How Do I Divorce My Abusive Wife?

I received the following email from a man who has finally realized that he is in an abusive marriage and that he needs to divorce. He describes his abusive wife’s behavior and concludes by asking, “How do those of us entrenched in these horrific relationships get out?  What is the first step?” My reply follows:

Hello Dr. Tara

I’m so “happy” to have found your blog “A Shrink for Men” and have, within the last 12 hours, read every single article that you have published so far.

I am sitting at work having just spent the day doing absolutely nothing.  This isn’t because I’ve been moping over my wife’s last screaming and yelling fit, but because during my wife’s last outburst she took my work computer and tossed it to the floor, fatally damaging the disks and losing me many months worth of documents and emails.  Why such an extreme outburst?  I bought her a spiral bound notebook instead of a glued notebook – who would have thought? – and she became quite aggressive: “you cant do anything right!”, “I should have done it myself”, “you just don’t care!”, “you’re an a**hole”.  I made the mistake of telling her that I wasn’t taking this and that I would go upstairs and do some work.  That’s when the bomb went off.

Today, of course, I lied to my boss and said that I had tripped on a child’s toy and the laptop had slipped out of my hand.  How could I admit that my wife had grabbed it off my desk and lobbed it across a room?  There’s quite a bit of stigma attached to “not being able to control one’s own wife” and I’m not taking any risks.  As it is, I don’t think it really matters.  This marriage has put such a strain on me that my once fantastic career is in tatters and within the next few weeks I will be facing the dole queue.  I have watched myself go from being a successful, happy, professional with a lots of friends to a depressed, henpecked, debt-ridden, isolated man.

She is the absolute dictator of my life.  She controls my finances, who I see, what time I come home from work.  I have to take my shower by 10 o’clock, take off my shoes when I come into the house, feed/bathe the baby when I get home from my 12-hour working day, take care of said baby when she decides to go out with friends.  Failure to do any of these things results in insults, silent treatments, screaming, yelling.  Of course the content is usually the same: I am worthless, I do not take responsibility for my family, I am lazy, I am inconsiderate, I do not listen, ad infinitum.  Any decision she makes is final and enforced while all of my decisions are up for debate.

Oh, I didn’t mention that she doesn’t work in any real sense.  Last year she had the idea that she wanted to run a web business, so I helped her set it up (read: I did most of the work).  Our baby is in day-care so that she can work, and I can honestly say that within the last 3 months, I don’t think she has put a single hour into her business.  That’s not to say that she’s not interested in her work as all her friends know that she’s a “business owner” and that she “has an accountant”.  All of this goes to her somewhat self-processed independence.  She hasn’t brought in a penny since the business started.  Of course, I don’t see a penny of my quite significant salary.  It all goes into maintaining the house, our child and whichever whim she’s on (new front door, lumberjack to unnecessarily chop down trees, in-house child minder, groceries for her out of work sister….)

I have let her ride roughshod over me for so long that my finances and support network are gone.  House payments will be due, there is my son to take care of, and I could well be out of work within a few weeks.

So my question is simple.  How do those of us entrenched in these horrific relationships get out?  What is the first step?

Kind regards,

Hi Glen,

What is the first step to getting out of this kind of relationship? Be very clear about what you want to do and then pursue it clearly, purposefully and strategically. Don’t harbor any illusions about divorcing this kind of woman. A difficult wife equals a difficult divorce. Think of all her worst personality traits and then multiply them by 1,000. The divorce process is designed to be adversarial and will compound her entitlement issues, deceptions, distortions, vindictive streak and general cruelty.

Here’s what I tell my clients who are about to begin the divorce process:

1. Don’t tip your hand. Don’t let your wife know what you’re thinking about doing. Many men make the mistake of trying to be noble and honest. They believe they’re obligated to be up front with their abusive wives and tell them what they’re planning. Big mistake. Huge mistake. Alternatively, many men think telling their abusive wife that they want a divorce will scare her straight. It might get her to be nice to you for a short time, but it won’t last. Plus, that gives her time to make her own plans and or stage a drama and call the police on you.

First, you can’t be straightforward with someone who has no sense of right and wrong other than she’s always right and you’re always wrong. You can’t be open and transparent with someone who deliberately tries to hurt you. If you offer this information to her on a silver platter, she will use it to hurt you. This is a battle for your financial, physical and psychological freedom. Do not underestimate how low she will go just to “make you pay.”

This kind of woman views divorce as the ultimate rejection. It’s a huge narcissistic injury. The primary reaction to a narcissistic injury is rage and violence. The violence may not be physical. However, purposefully setting out to bankrupt you and destroy your relationships with others—including your own children—is an especially cruel form of violence.

You need time to plan without her trying to manipulate and railroad you. I know it’s difficult. It was probably hard for you to set and enforce boundaries with this woman during your marriage. It is imperative that you and your attorney do so during the divorce.

Lastly, don’t talk to mutual friends and family members about this unless you’re absolutely certain that they won’t betray your confidence. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to keep her in the dark during the earliest stages. Don’t think of it as lying; think of it as not volunteering information. Don’t fall into the familiar pattern of being her hapless victim when it comes to divorce.

2. Do your homework. Visit divorce and father’s rights websites. Schedule consultations with attorneys in your area. You want to find a lawyer who:

  • Has experience and is respected in your local family court.
  • Has experience working with high conflict personalities. That’s lawyer talk for crazy Cluster B women and men.
  • Has experience working with negative advocates. Controlling abusive women gravitate toward attorneys who are adversarial (or more adversarial than the norm), drag out the legal process (to inflate fees) and encourage them to make up false abuse allegations. Water seeks its own level, so you want representation that knows how to handle “peers” who engage in what should be illegal law practices.
  • Inspires realistic confidence. How your attorney handles your divorce will impact your quality of life for years to come—including access to your children if applicable. Don’t go for the cheapest representation (by the way, the most expensive attorneys aren’t necessarily the best). If your attorney is incompetent, an appeaser or doesn’t have experience with high conflict personalities, it will end up costing you far more than attorney’s fees in the long run.

3. Documentation. Start keeping a record of abusive incidents—especially if they occur in front of the children. Invest in a small digital recorder to keep on your person. If you do a lot of direct childcare, keep a record of how many days you drive them to school, bathe them, prepare their meals, watch them, attend parent-teacher meetings, etc. This will serve as evidence when your wife later claims that she does most or all of the childcare and should thus have full custody.

The digital recorder will also come in handy if your wife is the type who likes to call the police. Remember unless you have some record of what goes on behind closed doors, it’s your word against hers. You can be the one with the black eye and cut lip and the cops will still cart you off to the county jail.

4. Protect your ass-ets. Many abusive woman take financial control in their marriages—especially when they don’t actually have a job. This has always mystified me. Nevertheless, if your wife has kept you in the dark regarding your finances, it’s time to get up to speed.

Begin to quietly (i.e., don’t alert her to what you’re doing) gather copies of any and all financial records that you can get your hands on. Scan them and put them on multiple disks or thumbdrives that you can store in a safe place. Create a new email that she can’t access. Get a personal mail box if necessary. If she monitors your calls, get a new pay-as-you-go phone for divorce related communication and keep the phone in a safe place. Don’t surf divorce websites on your home computer if she tracks your internet activities. Use your work computer or go to the public library.

These four steps are just the beginning of the process. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst possible case scenarios. Don’t be duped by your wife. Many of these women claim that they want to amicably separate, but their actions belie their words. You don’t want to be wondering 6 months into the divorce process how she managed to trick you and twist things around just like she did in the marriage. Figure out what leverage you have and then maximize it.

Rest assured, if your wife has shown you little to no empathy, has treated you unfairly and made outrageous demands during your marriage; she will be the same, if not worse, during your divorce. Even if she is the one who initiates the divorce, this kind of woman typically has a seek and destroy attitude. You know too much about her and for that, you must be punished and discredited. If this kind of woman “wins” in the divorce, she takes it as proof that she’s in the “right”—the “injured party”—and you’re the bad guy. Your assets and shared children become her war trophies.

Pretend you’re planning to invade the beaches of Normandy. That’s the degree of thoroughness and secrecy that’s required when trying to free yourself from one of these women. Also, don’t let her push your buttons. If you lose your cool at any time throughout the process, it will be used against you. Negative advocates have been known to coach their female clients on “how to get him to hit you.” It’s sick, it happens and you need to be prepared for anything. The good news is that once you get through the process, you can start to rebuild your life rather than let her stress and torture you into an early grave.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

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


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  1. Mellaril
    May 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    For what it’s worth…Several years ago I took a class held by a retired FBI polygraph examiner. He said there are several misconceptions about therm. The biggest one is they are not admissable in court. He said that’s not quite true. In criminal cases, both parties have to agree to it use and the polygraph will support one side or another. In civil cases, that is likely not the case.

    His opinion was that if you’re ever accused of something and you’re innocent and they offer a polygraph, take it. He also said that while a true sociopath may be able to fool one because they may believe what they say, the vast majority of people will screen accurately. If your SO is accusing you of something, check with your attorney and see if you can use it. It may be money well spent.

  2. IamClueless
    May 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you JP and Rob,

    her recent tyraids are this upcoming Mother’s day. I wanted everyone to be happy and spend some time together. She blew up one of her mental landmines. I actually forgot about Mother days being sunday. I have online classes and my test happens to be on a Sunday. I was reviewing my schedule with her and she just went insane saying that I am lying to her and that I do not have a test. That I wanted to spend time with my family without her.

    When I was thinking about it I was like “let’s all spend sometime getting some good food and talking” she did not want to hear it. She told me its either my family or her.
    I was very independent but it seems like as the days becomes months, and the months become years. I have loss all sense of self. I deparately want to make a mends with my friends and family. They all hate me now, to avoid triggering her attacks I have stayed away.

    I was thinking to myself… all my life I have not ask permission to do anything. Not even from my parents. With all the threatening to leave and false accusations, it has severly put a gap in my self esteem. I have been programmed to accept my faith.I have used up whatever savings I have put together to secure a place to live and transportation. I have maxed out pretty much all of my credit cards and have have not an eartly idea as how I will pay them back.

    She goes on her tirades when I am in a meeting or with a client. She tells me all these guys want her to come with them, how she is giving up her life to be with me, tells me I care for my family more than her. because i gave my car to my brother and help my mother with some financial issues.

    She yells at me and says I never helped her. After a 14 hour day, I point out directions for her to a job interview. Driving around at 11:00 at night and meticulosly pointing out where to turn and where to park.

    Don’t get me wrong there have been good times but they are few. She would smile and be so nice that I put everything aside.
    I express that i would like to hang out with my friends and she starts the threatening to leave game. I was like I’ll be out for a short time. She packed up all her clothes(and there is a lot) waits for me to come back and starts pulling her things to the car. yells and screams that I’ve been doing things behind her back and asking who was there. Everytime a girl’s name is mentioned she goes ballistic and here comes the accusation games. You like that b****. etc etc. That whole time I watch the clock and made it home within the hour. keep in mind that out of olmost one and a half years I have only gone out twice. She on the other hand would disappear for days at a time doing who knows what with the car that I pay for.

    Thank you for all the support from the amazing and strong people on this Blog. I would go literally insane if it weren’t for this Blog.

    Stronger every day,

    • jp
      May 4, 2010 at 1:16 am


      That girl is poison. You have to get away from her. I know it seems impossible and that you are a powerless, but that is a distortion of reality which is a symptom of being in an abusive relationship.

      You can get away from her. You can rebuild your life. You do not have to take care of her. Her helplessness is a lie she uses to control you. You have the strength, you’re just paralyzed by a situation you never could have prepared for.

      Think about baby steps. First get away from her and go NO CONTACT. Then rebuild focus on rebuilding your finances. Take it one day at a time.

      You can do it.


  3. D-Day-Dude
    May 3, 2010 at 3:46 am

    I have a question for you other guys going or having gone thru this. First, I have done the D-Day thing. I had figured out that while she would constantly threaten me with a divorce, it was just a ploy to get be back under control. It took a long time and alot of therapy to release the fear of divorce, and when I did, just that was liberating. After enduring all the threats, the emotional withholding, the walking on eggshells, etc., I made the decision to leave. I picked a date and that was it.

    Now that it is done, she is coming to me with a “fall on her sword routine.” She is all about how she is a ‘changed woman’ who wants to respect me, love me, care for me, etc. etc. How she feels terrible about how she has treated me for all these years. That she will listen to me, respect me, etc. “Just please, stop the process and let’s try again.”

    Is this a typical response?

    • bunker dweller
      May 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Yes. it is typical. My wife did the same thing. She kept writing these heart-felt letters and apologizing and saying how she’s changed herself from the bottom up. I was happy at first and hoping for the best, but I kept waiting and waiting to see if it was real. Sure enough, about 3 months later she said she had “moved on” and was criticizing me for still being sad and hurt by her behavior after that period of time. She was her same mean/controlling self. I told her on the spot we were still going to therapy because I was concerned for her and her bad behavior, not to patch up the marriage.

      Once she heard that, she started yelling and the mask fully came off. She moved out of our apartment and left it with trash everywhere.

      Point is, be very skeptical. I’d wait months or years to see if she’s for real. If she’s really contrite, she’ll understand.

      • chester
        May 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

        me too. mine was completely coming unhinged and promised me the world. She blamed her behavior on “how she was raised” I was king of the turd heap- for about a month….then it all reverted to crazy land. When I asked her what the hell happened to the woman that couldn’t live without me…she said, “I was at my lowest point in life…I wasn’t myself”

        You got that right sister!!!!

        • chester
          May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

          Unrelated…but I remember her giving me little digs, subtle and not so subtle. When I called her on them- she accused me of being “insecure”

    • Gooberzzz
      May 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      In my experience with BPD family members and close friends, I would say yes, this is a typical response, unless they have found someone else willing to put up with their behavior. I have got to the point in my life, at least with so-called “friends” to kindly tell them, “I am happy for your newly gained insight, now go find some new friends and try it out on them. Good luck and have a nice life.”

    • Sad State
      May 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Be afraid – be very afraid. I would hate to guess how many babies have been conceived during these “nicey-nice” times. A baby equals a huge leverage over you 18 more years of her having claws in your life.

      After 2 years of no touching, my then-wife suddenly showed an interest in sex – she said she was taking care of the birth control. One week later she moved out and filed for divorce. I thank God that she didn’t get pregnant, but hindsight tells me that is exactly what she was trying for.

      • shrink4men
        May 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm

        I think you’re right, Sad State. These women often conceive as you’re about to give them the heave ho. It’s a trap as old as time. If you can’t resist having sex, use protection. Do NOT trust her to take care of it or you’ll be paying support and fighting to see your offspring. I think abstinence programs are pretty bogus, but when it comes to the cluster Bs and other abusers; it’s the only foolproof policy.

  4. solomon
    May 3, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Hi Dr Tara,
    I absolutely love your work.
    I’ve read Tim Field’s Bully Online, Sam Vaknin’s tripods, Dr George Simon’s Character Disordered People, Maria Hsia Chang’s A Study In Evil, Lisa E Scott’s It’s All About Him, Sanctuary For The Abused, Dr Anne Leedom’s Inner Triangle, Luke173 ministries, What Makes Narcissists Tick?, Dr Joseph M. Carver, Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers, so much more.
    Your work I love best. Simple, clear, witty. It’s the only one I’ve recommended to a friend and he thanks me everday saying he’s so much happier since his divorce years ago.
    Keep up the good work.

    I have an Ndp-Bdp mother and sister, and have known many such girls as class mates, love interests, colleagues, employers, vendors, customers etc.

    Having read so much info on personality disorders I can’t help but wonder sometimes…
    NPD/BPD or just shameless excitement/attention-seeker?
    Couldn’t it just be that lots of these people figured out long ago that a highly effective way to get what you want is to harass, confound and confuse others to the best of your ability, and then somewhere along the line this fact tickled them silly so much so that they just do it for fun, poops and giggles. They then try out new techniques and compare notes with like-minded jokers. Ham it up, play the victim, shed a tear while self aware.
    Worst still everyone buys into their crap- family, friends, neighbours, lawyers, judges, police, doctors, shrinks, etc and this spoils them reinforcing their game-playing.

    Not always a real problem of NPd/BPD then…just
    Spoilt little princesses, used to getting their own way by being silly, knowing it and loving every minute of it.
    Like my girlfriend says: Does that child really have ADHD or is he just being naughty?
    Recently a court judge here in England remarked that every young criminal that appeared before him now used the line ‘Well your honour, I was diagnosed with ADHD as child…that’s why…etc, etc.’
    Not to say ADHD doesn’t exist.
    But can you see my point?
    BPD/Npd or just naughty with smarts.
    What are your thoughts?

    Love and admiration, Solomon

    • Mr. E
      May 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      Elsewhere on the site, NPD/BPD have been called CHARACTER disorders, meaning it’s not that they’re nuts like a schizophrenic, it’s that they have bad characters. They’re sleazy, untrustworthy, selfish and immoral. They’re bullies. Spoiled princesses/princes. Notice they can behave properly in front of people they want to impress or that they are afraid of.

      Now, how would you describe someone who figured out that they could get what they want by harassing, confounding, confusing and bullying others? Would you say they’re an upstanding citizen?

      NPD/BPD/APD/HPD/etc. are diagnostic labels invented by psychologists in order to have a way to describe whichever flavor of asshole they’re dealing with to other psychologists

      Which is a roundabout way of saying: someone who behaves like a BPD/NPD/etc. IS a BPD/NPD/etc.

  5. Scott
    May 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Whoa!! Am I glad to have found this place today. I’ve been married to a woman who became a demon two years ago after her mother died. Before that, I wrote off her anger/rages as “a bad temper”. Her deal is to go on multi day rages, always around holidays, birthdays, special occasions. It took me a while to become aware of the “pattern”, but it goes like this:
    Several days before the special occasion, she’ll withdraw, close herself in the spare bedroom, stays in bed, ignoring me and our adopted daughter. Turns the thermostat down to 55 degrees and buries herself under the covers. Usually calls in sick for work. Then, on the day of or day before the occasion, she explodes out of her withdrawn state and flies into a rage over some seemingly trivial incident. Last time it was a cheap glass salt shaker that was on a windowsill in the kitchen, I opened the window and the wind blew it onto the countertop and it broke. Oh Lordy, in seven years I had never heard her say a word about that salt shaker, but now it was a treasured gift from her only nephew, that I broke on purpose. After whatever incident that triggers her rage, it’s usually 2-3 days of non-stop hellish nightmare. Never in my life have I ever talked to anyone like she talks to me, I did not know a person could be capable of such cruelty. She does what I call “herding behavior” while screaming at me. Blocks me with her body, won’t let me leave to escape the tirade. I move to the side to get away, she moves to the side to block me. She’ll back me all the way into a corner like that, screaming the most dreadful insults. Once she has me cornered, then she starts taunting me, trying to provoke me to hit her. This guy ain’t going there and I think that pisses her off even more.
    Finally after a couple of days like that, she’ll get up in the morning and act like nothing happened. Never mentions the previous days, no apologies. Back to the charming, gracious woman I married seven years ago. I’m left a nervous wreck, but she’s whistling along like life is groovy.
    After her Christmas 2009 episode, I told her she had to get some help, told her she had to make an appt. with a therapist or I’d file for divorce on Jan. 15. She said she would, but did not, but she was acting “normal” again, so after an initial consultation with an atty., I blew it off.
    Until the Valentines Day episode, that is. The first morning of her rage, she started packing the car, said she was leaving and taking the 20 month old adopted girl with her, and I’d never see either of them again. I called the police to stop her from taking the child. I went to the attorney and told her to get on with the divorce. I went into counseling because I was emotionally drained from near two years of this crap. I decided with attorney and therapist to put the D on hold for a month or so, while my therapy could calm me down and get me in a better frame of mind. A cool uneasiness around the house settled in.
    Until the Easter incident. I always felt like sooner or later she’d progress to violence and she did. During that rage, she was trying the herding, blocking stunt on me again and I stopped and refused to move, refused to be herded like a sheep. That’s when she grabbed me and started punching and pulling my hair. I hunched over trying to protect myself and deflect the blows, while she’s screaming at me “You’re a fu**ing pussy, your mother made you a pussy. I’ve never known a man that would not fight back”
    The cops came, the old he said/she said routine went on, I refused to press charges because I did not want the child taken away. No arrest, no charges. Department of Children and Families got involved in our life because of the child. Again we went on, an uneasy cool tension in the house. Until April 21, when my wife did not come home from work at the usual time. So, by 7pm, I bathed and fed the baby, put her to bed and then there was a knock on the door. Two police were there. At first I thought wife had been in a bad accident and they were there to tell me. But noooooooooo… insane wife had gone to the County Clerk’s office that day, told them she was “in fear” of me, because of the April 6 incident, even though we lived under the same roof for 15 days and she never told anyone she was afraid of me…….police had an injunction and told me I had to vacate my own house, a house I built and owned for 8 years before we got married and to which I have a prenuptial agreement saying she’ll never get the house.
    Man, I never dreamed the domestic violence laws were like this, no witnesses, no charges, no nothing. Just a handwritten statement that she invented. Bango!! All of a sudden you are guilty!! Not innocent until proven guilty!! Guilty until you prove your innocence. Have not seen my daughter in the 12 days since. Thank god I have good friends who have given me very nice places to stay. Lots more people I have known for years are stepping up to support me as well. Thankfully, the affidavit for injunction she swore out is completely contradictory and we’ll be able to shoot holes in it on May 12, when we have a hearing on our Motion to Dissolve Injunction.

    Listen up, my friends. If you’re involved with a woman who is abusive like this, don’t wait around, get out while you can, because as much as you think it’s going to get better and you know she has treated you quite well at times in the past, it ain’t never gonna get better. Run, don’t walk.

    • finallywokeup
      May 3, 2010 at 1:30 am

      Thanks Chris and Scott, for the reminder of why I divorced my probable NPD ex-wife, and why any guilt that might occasionally tickle my conscience is false.

      She appeared to be ramping up to make false abuse allegations over a period of about a year, beginning with “you are mean/controlling/critical”, then moving to “you are verbally abusive” (first told to neighbors, family, church, friends without my knowledge), and finally telling same that she was “beginning to be physically afraid of me”. I managed to put out the fires she was setting behind my back, but just barely, and when I indicated that I would be taking back control of the finances after years of letting her run things, she abruptly left.

      When I filed for divorce it was like she let the last vestige of her mask come off, and I got to see the reptilian cold underneath. She tried (as others above experienced) to destroy me financially, to take my children away, and to make me her financial serf the rest of my life. She lost, because I acted fast after she moved out, and I used a good lawyer. I wish I had taken more initiative and done it sooner, when her threats first started. And I wish I had paid more attention to the finances over the years preceding – I think she robbed me for a long time.

      Men, once your NPD/BPD wife makes herself a threat to you and your children, take the advice above, which can be boiled down to the pioneers’ version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others what they would do to you, but do it first.

  6. Jim
    May 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Wow… Just… Wow. This blog has been a light in the darkness. My brother has been in an abusive relationship for the past eight years, and as Nina mentioned, calls me for help when it gets overwhelming, yet does nothing to correct the problems. Yet he would rather stay “for the sake of the kids” and endure the abuse like a martyr… A martyr no one will appreciate.

    The toll this has taken is tremendous. Once an outgoing, gregarious person, he is now a meek, humourless shadow of his former self, walking on eggshells and internalizing it all. His weight has also shot up from 190 to 250, and depresion has taken hold.

    But the biggest barriers are as everyone in this thread has touched on: The huge struggle that lies ahead financially and emotionally. Mainly, it’s being separated from the kids. He simply will not budge on that, even though it’s been suggested that such a disfunctional relationship only serves to be a roadmap for the kids’ relationships.

    I’d love to see Dr. Tara’s take on kids and divorce.

  7. May 2, 2010 at 7:29 am

    My adrenaline kicked in just reading Dr. Tara’s advice to you… It is superlative advice, please take it. I lived that high-conflict divorce process, driven by a crazy BPD and her adversarial lawyer. It lasted just over three years… I did not know what hit me. Please take Dr. Tara’s advice—she is for the good guys—and that means you and your children. If I would have known that my wife was capable of those things–and more—several years ago when I unwittingly entered my divorce process like a friendly tennis match instead of a Normandy invasion so many things would be different. Please, consider it war. I might add one thing for your consideration, and perhaps Dr. Tara could comment on this. I don’t know how old your children are, but they will become the weapons arsenal of your wife. She will quite likely see them as nothing more than weapons, so you should consider allocating funds towards protecting them. My suggestion is apply the legal advice parameters which Dr. Tara suggested in seeking selecting a lawyer, and seek a guardian ad litem for your children. Also, a helpful consideration on finding a good lawyer: Judges are usually selected from local law firms. There is a reason for that. I might add that to the list of potential qualities to seek in a lawyer and guardian ad litem—have there been any appointments to the bench from their respective firms? If so, consider it a mark in their favor. Also, if she has been controlling your money for a long period of time—don’t be surprised when you discover that she has rat-holed thousands of dollars into a little war chest. My office manager later told me that my beloved BPDw would come down and demand anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 checks from my company AP several times a month for years. They thought nothing of it—and neither did I. I discovered where it had gone during those three years. It is disturbing to know that one financed the enemy. And finally Glen, you’ll get through this. You are armed with the steady-making counsel of Dr. Tara— God Bless.

  8. bunker dweller
    May 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    you guys should look into separation agreements. I got my wife to sign one when I moved out; side-stepped the whole problem of divorce hearings and settlements because it’s all already in the paperwork. Saves money, time, and hassle-factor. The best part is, it’s kind of a coup because I took control back, and no matter how loud, manipulative, or horrible she gets, there’s nothing that can be done if I keep my end of the deal. Worth its weight in gold, truly.

    My advise is, tell her how serious you are about leaving and that her behavior is unacceptable and then say that you’re willing to work it out only within the context of the agreement. No agreement means instant divorce; agreement means you’ll come to the table. It may sound extreme to outsiders, but when you’re married to a BPD, no amount of rational discussion goes anywhere. They only respond to a show of force and strength. That’s why unilateral and decisive action–seizing the initiative out of her cold hands–is key; you’ll throw her off balance. Get the agreement, go to the bank, get all the valuable stuff you want all within hours. She’ll be sitting there blinking wondering what happened. The best part is, over time she’ll regain her footing and get mean again (at least mine did). The apologies stopped coming after she realized the game was up. That’s why the agreement is so wonderful because it traps her within the shackles of her own bad behavior and gives her no target for her hatred and rage. Target destroyed =)

    Think it over. Be smart, and get out with dignity. Tactics. These people are predictable. If you give them rope, they will hang themselves. But above all, don’t let her f*** you again as you’re leaving. For me, once was definitely enough.

    • chester
      May 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Bunker Dweller,

      I did the same thing…got the property agreement signed and in hand, the marriage then hung in the balance while we worked on staying together. AS had always happened in the past, some minor- real or imagined- transgression on my part, elicited the normal psycho raging. As usual, it was followed by her control through threat of abandonment. On about the 4th cycle of this, I made an appointment with the court to go through with the divorce. Without the separation agreement we coulda played ring a round the rosies for months.

    • Gooberzzz
      May 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Good for you. Yes, I have heard separations agreements are the way to go. Actually, DO NOT leave the family home until you get one signed, especially when it comes to custody of children. The courts may weigh in favor of a separation agreement in custody matters. If you adhere strictly to your agreement, then the courts are less likely to disrupt the child’s life, by ruling in favor of another agreement. It’s not a guarantee, but it helps.

      • Sunshine
        May 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm

        Are seperation agreements only in certain states?

        • sam
          May 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

          My state doesn’t have them, but we negotiated a marraige settlement agreement before we filed. This agreement covered custody, property, everything.

        • Lighthouse
          May 17, 2010 at 10:20 pm


          If you are unmarried, standardized pre-nups as first presented by the National Conference of Commissioners
          on Uniform State Laws in 1983 appear to apply. The Uniform Pre-Marital Agreement Act presented at their annual conference in Boca Raton that year has since been adopted by 26 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia). Pre-marital agreements are permitted in states that have not adopted this uniform statute, but are subject to different guidelines in those states.

          If you are married, standardized separation agreements were first presented by the National Conference of Commissioners
          on Uniform State Laws. They are refered to in the US states as a Marital Property Act. Although parties often include non-financial terms in their premarital and marital
          agreements, such as provisions allocating child custody or household responsibilities,
          courts generally treat those terms as nonbinding as a matter of policy. That said, if both parties agree in court at the divorce hearing then they will rarely object.

          I hope this helps…


  9. Smokey
    May 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I felt fortunate to have found this site shortly after I separated from my ex. Luckily, I began to do, instinctively, many of the things Dr. Tara recommends. Finding this web site helped put it all together and keep me on track. I found a good lawyer and let him lead the way. In my case, there were delays and delays (Her, or her Lawyer’s fault? Who knows? I think these types seek each other). At any rate my lawyer finally filed sanctions against hers for not turning over documents and that started the ball rolling. He also found and hired an expert witness who was an occupational therapist who would prove she could work and how much she could make. The threat of the deposition regarding her skills and work history pushed it all toward a settlement. I gave up some, but got what I wanted which was limited term alimony.
    Just one word of advice that I think I’ve seen posted here elsewhere…
    In a divorce, everybody wants their pound of flesh…INCLUDING YOUR LAWYER. So, be careful. I had to tell him “no” on a few things that may have granted me a slightly better settlement, but would have been off-set by legal fees and a trial. So, weigh it all carefully. And if you can, find a good threat that makes your ex’es skin crawl and it may help get a settlement. I’m glad I’m out. I have not regretted it. I look forward to a life without the constant “craziness” and a future life with someone else who is loving, respectful and a true partner. Dr. Tara, you’re the best. You have no idea how many people you have helped.

  10. Henry
    April 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    shrink4men :
    And therein lies the problem with Cluster B personality disordered individuals and other abusive bullies. They rarely see themselves as responsible for their own problems and misery. It’s always somebody else’s fault. On rare occasions, you can bring them around to some semblance of awareness and personal accountability and then the moment of lucidity vanishes as quickly as it appears and you’re back at square one.
    These individuals rarely seek treatment unless they’re forced to by law or are threatened with the loss of the relationship. Even then, there’s no guarantee treatment will be effective. In order to get better, they have to learn empathy and how to hold themselves accountable. Think “Mission Impossible.”
    Even the self-professed “recovering Borderlines” who sometimes surface on this site still blame others for their problems and bleat, “I didn’t ask to be this way!” No they didn’t, but their loved ones didn’t asked to be treated to a daily ration of shit from them either. They may not have asked to “be this way,” but their actions as adults are entirely their responsibility. Instead, they’re like perennial 5-year olds in adult bodies whose definition of accountability is, “Yes, I behaved in a hurtful way, BUT I thought I was being rejected or ignored or cheated on, etc., etc.,” as if that excuses their hurtful and deplorable behaviors. That’s not holding oneself accountable, but it’s about as close as most of them can get.
    Dr Tara

    So true.

    I “forced” my wife to get therapy some years ago (not knowing anything about cluster B’s at the time, just knowing something was wrong with her and she needed help).

    Shortly afterwords, she was incarcerated. So I went to the same therapist.

    The therapist was shocked at how very different my version of events (leading up to my wife’s arrest) were from the “framed victim” story my wife was feeding her.

    So even if they go to therapy, they will lie. (I even stressed the importance of being hones with the therapist to my wife).

    • chester
      May 1, 2010 at 12:45 am

      Therapy is a scary prospect, if you seek it for yourself-which I did… I wrote 20 pages of examples of what I suffered from my ex. They were detailed events and dynamics of the relationship. I told it all. I also told him that I didn’t need him to like me or agree or to see me in a good light. I just wanted truth as to what i was dealing with. Mind you, this was a top PHD in my community…a renowned psychologist. All he could say was “she’s crazy and the good news is you don’t have to figure it out” Not ONE mention of BPD NPD or Histrionic. My story screamed these disorders….plain as day. I struggled with my nutbag for another 4 years. This site finally gave the answers to the puzzle that was wrecking my life.

      • Mellaril
        May 1, 2010 at 2:41 am

        It’s not surprising all he could say is “she’s crazy.” You were the one in therapy, not her. He can only diagnose you and there’s the rub.

        From the way my ex talked, I’d bet she was seeing a therapist. She had a degree of insight and lucidity as to what was going on that I can’t believe she came to on her own.

      • mgh
        May 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm

        Hey Chester…..
        Historically these crazy people had their own
        wing in the “Nut House”. “She’s Crazy and You don’t have to figure her out” is the pat answer from clinicians from time in memorial. The Smart Guys knew what was going on…..they just never bothered to tell the folks getting eaten alive by the NPD or BPD!!

        Thanks Dr Tara for making this stuff clear to the people who need it most!!

        Hang in there, Chester!!

  11. Beatendown
    April 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words, and congratulations on a “safe” landing into the light of a hopeful new reality. Who knows? It may happen that way for me, too. I just can’t pull the rip cord yet. I do appreciate the comments.

  12. CheekyB
    April 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Glen,

    I’ve been there – 3 years ago I left my NPD/BPD ex-wife and started on the journey through a painful divorce, ending up broke for a while with nowhere to live, the endless games and manipulations, emotional torture, staggering cost and the last Court appearance only a month ago (to settle child contact issues).

    However, there was never a second when I regretted it. The sense of relief when I finally walked out that door was overwhelming. I have finally rebuilt my life and am far happier than I could ever have been if I had stayed with her.

    Take Dr Tara’s advice. It will be tough. Be prepared. Don’t let her drag you down to her level: you must remain “whiter-than-white”. Anything you say or do _will_ be used against you, if at all possible. Always remember that. I mistakenly tried to reason with my ex on a few occasions; invariably I gave away too much information, which was subsequentially used to stab me in the back. She has stolen from me, lied to me, my family, her family, the Courts (pleaded she was pennyless, so got nearly half of my income in maintenance, 90% of all assets; 2 months after divorce was finalised she moved into a $4M home – she managed to keep that quiet). She will use your kids against you – a favorite tactic of my ex is to appear “reasonable” by granting me contact with our son, but she’ll engineer constraints that make as impractical/inconvienent/expensive for me as possible. Then she can throw the line: “What’s more important than seeing your son?”, if I object to her conditions. Etc. (In many cases, I just jumped through her hoops anyways, so she could not hold it against me – at least until better arrangements could be negotiated through the Courts.)

    Anyway, I think you get the picture.

    Good luck buddy & hold the line!!

  13. Beatendown
    April 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I wanted to chime in with the others about your friend’s reluctance to see his abuse for what it is. He has been programmed for many years to see the truth as given by his wife. This fits in with Dr T’s articles on brainwashing. These women are very good at confusing you to the point of just giving up and saying “okay I will stay out of trouble by seeing it her way.” I know it doesnt make sense, but I am still living it today after almost 17 years.
    You become so tired of the shitstorms that you just throw in the towel. Arguing does no good, defending yourself adds more fuel to the raging fire, you just give up. I see it for what it is now and it is easier to ignore it. But it nearly killed me before I had a friend point me to this website. She doesnt understand my reasons for staying either. I haven’t been deprogrammed yet, but I am getting healthier. My advice–stay in touch with the friend and be supportive, but understand that the damage that has been done to him won’t be undone quickly or easily. It may not ever be over for him. One of the reasons I stay is that I don’t want to open myself up to a new relationship anyway. So there really is no hurry to leave as it is not gonna be greener on the otherside, in my view. My psyche is still very damaged.

    • chester
      April 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      You are soooo lucky to be armed with this site on your way out. I went bare, with none of this knowlege…through my divorce. Needlessly more painful than it needed to be.

    • Lighthouse
      April 30, 2010 at 5:42 am


      It IS greener on the other side. Every moment with the right person is a little better. Every breath a little easier. Every day a little more at ease with your surroundings. But that said, a lot more anxiety inducing when you start.

      There is not only hope, but a new reality with a change of paradigm.

      When you do choose to jump you will have a lot of time to ask the right people to man the blanket into which you will land ! Take your time, learn to use your discretion and apply it wisely to choose whom you trust.

      Just thought I’d provide one personal perspective from a guy who let himself be dragged to a very dark place and returned (albeit with my own personal devil in tow due to a child) back into the light.

      Wishing you all the best on your journey.


    • Nina
      May 1, 2010 at 12:24 am

      Beatendown, D, Lighthouse, and Chester,
      Thanks, all of you, for saying a bit more, each in your own way. I do appreciate it. Beatendown, in particular that’s helpful, having you say that you reached a point of seeing things her way just to stay out of trouble. What I wondered is, when you reached that point, if it left you feeling anxious if someone pointed out that there might be something wrong with her, or that there might be something wrong with her point of view. What I was thinking is that if you reach a point of seeing things her way because you’ve grown so tired of the shitstorms, then I wondered if on a feeling level you might end up feeling anxious when anything contradicted her point of view, in just the way that you may have felt anxious before you gave up and decided to see things her way because it was in a sense “safer”. I hope I’m making sense. It makes a kind of sense in my mind, that it might not be safe to see anything other than her point of view, because your experience was that it led to some kind of explosion. If I think someone is about to explode, I tend to get anxious. Or possibly I’ll get angry, but mostly anxious initially. I was thinking that if even having someone outside the situation say something that leaves you with that anxious feeling because it contradicts your wife, even if she’s not there, you might feel the same anxiety as if she were there.

      Years and years ago, when I was pretty young (late teens and early twenties) I had a boyfriend and a relationship that in hindsight was an abusive relationship. I didn’t call it that because I don’t think I’d heard anyone refer to relationships as abusive. I knew that we fought a lot and that the fighting was not like anything I’d seen growing up. I knew that he seemed possessive and jealous and his drugging were more than I could take. The bitter fights continued and I didn’t like who I was becoming, didn’t like all the anger he could stir up in me. It took me 20 years after that relationship had ended to really begin to see the patterns that had been there and to finally understand that had been an abusive relationship. Even so, when I was in my early forties and he contacted me, I felt some inexplicable bond to him. I only exchanged some email and a few phone conversations but rather quickly realized I was running into the same issues and that’s when I started really examining things closely. I realized I felt tremendously anxious about even thinking of him and that at the time I ended the relationship (lucky me, no kids, no marriage) I was so angry that I think I never allowed myself to really feel how scared I was at the time, how much anxiety there was about being in the relationship and then trying to get out of it. Anyway, twenty years after the fact, I understood what that relationship had been, how bad it had been for me, and I finally and totally laid to rest any lingering bond I’d felt to that person. I can only guess at how much more complex that process is after years of marriage and having children with such a person, or even things like the accumulation of property that is also a part of a marriage.

      I do think the grass can be greener. And I hope all of you continue to heal. If you figure out what helps in the deprogramming process, and you don’t mind writing more about that, I’d be glad to hear what you and others have to say.

    • Chris
      May 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I feel your pain. It’s like you’re forced into silence and misery for being the reasonable one. You know she’ll never see it your way, or even make an ATTEMPT to understand your position. Her sole goal is ALWAYS to WIN THE ARGUMENT. She doesn’t care about the relationship or solving the actual problem at hand. She just wants to win and will use every tactic in the book like lying, distortion, manipulation, denial, and confusion. If she doesn’t get anywhere with those tactics she’ll just yell, scream, and rage irrationally until you give up. Eventually you learn that the outcome will NEVER favor you. It’s learned helplessness. Your “forget” how to be assertive. My gf damaged my psyche also. I was never such a meek person until I met her. I’m just so sick of the bullshit and I know when things are completely over it’s going to be a whole new shitstorm and to be quite frank I’m not sure if I’m ready to deal with that yet.

  14. XFiles
    April 29, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I so agree with what Dr. T has been saying about the importance of planning, documenting and not revealing you hand or sharing any information you don’t need to share when planning your exit, and during the divorce proceedings. These people take any information they can glean from you and use it againt you in ways you never dreamed possible.

    I began dating my now-husband about eights months after his relationhip with BPD-Ex ended, and the beginning was rough. I really could not understand why this woman was being so horrible and felt so entitled to put everyone through such a miserable time. She manipulated him directly, she manipulated him through their kids (who lived with their dad), she tried to sweet-talk his family to her side by telling lies about domestic abuse and cheating. When all else failed she would threaten and rage and pull haughty attitude. I started looking for articles on the net and stumbled onto narcissistic personality disorder, and bingo – suddenly it all made perfect sense. It has been 8 years now, and besides her ongoing smear campaign on the Internet, she has pretty much had to leave us alone.

    So how did we muddle through it? By intuitively doing what Dr. Tara has been advocating, which is No Contact. This meant that we had to firmly tell the kids we would not listen to any passed messages from their mother. We blocked her home and work number off our home phone, so she could not call at all hours to harass us and the kids. The teens could of course call and visit her freely. My husband stopped speaking to her except through lawyers, and we returned unopened all letters, cards etc that were sent to our house direct. Basically, a Wall went up, and we never let her get though it into our lives. I encouraged my husband to do it, because as an outsider I could clearly see how every interaction from her part was just calculated to provoke and push his buttons, and nothing constructive ever came from it.

  15. Keith
    April 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Remember everyone !!! BPD awareness month is this May !! Saw it on facebook ! Everyone is to wear Black and White on May 1st !! Make people aware and safe LIFES !!

  16. bh1
    April 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Assuming you want to spend as much time with your children as possible you must go in with the attitude that you are just as able as your ex to parent the children. Ask for joint custody with you as residential parent. This will show that you will aggresively assert your rights as their parent. At minimum you must gain shared residential custody and there is no good reason a good father should get anything less. You are entitled to this and you should have that attitude during the whole process.

  17. George
    April 27, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Dr. T.
    Oh my gosh! I am always amazed as to how accurately you can describe BPD/NPD women! Tell me the truth, you’ve really been secretly video taping my life for years, right? ;v) As a man who is currently going through a divorce from a BPD/NPD woman, I can vouch for virtually EVERYTHING that Dr. T. says in her article. Heed her advice. It’s dead on once again. So Dr. T., where do you hide the cameras?

  18. Dan
    April 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Word of advice: If you are going to leave, stick to your guns and DO IT – balls to the wall, 100%. I am in the process of disengaging from my wife… I thought it would be hard to leave, so I asked a friend for “emotional support” while I moved out, only to have him ask me open ended questions about what I was doing that I swayed and ended up staying. Long story short, she found out what I had been planning, and while she hasn’t been retaliatory (she is instead being ever-so-sweet because she does not want me to leave) I have now “lost the element of surprise.” This sent me into a deep depression over the past few weeks, but I am coming out of it and planning to make my move again. Comparing leaving to D-Day is an appropriate metaphor.

    Also, just wanted to point something else out (No offense Dr. T)… I had thought about recording her during “rages” as evidence should I need it, but I did a little research and found that recording her without her permission in my state of residence is prohibited and illegal (it falls under wiretapping laws). Even though I am sure she would have to contest it (and doing so would require her to know that this is illegal) I felt it was “better to be safe than sorry” and not do it. Here is the website that I saw: (I am not saying that I am an expert on legal matters such as this, just wanted to point it out – anyone else have any info on this?)

    [Personal note: This blog rocks! Dr T, you need to make writing articles for this site your full time job… the excellent quality of these articles leaves me craving more every time I log on – I am “addicted” and there needs to be less time between updates lol]

    • D
      April 27, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      Taping laws vary from state to state – anyone facing this needs to consult an attorney, … BUT: they also need to consult a tiger-shark attorney. The first attorney I spoke with was milquetoast and didn’t get it and actually discouraged me from taping when it’s turned out that taping is legal where I live and it’s my strongest leverage now, having done it, because she is a PRO at concealing the rages from the outside world.

      BOTTOM LINE: good attorney, and speak to him/her now.

    • chester
      April 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm

      It is illegal in many states unless BOTH parties are aware. I’d still do it to help keep an accurate transcript of what is said. Mine once told me she wanted to knife me….which i would think should trump any (recording) misdemeanor charge…I’d rather err on the side of getting it on tape….it would certainly come in handy for the investigator of my murder.

      • jp
        April 28, 2010 at 3:07 am

        chester :I’d still do it to help keep an accurate transcript of what is said. Mine once told me she wanted to knife me….which i would think should trump any (recording) misdemeanor charge…I’d rather err on the side of getting it on tape….it would certainly come in handy for the investigator of my murder.

        These are EXCELLENT points. First, if it’s illegal, record anyway then write it down in your journal with date, time, location, etc. and use the journal in court. It might not have the weight of a recording, but a journal beats no journal, which is probably what she’ll have.

        Recording may be illegal, but if she’s threatening you??? Your lawyer: “Your honor, my client is aware taping is illegal but he was in fear for his life and was afraid nobody would believe him if he went to the police without any evidence.”


    • jham123
      April 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      The police told me to record everything….and then informed me that he was recording me as we spoke…….good enough for the Police, good enough for me.

    • B.E.C.
      April 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      FYI – For the State of Indiana; it is legal to record conversations, in person and on the phone, so long as at least one of the parties is aware of the recording.

      That came from my divorce lawyer. I’d advise you to check with yours.

  19. Sad State
    April 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Dr. Tara is dead-on correct. I will add to the list and expound on a few others:

    • After you tell her about the divorce, don’t even try to negotiate a settlement with her. Work with your lawyer to determine what you will and won’t agree to. Then, when she switches into “let’s be reasonable” mode, just tell her that it will all be settled in court. I wasted so much time, energy, and money coming to agreements that she said she would sign but always refused when written up. She believes that if you would agree to it, then it must either be a trick or she is not squeezing hard enough.
    • Don’t explain yourself to her. She never listened anyway and only uses your reasons as the starting point of proving why you are wrong. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Just do what needs to be done – she doesn’t need to know the “why’s”. (By the way, this will freak her out totally since she will realize she is starting to lose control over you.)

    • Get a recorder. Mine was a Sony ICD-P520. Worked like a charm and is small enough to hide in a pocket. Make sure it stays hidden – but be aware of recording laws. It is typically fine to record when you are physically present, but it gets dicey recording phone calls. I recorded calls anyway, just in case something big came up or if I wanted to use it outside the courtroom.
    • Keep everything secret. Don’t look up any websites about divorce or BPD or lawyers or ANYTHING that tips your hand. She will look – she is probably looking now, but you don’t know it. Put a password on your new work computer and just tell her that new computers come that way.
    • If the lawyer doesn’t know what BPD is, then politely walk away. You will need an absolute shark to contest all the BS that she will start spewing. And a milk-toast appeaser of an attorney is the last thing you need. You don’t need anyone that says “I can’t believe she did that” – you need someone that says “Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of psychos try to pull that one”.
    • You are at war. Trust your attorney to do what is best for you. It will seem that you are being “mean” to her and it will run counter to your basic sense of “niceness”. But she has rolled over your niceness so far and she will only get worse during the divorce.
    • Maintain the moral high ground. Don’t escalate. She will invent enough transgressions that you don’t need to supply any real ones.
    • Stop giving reasons or explaining yourself. Boy

    To Bob194 I say this: don’t bother trying to get them to see their issues. I only found out about BPD after years of marriage. I thought I was VERY clever and showed my then-wife an article about it and said “Don’t you think this sounds like (my sister)?” She read it and actually considered it and said “you know, that could be me too”. My spirits soared – especially since she had an appointment with her psychologist the next day. She went in saying that “I don’t care what the doctor says, I have BDP”, but she came out saying “The doctor said I don’t have BPD – it’s just who I am and you have to learn to live with it”. Stupid doctor – after that, wife was mad at me for even suggesting that she could the reason for the problems.

    • Chris
      May 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Good advice. I will re-iterate…HIDE EVERYTHING. Most likely she’s already snooping. Cluster B’s love digging up dirt, especially the people closest to them so they can use it against them. It’s all a part of their manipulation tactics. If you need to visit this site or a divorce site from home most browsers now have a private mode that won’t save any history or cache. You can access it in the latest version of Firefox by pressing Ctrl-Shift-P. IE8 and Google Chrome also have a similar option.

    • Chris in Philly
      May 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      Sad State – you’re absolutely correct. I’m in the middle of a divorce/custody battle right now, and everything you say is right on – especially the “add” section. Don’t EVER be fooled into thinking there can be any type of reasonable agreements made. I promise you, there is a ZERO percent chance.

      And these two are biggies:

      • Maintain the moral high ground. Don’t escalate. She will invent enough transgressions that you don’t need to supply any real ones.
      • Stop giving reasons or explaining yourself. Boy

      IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE. It’s very difficult, but you have to. Responding to her craziness will only make things worse. It makes YOU crazy, plus it gives her ammo to use against you when you respond angrily. She will do anything imaginable to try to get a rise out of you. It’s all a game. DON’T PLAY IT. It’s tough… but don’t give in.

      She will lie, cheat, and steal to get what she wants – and #1 on that list of wants is to destroy you, at any cost. Mine has degenerated into saying she followed me when I had my son, and I went to a woman’s house where she saw me “making out” with the woman in front of my 2 year old son. TRUST US – she will say and do ANYTHING. She has no filter, no perspective, no real morals or ethics, no soul… she’s a reptile. A poisonous one at that.

      • db
        May 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm

        I agree. Having split a few months ago, my wife seems to be attacking more aggressively each and every day. It’s rips at your soul not to be able to respond, but I strongly agree you just can’t or it will be held against you.
        My ex has lately chosen to report repeatedly, sometimes two or three times a day to children’s aid for transgressions such as not making a sandwich or supposedly raising my voice to her (which I never have), my hanging up the phone when she plays on kids emotions to the point they crumble into tears on nightly phone calls. She is doing everything and anything to get a reaction out of me now. Last week during drop-off (amazingly I do have primary custody so far and she has weekends) she thought the lights were out and we were going to bed, instead one of the kids looked out the window and we all watched in disbelief as she was ripping several plants out of the front yard to steal as her own.
        The latest for her is also to keep numerous articles of the kids’ clothing. She picks them up after school on friday and most of whatever they have on I never see again. She then comes by and demands pjs on friday night and then brings them back in those pjs.
        I would stop giving her the pjs, but then she has kids convinced they have none at her place and daddy making them sleep in their clothes….If anyone has solutions to that one, I would appreciate it.
        She is also showing up at school unannounced and demanding to see kids. Fortunately, school has already starting to clue in on that one.
        But every day is something new and it’s not slowing down at all. And to be honest it is wearing me down right now and many sleepless nights. Part of it is the replay of all the verbal and physical bullying I tolerated over the 9-year marriage and asking myself why I tolerated it for so long. It’s really hard to break the cycle — both in reality of her current actions and in the mind from what she did in the past.

        • Lighthouse
          May 11, 2010 at 1:01 am

          Pjs and more…

          With the exception of severely personality disordered people who deny themselves, everyone has an intuitive feel for the linkage between rights and responsibilities.

          While I would never advocate putting kids in the middle of adult affiars, if you ensure the kids a PJs go to mum together then they will self police her or even if too frightened to do so will recognise who is doing the right thing.

          You reap what you sow. Set an expetation to pay about 10% over child support due to these petty irritations and save yourself the heart ache and your kids the direct conflicts.

          It may take several years to pay off, but I can promise you it works. My child feels free to express herself to me so I get to assuage her feelings and influence her thinking. Her mom… not so much. And all for a couple of hundred bucks a month. Bargain of the century.

          All the best and keep up the hard work (including record keeping). Go easy on yourself when you fail. You’re doing a great job.



  20. Mellaril
    April 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I asked my ex-gf to marry me on Xmas morning of 1985 and she turned me down. Until I found this site, it always kind of bothered me. Now I think it’s the nicest thing she ever did for me.

    I’d like to think she wasn’t as bad as some of the women described here but I’m grateful I didn’t have to find out first hand. She went on to a failed marriage and a mutual friend described her ex hustband as “being blindsided and not knowing what hit him.”

    My guardian angel was working the holidays….

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