If the kids are misbehaving, it’s your fault. If one of the other school mothers snubs her, it’s your fault. If something doesn’t go her way it’s your fault. If anything goes wrong, it’s your fault.
  • Holding you to unrealistic and super-human expectations of perfection. This keeps you in a perpetual state of jumping through hoops in order to make yourself worthy of her. When in reality nothing you ever do will be good enough. You will never measure up.

b. Sensory Overload and Deprivation. She dismantles your self-perceptions, beliefs and values by telling you that you’re wrong, bad, sick, dysfunctional, angry, selfish or evil. She then feeds you her version of reality — how you should feel and how you should act “if you really love me…” or “a real man would…” — in a relentless torrent with little or no chance for critical examination. She accomplishes this by:

  • Making you account for every minute of your time and monopolizing your time. You have no time to yourself or with others. If you’re not actively paying attention to her, you’re performing tasks for her. This leaves you little time to focus on yourself or to engage in effective reality testing.
  • Criticizing everything you do. This includes criticizing what you eat, how you eat, what you wear, how you talk, how you laugh, how you take care of the children, how you drive, how you do the dishes, how you fold the laundry, how much money you make, how undesirable you are, etc.
  • Stripping away your autonomy. She decides where you’ll go on vacation, how to discipline the children and how to spend the money you earn. When she gives you the illusion of choice, it’s usually a set-up for failure or disappointment. Alternatively, she doesn’t offer suggestions. When you ask for guidance, she makes you feel stupid for not intuitively knowing what she wants you to do.
  • Depriving you of sleep, sustenance and other basic physiological and safety needs. This includes sex, money, shelter, stability, material resources and emotional support. This keeps you destabilized and vulnerable.
  • Taking control of your finances including credit cards, bank accounts, stocks and other assets and making you account for every nickel you spend. Taking charge of the finances is another control technique. If she controls the cash or you’re worried about losing your assets, it makes it difficult for you to leave. If you try to hold her financially accountable, she accuses you of being controlling.

4. A Sense of Dread. Once dependency is induced, you develop a persistent sense of dread. You’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and are hyper-vigilant to triggering the displeasure or wrath of your “leader.” If you don’t keep her happy — an impossible task, by the way, she makes your life a living hell.

She rages at you, belittles you, denies you affection or ignores you as if you don’t exist. Because she’s isolated you, you may not feel like there’s anyone you can turn to for support. You probably believe no one else will ever love you and that you couldn’t live without her. You try to “act right” and learn how not to trigger her.

“Indoctrination, or thought reform, is a long process that never really ends. Members are continually subjected to these techniques. . . Some adjust well to it after a period of time, embracing their new role as “group member” and casting aside their old sense of independence. For others, it’s a perpetually stressful existence” (Layton). Many men become desensitized to the abusive behaviors and let the fear of real and imagined punishment keep them stuck. Breaking free of a cult or an abusive relationship can be difficult and often terrifying, but it must be done if you want a chance at health and happiness.

Next week, I’ll explore different ways to “break the spell” and free yourself abusive partner’s control. Meanwhile, I repeat, don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

References:

Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and 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. beatendown
    March 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Criticizing everything you do. This includes criticizing what you eat, how you eat, what you wear, how you talk, how you laugh, how you take care of the children, how you drive, how you do the dishes, how you fold the laundry, how much money you make, how undesirable you are, etc.

    This is the part of the brainwashing that really did me in. She never liked the way I folded the towels, put away the dishes, picked a parking spot, you name it. After a while, I was convinced of my own stupidity and became literally afraid of making a move or decision of any kind. I saw it as a trap when she would say You pick the movie, TV show, or anything like that…because I knew I would be belittled for making the wrong (her view) decision. I don’t know if I will ever get over it. On isolation, no one comes to visit and we dont go visit anyone else. We have no social circle-it is easier for me without it because it removes the possibility of being ridiculed or criticized about what i did or didnt do correctly around other people. She has no restraint on how far the criticism will go–to my poor sexual abilities, even. She will attack at times even in front of others, although she is usually careful not to be discovered. She likes to keep me off balance for sure.
    I do live my life trying to act right so as not to set her off. It is better that way for me.
    I do fit the criteria Dr T cites of cult recruits–talented, people pleasing, non assertive. I actually have been vicitmized twice. Wow–maybe I am a loser! First spouse did the same thing to me, but she at least mercifully left me after 10 years to care for my 5 year old son. Then-wham-number two does an even bigger number on me, and I am on year 17 with this marriage.
    I had a psych suggest I have an affair to push the boundaries back in my favor, as he put it. No way–that would be the wrong way to handle it so I didn’t go back to him. I suggest young men really get to know their females before committing. I was too impulsive, and naiively thought it would work out fine. I see that now as another trait that abuse victims often have.

    • db
      April 6, 2010 at 6:35 pm

      Criticizing everything you do. This includes criticizing what you eat, how you eat, what you wear, how you talk, how you laugh, how you take care of the children, how you drive, how you do the dishes, how you fold the laundry, how much money you make, how undesirable you are, etc.

      This is the part of the brainwashing that really did me in. She never liked the way I folded the towels, put away the dishes, picked a parking spot, you name it. After a while, I was convinced of my own stupidity and became literally afraid of making a move or decision of any kind. I saw it as a trap when she would say You pick the movie, TV show, or anything like that…because I knew I would be belittled for making the wrong (her view) decision. I don’t know if I will ever get over it.

      it was over 9 years of marriage for me of exactly this type of unending, non-stop criticism that just eventually exhausts you to the core.
      It finally reached the point of escalating to a couple physical attacks (for behavior that was unacceptable in her world) in front of my children that woke me up and made me realize I had to go. Even that took a few months with the final knife in the back a discovery of an affair with a co-worker.
      I did see a lawyer — a good one to date — who in court was able to get her removed from the home. A home which i paid every bill and went into considerable debt while she lavished herself in the finest restaurants and shopping malls. (She owns 200 pairs of shoes).
      I also have, so far, primary custody of the kids.
      But sadly the abuse has not only dragged on, but ramped up a notch. She calls the home at least twice a day and as many as five times a day. Also calls me at work in the same disruptive manner.
      Obviously, ‘m trying to do the ‘no contact’ rule but that only leads to angry, insulting messages left on the phone. When you call back or tell her fact-to-face to stop that only leads to a tirade and talking over me to get what she wants, before always hanging up or storming away in fury and leaving me with knot in stomach on how I fell into her trap again.
      At this point, I really see no light at the end of the tunnel — only her coming at me day after day to fill her insatiable need to bully me.
      Easy to say ‘walk away’ or shut her out — but impossible when you share two girls, ages 9 and 6 who in her world provide the perfect excuse to stay in daily contact.
      Appreciate any advice on this one to get out of the tunnel and her oncoming freight train aimed to smash me over and over.

      • Alnico
        April 6, 2010 at 10:34 pm

        db: I have a 9 & 11 year old that I “parallel parent”. My ex uses the kids stuff regularly as a way to get to me. I have not been able to elimnate it after 3 years but have had much success in reducing it and its impact on me.

        Here are the things I do:

        * I recorded (legal in my state) a few samples of the way she treats me on the phone. I also recorded myself telling her in a phone call that because she treated me poorly on the phone I was only going to deal with non-emergencies, those involving life and limb being the exception, via email. When she continued to talk over me I simply hung up. Yes, she accused me of being non-cooperative, etc. But I have the recording in case it ever goes to court. So far, she has never brought that to court.

        When she calls to talk with the kids, I use caller ID and hand the phone to the kids, or I let it go to voicemail, listen to her request and then have the kids call her.

        I limit her calls to only 2-3x per week 15 minutes each – as that is what my attorney says I am required. I do not limit the kids out bound calls to her at all. (I may if she ever kids nasty enough to spank the kids for not calling, etc.)

        I tell her via email to stick to only child related matters and do my best not to be baited into replying to anything else. On the occasions I am able to ignore the rest, I get the best – she gets angry before she drops it and I get a laugh (it took 2.5 years to get to the point I could laugh at her unreasonble anger – and sadley it was part the realization that statiscally unhappy, mean people have shorter lifespans).

        She started leaving me nasty voicemails after I denied her regualar telephone contact, even telling me I had no choice but to listen to her: I emailed her a copy of the voicemail she left, not commenting on the fact I had it for evidnce, I simply stated that she was mistaken, that I did not have to talk to her about such issues by telephone and she was free to email me about child related matters only. As my new wife says, “it has not worked, but it is getting a bit better”. The ex is still difficult to deal with but these methods help me deal with it better.

        Also, if she starts and email war with me over some issue, I more often find myself benefiting if I refuse to send her a reply until the next day. Since I am the kind of person that feels compelled to reply right away (after all isn’t that courteous) I sometimes use Outlooks delayed send feature – so send it when I know she will be fast asleep. Then she has to slow down her attack — and that is better for me.

        If the kids come to me saying mom said do this, or she wants you to do this etc. I tell them it’s not right to use them as a “go between” and thier mom can email me. I refuse to use them as a messenger of good or bad news to my ex.

        I had my parenting schedule changed to allow use of school as a child exchange medium and we do all other exchanges curbside – with the party having the kids dropping off. I stay in the car – and the kids get out on thier own. She stays in the house – a solution imposed becasue of her false accuasations against me — which in fact benefits me greatly.

        I do all the communicating I need with the school regarding school matters, telling the teachers that I prefer to hear all information from them directly instead of my co-parent – whom I often do not hear the full, necessary information from…

        I don’t hang out with any of “our” (read her) old friends — since she has alienated me from them. Instead I made new ones. I do not share social media with her – blocking or denying as appropriate. And I setup an email rule to move all messagers from her and her new husband (who like to help her abuse me when he sees her upset) – redirecting all such mail to a separate folder so I decide to ignore it if I need to at work. That way if she is on a email war it is one sided and I can reply in the evening – one time for her many letters.

        Speaking of replies: short, bullet-lists. Only replying about pareting matters. That’s all.

        I read an article somewhere on parallel parenting vs. co-parenting. It focused on My House My Rules – Your House Your Rules. I find it very useful to have fequent talks to the children and send an email to the EX saying this is the way it was going to be…

        I hope you can glean some tips from this.

        • db
          April 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm

          Very helpful…and mostly because they are words from wisdom from someone in a similar situation. Been very down and alone of late in dealing with this. Not something you can really turn to friends or even family with constantly. I just end up feeling like I’m dumping on them and they really don’t grasp the whole abuse aspect of things…even though they have witnessed volatile incidents of late first-hand.
          As to the specifics of your advice I am going to buy a recorder and start recording her voice mails and if possible her drop-offs at the front door.
          I’m very leery of the email aspect. It’s bad enough with her endless phone calls, but her text messaging aggressiveness (addiction) is on a whole other level.
          I can unplug the phone at home at least, but my email can’t be shut down at work. I know she would flood me with messages…and even more messages demanding i answer her original messages…Still, it might be something to consider.
          I also discussed with lawyer limiting her calls, but as it stands there is no court order forbidding that, so she has every right. He was the one who indicated to just unplug the phone.
          The separation is still relatively new, so the kids once on the phone do enjoy talking to her. But already there are no boundaries. She will keep them on the phone for about 45 minutes on average and always well after there 9 p.m. bedtime. I have just started to prod them at around 9:15 or 9:30 that’s its time to hang up, get off the phone and to bed. That is already being met by backlash and threats that I’m trying to keep her from talking to kids.
          Just since my original post yesterday, she called five times in 45 minutes (phone wasn’t unplugged) last night while children were cleaning up and getting ready for bed. I wouldn’t let the kids answer until they were nearly set for bed. The oldest daughter finally picked up on the fifth call and told her ‘mom we’ll call you back when we are ready.’
          Today, she called at work leaving threatening messages that she will be the one to take them to a doctor’s appointment on Friday morning…even though the court order is clear they are in my primary care monday to friday and she only has access starting friday after school.
          I gently responded with a voice mail of my own reminding her of that fact.
          And so it goes.
          She has them for dinner this evening and can’t wait to see what she has in store for me during drop-off tonight…heavy emphasis on sarcasm, with a touch of sickness in my stomach.

          • Alnico
            April 7, 2010 at 9:35 pm

            As far as email goes, if you use Outlook or some other email system, you can setup a rule to forward her messages to another email address such as hotmail, etc. And then deal with it when you are not at work. You could also just setup a non work email at hotmail, etc. And tell her that is the only address you will be recieving parenting email at that all other email sent to your work address will be deleted without being read. You could set a rule to do that as well once you know she has the new email address. Another thing you might try is asking the court to order use of a website such as OurFamilyWizard.com for communcation but frankly it was more of a PITA for me than managing my ex via email rules. As far as the phone goes… I use OOMA service, which is dirt cheap IP telephone, and pay the $120 ish a year for extra services. One of those is selective call rejection. I set my ex number to go to voicemail or use Do Not Distrub mode (pressable on the the device) to send all calls to voicemail if the phone rings too many times with the ex over and over. I blocked texting completely, since I have to pay to recieve them and email is free. I don’t use text, I get my email on my phone, but I have trained myself now using the rules, etc.. to not respond to the ex right away or get agitated by it. I got 2 emails from her today I’ll respond to them tonight, with a delayed-send setting ot make sure she gets them, but not until after I am in bed.

            • db
              April 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm

              All great tips and sure to implement a few…especially setting up an extra email account for parenting only outside work account. I guess the brainwashing did its magic and left me leaving a blank on a simple but practical solution…

        • jp
          April 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm

          Great comment, Alnico.

          My two are 5 and 7 and my ex and I have a much lower level of conflict than it sounds like you have with your ex (and db with his), but still, parallel parenting is the way to go.

          I never would have preferred that out of the gate, but I learned (very slowly because I’m dense) that ‘co-parenting’ for us was a lie.

          She’s kept them home from school a few times to do fun things and never said a word to me even after I told her how much I disliked not knowing where they are. Ok, fair enbough…it’s her day she can do what she wants. Then I did it once and she hyperventilated she was so stunned at being out of the loop…I thought she was having a breakdown. She ran to her lawyer and insisted on putting something in our agreement that we have to notify each other. Double standard AGAIN.

          She NEVER asks me my opinion on anything related to the kids, e.g., what to tell them when they ask when they will be allowed to have cell phones. She just makes up the policy on the fly and expects me to follow her lead.

          Any concerns I raise are automatically dismissed with contempt or met with personal, off-topic attacks (which are in effect punishments for my daring to challenge her own self-conceived supremacy), while she doesn’t hesitate email me with criticisms of the most minute and mundane details of conversations I have with the children. Last week she was upset I told them how much I paid to get my brakes fixed.

          In any case, I used to respond to those emails, but now I just ignore them outright. Literally. I didn’t even tell her I was going to ignore them. I just stopped responding. And it feels great.

          If she wants to take me to court and argue that I should lose my joint custody because I told the kids I went to a funeral, explained to them what a Facebook page is, or let them get a children’s picture book on snakes from the library, she’s welcome to try.

          JP

          • Alnico
            April 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm

            After telling her a few time that I was only going to respond to legitimate pareting issues, I have stopped telling her that too. Now, the longer I go, the better I am getting at simply just not responding the non-child related items.

      • Alnico
        April 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm

        Let me add: The link I found on parallel parenting vs. co-parenting: http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/parallel-parenting-how-it-evolves-implementation.

  2. Ms Reason
    March 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I love these quotes that are a philosophic way out of these relations:

    The admission : ‘A confession has to be part of your new life.’ &
    ‘A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.’ – Ludwig Wittgenstein

    and realization: ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ Eleanor Roosevelt,

    And how to let go and move on after healing without obsessing or losing yourself in their toxic darkenss:
    ‘And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ Friedrich Nietzsche

    And finally freedom and true ‘rising above’ :
    1) That scene from Gone with the Wind : ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’-Rhett Butler http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTz7yRzeu5g

    2)and this dialogue from the Foutainhead: (this takes the longest but is the true liberation – hard when you have children though with an ex)
    Toohey (after destroying Roark’s reputation, work, business) : “Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.”
    Roark : “But I don’t think of you.”

    • Chris
      March 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm

      I’m not exactly sure how you feel about The Fountainhead but I believe it is almost a case study of narcissism. Atlas Shrugged equally so. Ayn Rand exhibited all DSM narcissistic traits and those same traits often appeared in her protagonists. None of them appear to exhibit a shred of empathy. This makes sense in a Randian view of the world because empathy isn’t exactly “rational self interest”. If you look at all the DSM criteria together Rand exhibited all of those traits to a T and her protagonists are merely reflections of her own internal image. I know a lot of people really like her work but as someone who is all too familiar with NPD and BPD I personally think her and her work are dangerous reinforcements of narcissistic behavior.

      • Ms Reason
        March 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm

        I totally agree! Rand was an all-out narcissist and a cult-recruiter herself as she grew older. She exhibited full-blown NPD and I recently read some rather disturbing things about her. She lacked empathy and no concern for children. I think those two books are good only though to highlight what still goes on in the world of architecture and engineering or that engineers in general are devalued in society when without them elevators, bridges, electricity, computers – nothing would work.

        I wish there were more role models for women – those who combined humour, smarts, atrractiveness, kindness, empathy AND rationality AND integrity. And were mentally balanced and humble (Steffi Graf?) The ‘options’ the media presents are usually the airhead busty bimbos OR the narcissistic she-men ruthless corporate bitches, OR the dowdy-intellectual-angry-feminist-male-basher OR the crazy-sexually-rampant-BPD-artist OR the dumb-soft-girly-girl-cosmo-worshipper OR the Oprah-worshipper OR those nauseating real-housewife-of-some-county-type OR the heart-of-gold-stripper OR the-rescue-me-single-mom. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a balanced woman in the media. Maybe Tina Fey? Norah Jones? (My own role models are women I personally know who combined feminity and feminism in a beautiful way.)

        I think fictional girls like Lara Croft and/or Amelie are hard-to-find though they do exist. I like the violinist Hilary Hahn – beautiful, super-talented, non-sappy and writes very well on her blog.

        And you’re right – Rand has outright NPD. I wouldn’t have put that quote up – it was just the line to indicate how to not let a BP person eat up all your mind.
        Thanks, Chris

        • March 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

          Ms reason, there´s a book called “Venus the dark side”. IT says everything Tara says here. Take a look!

  3. Verbal
    March 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Ms. Reason, you really should consider joining the forum here.

    • Ms Reason
      March 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks, Verbal. I might…I’ve just discovered this site last week and have been so happy and internally grateful to this wonderful doctor to have made it! That women like her exist (last year after finding my Briggs-Meyers type I did find some solace in the INTj forum because SO few women are that type, but this one is more helpful to relations.) I just feel like jumping in joy and sending this site to all my male buddies who’ve been through women like these and didn’t know where to go : alpha males who were scared to be vulnerable to acknowledge the abuse they faced; kind gentle introverted men who kept giving; younger naive men scarred through early relations with crazy chicks; nicer, non-sappy girls who became innocent victims due to the misconceptions of women created by these psychos; men who lost their children or pay alimony to cheating exes…. I’d even thought of writing a book myself to help – but now that Dr. Tara is so much more qualified and an actual therapist and with so much insight and humour – I hope she does so some day. It’s hard in the market-driven publishing world – an abused male editor should read it if it has a chance. The vicious women rule the roost in many places, especially marketing and I can see why her voice of reason will face most opposition from manipuative women and mentally unhealthy girls themselves. As I said earlier I’m SO sick of these women throwing out their petty little problems as claim checks to pity! What about the strong, rational women like Tara who used their own pain to churn out positivity and introspection? Healthy women feel ‘pain’ too and are much like the intelligent stoic men on this site – only we’ve learnt through our own rationality and work and creativity to channel it into productive positivity – instead of wallowing in it. Our self-respect stops us from doing ‘save me’ tactics. Our honesty and authenticity prevents us from lying and cheating. We are vulnerable and sometimes need a man’s help and hand too – only we understand it in a sane, free, respectful way – not as the cunning vampirish ‘rescue’ hook-and-suck which we are incapable of. Just like I’ve seen in life that some of the toughest, strongest men are vulnerable inside, so are the strong women. Except they’ve learnt to solve problems through their own intellect and learnt to laugh and be free and happy. And what does society do? Instead of rewarding them for their strength and goodness, they bend over backwards to ‘reward’, and ‘understand’ and ‘rescue’ the manipulators and liars. This might be a capitalist country but it practices ’emotional socialism’ more than any other! And BPs/NPs/HPs and bullies take full advantage of it. While the givers and emotionally healthy men and women are punished and flogged till they can give no more and till more fresh healthy victims to suck blood from arrive.

      I will be writing a book – but more on my own travels and topics – no longer on relations. Most therapists bend backwards themselves to male-bash, so there are so few resources to help men who ARE victims. This place is different and exceptional because her articles are straight-up, no-nonsense, witty and how can you resist someone who likes Rene Marguitte (one of my top favourite artists on who I wrote a paper myself!) I think I’m seeing a pattern here – girls who like surrealism art, Bill Maher, do outdoor sports without losing feminity, have a sense of humour and can’t stand soap operas and Paris-Hilton type ridiculous ‘girliness’, but are stable well-groomed-geeky-inside-smart-and attractive-outside DO exist! You see, part of my help to my engineer/former marine/pilots/architects friends include telling them that they can find those elusive women and the crazies are not the norm. They always ask: where do we find the good apples? One of them – from Harvard actually makes his dates do a funny personality test (which they don’t know at the time) to check their stability early on! So my own ‘quest’ is not just my own healing, but also to help my men friends when they hurt in their painful relations, to help them out of those and also help them seek fun, healthy women. Few therapists truly ‘get’ the problems men really face and can often be very unfair in a false ‘feminist’ way. That’s why this site is so unique – and it takes a brave woman to have done this. It’s not easy – as BP/NP women will hate her and harass her for this. I cannot imagine how strong she had to be to do this – but she has, and hats off to her! I’m sorry I’m sounding so much like her ‘fan’, but trust me, there are very few women therapists like this out there. Her wisdom and wit is spot-on. Many women therapists forced abused men to go back and ‘fix’ and kept them more miserable for years! I’ve been in the male field of work for over 10 years, so I can see why this site is the healthiest out there, written by a smart emotionally healthy woman who ‘understands’ the male psyche well. It’s also the best designed.

      I will join the forum if I get time – but I think this site should be spread around more amidst intelligent men. And a must-have in engineering and other technical mostly-male environments! Damn! The amount of heartache it would have saved if it existed centuries ago – both to men and innocent girls! Cheers!

      • Mr. E
        March 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

        I have to ask – what’s the personality test your friend gives his dates?

        • Ms Reason
          March 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm

          Hey Mr. E – I’ll find out from him and let you know….he’s a cognitive neuroscientist and I think it’s a test he devised himself. (Also, I don’t know to what extent the Briggs-Meyers work or Baron-Cohen’s – the latter has 4 sections.) I’m currently reading a scientific non-fiction book written by a well-known female systems engineer – ‘Evil Genes’ by Barbara Oakley.

      • ExpatDad
        March 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

        “As I said earlier I’m SO sick of these women throwing out their petty little problems as claim checks to pity!”
        Well said Ms Reason – me too!!
        The aspect that comes through so often that also sickens me no end is the sheer sense of grandiose entitlement to a lavish lifestyle, at their boyfriend’s/husband’s expense…

        The system that ultimately exaggeratedly privileges those cluster Bs that marry needs to somehow be exposed on a national/international level in a way that will capture the public imagination. I’m thinking of a Michael Moore-type documentary. If he could only be inspired to move to the next level from his excellent recent effort that demonstrated the corruption, greed and callous exploitation that has tainted the economic/political sphere to including also the most egregious aspects of the legal sphere, i.e. in family/divorce law. But he seems pretty tired of making documentaries now…

  4. Ms Reason
    March 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Well, buddy – be safe. Don’t get overtly paranoid – but I’m glad you saw that there are safer and far more fulfilling other quests in life than playing games with these grenades. I don’t want to sound too cautious myself either and sense that you are young so you’d like to have ‘fun’ – but whatever you do – don’t get thrown false charges or worse, trapped into pregnancies even during your stands. In fact – don’t forget that the crazy sex stand IS their first hooking trap! Just so you know – kind and stable girls also DO give crazy sex. They just don’t wear it on the sleeve like the BPs and are just private about it. The good girls are actually very sexual and open in exclusive relations. But simply don’t use it as a hook like the BPs.

    ‘Something I´ve noticed about them, they are so emasculating, overbearing, needy, emotional and controlling that they TURN OFF their men. Later on, they blame the husb or BF for a lack of lust. Then they find themselves justifed to look elsewhere while keeping you on a leash to if and when they need you.’ Exactly true! As I had said earlier, the charm is just a venus fly trap. You should also send this site to other engineer friends because I do realize that due to the lack of exposure to women, as a group they are more susceptible. Knowledge IS power.
    And besides this site, I found reading on works of philosophy such as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and on good art is very therapeutic. That way if one is more intelligent, you can raise yourself to a mental higher state where these vampires can’t drag you down any more. So I hope you’ll use your youth wisely and find a kind-but-fun girl someday. Be wary of girls who hang around shallow gaggly groups with other shallow types and watch idiotic TV soaps and such. The more individualistic and rational types are better bets at stability.

  5. March 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Something I´ve noticed about them, they are so emasculating, overbearing, needy, emotional and controlling that they TURN OFF their men. Later on, they blame the husb or BF for a lack of lust. Then they find themselves justifed to look elsewhere while keeping you on a leash to if and when they need you.

    That´s why they´re good only for one-night-stands as they can be fully sexual without the abuse. Whereas in their home they wreck heavoc.

    About my situation, I´m on the alert for any strange thing and observing everything around me. Until now, things seem to be normal.

    • eraserhead
      March 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Mike, you have really hit the nail on the head with this comment. They completely drain you of all life and desire and then turn it on its head and blame you for not being there for them! Really makes your head spin

  6. March 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Ms REason, my gut feeling was telling me that something wrong was going on. Hard lesson: leave your ego aside, let them win unless you´re absolutely right they can´t reach you, or you leave the city (area). They are like Jason Voohes, they are always the victim no matter how much they have manipulated you. You cannot win this game. I was being STALKED around my home by a mysterious car. holy crap! My dad has been acting pretty strange with me, like he´s scared of something. So as you might suspect,…. Something is not right.

  7. Henry
    March 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Mike :
    I would say “Get rid of that ring” else, end like Frodo!

    A lost finger would be a small price to pay to be rid of my BPD forever!

    • March 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

      These people are relentless. You “destroy” them but they come back angrier and crazier. The best policy is to disappear, don´t confront them. Turn your back, walk slowly and than run as fast as you can. Tara was right, they are live grenades. You don´t know how far theses nuts are willing to go, it´s better to “pretend” you´ve lost. Some victories are not worth as they bring more destrucion than benefits. You don´t know the contacts these people have, maybe with criminals, or with government or with other sociopaths. Like they say “better a coward alive than a hero dead”. If your Ego doesn´t permit this defeat, than go ahead and put your life at risk.

      What I´ve noticed is that these people, specially if women, may have already had access to power or some people in power through manipulation or seduction. So they can easily get back at you somehow.

      To aviod being hit, don´t be a target.

      • Ms Reason
        March 25, 2010 at 5:34 am

        You are ABSOLUTELY right, Mike! Boy, Dr. Tara finally did get through to you. Trust me, there were two poor engineers at work whose BP girlfriends placed false rape charges on them. And in a workplace, a BP girl can claim false sexual harassment charges and badly sabotage your career. They are known for filing false police reports. I know because on a few occasions I’ve had to vouch on these men’s characters to contradict the false charges these crazy women brought against good men in my workplace. Or they do other vindictive things to your files, drawings etc. It happened to my male buddies. Also, to tell them you’re dating someone else only makes it worse and incites their jealousy. The best strategy is giving the ‘busy with work’ excuse or just acting geeky goofy innocent. Better to make them lose interest and NEVER again get drawn by fake offers of ‘friendship.’ It’s all a show they do. You’re also right about their possible contact with criminals. These girls can seduce a really bad guy to use him to beat up the man who they’re playing games with. ‘To avoid being hit, don’t be a target.’ – Correct! Pick your battles in life – and these crazies are just not even worth your time or effort. Peace :)

  8. Henry
    March 24, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Born Free :
    I have not wanted to have sex with her for six month now, and definitely not gay. Actually, since I started the break-up process I have insisted that we sleep in different beds and different rooms. Till I started insisting on this I was getting a cold shoulder from her. Now, as she senses that she is losing me for good, her behavior is ultra nice and tries everything to get me sleeping next to her. I am sorry, but that ship has sailed.
    I am much happier when I am on my own. In the future perhaps I will share my bed with someone, but right now am very glad that I am setting boundaries based on what I want.

    We are still sleeping in the same bed but at opposite ends (it is a big bed). We haven’t had sex in months, but before I filed and before I told her I was going to file, but after I had determined I would never have sex with her again, she “sensed” she was losing me and tried to seduce me (I had always initiated sex after the first six months and was usually rejected).

    Now, I’ve noticed her being nicer to me (but still can’t resist the subtle jab) and in just the past week, she seems to be inching closer, but still no phyxical contact. I also try to keep conversations to the bare minimum and only on divorce/kid issues. She has treated me with more respect (not kindness but respect) in the past few months than she has since the first six month.

    I do have a back up plan/spare room to move into if need be, but don’t want to leave the comfortable bed.

    I would be out of the house if we didn’t have kids, but one way to grantee your insane wife gets the kids is to leave them with her and move out prior to divorce.

    • Born Free
      March 25, 2010 at 2:01 am

      Are you sure we are not married to the same person.

      Last time we had sex, which was after a long hiatus, she asked me in the morning to do something (which I had been refusing to do for a while). When I politely said no, her response was that “I regret sleeping with you last night.” For me that was one of the clear-cut signals that I am dealing with some kind of PD and it is time to get out.

      I have gotten an amazing amount of respect since declaring my intention to file. But the behaviors run deep. She asked me to wait for a month to “let it sink in”, was extremely nice to me, and wants to make things work out. Of course, her next statement is that our marriage is perfect, except for “your issues”. She also exhibited a couple of signs that indicate that she is using this month for shoring up her case and playing mind games with me.

      This phase is temporary. It is the classic “honeymoon phase” in the cycle of abuse. Never again will I get fooled by her again.

      Some of my close friends are very saddened by my decision to proceed in this direction. “It has all looked so perfect and you should stay for the kids.” But then one admitted, that he is in the same boat and has not had the courage to get out.

      I wish you (and all the others on this board) the best. At the end of the day, it is my life and I have to do what I see best in the long-term.

  9. March 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Right on!!

    “By forcing the neophyte to engage in ritualized behaviour that would be horrendously shameful in normal society, the psychopaths’ guild destroys the candidate’s normal personality, assuming he had one in the first place, and turns the individual into a co-opted, corrupt, degraded shadow of his former self – a manufactured psychopath or psychopath’s apprentice.”

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/146708-Twilight-of-the-Psychopaths

    • chester
      March 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Lorenzo….that you are even discussing the lighter business in the context of an affair(hers)-is downright scary, and indicative of how far you have fallen off the beam.Re-read your post. I see a man deeply swallowed up by “stockholm syndrome” Thank god you are planning your escape. A few hundred bucks to a private detective may save you tons down the road….unless you reside in a No-fault State. Hang in there man…

  10. Lorenzo
    March 24, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Hi all

    Im writing to write. Im having a moment where of battling weakness here and I needed to come here for some peace and to write. My wife just said something slightly harsh and I came back with something as well. She can never put my lighter back and its an on-going joke for the past 8 years. She can never put anything back in its place on any level which I let go but my lighter I like to keep so I have. Anyways I said one day you will think that maybe a small, insignificant thing I ask for will be important enough for you to remember 1 out of 10 times. Now mind you I said this in a somewhat sarcastic yet comical way, she said back “Who cares. Im your wife, I dont have to remember”. I said because you are my wife you should remember and then she flipped in a crying mode and left and went to bed saying I havent been nice to her lately. For the previous 8 years my inner guilt and empathy would be to try and fix things b/c I would feel so bad from the guilt. I wont do that anymore and its torture inside. Oh and while I have treated her fine, in fact almost princess like during our 8 years she may consider that I havent been treating her with apologies and affection because I have been witnessing a growing affair she is having at work. Odd how not only is my simple wish of having my lighter returned “sometimes” too much to ask but I havent been as nice lately….amazing how her having a growing affair is ok. By the way, no she has no idea I know about this and yes I am taking the actions needed but when married unless caught in the act I have to line up my ducks in a row before the big “goodbye”. This may seem like rambling a bit but Im here to write so the guilt subsides. I love her with all my heart and Ill cry a river but for now I need to patch the hole in the boat and get ready to sail off.

    • finallywokeup
      March 24, 2010 at 11:28 am

      Lorenzo, your reaction sounds normal. It’s not too much to ask to be treated with simple courtesy. It’s death by a thousand cuts to have someone do this to you daily.

      I spent many years married to a woman who did exactly the same thing: I would ask her please not to do something that bothered me, but she kept doing it no matter what, until I would complain or argue about it with her, and then she would say I was mean or controlling or “not nice”, and then she would go to bed early. Exactly like you have described. It ate into my sense of normalcy, and I began to believe I WAS being unreasonable for asking, and I felt guilty, too. But that is just brainwashing.

      There were many, many little things like this, and she did not care the slightest bit whether it was hurting me or not. But these women do not have any empathy, they just do not care about your feelings, and trying to get them to do so is futile. It’s just not in them. They do not even understand why you bother to ask.

      Here is a good test: if you did something like misplace your wife’s __________(fill in blank), and she told you it upset her, how would YOU react? Probably you would feel bad, and try your best not to do it again, even if you might slip up once in a while. The difference with her is that 1) she won’t try, 2) she doesn’t care if it hurts you, and 3) she will actually keep doing it to prove that you are a bad guy for even having complained. This is warped.

      And, of course, she feels no guilt, no remorse over this office affair. This is even more warped.

      Keep preparing, be careful, don’t be surprised if she’s gearing up to leave first. Mine left me, in hindsight I think she might have been lining up the next guy, who she imagined would be “nicer” to her when she routinely mistreated him like this.

      You are not being unreasonable for expecting her to take your feelings into account, even over small things. That’s what marriage is supposed to be about.

      • March 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm

        “I would ask her please not to do something that bothered me, but she kept doing it no matter what, until I would complain or argue about it with her, and then she would say I was mean or controlling or “not nice””

        That´s the problem with PDs when you say you don´t like something, they see this as a “Lotto Ticket”

        “uh, he doesn´t like it? This is my new ammo against him, I´ll use that to manipulate him when necessary”

        So it´s a catch-22. You need to enforce your boundaries but at the same time not letting them hurt you doing something you know it hurts. Damned if you do, damned if you don´t. What to do then?

        • thom
          March 29, 2010 at 4:01 am

          Mike-

          I know what you mean…

          My ex slapped me once and I stopped, sat back, and said in a very calm, but direct tone.

          “Please never touch my face or hit me like that ever again.”

          I explained that I had been blindsided in a bar once and had my nose broken and that I had a girlfriend shove me in the face once and her ring scratched my eye.

          She said that I couldn’t hold her accountable for the other events that happened earlier in my life and now that I asked her to stop she was going to slap me more whenever she had the chance.

          These people know no shame…

    • Lorenzo
      March 31, 2010 at 3:45 am

      To follow up. Last night I finally confronted her as I sat there and watched her have yet another daily sexual type convo, nothing over the top but stuff relating to “eating K”. All I can say at this point is that other then her throwing her phone at me she has maintained composure since then. She has however, in a more calm manner then usual basically blamed me and talked about her now having no trust for me after I got her password after 3 months of agonizing torture knowing something was going on. So here I sit for 2 days basically defending myself for getting her password while she had some sort of sexual online daily convo and nightly convo with some guy from work. Of course, there is much more crucial and cutting stuff I have on her regarding this but I cannot believe I have fallen into this trap. Im sitting here wondering how I can now re-gain her trust all while in the next moment saying “F Her, its my trust she broke”.

  11. George
    March 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    So Dr. T, tell me the truth, you were actually video taping my life right? It’s amazing how well you are able to describe my abusive ex-wife. Absolutely amazing.

  12. Ron
    March 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Well, I was not “spiritual enough” for her tofeel “connection”. Guess all the strangers she met in bars and slept with had that deep , soulmate connection that I lacked due to taking care of the kids 5 nights a week on average with no help(interferred with her hook-ups).
    How they say this stuff with a straight face is beyond me.
    Oh, and her affairs were due to my “not satisfying her emotional needs.”

    • db
      April 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

      You just described exactly what i have been going through…wife blaming a lack of connection at home for her reason to spends nights out at bars/restaurants with friends at least five nights a week while i (happily) watched and cared for kids.
      The nights out turned into multiple escapades because they “understood her.” The last affair with an emergency room doc at work that lasted a several months and culminated with a weekend hotel rendezvouz he swept her away with on a recruiting trip.
      Her denials of the affair in violent tirades when she returned despite my holding hotel paperwork of the trip she left on the family computer were the final straw of years of bullying and abuse. I went to see a lawyer and now in the middle of ugly separation and process toward divorce. Luckily, court so far awarded me primary custody of kids, partly because she lost it in court and started challenging and lying to the judge.
      Her NPD behavior continues to spiral and get worse since she is out of the house…but more on another day…

  13. mike
    March 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Interesting comment on the “Isolation” part. When we were dating, I was definitely isolated from my friends/family (my fault for allowing this to happen). Some friends were constantly bad mouthed by my ex, even to the point of grabbing my phone from me one time and her cussing him out. NOW, however, after being away from the NPD ex about 4/5 months, she is now constantly reaching out to my friends (and some of them are falling into the trap, unfortunately). I suspected this when I first saw the signs of it, and now the full court press is on. I’m sure the NPD ex would deny this until the end, but it is funny to see it happen. As for the friends involved, I really do not think they see the game being played here, and I’m out of the drama game.

  14. how odd
    March 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Interesting that I am not the only person who has been told that they don’t feel teh depth of emotions that their partner does.

    “I love much more deeply than you ever could”

    “uh….honey, that’s not a fair statement to make at all.”

    “I don’t care it’s true”

    As if her just saying so makes it impirical at that point….. Also I loved that this was just out side of our latest councelling session where the counceller is finally catching on to her games, and told her that she blames the entire world for her own behavior…..

    Meh oh well, at least recognizing it is something….

    • thom
      March 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      I was told that I was “bad at communicating” as well…which I find interesting as my job as a teacher entails communicating very clearly, calmly, and succinctly each and every day with middle school parents, students, teachers, and administrators.

      I guess my frustration lies with the blind eye that society continues to turn to these types of people. I mentioned in a previous post of mine that rapists, pedophiles. drunk drivers and physically abusive people get public documentation/displays of their misdeeds so people can avoid them and protect their children from them…

      During our divorce proceedings my ex and I both took the MMPI and the MCMI and it was discovered that she was clinically histrionic (96%) percentile which prompted the pscyh evaluator to say that she was “incapable of sustaining interpersonal relationships” and that she is overly dramatic to a point that her behavior causes severe problems with family, friends, and ultimately our marriage. Our marriage counselor reported to the custody evaluator that she exhibited traits from all the cluster B disorders (NPD, BPD, HPD) yet no one cares…

      Last weekend my 3 year old daughter was on the toilet and she was patting her legs. She looked up at me and says “Mommy says I have big fat legs”. When my ex picked up my daughter that evening she says, “Hurry up and get in the car we need to get home since mommy hasn’t eaten all day”. I wrote my ex a very factual polite email about eating disorders (my ex battled anorexia and bulemia) suggesting that she choose her words a bit more carefully around our daughter…and I got a page long email about how it’s none of my business, how I don’t support my ex’s vegan lifestyle, that she was “only teasing our daughter”…

      My daughter has also said that mommy cries in the bathroom all the time and yells and puts her in time out all the time.

      I get her for 2 hrs on Wednesday evenings and from 745am-530pm on Sundays and on Wednesdays and Sundays and every day she refuses to go out to meet her mother. She throws her shoes behind the couch and runs upstairs and hides in her room. She grabs my clothes and cries and verbalizes that she doesn’t want to go to mommy’s house.

      It kills me.

      But there is nothing I can do.

      I will just have to wait it out until my daughter is old enough that the courts will listen to her and take what she is saying.

      Hopefully her mental/emotional state will not be damaged by then…

      • chester
        March 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm

        Interesting…years after the divorce my kid said her mother intermitently stared at her legs while they were driving. She then inquired about eating habits-the implication that my kid was gaining lbs.-which was untrue. My daughter was, at the time in the thros of an eating disorder-now conquered. My kid also intimated that she, as an adult, is always second guessing herself. We both suffer from this, and both know the source……

        • thom
          March 30, 2010 at 2:51 am

          Chester

          That’s awful.

          I am sorry your kid had to endure that type of abuse.

          I am worried that my 2 year old will suffer a similar fate.

      • jp
        March 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm

        thom,

        Sorry to hear about your situation. What a shame.

        I hope you don’t mind my asking…but how did you end up with so little parenting time?

        JP

        • thom
          March 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

          I read my post again…I get her from Saturday at 745 am until Sunday at 530 pm…sorry about the confusion.

          Regardless. The custody evaluator decided that limited time was “in the child’s best interest”.

          Actually – she decided that I was only to have her until 9 am on Sundays but since my ex works on the weekends and I have right of first refusal I get to “babysit” her until my ex finishes work.

          • jp
            March 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm

            Yeah, how can it be in the child’s interest to have a lot of time with her father?

            Unreal. I’m so sorry.

            • thom
              March 25, 2010 at 6:35 am

              Thanks jp – I am just dumbfounded by the family court system.

              During our custody evaluation here is the people that spoke to the custody evaluator on my behalf.
              -My school’s principal
              -My school’s 2 vice principals
              -15 teachers from my school
              -Our pediatrician (my ex didn’t agree with any type of modern medicine or vaccinations and caused scenes at numerous healthy baby check ups and shots – I had temporary legal custody at one point)
              -A Behavior specialist at my school
              -2 Special education teachers at my school
              -2 ESL teachers at my school
              -3 groups of parents of former students
              -2 marriage counselors
              -2 school counselors

              All spoke about their concerns regarding my ex and spoke to my positive attributes…

              She had her younger sister and a family friend speak to the evaluator. That’s it. She has no one else. And I discussed that fact with the evaluator.

              All of my character witnesses got a 2 sentence paragraph in a 29 page evaluation document. It read “XXXXXXX is a well respected professional. He has numerous friends and coworkers that confirm he is an excellent teacher and friend”.

              She also went on to write – since I asked for full custody and requested she attend the counseling sessions strongly encouraged by our counselors and the psych evaluator – that I have little to no understanding of early childhood development….

              which I find quite odd since I have a Masters Degree in Education with 12 credit hours of undergrad course work, 10 hours of graduate course work and almost 10 years of teaching experience…

              Its a joke. But I can’t call out the evaluator or judge for fear of losing any custody that I currently have.

              • ExpatDad
                March 25, 2010 at 11:08 am

                Family court and all its satellite industries are a scam, run in far too many jurisdictions largely by women for the benefit of women, and actually to the massive detriment of children, whilst giving repugnant decisions cynically under the “best interests of the children” cliché. It’s perhaps understandable that it’s part of an ongoing decades-long backlash against the former patriarchal society, but the damage being inflicted is far more dangerous to western society as a whole than most people imagine, in my opinion.
                There is no reasonable evidentiary standard. Mothers and fathers are not held accountable to even remotely similar standards of behaviour/character. I work in a different part of the justice system where gender is irrelevant, but if the same sorts of biases were present in my day-to-day job based on any other characteristic it would make me so sick I would quit.

  15. akn
    March 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I recall, after I left and was still trying to negotiate the possibility of a relationship with a person who, at that time, still felt like the love of my life. Invited to dinner with a large group of our (once mutual) friends at her place she asked could I come early to help prepare for a dozen people as we were eating out doors on a beautiful hot evening. So I did. Within two hours my head was spinning – I’ve never been issued with so many demands, counter demands, contradictory requests and imperious suggestions as to how to do whatever needed doing better in my life. And I’ve spent a long time in caring professions where demanding people are the norm. I left after two hours as I had the pre-prepared excuse of going home to change out of sweaty clothes for her guests and the dinner. What a relief. My most immediate thought was “no wonder I went mad living with her”. I returned to the dinner and had a lovely evening with friends but not before self medicating with Xanax and cannabis. I consumed enough alcohol to lubricate the night but the next day could not recall having spoken to her for more than two or three sentences over the whole event after I returned. It was just like having the worst parts of being married without any of the good bits. That was one of the last two hundred or so straws that broke the camel’s back. Amazing, awful. To think that I had normalised that sort of petty, daily bullying for almost four years of cohabitation. My recollection is that it grew steadily and overcame all of my resistance. She had said that her ex-husband, a successful artist, was a heavy cannabis user. Now I know why. On day I bumped into him, 8 years after she threw him out (I later found out) in a violent pique of temper, and he had eyes like piss holes in the snow. I looked at him and thought “is this my future?”. Sure would have been.

    • Ron
      March 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

      There is an awful lot of really good, funny writing in this forum, despite all the pain inflicted. Someone commented on this in another thread, but it really demonstrates the myth/propoganda out there about uncommunicative, beer guzzling, belching , grunting ,moron guys is exactly that, a bullshit myth.

    • jp
      March 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      akn :Within two hours my head was spinning – I’ve never been issued with so many demands, counter demands, contradictory requests and imperious suggestions as to how to do whatever needed doing better in my life…My most immediate thought was “no wonder I went mad living with her”.

      YES. Beautifully described.

      I help my ex every year with our one of our daughter’s birthday parties and it’s the exact same thing.

  16. Happy Now
    March 22, 2010 at 12:27 am

    LOL. Perhaps there should be some sort of Central Database so we can see just how they have treated others – I suspect they have and will always treat their supposed loved ones the same…..and they are so convincing (until we take our blinkers off) they will always persuade us that it has been others and not them……

    My own red flags were obvious – so in truth it was my own persona that allowed my to fall for the BS. Its only when we have experienced it, we can really decide the price is far too high.

    I have moved on and have found someone I truly deserve – she is sweet, kind, beautiful…the difference is, she is beautiful on the inside as well.

    • KO
      March 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm

      Happy Now,

      What was difference in the way you met the healthy one versus the BPD one ? Did you change your whole approach and attitude?

      Just curious.

      Thank you

      • Happy Now
        April 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

        Yes I did. I looked deeper within that person….and believe me I have been on a few dates with quite a few women – but I have always been looking for those red flags…and I can tell you they are easy to spot.

        The other thing I did was to lay out my past and the skeletons…. that was all cool and it has never bitten me on the arse – that in itself is a good indicator.

  17. March 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Kent. two words. “get out” i can tell you have swallowed some BPD propaganda here. women act like they are prizes to be won and that men are at the foot of the negotiating table in getting dates and starting relationships. This creates a climate where you accept abuse and put up with bullshit because you think it’s the price of admission.

    In my limited experience since I left my abusive wife, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Women–especially in their mid-20’s and beyond get desperate. They want you just as much as you want them. I sit and study at a coffee shop, and all these women buzz about is guys guys guys! They prattle on and on and won’t shut up. It’s funny now that it’s so predictable.

    You’re getting a bad deal here because you either lack self-confidence, are intimidated, or are placidly floating downstream. It’s good the wheels are turning and you’re thinking that stuff doesn’t add up. Try taking her on directly and see what happens. If she misbehaves, don’t be afraid to walk. It’s pay me now or pay me later anyway, trust me.

  18. March 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Dr T, I had a question. I’m wondering if two character traits are prevalent with BPDs and NPDs. Long before I started thinking that there might be something askew with my fiancee, I noticed behavioral patterns that would consistently have me cocking my head like a confused dog.
    1) Know-it-all. She knows everything about everything and cannot tolerate being challenged.
    2) Arrogance. She’s always loved to relate how important/attractive/great other people think or tell her that she is. I don’t hear other people say it themselves, but apparently everyone ultimately agrees with her points of view (friends, co-workers, her therapist), and thinks she looks 25 when she’s 40. I won’t get into vanity. I know these things are small compared to issues like emotional and physical abuse (both of which have occurred from her). I just wonder if traits like these should be red flags. I noticed them early on and they continue, even in those quieter times between rages and cold shoulders. Thanks so much Dr T. Your site is a bastion of sanity when the world seems crazy.

    • Mellaril
      March 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

      It isn’t if they should be red flags, they are red flags. If you’re here asking the questions, you probably already have a good idea of the answer. What’s it going to take to convince you? If it’s going to take some kind of clinical diagnosis, find yourself a therapist that specializes in Cluster Bs. Ask her to go to some premarital counselling. If she refuses, take it as a sign. One of the other blogs has some hints about non-evasive ways of checking things out. What do you know about her family? How does her life story line up? Are there gaps or inconsistencies in it? Considering the havoc a Cluster B can wreak on the people they come in contact with, whatever pain you feel from finding out will be nothing to that you’ll experience if you continue on. She also won’t take kindly to any kind of critical evaluation of her.

  19. March 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I would say “Get rid of that ring” else, end like Frodo!

    • KO
      March 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      Great analogy, Mike!

      A (wedding, engagement, etc..) can be a symbol for love and belonging which already exist between two people, but also could be a symbol for the sake of having the symbol (made of gold, and abusing the social status powers vested in it).

      Which one do we want to or are we already wearing?

      Great food for thought!

      Thanks!

  20. Nick 55
    March 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    “Meanwhile, I repeat, don’t drink the Kool-Aid.”

    This Kool-Aid tastes bitter.

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