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Another 5 Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Women


Rope_LadderThis is part three of Coping Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman and 5 More 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. If a BPD/NPD woman is determined to raise hell, she’s going to do it. Even if these strategies aren’t effective every time she’s looking to hurt you or get a reaction out of you, they can help you become aware of what’s going on in the moment and not get sucked into another endless conflict.

These women want you to react to their hurtful behaviors, so they can feel righteous, indignant, hurt and justified. If you don’t react, that upsets them, too. Remember, ultimately, there is no winning with this kind of woman. You win by not giving her the reaction she wants, disengaging, and if you can do it, ending the relationship and recovering yourself. Maintaining this level of hyper-vigilance and behavioral maintenance would be emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausting and I urge you not to do so:

11. Just the facts, ma’am, i.e., hold her accountable. Some of these women may become violent if you hold them accountable for their behaviors. If your wife or girlfriend is the non-violent type, holding her accountable may give you a respite from the yelling, carping, kvetching, insults, accusations, etc. She won’t admit you’re right. She’ll never accept responsibility for her abusive behaviors, lies, and distortions. You won’t get the validation and vindication you long for, but it may make her blink and go speechless, if only for a short while.

Don’t yell. Don’t get in her face the way she gets in yours. Calmly and clearly bring it all back to the facts. Commit these phrases to memory: “That’s not true.” “I won’t admit that’s true no matter how angry you get.” “That’s not how I remember it. Here’s what happened. . .” She’ll probably continue to talk or shout over you, change her story as she goes along, deny it ever happened and/or call you a liar, but that still doesn’t change the facts of her behaviors and events.

12. Choose your battles. You can’t respond to everything she says, does or demands. You just can’t. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Figure out your bottom line. Make concessions on small issues to allow her to feel like she’s “winning” and stick to your guns on the big issues. This will help to preserve your sanity.

13. Contain any and all emotions. Whatever you do, DON’T ask these women to explain their feelings and DON’T express yours. Yes, women complain that men don’t express how they feel enough, but expressing your emotions to a woman like this is a trap. It will be held and used against you in the future if you tell her what you’re thinking and feeling.

BPD/NPD women can’t handle their own intense emotions much less the emotions of others. That’s why these women are human projection machines—engaging in what I like to call “emotional projectile vomiting.” Think of feelings like anxiety, fear, self-doubt, worthlessness, self-loathing, anger, etc., like a case of food poisoning. As the bile starts to rise in your throat, you vomit, sometimes violently, wipe your mouth, burp and then say, “oh, that feels better.”

These women do the same thing, but with their emotions and guess who’s the toilet. . . you. You become the receptacle for their emotional bile. After they deposit the contents of their highly disturbed psyche onto you (projection) or into you (projective identification) they feel better because you’re now carrying their toxicity for them.

Of course, this leaves you upset, which these women don’t understand. They feel better, so why don’t you? You’re upset because of something they did? What’s wrong with you? You’re making things up. You’re being too sensitive. If you don’t just take it and pretend you’re alright afterward, it may trigger another attack episode. Remember, these women are genuinely taken aback when you express displeasure with their abusive behavior (see #7).

So when she starts projecting, don’t discuss her feelings—because that’s a bottomless pit—and don’t tell her how bad she’s making you feel because she’ll interpret that as an attack on her, which will then compel her to attack you again (that’s in addition to her initial attack). Briefly acknowledge her upset feelings and then direct the focus to something else.

These women are too emotionally raw and vulnerable, no matter how shut down they appear to be at times. Discussing feelings with them will only trigger her to escalate the abuse and dump on you some more. Don’t ask her how she feels, but rather, what she thinks you and she should do about it, assess the feasibility and proceed from there.

14. At the risk of sounding like a Zen devotee, because I’m not, DETACH FROM THE OUTCOME. You can’t control her. You can’t make her change. All you can do is make choices for yourself, decide how much you can tolerate, set boundaries and decide when enough is enough and end the relationship, which leads me to. . .

15. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.  Ordinarily, I’d encourage people to expect the best from others to create a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. However, expecting the best from women like this will only lead you to feel broadsided, perpetually disappointed, and hurt.

For all their crocodile tears and hyper-sensitivity, these women are emotional predators and bullies. If you stay in a relationship with one of these women, the best you can expect is more of the same. You may achieve some periods of “peace” if you can learn how not to trigger her 30% of the time (remember, she’s not responsible for her behavior; you’re responsible for her behavior and your behavior and all the other problems in the universe), how not to take her attacks personally (even though they’re extremely personal in nature), and how to maintain your boundaries through implementing behavioral consequences a small percentage of the time.

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.

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Is Your Girlfriend or Wife a Professional Victim?


yourfaultDoes your girlfriend or wife blame you for everything that’s wrong in the relationship, even her bad behaviors? Does she refuse to take responsibility for her own actions, especially the hurtful ones? Do you frequently feel forced into a role of contrition in which you have to make up for some wrong or “owe” your girlfriend or wife?

If so, you may be involved with a woman who is a professional victim. Don’t be fooled, she is no victim. Victim-hood is a powerful role. In fact, women who play the victim are often the aggressor in relationships. They play the “victim” to manipulate and control others by holding you emotionally hostage.

Professional victims are stealth bullies. Being caught in a never ending blame game with one of these women is a form of emotional abuse for the man at whom she points her finger in accusation.

The following characteristics are signs that your girlfriend or wife may be a professional victim:

1) She never acknowledges when she hurts others. She has exclusive rights to the role of “injured party.” When you call her on her  behavior, she provides ample excuses for why she’s not accountable. The excuses she provides assign blame for her actions to someone else, usually the person she’s wronged. It’s always your fault or someone else’s fault, but never, ever is it her fault.

2) The victim must be victimized. If you’re not an abusive person, she’ll pull it out of you in order to play the victim script she has in her head. For example, she needles and needles and needles one of your sore spots, until you can’t take it any more and snap at her in defense.

Presto! She just got you to “victimize” her–never mind the previous 2 hours in which she psychologically tormented and bullied you into it. She needs to play innocent victim to someone’s bad guy. It’s the foundation of her identity.

This is a very primitive defense mechanism called projective identification, which, if you’re on the receiving end, is truly awful in that it makes you feel like the crazy person. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy whereby she believes you’re a “bad guy” and she’s a “victim.”  She then behaves or interacts with you in such a way that you change your behavior in response to her actions and become the “bad guy.” A telltale sign is that you feel like you’re being coerced into being someone that you’re not. It’s highly, highly emotionally abusive.

3) She blames others and circumstances for her own shortcomings or failures. The professional victim lives in “Never-Never Take Personal Responsibility Land,” which is bordered to the North by “The Land of If Only.” This allows her to blame her parents, siblings, co-workers, bosses, professors and you for her life, career and relationships not being as she thinks they should be.

She’d be running the business if only her boss recognized her talents. She’d have graduated from culinary school and been wildly successful if her prof hadn’t looked at her cross-eyed. She’d have sex with you more often if you did more of x, y, and z. Don’t fall for this malarkey, men. She’s right in that there’s someone to blame for her sad life. She need only look in the mirror to direct her blame accurately.

4) She admires and respects people who actually treat her badly. This is a fascinating aspect of the professional victim: They defend those who harm, exploit and bully them and vilify and lash out at those who want to help and care for them. She may fondly describe a relative or ex-boyfriend who sounds like a real S.O.B. and follow it up with, “but he’s such a good person.” Meanwhile, you bend over backward to tiptoe around her extreme sensitivities and she accuses you of “beating her down” and “not being supportive.” Huh?

The fact that she admires and respects bullies and people who abuse their power is a huge red flag because we emulate those we admire. Let me make this point crystal clear, SHE ADMIRES BULLIES AND ABUSERS BECAUSE SHE IS REALLY AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE BULLY IN VICTIM’S CLOTHING.

It’s impossible to have a loving relationship of equals with a professional victim. She goes through life feeling slighted and angry, never taking responsibility for her actions or life. Good luck trying to talk to her about this. You’ll meet with extreme defensiveness and more blaming behaviors. Her only identity is that of victim: If she doesn’t believe she’s being victimized, then who is she? Someone who treats other people like crap and who is pissing her life away. It’s a matter of psychological self-preservation versus ego annihilation.

You can’t have a healthy and happy relationship with someone who holds you hostage and controls you through guilt, emotional blackmail, and blame. This type of person rarely changes and usually has characteristics of one of the dramatic cluster B personality disorders, including Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder or some variation.

If you’re involved with one of these women, I encourage you to reconsider the relationship. When I come across them in life, I try to avoid them altogether or, at the very least, minimize contact. It’s really the only way to deal with them.

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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_01Counseling, 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.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant 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.

Photo credits: Your fault on freerepublic.