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Posts Tagged ‘high conflict personality’

How to Get Out and Stay Out of Relationships with Crazy, Abusive Women


There’s a new article on www.Shrink4Men.com by written by CrazyBuster, LiliM. She offers advice on how to safely end relationships with abusive, crazy, high-conflict partners and how to break the cycle of being attracted to abusive, high-conflict women.

Here’s the link:

How to Get Out and Stay Out Once You Realize You Are in a Relationship with Crazy

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

Dating After Divorcing a High-Conflict Woman: Are You Ready?


There’s a new article on www.Shrink4Men.com that discusses the importance of creating and enforcing boundaries with your high-conflict ex-wife, girlfriend or partner before you begin dating a new love interest.

Here’s the link:

Dating After Divorcing a High-Conflict Woman: Are You Ready to Date Again?

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

Coping Strategies 16-20 for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman


neo_bullets_matrix-1This is part four of Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman, 5 More Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman, and Another 5 Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman.

These strategies aren’t guaranteed to help you avoid an attack or “fix” your relationship. They are designed to help you become aware of what’s going on in the moment and not get sucked into another endless conflict. Maintaining this level of hyper-vigilance and behavioral maintenance would be emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausting and I urge you not to do so:

16. Realize her limitations as a human being and take care of yourself. Commit the following statements to memory:
– I didn’t cause it.
– I can’t control it.
– I can’t cure it.
– Get off her back.
– Get out of her way.
– Get on with your own life. (Mason & Kreger, Walking on Eggshells)

If you must stay with your BPD/NPD woman for the time being, find ways to take care of yourself and do things you enjoy without her (this shouldn’t be too difficult because these women will rarely do anything if they know it’s something you enjoy)—like running, bowling, painting, playing the piano, going to the gym in the morning before work, collecting stamps, going out for a beer with your friends (if you have any left). Even if it’s working in your woodshed on Sunday afternoons—it doesn’t matter what it is. Find pockets in your life that you truly enjoy and don’t allow this woman to infect them or take them away from you.

17. Identify her triggers and hot buttons and avoid them if at all possible. Of course, like everything else with these women, they change the rules as they go along. The playing ground is always shifting, therefore, something you do or say on Wednesday might be ok and on Friday it’s a heinous crime against humanity that makes her go ballistic. These women make the rules, break the rules and the rules never apply to them.

Furthermore, this is a particularly a short-term strategy because, by walking on eggshells, trying to find ways to avoid triggering her, YOU are taking responsibility for her bad behavior when it should be the other way around. I strongly advise against spending the rest of your life trying to avoid the emotional landmines these women set for their nearest and dearest. This, more than anything else, will create a trauma response within you over time and takes a while from which to recover.

18. Keep track. Keep a journal, a disk, or digital voice recordings (you can hide a device in your pocket, but first make sure you’re living in a two party state otherwise it won’t be admissible in court) or send emails to yourself in which you record the abuse, her nasty tricks, hurtful statements, lies and outrageous behaviors. This serves two purposes. First, it is a tangible record that things really are that bad. With her propensity for gaslighting and distorting reality, she may eventually have you questioning your own sanity. Don’t let that happen.

Second, by keeping a detailed account of her abuse you have an excellent resource for court if and when you divorce her and need to fight for custody. These women fear exposure of their bad behavior more than anything. If you have evidence you can show attorneys, judges, court evaluators, friends and family, it may dissuade her from the usual NPD/BPD modus operandi of false allegations and smear campaigns.

19. Develop a poker face. When in doubt, no reaction is the best reaction. You give away your power when you react with anger, sadness, dismay or confusion to these women’s barbs. Every nasty thing they do is designed for maximum effect. They feed off of negativity and conflict. It energizes them and makes them feel alive. Since these women are incapable of empathy or experiencing true happiness, the “rage buzz” is as close as they can get.

Her usual fun and games cease being fun when she presses the lever and doesn’t get her “reward;” i.e., an angry or hurt reaction from you. This is all about learning and unlearning behaviors. For example, let’s consider lab rats. If they learn that every time they press a lever in their cage they’ll be rewarded with a food pellet, they press that lever until they stuff themselves silly. They don’t even have to be rewarded with a pellet every time. It could be most of the time or 3 times out of ten—it doesn’t matter. They’ll continue to push the lever in the hopes of receiving a food pellet.

Same thing with your wife or girlfriend. She has learned how to press your button(s) and you reward her when you give her the desired response. It encourages her to keep going and going and going. You need to stop giving her the reaction she wants. She’ll continue to press your buttons and, in fact, will probably escalate how frequently she does so, but eventually she will become frustrated and find another source of food/reaction/attention—just like a lab rat.

20. Stay on point. Stay focused on your message. Don’t let her divert or distract you. That’s how she pulls you into crazy town right along with her. Speak calmly, clearly and confidently. These women are like animals; they can smell fear and when they do, they amp it up. Remember, at heart, they’re predatory bullies and if they perceive any weakness they’ll go after it.

Keep what you’re going to say short, simple, clear and direct. Think about her typical attacks. They’re probably very simplistic. Elaborate explanations, defenses, and pleas are lost on women like this. These women are black and white thinkers in the extreme. They don’t get nuance, so don’t waste your breath. In her mind, it’s right or wrong (she’s right; you’re wrong) and good or bad (she’s good; you’re bad).

Again, these strategies are meant to be short-term coping skills, not long-term solutions. Next week, I’ll post the next 5 techniques, so please check back.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

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Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix.

5 More Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman


Lucy van Pelt and Charlie Brown footballThis is part two of last week’s post, Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman. Remember, these skills are meant to be short-term coping strategies while you figure out how to end your abusive relationship. Maintaining this level of hyper-vigilance and behavioral maintenance long-term would be emotionally, physically and psychologically grueling and I urge you not to do so:

6. Be suspicious if she pretends to act like a normal, reasonable human being or is “nice” to you. Quite simply, these women aren’t reasonable and they’re not nice. Being “nice” is a last resort tactic in order to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do when their usual behaviors of bullying, insults, threats, high drama, tears and guilt have failed. They use these strategies to disorient you into submission. Pretending to be nice is just another maneuver in their bag of tricks, so don’t fall for it. It may also be a Hoover, if she suspects you’re thinking about ending the relationship or have told her you want to separate.

When these women are uncharacteristically nice, you’re probably relieved and think, “Maybe there’s hope. Maybe things will be okay.” They lull you into a false sense of security, you let your guard down and then WHAM! the rug is pulled out from beneath you. It’s like the old Peanuts gag in which Lucy van Pelt yanks the football away from Charlie Brown as he’s about to kick it. He lands on his backside every time, tricked again and wondering why Lucy just can’t play nice.

Don’t be a blockhead. Don’t respond like an eager puppy dog who’s grateful that his usually abusive mistress gave him a treat only to kick him in the ribs a few minutes later. Figure out what it is she’s after and then plan accordingly.

One of my readers, JP, shares an example of this behavior in which his ex-wife tries to get him to pay more spousal support than he’s required that he calls the rapport breaker in a comment (left on June 9th; 1:39am). I refer to this behavior as well, but call it the one-two sucker punch or the smash and grab (same comment thread left on June 9th; 3:00am by shrink4men—scroll down to the very bottom of the page; for some reason it’s out of sequence).

7. Avoid anger. As crazy as it seems, this kind of woman is genuinely surprised and taken aback when you become angry in reaction to her verbal and emotional abuse, attacks, manipulations, general selfishness, lack of empathy and inability to see any viewpoint, but her own highly distorted one. When you respond with anger (and rightly so), to her distorted emotional reasoning, she perceives this as rejection, criticism and a put down, which she’ll then feel compelled to punish you for.

As far as she’s concerned you don’t have a right to your feelings and she’s the only victim, even when she’s actively abusing you. When you stand up for yourself or hold her accountable for her bad behavior, she perceives it as an attack and will either respond in kind or scurry away to lick her wounds while she plans her next attack.

8. As loathsome as it may be, praise her for whatever admirable qualities (or quality) she has. Try to appeal to her “better nature.” Believe it or not, these women fancy themselves to be high-minded and just. Did you just choke on your coffee? I did.

When she’s behaving badly and/or making outrageous and unreasonable demands, say something like, “I know how much you love our son and what a good mother you are. I know you don’t want to scare him by fighting in front of him. You love him too much. Let’s wait to discuss this when he’s at basketball practice.” Or, “I know what a good Christian you are. Everyone at Church thinks so. No one’s perfect. If Jesus can forgive, so can we.” Or, “You’re so smart and aware about these things. I know you’d eventually think of this yourself, but why don’t we…” You get the idea. By doing this, you flatter and acknowledge her unfounded superior sense of self, which may buy you a little peace.

9. Avoid responding to personal attacks or criticism with defensiveness or long-winded explanations. Being defensive only amps her up to attack even harder and she tunes out any explanations (i.e., what you and I call REALITY) because it contradicts her delusional world and self view.

When she accuses you of saying or doing something that you didn’t say or do, apologize for “mis-communicating” or “misunderstanding.” Say you’re sorry she feels ignored or belittled, because that wasn’t your intention when, for example, you were putting your son to bed after working a 12-hour day or don’t think it’s a good idea to put a $30,000 addition to the house because you’re struggling to make ends meet. This may help her shift back to a positive position.

When she engages in name calling or other demeaning behaviors, set a clear boundary and if she won’t observe it, walk away. For example, “I see you’re upset. I’m willing to discuss the problem with you, but calling me names makes it difficult for me to hear you. If you continue to make personal attacks, I’m going for a walk.” Depending upon the severity of her issues, this may or may not work. The point is to give her a clear consequence if she doesn’t stop her bad behavior. Don’t make concessions just to end the conflict du jour, because it only validates her distorted thinking, which empowers her to make more outrageous criticisms, attacks, demands, etc., which leads us to…

10. Set clear boundaries. This kind of woman will take a million miles if you give her half an inch. Figure out your bottom line when it comes to tolerating certain behaviors, draw a line for the ones that are absolutely unacceptable and state them gently, firmly, clearly and repeatedly. Like a 5-year old child, she doesn’t take “no” for an answer and will continue to push and push and push until she wears you out or she wears herself out, whichever comes first.

These women may respect the boundaries you put in place one day and the next, it’s like you never had the conversation. You will have to consistently and continuously reset the boundaries with her, so if you plan to stay in the relationship, get used to sounding like a broken record. Unlike an actual 5-year old, these women neither grow up nor grow out of these behaviors and their grandiose sense of entitlement. They will maintain their hostile dependency for as long as the relationship continues and afterward via alimony, which is a form of financial abuse, but at least she’s not in your face everyday.

Again, these are meant to be short-term coping skills, not long-term solutions. Next week, I’ll post the next 5 techniques, so please check back.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related content:

Photo credit:

Lucy van Pelt and Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz on photobucket.com.

Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman


man in cage-2Why does he stay with her? She’s abusive. Crazy. Cruel. Frigid. Why doesn’t he just leave? There are a number of answers to this question:

1. Men who’ve been ensnared by an emotionally abusive Narcissist and/or Borderline female are often brainwashed into believing there’s something wrong with them and that they should be grateful to be with the woman who tortures them.

2. Men are afraid of being taken to the cleaners by these women if they divorce them and rightly so. These women are extremely vindictive and take no responsibility for themselves or how their abusive behaviors contribute to the demise of their relationships.

3. Fathers worry that BPD/NPD women will turn their kids against them (parental alienation) and deny them visitation—again, with good reason.

4. While other men, the most unfortunate of the lot, believe they love these women and that if they just try a little harder, they can get them to change and have a happy relationship.

This is the first of four articles of coping skills if you’re in an ongoing relationship with an abusive woman or in the process of trying to end a relationship with one.These skills are meant to be short-term coping strategies while you figure out how to extricate yourself from your abusive relationship. Maintaining this level of hyper-vigilance and behavioral maintenance long-term would be emotionally, physically and psychologically grueling and I strongly urge you not to do so:

1. Listen to fear and anger without getting caught up in it. Don’t bite on the hook of her provocative and inflammatory attacks. Don’t engage with the content. Don’t agree or disagree with the content. When you engage in the content, you give her the fuel to escalate the conflict/drama and the ammunition to portray you as the angry jerk after the dust settles. Try the following techniques:

–    Pretend like you’re really listening. Make direct eye contact. Avoid interrupting her at the beginning of her verbal diarrhea. Listen and pretend to empathize for a minute or two by nodding your head and occasionally saying, “Ok” or “I see.” Do your best not to take anything she says to heart. The insults and accusations she hurls at you are projection; her unconscious self-condemnation that she maps onto you.

–    Practice sympathetic body language. When under attack, most of us adopt defensive body postures. For example, you may fold your arms across your chest, clench your jaw or hunch your shoulders. Maintain an open body posture and try to appear as if you’re being neutral and unaffected by what she’s saying. If she senses defensiveness or fear, she’ll become even more aggressive, like a shark in a feeding frenzy.

–    Recognize how she’s feeling, but DON’T agree with her. For example, “I hear what you’re saying,” “I understand how strongly you feel,” or “I understand you’re upset with me.” By doing this you acknowledge that’s she’s agitated, but you’re not accepting the blame or agreeing with her.

2. Be consistent in your responses while eliminating emotional reactions. You have to be consistent in your emotions and behavior because she isn’t. She’s ruled by her wild mood swings and fear of being exposed as a human train wreck. Avoid intense emotional reactions to her behavior, even though her words and actions are designed to provoke and inflame.

If you engage with her one day and ignore her the next, this will make her feel out of control and insecure. This will then cause her to escalate her clinging behaviors and/or angry outbursts, vindictiveness, abusive tirades, etc., for any perceived criticism, real or imagined. If you set specific boundaries regarding her behavior, you must reinforce them consistently as you would with a young child.

3. Anticipate crises and be prepared to respond to them gently, but firmly. While you can’t predict or anticipate every abusive outburst, after enough time, you can identify things that are likely to trigger an attack. Common triggers include upcoming family events, vacations, having to get a job or, like a predatory animal, she has a specific “feeding time” when she goes after her prey. For example, the midnight feeder: She has a pattern of starting fights/attacking you between 9pm and midnight when you’re trying to wind down the day and you’re already drained (i.e., in a weakened state). Therefore, it’s helpful to be prepared with specific boundaries regarding when you’ll discuss emotionally charged matters.

First, pretend to listen to her for two minutes and respond by recognizing how she’s feeling. Then, say something like, “I understand you’re upset, but I’m too tired at the end of the day to give this matter the attention it deserves. I’ll be better able to discuss this in the morning after I’ve had a good night’s sleep. If you continue to push this tonight, I’m going to stay at my friends/sleep in the other room/not go on the shopping trip you want me to take you on this weekend.”

Whatever it is she’s upset about doesn’t matter. What matters is that you provide her with the sense—even if you’re faking it—that you’re listening to her in those first few minutes, so that she doesn’t feel ignored, criticized, abandoned or dominated, and then give her a specific consequence if she persists.

4. Adopt an “arm’s length bond,” if you can. Avoid being too responsive to her negative or positive emotions. You can’t attend to her every whim, insecurity and “need” every minute of the day or you won’t have time for anything else. Also, don’t allow your self to have a false sense of hope during those fleeting moments when she’s nice. Think of her like a weather system and develop a sense of detachment and plan accordingly. “Oh, it’s nice outside today. I’ll leave my jacket at home” or “Looks like it might storm today, I’d better bring my umbrella.”

5. Validate her, not her complaint and then take action. For example, “I see how upset you are. What can we do to fix the situation?” If she wants you to do something that you’re not willing to do, remain calm and don’t become defensive. Respond to her as you would a 5-year old child who’s demanding that you do something that’s impractical or harmful. “I’m sorry, but it’s not possible for me to do what you want. Is there something else we can do?” Or, if you have an idea that will appease her that doesn’t hurt you, suggest it.

Again, these are meant to be short-term coping skills not long-term solutions. Next week, I’ll post the next 5 techniques, so please check back.

Source credit: The 5 skills discussed above are modified from Bill Eddy‘s Four Steps in Resolving High Conflict Disputes. He directs his material to legal professionals and therapists, but I believe the husbands and boyfriends who are the intimate targets of NPD/BPD women can benefit by developing these skills, too.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related content:

Photo credit:

Man in cage on PBase.