Blame and Rage: What Abusive Women Call Problem-Solving

Have you ever wondered why your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex blames others, makes excuses or rages when you question her behavior? Does she often act like an out of control child? Does arguing with her seem like a losing battle? Does she have a comeback for everything you say that pushes your buttons? When she’s angry, does she say “not fair” and that nothing’s her fault? Does it feel like she sets traps for you during arguments? Have you ever wished you could put her in a timeout chair just like you would a toddler?

Believe it or not, several of these questions are adapted from a parenting article, Child outbursts: Why kids blame, make excuses and fight when you challenge their behavior, by James Lehman, MSW on Men who are in relationships with abusive women often say that they feel like they’re dealing with a child in an adult’s body in regards to their wife, girlfriend or ex.

This is especially true if she has a Cluster B personality disorder or traits (Histrionic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder). Not all, but many individuals with these diagnoses (or suspected diagnoses) are developmentally arrested at an emotionally immature age.

Children often blame others when an adult tries to hold them responsible for their behaviors. This is a natural behavior in children and it’s a parents’ job to teach their children how to hold themselves accountable and face the consequences of their actions, so they can become responsible, functioning adults. If this developmental milestone isn’t reached in childhood, it creates a lot of stress and dysfunction in adulthood. One of my clients states that he clearly sees his 6-year old daughter growing out of this phase with his guidance; he wishes he could say the same for his 36-year old wife.

Professional Victimhood Starts Early in Life

“Very often children see themselves as the victim, no matter how aggressive or abusive their behavior is. Thinking of themselves this way gives them the ability, in their mind, not to take any responsibility—and if you don’t take responsibility, then you won’t have to change” (Lehman, EmpoweringParents). This victim mentality is the result of immature and distorted reasoning or thinking errors in troubled children and adults. Thinking errors allow this kind of woman to blame others for her own behavior, not take responsibility for her actions and not make positive changes. Her distorted reasoning allows her to avoid thinking about how she hurts others.

Children and women with these issues view any questioning of their behavior, no matter how gentle and well-phrased, as an attack. Lehman recommends that parents who identify these behaviors in their children break the pattern by challenging their distorted thinking, setting boundaries and enforcing consequences. Great advice. As a parent you can make rules, enforce them and model good problem-solving skills. But what do you do when it’s your wife or girlfriend who is acting out aggressively and abusively? What do you do when she attacks you even harder when you try to discuss this topic with her?

You can’t ground your wife or take away her car keys or credit card. Well, you could, but then she’d claim you’re trying to control and abuse her, so what do you do? Disengage, detach, don’t step into her traps and avoid power struggles. Easier said then done, of course.

Her Problem-Solving Skills Are the Problem

This type of individual has dysfunctional problem-solving skills. Instead of holding herself accountable for her bad behavior and making positive changes, she tries to solve problems by shifting blame, making excuses, verbally attacking others, vilifying others and fighting or fleeing. In her reality, these are problem-solving techniques. To a rational adult, these behaviors create the majority of the problems and conflicts in a relationship.

There is usually a sequence to how these maladaptive problem-solving behaviors play out. For example, you confront your girlfriend with something hurtful she’s done like being rude to your family. She begins with, “I only acted like that because I know your family hates me. I wouldn’t say those things if they were nicer to me.” Translation: “I already explained it’s your family’s fault. Why are you bothering me?”

If you persist, she adds some force and venom by becoming verbally abusive, “You’re not being fair. You always blame me when things go wrong with your family. Your family’s a bunch of liars. They always give me dirty looks. They hate me. You never stick up for me. You’re such a #!%@*!” Essentially, this is a warning: “Agree with me or face my abusive acting out.” She uses aggression and intimidation to get you to back down and leave her alone, which has probably been a highly effective technique for her since childhood.

If you continue to persist, she may then escalate to the fight or flight response because she perceives any criticism as life threatening: “I can’t talk with you about this. [Breaks dishes, slams door.] Screw you, I’m leaving.” This response occurs because she’s run out of coping mechanisms. She hurts others, breaks things and/or withdraws in a misguided attempt to problem solve. These are highly maladaptive and abusive behaviors. They don’t resolve problems; they make problems worse.

These behaviors and distorted beliefs are indications of “[her] inability to communicate, [her] inability to solve problems and [her] world view that [she’s] a victim and ‘it’s not fair.’ If things aren’t fair, then the rules about cursing at people or breaking things don’t apply to [her], because it’s not [her] fault. And that lets [her] off the hook. These kids [and women] have a way of thinking that justifies violating other people’s boundaries and that sees them as a victim of everything. When you try to interfere with or challenge that kind of thinking, these kids [and women] will get more upset, threatening or destructive” (Lehman, EmpoweringParents).

It’s a parent’s job to challenge their children’s distorted beliefs and hold kids accountable for their behaviors. However, as a husband or a boyfriend it is not your job to re-parent your wife or girlfriend. Even if you wanted to do so, it’s highly unlikely she’ll allow you to hold her accountable. Most mental health professionals are unable to do this. Teaching skills like personal accountability and empathy to children at the appropriate developmental ages is often very challenging. Teaching these skills to adults is extremely difficult, if not impossible. First she has to recognize that she’s a big part of the problem and give up her victim mentality. If she won’t or can’t do this, then she will continue to blame the world and you and never become an adult. These behaviors are barely tolerable in children; in adults they’re far worse.

If only you could put these, eh-hem, adults into timeout. However, there’s no reason why you can’t give yourself a timeout as an optimal mental health break.

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.

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  1. Old Guy says

    Great article.

    I think this trips many people up in dealing with a PD individual because the person looks and talks like an adult but largely operates on the emotional level of an infant, child or teenager.

    It becomes extremely confusing because you can have an “adult” discussion with them on many topics … so long as it does not involve anything about them.

    Things become “easier” when you accept that you’re dealing with an emotional child and have about the same chance of having a rational conversation with them about any aspect of their behaviour as you would with a five year old, e.g., rather than getting a “I understand what you mean” response, you receive a “no I’m not, you are” reaction.

    Like the picture too.

    Too bad it isn’t an option … but then you’d just end up being labelled a paternalistic male with no respect for women as equal adults.

  2. Verbal says

    I gave up trying to get her to show accountability for her behavior long ago. Prior attempts were usually shut down with a, “You try to blame everything on me!” If you question something they did, they hear blame. If you point out their hypocrisy, they hear blame. If you explain to them that you’re not blaming them for anything, but are merely expressing displeasure, the hear blame.

    Your observations about their problem solving skills are spot-on, Dr. Tara. The NPD in my life claims to be a great problem solver, but in fact is nothing more than a knee-jerk blame assigner. Last week our son got himself into some trouble at school, trouble for which he initially wouldn’t come clean. I knew exactly where the conversation was going to go, and I could almost set my watch by the moment where she would blame his behavior on my role modeling. It is almost comical how scripted these conversations with them (or I should say, monologues) really are. The absolute irony of course is that they devote equal amounts of energy to deflecting blame from themselves as they do to finding a scapegoat (i.e., husband/boyfriend) for all of their life’s little miseries.

    My NPD likes to tell me that she feels like she is dealing with a 13 year old. The little voice in my head says, that still puts me 8 years ahead of you my dear.

    • junkyardsaint says

      My NPD is only able to hold me accountable for everything – if she can’t hold me accountable she’ll hold virtually anybody else accountable except herself – holding herself accountable for anything is something I never saw happen. I knew it was a ‘red flag’ the first week of dating but I was in denial, and just kept telling myself she was just embarrased to “admit” – embarrased hell – she knows no shame.

  3. Kev. says

    The new site looks terrific!

    Now that that’s out of the way, I think Old Guy hit the nail on the head perfectly. “The person looks and talks like an adult…” Unfortunately, in this case, when it looks and quacks like a duck, it’s not a duck.

    In trying to explain my ex’s behavior, and in talking to others who are unfortunately going through something similar, this is what I try to explain to them; that they are dealing with a cognitive dissonance. Every visual cue tells us it’s an adult, and we expect them to behave and function in a certain way. Unfortunately, inside, it’s something else entirely.

    I have to (sadly) laugh about the bit about being a paternalistic (and controlling) male. Yeah, I got hit with that one, too.

    Honestly, at this point, I’m not even sure taking a time-out for one’s self is as healthy as just leaving. Given the inability of a BPD (or, my ex, anyway), to respect boundaries (“why does your file cabinet have a lock on it?! what are you hiding from me?!” – um, nothing? I don’t even have a key? I bought it at a yard sale?), me taking some “me-time” away from whatever failure of mine that the argument du-jour was about would have been nigh impossible. I have no doubt she would have literally broken down doors to get at me.

  4. infojunkie says

    Thanks for the validation Dr. T. Although our house rules have been the subject of public ridicule by BPDex, we understand how critical it is to foster accountability and responsibility in our children. Despite her protests and yet another smear campaign (amazing how we still question ourselves and our choices when this happens), the children are demonstrating positive changes in their choices, their accountability, and their ability to solve problems with dialogue and not tantrums. This is really important for children of cluster Bs, so thanks again for addressing this issue.

  5. Mellaril says

    “Very often children see themselves as the victim, no matter how aggressive or abusive their behavior is. Thinking of themselves this way gives them the ability, in their mind, not to take any responsibility—and if you don’t take responsibility, then you won’t have to change” (Lehman, EmpoweringParents).

    The corollary to this is just because they refuse to accept responsibility doesn’t mean we have to assume responsibility for them. You can’t be legitimately blamed for something you’re not responsible for. For example, when you ask a Cluster B what kind of wine to buy and you accept an “anything’s ok” response, the responsibilty for the decision shifts from her to you. Cluster Bs are masters at getting others to assume responsiblity for them and making you pay for it, justified or not. Assigning responsibilty and enforcing accountability is a key element in estabilishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.

    Early in my relationship with my exgf, I’d accept an “anything’s ok” answer until I started to notice I’d be criticized for it. After that, I’d either force a specific answer or tell her up front, “I’m getting xxx, if you want something else, speak now.” If she tried to criticize the decision, I’d make her take responisbility for the decision, even if it was nothing more than “Too late.” My exgf didn’t being painted into a corner but after ahwile she learned not to play that game with me. As a naval officer, I was used to having to work like this. It took a lot longer for me to catch on that it was a crappy way to operate in a relationship.

    Assuming responsibilty for things that aren’t rightfully ours is a problem with us, not them. The more responsibility we assume for them, the more vulnerable we make ourselves.

  6. FreedomAtLast says

    Another great article. This behavior is a close description of my ex-wife. Five months post-divorce, I am now just starting to enjoy me own personal Time-out or Time-Away from the problem. No amount of attempted help, professional counseling for her helped at all.

    As hard as it was, Divorce Court was the only answer….. The one that continues to be the gift for myself and my sons that keeps on giving!

  7. 3DShooter says

    I clearly recall when the realization that I was dealing with a ‘child mind’ crystallized in my mind. At the time I’d never heard of narcissism, bi-polar or other personality disorders. Unfortunately, it was in the aftermath of a bitter and ugly divorce. I actually spent a couple of years (this was six years ago) searching on the behaviors that I observed and finally narrowed it down to NPD/BPD, though I lean more towards NPD in the case of my ex. So, I find sites like this especially useful for those who are looking for answers as I once was. I am still baffled that I couldn’t see it for so many years.

    One of the biggest problems I see regarding these behaviors is that the ‘family court’ reinforces them without ever seeking to uncover them. In our adversarial kangaroo family curt system once one of these ‘child minds’ seeks the advise of a predatory attorney your fate is pretty well sealed as the legal shield effectively prevents any form of proper remedial action. To add further insult to injury, the (quack) psychologists in the employ of the courts as custody evaluators are loathe to uncover such conditions. My observation is that predatory attorneys salivate like a Pavlovian dog when one of these individuals walks into their office and the pay-day dinner bell goes off. NPD’s and family law practitioners are very dangerous predatory people, make no mistake.

    The carnage on families and society are predictably reaching critical mass. Hopefully, sites like this will start educating people. What is needed is a mechanism for getting these issues in front of men proactively before the need to ‘understand’ arises. I don’t have an answer, but maybe the new Mens Studies curriculum offers some hope.

    Thanks for yet another site providing information for men.

  8. Major Malfunction says

    Wow. What an awesome site. I only wish I had discovered it a decade ago.

    I have nothing to add with my personal tale of woe. It’s all been said by others in spooky detail.

    Perhaps once upon a time these unhealthy people were kept in check, or kept a low profile, under threat of raised hand. Physical violence really seems to be the only consequence they understand.

    Maybe they were smacked too much &/or have Daddy issues? I don’t care. It’s not my problem. You sort that shit out yourself.

    The law has fallen like a golden apple into the hands of these manipulative types, as has social opinion, and at the same time mental health services have virtually been abolished (except for the most extreme cases). They have free reign and are bolting, encouraged by the whip of sexist mass media to take advantage of and crush everyone underfoot. A narcissist’s utopia!

    Here in Australia there is a government-sponsored campaign, ‘To violence against women; Australia says, “No.”‘

    How about violence against men? It seems that Australia says, “Meh.”

    Seems like the world says the same. Men have been hamstrung. We can’t even act in self-defence. Anything we do or don’t do, or say or don’t say, will be held against us in a court of law.

    Anyway, rant over. I’m not the kind to dwell. In fact, the day she left was the best day of my life, and things just keep getting better! Freedom! And a lovely girlfriend who has had a similar experience on the other side of the gender divide, who is self-aware, and understands the important things in life.

    So maybe I do have something to add… Two things, in fact…

    Firstly, the realisation that I only care for the opinions of people that care for me. She didn’t care for me, only how she could manipulate me. With this realisation she lost all power over me.

    Secondly, all is not lost. You’re a survivor. You’ve proved it. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. You’re aware of the signs. So go forth and find for yourself the life *you* choose. Not all women are the same! Thank the gods!

    And thank Dr T (et al.) for egalitarian activism and this forum.

  9. ron7127 says

    I read an article by a guy named Richard Skerritt, an author who has several books dealig with relationships with the disordered. Thye are very good.
    In any case, he addressed this issue of comparing the disordered with children. Initially, the idea appealed to him , as well, as his wfe’s behaviors were reminiscent of a child’s.

    But, he analyzed the behavior a little more and took issue with the comparison. Essentially, he felt the comparison did a disservice to children. I cannot recal exactly the distinctions he drew between the disordered’s reactions and those of kids. I do remeber he pointed out that a kid’s tantruming was, generally, not evoked by some irrational trigger. Usually, despite the anger etc. the reaction was the result of some easily understood stimuli, like taking a toy away or something. Whereas, the triggering of the disordered can come about as the result of something that, to a normal person, is completely innocuous.
    He also pointed out that a tantruming child can be comforted, eventually and , once the tantrum is done, the child is soothed and reverts to normal. But, the ragig disordered person can not be soothed and continues to go ballistic even if the offender tries to remove the offending stimuli.
    Again, he made several other points distinguishing the disordered’s thought ptrocess from a child’s. He did admit that, initially, the comparison seemed very valid. But, he felt that when looked at closely, the disordered did not rally behave like angry kids. They were much worse.

  10. kiwihelen says

    One thing my SO is doing with his children aged 13 and 10 is to help them establish self-management when the arguments are getting emotional. Everyone in his newly established household is starting to use “time out” when a debate becomes overwhelmed by feelings.

    I hope and pray this will be enough on a 50:50 time basis to help his daughters develop adaptive skills instead of mirroring their NPD/BPD mother’s traits.

  11. carbenez says

    I read these articles and comments and always find comfort in knowing that it wasn’t me that had the issue… my crime was getting sucked into the wacky world of someone with BPD. I stayed in the relationship long after I knew it was wrong and dysfunctional, from fear of retribution and the small glimmer of hope that she would start to behave as she did at the beginning of the relationship when I was the greatest thing ever, we had sex ALL the time, and life was going to be happy ever after. After she had me hooked, she flipped the switch and unleashed her inner monster. She has created a reality where there are 2 kinds of people; the first are people she has fooled with her looks and her faux personality and can therefore use. The second are people that have figured her out and they have therefore become her MORTAL ENEMY. I can’t tell you the number of people she has threatened, slandered, character assasinated… all because of the aforementioned inability to take blame and skewed problem solving abilities. She is cruel beyond belief, and has no idea why all the people around her eventually abandon her. When they do abandon her, its always that they are assholes, jerks, bitches, crazy, mentally disturbed, losers, etc.

    My children aren’t like this…their tantrums stem from the denial of a basic and immediate pleasure like staying a few minutes longer at the swimming pool or playground. They don’t lash out in attempts to beat me down and rob me of my dignity or self confidence. They don’t withhold their hugs and “I love you daddy” to punish me for a perceived slight. I see no real correlation in the small fleeting tantrums of my little boys and the fiendish, intense anger and abuse that was directed towards me (and many other people) by my BDP former fiance.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      “My children aren’t like this…their tantrums stem from the denial of a basic and immediate pleasure like staying a few minutes longer at the swimming pool or playground. They don’t lash out in attempts to beat me down and rob me of my dignity or self confidence. They don’t withhold their hugs and “I love you daddy” to punish me for a perceived slight. I see no real correlation in the small fleeting tantrums of my little boys and the fiendish, intense anger and abuse that was directed towards me (and many other people) by my BDP former fiance.”

      This is a good point, carbenez. Most kids don’t have the level of malice nor do they withhold affection. Children who don’t have serious behavioral and psychological issues can get past their tantrums and learn more positive interpersonal skills. It’s like the difference between a light rain shower (healthy kids) vs. a category 5 hurricane. However, I believe, in many cases, the reasoning behind the behaviors is the same. As mentioned in the article, most children with these issues can grow out of them with good parenting and guidance; most adults with these thinking errors do not grow out of them. They’re out of control enfants terrible in adult bodies.

    • Kev. says


      “my crime was getting sucked into the wacky world of someone with BPD. ”

      You and me both, brother. But try not to think of it as a crime. If anything, a “mistake” perhaps, based on hope, love, trust, and being lied to. Out of those four things, I wouldn’t call hope, love, or trust a mistake. We believed she was who she presented herself to be, because we didn’t know the extent to which it was possible to be otherwise. And we stayed in the relationships because we cared, and wanted to make things better. Our mistakes were based in ignorance. We didn’t know that in some instances, that not only can’t you make things better, but making things better isn’t even the point.

      Now we know. Now we are wiser.

      If I had my way, nobody (including ourselves!) would have to go through what we’ve been through. As I think I may have said on the old site, finding out there were others who’d “been there” was a double-edged sword for me: “you mean I’m not alone?!” coupled with “Christ, there’s more of these women out there?!” :)

      There will, unfortunately, always be people out there with BPD, just as there are fires, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes. You can’t stop a force of nature.

      But having been through this, we are stronger. We are wiser. And we can be there to help others who go through this particularly nasty baptism of fire.

      good luck, and be at peace

  12. 25years says

    My wife recently went to treatment after a suicide attempt. My sons (ages 25-19) and I told my wife “No more abuse!”, get help or else.

    We have had couples counseling for the last month while she’s been in treatment. She went to treatment meek and humble but now has got her BPD/NPD/HPD strength back. I feel like I’m in therapy with a 5 year old! You hit the nail on the head Dr. Tara!

    I’m thankful for 2 things at this point.
    1. Her psychiatrist”rediagnosed” her with all of the Axis II PD’s right before she left for treatment.
    2.I have found this site! (I want to laugh and cry at the same time.)

    I remember swimming at a public pool as a kid and one of my friends dunked me under the water. I remember him letting me up right when I thought I would drown.
    That’s how I feel right now. I can breath. I’m not drowning.

  13. TheGirlInside says

    I was thinking today (again! Iknow–2 days in a row!)…anyway…that, as much as BPDs and NPDs (?) claim they want to stop and they want to be different, there is a conscious CHOICE involved in abusing those they claim to ‘love’.
    Case in point: they know how to treat men so wonderfully when:
    1. Attempting to initially ensnare them
    2. After acting crazy then being contrite (in case he decides to say F-off)
    3. When the men gets sick and tired of it and decides to leave/dump her.

    All of a sudden, EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted her to be…*POOF* she is! You wanted sex for years? *POOF!* You wanted her to clean and cook?? *POOF!* Like magic…so how is it, that someone who is supposedly “out of control” can completely control herself to be the *perfect* wifey-poo / angelic girlfriend…when it suits her.

    And not unlike a true antisocial / psychopath, they use human beings to get tangibles…stuff, status, reputation, whatever…rather than using things and Loving people. Other people are tools for them to use as they please when they want you…then toss you aside into the dirt pile in an old rotting shed until they find another use for you.

    2 more shiny pennies,
    TGI :)

    • Bogeyman says

      So true….a couple of weeks ago, I was p***ed off at my gf again and was thinking of changing the password on my Bank Account online, but instead Ichanged the password to get into the computer but also put on “Guest” profile to get in. When she noticed that I did this, she freaked with a big “F”. Just not to cause big problems, I even volunteered to give her the password but to no avail. Now this computer was given to me by her for my Birthday and she actually took the computer back and it is now “Hers”.

      Just this morning, I asked her if she was ever planning to give my computer back and she said, “No”. I explained to her how wrong it is that you give a Birthday present to someone and take it back for something as minor as that. You don’t have to guess how that turned out. Dr. T. is right…it is exactly dealing with a 5 year old. She told me this morning I looked sad and aggrivated and asked what was wrong. I told her my feelings exactly and as expected, she would not accept responsability.

      Thank the Lord for this website for I know now what is exatly making her tick.

      • Bogeyman says

        Oh and another footnote, I will not even fantasize of even asking her to go into Counselling because “there is absolutely nothing wrong with her”.

        Also told her this morning that the more dumb excuses and dumb things she says only makes it easier for me to leave and once we are split consider me dead.

  14. Motiondo says

    This is unbelieveable – and a very restoring site.

    I have been suffering for Three full years in a marriage with a woman – who clearly displays many traits of being NPD.
    She with holds affection (i have not heard my wife initiate an expression of love for me in over 6 months. I’m totally isolated and secondary in every detail of acknowledgement and treatment when she is with her family.
    I am to blame for any inability on her part to be responsive to my desires or needs.
    Any time she needs reason for her ‘attitude’ it’s largely due to errors or things I did a year or more prior to our wedding.
    Any and Every time I try – no matter how gently to bring to her attention how she may be doing things that hurt me – It’s never her fault – I’m the one who does this, or does that… I have never heard this woman accept responsibility for anything I have eevr brought to her attention as an issue…
    I walk on egg shells – I feel alone
    I’m constantly working to show I’m worthy of her loving me… I always think if I just give it a little more time..
    But I’m reading here that I really may be living an illusion, and if I contimue to drag this out ( My sense of diminished value – is only destined to bew trampled on further…) Agggg… cause I love my wife…? at least i hope it’s not some sic level of personal insecurity… I just deep down feel that life, and love, and sharing both with some one should be about equal value… I only feel valued when it’s convieient for her.

  15. Mark says

    My Wife’s version of problem solving…

    “I forgot.” This is the catch all for most everything. In her mind she is off the hook after uttering these two little words.

    “You talk down to me.” Shifts the topic from whatever I / we were trying to solve or figure out to me being mean. This stopped when we started counseling and I have not heard it since.

    “You are angry.” Yes I am angry at you for doing your passive / aggressive crap. When I stopped responding to the games this form of problem solving went away.

    “You are anal.” I don’t like clutter. I expect anyone in the house, including kids and guests, to pick up after themselves. So when I ask you when you are going to clean the messy room (spare room…throw stuff in and close the door. Wah-lah clean)I’m not anal, I’m just tired of tripping over your crap. She is still on this one.

    When all that fails she spins the “random wheel of accusation”. The current favorite is “Go see you girlfriend.” I don’t have one; I’ll get divorced first.

  16. Ian says

    What a relief to find this site. For over 2 years I have struggled with my gf and the effect that this has had on our relationship. We have a 15 month old son together. After 3 months of dating someone I thought was going to be the love of my life became pregnant and it has been one crazy rollercoaster ever since. Im far from perfect however there have been times I questioned my own sanity during all this. We have broken up more times than I can remember. With a child involved now that I love more than anything it has kept me comming back. I have a court order in place incase there is a breakup. It was out of necessity but I do feel better its there. I also love this girl. Things can be great at times but if there is ever a conflict then watch out. I have said many times its like dating a 10 year old. The same age she was when her father was killed so obviously theres a huge connection. She has bashed me to her family during these breakups so they really havent been any help even though its probably more that they just dont want to deal with her drama. I dont blame them. If I did not have a son with her this would have been a 3 month relationship at best. She has a 15 year old son whose been witness to all this. His father and I have actually become friends because in the beginning it was a relief to talk to someone else that knew I was not the crazy one. I actually recorded the fights because I was deseperate looking to prove I was not causing this. Every problem, every fight, every instance of a problem during this has always been my fault. She has never taken any form of responsability for anything she has done or caused. Out of deseperation I tried couple counseling which always made things worse. It was the only time I voiced my issues with her. She is extremely good at portraying the victim and gets almost violent and has in the past if ever told otherwise. Unfortunatly this has also brought out the worst in me. To play the victim role she will push every button she has on me until she gets the reaction shes looking for. Even knowing all this its very hard not to fall into.

    At some point I realised that the only way to deal with this is to first see her for what she is. Sick. It was becomming contagious. Remember, I do love the girl and she is the mother of my only son. Having him has really changed me. Im in counsling and so is she. She admits to having an anxiety issue. Of course its because of me in her mind however she does take an anti depressant now. She did in the beginning also and during the pregnancy she stopped so it obviously does help things. She constantly accuses me of lying in my counseling and “not telling her how bad I am”. To make this work Ive had to really work on myself. I would love nothing more than to be a full time father and also to give him and his mother stability and a happy life. Ive never felt frustration like ive felt over this issue. For me, things are much better today but its not because of anything other than acceptance of what Im dealing with and that I cant change it. Who knows what the future holds. I would love to be married and have a good life with them all. Reality is that may not be possible if I cant accept this rollercoaster. She may never change. Im a goodlooking guy. Im sucessful. Dealing with a partner like this caused me to doubt my own sanity like I said before. I started believing the craziness and that maybe it was me. Im no saint but my self esteem and confidence was almost beaten down to nothing. If your involved with someone like this my advice is to be very carefull and seek counseling for yourself. You are going to need it.

  17. sparta23 says

    It is a great article, I married a woman in this state of mind unaware of what I was getting into. The difficult part became apparent when our problems became exposed to her parents. And they began to side with her while she remained this way. Where I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt I am not what they believe I was. It was all the frustration of dealing with the wife. Her reckless behavior gets defended while I am minimized into a shell of myself, depressed, unhappy, and unmotivated. The threats have made me to be eager for her departure, I used to be opposite desiring to keep the family intact. It stemmed from a secret that was disclosed to me about her past, which I believe has been instrumental in the behavior by the approach of the families mishandling early on following the situation. Anyway, men keep your heads up if you are hanging on that “Bull”…

  18. danielr says

    Excellent Article. This is 100% accurate. I am now in the divorce process, so that should tell you how my experience went. I was with my soon to be ex-wife for 7 years (5 years married). I often remembered fighting with here and her response being just childish and me commented on that. We had quiet a few fights with heir saying : “You are a teenager”, and me answering “You are a child”. It’s been literally now almost 4 years now of me walking on eggshells and often times being emotionally abused. She has no friends on her own. All her family members (except for her dad), mom, sister seem to exhibit the exact type (we are all victims) personality behavior. Rational discussions about career, pets, kids, goals, quickly escalated to real arguments with no solution. I can be impatient, but certainly wasn’t all the time. The warning signs were there from the beginning. As the saying goes “the way the relationship starts is how it goes”. I not once won an argument with here and got her to compromise. Last year (been kind of in the planning), when more insults came and came with no end in sight i started distancing myself further and further. What’s a guy gonna do?

  19. will82 says

    Oh lord God…I cannot believe that what ive been going through for the last seven years can be rationally explained.
    I actually feel close to tears after discovering this site, and finally working out why I have had to indure a living hell from my ex gf for the last seven years.

    I left 3 months ago, it was actually her decision. She kept the house and everything i bought for it, i allowed this so that my kids wouldnt go without. I left was homeless and lost everything, I had to start my life from scratch again at the age of 32. I suceeded in doing so amazingly quickly and now 3 months later Im in a better place finacially, personally and emotionally than I can ever remember being. It feels like this constant pain and frustration had finally been lifted from me, I had actually gotten used to it over the years and thought it was me and I couldn’t understand why.

    Then recently she started contacting me again, only via text and calls about the kids then she came to visit me. I started to get that feeling again. Like barbed wire in my brain, how everything is always my fault although im a very nice person. How she would still be trying to hurt me and I would have no logical way of explaining to her what shes doing , without her tying me up in knots. She came to my flat one day to tell me about all the wonderful sex shes having with her new man and how he’s been ‘sorting her out proper’ and then acts all innocent and accuses me of having anger problems when I get annoyed and tell her I dont want to hear about her sex life.

    Anyway I have broken off contact with her completely now. Thanks so much for information like this, I cant begin to tell you how comforting it is to know im not alone. Nobody , freinds or family have ever believed or understood what ive been through. She comes across as this wonderful, caring person to everyone else, and I was always painted as this controlling domanating, male. It feels like reading my life story on this site its amazing. I feel a fool for staying with her so long.

    Anyone else experiencing this kind of abuse, please, please just leave. Its the only answer. Dont waste another day of your life

    Ever since

  20. will82 says

    Also I would like to thank so much, the wonderful, caring people who run this website you are a true credit to society and humanity.

    I thought I had suffered alone through this, it is both comforting yet disturbing to realise im not alone and others have struggled with this type of abuse.

    Ive read a lot and watched videos from this site in the last few days, its jaw dropping to realise that this type of covert abuse has a well worn pattern and thousands of others around the world are suffering because of it.

    I am in finacial difficultly at the moment, but it wont last forever, im very eager to buy your book and donate some money, I believe the work you are doing here is very important. There appears to be a whole underclass of invisible victims, who unknowingly struggle with no support. Although we are not really victims but more the targets of abuse.

    Thank you so much

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