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Posts Tagged ‘personality disorder’

Dr Tara J. Palmatier Answers Callers’ Questions on A Voice for Men Radio


There’s a new post on www.Shrink4Men.com that provides the player embed of Dr Tara J. Palmatier’s appearance on A Voice for Men Radio from the March 22, 2011 broadcast.

Here’s the link:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier of Shrink4Men Answers Callers’ Questions on A Voice for Men Radio

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.

The High-Conflict Mind: Able to Judge, But Not to Discern and How It Affects You


There’s a new article  on www.shrink4men.com that explores the difference between the judging mind versus the discerning mind. It makes the argument that many high-conflict and/or abusive personality-disordered individuals judge others based on their own inconsistent emotional states, but are unable to assess situations with logical and factual discernment. It also explores the results of this phenomenon, which include splitting (i.e., black and white/all-or-nothing thinking) and ongoing abuse directed toward the partner of the high-conflict individual or anyone who challenges or criticizes the high-conflict individual.

Here’s the link:

High-Conflict and Abusive Personality-Disordered Women: The Emotional Judging Mind Vs. the Discerning Mind

Kind Regards,

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Sex and Control: How Men Get Screwed by Emotionally Abusive Women


giant screwSex is a very important part of a healthy and loving relationship. If you’re involved with an emotionally abusive narcissistic and/or borderline woman, the sex has probably become bad for your self-esteem and general well-being, just like everything else in your relationship.

NPD/BPD women basically have three behaviors toward sex: hyper-sexuality, hot and cold, or frigidity. Sometimes, the same woman can alternate between all three behaviors.

[Note: Sex drives may vary greatly from person to person and aren’t necessarily an irresolvable issue in an otherwise loving and compatible relationship. This post focuses on the unhealthy attitudes and behaviors these women have toward sex.]

First, let’s explore the essential elements for love and a fulfilling sex life.

Vulnerability, trust, intimacy, empathy, and  respect — or the lack thereof.

There are 5 prerequisites for love and great sex:

  1. Vulnerability. This means taking a risk, exposing your true self, your needs and desires. It’s risky because you could be rejected or ridiculed. It’s impossible for an NPD/BPD woman to make herself vulnerable because she’s invested most of her life in crafting an elaborate and rigid false self to hide her highly damaged true self.
  2. Trust. You trust your partner to accept you and to not deliberately hurt you. This woman trusts no one. She believes everyone is out for themselves and trying to “get one over” on her. This is an example of projection. She’s out for herself and tries to constantly get one over on you.
  3. Intimacy. This is about sharing and getting close physically, psychologically and emotionally.
  4. Empathy. This requires being in tune with the other person and being able to experience how they feel and what they want and need.
  5. Respect. This woman treats her husband or boyfriend like an object; not an equal partner whose feelings and needs are just as important as her own. Bottom line: She doesn’t respect you.

An emotionally abusive NPD/BPD woman is incapable of empathy. She’s incapable of seeing any viewpoint other than her own and only cares about her needs and feelings. She’d rather stick bamboo splinters under her fingernails than feel vulnerable and she cannot, cannot tolerate emotional and psychological intimacy. She can tolerate some physical intimacy, as long as it doesn’t lead to the other forms of intimacy. Basically, in order to avoid emotional and psychological intimacy, she either engages in hyper-sexuality or avoids sex altogether. But why?

True intimacy means sharing your good qualities as well as your faults and insecurities with your partner, which this woman will never do. Not only does this woman not let down her guard, she ‘s constantly attacking you or pushing your buttons in order to keep her vulnerabilities from being exposed. Consequently, you feel unsafe and on your guard, even though a love partner is the one person with whom you should feel safe enough to let down your guard. This doesn’t bode well for a mutually satisfying sex life.

So why is she even in a relationship if she doesn’t trust, respect or love you?

1. You’re her normalcy prop. Being married or in a committed relationship gives her the appearance of normalcy to the outside world. You play an integral role in maintaining her false self. “See. Someone wants me. There’s nothing wrong with me. Normal people get married. Therefore, I’m normal because I’m married.

2. She can’t exist without attention. Good attention, bad attention; it doesn’t matter. For her purposes, you could be anybody. She likes the idea of having a boyfriend or husband in the abstract, but the reality of being in a relationship is filled with frustration and disappointment for her because you’re not “perfect” or “good enough” for her highly inflated false sense of self. She soon grows to resent you and then the covert and overt abuse and rage attacks begin. Conversely, you try to hold her accountable and point out her imperfections. She can’t have that.

As a result of not living up to her lofty and unrealistic expectations (by the way, no one is capable of doing so), she doesn’t really like you very much. She plays the role of martyr to the hilt, professing her love for you in one breath and cutting you down and shutting you out with the next. You can’t have a satisfying emotional and physical connection with  someone who doesn’t like you and sees you as a “disappointment.” This is another example of projection. In reality, she’s the disappointment and failure as a life partner.

It all comes down to control and bolstering her ego.

Sex isn’t about expressing love, lust, intimacy, passion, affection or mutual pleasure. Instead, many of these women use sex to lure you into the relationship. Once she feels confident that she’s hooked you, sex becomes one of the ways she controls you—either by sexing you up or by withholding it. There are two primary ways of doing this.

1. The insatiable sexual virtuoso. The sex starts off with a bang. The sheer intensity of it is mind blowing, but deceiving. The intensity is actually a symptom of the severity of her pathology. What seems like intense passion to you, is really her intense need to control and dominate you into submission. I repeat, it’s about controlling you, not pleasing you.

You’re also her sex prop. She treats you like a mechanical object/scratching post/human vibrator and/or a way to make herself feel desirable, sexy or “the best.” Roger Melton, M.A. explains: “I love you” means “I need you to love me.” “That was the best ever for me” means “Tell me it was the best ever for you. Show me that I have you.” Sex isn’t an act of true intimacy, but rather another way for her to feel admired and in control. Eventually, this will cause you to feel used and distant instead of loved and emotionally connected. This form of sexuality may be constant or blow hot and cold. It depends upon how often she needs this kind of validation and/or how great her need for control is.

2. The withholding welcher. Alternately, an emotionally abusive, NPD/BPD woman lures you into a relationship with the unspoken promise of passionate sex once you’ve “proven” yourself and she “feels” she can “trust you.” Alexander Lowen, M.D. explains this kind of seduction as “a false statement or promise to get another person to do what he or she would not otherwise do. The promise can be explicitly stated, or it can be implied. Psychopathic swindlers openly promise something they have no intention of giving. But most seductive ploys involve promises that are not clearly stated” (Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, p. 102).

This is a trap because the passionate sex never materializes. You have to keep proving yourself “worthy” of her and, as many of my readers know, nothing is ever enough for these women. You can never be nice enough, do enough or meet any of her other ill-defined, diffuse, shifting rules and requirements enough for her to “reward” you with sex. Sex is a chore for this woman, an obligation or a “favor” she begrudgingly bestows with growing infrequency and ultimately becomes a transaction.

A transactional relationship is one in which person A provides a service in exchange for person B providing a service. Prostitution is a kind of transactional relationship and so is sex with this kind of NPD/BPD woman. In other words, if you want to get laid, then you have to give her something she wants or behave how she wants you to behave. This is another way she controls you.

There’s always an agenda, even if it’s having sex so you won’t end the relationship. It’s still a transaction. “You owe me because I let you have sex with me. I did my ‘duty,’ so now you can’t leave.” Most men are so grateful for even the smallest scrap of affection that they ignore the perfunctory and disinterested way in which their wife or girlfriend treats sex. Like a man who’s been wandering through the desert views a thimble full of water; you’re grateful for what little you get.

No matter the scenario, you’re not her beloved, equal partner; you’re either a to-do list item, a human vibrator, and/or a way for her to feel like she’s still “got it.”

Shame and sex don’t mix.

This kind of woman may also increase her control by combining sex with shame. For example, she labels you as “perverse,”  “sick” or “abnormal” for wanting sex, when she’s the one who has a perverse, twisted sexuality and relationship beliefs—this is more projection. Typical statements include: “There’s something wrong with you. You’re a sex addict. You’re a pervert. All you want is sex.” Shaming you for the very natural desire of  physical intimacy in your committed relationship is incredibly abusive and can leave emotional scars.

The NPD/BPD woman will only have sex when she wants it, which is usually after you’ve been so beaten down that you no longer have any interest in touching her. Contrary to what she believes, criticism, rages, and the cold shoulder do not make for great aphrodisiacs. When you tell her that you’re not in the mood (go figure), she insults your manhood, accuses you of infidelity, of not loving her and so on and so forth.

She expects you to perform a thousand and one feats of devotion before she takes the lid off the cookie jar, yet expects you to perform on demand whether you want to or not. This is another example of her utter lack of empathy. Sex is about what she needs in that given moment and has nothing to do with you. You’re nothing more than object who exists to service her every whim, need and insecurity.

Screwed, but not in the good way.

In the end, a Narcissistic-Borderline woman tends to make a poor lover. Even if she’s mastered a range of techniques, sex is ultimately a mechanical act devoid of true intimacy. If you view sex as simply a mechanistic, impersonal stimulus/release interaction, this may be enough. If you view sex as a medium of expression in which you share love, lust, playfulness, raw animal passion, desire, tenderness and mutual fantasies, sex with this kind of woman will never be enough. Sex becomes just another empty and dissatisfying exchange with your partner.

For those of you who think you’ve lucked out because you’re with the sexual performer, think again. It may be more difficult to end your relationship because you’re also confusing sex with intimacy and can fall back on the lie, “at least the sex is good.” Is it really? Or is it making it more difficult for you to recognize the degree to which you’re being abused, to end the relationship and to find a woman who’s capable of true emotional and physical intimacy?

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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Video: Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman and Suicide Threats


shackled handsNarcissistic Personality Disorder/Borderline Personality Disorder women rarely make it easy to end a relationship with them. Once you finally decide you can no longer take the emotional abuse, the threats, accusations, outrageous demands, bullying, projection, projective identification and gaslighting, you probably feel a sense of relief. Then the maw of hell opens and the BPD/NPD woman ratchets her nasty behaviors a thousandfold.

Typical behaviors include: distortion/smear campaigns (lying to your friends, family and anyone who’ll listen in order to turn them against you); parental alienation (turning your children against you by badmouthing you, lying about you and putting you into no-win situations); and projection (blaming you for the rotten abusive acts that she is committing—for example, she engages in parental alienation and then accuses you of taking your anger out on the children).

Facing these threatening behaviors can be terrifying, which makes it all the more difficult to end the relationship. These women become unpredictable, wild animals when they sense they’re losing control. They don’t care about the collateral damage they inflict. They’ll bring the house down right on top of themselves if they think it will punish you.

I received an email request for advice from one of my readers, “Mike,” about breaking up with his BPD/NPD ex, “Susan.” He shared a rather lengthy email exchange between them, which I condensed into an Xtranormal video (with Mike’s permission). Here’s an excerpt from his email:

I guess my question is, “Where do I go from here?” I posted some of my experiences (under the name, fromCOtoAZ) previously on your blog. Your advice was very helpful and completely correct. Unfortunately, I didn’t adhere to your advice and got sucked back in. My ex promised she was seeing a therapist and that things would change. She finally admitted her words are hurtful and cause a lot of damage. I gave her one more chance to see if things really would change or if it was just window dressing.

Things were fine the first month, then they shot straight back to what they were by the second month. She has no problem throwing anyone under the bus if you try to hold her accountable. She blames others for her problems, even her kids. While we were together, I offered to buy her a car since she totaled her previous one in an accident. Even though I can’t afford it, I was willing to do it for her and her kids. Long story short, she blows up at me. Most girls would say, “thank you, what a guy.” Not her.  She HAS to find something wrong with the offer, some reason to be offended,  some reason to be completely negative and angry.

The profanity comes in waves, degrading words spew like bile, and it happens every time. It’s always someone else’s fault. So I finally had enough – again – and broke up with her. Now she’s playing the victim and it’s all my fault in her eyes. Here’s the dialog we had tonight. It’s a great example of how our “discussions” (my attempt) turn into fights (her attempt).

So here is my question to you: My nephew got into a fight with his girlfriend and hung himself when he was 21. I also made a very poor decision earlier in my life and considered suicide. Trust me. She knows suicide is very personal to me. I’m not asking you to have a crystal ball, but I’m scared that she’s serious. Then again, and I don’t mean to sound like a callous jerk, she could simply be playing that card because she knows it’s the ONE thing that will get my attention over anything else. So where do I go from here?

I can’t stay with her just because she threatens to kill herself. She’ll never stop being abusive and demoralizing and yet I don’t want to have that on my conscience if she does it. When I had ny own brush with suicide years ago, it was my decision, poor as it was, and I accept full responsibility. She would never see it as her choice. It would all be my fault. What should I do? This girl (“girl” -she’s actually a 43-year old woman with 3 children!) scares me in so many ways, but this is the scariest.

Hi Mike,

My head felt like it was going to explode while reading your email exchange with Susan. Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…

1. Your first mistake was going back into the rabid lioness’ den (i.e., reuniting). It happens though. You wanted to give it one more college try. I understand. You stuck your hand into the fire again and got burned. This is a valuable lesson. Remember it.

2. Your second mistake was offering to remain friends with this woman. You cannot, not, NOT remain “friends” with these women. If you don’t share a child, the healthiest thing is a clean break (or as clean as you can get with a woman like this), which means no contact.

First, this woman is not your friend. A friend doesn’t abuse you. Second, as one of my other readers so eloquently stated, “As adult as you may think you are being by developing a “friendship”, this is not a normal adult relationship and you need to end the behavior patterns in order to move on. If children are involved, communicate by email with very direct, but not curt communications. Do not initiate or engage in any dramatic episodes even on email – Kind, Direct, Simple, the end.”

3. You’re using too many words with her (Mike’s email responses to Susan were very long). These women don’t process dialog/conversation like the rest of us. Crafting long, factual explanations–especially ones that don’t fit with their distorted version of events–are completely lost on them. Even if it seems like she’s reading or listening, she’s just scanning for specific hot-button code words that she can twist around, distort, and blow completely out of proportion in order to use your words against you. These women should become professional taffy pullers. Their ability to distort facts so that they fall in line with their distorted emotional reasoning is unparalleled.

4. Never agree with these women’s insults and name-calling. Appeasing these women by agreeing with them in order to get them to stop the verbal abuse (i.e., shut up) is usually a bad idea. They take it as a green light to keep going and that their behavior is acceptable. You can’t humor these women. It only amps them up.

5. When they invoke the authority of a therapist, attorney or some other professional it means they’re getting desperate. It’s like saying, “I told mommy/daddy/teacher on you and boy are you in trouble now!” It’s a control/manipulation/shame/fear tactic. No competent therapist would encourage a patient to emotionally blackmail a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, ex or family member by threatening suicide.

In fact, Psychologists adhere to the Tarasoff vs. the Regents of the University of California ruling, which means they have a duty to protect their patients from harming themselves or others. This includes breaking confidentiality by contacting the authorities or having them voluntarily/involuntarily hospitalized if the Psychologist decides the patient has intent, the means and a plan to kill herself.

I highly doubt she even showed your emails to her therapist. Then again, perhaps she did and that’s why Bonnie is recommending inpatient treatment. Furthermore, just like NPD/BPD women twist around things that you say and do; they also twist what their therapists say if it helps them to control and abuse others. Additionally, if Bonnie criticized you it’s probably because your ex has given her a highly distorted account of your relationship.

6. You are NOT responsible if this woman takes her life. Period. This is classic emotional blackmail. Don’t bite on it. If you’re really worried about her, call or email her therapist and let her decide if Susan needs to be pink papered. Forward Susan’s emails to her therapist. State you understand she can’t discuss or even acknowledge that she’s treating Susan, but you’re worried that she may harm herself and her children by exposing them to her parasuicidal threats and possible gestures. Mention your experience with your nephew and that’s why you feel obligated to notify her. And truly, Mike, that’s all you’re obligated to do.

I apologize if my feedback comes across as harsh, but for goodness sake, I feel violated reading her attacks on you secondhand. Do you have a therapist or someone who can help you set and maintain your boundaries and figure out what attracted you to Susan and what makes you susceptible to women like her? If not, I strongly encourage you to focus on that instead of being friends with Susan or having anything else to do with her.

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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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.

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.

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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.

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5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Involved with Another Crazy, Emotionally Abusive Woman


beautiful woman maskMany men have a long established pattern of dating and/or marrying crazy, emotionally and/or physically abusive women. If you’re one of them and have managed to end your most recent abusive relationship, here are some warning signs and ways you can avoid becoming involved with another one of these highly destructive women:

1) Dig, baby, dig. Do a little gentle digging (i.e., no police interrogation tactics) about her past relationships and why they didn’t work out. Does she blame all of her exes and make them out to be bastards? If so, steer clear. You want to hear a potential love interest take some of the responsibility about the demise of her past relationships. “I was young and immature. I didn’t know what I wanted. I realize now that I…

Taking responsibility for her choices and holding herself accountable is a good indication that you’re probably dealing with a grown-up. However, don’t confuse self-blame and responsibility. If she trashes herself, puts herself down, blames herself for her failed relationships, actually admits how crazy she is and drove the other men away, get out while the getting’s good.

If she tells you up front how crazy she is don’t minimize, ignore it or explain it away; look for the nearest exit sign. People will give you warning signs very early on in a relationship, so pay close attention.

2) Beware of an inexplicable, instant, powerful and overwhelming attraction to a woman or if you feel like you “already know her” because of an “instant connection.” Odds are you do already know her. She’s probably just another embodiment of your old issues. Yes, instant chemistry exists and this new woman might be as wonderful as she appears to be, but go slowly.

The charming, but illusory façade of abusive woman begins to crack fairly soon into the relationship, but gradually, which is why so many men minimize, overlook, deny and/or excuse the abusive behaviors. She seems amazing and then there’s an attack “out of nowhere.” She goes back to “normal” for a few weeks and then there’s another incident and another and another and another. In most cases, the period of time between abusive episodes becomes shorter and shorter. Don’t wait that long to get out.

For example, the two of you meet and she’s great. Two weeks go by and she has her first rage episode in which she accuses you of being “insensitive” or “selfish” in the absence of any selfish or insensitive behaviors on your part. You’re bewildered and left wondering, “What just happened?” This is when you should go on high alert and pay very close attention to what she does next:

a) Does she pretend like it didn’t happen? Does she minimize or deny that it happened? This is called gaslighting and it’s abusive.

b) Does she apologize prettily, cry and say she was having a bad day at work and her boss was being mean to her and then you didn’t call her at the exact minute she was expecting you to call and she just couldn’t take it anymore and snapped? Don’t fall for it. This isn’t really an apology. She’s not taking responsibility for her bad behavior. Rather, she’s blaming her boss and you. Everyone has a bad day from time to time and maybe you want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Ok, but when it happens a second and a third time, she’s not “just having a bad day,” this is who she is.

c) Does she blatantly blame you for her bad behavior without even feigning an empty apology? There’s no gray area here. She’s an abusive personality and you should probably walk away.

d) Does she cry and beg you not to leave her, flushed with high drama, saying things like “I don’t know what I’ll do if you leave me. No one has ever made me feel this way. I don’t want to go on without you. Please don’t leave me!? Get a restraining order, change your phone number and get a new email account. This is probably full throttle BPD.

3) Beware of grand gestures or extreme selfishness. If she gives you an extravagant gift or orchestrates some incredible fantasy date within a few weeks of knowing her, be alarmed. If she expects you to take care of everything, make all the plans, entertain her, pay for everything and doesn’t reciprocate, be alarmed.

The former shows inappropriate boundaries and she’s probably working from the angle of “now he’ll owe me” and the latter indicates you will always “do” for her and get nothing in return except complaints and criticism. Nothing will ever be “good enough” for this kind of woman. Abusive types sometimes do very nice things or show empathy, but it’s on the condition that you will be available to them on demand.

4) BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES—Getting too close, too fast. Another warning sign is if she tries to insinuate herself into your other relationships and personal space too quickly. For example, you’ve been dating for two weeks, she finds out it’s your dad’s birthday that weekend and buys him a gift. Or she has roommate troubles and could she stay at your place “temporarily” after only knowing you a month. Or she wants to introduce you to her family in record time. This is evidence that she has poor or zero boundaries and it only goes downhill from here.

5) Mine! Mine! Mine! Extreme possessiveness. If she’s resentful early on about how and with whom you spend your time, this is a bad sign. Abusers feel jealous and threatened when you spend time with your family and friends—even talking on the phone with your sister who’s having a health crisis will set these women off. If she becomes nasty and berates you about having outside interests and hobbies, then, in the words of the Apollo 13 crew, “Houston, we have a problem.”

This is an early warning sign that this woman will use any means necessary to isolate you from your friends and family—the people who care about you and your well-being. If a woman like this can effectively isolate you, then you’re basically under her control and at her mercy without any outside support to tell you that she’s nuts and you deserve to be treated better.

When you meet a kind, loving and healthy woman, it’ll probably feel a little strange to you at first. That’s normal. Ride it out. Remind yourself this is what you want and let yourself enjoy it. Consciously make the decision to be open to it and you’ll get there. Relationships really can be that mutually rewarding and satisfying.

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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