Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Uncategorized > Having Healthy Boundaries Ends the Relationship with a Narcissist or Borderline

Having Healthy Boundaries Ends the Relationship with a Narcissist or Borderline

CrazyBusters_Narcissist CodependentWhy do victims of narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths stay in abusive, toxic relationships well past the point of expiration? Even when they’re checked out, shell-shocked and empty? My clients often say they feel trapped in the relationship. Sometimes it has to do with children, and children do create logistical, albeit not insurmountable issues. So what’s the real trap?

You’d like to have boundaries and a healthier relationship, but here’s the rub. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is personality disordered. That’s like trying to get sober while chugging Jack Daniels. If you decide to work on your codependency and become healthier, the narcissist or borderline’s dysfunction will seem more extreme.

This is due to the contrast between health and pathology. It’s also due to actual decompensation and escalation triggered by the borderline or narcissist’s perceived loss of control. The healthier you become, the less tolerable the narcissist and the relationship will become. In other words, you getting healthy most likely means the end of the relationship, which causes FOG — feelings of fear, obligation and guilt.

Fear. You’re afraid to be alone. You’re afraid you’ll never meet someone else, or that you’ll meet someone far worse. You’re afraid you won’t feel that same ZING! with emotionally stable women and men. If healthy, stable adults seem boring to you, that means you need to do some work on yourself. This is entirely within your power to do.


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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.





  1. Mike
    August 2, 2017 at 2:08 am

    see there’s the rub for me – there is something in me thats attracted to crazy, not just attracted but for many years chronically addicted to drama. crisis and excitement. This was especially true after i stopped using drugs and alcohol, got sober and started looking at myself hard. Then set down to accept some pretty hard truths about myself and started working with people in recovery to uncover and unravel and confront things about myself – to begin to change what could be changed, seek help for the more difficult things to change and some how find peace with the things in my personality that probably would never change barring a spiritual experience.

    Crazy women were all I ever knew dramatic, over the top hysterically emotional alcoholic, drug addicted women all sharing histories of damage. Although i al only guessing i am pretty sure my mother was at the least Borderline and possibly even Bi-Polar as well as alcoholic and i couldnt wait to get away from her. But over the years I have dated her many times, lived with her many more and married her at least twice.

    But to begin to get well I had to be willing to go to any length to get and remain free and yes, leaving the children behind was excruciatingly painful and as much as i loved them for me they were a huge vulnerability and for my ex-wife a major advantage and supreme weapon. I think I was 48 when i left and was completely cut off from any support because I had incrementally given away any interests, hobbies or relationships that interfered with “the family” and that included AA..

    For me and just for me I had to make a commitment to remain single and give myself time to heal emotionally and psychologically. It sure as hell wasnt easy I can tell you that but i had to be willing to live with and accept a certain degree of anxiety and discomfort in my life. Ive had to avoid the tendency to go out looking for the next ex. I have had to learn to develop a skill a previous sponsor once described as “Tolerance for the mundane”.

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