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Kind Regards,

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

  1. Danielle
    August 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Dr T,

    I’ve had an unrelenting need to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense–to try to find an answer to why my ex discarded me so coldly, but continues to retain an on-going codependent relationship with his ex-wife. Your insight on the relationship dynamics that exist between men and their abusive exes has been very helpful. The hard thing is, I have still, after all this time (we officially stopped seeing each other in April) not been able to fully heal from the traumatic experience of being sucked into their codependant clusterf*ck. I feel really hurt and damaged by it.

    I also feel 100% positive that my ex suffers from NPD and his ex is some strange variety of crazy. In our previous conversations, you have talked about how being sucked into that kind of dynamic can make a person feel crazy. I can say, without a doubt, that my experiences with him (and her) made me feel crazy. Thinking about them still makes me feel crazy, because I feel so hurt and used. It also makes me very angry with both of them and angry with myself for wasting my time on a lost cause. My ex doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that they are codependent. He says that his ex is dependent on HIM, but he is not dependent on her. He insists that his only reason for breaking up with me was because he didn’t have enough time for me–although he always had enough time for her. He doesn’t even see a problem with that. He even said something about how I wouldn’t criticize a mother for prioritizing her crack-addicted daughter over her boyfriend, so why would I criticize him for focusing on his ex to the point that it destroyed our “relationship”. Although he doesn’t qualify our time together as being a relationship, even though we spent all holidays and birthdays together, were planning a vacation to Hawaii together, were monogamous, etc… As I write this and pause to look back, I see how bad it sounds. I see how screwed up it all was, but I just feel so scarred by the experience.

    Try as I may, I can’t seem to completely heal to the degree that I would like. When I would try to engage him in conversation and challenge him about stuff (not yelling, not accusing), I’d just run up against a person that seems to be entirely clueless about the reality of their situation and even clueless about the nature of our past relationship. He even projected her behavior onto me and accused me of being manipulative, because I would want to spend more time together than the time that he had specifically allotted for a date. When I had too much to drink one time and asked to stay over, he accused me of intentionally drinking too much, just so I could impose/spend more time with him. Why the hell would he jump to that conclusion? I don’t know one person that hasn’t had too much to drink a time or two in their life and needed to sleep over at someone else’s place. In my mind, that isn’t the biggest deal in the world and it certainly isn’t a reflection of manipulative intentions–maybe a stupid miscalculation of healthy alcohol consumption, but not manipulative intentions.

    When he said stuff like that, I felt self-conscious and second guessed myself. Did I really do something terrible or was he just projecting his baggage from his ex onto me? I swear to you that probably the key reason that he broke up with me was because I did challenge him about their codependent relationship (and because she made his life a living hell while we were dating).

    Once again, the thing that I can’t seem to understand is why the hell do I even care anymore? Why can’t I completely let go? I need help in this area and I suspect that this is a fairly common problem that people go through after a break-up. Does this make me crazy? In my darkest moments, this situation has made me question my own sanity. I just wanted a healthy relationship with someone that wanted to spend time with me as much as I wanted to spend time with them–someone who is who they say they are and is in touch with reality. Now I feel like damaged goods after all of this. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it is just so hard to get total closure–especially because I feel totally duped.

    How do I let go and totally forgive myself for wasting time on this jerk and his hag of an ex-wife? What are the steps that I can take to move forward? I’ve sought therapy and even taken medication for depression, but the anger and pain never completely subsides. I wish that I could have the part of my brain that remembers him completely removed and replaced with the hopefulness that I used to feel about loving relationships.

    Calgon, take me away! ;-)

    Thank you,

    • shrink4men
      August 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Danielle,

      I’m sorry to read you’re still struggling with the aftermath of your ex and his equally crazy and abusive ex. I wish I had a magic answer for you. These things take time and April wasn’t that long ago.

      You’re not dealing with a normal relationship and the average, garden variety break up. In many ways, this relationship was traumatic. Mindf*cks always are. You question your sanity and turn yourself inside out trying to figure out what you did “wrong” and what you could’ve done differently. Shortly after my version of your ex an I stopped seeing each other, the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” came out. I remember thinking how great it would be to erase someone from your memory. Unfortunately, that’s not possible.

      My advice is to find ways to distract yourself when you begin ruminating about him and the relationship and fake it ’til you make it. Start going out on dates—not with the intention of getting serious—to remind yourself that there are other guys out there. When you find your mind wandering to your ex while you’re out, give yourself a mental shake and refocus your attention on your companion. Eventually, the intrusive thoughts will decrease.

      You’ll probably still experience a twinge every now and then, but I think that’s natural. For example, you walk past a restaurant you once went to with your ex and an image of the evening flashes in your head. That’s okay. Observe it and remind yourself of the major bullet you dodge and go on with the rest of your day. The anger and hurt will eventually subside. Yes, this experience was painful and he’s a jerk, but don’t let it define you. If you feel angry or sad, feel it and then let it go. I know it sounds trite, but keeping busy and taking care of yourself is the best way through it.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Danielle
        August 30, 2009 at 3:28 am

        Hi Dr T,

        Thank you so much for your advice. It was so detailed and thoughtful. I really appreciate that. All of what you said has come up for me–down to the whole restaurant thing. It’s hard, but I’ll get through it. You’re right that April wasn’t that long ago. I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it’s true. Plus, we were on again, off again for almost 2 years and there has been a lot of post clusterf*ck processing for me to do. I thought that he was “it” for me, because the person that I originally met was amazing.

        Unfortunately, that wasn’t the real Dennis. After a recent conversation, I realized that he is a pontificater that gets his narcissistic supply met by his needy ex wife. I say pontificater, because he cannot support his point of view when it is challenged. The only questions that he will answer are ones that he has an intelligent and rational sounding pat answer for. (“Sounding” is the key word here–I think that he should have been a politician!)

        If he can’t answer an important question, he resorts to vague answers that might sound good, but are meaningless. For example, when I told him that I was still angry with him for how he broke up with me VIA TEXT MESSAGE, he said “It is perfectly natural for someone to feel the way that you do at this stage after a break up. There are several different stages of grief and they are… blah, blah, blah…” Gee, thanks Elizabeth Kubler-Ross!!! How pompous and inauthentic can you get? I felt like I was in a liberal arts seminar all over again.

        These answers might work on less analytical and more hysterical women, but they don’t work for me. I also believe that his x’s needs subconsciously validate his existence. He gives her pep talks all the time and runs to her rescue when she is threatening to kill herself (or if she has spiders in her place). He makes excuses for her behavior and absolutely discounts the idea that they are codependent. “She is dependent on me, but I am not dependent on her.” He told me. Riiiiiight… Oh yeah, and she has been doing “surprisingly well lately.” It’s interesting that she is doing so well now that he isn’t seeing someone. He has gone on a couple of dates since April, but the women apparently were “boring.” I think that he is boring. It’s the same old same old situation with his ex and I actually think that he likes it. (Even his best friend is bipolar and tried to commit suicide last year.) He told me that I wouldn’t criticize a mother for helping her daughter that is a crack addict and so I shouldn’t criticize his relationship with M. I wasn’t criticizing–I was asking questions, but whatever. The point is, he is wasting his life on her and he wasted my time by pretending to be someone that he is not.

        I’m 32 and I want to have a healthy relationship with a person that knows who they are and what they want in life. I actually take dating seriously and I won’t waste another person’s time if I don’t have (or feel that I am developing) feelings for them. Unlike a lot of women, I don’t need someone to tell me how pretty I am or anything like that. It’s nice when I hear it, but I don’t seek it. What I do enjoy is sincerity, intellectual conversation, humor, affection, sexual attraction and emotional maturity. I hope that I can experience all of that over the long term with someone–especially someone that doesn’t have a soul sucking leach for an ex-wife.

        Onward and upward… I’m almost done spitting flames about him. I swear. ;-)

        One more thing: Some of my lesbian friends have had similar experiences to the people writing on this site. One dated a woman that ended up being nutso/borderline and another one is dating a woman that has an ex that ruined a recent date by calling repeatedly and saying that she is going to kill herself, because no one loves her anymore. My friend’s girlfriend dashed off to the rescue before they could even sit down to eat the beautiful meal that my friend had spent all day preparing. I used to think that it would be easier if I were a lesbian, but now I know that certainly isn’t true!

        All the best,

  2. Hayden Hanna
    August 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Dr. Tara,

    It has been a little over a year since the end of my relationship with a woman, who is my opinion meets 9 of the 9 DSM criteria for NPD. After the breakup, I accidentially ran into her ex-husband at a park where my son wanted to play. We started talking, and he brought up, without any prompting, that he thinks she has NPD. The comparative behaviors and cycles of abuse he described were almost identical to my experience with her. He was married to her for ten years and is a broken man still five years after their divorce. I am finally feeling like myself again after therapy, medication and over a year of no contact with her. She seemed so beautiful, together and normal in the beginning. I had no idea that these kind of predator women were out there. Before her, I had a habit of placing women in general on pedestals. My eyes are open now; this stuff is scary. Thanks so much for the public service you do with your website. The behaviors and interactions with these women that you describe are dead-on with what I lived through.

    It has been hard to deal with the embarrassment of knowing that I let someone treat me the way she did for so long. For a while after the relationship, I was kind of scared of women, and it is ironic in some ways that the most psychologically helpful and healing information that I got during my recovery came from my ex-wife, a female friend (a former ex-girlfriend), my female counselor, and you. It helped me keep the perspective that this is not a regular man/woman thing; it is an evil crazy predator-person versus average unsuspecting- joe/jane thing. Please keep your site going.

    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Hayden,

      Sorry for my delayed reply. I try to respond to all comments, but due to the clunkiness of the WP admin panel, I sometimes lose track of outstanding comments.

      Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I’m happy you were able to end your abusive relationship with an NPD. I’m relieved that you found support and healing through other women. It goes to show that not all women are like this. Your ex is indeed a predator if she has NPD.

      I wish you the best and you have my sincere hope that you find a warm and loving relationship.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  3. Mark
    August 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Can you explain my Ex’s friendships? She has a fairly large social group and some old friends that she has known for 20 years.

    She didn’t really have any friends locally, and the other mothers at school disliked her.
    She is not liked in her workplace.
    She has a friend who lives in a very wealth suburb about 30 miles from our former home and she really gets along with a group of women there. She has a few old friends who live in other cities and countries that she seems to get along well with.

    Even though she has old friends, I often wonder if she had deep friends, ones that you could really discuss your issues with, open up to emotionally or who you could trust to give you the honest truth. That being said, I think many of her women friends would describe her as a very good friend.


    • shrink4men
      September 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Sorry I’m so late in responding. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay on top of all the comments. Having only long distance friends may indicate an inability to have truly intimate friendships. In other words, they never get too close and aren’t exposed to her true self.

      That being said, I would need more information to understand what is going on? Why do you have these concerns?

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  4. Mike Terry
    July 26, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Dear Dr.T,

    Finding your website was a Godsend and lets me know I am not crazy or ALL to blame. My situation with my girlfriend of 3 and a half years is the same blueprint of any other guys on your site. She is a MONSTER and I feel like a fool for putting up with it for all this time. Of course, I did it in the name of love. I thought I could change her and live happily ever after. Ha ! I could write all night . She just broke up with me for the 7th time in 3and a half years. She comes back every time and of course, I take her back for a great meal and makeup sex. My fault , I know. Do you think she will be back for an 8th time? After learning all I have on your website, it will be hard to take her back . Why take her back ? I keep saying I love her but why ? Anyway, could you email me a response and your phone consultation rates ? I am interested in finding out why she acts the way she does toward me, whether she comes back or not. Heartbroken but trying to work throught it. Truly, I am a good man with a good heart who doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.

    Thanks for the site,

    • shrink4men
      July 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry to read about what you’ve been going through with your on-again-off-again gf. Yes, I think she’ll be back for round 8. This is a pattern that the two of you have established now and patterns are repetitive and hard to break. As for why she acts the way she does, well, we could spend hours going over that, but the bottom line is the “why” doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if she has a childhood abuse history or if her parents ignored her or if she was emotionally deprived. What matters now is her behavior as an adult and it’s not ok.

      As to why you willingly choose to go back to her after the deplorable way she treats you—I don’t know. Maybe you’re recreating an earlier relationship dynamic from childhood or adolescence. Maybe you’re trying to be the knight in shining armor. Maybe you’ve bought into her lies about never being able to find anyone as “wonderful” as her. Maybe it’s a combination of factors. I suspect that you’ve developed aome faulty beliefs about relationships either before or as a result of this relationships. The first step is to identify these beliefs and then use your intellect and logic to challenge them. The emotional reasoning that BPD/NPD women use is contagious and can cloud your judgment.

      It sounds like you’re starting to come out from under the spell this woman has you under and that’s important. Once you shine the spotlight on her behaviors, it’s hard to ignore what you saw and return to the same old same old. At your request, I emailed you my consultation practice information. If you truly decide you no longer want to have this kind of relationship, you CAN work through it.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • dbear
        July 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm

        “The emotional reasoning that BPD/NPD women use is contagious and can cloud your judgment.”

        This was the critical piece of the puzzle that going to therapy helped me to understand about my relaitionship with my BPD wife. I was married for 26 years before I had enough and started to do something about it. We coudl NEVER complete a converstion that was satisfying for her because I was not good enough to help her through her stuff (in her opinion).

        Thanks for all the great info on this site!

  5. Jeffrey Ernest
    July 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Your website is incredible and a place I come to for refuge. I got out of the craziest situation with over a month ago. Actually I tried and was successful at getting out of it so many times before but I always allowed myself to get sucked back into it. I did not know why and hated myself every time I would allow her back into my space. I lost self respect and became the most angry person I have ever seen me become. It was horrible.

    Everything about this site applied to the relationship I was in. After finally breaking it off and promising my counselor I would never see her again, well guess what, I did. I let her convince me that all my past relationship failures were my fault and wanted to be a better person. So I forgave her for yelling, screaming, cussing, hitting, and even flipping me off publicly in a steak house for not getting her chair and purse for her.

    So I forgave her, married her a week later and with one and a half hours found myself getting punched in the face, beat in an elevator, hit with electrical cords in the hotel room, and when I tried to restrain her I was bitten in the neck. After all this she laid down in bed and tried to go to sleep. You could say that this was an out of the body experience for me because this is not my life, this is foreign. I never once hit back and only took the beating.

    I didn’t want to but I was afraid that she could hurt herself and blame me for injuries so I called the police. After talking to both of us and reviewing the video that captured all of the abuse in the hallway and elevator she was taken away to jail for 18 hours. I was scared, lonely, and felt horrible for what I had done but thank God I got mad over being attacked and filled with hatred for this person.

    I just want the annulment papers signed. I have kept my word in doing as she has requested to get theses papers signed but she does not keep her word. I was such the poor little victim you read about (which makes me sick to think about) I even went for the first time in my life to a bail bondsman and posted bail for her that morning. Yes I regret that. Now she is trying to get money out of me in order for her to sign this. She has gone onto face book and is disgracing my name and throwing her views of what I did to her out there for the whole web to see. Especially friends I have and groups I belong to. If you want to see a real life example of your site here is the link to the facebook account she made up for me and my family. [link removed]

    I changed my phone number and have not spoken to her in over 3 weeks. It is nice and peaceful. I looking at myself and why I allowed this to happen, why I let her back into my life, and why I was attracted to her. I continue to learn new things everyday and really appreciate your site. FYI, I am a great dad of 4 kids, business owner, responsible person who is very embarrassed that I let someone into my life of this caliber.

    • shrink4men
      July 24, 2009 at 2:25 am

      Hi Jeffrey,

      What you went through must have been awful. Focus on the positive things in your life and let your attorney deal with this woman. And if he suggests playing rough with her (in the legal sense) let him do it. If the situation was reversed your ex would have no problem applying the screws to you. I wish you the best and hope you resolve the annulment as quickly and painlessly as possible.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  6. July 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Tara – I found your site thru Angiemedia BLOG – I would like to receive Email notice of new Postings and Comments as I am very sure their is much to learn from you for those following my BLOG.

    In the meantime I will promote it on Equal Parenting @ Ration Shed BLOG and place a LINK to it in the section I have called ## Choseing YOUR Childs other PARENT can Damage Equal Parenting – 3 Links## which will make it 4 LINKS.

    GO – Ration Shed discription

    GO – BLOG

    I wish you well in your work and thank you for it – Onward – Jim

    • shrink4men
      July 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you for the positive feedback. I appreciate it. Thank you also for linking to me. I’m very flattered.

      I’m trying to figure out how to do a newsletter, in the meanwhile, if you subscribe to my RSS, I think you’ll be notified every time I post a new entry or comment.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  7. Mark
    July 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Greetings Dr. T,

    I have to admit that I was shocked to discover this blog. Is there actually a woman out there defending men’s feelings? Wow! This is great. Now, I don’t feel so bad.

    I believe my ex-gf has NPD. Some of the decisions she made during our 4 1/2 month relationship would make your head spin. While I was her boyfriend, she actually set me up with a date with another girl against my consent. More on that in a later entry. She confessed buying a $350 purse, but I felt her wrath when she forgot to pay her $50 cell-phone bill. There’s much to tell, and I will tell you my story later as I collect my thoughts and resurrect mental documentation.

    This is definitely a great blog. Yet, it is also sad to read these heart-breaking stories from men who have been railroaded by thoughtless women. I’m a victim as well. Sad. Confused. Perplexed.

    Thank you, Dr. T, for making this blog a reality. Your communication skills are excellent. I will get back with you later on as I prepare my story. Have a great day.

    • shrink4men
      July 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Sorry to read about your painful experiences with your ex-gf. These women truly are pieces of work. Yes, many of the stories here and elsewhere are heartbreaking. However, I also find the stories of the men who have managed to break the cycle of pain and fear inspiring.

      I look forward to your future participation on the site.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  8. Anthony
    June 23, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I cannot thank you enough for having this website. Your descriptions fit my wife 110%. I have been married to a NPD /BPD / woman for the last 12 years with the last 10 years being HORRIBLE! We have a 12 year old son that’s been affected by everything also. Your website has given me some relief. Thank you so much. Please send me your rates for private consultation/coaching via telephone. I can’t afford allot but even a small amount of consultation/coaching would be a tremendous help. Now I am going to read every word on your site so I can learn some insight on how to deal with the little evil elf I am married too tell I can get out of it.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Anthony,

      I’m glad the information I present here has been helpful for you. I’m sorry to read what a difficult time you’ve been going through. I just sent you an email re: my rates, etc.

      Hang in there. Making the decision to end one of these relationships is a big first step and takes a lot of courage. I know how difficult it is.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • jp
        June 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm


        If you’ve decided to leave the relationship then you should assume, from this moment on, that you’ll end up in a custody battle and act accordingly.

        I’m not an expert in this area but you can find divorce support forums for men online where many of the contributors offer excellent advice. Some of their stories are unbelievable. You’ll quickly see the need to be prepared. Success in divorce is all about homework.

        One thing you can do now is start a journal and record specifics about her abuse and other drama. If you get into litigation, a journal protects you against slanderous lies and gives credence to your version of events.


    • Laura
      June 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm


      This website may help you in preparing. I’m sure Dr. T knows of great ones as well.

      Wishing you the best!


      • shrink4men
        June 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm

        Thanks, JP & Laura,

        As always, great advice. Journals are an excellent idea as is recording her tirades on a small, concealable digital recorder (if you’re in a two-party state it’s legal—check with your attorney).

        Also check out William Eddy’s books, High Conflict Personalities in Legal Disputes and Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or a Narcissist.

        The first title is available on Amazon for under $20 and the second is available through for under $25.

        Dr T

  9. Jon
    June 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I’ve been looking for an explanation for why my 25 yr old son, professional, University graduate etc. has changed since becoming engaged less than a year ago. His fiancee is permanently infuriated by my wife and I for not giving in to her every whim regarding the forthcoming wedding. The latest is that she (and aparrently our son) only want parents and siblings at the wedding ceremony. When we objected, because relatives from overseas who love our son would like to come over, she threw a fit and said we weren’t welcome either – what I couldn’t understand is why our son keeps silent during her rants, and when I ask him what he thinks he just says that its what they both want. She only very reluctantly allows us to speak in private to our son, saying that she had to defend her future husband from us – his parents. He seems oblivious to how he has become alienated from us and his sisters who love him dearly – it seems to us that he has been captured by her and her family who seem to also live in fear of her – were they trying to get her off their hands?

    As he’s only been with her for about a year (quick engagement and rapid wedding plans) what is the best way of trying to get him to come to his senses?


    • jp
      June 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm


      Presumably your son has one or more long-time close friends. Have you been able to discuss the situation with any of them? It would be interesting to hear their take on it.


    • shrink4men
      June 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Jon,

      My heart goes out to you and your family. It appears that your daughter-in-law to be is your average NPD/BPD nightmare. What you’re describing is a fairly common occurrence. She’s isolating your son from his family, the people who really care about him, so that she can assume total, unchallenged control over him.

      Don’t dismiss her indefensible behaviors as pre-wedding jitters; they’re not. I’ve read numerous stories about this and know people personally and professionally who have had this happen to their sons. In fact, my dearest friend’s family went through something very similar prior to her brother’s wedding. Now, he’s married with two children and his wife basically denies his parents access to their grandchildren unless they come bearing expensive gifts and pay her homage during every visit. No matter how solicitous they are, they receive an email from their son shortly thereafter their visit to tell them how “rude” their behavior was.

      He’s a medical doctor, intellectual, etc., but he’s become a mindless robot since getting together with this woman. His then fiance uninvited his parents to the rehearsal dinner because they refused to shell out almost $20,000 for it. Rehearsal dinners are traditionally for the wedding party and immediate family. She wanted to invite the whole wedding guest list. This culminated with her screaming at my friend’s 72-year old father while he was flat on his back recuperating from back surgery that he was a “welcher,” that he and his wife “weren’t allowed” to come to the rehearsal dinner that she was going to pay for it (a much less lavish one then she was trying to extort from my friend’s parents), and that they’d “better be careful” otherwise they wouldn’t “have a role” in their as of yet unconceived grandchildren’s lives .

      My friend has had barely any contact with her brother for the last 5 years and describes it this way, “It’s like my brother died. I don’t know who this person is.” The last time my friend saw her brother was last year at their younger sister’s wedding. His wife made a huge scene because she didn’t like the table at which they were seated. Mind you, this is the same woman who brays on about how offended she is by my friend’s parents’ “rude” behavior.

      The cruel irony is that your son’s fiance is no doubt alienating him against his own family by portraying you as controlling, selfish, etc., which, in reality, is how she’s behaving. Why does he go along with it? Because if he doesn’t, he’s probably subjected to verbal and emotional abuse, shouting, tears and heaven knows what else. At least when she’s raging at you, she’s not yelling at him, so he keeps his mouth shut.

      These women are masterful when it comes to getting a man to marry them. They close the deal fast before the worst of their behavior comes out. Although, sometimes they expose their true monstrous selves and the men still marry them. It’s astounding.

      Have you spoken with your son’s friends about his fiance? What do they think of her? Unfortunately, he may not be able to hear any of your warnings or pleas to reconsider what I can guarantee you is going to become a disaster, especially when they begin having children. There’s a risk in telling him what you really think and feel. If he repeats it to her as she’ll use that information to further cut you off from your son. If you could speak with his friends about intervening that might be a good first step.

      If you talk to your son, I’d avoid saying anything bad about his fiance because he’ll probably become defensive. You need to frame it in such a way that you’re able to express he doesn’t seem like his usual self, you don’t understand why his fiance is becoming upset, you don’t want to put him in the middle, that you love him and support him no matter what, but that you are concerned because a wedding should be a happy time and it’s been the opposite.

      If anyone has any other advice for Jon and his family, please post it. I think I know how you feel, Jon. It’s like watching a train about to derail and tumble over the side of a cliff and you’re powerless to stop it.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • Jon
        June 16, 2009 at 10:43 am

        Dear Tara,

        Thank you for your reply. It helps to know we are not alone – and reassuring to confirm that we aren’t crazy or unreasonable. Having an explanation for our future daughet-in law’s behaviour provides some basis for trying to work out a strategy for rescuing our son before it’s too late – i.e. before the wedding in 5 months time!

        Having read some of the papers and blogs on this site it is obvious to me now that our son tells her everything that we speak to him about, and she uses this ruthlessly against us – twisting the most innocent things to make us appear inconsiderate of his future happiness and wellbeing. She is the only person on the planet who’s sole mission in life is to make him happy!

        The articles you have produced on how to tell if you are in an abusive relationship etc. seem more targetted at those tragic long-term sufferers. What I would really like is something I can use to help my son see for himself that he is dangerously close to making the biggest mistake of his life. I have pleaded with him to postpone the wedding and just continue living together – but he is adamant and insists if they could marry tomorrow they would.

        Of course I could be deluding myself – he shared a flat with her at University for 3 years before they ever got together, although I suspect he was her shoulder to cry on and “rock” between a succession of failed relationships taking place right under his nose. So maybe he is already a long way down the road to perdition.

        If, as seems feasible, I’m going to lose my son anyway, I would prefer to do so as a result of my active attempts to get him out of this relationship, rather than watching the train-wreck just happen in front of my eyes.

        I am working on contacting his close friends, though these have dwindled and may not be as close as before. I feel like picking him up and shaking him – what other things can you suggest, or any other correspondents out there who have had or are having similar experiences.

        By the way – here’s an almost unbelieveable irony – they are both medical doctors and she wants to specialise in psychiatry!

        • shrink4men
          June 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

          Hi Jon,

          I have just posted your story and request for help as its own blog post. I’ve asked whomever reads it to consider the following four questions:

          1. What do you wish your friends and family would’ve said to you before marrying or otherwise committing yourself to your emotionally abusive, BPD/NPD wife, ex-wife, girlfriend or ex-girlfriend?
          2. Is there anything they could’ve said or done at the time that would have caused you to reconsider the relationship or marriage?
          3. What advice can you give to Jon to help him preserve his relationship with his son?
          4. What advice do you have should the worst case scenario happen and his potential daughter-in-law effectively cut him off from his son and future grandchildren?

          Hopefully, people who read your story will reach out and offer advice and support. In general, the fellows and many of the women who read my blog have some very good information and are very supportive to each other.

          I hope this helps!

          Kind Regards,
          Dr Tara

    • Doug
      February 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Send him the link to this site and the Mayo Clinic or put it in the mail anonomously where he can read it alone. That way he can read it at work or away from her and make his own mind up…it is not enough just to hear it from you or others as his head is filled with rants about how no one is good enough, smart enough already. But reading a 3rd party, unbiased article will help. That way you are not “just picking on her”!
      If I had seen any of this before I married, I (think) I would have walked away beforehand.

  10. Laura
    June 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks Dr. T.

    I’ve never been disgnosed with BPD but have wondered at times if I do have it.

    I was in therapy for about 2 years dealing with other issues, but also had a string of horrible relationships. I’m sure the men in them had their roles, but I think I had some big parts in making them dysfunctional with traits of BPD. So, everyday is a struggle and in working on myself…It’s not just a sit down and figure it out kind of thing to solve. You have to attack it from all possible angles.

    There’s a nutritional/exercise angle, spiritual angle, maturation/responsibility angle, intellectual angle, social angle…Learning to escape emotional entrapment…The one with BPD or NPD has to be the one on high alert and to work on all this is truly difficult and exhausting. Then you have to learn how to love yourself and accept yourself and then bring other people into the equation. Since you can’t do this in complete isolation, it’s hard to do and hard on everyone you’re close to.

    The above could probably be true for any kind of problem (ie. alcohol addiction) that they’re working on. But with those with BPD or NPD, they need to see it, to figure it out for themselves and then work on it. They can’t be told or asked. The light has to switch on for themselves. And to face it is an extremely scary thing.

    So, unless she’s willing to dig deep and I mean deep and do it, you really have no choice but to leave or you’re just committing emotional suicide with yourself. If she does get help and works on it and a lot of time goes by and she’s consistent, then maybe there’s a chance, but you’d have to cut her off anyways in the beginning and it’s a life long battle just like anything else one faces.

    If you did go back to her, you’d have to be a much stronger person than you are now. You’d have to be able to love yourself enough to not tolerate even a hint of abuse from her, because if you do, you’re hurting yourself and her progress.

    Save yourself the insanity and move on.

  11. Mr. E.
    June 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    “pick up iPhone and check for messages. ”

    Wow, they really DO all do the same things…

    • LosingMyself
      October 7, 2009 at 10:15 pm

      No kidding! Only the technology used is different. iPhone, enV, its all the same.

      enV, hmmm… maybe there’s a reason she chose THAT phone.

      Just a crude attempt at humor and at my own situation.

      Reading others horror stories, and successes helps bolster me until I can break free of the wreckage.

      Thanks to all of you who have contributed to those of us who needed it by sharing your stories.

      ~ LosingMyself

    • September 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      Add to that “…and step out for a smoke”

  12. Mary
    June 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I am amazed at reading your “fake therapy”. You have great insight and hit on points that I overlook when reading Ralph’s post. Have you ever considered going into this line of work?

    This has been an interesting site for me to stumble upon also, as I am looking at this from a different perspective. And being a woman, it is enlightening to see how men think. My situation is a bit more complicating. The man I am involved with (and love very much) has been divorced from a very controlling woman for 7 years. (She wanted the divorce.) I could never understand why his self esteem was so low, or why he continued to allow this woman to interfere with our relationship. She observes no boundaries, calls him whenever she wants, invites him to dinner with her, is upset if he doesn’t call her on anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, you get the picture. And he is still attending her family functions with her. He sees absolutely no fault in her, and will not hold her accountable for anything. (The divorce was entirely his fault, he tells me. He hurt her once, and promised to never hurt her again.) She even calls him when the dog needs to go to the vet so he can go with them. Kind of like a comical/dysfunctional little family.
    On top of it all, he has become very emotional abusive to me. If I try to discuss any of this with him, and why it makes me uncomfortable for him to call her several times weekly, email her almost daily, go with her to family functions, etc. he becomes distant. Refuses to talk about it. And pretty much withdraws from me for several days. During these times he has been known to call his ex to discuss this with her, or take her out to dinner. If I get upset about this he tells me that he has done nothing wrong. She is a friend. Nothing sexual is going on. I am the problem, not her. As long as things are going fine with us, what does it matter if he calls her, she calls him, he visits her, goes to dinner or ballgame with her? IT IS ONLY A FRIENDSHIP. So, my only choices are to accept this, or leave. I have always chosen leaving. Not really because I want this, but because it hurts me too much to stay. I do continue to call him, and stop by, and he always has remained in contact with me also. Eventually we get back together, and things are going great. Then something will happen, like a text from her telling him that she is “a little bit scared” because someone broke into a neighbor’s house. Of course, he has to check on her. When I tell him this is not right he will tell me that what is not right is that she has to text him, because she is not comfortable calling him. She doesn’t want to upset me. What a saint she is. He defends her each time. She would never call him. She would never interfere in our relationship. Yet when I see the phone bills, they are both calling each other. I have seen emails where she is upset because she hasn’t heard from him in two weeks. She feels that she has been “cast aside”.
    I have been patient and understanding. I have tried to understand his guilt, even though I think he has paid his dues, and feel she has just as much fault in the divorce as he did. I have searched for a compromise every time. I have asked if I could go with him to her nieces ballgames, graduations, etc. No, he tells me. This would make her uncomfortable, and her family also. What business do I have being there anyway? So I have asked if he doesn’t want me to go, can he just not sit with her or her family. As a slow way of breaking away from them. Then eventually it may not be so uncomfortable for everyone if I come also. No. Then everything is my fault. He tells me that he should have known that this would happen if he started dating me again. I can’t drop anything. I can’t let anything go. So I always end up being his “mistake”. He never says, “I am sorry that I called her again. Things were going so well for us until I let her over step the boundaries again. I shouldn’t have done that.” No, it is always “why did I think things would be different if I called you again?” Sometimes I think he sees me as the problem, like if he can just eradicate me from his life that things will be simple again. Yet he has also told me he is tired of being alone. Does he think that he will find someone who will be okay with this? (She has ever acknowledged me at all. She still attends his art shows with her parents and nieces. They literally surround him. When I approach I can feel the tension. She will not make eye contact or acknowledge me at all. Her nieces will speak to me, but only after I speak to them first. I am always left feeling that I am the intruder. Of course, during these times he is always attentive to me. He will usually break from their group and stand by me, and this I appreciate.
    I have never understand the dynamics of their relationship until finding this blog. Is it possible she is NPD and he is co-dependant? Nothing else makes any sense. Is it possible that he tries not to call her, but she won’t let up. She continues to email him asking why he isn’t calling. Reminding him that he promised to always keep in touch. Telling him how depressed she is. Telling him that he is treating her like she doesn’t exsist. Is it possible that the guilt eats him up? How can he be happy in a relationship when he destroyed their 20 year marriage? How can he be happy when she is depressed? Is this why he calls her? to relieve the pressure? He can call her, visit her, whatever, and she is ok. And for a while the pressure is relieved. Everything is ok until I snoop and discover the lies. Then I ruin everything. Is this the distorted way he sees things? I am trying to understand. In a way I feel that this is such a waste of a great relationship. I do feel he loves me. I do feel he wants to be free of her. Yet I wonder if his identity is so wrapped up into her after letting him control him for 20 years that he is afraid of losing her and not knowing who he is. I do know that the times in our relationship that she is not interferring, and they are not talking, he is a complete different person. He is at ease, very comfortable. And our relationship goes smoothly. I absolutely love his company. It is a very easy relationship. I know when he is talking to her without him having to tell me. His personality changes completely. He becomes cynical. He becomes emotionally distant.
    So, I am left with the only option of leaving a relationship that has been the potential of being the most rewarding I have ever been in. And I leave knowing that he is miserable and unhappy. Her interest will wane when my presence is gone. He will move on, find someone else and the cycle will begin again. So I have something I care about deeply for nothing. Yet, I cannot seem to move on because I have no interest in anyone else. I still am very much in love with him. And I miss him dearly.
    Anyway, this is where I am coming from. Trying to understand as much as I can in trying to know how to deal with this. Wishing there was someway I could educate him on what she is possible doing to him. Wishing there was some way I could let him know that he is not the loser he feels like he is. That this may be the effect of 20 years of emotional abuse on her part. And that he should be able to break free of her and not feel any guilt. She is responsible for her own happiness at this point. She made the decision to divorce him. (She left him to date her dance instructor, which to my knowledge she is still dating. She tells her ex-husband that she wants to break up with her boyfriend, but is afraid of hurting his feelings.) So, thanks for your postings. Because you guys are willing to share your experiences and insights it helps me to make sense out of insanity.


    • jp
      June 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm


      Thanks for the kind words.

      Good for you for getting out of that mess. It sounds like you gave it your all, saw that it was hopeless, and had the courage to take the bullet and move on. If only your ex had the same fortitude.

      Your ex and his ex…what a swamp of childish dependency. Neither has the courage to get all the way in or all the way out of the relationship. And if he can’t get all the way out with her, he can’t get all the way in with you. As an outside observer, I don’t see the “potential” you mention.

      Did he cheat on her? The problem with ‘nice guys’ who break their marriages through adultery is that they can make a religion of their guilt. Sound like your guy? If so, and his ex is a taker, then I suspect he may never be able to make enough sacrifices to appease her or, more importanlty, to forgive himself. (At least bastards know how to move on.)

      When it’s just the two of you, he’s great. But when his ex tugs on his heart strings–or needs him to change a light bulb–he treats you like another sacrifice he can lay at the altar of his ex-wife to show how sorry he is. You deserve better.


      • shrink4men
        June 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

        Thanks for responding to Mary, JP. You gave her the same advice I did in regard to a similar comment she left on another post a few weeks ago (Can a Man Who Was Emotionally Abused By His Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend Have a Relationship with a Healthy Woman?) and in a couple of private email she sent yesterday.

        Mary, it’s been 2 years that you’ve been on tenterhooks with this man. You keep retelling the same tale of hurt and betrayal over and over again without moving forward. You’re stuck in what I call an “emotional trauma loop” in the same way several of the men who have recently posted comments are. You are grinding away asking, “Why? Why? Why?” followed by, “Yes, but why?” and then, “but I really love him/her.” You seem to be desperately seeking an alternate answer to the one JP, Danielle (on the post mentioned above) and I have given you and I’m sure a different answer than your friends and family have given you.

        You are stuck in a destructive relationship triangle. Your ex and his ex-wife have been at it for 20 years and neither of then seem to have any intention of stopping. Yet, you are discounting all the signs, all the hurtful behaviors and everything your logical mind is telling you because you can’t compute how this “wonderful” man changed overnight.

        Actually, Mary, your ex-bf didn’t change overnight. He has always been the way he is—at least since his relationship with his ex began. It just took a couple of months for his true personality and sick behavior patterns to come to light. Like many of the men on this site, you long to go back to the way it was before things turned ugly. Those days were an illusion. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but that’s the reality. Nice, wonderful guys don’t treat people the way he’s treated you. I don’t care how screwed up he is. Just because he feels guilty about something he did way back when doesn’t mean he gets to jerk people around now. You’re making excuses for his behavior when there is no excuse for his behavior.

        As I’ve said before, you’re seeking an honest, caring and exclusive relationship from a man who simply is not capable of giving it to you. It’s like you’re hellbent on buying some bananas, but instead of going to the supermarket, you’re going to Ace Hardware. You keep going and going and going to the hardware store to find bananas and each time you go, you’re surprised that they don’t have what you want. It’s ok to want bananas, but you need to look for them somewhere else. You’re never going to find bananas at the hardware store and you’re going to drive yourself bananas if you keep trying to do so.

        Once you accept this, you’ll stop torturing yourself with all the “why’s” and “but’s.” If you don’t accept this, you’ll probably spend a few more years stuck right where you are and I wouldn’t wish that kind of misery on anyone.

    • Olivia
      November 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm

      Oh my God Mary, I just read your post after I wrote my story, very similar to yours. You have described the same situation I was in. He had this thing going on with an ex of 35 years ago, with whom he’s stayed in contact during his past 23 years of marriage to another woman. He insisted that this relationship was only a friendship, yet I read emails and letters, and I know better. Just like you, what kept me HOOKED in this relationship was the belief that he “really loved me”, despite of all the evidence to the contrary. I found excuses for his behavior in his past history of abuse as a child, in his tormented childhood. I didn’t want to be yet another person to abandon him in his life. I was telling me that he had kept his contacts with the ex because he felt guilty about the way he left her 35 years ago. However, he had the same type of relationship going on also with two other women. Only “friends” of course, but the communications (emails/texting/phone calls) began at 5:30 am, back and forth. If I was present, he would not pick up the phone. They never called at home because I was there. And I was the bad one! I was “ruining” his friendships with my jealousy. Two of my birthdays went by, and I spent them alone, not even a flower from him. They got a day at the “spa”, an e-card, and a phone call (they all live out of State).
      I was not invited at events if one or two of them were going to be present. It would have made it “ackward” for them to approach each other. So, “his decision” was that I could not participate, never mind if it was a once-a-year event!
      Mary, he DOESN’T love you. Like he didn’t love me. We think that because THAT is exactly what they wanted us to believe – this is how they SINK THEIR HOOKS ON YOU.
      Stay away from this man, and don’t ever look behind.
      He DOESN’T love you. When they say they love us, they don’t know what they mean. What they do is not LOVE. If you love someone you would rather sacrifice yourself, than make the person you “love” feel the way they have made us feel. If we gotta jump through LOOPS to get love, we are not BEING LOVED.
      Hope you’ll do what it takes.
      Be strong.

      • Mary
        November 22, 2009 at 2:08 am

        Thanks Olivia,
        Actually I just got through reading your story on another post and thought our stories are similar. This has gone on 3 years for me and is very painful. In my case both he and his ex play the game. His ex really didn’t want to have anything to do with him until we began dating. It was then that she began emailing him, asking him to call and visit her. We have broken up several times over her. Most recently she has reconnected with his family. I’m not sure how she has done it, but at this point his mother is rude to me if she sees me. His niece is being baptized this weekend in another town, and the entire family has been invited to his sister’s for the weekend. They also invited his ex. No mention of inviting me. He tells me that he thinks it is nice that she is reconnecting with his family. It seems that he doesn’t see how manipulative she is. She is still dating the man that she left him for. Yet, he doesn’t seem to care that she is dating this man. The thrill for them seem to be in sneaking around and lying. I also recently discovered that last winter/spring (when we had broken up so he could freely call and visit his ex) he had called as many as 5 prostitutes in a 5 month period. After several months of “freedom” to call his ex and visit her (and call prostitutes apparently) he suddenly took a trip to Europe. I got a letter from him telling me that he was sorry about the way he treated me, and that he had taken a trip to “get away from himself”. He emailed me several times from Europe. He seemed down and broken. He called me the minute he got back. He was sorry, and asked for another change. For months things went well. He seemed very happy, and I was estatic. Until August. That’s when he received an email from his ex telling him the dog was getting surgery. Of course he had to call to check on “the dog”. She then sent him her nieces’ soccer schedules. At least he did tell me these things. I guess he did improve somewhat. We had a small argument about him going to the soccer games. I told him that if he went, I would like to go also. I wasn’t comfortable with him going and sitting with his ex. He was upset with me, but it seemed shortlived. He ended up not going to any of the games, but later in the fall seemed to resent me for it. In Sept he suddenly grew sullen around me. I couldn’t get him to talk to me about what was bothering him. He withdrew physically and emotionally from me. When this happens, I know that he is communicating with his ex, but I cannot do anything. If I ask he will only deny it, and then get angry with me. And it leaves me doubting myself. I tried to leave him alone to give him some space. Then one night as I was leaving he blurted out that he was unhappy with his life and I was a big part of it. That hurt. I have always tried to make him happy. And I love him very much. He told me that he had missed the soccer games because of me. He said that sometimes he wants to call his ex just to talk, and nothing is wrong with that. He seemed to resent me for all of this. I was devestated and told him that if these things made him happy, then he should be doing them, but I couldn’t stay around and be hurt. (This was before I found out about him calling the prostitutes. If she makes him so happy, why is he calling prostitutes and posting profiles on sex sites? I found these also after some searching.) So this is where I am now. My life feels torn apart again. And he blames me. He says he sees nothing wrong with visiting his ex, or calling her. Yet he cannot take me on these visits. He even says when they talk he never mentions me at all, because she is uncomfortable when he talks about me. Although he has admitted that he tells her about our arguments. I’m sure she loves that. So Olivia, I hope I am able to stay strong this time. I am dreading the holidays and wish I could just spend them alone. But I have two daughters that I have to put up a front for. I have to pretend to be happy. This is hard for me. I am not one to pretend to be happy when I am not. It takes everything out of me. At the moment I want to be alone all the time, and I have been having sudden crying spells. I am hoping my daughters decide to spend Thanksgiving with their father so I can just stay home alone. I need some time to recover before I can be around anyone. It is amazing how much damage one person can do to another. Take care Olivia, and thanks for sharing your story.

        • Danielle
          March 12, 2010 at 1:58 am

          Olivia and Mary:

          First of all, I am very, very sorry you are going through all of this. I know how deeply painful it is, because I’ve spent the past three years of my life going through it myself. (You might have seen some of my posts about my relationship with a man who had–and probably still has–a codependent relationship with his abusive ex-wife.) What makes “our” guys different from most of the men on this site is that our guys did/do not take responsibility for their actions. A critical part of taking responsibility for one’s actions is changing one’s behavior. “Sorry” is not enough. Acknowledging and making a half-ass attempt to change bad behavior is not enough. The only thing that is enough is change itself. By “change” I mean lasting change that weathers the familiar and unfamiliar challenges of life.

          Unfortunately, we cannot get these men to change anymore than the men on this site can get abusive women to change. It may be cliche, but the only thing that we can change is ourselves. This means taking a long, hard look at what made us believe that we have to win a strategic interpersonal war to “earn” love. Only after we have changed that belief system, will we stand the chance of finding the right, healthy person. Of course you might not want to imagine another person just yet. I understand that, but you will get there eventually. Believe me, if I can get there, after three years of deep, dark depression, hurt and persistent longing, so can you. I promise.

          Part of what has made our collective experiences difficult is the knowledge that the other person is capable of so much more. They were wonderful, amazing men when we first met them. They made us feel so special, so loved, so hopeful… but it didn’t last. Over time we felt confused, disposable, unloved and hopeless. Why? Because our love was not enough to change them into being the healthy men we thought they were to begin with. This might sound strange, but it is terribly difficult to accept the fact that our love is not enough to fill the void that exists within another person. We cannot “love” them into consistent, healthy behavior. We cannot “love” them into loving us. If they have unresolved issues that keep pulling them back to their ex, then they probably don’t love themselves enough to let you love them. When and if (big “if”) they ever will is beside the point. We cannot live our lives waiting for other people to fulfill their potential. Potential is as common as sand on the beach. There is nothing special about potential. Nothing whatsoever.

          As women, I think that we might be geared to take potential too seriously, because we are biologically geared to nurture babies. If we didn’t have that mechanism within us, we’d abandon a baby as soon as it proved to be difficult. Instead, because of our internal mechanism, we continue to nurture the baby through its fussy/difficult times. This is a wonderful mechanism for child-rearing, but it is our worst enemy when it comes to relationships. The men that we choose to be with need to be whole, healthy individuals before they can ever be with another whole, healthy individual. Likewise, we need to be whole, healthy individuals before we are able to choose a whole, healthy mate.

          There is a quote that I go back to time and time again, “Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” I recommend writing that down and/or printing it out, and putting it near your bathroom mirror… or in your car… or on top of your coffee maker. (Somewhere you look several times a day.) Make it a mantra and it will make a huge difference in time.

          With everything that I have written here, I want you to know that I am not blaming either of you for hoping for the best, for believing in these men who you have cared for. Please do not feel stupid or silly or anything negative about yourselves. You were brave enough to love someone and that is a beautiful thing–no matter what. Now you need to take the energy that you had for him and redirect it toward healing yourself. As Joseph Campbell said, “Where you stumble, there lies your treasure…”

          Within yourselves you will find a treasure that will make you feel whole again. You will recognize yourself again. You will move forward and be happy again… but not until you forgive and nurture yourself… so get to it! :-)

  13. Ralph
    June 9, 2009 at 6:08 am

    I think I need to disconnect from her totally. Otherwise I’m vulnerable to being lured back. As I was thinking about (confused about–lol) what was going on, I could feel those same stressed out feelings coming back. That same old familiar anxiety. Even though I “think” I love her, or whatever it is, I need to get away and stay away. That’s what I’ve got to do. . – R

    • Laura
      June 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm


      If you care about her, leave her.

      If you care about you, leave her.

      If she gets left enough, she might figure it out and work on it for real.

      And regarding leaving: Do it right the first time. Change your phone number(s), email…you name it. Move if you have to. Unlist your contact info. Be truly free and clear. If you have mutual friends take a break from them and make new ones. Build up your own great support system and do things for you that you enjoy. Heal yourself and then attract someone great with your new found sense of self and knowledge about relationships.

      Trust me. It’ll end up being a win-win.

      *Big Hugs*


      • shrink4men
        June 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

        Great comment. Thanks, Laura!

  14. Ralph
    June 9, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Great advice. I am on high alert. Such a tough decision to make. One of those decisions that you wish someone else would make for you. It’s unfortunate, but you always have to make it for yourself and then take responsibility for it. Yuk. ==R

    • jp
      June 9, 2009 at 3:51 am


      Pls forgive the following fake therapy, I’m probably way out of line.

      You talk about being on “high alert”. Earlier you say you can “ill afford to fall prey to her again.” It’s like your thinking about invading Fallujah to battle giant cobras instead of reconnecting with a lover.

      These odd word choices are you telling you everything you need to know about the wisdom of this move.

      But they also suggest an odd kind of detachment, as if the visceral agony you’ve experienced from this relationship happened to someone else, and now you’re the scientist faced with some kind of intellectual puzzle. I wonder if this is a mode you’ve gone into in the past to enable yourself to stay attached to her.


      • Ralph
        June 9, 2009 at 4:43 am

        Very interesting comment. You may be totally right too. In the past when she hurt me I would detach for a day or two and spend the time trying to figure out what was wrong (which I could never do until I found this blog). So I guess you are right, I am in some sort of “state of detachment”… and I guess that better than being in a “state of blues”… lol. What does that mean though? Is it a way of escape? A way to try and fix things? A way to try and analyze without emotion?… What do you think?

      • Ralph
        June 9, 2009 at 4:52 am

        It’s possible that it’s just my general personality as well. I have always been a “let’s identify the problem” and “then we can fix it” type person. It’s interesting that you used the word “puzzle” too… cause that’s what I have been calling this whole process. Trying to put the puzzle together. LOL. So you are most certainly right regarding that observation. I would like to know if it means anything or not. I am a firm believer in the “correlation does not equal causation” concept as well. That’s where I got off track trying to figure this relationship out in the first place. Let me know what you think. Thanks. –R

        • shrink4men
          June 9, 2009 at 4:57 am


          I think the point JP is making (and I agree with him) is that the language you’re using to entertain the thought of reuniting with this woman sounds like you’re preparing for war rather than love.

          Which begs the question, why would you want to get back together with a woman for whom you have to arm yourself against? Why would you want to be with a woman for whom you have to be on high alert against attacks? Your choice of language shows that, perhaps, unconsciously, you see this woman as an enemy and not as a lover. So the real puzzle you need to solve is why would you for one second consider getting back together with her?

          • Ralph
            June 9, 2009 at 5:07 am

            Yes. I believe you are right, and the only answer I can give you is a very lame one. I’m in love with her. Sick as that sounds. I’m sure you have heard that answer a million times!! Wish I could give you a better one. Am I a masochist? Glutton for punishment? I dunno.

      • jham123
        September 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

        “…..and now you’re the scientist faced with some kind of intellectual puzzle. I wonder if this is a mode you’ve gone into in the past to enable yourself to stay attached to her.”

        Holy smokes JP……….I am speechless… insightful, I’m thinking that sort of thing could only come from one with experience….

  15. ralph
    June 7, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Dr. T. I am starting to feel like a pathetic leech here. Hope you don’t mind I’m willing to pay for the private advice if you think I need it.

    My EX really threw me a curveball today. I haven’t contacted her for almost a week. She called me today (no surprise there) and I basically told her to F-off. I also told her to check out your site if she wanted to find out what kind of monster she really is.(mistake?) and then hung up. That was that. So I thought.

    Then she sends me a text message saying that she looked at the site, and yes, she agrees she has a problem, agrees she exhibits the traits described and that she would like to change if possible. What’s up with that? Is this a trick? Is there any way I can find out? I can ill afford to fall prey to her again.

    Thanks so much. ==R

    • shrink4men
      June 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Ralph,

      I swear to god these women have radar. Anything is possible, Ralph. The question is, is it probable?

      If she genuinely believes she has a problem and wants to get help that’s great. However, the issues these women have aren’t fixed overnight. It takes years of hard work, maintaining constant awareness about her behaviors, and facing the painful emotions and inner demons she’s buried down so deep that the only way she can process them is to abuse you and others.

      On the other hand, it could be a ploy. It may be that she’s just telling you what you want to hear in order to get you back and marry her. Emotional predators are very adept at telling others what they want to hear as a way to manipulate and control. Has she contacted a therapist yet? Does she plan to? How, exactly, does she plan to change? She’s been the way she is for many years. Maybe she’s sincere and wants to get help, but it’s a long road and people with these issues never get completely better. Additionally, most therapists who treat BPDs/NPDs put 50% of the responsibility for their abusive behaviors on their partners. They require that you be 110% attentive to these women’s countless insecurities and fears so that YOU can learn how not to trigger them. Um, perhaps I’m missing something, but that sounds like more of the same, holding the target of abuse (i.e., you) responsible for the abuser’s bad behavior.

      You can roll the dice and try again with this woman or you can wish her well in getting the help she needs and maintain a safe distance. It’s up to you. If you’re interested in private consultation services, please contact me via the email address at the top of the page.

      • Ralph
        June 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

        hmmmm. Tough decision.

        I am going to need to think about this very carefully, that’s for sure. I think I will take a day or two to do that, then possibly engage you in the private consultation.

        This is a very dicey situation for me, and considering the emotional state I’m in, I may not be able to make the best decision on my own. I will be in touch. Thank you so much for your help.


        aI am deathly afraid of getting caught up in her drama again.

      • jp
        June 9, 2009 at 1:39 am


        She will never change. How do I know?

        Tonight, after I coached my 6 yr old’s baseball game, my ex wife (married 14 years, separated for 3) who was watching, asked if I wanted to join her and the kids for dinner. This virtually NEVER happens.

        Sure, I said. (I take any opportunity to spend time with my girls.) On the way to the restuarant in our own cars I thought, why is she being nice to me?

        Wasn’t hard to figure out: by prior agreement it’s time to recalculate (down) my support payment to her since my younger daughter is finishing nursery school this week. And my ex knows that a) I have a weak spot asserting my financial rights . (I’ve been generous to a fault) and b) for a long time I wanted to reconcile. So I know she’s being sweet in hopes my sentimentality will cause me to postpone the recalculation of support.

        But I get how she works now, so it doesn’t fool me.

        Here’s the kicker. I also know that during any ‘family’ visit like this, there WILL BE one abusive attack by her. She just can’t help herself. Note: they always come when least expected. I call them “rapport breakers”…it’s one of the more sublte yet insidious styles of attack. Perhaps you know it…it goes something like this:

        1. wait till the guy has let his guard down, and he’s being himself and having a good time
        2. insert knife
        3. twist
        4. (optional) while he’s stunned, pick up iPhone and check for messages.

        So we’re eating dinner. Everything’s fine. Daughters are having a ball. I pick up the check. She thanks me and acts surprised, as if I don’t already pay for everything. We sit for a while and chat, making pleasant just-like-old-times small talk about people we know in common. And even though she’s got me out IN ORDER to keep me giving her more money than I have to, her need to hurt me is too great for her to hold back. Next thing I know, out of the blue, she makes some utterly cruel wise crack about how poor I am and how hard it must be for me to get a date.

        This is a woman with 3-4 rounds of therapy and 3 rounds of couples counseling. She ‘won’ the divorce, which she wanted, and has a zero-drama ex who’s totally involved in ther kids’ lives and available for whatever she or the kids need. Does it matter? Not one f*cking bit.

        You cannot give them enough to stave off the abuse.

        Thinking about getting involved with her again? It’s like finding a pistol and, to see if it’s loaded, looking down the barrel and pulling the trigger.


        • shrink4men
          June 9, 2009 at 3:00 am

          That’s a great, but awful story about the “rapport breaker,” JP. It really illustrates how these women operate. They cannot not abuse. They always have an agenda to manipulate and control.

          Your description of the “rapport breaker” is what I refer to as the “one-two sucker punch” or the “smash and grab.” I can’t decide which term I like better. It’s exactly as you wrote, lull the man into a false sense of security by pretending to be reasonable and then attack. Or, it can occur in the following way:

          1. You do something for her that would make a normal woman happy.
          2. She verbally savages you for it.
          3. You’re speechless; left in a state of shock and trying to figure out which one of you is the crazy one.
          4. While you are stunned and vulnerable, she closes in for the real attack, demand or manipulation. It could be for more money, denying you something you want—it doesn’t matter. The strategy is to get you to agree to what she wants by confusing you by abusing you.

          I always warn my clients to go on high alert when their NPD girlfriends, wives or exes are being nice to them or acting like a decent human being. It usually means they’re sharpening their oyster knives and planning their next ambush.

          • Kev
            August 20, 2009 at 11:54 pm

            1. You do something for her that would make a normal woman happy
            – Let’s see. All expense paid vacation, with the ocean within walking distance?

            2. She verbally savages you for it.
            – I was “endangering” her, because I didn’t know the precise street address where we were, the first morning we woke up, and yet more accusations of infidelity.

            3. You’re speechless; left in a state of shock and trying to figure out which one of you is the crazy one.
            – Doubly speechless, because as a result of my alleged infidelities and endangering her, I was no longer “allowed” to speak to her for the entire week we were there (though the rage did subside on our last day there). I slept on the couch.

            4. While you are stunned and vulnerable, she closes in for the real attack, demand or manipulation,
            – I had to agree to marry her (we thankfully broke up before this happened), so she could use some of my employee benefits, and I had to surrender and abandon my graduate school plans, because they were “selfish.”

            Variations played out during another vacation as well, and other “special” days – her birthday, our anniversary, and even non-“special” days as well.

            Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

            Confuse and abuse. Kinda like “shock and awe.”

            So glad I’m out.

            Still continuing to rebuild.

            • LosingSanity inNE
              August 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm


              Your extremely lucky you got out, i realized i needed out about a month too late. But my wife does the same thing you talk about. Anytime there is a special event coming up, it’s almost like it’s her job to ruin it. If i try to plan a romantic date for her that anyother women would just love, she’ll ruin it with here constant questioning and accusations. Because to plan something you must not let them know your every move and she can not handle that. So by the time our date that i planned rolls around, she has created so much drama that it is just completely ruined. Then when it hits her i was planning a romantic date for her, then she turns and makes it all my fault that it’s ruined because i should have just told her what i was doing and she would never have acted that way. Just thought i would leave a message, your post just struck me because i deal with that all the time.

              • NoSeRider
                October 7, 2009 at 10:05 pm

                I was told, and have actually witnessed, that paranoia is often common place with bpd. The extreme flirtatious behavior is only matched by the extreme anger and paranoia. I believe it’s the most visible symptom you’ll witness with somebody that thinks in ‘black and white’ terms.

              • Mike91163
                October 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm

                Ditto, Losing Sanity…there IS no such thing as a “pleasant” or “enjoyable” surprise with these women…only drama, grief, or aggravation. The paranoia got to such a point where I’d just give up, spill the beans, and then, you know what I’d hear? “Oh, you’re just saying that, you weren’t planning anything…” I could show her the tickets to said event, and I’d get this gem: “So what? You were probably gonna take your girlfriend.” WTF??? I have NO friends, male OR female, because you chased them all off…and you’re constantly checking up on me 24/7, so…

                There is NO winning any argument or discussion, no how, no way…

                • LosingMyself
                  October 8, 2009 at 3:46 pm

                  Mike91163, I’ve run into the same thing so many times its beyond belief.

                  I don’t want to really re-hash it, but for men that read this site later, and reflect on their own relationships, hopefully this will help someone else, as much as it helps me to share this with all of you.

                  My step-mother recently passed away, and I was visiting my father, comforting him, and just generally “hanging out” with him so he didn’t feel so lonely.

                  Well after the 4th day, my father went back to work, and I spent the day by myself, and decided to go to the movies.

                  I’m away from home, with not much to do, and there was a movie I’d wanted to see.

                  While I was in the movie theater my phone starts going off. She’s txting me. Again. 5 minutes later, another txt msg is coming through.

                  Next, I have a missed call, then more txt msgs. My anxiety level is increasing, so I start reading the txt msgs, and of course, its nothing but drama.

                  This goes on during the whole length of the movie, about 3 hours, but I’m stubborn and refuse to acknowledge her.

                  After the movie, I call my father to check on him, and he says he yelled at my girlfriend because she called him and accused him of “covering up” for me. And basically calling him a liar to his face (over the phone).

                  I called her and asked her, “WTF??” I’m astounded by the fact that even though my step-mother has recently passed away, she has the audacity to call up my father and put her drama off on him!!!

                  Are you kidding? No I’m not!

                  And what did she say? I was out hooking up with someone. I then proceeded to take a pic with my phone and send her a pic / txt msg of the movie ticket with the time.

                  And for good measure I took one of the front of the movie theater proving that I was standing outside the movie theater as I was talking to her.

                  I know she believes me, but she refuses to acknowledge that she’s whacked out, and is desperate because I didn’t reply to her drama.

                  You are right Mike, there is NO winning any argument or discussion….

                  I ensured that she knew she was NOT invited to the funeral, because I wouldn’t take a chance that she was going to pull her dramatic song & dance with my family.

                  That went over like a fart in an elevator…

                  Then she accused me of wanting to hook up with my step-sister who I haven’t even seen in over 15 years.

                  The problem is that normal adults share things about themselves with their partner so that their partner understands them.

                  We admit things that might not be viewed in the best light so that they can understand us.

                  The real pain begins when NPD / BPD women use it against us. I admitted when that when I was 14 that I initially thought my step-sister was attractive.

                  However, I also told my girlfriend that after getting to know my step-sister who I rarely saw (because she lived with her father) was really pretty bitchy and someone who I’d really not rather interact with too much.

                  It was one of those times where I had my guard down, and my girlfriend collected this information and filed it away for later abuse.

                  I think this behavior contributes significantly to the damage a man experiences. Because when the next partner comes along (provided the man has gotten out of the damaging relationship), the man is more closed off, and more reluctant to share his thoughts and feelings, where he’s been and what he’s done.

                  That makes getting over things and moving on, that much harder.

                  ~ LosingMyself

                  • chuck
                    May 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm

                    reminded me of when i was accused of wanting to pick up on her sister in law (she didnt see her brother in the lazy boy). i was speechless. also accused of trying to pick up her sister in laws best friend. dig this, this was in the beginning of the relationship too…

            • LosingMyself
              October 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm

              The accusations of infidelity are abundant, day in and day out.

              I for one would like to know, what makes NPD / BPD women use this particular crutch, other than obvious.

              I’m not really sure of how true this is, but I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere reliable because its always kind of “stuck” with me.

              I told my girlfriend that the reason she fasely accuses me so often is because she herself did the cheating in the past.

              And I went on to explain to her that in my experience, people who are the most dishonest and untrustworth (at least in regards to fidelity) are the ones who make the constant accusations.

              The reason being is that because they have proven themselves to not be worthy of that specific trust, and therefore feel extremely vulnerable and feel like they are going to be cheated on every minute of the day.

              However, after reading more at this site of the different symptoms and behavior that is related to NPD/BPD, I am interested in knowing more about the dynamic that exists.

              Is it simply a weapon, or is there usually a reason they resort to false claims of infidelity.

              Everything I learn helps keep me from siding with her emotionally.

              Even logically knowing everything I have learned at this site, I STILL think to myself. Well, we have more good days than we used to. Or, I think, well at least she’s not promiscuous or flirtatious with other men.

              So part of me think she’s not so bad as what some guys have had to deal with.

              But only the facts are keeping me moving toward getting out. And remembering that I deserve to be treated better (emotionally) than this.

              ~ LosingMyself

              • shrink4men
                October 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm

                “. . . in my experience, people who are the most dishonest and untrustworthy (at least in regards to fidelity) are the ones who make the constant accusations. . .”

                PROJECTION: It’s not just a room in the back of a movie theater. (I coined this expression, btw. Nobody’s using it!)

                A woman like your ex accuses you of the qualities and behaviors that she herself is guilty of (or guilty of thinking of doing). If she accuses you of not earning enough money—she’s probably the lazy leach who sits at home all day. If she accuses you of not loving her enough and being abusive—she’s actually the one who doesn’t love you and abuses you.

                It’s like holding the mirror up to Medusa. She projects herself onto you to hurt you. When you confront her with the truth and cause her to look at her own reflection—the rage, tears and/or withdrawal starts. The truth is this kind of woman’s worst enemy, which is why you get blasted whenever you speak it.

                These women are suspicious of you and don’t trust you because deep down, although they’ll never admit—not even to themselves—they know what shits they are. She can’t conceive of anyone being different than her because all she sees is herself. She assigns her motives to everyone else.

                This is also why these women inevitably make lousy parents. They cannot differentiate between themselves and others. They treat their kids like their own personal “mini-me’s.” When their kids start to develop their own independent personalities (that is if they’re able to do so—many kids are so impaired by their NPD/BPD parents that they can’t) watch out. They will lash out at their children as ferociously as they treat their partners.

                Accusing you of infidelity serves several purposes, but ultimately it’s a slight of hand. She distracts you with the emphatic and bogus accusation. You feel hurt and expend energy defending yourself and proving yourself faithful. Meanwhile, you don’t notice other things she’s doing, like taking control of the finances, having her own affair, avoiding intimacy by refusing to have sex with you because she “can’t trust [you],” spending money on her to show her how much you love her or using the accusation to get you to do something she wants (like not visiting your family over the holidays or going where she wants to go on vacation).

                In fact, most of these women’s rages, which they can turn off and on like a light switch, are designed to distract and disorient. The content of their rages is generally BS. The goal is to divert your attention and destabilize so you don’t spot her true agenda—whatever it may be, but rest assured it’s NOT in your best interests.

                Dr Tara

                • LosingMyself
                  October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

                  Ouch! I had to take a walk around the building after reading your post. It’s like an old infected wound has been opened up, and the infection is being let out of the wound, and its being bled clean.

                  I’ve been given a number of ultimatums since we first got together. From getting a better job, then having to get a better job than that, and doing this or doing that, to finally getting married.

                  Not only has my girlfriend taken control of the finances, but she convinced me to put my entire paycheck in the joint account every payday!

                  And she does a horrible job of managing the finances! Her credit score has sunk to under 500, and my credit score (although better) is lower than it was 3 years ago! After getting together 5 years ago, I didn’t even apply for any credit for 2 years because I knew mine was already bad.

                  I’m always the butt of her humor, and if she’s not downright insulting me (during fights), at other times she sucker punches me in the gut.

                  Before payday she’s always nice and sweet, but after payday, when the bills are somewhat getting paid, she a real hellhound.

                  We have some intimacy, but there are always problems. And too often I have been on the end of “giving” but not “receiving” satisfaction in the bedroom.

                  She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and uses this as an excuse for everything. I don’t know where the disease really starts, and where it ends.

                  She overplays the fatigue, and its sooooo obvious.

                  Plus, the frequent demands for neck massage, foot massage, back massage, or whatever other aches and pains she has.

                  But rarely does she offer anything in return, other than perfunctory appreciation. And if I make an issue out of it, then she says she’d be happy to return the massage, but its half-hearted, and makes me feel so unimportant that its not even worth it to ask or make an issue out of it.

                  One thing that has been successful for me in keeping my wits about me, is that I have worked really hard on not crawling back to her after every “supposed” infraction. Refusing to acknowledge that I am “in the dog house”, after whatever fit she is having has made her more amicable (at least until I get out of this relationship).

                  What’s really scary, is that when you said NPD/BPD parents kind of use their kids as “mini-me”s, she actually refers to her one daughter as “mini-me”, because the girl is just like herself as she grew up!!

                  Her oldest son, is bi-polar, and that’s another story that is so convoluted its best not to delve into.

                  I’m starting to see a clearer picture of where the subterfuge and emotional un-rest lies.

                  All I can say is “Wow!”, I’m still surprised at how this disorder overshadows my relationship. Its like this big looming cloud, and the further out I venture, the bigger the cloud seems to be, thus tying in these behaviors or symptoms back to the cause.

                  Its her!

                  • chuck
                    May 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm

                    oh my god! i am laughing so hard!!! i too had to give all the foot, back, scalp massages with nothing in return! man am i glad i am not the only one that has experienced this (you know what i mean. dont wish this on anyone)… great post. i am still laughing! not laughing at you. laughing at myself…

              • melove54
                October 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm

                You ever heard the ole joke about why a male dog licks his privates? Because he can!!! (sorry about the analogy Dr.T) Well, that’s why these women are so promiscuous, because they can be in their mind, they feel their happiness and satisfaction comes before all others, despite morals and ethics. There is also a dynamic of the need to be bad and get away with it. To defy the social norm of monogamy and fidelity. Remember, they don’t live in reality, and truth is their enemy. They love to engage other men in flirtatious ways, just to see if the man will respond. They are opportunist at the sickest level.

                • LosingMyself
                  October 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm

                  The sad thing is that in my experience, the more I re-act to a situation (the emotional abuse), the more I teach her to push my buttons, or fake emotion.

                  And she is so two-faced, that nobody outside of our home realizes what she does at home. No matter how mad she might be at me, in front of others, she will play the part of sweet, loving, devoted girlfriend.

                  And as soon as we are away from everyone else, the lashing out begins, and of course, I am to blame for it.

                  Its just heartwrenching to realize that the last five years really have been a sham, and that I’ve poured my love and affection into an empty vessel.

                  And that all the work I’ve done to improve myself, because SHE pointed out how defiicient I was in this area or that area was all for nothing. On one hand, I improved myself, and I will walk away feeling proud of that, but I still didn’t get the acceptance that she taught me to crave.

                  This is something I think I should re-iterate for all men out there. These women teach you to crave their acceptance because they constantly find ways to withold it from you!

                  ~ LosingMyself

                  • onwards1
                    October 9, 2009 at 10:05 am

                    hi losingmyself, You must keep telling yourself that you will be stronger now this horrible person is out of your life. Im still coming to terms with what my ex said to me on one day then ditched me shortly after. She is rotten to the core & has captured her next victim already. Good luck to him – I just hope that when I do see them I can see through the sham & be happy that Im no longer part of that sick dance.

        • Harry
          October 30, 2011 at 8:13 am

          I was seated by myself in a restaurant when a man and woman came in to take seats at a table near mine. The woman was addressing her ex-husband regarding their young daughter’s future. The woman was able to extract a promise from her ex, he would place $30,000 into a college fund. He sounded patient, thoughtful and reasonable. No sooner had he made the promise than his ex-wife exclaimed, in a voice that was clearly manipulated into sounding anxious and distraught, “I don’t want you influencing MY daughter!” Suddenly the poor guy was looking tense and angry. She didn’t want him to feel proud about what he had done or good about himself. She wanted to make him out to be an outsider who was breaching the boundaries between his ex and their daughter.

  16. Ralph
    May 31, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Dr. T, Yes, I have been able to disentangle. I honestly don’t think I could have completed the process without the help of your blog. She would have sucked me back in at some point like she has done hundreds of times before. Now that I am armed with the information that fullly explains her behavior, and the clarity to see how she has been abusing me, I’m bulletproof. I am 54 yrs old and usually able to analyze things in a reasonable fashion. But I really missed the boat on this one until I saw your blog. This woman had me doing things I have never done in my entire life! She had transformed me, over time, from a patient, loving person into an angry, self-hating one. I do not exaggerate when I say that she had me on the edge of insanity trying to figure out what the heck I was doing wrong, and wondering why I could never make her happy. You blog answered every single question that I have been struggling to find the answers for over the past 3 years!! Every single one, no exceptions! If you ever need some examples of a “textbook” professional victim’s tactics, I have hundreds of them. Again, I cannot thank you enough for restoring my sanity and saving me from this monster. I lean towards the athiest side of spirituality, but you sir, are a true saint.

    • shrink4men
      June 1, 2009 at 12:21 am

      I’m touched by what you wrote, Ralph, and am very glad that you were able to get out. Some men just can’t let go of the fantasy of, “if only I try a little harder…”

      One more thing, I’m a woman, not a sir. So you’ve been warned about these woman by a woman, for what it’s worth.

      Best Wishes,
      Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

      • jham123
        September 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm

        LOL Dr. Tara….on the woman thing.

        Yes, My wife was so vitriol towards some Dude (you) that… “had some bad experience with a woman and is now posting venom all over the innerweb towards hating women”

        Her jaw dropped and her words where lost when I told her your name was Tara and you were in fact a female……


      • shrink4men
        September 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

        Hi jham123,

        I don’t hate women and this site is not here to bash women. Let me make that very clear. I dislike bullies and emotional predators regardless of their gender. I’m here to educate men about these issues and try to put an end to the double standard of emotional and physical abuse in relationships.

        Kind Regards,
        Dr Tara

      • LosingMyself
        October 7, 2009 at 10:07 pm

        I’ve lived that myth for way too long already!

        I need to make a new mantra… If I’d left already, I’d already be on my way to being happier!

        ~ LosingMyself

    • Ray
      January 17, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      “….are a true saint.”

      I second that wholeheartedly, when I’ve first found her blog, I just couldn’t believe my eyes, it was like “there is a god afterall”. That there is someone out there who has the courage (no!, this doesn’t really do justice to the meaning), someone out there who has the GUTS to expose “The Ugly Truth” about abusive woman in relationships.

      Ralph, in my humble opinion, I’d say DONT TAKE YOUR CHANCES. I made that mistake and married mine. I was stupid enough to think that “She has never been married (at age 45), so she doesn’t have experience in marriage and that’s normal, and that she will change once married and everything will be different”

      I was only right on one aspect,yes EVEYTHING HAS CHANGED, alas not for the better but for MUCH WORSE!. (See my post below)

      I still can’t believe how naive I was (at age 54, and after 23 years of marriage to my previous wife, having raised a beautiful daughter in the process) thinking the way I did about this whole affair and I decided I needed some physicological help meyself! This is how I found Dr. Tara’s blog.

      Reading her articles about “Professional Victims”, “You’re not a Princess”, “Why Men are attracted to Crazy woman….” (and many others) was an eye opening, and I would say, life changing experience for me. I was almost convinced that I am a total looser when it comes to relationships with woman, only to learn that the reason I am in this situation is really because I do attract them by emitting that “Hey you, I’m into crazy ladies. Come torture me,” vibes.

      Now, I have a long way to go to correct myself once my problems with her are over. But I have a guide now (Dr. Tara), and am looking forward for a totally new outlook for life and arm myself with the knowledge on how to avoid similar woman/situations in the future.

      Lood luck.

  17. Ralph
    May 31, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon this website but I owe you my sanity! I have been in a relationship with a woman the past 3 years that fits 100% of the diognostic criteria. I have been mentally tortured almost the entire time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, or why she was acting like she did. Trying everything to “calm her down” or “be a better person” or “meet her needs”. I thought I was going crazy. I thought I was in love. I thought if I would just “try this” or “try that” then she would be fine. I researched the internet endlessly for clues to find out what I was doing wrong or what I could do to appease her. . I apologized over and over for things I didn’t do. When we were in public I couldn’t be myself because one word might send her off into a fit of rage and a childlike tantrum. She embarassed me in front of my friends so many times I can’t believe it. I was totally under her spell. Wowzer.

    This woman nearly ruined my life. I was even contemplating marrying her, thinking that if I did she would be satisfied. She destroyed my ego, destroyed my confidence, lied to me, stole money from me, and ruined lifelong friendships I had with other people. This site has literally saved my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • shrink4men
      May 31, 2009 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Ralph,

      Finally figuring out what and whom you’re dealing with can bring a lot of relief to men who go through what you’ve gone through. You didn’t say in your post, but I hope you’ve been able to disentangle yourself from this woman free and clear and move on in your life. Thank you for the kinds words. I’m gratified that you find my blog helpful.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

    • Olivia
      November 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      There is a book I would like to suggest. It’s called “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing” by Susan Anderson.
      Good luck to you. And you are NOT crazy!

  18. Ramy
    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Dr. T,
    I’ve just started reading your website and it is wonderful. i was wondering if you could recommend any therapists in the Boston are that would be able to help me with these issues. In fact, this site seems like a wonderful place to keep a network of therapists you might recommend.

    • shrink4men
      April 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Ramy,

      Thank you for the positive feedback. Unfortunately, I don’t know any therapists that I’d be comfortable recommending in the Boston area. I agree with your suggestion that A Shrink for Men would be a great place to establish a network of therapists who specialize in helping men who are in abusive relationships rather than blaming them and enabling their abusive girlfriends/wives, however, that would be extremely labor intensive. Additionally, it’d be a bit like finding a few needles in a haystack.

      Too many mental health professionals have been indoctrinated into the field with extreme gender biases in favor of women. It’s also been my experience that many therapists let their patients hang out and hide out in therapy indefinitely without helping them move forward. I’ve actually ticked off a few of these mental health” professionals” by what I write.

      I recommend that you screen several therapists in the Boston area by asking them if they believe that women can be the abusive partner. If they do, then determine their stance on how a man should respond to an abusive woman. Does the therapist direct you to have empathy for and be patient with crazy, emotionally abusive narcissistic and/or borderline women or encourage you to take care of yourself and break the cycle of these relationships? You want a therapist who directs you toward the latter—ending these relationships. It’s only safe to forgive and have compassion for these sick women from a safe distance after you’re out of the relationship.

      In general, I’d avoid female social workers and any other therapists who tout themselves as specializing in Borderline Personality disordered women. These therapists typically enable their behaviors by “educating” you on what you need to do in order not to trigger their abusive behaviors. In my opinion this is wrong because it places the responsibility on the victim of abuse and not the perpetrator.

      Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

  19. Ted
    April 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Your advice is exactly what my friends and family have been saying for a long time. Really the only thing that is getting to me right now is how easily she jumped into bed with a complete stranger the first time they met in person — which was only two weeks after meeting online and texting, etc. This is after years of telling me I’m a pervert for wanting to have sex once a week, and while we were getting divorced quoting Bible verses to me regarding the immorality of sex outside of marriage. But I shouldn’t have been surprised because she did almost the same thing with me when I met her ten years ago. It was instant honeymoon to start, and then hurricane/calm/hurricane/calm/hurricane, ad infinitum. When I told my 87 year old Dad about her instant lover, he responded with: “what, did you think you were special?” Apparently so.

    • Terry
      September 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      With my ex it was the exact same thing with my ex…. When we met the it was electrifying. She played the sweet modest girl really well but also the devil in the bedroom. Unfortunately she didn’t wait to break up with me to move onto some one else. I felt the same way as I am sure every guy who visits this site does. Wish you the best of luck.. the feeling you are going through sucks

      • Ray
        January 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        Tim, you are one lucky guy that you were able to end the relationship without a major incident. I was with a similar woman, married her shortly after our engagement and now, only after a few months of marriage, going true a very ugly divorce where I have been falsely accused of assaulting her. I am out of my home (my own home) even though she owns her own! She lies about everything, even purjures herself in criminal and family courts. The first thing she did after kicking me out of my home is to go and harras my tenant (I rented my basement for income supplement) and asked my tenant to pay the rent to her or else face eviction. She even put my name on the “Notice to End Tenancy” form! to convice my tenant that I wanted her to pay the rent to my wife. My tenant is now ending her tenancy due to her continued harrasement. I will no longer be able to rent the unit as I can not go to my home. This means I will not be able to pay the mortgage on my home and it will go on power of sale!. She won’t even let me to go to my home to pick-up my personal belongings.

        So, do yourself a huge favour and forget about her completely. Destroy every photo, every gift and anything and everything you received from her (if any) and move on and feel nothing but pitty for the next guy who has fallen into her trap.

        There is NO WINNING with this type of woman and depending on how sick she is you will curse the day you met her. I know I do, every time I pass by this particular store in the shopping mall, I feel sick and prefer to avoid passing by there, where I have first met her.

        There is life after her and a much better one.

        • tom
          August 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

          Ray I was married 4 and half years,wife got order of protection on me said i pulled her finger back when trying to get cell hone from here,she lied and now im out and been out for 3 months.shes in my home with her punk 17yo son AND I cant go there.Her car is inn my name and lets her son drive it and I cant even get it back.She was my love,I loved her with all my heart.One day I realized she was taking money out and i mean alot.well as soon as i found out she did a total 360 and became a woman i dident even no.She also had a boyfriend and dident know.she took 70,000 of my money and said i want a divorce.She is a sick woman and I hope I never see her again

      • danielle
        April 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm

        The Jekyll and Hyde behavior MUST be a narcissist’s weapon of choice, because that is what I also experienced with my ex who is male, but did many of the same things all of you guys are describing with the woman you were/are with. I also witnessed my brother go through a lot of what you guys are describing with his ex-wife. It is extraordinarily confusing. It’s like, “Who are they–the person that was really sweet, attentive and seductive OR the person that was cruel, withholding and extraordinarily selfish? Which one? It is enough to leave your head spinning and it hurts like hell. I am sorry you guys have gone through all of this and I am sorry that I have also experienced it. The last thing we needed are more wounded people with hurt feelings walking around! I hope that ya’ll will heal and grow and move on to healthy relationships. I haven’t YET, but I hope to someday. My last experience really screwed me up and that is why I have also avoided the areas that my ex and I used to go. I cannot bear the thought of running into him… especially if he was out with some other woman, smugly acting as though he is some sort of sweetheart. Emphasis on the world “acting!” ;-) God bless all of you and good luck. There are some good women out there. I promise. I’d like to think that I’m one, although I still need time to heal, so I’m taking time to do that. I came a cross a quote years ago and it went something like this, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity.” On that note, have a good “opportunity!”

        • mcg
          July 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm

          Wow Danielle, I can really relate to your words especially regarding running into them as they ‘act’ like they are some sort of sweetheart. It happens while I am with her already and the ex-thing hasn’t happened yet but I easily envision it. I’ve been in my relationship for 2 years and the ridiculous draw of attraction cannot get me to end it. I HAVE to thought for the sake of my kids as well as my own sanity. Thank you for posting as this is the first time I’ve ever written about it.

  20. Ted
    April 8, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I just discovered your site and think I’ve now read almost everything regarding personality disordered women. Your descriptions fit my ex-wife, whom I left in ’07, perfectly. And the effects of living with her for ten years also match perfectly with what you describe. She was/is a master manipulator able to turn reality on its head. She has now begun a new relationship with a man she met online and according to her noone has ever made her happier, and he is unselfishly going to mend her broken spirit. She also told me that the new guy wants to meet me to ask me one simple question: how did I let such a wonderful woman get away?

    • shrink4men
      April 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Tim,

      First, congrats on liberating yourself from an abusive relationship. It takes a great deal of courage and strength.

      Second, after being with this woman for 10 years, you know firsthand how she twists reality. I’d be willing to wager if that if you spoke directly to her knight in shining armor, he’d tell quite a different tale. He’s in the early stages of what you experienced during the demented decade with your ex. Her comments to you are probably an attempt to make you jealous and make herself feel desirable after the ego crushing blow of being kicked to the curb for her bad behaviors.

      Take whatever she says with a grain of salt, minimize contact, and make a mental note to thank her new guy, should ever you cross paths, for taking her off your hands.

      • Tahsan
        January 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        Glad that i m not alone. I just had the same issue recently. She continuously tries to make me jealous with a guy who supposedly doesn’t give her any time or care at all. Nice to know it’s a common abusive behavior.

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