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Kind Regards,

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

  1. May 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    My partner and I read “Say Goodbye to Crazy”. It was an awesome book and we found so much of the content to be true to our situation. We have family members that are allowing CRAZY to still be part of the family. For instance, inviting her to a family wedding! When my partner stated we won’t attend the wedding due to her being there, we look as though we’re wrong for feeling that way. How do we kick her out of our lives when family allows her in? So frustrating!!!

  2. Sheri Grover
    October 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Dear Dr Tara,
    We just helped my legally blind 44 year old son to get out of an abusive relationship. He is currently separated (which takes a year in SC) and has temporary
    custody of their two boys ages 13 and 14. Problem is that she won’t leave him a lone and is using guilt, poor me, “I’ve found religion”, and continually shows up and violates any rules. My son is now letting her get away with this saying he wants a good relationship for the boys. She has threatened to poison him, kill her self and says all these things in front of the boys. I think he might talk to you on line but phone might even be better because of his vision. What do you charge and do you have evening sessions? He doesn’t seem to totally understand he is being ABUSED….He can really use help!!!

  3. Marcus
    October 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I could really use some advice. I’ll use the most recent example. So my girlfriend is basically homeless, and she’s been staying with me for a few weeks along with her pets until she can get a new place. So far she hasn’t been able to find one that would work out. She eventually accepts an offer from a friend, but if she stays at this place, we won’t be able to see each other as much. We have both discussed it before, and we both agree it wouldn’t be ideal. I know, she needs to do what she needs to do. The day she said she was going to take her friends offer, I brought up what we had discussed (us not being able to spend as much time together.) She gets short and snappy with me saying, “I don’t care. I don’t need you discouraging me, and I don’t need the negativity.” I obviously apologize, and tell her I love her and that I’ll support her no matter what, and that I didn’t mean anything by it. Of course she’s still upset, and continues to be upset and aggressive. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong and need help, or if we both do. Any advice would be great. Thank you.

  4. jon
    August 12, 2017 at 3:18 am

    First off, your website has been so enlightening to me, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I’ve been separated from my wife for 2.5 years now. I have tried everything in my power to get back together, be a better man, etc. I have a library of marriage books, self-help books, I tried counseling, church, appeasement, you name it I tried it. She wanted to be treated like a princess so I did that. Bought flowers and chocolates, cards and love letters, paid off her credit cards, bought her plane tickets, rings she just had to have etc. none of these things she can remember, not even the next day. All it would take was one argument, one text, one misunderstanding and she was ready for divorce and would block me from her phone and email accounts and not speak to me for weeks, sometimes months. I was a fool thinking someone needs to be the peace maker and I know she won’t do it so I would reach out to resolve it. It was never easy and she was really good at pointing out all my faults from the past which she never let go of to prove I was the crazy unstable one and she was fine. She began gas lighting me saying I needed to see someone and get on meds. I told her I was willing to see whomever and if they advised that I would be willing, but that I didn’t feel crazy. but she assured me I was very unstable. I know I am painting a grim picture of her at this point. I am not without fault in some of our troubles because I do have a temper when I get pushed too far and would say some pretty nasty things myself. But I have always tried to right my wrongs and apologize and correct my outbursts of anger. I’ve been married to her 13 years and cannot recall a truly heartfelt apology from her for anything. When she has apologized, it was always, I am sorry but, I did it because you made me” type of apology.
    We were still dating the last 2 years and she used threats of divorce every time we had a disagreement. 4 weeks ago, she did it again and blocked me and told me I don’t sacrifice for her and I am selfish because I told her I would paint her care but after she filed for divorce again I refused. I am at a loss trying to understand how she justifies herself with this type of stuff again and again. My problem is I still care very much for her. We have had some really good times 60% of the time and really crappie times 40% of the time. Plus, the sex keeps bringing us back together and it’s hard to forget about when you’re alone again suddenly.

    another thing I noticed about her was how she always painted herself as the victim. She was a victim in our marriage, at work, with her family, with strangers at the grocery store, etc. she was always innocent and everyone was always against her. she would vent for hours about her work being unfair and the coworkers not being as good as she was at the job and if they would quit she could run the place better. All these years I never put 2 and 2 together but after stumbling onto your web site I think she is most likely a narcissist, or at least has many of those traits. what I can’t figure out is how she is so supportive of kids and loves kids and spends a lot of her time with kids volunteering, taking them for runs and hikes and investing in their lives. It seems unselfish. She was a great mother as well but borderline obsessive with overseeing his whole life and smothering him. She even said when he joined the military and left home she lost her purpose in life. This seems like an unselfish thing to invest into kids like she does. But I was always 3rd or 4th place of importance and her son, her job, and the kids she likes to invest in always came before me. I told her once that I needed her support as a wife and she responded by telling me that to many other people need her support and she couldn’t also be there to support me as well because that would be too much for her. It’s things like this that stick in my head and when I get pushed too far I eventually lash out with my temper and call her every name in the book that I always wanted to say but never did for the sake of getting along.

    Wow, that felt good to write down. Curious what your and everyone else think?

  5. December 29, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Welcome DrA
    Your story sounds a lot like mine in many ways. I have the career while my ex stayed at home with the children. I don’t want to get into all the details, but when it became dangerous for me to be there, being stabbed with a pair of kitchen shears, I finally left. I questioned my own mental healt and sought treatment for many years. That’s what a good NPD spouse does. They convince you that YOU ARE the problem. Fast forward 4 years; I have no contact with her. I have full custody and parental rights of the kids. Rather than support herself and get a job. She went into a tailspin and is now serving time for heroin.

    I’m not saying you should do what I did. In fact, what I didn’t hear you talk about was if the two of you attended any marriage counseling? Clearly you love this woman and both of your lives have been stressful. What about a marriage retreat where just the 2 of you get away and focus on what’s important to you both, what is the goal for you both? Be civil even if she can’t. Just my thoughts. I’m no doctor. But I’ve been at this a long time.

  6. December 28, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I am not sure where I fit in.

    On the one hand I know I am not a saint and I have not done everything right in my marriage that is ending after 17+ years.

    However, I also know that in the last year my wife has spread the rumor to our children, her friends, our church, and everyone who will listen accusing me of threatening to kill her, threatening to have her deported from the country, threatening to beat her, and a dozen or so other not so nice things that have never happened.

    Every conversation results in accusation/guilt tripping, and today, when I finally said enough is enough and mentioned to her she should consider going to counseling, she told me she is tired of my angry, hateful comments and she is filing for divorce on January 5, 2017,

    So I started looking around to see what I can find out about what I have watched happen over a number of years.

    Before I get into that though, it is probably significant to mention there is a 25 year age difference between my soon to be ex and myself, and she is from Europe (I’m an old retired military Texas guy), we met 18 years ago on one of the first internet chat programs, we have been married for over 17 years, and have four children together.

    I also have my own issues with PTSD and recently asked for help determining if I have BPD (or something similar) as I can see where some of my reactions and behaviors also fit the DSM-IV and DSM-5 General Criteria for a Personality Disorder. However, I am not sure if I do or do not have BPD. I have a doctorate, but not a doctorate in psychology or psychiatry.

    Having mentioned the above factors, about five years ago my wife’s mother died of cancer, four years ago I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, three years ago my mother died of cancer, and three times over the last four years my soon to be ex-wife discovered lumps in one of her breasts and, although all tests have been negative, she became convinced she is going to die of breast cancer.

    All of which, my PTSD, losing family to cancer, my cancer, and the fear of having cancer have, I am fairly certain, all contributed to the situation I am in now.

    Be that as it may (and I am not trivializing the events), over the last four years I have also watched my marriage and relationship to the love of my life and the most wonderful woman I have ever known degenerate into a name-calling, put-down verbal slug fest where she accuses me of having stalked her online 18 years ago and convinced her to marry me just so I could have someone to control. She calls me nothing but a low-life, loser failure monster, and claims I have done nothing but mentally, verbally, and physically abusing her our entire marriage while I work for the government in a capacity that requires a very high level security clearance, she has been a stay-at-home mom (by choice), completed her college degree, been a Girl Scout leader in two countries and two of the three states we have lived in in the U.S., and she runs our family and volunteers in a counseling center, and I live like a near-homeless person in an RV working remotely and commuting home on weekends.

    She has made up stories about me threatening all sorts of pretty evil acts, tells our children and everyone she talks to (including my family) that I am a crazy, PTSD suffering sociopath psychotic, living in a fantasy world of made up people (even though I am the CFO and manage an office of accountants and financiers overseeing $300M in government programs and projects), and claiming she only says and acts the way she does because I am crazy, angry, and hate her.

    All things I have read about on this site.

    So, again, I am not sure where I fit into the range abuse here.

    But, I do want to say thank you Dr T for being here and letting me tell part of my story.

    It is nice to finally find a place where I do not feel like a crazy person who has lost his mind, and my story does not sound (even to me) like something out of a twilight zone, outer limits, Alfred Hitchcock story.


  7. Stev
    December 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Very insightful & helpful with my current problem. I have to keep the no contact rule going strong.

  8. Richard Senior
    November 27, 2016 at 2:18 am

    I didn’t realise my wife is an emotional bully. Your article about it is an article about me! 25 years… I don’t think I should put up with it anymore. There has been some physical abuse. 25 years makes it hard… 25 years of being told how I couldn’t cope without her. So hard! It’s made me I’ll with depression and as I’ve been recovering, she gets worse. I really don’t think she’s safe. I don’t think there’s any help in the UK. I don’t want to live like this anymore but know that if I leave, she will poison everyone against me. What do you make of it?

  9. Paul Stephens
    August 26, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Hi DR T

    I have a issues with my now ex girlfriend where she does not remember all the horrid things she says to me in an argument but remembers specific things I may say. She will damage my flat in her temper but I broke something of hers by mistake she brings it up all the time. She grabs me a lot but never remembers doing it. She is always leaving me and taking our baby boy with her during every argument. She sort of believes her own lies and puts blame upon me. For example. An ex boyfriend texts her for sex but she won’t delete him and still friends with him on facebook. I say this is not really respecting our relationship and then she says that she can’t be with me because I don’t trust her. Again she is out the door. She does not get on with her dad but I text him to see if he wants to see his grandson. Again hshe is out the door. Can you give any recommendations. she will not speak to me so I bring up the past. This becomes a cycle.

    • shrink4men
      August 29, 2016 at 4:37 am

      Speak with an attorney to understand how to secure your parental rights, develop a safe exit strategy and break up with her.

  10. Kevin
    July 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Hello I have been following this website for some time now. It’s so hard to read because I love this girl so much and my heart goes out to her because half the time she recognizes this struggle and how she is following in her moms foot steps. She had a change of heart and things were going well so I proposed. Not that she didn’t ask me for a bigger diamond and everyone in town thinks her ring is gorgeous, but she has gone right back to her evil ways. It’s so terrible. I need some real help. I’m desperate and I’ll literally do whatever I can to help this women. How donivget help for this. I can’t take it much longer.


  11. Sergie
    May 30, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Hi Dr Tara. I just wanted to ask for advice with my situation because I am at a stage with my wife where her abuse is enough for me but she shows emotions that make me feel guilty and question myself if the boundaries I am putting are right or am I just coldhearted jerk. Please help me if possible to get reality check. I am confused. This a snippet of our relationship and what is happening now:

    Five years ago I met my wife at a christian youth camp in Aus. We are both christian (though now I am not sure if she is or maybe I am not either..). I was drawn to her and invited her for coffee – I dont know even why!!! First she did not respond but when I wrote her a “last letter” she suddenly reappeared saying she never met this kind of person before. I was so happy (idiot me). We had a love bombing time. Then she had to return to her country as she wanted to finish study at uni.

    One of the things that made me uncomfortable (I know now why) was her regular joke: she would say “I am affraid I have to leave you…so sorry…then when I would believe and be so sad she would exclaim – just a joke I will bever leave you. I was blind to this, but asked if she could not do this. However sge did few times. When I mention it now she just said it was just joke, I just wanted to see your reaction – “you were so cute” she said.

    We had distant relationship for 2 years. While back in Korea her country my wife and I would appoint time to meet on skype or call by phone to chat. Many times she would be late by hour or two abd I would wait for her. She would excuse that she was chatting with friends and forgot about the time.

    During skype sessions she would frequently mentiin that she is not sure we should get married bcz her Mum and friends wanted her to stay in her country. She would once ” Would you wait for 5 or 10 years so I can collect money for wedding? I said I could not wait that long but any hint on braking up would make her denounce what she said before as a joke or “just expressing her hard feelings”. I would persuade her that our love and relationship are more important than what others say or money or wedding celebration style. All the way up until wedding day she would be hesitant (I too actually but everyone and myself encouraged me to go on bcz of faith and commitment as a christian man).

    Another thing is first time I went to her country to visit her for two weeks. Half way thru my visit she said if I could stay in the city by myself while she would go to a youth camp. We had disagreement but she was polite. In the end I went with her (which was a good time anyway). However 6 months later I invited her to visit me and I would pay for flights (she was a student and could not afford). I asked her to come for 2 months of summer holidays but she said again bcz summer youth camp was priority (as a worship to God) she could only come for 10 days. I was not happy but agreed with her preference. I proposed during that time she visited me.

    To cut short we got married a year after. One of the things that made me uncomfortable was her asking me to pay for personal trainer before wedding ($400) to loose weight -I thought there was no need for PT if you really want to get fit.

    And then after marriage – first week Big arguement! I wanted to see my Dad whom I did not see for 10 years since I moved to another country. The best place to meet was in Europe. My wife suddenly told me she needed the latest model of camera to make fotos. I said no (and explained I support not only myself but her on my scholarship and dwindling personal savings). She exploded. Later we reconciled.

    However next time we had big arguement at a classical concert that I was so looking to, bcz I bought a snack and ate it for too long (and also bcz I said I had little money left and here I am buying food for myself).

    Next one was finding rent place back in my country where we now live. I went first, my wife followed 4 months later. She asked me to find a place so she can arrive into a ready place. I agreed after some discussion (which involved us having disagreement bcz I wanted us to do it together). I found the best place I could in my opinion as a leader of our marriage. However after first week being here my wife complained (with shouting and high drama) that she does not like toilet and some neighbours are noisy, that I did not search diligently enough to find best place. Since then we had this arguement few times. However with other people she says how much she likes this place.

    That first week my wife told me in tears and anger she wanted to divorce me, that I am unbelievable and she does not feel my love (these are regular words in our arguements). I actually at first responded by shouting too and even used some rough language at times when I could not hold myself any longer. Now I learned to control myself better.

    Other times we argue when I am driving a car. I am scared to drive like that bcz we can argue even from a trivial thing and when I am hyped with indignation it’s hard to control my driving. So I asked her to not do this in the car but we still do.

    Any way there are many more things that I can tell but I cant describe all here. Two last things I wanted to mention are:

    First thing, recently we had breakfast and she looked at at stove table with wierd look and said “someone is sitting there, on the bench..” then smiled wierdly and looked at me and said “oh you are sitting too haha..”. But it freaked me out – she was so convincing, like an actor. I am not sure who is crazy – me, her or both!!!

    Secondly, after our trip to see my Mum we had an arguement that very night when she said my Mum is the cause of all our problems (not for the first time) and controlls her (though the only things Mum did were help us out with money when my wife was jobless and give us advice on healthy lifestyle bcz Mum was a food technology professor, but she would never force people to do only her will). Also my wife said she cant feel any love or care from me and she hurts so much and she has such a hard time bcz of me. And she said she would never go to see my Mum again and that I could talk in my own language with her as much as I would (she did not like when we used our own language in front of her). The night finished with her saying that if I want children she would only have them with me after my Mum dies. I was so indignant. And my wife responded that she finally wants to divorce me but I have to organise it.

    Three weeks later.. I had enough and took measures to set up some boundaries and protect myself emotionally and healthwise and financially. My wife is angry at me and says I am unforgiving and hurt her so much. And she cant understand why I do this to her bcz she already said sorry. I also asked for time to stay separately but she got even more angry and tells me I am to bkame for getting things worse and that I would feel the consequences of my actions also (i.e. divorce). However the complication is that she is still waiting for PR visa and I obviously cant write a good stat dec for her. And nowadays my wife has lots of tears and asks why I treat her badly like that. I feel really pity for her and now I am not sure if I am doing the right thing – maybe I am wrong and really need to forgive and give more chance? But when I remeber her abuse I dont want to go back. What to do? How to know if its right? My wife also says that bcz I wanted her to go to councilor (I go myself) I have to pay for her expences. And if I want separation I have to pay for her rent. She works 3 days a week and does not want to work full time at the moment. But what if she really changes and she really is just under stress in new country and it’s my fault? Many thanks

  12. Matt
    April 4, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I have been living with my now ex girlfriend & her kids for 6 years, were were a family & our direction in life was mutual.
    She was abandoned & neglected in childhood & was in s very violent abusive marriage

    Our relationship was never abusive but became dysfunctional with her doing more & more for herself & me doing everything around the house etc. increasingly ‘walked on eggshells’ but we also still got on tremendously well

    The last 1 1/2 – 2yrs has been increasingly difficult. Long story short she has PTSD of Abandonment & Trauma.
    When we aknowledged that this had been the cause I wasn’t aware of how I had played a part. I then made a deliberate & concious choice to let go of my frustrations etc & just let her be as she tried to recover.
    I am a very confident outgoing individual, this did take its toll on my own stress levels & I began pursuing less of my own interests.

    I have read a lot about codependency, I certainly played a codependent role for a time. But I
    Just can’t see that my personality by nature fits the bill for a codependent, this really isn’t denial I’m very open minded to this.

    However, she has recently ended things by shutting me out completely & abruptly, stating she only feels ‘numb’ or loves me but not IN love with me (probably because i have acts like such a needy walkover for such a long time !)

    My question is;
    Does it make me a codependent to still want her back? There are undoubtably problems to overcome but I genuinely believe in our ability to over come it. I can see a happy life for myself without her, I know I don’t NEED her to be happy. But I am happy with her, & would be even more so as she progresses towards her recovery.

    Kind Regards,

  13. GH
    April 3, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Hey Tara, I just wanted to send you this note of thanks for your website, excellent advice. I see things a lot more clearly now and the confusion and frustration of living with crazy is finally lifting – unties all the knots. Absolutely brilliant, thank you so much.

  14. MCM
    March 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Hello Dr T
    I’ve been separated from my wife from more than 6 months ago after two years of nonstop rollercoaster abuse.Took me two years to discover she has narcissist borderline personality disorder and a flying monkey machine triangulating friends and her family members against me.So she claims. One day fed up with the abuse I packed all of my belongings and moved back home to my mother unemployed searching for work leaving me with a barrage of outstanding credit card debts. I’ve been ever since early October of last year No Contact after I got fed up with the psychological and emotional games she played and now she wants to see me face to face to talk about divorce among other things haven’t responded to her requests texts calls and e-mail but I’ve decided to have a mediator talk on my behalf..Any questions thoughts or concerns she should refer to my attorney.Not taking any chances with her ALONE..Chances are She could use leverage against me.

  15. Steve D.
    February 22, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I’ve been married 3x and never really dated much between those marriages. I left my ex’s and took time to understand my role in those relationship failures and also make sure I wasn’t ‘rebounding’ when I started to date again.

    Finally, after many 1st and 2nd date, 6 date flings, etc., I thought lightning had struck.

    I meet a widow and, yeah, the sex was amazing.

    Then the red flags started showing up. The hubby had died only 2 months before we met.

    She says she’s not ready for serious. Understandable.

    But the questions about why I’m not in a house. Where’s my money going. Attempting to guess my car payment. Wow!

    I told her that I don’t discuss money outside of a committed relationship.

    She changes her tune and magically commits.

    We dated every other day for 2 months. Some red flags again. She has an adult son living elsewhere. She considers kids as ‘attachments’. I have 2 not living with me and that bothered me. Also, she claimed to be a ‘home owner’ that put $30K down on her house that she really inherited after the death of her hubby (found out later from hubby’s sister that his family put the money down, not her). She doesn’t have a real job per se. She buys at storage auctions and re-sells online. She has no health insurance either.

    Long story short, I’m a renter and she’s got more then me and joked about it.

    Would mock my choices in women (my ex’s).

    Said she could see right through me and it was obvious I was trying to attract a wife.

    Claimed her friends joked that she’d get a marriage proposal by the end of the year even.

    Well, after those 2 months, we exchanged I Love Yous.

    A week later, she says…’I feel like we’re in a holding pattern. Let’s keep our profiles up but continue being intimate’. Wow!

    I told her no, I’m not risk catching an STD. She says she’s a serial monogamist. Whadeva.

    I walk away.

    A month later she says she misses me. Agrees to take profiles down again.

    My mother is in hospice about to die and she puts her profile up again while I’m gone to say goodbye to her.

    I walk away again.

    She comes back 2 weeks later and wants to try again.

    Long story short, her sister in law contacts me and says this woman is waiting for life insurance from her hubby’s father. This widow thinks her hubby’s dad will give her his dead son’s inheritance.

    Sister in law notifies me that this widow had a child at 15 and put THAT child up for adoption.

    This woman loved the praise and complements and would never reciprocate back to me.

    All I ever got was ….’I enjoy your company’

    I also got a lot of hints from her about trouble making the mortgage and a blown head gasket on her car (I helped with neither btw).

    I’ve never seen someone who can say I Love You and then do a total 180 a week later.

    The sex with no emotional attachment caught me off guard. I would ask her how she felt when I told her I loved her during sex and she would say..’Don’t complicate this’

    What a selfish and self absorbed individual.

    I realized I was acting like a white knight and her damsel in distress thing attracted me. Yet, she was a total hypocrite that gas lighted me and criticized me.

    I guess the allure of crazy sex kept in that toxic pseudo quasi half baked relationship.

    Do I feel dumb and duped!

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