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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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This is the index of articles found on the original Shrink4Men WordPress blog.

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Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.


  1. manofhonour
    June 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Santa Maria, Thank you. It does make the difference.

  2. santa maria
    June 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    To all of the father’s out there who won’t hear from their children today because of parental alienation syndrome by a cluster b ex, you are not alone. Happy Father’s Day.

  3. Miriam
    May 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Dr. T, thank you for your incredibly well written and informative articles. God bless you for the work you do. I have forwarded several of your articles to a friend who is married to an abusive woman and I hope that it hits home when he is ready. Keep up the awesome work! Thank you.

  4. New (sane) wife
    April 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
    I am sending this link to my husband immediately!
    He (thank God) got out of a horrible relationship with a horrible crazy woman!
    Now WE have to deal with her! He is going to feel so supported! I can only help so much. For him to know you are out there… this is going to change his life!

  5. Dr. J
    January 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    My God! What a fantastic site! It is like breathing in fresh mountain air after years in a smoke filled room. I was married to a BPD with “narcissistic tendencies”. But wait, there’s more….this main entree was followed by side dishes such as PTSD, OCD, prescription drug abuse, chronic migraines, inability to hold a job, and near the end the doc’s and I suspected Munchausen’s. All came with generous helpings of verbal and emotional abuse and expert manipulation. Unfortunately as poor grad students we couldn’t afford a Ph.D. therapist and used a MSW,(a pretend therapist who has just enough knowledge to be dangerous). My wife ran circles around the MSW and manipulated her like a puppet. My spouse spent 4 years in therapy doing nothing at all other than playing victim and bitching about me and her doctors. NO ONE would tell me what was wrong with my spouse and docs and the MSW would usually just spew pure BS, they didn’t know any more than I did! If anything the MSW made things worse! The two of them liked to tag team me as the real problem when we tried couples therapy.

    Dr. Tara, I wish your site had been around back then as it might have spared me years of pain or at least provided knowledge of how these nasty, pathetic, evil creatures operate. In any event I figured it out myself and think you are doing the world a huge favor with your site! I divorced in 2003 and a few months later my ex passed away. I moved out of state, finished my degree and found a healthy normal woman who is the love of my life. I have never been happier! As a result of my experiences with the ex I can practically smell BPD/NPD and they literally make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. If I were dictator of the world I’d have them all rounded up and exiled to some island near the Arctic circle where they could just torment each other and leave the rest of humanity alone.

    For those of you in a relationship with a BPD/NPD take Dr. Tara’s advice! She is abso-freaking-lutely SPOT ON!!! RUN as fast as you can away from these “people.” Don’t walk, don’t hesitate, don’t try to reason, plead,or bargain with them or change them. You can’t be their friend and you can’t help them. They are incapable of real love or empathy. Don’t accept calls, e-mails, texts from them. Break all contact ASAP! Remember…they have only 2 settings: 1) inflict pain on others and 2) inflict pain on themselves. That’s all you really need to know.

    Don’t buy into any pop-psych/academic psych BS about how we should all be “compassionate and understanding” of these folks. M.D.s and Psy.D.s loathe BPD/NPD patients. Many simply refuse to work with them. If the people who have devoted their entire professional career to healing and to alleviating human suffering can’t be in the same room as a BPD/NPD why should you?

    Kudos Dr. Tara! YOU GO GIRL! Keep up the good work. To those who are victims of the BPD/NPD godspeed and good luck!

    Dr. J

  6. Mellaril
    January 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    What a fantastic site! From 1983 until 1988 I was involved in a relationship with Narcissistic/Borderline worman. My daughter found a picture of the woman and asked why we broke up. I didn’t have an answer. I knew we broke up for good reasons but I never knew what I had been dealing with. I met the woman who’s been my wife while I was disengaging from the previous one and never dealt with the emotional implications (couldn’t talk to the ex, couldn’t tell the new girlfriend). I began chronicling the relationship and sent it to an old friend who became a clinical social worker. She recommended I research Narcissistic-Borderline relationships and came upon this site. Between this site and some clinical texts on trauma, I can answer questions that eluded me for over 20 years. I moved on but until I read those books and this series, I was never quite free of her ghost. I would still play the tapes of things over in my head trying to find answers. I have most of them now and believe there are none for others. I wish I had known about this 25 years ago. Keep up the good work!

  7. KoP
    November 14, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Dr T,

    Do you have posts pre-Jan ’09?

  8. gemini
    November 8, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Hi Dr Tara,

    I am a woman and I am married to a man whose Ex is a malignant narcissist, as is his eldest 16 year old daughter and his youngest 14 year old daughter (sigh). I have been reading your website since it started because it does give me some comfort – we knew years before that the Ex was a narcissist, but there wasn’t much on the web about female narcissism.

    I would love to hear from men that have had children, but don’t have custody of them, and how they deal with the relentless rages, criticism, drama, accusations, manipulation, threats, gas-lighting, etc, etc, that goes on. The narcissism has affected my husband’s relationship with his children, and I doubt it will ever be ‘normal’. The brainwashing has been so intense that they can’t simply see who he is – a good, sensitive, non-confrontational man (yes, a perfect narcissistic target).

    A lot of your articles are targeted at helping men understand the abuse in their marriages and assisting them to move on or assisting men to identify the narcissist before it gets serious.

    What happens when they have children and they have to keep seeing their ex wives? What happens when the children are deliberately alienated from them?
    What happens when the children are growing up to be narcissists as well?

    I would really love you to write an article for those people like myself and my husband that are in this position. What are your suggestions for coping? We have put strong boundaries in place to protect ourselves, but the abuse is relentless and never-ending and we have to see the kids, so it’s always there.

    It has been a decade of this $hit and I am so unbelievably over it. I feel ground down and exhausted by it. I am honestly thinking that the only solution is to go and live in another part of the country!

    • melove54
      November 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Just to pass on some of my experience. Although I did not have children with my X-N, I was witness to the ex-husband dealing with her and his son. As well, my dilemma with bonding with her son. I was convinced her ex was a problem throughout the relationship, only because of what she stated about him. Towards the last couple years of our relationship, I began to wonder about the truth of her ex. He never once conveyed jealousy about being around his son, in fact, we attended many of his son’s functions with shared involvement. Towards the last year my X-N and I were together, the ex-husband began to show extreme concern for his son’s well being, his demeanor, his attitude towards the father, etc., for he was showing signs of his mother’s behavior. He referred to his ex-wife as a “master manipulator and a Liar.” I of course, could not have agreed with him more, yet, I had to remain neutral to protect myself.

      As for my bonding with her son, it really never happened. No matter what I did, this child had methods of his own to make me look bad in the eyes of his mother. It was purely amazing the skills this boy had at 10 years of age. His mother doted upon him, and protected his every action, despite fault or blame. She believed that he deserved the same entitlement as she did. I was losing the battle at both ends. As for her ex-husband, being he was not the custodial parent, he was at a loss as well. As I’ve researched and studied BPD/NPD, I’ve concluded that the facade of her ex was indeed just that, as he exuded a non-confrontational and amicable personality towards me, as well as, put forth an honest effort to keep peace and do what was within his power for the sake of his son. It breaks my heart to believe that it may be too late for his son to cleanse himself of these egregious traits.

      You’ve stated that your husbands ex is a MN…was that diagnosed? If it indeed was, then you most likely have legal options. If not and she only fits what you perceive as fitting specific diagnostic criteria, then it will be difficult to change the status of custody. Unless your husband is willing to drag her into court under the pretense that she possibly has an extreme disorder that affects the well being of the children. That could drag-on for a very long time. The thought that your husband must consider is, what is the long term price that will be paid in his future relationship with his daughter’s. What both of you are going through today, can be no worse than if he takes action against her to gain custody,..jmho. Record one on one conversations, do diaries on both the ex and the kids reactions, engage in email correspondence and save such that exudes her bad behavior. These things are beneficial and can shorten the lengthy judicial process. As well, it can prove what kind of “crazy bitch” she is when the daughter’s need proof. Doing so would require care, diplomacy,finesse and a matter of proper timing. Tread carefully as the crazy woman is still their mother! This is the biggest barrier to overcome as the daughter’s may indeed like their situation with their mother,i.e., developed traits and characteristics of the mother that they deem advantageous to their perceived well being. Key word here, “perceived.”

      There are ways to cope, it is temporary at best, and her behavior will only adjust to such coping methods. Best way in my opinion (if you decide not to take legal action) is to limit communication and contact to absolute essential needs of the daughter’s (their outside activities, school,etc.) They are the only common tie and anything else, unless the ex and your husband own property or investments together, should be all that requires such communication or interaction. Understanding the nature of her beast can bring some solace to your mind in that she IS a “crazy bitch” and simply ignore her, rather than reacting to her as if she personally has wounded you both. To a very large degree, her words and actions cannot personally hurt you, unless you allow it. Create a plan between you and your husband and be on the same page where it concerns how you each should engage the ex, and as well, how you will further respond to one another. In other words, don’t let her get the best of you and your husband and affect how you interact. Exhaust her, not you and your husband. Your two heads are better than her one. Let her live in the perpetual hell she creates. Lastly, think about the best interests of the daughter’s.

      • gemini
        November 12, 2009 at 3:08 am

        Thanks Me love for your advice.

        We have been very rigorous in setting boundaries and managing the N’s behavior over the years, and have done all if not more of what you’ve suggested.

        And, we have kept copies of all correspondence and noted things in our diaries over the years, just in case all all goes pear shaped.

        I could write a book on it really.

        No, she has not been officially diagnosed – good heavens do you really think she would willingly see a psychiatrist or psychologist?? She is an N after all!

        Legal action to gain custody of the kids is not an option, mainly because I highly value my sanity and I don’t want 2 teenage narcissists living in my house.

        My question was really how one deals with the children of a narcissist, who are also narcissists and who perpetuate their mother’s mind set, values and behaviors.

        Yes, we can have their best interests at heart, but it’s pretty difficult really when all we get in return is criticism, judgement and manipulation.

    • shrink4men
      November 10, 2009 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Gemini,

      What you have to deal with sounds awful. Even after the girls turn 18, there will be graduations, weddings, births, etc., which will necessitate contact with the ex.

      Unfortunately, if the child(ren) spend the majority of their time with their mother, the best you can do is be a good role model and demonstrate healthier behaviors, set boundaries and enforce consequences. I would also try to advocate to get the girls into counseling and make him or her aware of these behaviors.

      The best advice I have for you and your husband is to emotionally distance yourself from his ex as best you can. You can’t cut her completely out of your lives, but you can make the choice to not let her pathology get to you. When you react or become angry at her behaviors, you give away your power to her. When you refuse to play along with her mind games and “don’t take the bait,” you take back your power.

      Most NPD behavior is designed to elicit a reaction in their targets. The only way to win with an NPD is not to play their game. I encourage you and your husband to adopt an attitude of, “Narc-y Nancy is at it again” or “Looks like her nibs isn’t getting enough attention again” or “Looks like the control freak is feeling out of control again.”

      This woman is what she is. She’s not going to change—maddening as that is. However, you and your husband can change how you respond to her manipulations. You can also choose not to let her detract from your happiness of having found each other and being together. Trust me, she would like nothing better than to know she gets to you.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • gemini
        November 12, 2009 at 3:17 am

        Thanks Dr Tara, as I mentioned to Melove, we have done all you’ve/he’s suggested if not more.

        When we were dealing with one N it was manageable, but now we’re dealing with 3. Mother plus children. That was really my question – it’s not just the Ex now, it’s the children as well.

        The Ex has chosen her own path and obviously will continue to gas light and manipulate. Over time, we have limited contact with her. And, we have changed how we respond to all the crap.

        My question was, what do you do when the children are like this as well?

        Limiting contact with your own children makes you REALLY look like a bad father! How does one emotionally distance oneself from one’s children?

        • shrink4men
          November 12, 2009 at 7:22 pm

          Hi Gemini,

          Unfortunately, you may need to reconcile yourself to the fact that there may be no way to reach these girls. It’s heartbreaking, but true. This is exactly why family court needs to get wise to the fact that a woman isn’t the default better parent.

          After the girls are both 18, you and your husband need to decide how much contact/abuse you can tolerate from his daughters. You may need to have “the talk” in which he outlines acceptable vs. non-acceptable behavior, set boundaries and say, “If you act like ____________, if you treat your step-mother and me like ___________, you won’t be welcome in our home. Being a parent isn’t synonymous with being a martyr. It’s a tough love policy similar to the kind parents with children who are addicts implement. I can’t imagine how painful it is to do, but you and your husband both have a right to healthy and happy lives.

          Sadly, if these two girls are on the road to Axis II, it doesn’t matter what you and your husband actually do—unconditional love and acceptance or setting healthy boundaries—you’ll both be vilified while they hit you up for money and other material resources. The opposite side of this coin are parents whose adult sons or daughters marry a narcissistic man or woman. If the parents of the non-narc don’t cow tow to the NPD, they’re cut out of their child’s life or have their relationship restricted. These parents also have to decide how much abuse they’re willing to tolerate in order to be a part of their children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

          Kind Regards,
          Dr Tara

          • gemini
            November 13, 2009 at 1:53 am

            Hi Dr T,

            In my heart I knew that the approach you’re suggesting would be our only feasible option. Sigh.

            We’ve worked hard to set the sorts of boundaries you’re suggesting, and have really made an effort to not get sucked into being the source of money and other material resources. Clearly we will always need to continue to do this!

            You’re right, we have a right to be happy. We have to put our OWN health and happiness first and accept that they have chosen their own paths in this lifetime. If we’re walking a different path to them, so be it.

            There is some reassurance in this for me, that this is the ‘right’ thing for us to do.

            I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions and comments, it has been really helpful to express how I feel on your forum, and I hope that others reading this thread get something from it.

  9. David G
    October 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    My ex was a narcissist and really did my head in.
    I only wish I had known about this years ago.
    Great website!

  10. AnonymousT
    October 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Dr. Tara –

    Selfawareness posted a really good comment above, which is useful for those of use whose exes were the unobtrusive, quiet, modest types in public and even mostly in private, yet STILL managed to put us into turmoil and wreck our lives. He said:

    “Not ALL female emotional manipulators/abusers are the stereotypical yelling, raging, berating, type we have been conditioned to believe and expect. Mine, a short, but REALLY intense, 8-month relationship, was quite the opposite (even in private… and towards me!) Mine NEVER did any of those things; she never once even raised her voice! She had her sh*t together, seemed down to earth and quite level-headed, and extremely pleasant to be around! What she DID do was so subtle, that I didn’t even recognize it as abuse until AFTER distancing myself from her for several months with no contact. She was a MASTER of playing the martyr/victim, and using THAT as justification for why I should be “understanding” and give her the “reassurance” she needed as proof that I was trustworthy.”

    These kind of women seem to confuse and punish you very quietly, but continually, and it is always below the radar to the public, and often even to yourself, until they finally pull the plug on you. And then they do it so smoothly that those on the outside figure it must have been your fault, because after all “she seems so ordinary and nice and proper, I just can’t believe that … .”

    It especially makes it hard to sort out what happened, because you have been blamed by her for everything for so long, and there aren’t the blatant signs flashing, and no really over-the-top emotional episodes to pin it on. It also makes it easier for them to keep confusing you after they dump you, which confusion you said was their specialty in your Narc’d! article.

    Mine left me after a long period of increasing but very “quiet” punishment to me: cold shoulder treatment and physical withdrawal, quitting household responsibilities, threats of separation, quitting counseling when the counselor suggested she might be part of the problem, and even secretly filing a lawsuit against me to show me she was serious about her “needs” not being met. (Nobody knew or would have believed any of this!) When I tried to meet these needs, she left anyways, but would not divorce me. She then gave me a list of what it would take to win her back (earn more money, start dating her all over again, absolutely no criticism of her). This was unbelievable to me, and I finally refused.

    Then she began suggesting that we have regular scheduled “meetings” over coffee and such, like nothing had happened, and she was reasonable and pleasant (to the extent you can call it that after what she had just done). But whenever I opposed her or said no to her on something, she dropped the mask and became very cold. When I said no to these “dates”, she got mad and said “you’re not even being nice to me!” I wondered, why in the world would she think I ought to, after she told me she didn’t love me anymore, sued me, and left me brokenhearted and reeling and our family shattered?

    Through all of this she hid it from everyone she could, except her enablers (lawyer, real estate agent, a couple of geographically distant friends/relatives – she didn’t seem to have any close friends nearby, even though she was much more “social” than me). After she left she asked me not to tell our usual social circles, even asked me to continue attending weekly events that we had always attended, and to sit with her and pretend like nothing had happened – she said it was “for the children”. She hid her departure from a lot of people for a long time – I got many calls for months at home after she left, asking for her, and they were all completely shocked that she was gone or could have done such thing – and these were people who saw her regularly out in the world, every week. She maintained a very high public profile among these people, and noticeably ramped up her visibility and activity among them even while she was not telling them what she had done.

    It was like living in a bad dream for a while, until I divorced her.

    Could you do an article focusing on the “covert” abuse you mentioned in your response to Selfawareness? These types may not be so explosive or obvious, but they still grind you down and leave you devastated and deeply hurt when they leave. It would help many of us, I think.
    Thank you.

    • jham123
      October 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm


      What you describe is closer to what Mine is…..quiet and covert. Yet the Cold Shoulder, Withdrawing, criticism, blaming me for everything wrong…

      …Blaming me for whats wrong…that needs it’s own paragraph and here is why. Our past gets revised and only half truths are included. I call it lies of omission, and I like to recite the following “Be aware of half truths, you may have gotten hold of the wrong half” Her revision of our History paints me in a very bad light. To hear her explain it, I am the biggest loser this side of the Pecos River. Yet, in my defense, Up until Monday (3 days ago)I’ve been the only source or income since 1993 or so.

      So yes, back to your original point, they do not have to scream or be loud or cause a huge scene in the neighborhood to by BPD…Covertness is key to the crazy making that my wife engages in. This way everyone else thinks she is normal. I on the other hand may be emotional in front of anyone. If I am angry or upset…it shows.

      So now, I am the bad guy in the eyes of the public and she is the victim.

      See how it works?

      • StillRecovering
        November 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

        My NPD/BPD ex was also of the covert variety, and to be honest, I think I would have rather she’d been a screaming lunatic. It was really frustrating not to know what was going on or what she was really feeling, because she was never really open with me. It usually wasn’t until I was deep into one of her cold shoulder episodes that I was able to drag out of her what was going on, and that’s when I got an earful of accusations.

        Her favorite accusation was that I was a very angry person, and that I went into “rages” over very minor things. I am a pretty quiet and reserved guy, and I don’t yell and scream. I do have the tendency to get frustrated or upset from time to time, as most humans do, but it is absolutely not the norm. She would hold these alleged “rage” episodes against me for weeks, and just when I thought I was in the process of getting back on her good side, I’d be accused of something else. If I wasn’t raging, I wasn’t being helpful enough around the house, I wasn’t appreciative of what she did for me, I wasn’t romantic enough with her, or I was just being mean in general. Never mind that I supported her financially, bent over backwards to give her what she wanted, and suffered constant rejection every time I attempted to be romantic.

        She very rarely expressed any kind of real emotion, unless she wanted something from me, and she was not comfortable with me expressing emotion of any kind. She would often refer to me as the “woman” in the relationship, because I dared to express my feelings to her.

        I would also love to hear Dr. Tara’s thoughts on this variety of NPD/BPD, because it is difficult to detect at first. My impression of an abuser has always been someone yelling and screaming, as I’m sure is the case for many other people. It took me quite a while to admit that I was dealing with someone that had a personality disorder, even after repeated assurances by my therapist. She counseled both my ex and I, together and separately, and had suspected early on that my ex was a BPD/NPD sufferer. It’s still difficult to believe it, because my ex was so good at convincing me it was all my fault.


        • Mr. E
          November 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm

          I know what you mean about wishing she was a screaming lunatic. It’s not that it would be easier to tolerate – it’s that it would be easier to identify. Eg. “She really is nuts, look at her throwing lamps across the room at me because I was boiling eggs in the wrong pot. Well, I’m out of here.”

          Instead we got suckered into thinking we’ve done something awful to really upset them. And slowly, maybe, we notice that it seems like we’re ALWAYS in trouble, and never ever get to be correct (Not “right” in the win/lose sense, just “not wrong”).

          Frankly, I think the covert stuff is extra evil. Not only is it rotten behavior, but it’s SNEAKY too. It’s smiling at you while stabbing you in the back over and over with a tiny little knife.

          Re: the “woman” comment. Mine did that to me once (at least). I think she said “One of us needs to wear the pants” while we were out in public. Then she got mad at me when I was upset.

          • StillRecovering
            November 10, 2009 at 11:54 am

            Just thought I’d share another instance of how these women can continue to dig the knife covertly. In this case, without even being in the same location.

            This particular instance happened yesterday. My divorce is final, but my ex continues to make claims on my health insurance. I am currently in the process of getting her removed from the policy, but I had to wait until I had the divorce documents in my hands, which I only received a few days ago. Yesterday, I received a benefits statement in the mail, showing that she has once again made a claim on my insurance, and needless to say I was not happy. This has been happening at least 2 to 3 times a month. The claim was made after the finalization of the divorce, which I find to be inexcusable.

            I was also informed by a family member that my ex, who is completely addicted to the site, still has our engagement photo prominently displayed on her wedding planning profile on that site (she still maintains the profile and visits the site often. I don’t understand why). She had promised to remove the photo and this was one of the stipulations in the final divorce agreement. About a month ago I made a request via thenest that she remove the photo, and thought that she did, but soon discovered that she had lied. I really want to have the photo removed from the site, because I don’t want to have any connection to her whatsoever.

            Since I still owe quite a bit of money to my lawyer, and I have absolutely no way of contacting her, I did the only thing I could think of, and posted my request on the public bulletin board she is constantly on. The last thing I wanted to do was have to air my dirty laundry in public, but I had had enough, and it was the only way I could think of to reach her. I requested that she remove the picture (with just a touch of smart-ass thrown in. I couldn’t help myself), and I gave her a heads up that her free ride on my health insurance was coming to an end. It was a very civil, to the point letter. I even tried to be a little humorous. She didn’t respond, although I know she was on the board, but her little “nestie” girlfriends replied in droves. They apparently didn’t get my attempt at humor.

            I have never experienced anything like it in my life. I can only imagine the nasty lies my ex has told these women, because I was called every dirty name in the book. I was also accused of stalking and harassment. I was told that the divorce was my fault, and that I deserved it because of what she said I had done to her (no details were given). I tried to make the point that I was simply making a request, and nothing more. I didn’t want to get down in the mud and argue with these “nesties”. I told them that once the photo was gone, I would be gone. Simple as that.

            I have no idea if it did any good, since I haven’t checked to see if the photo is gone, but it really helped to understand what a lying, back stabbing type of person my ex really is. I’ll check in a few days, and if it’s still there, I guess I’ll be forced to contact my attorney again. I went to great lengths to keep the divorce civil and amicable, when I could have easily dragged her through the mud. I really hate the idea that I am looked at as the bad guy in this situation, especially after everything I did to try and make her happy and support her. It’s really making me think twice about getting into a relationship again.

          • Mr. E
            November 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm

            StillRecovering (#32)

            I agree w/ Q – they likely would have sided with her either way.

            Instead of asking HER to take the photo down, politely ask the site owners to take it down, with no smart-ass comments. You might want to just have your lawyer do it – you kinda stepped in it when you called her out publicly.

            And then get off of that site, man. Tell your family to stop web-stalking her. If they can’t do that, at least stop telling YOU about it.

            Here’s why:

            1. Now she’s getting extra attention from her Nesties – which she is absolutely loving, I promise.

            2. She knows you’re watching and she’s still got her hooks in you, WHICH SHE IS LOVING.

            I think you should build yourself a nice little mental wall and block her out. Really, if your family won’t shut up about her, run out of the room with your fingers in your ears. After you do it four or five times at major holidays, they’ll stop bringing it up. ;)

          • StillRecovering
            November 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

            Q, you’re probably right. The group of women on TheNest is much like a high school clique of girls. However, I’m inclined to believe that my ex trashed me to them quite extensively, especially since not one of their accusations is true. Either that, or these women have some vicious imaginations.

          • StillRecovering
            November 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm


            I guess I got so tired of her draining money out of me, I just didn’t see the point in going to my lawyer for a simple request to take down a photo. I had tried to contact the site before, and received absolutely no response from them.

            I don’t really feel like I did anything wrong, since I didn’t insult or demean her in anyway. I simply stated facts, and did it in a public forum she frequents because I had no other way to contact her. I had just gotten so tired of being taken advantage of and accused of things I didn’t do. The fact is all of the women on the board she frequents know that she is divorced anyway, so it wasn’t like I made any kind of great revelation.

          • StillRecovering
            November 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

            Just to clarify, I really could care less what these women think, that wasn’t really even my point. I was trying to stand up for myself, and did in the only way I knew to contact her. I do realize that doing it in the place I did probably wasn’t ideal, but that’s what happened.

            Some of my family members were monitoring the site for me during my divorce to gather evidence. I don’t know if I would call it stalking, however. My ex had admitted to adulterous activity on the site, among other things, and I was constantly collecting this information in case it was necessary during divorce proceedings. I was actually advised by my attorney to monitor the site to make sure that she removed the photo in question.

        • AnonymousT
          November 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

          Wow, StillRecovering, I could have written that myself. Point by point, I experienced every single one of the things you wrote.

          • StillRecovering
            November 6, 2009 at 6:22 pm

            Anonymous1, Mr. E, thanks for the comments. It really helps to hear others have experienced the same thing, although I certainly wish none of us had to experience it at all. I never in a million years thought I’d find myself in this situation. Even though the divorce is final, I still find myself in a state of disbelief that it actually happened. I always thought I was too smart to be conned, and I was wrong.

          • Q
            November 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm

            Actually, I doubt that she would really have needed to lie to her nesties about anything. They probably would have sided with her anyway whether they know the truth or not.

    • Mary
      November 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

      Exactly! This is exactly what I have been looking for. Sometimes I feel intrusive for reading this blog, as I am a woman searching for answers as to why my ex could not let go of his ex-wife. This site has given me a peek into how narcissistic women operate, and the effect this has on the men they date/marry. As I have stated in previous posts, I suspect my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife was narcissistic. I never could figure out why he could not let go of her, and would continue to lie to me about his interactions with her. He once told me that their divorce was all his fault, and he was lucky that she even talked to him. He tried to explain to me why he MUST go by her house to visit the dog. He says that when he goes by her house the dog is excited to see him, she is always excited to see him, her parents come over and are excited to see him, her nieces visit and hug him, etc. He pleaded with me to understand why he needs this. They make him feel loved. They still care for him after everything that has happened. I am dumbfounded. Do I not make him feel loved? I am always excited to see him. But for some reason he cannot let his ex and her family go, and he will not allow me to be a part of this. However, he does not see her to be a narcissist because she never had a meltdown. She always kept her emotions in check. Somehow she could always make him feel guilty and unworthy of her love. Therefore, when she showed him attention he was grateful. I’m not even sure if she is a narcissist, but there must be some reason for his co-depency on her and her family. There has to be a reason that he cannot move forward with his life, even after she left him and has been in a relationship with another man since. We have broken up several times over this issue, and during those periods he is free to call her, visit her, take her out to eat, visit her family, the dog, etc. Of course during the times she is with her boyfriend he is alone and lonely. Each time we have broken up over this he is miserable, and ends up returning to me telling me that he misses me, and is sorry for letting me go. He tells me he wishes very much he could quit calling and visiting his ex-wife, and tells me he will stop. He stops for a while, but after several months he will suddenly withdraw from me only to call her again. and the cycle begins again. He is miserable, but he cannot see that what he is doing is wrong. He sees me as the one who is causing the problems, and blames me because he is doing nothing wrong by calling and visiting her. And I should understand why he should attend family events with her and her family. He still cares about them, and they care about him. I should understand that I am not part of that family, but they will aways be part of his family, even after the divorce. He says he didn’t divorce her family. And he doesnt see she is narcissistic because she has no episodes. In fact, because she has never shown much emotion, when I cry, or get emotional he says he cannot handle this. He rarely will try to comfort me. If I cry, he asks me to leave.He tells me that he doesn’t want to feel responsible for my tears. We are not together now, because of all of this. He has so many issues, yet I don’t think he sees them. He sees me as the problem, for not being able to accept his relationship with his ex. It has been very painful and confusing to me. But, yes, I would like to see if there is anything out there dealing with the covert narcissism. It seems that when she is upset with him she gives him the cold shoulder, etc. And this seems to terrify him. He is so afraid of losing her. Yet, if I do this, he doesn’t seem to care. It seems he is more afraid of losing her and her family than losing me.

      • nick
        November 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

        That you can even stomach reading this blog without getting explanatory and defensive is total proof that you are a cool squared away lady. The guy you were with is caught in a quagmire. He is bewitched. I know-because i am STILL trying to climb out of my black morass. As is the ex-husband before me.

  11. Jim
    September 21, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I have been through all of this. The difficulty is after divorce I want to see my kids and my ex wife uses my kids to try to keep up her torture, insisting on supervised visitation, counseling with me present, ect … Counseling means sitting in a room and her bashing me. And the counselors just keep it going no matter how much you complain. If you don’t do this, they will brand you as uncooperative. They adopt the mindset of the abusive person not even caring what damage they do to you. You are just a father-object.

    I have resolved not to allow these idiots from demoralizing me for their own gain – psychological or otherwise.

    • jham123
      September 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm

      Very Sad……..

    • John
      September 28, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      If the supervised visitation and extra counseling isn’t mandated in your Divorce Decree then I wouldn’t do it.
      If it is mandated, I’d see about what to do to get the Decree modified.

      I’m lucky and had a good result – but she has already tried to “influence” what I do at my home, and its only been 2 weeks. Interesting.

      • Jim
        September 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

        I no longer have supervised visitation nor mandated counseling by agreed court order (after false allegations were made and my kids kept from me). Now, having a supervisor see my kids at the begining and end of the vist protects me from more false allegations. I just keep agreeing to it for that sole reason – maintaining contact with my kids.

        But the “therapy” is just a bash session against me – always keeping the focus off her. It feeds this hungry emotional vampire I guess. I dread going to these sessions with my X because I end up thinking about all she says about me. I can’t stop these thoughts going over and over.

        It is all pure abuse against me and even my parents and relatives. It is the sickest thing I have ever seen and I still cannot fathom how or why the counselor keeps this going unless he has just adopted her viewpoint about me. It is mind-numbing – sucking the joy out of me.

        As an objective person, I cannot fathom how a trained psychologist could fail to see that this woman is a wacked out lunatic. Even if he recognizes this, why the hell would you put me through this? It is crazy.

        Six hundred years ago you would call this woman an evil witch. Now the parlance is that she is an undiagnosed Cluster B. Regardless, why am I supposed to be her constant victim. How is this okay?

        I dropped my son off at church Sunday and we were one minute late and this woman makes a scene right on the steps of the church throwing up her hands and all. What a total sin – doing that and then taking my kids inside to church. What kinds of message does that send?

        I just thank God that I am not her. I like to believe as this website suggests that she burns in Hell right here on earth because she has a big black hole in her soul. Than God I am not her.

        I just wish I could find a way to have absolutely no contact with her whatsoever. But the psychologist just keeps the pain going. It is just crazy-making.

        And no I am not a masochist. I will never, ever see my kids without following this program, absolutely. I have already been through contempt motions and the courts just want to give it to the therapists.

        I proabably have PTSD, who knows. Every woman I see now is a lunatic because this evil woman. I associate gross, sick thoughts seeing a mother and her baby – one of the most wholesome things you can think of.

        I can absolutely understand how and why people snap and lose it. Unless you have great personal self-esteem (which I do) and strength, this is just too much to deal with.

  12. Richard
    August 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I found your web site today, whilst looking for spme legal advise regarding seperation from a BPD woman, what an eye opener. I thought I was alone in how my realationship had turned, I have not looked for this kind of re-assurance, that it was not ‘me’ but your articles (10 Things You Need to Do After…) and Blogs have helped me today, in one afternoons of surfing realise that what I intend to do (walk away) is the only course of action.

    I feel I’m just getting through the denial phase, still in pain and grief, but can see acceptance just over the hill, which I’m already half way up, so won’t go back.

    I just can’t say thank you enough, would have liked to share more thoughts, and maybe will one day, right now I need to pack a bag, and return home to start the process.

    Thank you again.


    • shrink4men
      August 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Richard,

      You are definitely not alone, which is one of the reasons I created this website. Abusive women maintain their power by keeping their behavior a secret and isolating their targets. Once you identify and expose them for what they are, their power begins to diminish. Knowledge is power. These women brainwash men into believing their behavior is “normal” when it is anything but.

      I’m happy to read you’ve gotten out of the relationship and wish you the best as you regain your life.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Mark G.
        August 25, 2009 at 1:56 am


        Try pointing a video camera towards her during one of her tirades. Will this shut/calm her down? Will filming her be future evidence against her? Will you film her while she’s attacking you? Will she want to attack you while you’re filming her?

        If an NPD woman is smart enough to manipulate, then she/you would figure that she’d be smart enough to realize that video evidence of her actions may be used against her.

        Dr. T,

        I miss wrapping my arms around her from behind, pressing my left ear against her right ear, and rocking our heads back-and-forth, holding hands in dirty dish water. I have yet to find closure, but you are helping. Thanks for your insight.

        • shrink4men
          August 25, 2009 at 8:25 pm

          You’re welcome, Mark. Just keep moving forward and you’ll get through it.

          Dr Tara

  13. selfawareness
    August 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    First, I find your website to be a needed breath of fresh air for our society. The crutch of sexism, used by both men AND women to defer taking responsibility for one’s self and one own actions, has gone way too far! And a big thanks to YOU for it: your writings have gone a long way towards that

    One thing which may be of help to your readers (just from my personal experiences)…

    Not ALL female emotional manipulators/abusers are the stereotypical yelling, raging, berating, type we have been conditioned to believe and expect. Mine, a short, but REALLY intense, 8-month relationship, was quite the opposite (even in private… and towards me!) Mine NEVER did any of those things; she never once even raised her voice! She had her sh*t together, seemed down to earth and quite level-headed, and extremely pleasant to be around! What she DID do was so subtle, that I didn’t even recognize it as abuse until AFTER distancing myself from her for several months with no contact.

    She was a MASTER of playing the martyr/victim, and using THAT as justification for why I should be “understanding” and give her the “reassurance” she needed as proof that I was trustworthy:

    * the frequent reminders of how she’s hit on constantly while working or while out (trying to knock me off-center, I suppose…); to which I ALWAYS responded “you’re a gorgeous woman, and that’s to be expected… You’re fully capable of telling all these guys ‘NO”, and I trust you, and it doesn’t bother me…” because it really didn’t bother me. I TRULY, GENUINELY meant it , and I didn’t even know it was emotional manipulation (in retrospect, it must have frustrated the HELL out of her… )

    *the out of the blue conversations, where she’d mention an ex-boyfriend who’d either called/text her earlier that day, and how he was still obsessed after all these years. I gave her the same response as above.

    *she’d grill me about periods of time (like an hour!) and use that to question what I was doing, and how “suspicious” it was that I was unavailable during that time. She relied on the “consensus” (she has 6 sisters) who, of course, ALL thought my behavior was “strange” and “suspicious”, and that maybe I was cheating on her…

    *she dropped hints 4 times about how her employers were thinking about transferring her out of state. That never came to fruition (of course)…

    *she also frowned on opposite-sex friendships, thought it strange that I didn’t buy her a birthday gift (after only having known her for a few weeks, because we met a bit before her birthday), and on Valentine’s day, said she wanted it to be “really special”, but we decided on a “no gifts” policy…just Valentine’s Day cards… I prepared a candlelight dinner for us @ her place, took her out afterward, and, (of course) SHE pulls out HER gifts for me( I didn’t get her anything because we had agreed on it… also HER idea), and a few weeks later, I was lectured and questioned on my “strange” behavior regarding gift-giving, as she had consulted her gyno-jury, (supposedly) and THEY came to the same conclusion…

    Tactics like this serve several functions: a) they’re meant to suggest how truly desirable she is, b) that I can be “replaced” at any time, c) that males, as a group, are untrustworthy, cheating, pigs, d) and that I needed to be available for her 24/7, as evidence that I’m trustworthy…

    In the end, she decided one day, to send me a text message saying that she’d decided to move out of state, got pissed off at me for not having sent her Easter Sunday flowers earlier that day (???!!!) and actually used my negative response (that it was weak and childish to tell me such life-changing news by text and expect flowers I didn’t know I was even supposed to send…. but I told her I “it breaks my heart, but I love you and support your decision”… ), and actually used MY response as proof that I was “not the man she thought I was” and that was proof enough that I wasn’t “the one” !!! (she never did end up leaving, by the way…)

    And, although I went no contact ever since, SHE STILL emailed me a couple of dozen times – after HER supposedly ending things with ME – with conflicting and contradictory mindf*ck, and “accidentally” text-messaged me a few more times… I wonder WHY someone who had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t “the one” would act that way (…don’t need an answer… already got my answer!)

    But I TELL YOU that , had you, or virtually ANYONE ever met her, you would have not believed any of what I’m telling you, because she was always “on” (even around me!!!)… and THAT is one of the main reasons WHY we fall for this sort of emotional manipulation/abuse: it’s so gradual, subtle, and insidious, that we don’t even realize it’s even happening as it’s happening, amazingly, we often don’t even view it as “abuse”, and the very best emotional abusers/manipulators will lull you into making it look like it’s all quite normal!

    Never again!

    … and 100% responsible for MY OWN happiness!

    … life is WONDERFUL!

    thanks AGAIN for your wonderful site, Dr. Tara !!!!

    • selfawareness
      August 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm

      OMG! Sorry!… I MEANT to say that your website goes a long way towards EXPOSING this sort of maladaptive sexist behavior among women as well as men for what it is!!! …MY error! … & my sincerest apologies… :)

      • Keith
        October 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

        WOW selfaware !! Are you sure that she isnt the same woman i was involved with for 4 yrs? Sounds just like her . She was allways on and so calm and lovely that nobody and I mean nobody would have ever guessed she was manipulating me to remodle her house for the poor poor woman who couldnt afford it.She would make up stories how a guy asked her out , had gone on dates with men all kinds of crap that were al lies. Yes and all her ex boyfriends just were goo goo for her too. How men would ask for hugs . Gee I wonder why ? She had a 36 D chest ! Hmm let me think?? I didnt mind at all at first I thought she was stable but WOW ! this woman was doing me , her ex husband and the contracter who built my house, ( who was an old friend of hers) all at the same time within a weeks time !! And get this….She was Teaching RELIGION classes to kids at the time this was happening !! WOW Talk about a cover!! Nobody would ever suspect sweet little Sarah (name changed by Dr Tara) of being this way. (edited for language by Dr Tara)

        • shrink4men
          October 30, 2009 at 8:10 pm

          Just a reminder not to use defamatory gender language here. It borders on woman bashing and I’m not okay with that—just like I’m not okay with man bashing.

          Dr Tara

          • selfawareness
            October 30, 2009 at 10:23 pm

            Nope, NOT the same person… not even close…

            As far as her consistently off-handedly mentioning exes and being hit on all the time… it was brought up by her in such a way that she expressed DISGUST about it… ie. “why are men like that, & why won’t they take NO for an answer, etc.” She more often than not spoke of her past exes in a negative light,too, although she’d ocassionally hold them up to me as an example of how I “should know how to act” when it suited her (double standards, ugh!)… She just wanted to drop the hint that she was ALWAYS being pursued, and her method was the PERFECT way to be able to imply it & simultaneously make it look as if she was “sharing” & “confiding” in me… Thankfully, I saw it eventually for what it was, & I cut things off (cold turkey & NO contact) after “only” 8 months, although she HAS emailed me & “accidentally” text messaged me since then… (even recently)… IGNORE IT !!!

            & while it’s absolutely possible, of course, that she DID cheat on me, I somehow suspect that she didn’t, ONLY because if we weren’t joined at the hip 24/7 she’d either text/call me 15-20 times a day (not exaggerating about that, btw…)or stay @ my place or I’d be at her’s…

            If we learn to understand that people (men AND women) act like this out of extreme neediness & anxiety about THEMSELVES towards us (ie. THEIR biggest fear is one of inadequacy/inferiority about themselves & themselves being in a relationship with US), it helps greatly for us to start the healing process & move on…

          • keith
            November 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

            sorry about the language Dr maybe got a little carried away !

    • Jim
      August 24, 2009 at 7:28 am

      My ex made the same types of manipulating comments all the time. How guys were always hitting on her, how she had always been able to get guys to do whatever she wanted for her, even telling me that guys would try to talk her into leaving me for them. I thought I didn’t mind when she said these things at the time but I was in denial. Because I let her get away with saying these types of things it only led her to become more using and manipulative. I didn’t know how to create and uphold boundaries – for myself. If I was in a similar situation again I’d maintain my dignity and leave. At least I know that now.

      • shrink4men
        August 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm

        Hi Jim,

        These women love to rub your nose in their relationship history with exes who they keep on a string to make you feel threatened and jealous. This is incredibly hurtful behavior and serves to keep you on permanent notice, “You’d better do as I say and treat me like the princess (aka royal pain in the ass) that I am or you’ll be replaced.”

        My advice is when they start talking this way, ignore the initial pang in your stomach and try to see it for the manipulation that it is. Then, if you really want to freak her out, say something like, “Gosh, honey, he sounds great. Would you like me to step aside so you can be together?” She’ll probably blink a few times and then get nasty, but it’d almost be worth it.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

    • shrink4men
      August 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm

      Hi self-awareness,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. It’s very kind of you.

      The types of behavior you describe are a form of covert abuse, which is far more subtle and insidious. Although, many of these women alternate between both forms of abuse. No matter whether they’re more covert or overt abusers doesn’t really matter; both are toxic and draining.

      Congratulations on recognizing your ex-s behaviors for what they are and getting out.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  14. franky
    August 23, 2009 at 9:13 am

    this web site has open my eyes to something that i refused to see for 4 years and gave me the strength that i neded to end this relationship that was sucking my soul out of my body and was killing me little by little. to the creators of this site and to all of you who have shared your experiences with everybody else on your comments, thank you so much. God bless you.

    • shrink4men
      August 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Franky,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I’m glad you’ve found my site helpful and best wishes to you in breaking free of your abuser. Making the decision to end the relationship is usually the most difficult step. Your next task will to remain strong and centered once the narcissistic rage explodes in response to you breaking up with her.

      Surround yourself with friends and family and hang on; you will get through this.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • CLR
      November 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm

      Dr T,

      This website rocks!!! I, like many I am reading here, felt like I was alone in this ordeal of being with a demanding, critical, raging, manipulative, conniving, etc etc etc …but ONLY in private making me feel like crap.

      It can’t be a healthy relationship when you are coming home from work and make detours and u-turns just to NOT go home to walk on the eggshells again. The dishes are never clean enough …the yard work is always wrong …the bizarre (sometimes scary) rages …the never-ending emotional roller coaster …how is it MY fault that her life hasn’t met her expectations, meanwhile I’m successful in my own career and have many friends and a great family (that she was always threatened by). She has sucked a part of my soul away, but I’ve found it again …

      Prior to finding this site, in my own personal therapy sessions 2 weeks ago – I discovered she has BPD. Fits the bill to a tee and it’s like a light bulb has gone off in my head. I can now see it.

      I’ve got myself back and it’s time to move on. I’ve made the choice to be HAPPY again. It feels good and empowering but it is very difficult to process after a 17 year relationship.

      Thanks for the support. I’ll visit often.

  15. rr4peace
    August 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Dr. Tara

    Just wanted to let you know that I am still in the process of ending a 11 year relationship with a BPD. It has taken all the energy, meditation, exercise and Toltec strength to keep myself from exploding. We are only Domestic Partners and this is the most expensive divorce ever. $35,000, 10 months and counting. Her own lawyer fears her. She never agrees to anything and her responses to my filed motions are hilarious. Talk about everything you mention in this website she actually puts it down in legal paper and attests to the lies. Maybe I should send a few to post.

    We have a child together that I had and of course. I was always trying to think of ways to make her feel secure so I actually had her officially adopted to put her name on the Birth Certificate. So now my poor baby is feeling the wrath. It has taken me all 10 months to get a new lawyer just to take her to task to get my daughter in the counseling she desperately needs. And now I trying to change the custody which is very costly.

    My new girlfriend has a mother with BPD and she recognized the traits and was actually the first person to tell me what I was dealing with. She just found your website and told me about it. I wish I knew about you and this site many months ago, you are so correct and such a wonderful asset to the world thank you for what you have done here. I will continue to read and take advice from this website.

    Thanks again


  16. Cool Breeze
    August 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Dr. Tara,

    I want to tell you how valuable your website is. You definitely make the world a better place! Behind all of your excellent articles-not only are very unique insights, but also your depth and compassion as a helpful, loving human being.

    Cool Breeze

    • shrink4men
      August 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks Cool Breeze. It’s very kind of you to say so. I’m touched.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  17. Clee
    June 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Was interested on your thoughts about men who are raised with BPD/Narcissistic mothers.

    I am reading through your articles, so am sorry if you already address this and I missed in it the Index of articles.

  18. dbear
    June 18, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    This is helpful for finding posts I want to read again. Thanks!

    • shrink4men
      June 18, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      Me, too!

  19. jp
    June 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Nice feature.

    • shrink4men
      June 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks, JP.

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