Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, Social Commentary > Do Narcissists Feel Remorse? Bernie Madoff says, “F— My Victims”

Do Narcissists Feel Remorse? Bernie Madoff says, “F— My Victims”

New York Magazine is running an article on Bernie Madoff’s life in prison. The piece reports that Madoff unrepentantly declared to fellow inmates, “F— my victims. I carried them for twenty years, and now I’m doing 150 years.” In an excerpt from the NYM piece, one inmate recalls a conversation in which he and Madoff discussed how he took advantage of old ladies:

Pollard thought that taking advantage of old ladies was “kind of fucked up.”

“Well, that’s what I did,” Madoff said matter-of-factly.

“You are going to pay with God,” Pollard warned.

Madoff was unmoved. He was past apologizing. In prison, he crafted his own version of events. From MCC, Madoff explained the trap he was in. “People just kept throwing money at me,” Madoff related to a prison consultant who advised him on how to endure prison life. “Some guy wanted to invest, and if I said no, the guy said, ‘What, I’m not good enough?’ ” One day, Shannon Hay, a drug dealer who lived in the same unit in Butner as Madoff, asked about his crimes. “He told me his side. He took money off of people who were rich and greedy and wanted more,” says Hay, who was released in December. People, in other words, who deserved it.”

My jaw dropped when I read these statements because they so perfectly illustrate what I have long believed: Narcissists/sociopaths do not feel remorse for their hurtful and/or criminal actions and believe that their targets deserve to be screwed. According to Madoff, his clients deserved to be fleeced by him and should be grateful that he “carried them” for 20 years (carried them into bankruptcy and out of retirement, that is). Madoff’s statements also illustrate how narcissists and other scam artist/predators rewrite history in order to be able to live with themselves.

Are You Married to Madoff?

If you are married to a woman with similar traits, she may never explicitly articulate, “Fuck my victim(s)” (a.k.a, you and your children), but this is the fundamental attitude from which she operates. Not only does she not feel bad for her bad behaviors, but she also believes you should be grateful that she makes the time to abuse you.

Narcissists, borderlines and other predatory sociopaths—even if the ones who portray themselves as victimized, fragile “waifs”—view people, including you, as need gratification objects. You aren’t seen as an individual human being with needs, feelings and rights. You are an object to be used at her discretion just like a pair of shoes or a car or a nail file or a punching bag. Inanimate objects don’t complain, which is why your complaints, requests for kindness and affection or your basic expressions of emotions are met with alternating bewilderment and impatience. A shoe doesn’t complain when she wears it too roughly, so it’s unthinkable that you would complain if she treats you too roughly. In fact, who do you think you are to complain about anything she does? You live to serve. Period.

You can’t fix a relationship with someone who doesn’t view you as a human being. You also can’t use reason or the facts to resolve these issues. Just like Madoff, these women are better historical revisionists than the Texas Department of Education. If you can’t even agree on the same reality there’s no fixing the relationship or her. Just like Madoff’s clients, you will rarely see a return on your emotional and financial investments with this kind of woman. They will eventually leave you broke, brokenhearted and just plain broken.

Postscript: I had to Google “prison consultants.” Please follow the link above if you haven’t already. Who knew? A booming business serving white collar criminals. You really can learn something new everyday. Here’s another link from wikiHow on How to Survive in Federal Prison. I’m thinking of doing an adaptation for Shrink4Men.

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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
    June 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    This one falls into the category of hard questions but…

    I knew of two relationships my ex had after we broke up. The first was when we were still in contact with each other, the second was the guy she married and ended up divorcing. She told me the first guy had given his first wife an STD after returning from deployment. I didn’t have much sympathy for him. I heard her ex husband was devastated when she dropped the dime on him. My friend said “he didn’t know what hit him.” I still feel kind of sorry for him but what happened between them was between them.

    Unlike DCB and mken, I never met either of them but I thought about what I might have done if I had. The answer I came back to was I wouldn’t do anything. I also thought about what I’d say if I was asked. I came up with a poilcy that I would answer any direct question over a fact. “Did you two spend a week in Hawaii in 2009? I’d answer that. “Why did you break up?” I wouldn’t answer that one

    Think about this, it seems you’re trying to “fix” something. Wanting to fix things likely comntributed to where you are today. I know did me. As altruistic as the motives may be, it’s no longer any of your business. It’s not the same as knowing someone has a potentially fatal disease. As confident as you may be in what you’re saying, it’s not fact until it happens. People can and do change. Cluster Bs, not so much but there is a chance.

    Unfortunately, you don’t often have a chance to check references in relationships. If you’re patient, you can collect a lot of information if you know what you’re looking for and the opportunities arise. Relationships with Cluster Bs seem to develop rapidly and what caution you came in with is often swept away in the heat of the moment.

    If they’re really curious, they’ll ask you. My guess is they won’t.

    • chester
      June 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      I was told and i was warned….i did’t listen and neither will her new weiner. Quit being a chump and a putz. Who gives a crap about the next guy! Are you thinking you’ll get some kinda medal or community award!

  2. DCB
    June 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

    The benefits of no contact would seem (to me, at least) to far outweigh the remote possibility that I could save someone else from the same fate. I recall too clearly that in the early days of my relationship with the ex, nothing would have scared me off. The other thing to be remembered is that they are not at all bound by truth or reason…and that anything you say will absolutely be turned against you. No, for me, both her and any others’ she’s involved with fall under the terms of no contact.

  3. June 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Remember in their eyes they have done nothing wrong… so why do they need to change…

  4. mken
    June 10, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Couldn`t agree more kirk g. Im in excactly the same situation as you, and I would really like some comments on this too.

    • June 10, 2010 at 9:32 am

      I think what men need to understand is, That they don’t see anything wrong with themselves.. They are never going to say sorry’ After 8 years with my ex’ I lost my home.. all my money.. all my belongings.. and lost a lot of friends… The last thing they want is the truth to come out, As they see themselves as victims’.. I met her new man and I felt sorry for him, I could see that she had her hooks into him, That he was never going to listen to me.. when I told him what she was like.. So he is going to learn the hard way.. The best thing you can do is take away the control.. IF you shut them out of your life then, they cannot hurt you or control you anymore. You are never going to win or she is never going to be your friend. You cannot ever trust her. Yes after 18 months away from my ex it still hurts, In the last six months I have shut her out of my life completely..For me that is the best thing I have done.. Yes I do miss her and I don’t miss the abuse or her controlling ways.. I hope I will meet a good women one day and be happy again… Will I ever trust a women again… That will take time.. You cannot have a true relationship with someone who views you as a non-person.. She believes she is the best thing to happen to you and she is better than you. You are there only to feed her needs. When you can’t be controlled anymore, she will move on to the next one. I led my ex to believe I wanted her back’.. In hope of getting my belongings etc’ back… but that is never going to happen… as that would be giving up control she had over me… now she has no control… will they ever change.. NO.. because they believe their own lies, they are the best and they are special…

      • Mellaril
        June 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

        My exgf told me she told the new guy she was seeing that I was still her best friend and she wasn’t going to give me up. I asked what she told him about me. “He knows all about you and he doesn’t like you very much.” I found this incredulous and asked if she had really told her current lover that her ex lover was still her best friend and she wasn’t readay to give him up (RED FLAG ALERT: I thought this was a rhetorical statement. I was wrong.)

        I told her if she had said that to me, I would have kicked her (figuratively) in the fanny so hard she’d still be bouncing down the street.

  5. kirk g
    June 10, 2010 at 5:46 am

    can i get some creative comments here? for example, what if i talked to the guy just casually, not saying anything about her. that would drive her crazy since she told me that after the breakup, i am not to say anything about the bad things she did to me. she would assume i was doing that and probably mess things up for her and her victim -to-be because he guilty actions would tip him off! she is constantly after 4 mos asking people what i’m saying about her. they hate the truth exposed. they want it hidden in plain sight so they can devour the next victim right in front of you.these bpd’s are not smart, they are just clever fools. they get away with what the get away with because we let them. i say it’s time to put on the breaks. what’s the worse that can happen? please dr t, and panel, i need your comments on this. i’m tired of seeing good people hurt, evil returned for good, and hate given love.

    • jp
      June 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      I agree with Mellaril, and I’d add a couple of things.

      I have no problem with the idea of warning someone off but there’s no way the guy is going to listen. First of all, you can assume she’s already told this guy about you and shredded you in the process. He probably thinks you’re a jerk. If you approach him you’ll be seen as the crazy, vindictive ex who can’t let go. He won’t listen, and he won’t be grateful, and he certainly won’t act on the information.

      So since there’s virtually no chance you will be able to achieve your objective, why bother? Are you trying to maintain a connection with her, however slight it might be?

      Getting into a propaganda war with your ex will just keep you down in the mud with her.


    • Gooberzzz
      June 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm

      It’s not your job to warn anyone. They’re adults. Chances are there is a LOT more there with this man than meets the eye. Like attracts like. Law of attraction. He’s getting something out of it, even if it’s a chemical high in the brain every time he get’s asked to jump through hoops for this person.

      Let them do their own research and discovery. If they don’t, then they chose to live like this, and it’s feeding some sort of emotional addiction pattern, probably inherited by emotionally disordered parents.

  6. kirk g
    June 10, 2010 at 5:44 am

    what if my ex had aids that i found out about too late. should i just stand by the way side as she gets ready to spread it to another victim? no! i could not do that in good concsience. but it seems we live in a society that looks more at the physical damage more than mental and emotional which can be much more devastating!! so we say let her go on to the next victim without even so much as a warning and just thank god we made it out alive. again, can we as men do that in good conscience, or am i missing something here? when i talk to family and friends, they say stay out of it. they say the guy may not listen anyway and may run back and tell her. now your the bad guy startin’ drama! they say if was a good friend or somebody you know, it would be different. i would hate to see my worse enemy go thru what i went thru and i’m sure the panel agrees. sure, i got out in less that 6 mos., and 2 where good, but he may not be that lucky. a nice guy like him could get caught up for a few years and lose his mental, emotional, financial mind, maybe even physical. i would feel bad if i did not try to prevent that. i knew i was headed that way. dr. t, panel, let us challenge ourselves in preventing the next victim instead of emoting about the latest.

  7. kirk g
    June 10, 2010 at 5:43 am

    something troubles me. i saw my ex bpd at the rink tonight with her latest victim to be. it bothered me not in the sense she is with someone else, no i’m past that stage and have seen her with street wise, bad boy types.thats not the kind of guy she wants. she wants the meek, humble, nerdy, nice guy to control and brainwash that she thought i was at first. i am a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but i’m a living thugish, ruggish bone when you cross the line. this new guy, strikes me as her other victims before me that she chases after. so much so that when i saw him, i started to ask did he know my ex! my ex walks in ten minutes later and they start hugging! he just looked the part like the other guys. they are devilish masters at this. my issue is this dr t…. in past comments on this site the mentality is to get out, stay out and let the beast go on to devour a another innocent helpless victim. i had a problem with that because it was like letting the serial rapist or child molester go on to maim more victims as long as we survived. can we as men do that in good conscience? all that would mean is that your site will grow and so would your business, but what about “and once of prevention…? i realize emotional and mental terrorism is not a illegal crime, but it can be just as damaging as the physical. if we see a crime about to be commited, should we “turn the other cheek?” dr t and panel, please respond

  8. DCB
    June 10, 2010 at 1:46 am

    I was feeling a little down and thought I would check in for some reality, and am glad you put this particular post up.

    I ended five years of crazy time with my ex (who I am sure is bpd) three months ago and was feeling a little bummed at how she deliberately screwed me out of all my earthly possessions, costs me thousands by causing me to have to furnish new my home from scratch, spitefully assails my character with vile lies, and yet goes on assuming the role of poor little victim. Some days, that bothers me and today was one of those days. She has no conscience whatsoever. It’s good to be reminded how these people are.

    I guess the other thing that bothers me is that since they have no conscience, they can go on to be happy – which is most disturbing. Do they, at some level, suffer internally for the misery they spread?

    • Holy Order of Garlic
      June 10, 2010 at 3:41 am

      ..only if they can’t get any blood ; )

      Seriously, I never looked at my ex as cold and heartless…but more as a person fearful of abandonment thus unable to say SORRY for anything. The problem is whether you view them as having no conscience or as fearful…it doesn’t matter…your life force still gets drained…and in my case probably MORE SO! Because of my empathy..I got lost in her psyche. Lost in her psyche. Lost in her psyche. Yup…The boots are stuck in the mud, it’s a full moon, the “afraid to face her shadow queen” is coming…leave the boots and run like hell!
      Lest your life force be drained.

  9. kirk g
    June 9, 2010 at 2:06 am

    it makes sense these bpd’s/npd’s don’t see us as human beings just as we don’t see them as human beings. it’s like they are a different species or alien. if we could get into their minds, we would be horrified of how they viewed us. it would be something out of a science fiction movie i saw awhile ago of these aliens in beautiful woman form who came to earth to feed on men by literally sucking the life out of them! once done, they just dumped the dead carcass with the empathy and remorse of stepping on an anthill by mistake. ( at least you would say, opps!) quick example: me and my ex are sitting up late evening watching t.v. when she says: “dang! i forgot to get a sunday paper.” enter me, mr niceguy. “it’s dark outside hun, i’ll run down to the corner market and get one for you.” like an idiot, i get up, change clothes, run out in the dead of cold winter, and zoom to the store. i’m back in less than 5 minutes and as i round the corner, i see a women in footies running on ice to her car five spaces up. it’s my girlfriend! she hops in and zooms into my spot cutting me off! my spot was closer to the apartment, so she not only gets a sunday paper but a closer spot in the morning. unbelievably, she hops out laughing saying how she was just playing. my response was, “yeah, but you did take my spot after i though of you to get a paper. and in less than 5 minutes you thought of yourself to take my space. why didn’t you just ask…” she just smiled, laughed and said, ” it was just a trick, a joke” and grabbed the paper and ran upstairs. i was hurt and stunned. looking back, i should have threw the paper in the dumpster and tell her to more her damn car back. when i confronted her about it later, i would get this strange look on her face as if, ” you’re whining cause i dogged you out? get over it.” i keep thinking maybe one day she would learn. from my experience and others, that does not happen. it’s like hoping dracula will only drink half your blood and leave some left over. these monsters seem to have a motto: “complete deplete, then delete”

    • Lighthouse
      June 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      kirk g:

      It sounds like you are wondering if “she would learn. from [your] experience and others”.

      Per Dr.T’s words it is VERY unlikely she will learn because they just emotionally or physically detach every time reality gets a little too harsh as a result of their unprocessed feelings. But so what ?

      On the downside, emotional theft is not a legal crime so it does indeed pay – that’s the reinforcement that will keep them searching for another victim. She will strike again.

      On the upside, they do get to be punished by effectively being emotionally isolated from the rest of the population as we one-by-one reject them. So she won’t get to strike you again.

      Overall, I’d rather be me and thankful for the lessons in boundaries and emotional self-defense that I’ve learned. Because the alternative, as we’ve all learned, is just not all that !



  10. Ace
    June 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Hey torn and frayed ;-)

    my money says she’d flip if you’d ex’s on your facebook ! They never entertain you maintaing or retaining contact with ex’s or indeed any females, yet once they mention their male friens then they see it as ok as it’s all out in the open. And they ceratinly keep all their ex’s like exhibits, actually I think the description of a cat playing with a half dead mouse was a good one. Strangely enough mine was into cats :-) more than people actually

  11. torn and frayed
    June 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    no matter what you do, be it wrong or right, they will twist it around to make it look like you are the A-Hole….when in reality, it is only the BPD projecting the fact that they are the real heartless A-Hole onto you. I never got closure because my gem of a BPD cut ties and ran on to the next guy before i could blink or think twice. Then she, thankfully, unfriended me on facebook. This was both a good thing (because i can’t stand her anyway nor do i want to know who she is currently screwing) and a bad thing because there will be no closure. It really showed how immature she is. Acting like a 2 year old.

    I figured out that our whole relationship was just her using me as a “normalcy prop” so she could get sympathy from her army of backup boyfriends on facebook. She was using me to get everyone else all worked up. “Look at me…i’m normal…you see?” I noticed that she never took down her old pics of her with her past victims while we were dating. Real classy. Even the pics of her naked in bed with some D-bag remained for all to see. Other pics she commented on her ex’s with profanity and degrading statements. I’m sure she kept my pics up to do this exact same thing. It was a real kick in the balls to see her engaging all these D-bags while we were still in a “relationship.” It’s like they are missing a control switch that would tell normal people that what they are doing is pathetic and just plain wrong.

    Remorse from her? nope. Never gonna happen. Her 2 year old mind won’t allow for her to be wrong.

  12. Mellaril
    June 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    No empathy = No remorse. This is a big reason why you can’t ever get closure with them. To this day, it still boggles my mind that my exgf could tell me to my face how wonderful I was and how her insecurities and fear of abandonment sabotaged the relationship without the faintest trace or regret or remorse. It was followed up with a total lack of comprehension as to why I might not find this acceptable and want an apology.

    My exgf once said “I’d rather jump off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge than admit you right about anything.”

  13. finallywokeup
    June 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Dr. T, thank you, very timely for me. This morning I was just remembering an old comment from my ex-NPD, who did not work, progressively refused to take care of our child (handicapped like Ron’s), did not keep house (hired it out) or cook (frozen/microwave), and yet felt entitled to a lifestyle that was beyond what I was making.

    When I confronted her one day with the fact that she wasn’t being very supportive, she exclaimed: “I’ve been supporting YOU for ten years!” I could never understand how she could think like this. Now I know – she was simply disordered.

    Our marriage counselor warned me after she left not to even DISCUSS the possibility of reconciliation unless she first underwent “two years of psychotherapy for her entitlement issues”. It was a shock to hear exactly how disordered the counselor thought she was. But until you realize what you are dealing with, it does leave you bewildered much of the time.

  14. Ron
    June 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I see so many NPDs now that I have learned about this. I used to think they were just a-holes, but the NPD thing really fits. Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan come to mind. Both are serial cheating N’s.

  15. Mind#!*#'D
    June 8, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Does my example sound more like a borderline vs a narc? I tried to mention to my ex that her words were pretty harsh…downright demonizing and full of blame and judgment toward me. Her immediate response was “Look at all the things you say, you’re no angel.”

    I replied “Whoa, I am talking about the crappy stuff you spewed for days on end toward my family and I. Can you OWN that?”

    Her response:

    “You own it.”

    I was wanting to carry the conversation further, but realized she was incapable or unwilling to ever acknowledge any hurtful action on her part. I knew I’d never get her to own up to anything. I felt hopelessness and anxiety creep in. Why? I realized I had been pulled in…again! Here I was with someone who COULD NEVER QUITE ADMT THEY HURT ANYONE. SCARY.

    What a strange irony. I had helped her work her way out of a “depression” state, a vulnerable “anxiety state” that’s been going on for years. Funny, as her anxiety passed (i.e. me staying to “help” her, when I was on my way out of the relationship…I succumbed to the verbal assaults and intimidation)she went from victim to self righteous judge in minutes.

    What was my weak spot?

    I was jealous. I gave in to her insinuations that she’d “look to someone else” to fulfill her endless needs. I had mistaken “breakup sex” as something other than just that.

    The cycle went like this:

    I get fed up or toxically overloaded and try and leave. I may just be taking a time out to regenerate, to look after myself.

    1. Demonize: She’d flip out, send many accusatory emails and put my family down. She’d tell me I was a mean, horrible person. She would say “no one should have to be treated the way I was treating her.”
    3. Thugging: When demonizing didn’t work: she’d start with “You owe me.” Pay me this, or “after all I did…I want this.” Or “come and get your stuff…NOW!” on and on.
    4. If that didn’t work she’d try the MAKE HIM JEALOUS route. It worked.

    Any thoughts on breaking the cycle..particularly the 4th phase?



    • Mr. E
      June 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

      The solutions is simple, but not easy: Go no contact. Cut her entirely out of your life, heal, and get on with your own business.

      • mgh
        June 8, 2010 at 11:50 pm


        These sick people WILL NOT GIVE UP unless
        you quit feeding them and they die emotionally!!

        Let them “move on” and possess another body!!

        They are ONLY looking for “Parasitic Hosts”

        Cut and Run!!

        • Bill
          June 24, 2010 at 9:14 pm

          I agree with the NO CONTACT advice.

          Your heart is an idiot. Everyone’s heart is an idiot.

          I threw away a great relationship for an utterly selfish woman who ended up throwing me away. (LOL) But there’s a lesson, and maybe my experience might be applicable to readers, it has to do with infatuation and attachment, or what are called feelings. Those things aren’t based on character, they’re based on experiences.

          (I cognitively knew I’d be better off with a normal woman, but I had attachment to an utterly selfish woman.)

          The way you can build attachments is to spend more time with somebody. You can develop attachment to a harpy! All an attachment is, is rat learning — contingencies and reinforcement are what build attachment. You’ve got to understand the difference between emotional attachment, which is just a matter of conditioning, and your evaluation of somebody’s character, which, if it’s the right kind of person and you spend enough time with them, turns into love. An emotional attachment is just an expectation, it’s an expectation of something you’ve liked in the past and you want more of. That’s all it is.

          Love and attachment are NOT the same things.

          People can act differently, but they don’t change their character. Such women aren’t looking for relationships, they’re looking for somebody to care of them, and they’ve learned a lot of tricks on how to induce people to take care of them. She’ll try sweetness if that works, and when that starts to not work, then she has other means: she’ll try to bully to get something, she’ll try to extort — do this or we’re over! — and depending on how much she’s got you hooked, well, it may or may not work. She’s had a lot of experience, she’s learned tricks.

          She’s learned what she has to say to get what she wants. Users are good at sucking people in, but what they don’t do, is ever keep people. They’re good at sucking people in, using them, and dropping them.

          Most people operate on a very simple level: There are things they want, and they figure out what they have to do to get them. Most people are just stinking selfish! It’s rare when you find somebody that actually cares about other people.

          The kind of people that this website focuses on have a reason for what they’re doing, but it’s not based on rationality, it’s based on techniques that have worked in the past, and I think that their motivations are very simple. She’s looking for somebody to take care of her, and she’s looking for somebody who has the kind of qualities that she likes to take care of her, and if she can’t get that, then she’ll take as many qualities as she can get, and the fewer qualities that she likes, the more she’s going to be less considerate about getting what she wants. She’s going to abuse people who she can get away with and will still give her things. At the minute she finds somebody to give her what she wants, who has more of the qualities that she likes, well, the first person is just dropped! She’s just looking to up her current stash… she’s just looking to improve her stash.

          Such women (and men too of course) operate on what makes sense to them: What she wants is to use people, she does NOT want a real relationship with somebody, she wants to USE people. When somebody switches like Narcissists and BPD types do, it’s a pretty good indication of what they’re really after.

          Such people don’t want to have a mirror held up. She wants memories to fade, and impressions to fade… she just wants to have her old routine work. It’s a mistake to approach somebody who’s irrational and selfish with a reasonable attitude. It’s like going into a fight and trying to deal with conflict resolution with a bully who’s intent on beating the crap out of you. I mean, it’s the wrong tool! There is a rational way to deal with an irrational person: you just avoid them! Like user “MGH” says: Find out they’re irrational, and you say: That’s it!

          What you want in a relationship is somebody to CARE enough for you to want have feelings of affection for you.

          The best way to look at if there’s any justice to these kinds of people’s lives… well, people who live like this have such a WEIRD motivation towards other people that they have to realize that so long as they feel that way towards people, most people are going to feel that way towards them. And it just leaves them empty. They don’t have any real relationships, they have using: One person buying affection with the things that she wants. In a real relationship people care about each other and they try to help each other, it’s a commitment, least that’s how I see it. Once you commit in a relationship you’re NOT committing to stay with you as long as you can give me what I want, I’ll stay with you through the thick and thin, and when things get tougher, I’ll stay with you tighter.

          Don’t settle for users.

          It doesn’t matter what she does with other people, what matters is what she does with YOU.

          Once you find out somebody is a user, you don’t let them sinks their hooks in you again — once you’ve been bitten by a snake, you just avoid them.

          Sorry for the rant. That’s what I can offer. Bill.

          • finallywokeup
            June 26, 2010 at 1:10 am

            Thank you, Bill, that was profound, not a rant at all. It’s pretty much happened to me, and the thing is, once you realize it (and insightful “rants” like yours help), it makes it much easier to get over it.

            • Bill
              June 29, 2010 at 9:54 pm

              Thanks! Being able to read through other peoples’ similar experiences and listening to their wisdom gained has helped me a lot also. This website is doing a lot of good for a lot of people I think. Bill.

          • ozymandias
            June 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

            Bill, that was absolutely not a rant. Great perspective.

            • Bill
              June 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

              Thanks! We all got used, but we all can move on!

          • Mind#!*#’D
            July 6, 2010 at 10:16 am


            “It doesn’t matter what she does with other people, what matters is what she does with YOU.”

            That is a potent medicine for jealousy.


    • jp
      June 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm


      My ex (married 14 yrs) is involved in her first romance since we split up a few years ago, and although it’s a ‘secret’ affair with a married co-worker, I know for a fact they’re seeing each other and she’s rubbing it in my face.

      So, although I’m glad to be away from her control and bullying, I didn’t want the divorce and I’m dealing with a lot of jealousy myself right now and I know how powerful and painful it can be.

      First of all, you should never let her use jealousy as a tool for control. It’s like the nuclear weapon of manipulation. It will drive you depths of rage and despair. You need to minimize it by getting away from her, for good.

      The minute a woman tries to tool you with jealousy you should end the relationship. Just walk away. Know that you will suffer for a while as you get over her, but only for a while. Staying in a relationship like this though could cause you years of agony and pointless drama.

      Second, get used to the idea that you will not be the last guy she f*cks in her lifetime. It’s painful, sure, but it’s reality. Accepting that we’re not the be-all and end-all to every woman we become involved with is an important step in maturing as a man.

      Third, take some comfort from the fact that she will torment the next guy the same way she torments you. Sure, she’ll fall ‘in-love’ with someone, and she’ll probably make sure you know it–and it will hurt–but after the high of the new romance wears off, she’ll run her sick scripts on the next dude too. Guaranteed.

      Fourth, detach. Do the mental work of controlling how much you think of her. Turn your pining and frustration around by visualizing instead a relationship with someone who treats you great. Once you get some time and distance from her, and go through the inevitible ‘withdrawal’, you’ll see how unhealthy the relationship was…how much of it was drama and anguish for it’s own sake. You’ll feel at peace and ready for your next chapter.


      • Mind#!*#'D
        June 9, 2010 at 3:19 am

        JP, mgh and Mr. E.

        Message in triplicate received. Much appreciated.

        I think I have to stop analyzing her psyche, looking for “the good” or reason for incapacity to own her shitty words and start accepting that I just can’t be in a situation that is unhealthy…no matter what the origin of her problem is. Bottom line is she just can’t take ownership for her actions or be conscientious. It’s like trying to bargain with a thief. No luck there.


      • finallywokeup
        June 26, 2010 at 1:15 am

        <blockquote Fourth, detach. … Turn your pining and frustration around by visualizing instead a relationship with someone who treats you great. Once you get some time and distance from her, and go through the inevitible ‘withdrawal’, you’ll see how unhealthy the relationship was…how much of it was drama and anguish for it’s own sake. You’ll feel at peace and ready for your next chapter.
        Thanks, jp, good comment. At the risk of being too religious, what you say is a paraphrase of Psalm 37, which says quit wasting time with the wicked, they’ll pass into history – instead “consider the blameless, observe the upright, there is a future for the man of peace.”

        Great point, thanks.

    • chester
      June 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Mine would vomit verbal bile that I’m embarrassed to say-I put up with-for so long. She would do it quite regularly to all those really close to her. Her other face was syrupy sweet to all she wanted to impress…or get something from. To those she verbally abused, it was because they/we “pushed her buttons”

    • chester
      June 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      Mind f’d….After 17 years I finally have been no contact for six months…despite her blocked number hang-up calls. Every morning I
      feel weak and miss her for some crazy reason. Every morning I get on this site and read read read. I also work out every day-stay off booze-and use a very low dose of remeron to sleep through the night- and ward off feelings of jealousy. I track my finances like a hawk and keep my house and vehicles in pristine condition….I just stay busy and squared away. I also touch base and help other people. It seems that when I “get outa myself”-I feel better. When I think of getting back with her, I remind myself of an AA saying-“think the drink through” Basically, I know where contact leads with her….much like a drunks first drink….TO MISERY. So I don’t take the first drink (sex) of her. It’s that simple. Your story obviously touched a nerve with me. Your experience is mine….VERBATUM! Note: I’m not an alcoholic but have been prone to binge drinking. Basically, I don’t binge on alcohol OR her company-anymore. Both substances made me feel horrible about myself. I’m done with them. Best of luck. We are ALL pulling for you.

      • chester
        June 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

        I also have given up on the idea that there are tons of swell women out there that will “treat me right” essentially, I’ve done a risk/reward assessment. I do not like the odds. The deck is stacked against men. I suppose that if my lifespan was 200 years, I could recover from another financial/emotional trainwreck, but that’s not reality. Perfectly happy to stand on my own.

      • jp
        June 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm


        You’re doing really well for 6 months out.


        • chester
          June 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm

          Problem is, this is about the 3rd 6 mos. out…feels better this time tho…

          • June 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm


            if you are still attracting the same kind of woman, ask yourself if you’ve done enough work to heal? Do you need to do a little more journaling? digging into your past? Crying? raging? musing? What is the block? Trust me, we’re out here…looking for good men…and angry as he** that so many good men have gotten so F’d over by evil women, that you can’t trust us, and react out of trauma to our sincere attempts at love and kindness. I am living proof – the more emotionally healthy you become, the more emotionally healthy woman you will attract. I promise.

            • chester
              June 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

              All i am saying is that really the odds suck-regardless of how healthy i become. The failure rate for second marriages is 80%….the success rate for ones second Labradour retriever is nearly 100% ;)

  16. mgh
    June 8, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Dr Tara: Maybe one of your best articles yet!! I know this was “a quickie” in response to
    the NYM article and it was AWESOME!! Bottom Line: These Psychopathic/Sociopathic Creeps
    “OBJECTIFY US” to the point that we are not human……simply mechanical “need gratification
    objects” to serve their narcissistic desires. And we know what happens when they have found
    “better narcissistic supply”……THEY ARE GONE IN A HEARTBEAT!! Leaving us heartbroken,
    stunned, confused and LIGHTER IN THE WALLET!!

    Good Old Bernie did all of these things to people and more……

    Can you also talk about the N’s need for gratification of all kinds…..

    Bernie had lots of homes, cars, boats, and WOMEN…….HE WAS AN ADDICT!!

    “The Tiger Woods” of the financial world!! UGH!!

    Thanks, Dr T…….you are love and appreciated by soooooo many!!


  17. Cousin Dave
    June 8, 2010 at 3:23 am

    From what I’ve read, narcissists often justify their behavior to themselves by saying that everyone else is exactly like them (from a moral standpoint), and will do the same if they have the chance. So the narcissist’s motto becomes “Do unto others before they do unto you”. Dr. T, am I on the right track here?

    • Bill
      June 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      I had a narcissistic girlfriend tell me just that in a candid conversation with her about how she saw relationships. It seems to be a zero sum game with these people.

      They are people with whom no one should want to have any kind of relationship, because they are users, who will deplete as much as they can from their victims, and then simply move on to their next victim.

  18. peter
    June 8, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I’m not sure it’s that simple. Here you have someone like Madoff, who is consistently getting fantastic returns for his clients, for decades. Which makes no financial, mathematical or economic sense. His clients are as greedy as he was, and continued to hang in there with a money manager who obviously was up to something fishy, or who at the very least merited a second look and some real soul-searching. It falls into the too good to be true category, and in a certain sense these people were begging to be ripped off. As long as the money kept coming they didn’t ask any questions. Madoff was a liar and a thief, no question about it, but his clients were greedy, too. And putting every dime you have into this guy’s hands, then being surprised when something goes wrong and you have nothing, is also greedy.

  19. June 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for the quick peek into Madoff’s head. I’ve been meaning to ask you for a glance into the minds of people (the Wall Street false entitlement types) like these, but since most of them are men and their entitlement issues versus men and the minds of their spouse, I held back.

    On a similar note to Madoff, 60 Minutes recently did an interview Marc Dreier on his 400 Million Ponzi scheme where he talks through his emotions and completely irrational behavior on pursuing more money to service his existing debts. Completely blew me away when he said he knew he was about to be caught, but he “had to” continue to do it anyway.

  20. Ron
    June 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    The phrase” you cannot fix someone who does not view you as a human being” really jumped out at me.
    This is not a terribly earthshattering example, but it is one that caused a lightbulb to finally go off in my head.
    In 1194, my first wife, unbeknownst to me, had embarked on a series of affairs. At the time, we had a 4 year old son who had Down Syndrome and Autism, and sever health issues related to his heart and digestive system(both , eventually, required surgery and had resulted in numerous pneumonias pre surgery). We also had a two year old son.
    MY wife began staying out many, many nights (62% of all ngihts, to be exact(( I tracked them, eventually) until the wee hours of the morning. She would lie and say she had to work or had to “journalize” about her deep problems. Later , it turned out, she was having liasons with strangers she would meet in hotel bars.

    In any case, after a fairly long period of tracking her nights out, I finally decided to write her a letter outlining my concerns re our son not seeing her for days at a time and with how exhausted i was becoming working full time and taking care of our children , alone, most nights. I decided to write to her, instead of trying to dscuss this, as eshe would become very abusive when confronted with her behavior.
    When I layed out the statistics and expressed my concerns, she was simply dumbfounded. Not angry, but dumbfounded. She said, quite matter of factly” I have more friends than you do. You have no friends. So, I am entitled to more time off and out.”
    It finally dawned on me. There was no sense arguing with her. She truly beleived that the natural order of things was that others were put here on this earth to serve her, to subsidize whatever desires she had.
    Soon after this, I discovered her serial infidelity and divorced her. But, it really is true. These folks, rahter than being just mean, really do consider others as beneath them.

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