A View from the Outside: How Healthy Loved Ones See your Abusive Relationship with a High-Conflict and/or Personality Disordered Partner

Here’s the latest from CrazyBuster, Micksbabe . . .

If you’re in an abusive relationship with a high-conflict and/or personality disordered individual, you’re probably very aware of what your situation looks like from the inside — constant chaos, blame, fighting, projection, and gaslighting, possibly even shame.

Have you ever wondered what your situation looks like from the outside?

If your Parents are normal and healthy, then they are sad for you (and your children, if you have them), and they are aware that something is “off.” Or maybe your parents are the type who stick their heads in the sand and are in denial, choosing not to see the obvious. Good parents want their children to grow up and be in a happy marriage. Either way – sadness or denial – it is obvious that you are unhappy.

If children are part of your equation, then their Grandparents get to sit back and watch them being emotionally abused by your spouse/ex-spouse, and are totally helpless to do anything about it, unless you are willing to confront the beast (your children’s abusive mother).

And even then, the Golden Uterus is very powerful. Grandparents in these situations are typically walking the narrowest of all tight ropes, just to be allowed to maintain any type of contact with their grandchildren.

Your Friends have probably been the most vocal in telling you to get yourself out of your abusive relationship you. If your friends aren’t telling you this, then get yourself some real friends. You’ll need their support once you do “break free.”

The New Woman will have no idea what she is “getting into,” even if you tell her. If she’s a good person, she won’t be able to comprehend your ex-wife’s need to control you. Nor will she comprehend a woman treating her own children like property, and not putting their needs truly first.

Regardless of how long it has been since your split, or how many girlfriends you have had between the New Woman and your PD ex, your ex will label the New Woman as the interloper. Your PD Ex will never give you permission to move on. It will be your job, alone, to enforce boundaries to protect the New Woman, from your PD Ex.

Your Children love and need both of their parents, but your children will always choose “the side” of the person who forces them to choose sides. This is not their fault. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is 100% effective. It’s the worst form of emotional abuse and it should be criminal. Unfortunately, except for extreme cases, most courts don’t recognize PAS nor do they implement real consequences (i.e., losing custody) for it.

If you’re staying in a miserable marriage with a PD because you fear PAS will occur, take heed in knowing that your PD wife has been employing and fostering a PAS smear campaign against you from day one. Your own children are witnessing their mother’s abuse against you and this is the type of marriage that is being modeled for them. They stand a much better chance of glimpsing normal and healthy if you move out and provide them a safe place to land.

Thanks for another excellent reality check, Micksbabe! – Dr T

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. david says

    “If your friends aren’t telling you this, then get yourself some real friends.”

    Looking back for over a year now…I thought it was so painful to lose friends who did not believe me or sided with her….now, greatest thing to happen to me. I hear the stories that her and her friends have caused others and realized something. A den of thieves contains….thieves. Her friends are either brainwashed or as bad off as she is…..I have made so many new friends (that are sane) and re-established my old friends better than ever. Take this to the bank….drop ’em if they side with her….don’t look back.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      This is similar to a recent conversation on the forum. I’ll paraphrase what I posted there. If her friends are birds of a feather, good riddance to the echo chamber of the peanut gallery (emphasis on nut).

      Sociopathic abusers don’t have friends. They have accomplices, sycophants, and victims.

      Take this to the bank….drop ‘em if they side with her….don’t look back. Very wise advice, david.

      • B Experienced says

        I agree that real friends tell a friend like it is and watch out for them. My husband and I had a friend that we told that if he dated this new woman he was head over heals over that we weren’t going to be his friend because our Hinky Meters shot through the roof. He dated her, and we found out that she carried a knife, was a prostitute, drug addict and alcoholic, tried to seduce all the men in the neighborhood, walked around with her robe open and breasts showing, danced on the street at 2 in the morning with her top off while she swung a bottle of booze. When she got really bored and in need of attention, she just sat butt naked on the curb in the afternoon until the Ambulance came to pick her up to take her to psyche. Mind you this took place while kids were playing on the streets. Her other entertainment was stalking me. She sat for hours in his yard and looked in my kitchen window. He didn’t think it constituted stalking. The cops didn’t do anything until she actually came over and looked in my living room window and started talking about my daughter.

        In the end we did ourselves a favor. The guy tried to save her,and she played him for a big fool, and he turned out to be one big one. She killed herself, and he turned her into the saint of all victims, and felt sorry for her. The neighborhood and ourselves were relieved.

        I had a female friend who got mad at me because I destroyed her delusional fantasy about a guy she was living with. He just about ruined her life. He had a record an arm’s length long, and somehow managed to avoid some serious incarceration time because he manipulated the system into believing therapy would be the answer as one of the reasons. She found this out when I talked her into digging into his past. His history of criminal and civil offenses were the most varied of any Cluster B I had ever heard of. It is shocking to know the amount of these people who are walking around free and the amount of people who defend them up to and including some people in the Mental Health field.

        I couldn’t sleep at night knowing what I know or call myself someone’s friend while I watched them walk into the deep end of the ocean and drown. I would much rather lose someone I thought was a friend than hold back or live a lie. Plus, I wouldn’t put my family or myself in harm’s way by staying in a friendship with someone who was having a relationship with a Cluster B. I go nowhere near the Cluster B’s or have any of them in my life in anyway, shape or form. Period.

        On the flip side, I have had many friends who were very grateful for warning them about potentially dangerous relationships and wanted to know more.

        • lagioiella says

          I agree with you. I worked with a woman like the goof your friend dated that killed herself. Only she wanted to financially, personally and legally ruin me in her insane pursuits.

          • B Experienced says

            Hi lagioiella:

            It is probably fair for me to say that nothing irks and angers me more when people have pity and sympathy for a Cluster B when they knock themselves off or get killed. The harm they can cause and do cause to others is appalling. I call it the Cluster B’s last and greatest manipulation of all. They even get people to pity them because of their death. This includes a lot of so called Mental Health experts too. What about their victims traumas being diminished during their holier than thou process of redemption? It is simply self serving(narcissistic)on their part.

            I have actually gotten to the point when someone starts with sympathy for them for any reason that I tell them that I don’t want to hear it and walk away. We can’t afford to get anymore politically to the left with our value system because we can see how well those attempts are already working. Is anybody responsible for anything anymore nowadays? It is either an illness or fate as the causation.

    • Kay says

      “If your friends aren’t telling you this, then get yourself some real friends.”

      I wouldn’t say they’re not real friends, necessarily. In my case, I didn’t feel it was my place to tell my ex-friends what to do with their lives. (I’m referring to two friends who were friends with each other, *and* both married to crazy wives. When one friend’s crazy wife finally drove me away, the other friend (Friend #2), who moved out of state, eventually quietly unfriended me as well, for reasons unknown. Smear campaign?) Also, websites advising friends of abuse victims, say not to tell them what to do, because their abuser is already doing enough of that.

      I did, however, make it very clear how I felt about the behavior of the crazy wives, that it was abusive and wrong. Friend #1’s wife, who drove me away, knew I felt this way, because we lived in the same house for a time, and she overheard me venting to my husband when I thought we were in private. So she proceeded to put emotional wedges between Friend #1 and me. Friend #2 kept leaving his wife and then going back to her. #1 had already made up his mind that he would not leave, apparently taking this as his cross to bear. If not for his betrayal of me and revelations that he himself is abusive, my husband and I would have been there for him if he ever decided to leave her. We were also willing listeners, believing him. We were true friends, but he was not.

      Hearing about and witnessing abuse is emotionally taxing for friends. It burned me up to know some of what was going on, but be forced to make nice with Friend #1’s horrid wife, or else she would forbid me from being friends with #1, who was a very dear friend. Not only do abusers control their spouses, but this one tried to get me under her thumb and control me as well, with various rules and regulations. She imposed them on me before I was aware of it, and it seemed like they kept changing, and were ones that I could not possibly keep. She insisted I be friends with her, but intimidated and snarked at me all the time. She knew I was quiet and painfully shy, but punished me for not being outgoing and talkative with her. I never knew what all the rules were, what I broke or when I broke them. I only knew that she’d be nice to me for a while, but then I’d discover that she’d been quietly seething for months, and I had no idea what I’d done this time.

      So no, abusive relationships are not in a vacuum. Even if the abuser tries to isolate you, it still affects others because they’re being deprived of your company, and that hurts them. They have some idea what’s happening, but feel powerless to stop it. If they speak up, the abused starts defending the abuser (Stockholm Syndrome). That was my own situation: Friend #1 would tell me his wife was abusing him and/or the kids, but if I told him what I observed, he’d gaslight me and make me feel like I was imagining it or being hyper-sensitive. Your friend tells you about fights and you fear for his life–or hers. You hear that your friend has choked his own child, and you fear for the children. But because the abuser can also abuse friends and family members, they, too, end up with scars. I wish Friend #1 had left his wife years ago; maybe then he would never have choked his kid.

      • kiwihelen says

        Kay, this colateral damage is not what Micksbabe is talking about – because you were a secondary victim of these women.

        What she is talking about is when you are finally brave enough to admit there is abuse and your friend then excuses your abuser’s behaviour as ‘normal’ or ‘you overstating the case’.

        I’ve seen this happen to my SO.

  2. Micksbabe says

    It’s a good way to purge your friends. It’s easy to be friends with someone when everyone’s life is great. It’s when your life starts imploding that you find out who your real friends are.

    • B Experienced says

      Sometimes when the sh–hits the fan, it is a wise choice for you to leave a friendship when you discover the depths or presence of a friend’s psychopathology. If the friend is normal and in a bind, you have to decide how much you will help or invest as well.

      • Kay says

        This is helpful, because there are still times when I feel like a “bad friend” or “not a true friend” because I didn’t stick around to let my friend’s Cluster B wife keep abusing me. I still regret it because before things came to a head, he had been a close friend. It’s helpful to read your words,

        “I would much rather lose someone I thought was a friend than hold back or live a lie. Plus, I wouldn’t put my family or myself in harm’s way by staying in a friendship with someone who was having a relationship with a Cluster B. I go nowhere near the Cluster B’s or have any of them in my life in anyway, shape or form. Period.”

        I was treated like the problem because I didn’t want to get too close to his abusive wife, or pretend that everything she did was perfectly fine or her “right.” Even he treated me like I was the problem. I’ve been trying to untangle myself from the effects of the gaslighting ever since. 😛 People like this can really get into your head. And ultimately, you can’t force someone to see the truth about their mate.

        • B Experienced says

          Hi Kay

          Your first and foremost obligation is to take care of and protect yourself and your loved ones first. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way either. Without doing that first you won’t be good for anybody really. Your not in this world to take people’s abuse or twist yourself into knots to prove someone else’s idea of warped love. Nobody in their right mind with a healthy value system would ever recommend to a friend that they stay to help a Cluster B or endure their abuse. If your friend was a true friend to you, this person wouldn’t want you involved in his wife’s psychodrama, and he would be making plans to leave. He expected you to be involved in a sick relationship. You were being manipulated by having your sense of obligation exploited. You absolutely made the right choice to leave both of them. Thankfully you had enough mental health to do so.

          • Kay says

            Thanks! That does help. I’ll come across popular sayings like, If your friend leaves you they’re not a true friend, etc. etc….and it makes me feel guilty for breaking off relations with my friend. But his wife was trying to destroy me psychologically. It did help to know that several other of his friends had also broken off relations with him because of her.

          • Kay says

            It’s even worse to be guilted by a child. A few months ago, I was surprised to see my former friend #1 and two of their four children at my church one Sunday. The wife was not there. I didn’t speak to him because he had just been convicted of choking one of his kids (who was not there), so I was afraid of and disgusted by him. (He was on probation.) But I did speak to the children during coffee hour, when they were playing with my son and wandering around the church basement. I gave them hugs and smiles, but also got the older one’s scolding eyes. She said things in a scolding tone like, “You guys don’t come around anymore,” “We miss you,” “It was fun to play at your house.” My husband also got her scolding eyes earlier. My heart broke right there. I couldn’t tell a 7-year-old child about all the reasons. All I could say was, “We miss you, too,” and try not to cry.

          • B Experienced says

            There is a certain persuasion often seen in religious communities that is quite narcissistic if not psychopathic so you want to be very careful because it is quite powerful. People often times rather naively embrace the love one other and charitable view in a very altruistic way which is quite Pollyanna (narcissism-denial of harmful truth). Often times critical thinking and self preservation are overlooked and even encouraged by some religious leaders. It largely benefits the leaders image and is not in the best interest of their parishioners. I know from first hand experience that those religious leaders would be the first to get rid of the trouble maker, but would speak otherwise to their parishioners. The religious community certainly isn’t short on narcissistic/psychopathic leaders either.

  3. Freedom says

    I think this is an excellent article…

    Perhaps a follow up article, tho, could include some ideas of how to accomplish setting proper boundaries (cuz we all know they’ll try to break them, how to let children know what’s going on without getting them fully involved, ideas on protecting your children so that they don’t wind up being just like the abusive partner, ideas on how to let the current girl know about the ex so that she has a “heads up” without freaking out and leaving or getting too caught up in the mess – such as trying to “fix” it. Same goes with the parents/grandparents/friends. all of these people care deeply about the abused but may not know how to bring it up!!!

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Great suggestions, Freedom.

      What I’ve also noticed is problematic are well-intentioned family members who try to maintain relations with the Crazy (e.g., to be able to see grandkids/nieces/nephews/etc., or because they don’t like conflict and want to be “nice”), but end up being manipulated and exploited by the Crazy to continue to abuse by proxy.

      Many of my clients abusive exes HATED their in-laws. Refused to visit with them, made visits into nightmares, made derogatory comments, tried to cause estrangements and then, presto change-o, the divorce process begins and they all of a sudden try to become besties with my clients’ families.

      Healthy families with good boundaries see this kind of ploy for what it is, draw clear boundaries and circle the wagons. While other dysfunctional families allow the Crazy to inveigle her way in. I view this as a serious betrayal of one’s family of origin. So, to speak to Micksbabe’s above point, you’ll also probably see which family members can be trusted.

      Realizing someone whom you thought was a friend is actually a snake can be quite painful. But when it’s your mother, sister, father, brother or other family member, it can be gut wrenching. Although, in some cases, it explains where the attraction to Crazy may have begun.

      • ChrisH says

        Some of my siblings and my ex were just the bestest buds after I left, to the point of sharing secrets that should have stayed secret. It makes me sick.

        Family is an accident of birth. If you have good, trusting, loving relationships with family members, then great. But the very last thing you should do is blindly assume blood is thicker than all other waters. It isn’t… sadly.

  4. Mellaril says

    When I started trying to understand my relationship with my exgf, 20 years out of it, I confided in an old friend. She and her husband knew my exgf and had socialized on numerous occaisions. My friend had gone on to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I had written a history of the relationship and asked her to take a look at it. I got an email back, “We need to talk.”

    I called a few days later and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I never thought that relationship was good for you but I had no idea you were involved in anything like this.” She went on to explain that I had described was a trauma survivor showing symtoms of PTSD and NPD. My friend said from my description of the family, she’d bet lunch my exgf was abused or molested as a child. She ended that conversation with. “You were in way over your head. You were lucky she didn’t marry you.”

    My family and professional acquaintences positively loved my exgf. My friends who knew her in a normal environment, not so much. My exgf didn’t isolate me from my friends, she just didn’t want to be a part of them. In that respect, I lead two pretty separate lives. When I told my grandmother we had broken up, she blamed me for letting her get away. When I pointed out I had asked my exgf to marry me and she declined and moved across the country, my grandmother said I must have done something terrible for her to do that. My grandmother never did warm up to my wife.

  5. Dr. F says

    Ever to be watchful, and so you ask yourself, have I ever had a partner give me a dream supposedly shared where I am with them in a lonely cabin or a lighthouse one day ?


    Well, have you heard this before, or something like it where you are a bit player in a never ending puppet play with no audience ?

    Look about you please, and if there is a whiff of this wafting your way then that’s it. Game over and the spell is broken. I swear it on my stack of everything precious that this is the ‘ping’ of the lift doors or the wail of the air raid siren that says, no screams, for you to pack that suitcase and hit those bloody bricks right out of there.

    Ok, so you might be on the fence with that thought ? Well if that’s the case I put to you another question:

    What will you say to the stunned guy in the mirror five birthdays from now ?

  6. tenquilts says

    This conversation about friends reminds me of my husband’s best friend. They got to know each other because his wife and my husband’s ex were childhood friends, and before children came along, the four of them spent a lot of time socializing. Things became slightly strained when my husband’s ex cheated on him, but when they reconciled, the friends took them back and supported the choice. Over the years, the guys stayed close, but the women drifted apart. In fact, it sounds like each time they were in the area visiting the ex’s mother, my husband suggested they call and visit, and his ex made some excuse why they couldn’t. The man was one of the first to advise my husband to get out of the marriage, and was the first my husband confided that decision to. Both of the couple welcomed me into his life and even told me of other affairs the ex had had that my husband didn’t know about (of course I made them tell him since it was not knowledge I wanted).

    When the ex found out that they welcomed me, all hell broke loose. She went crazy texting and calling, with accusations. All of a sudden, this woman she couldn’t be bothered to see or call was her BFF and the breach in loyalty was unforgivable. We spent the evening feeling lucky that she was out of all our lives.

  7. amom says

    This barely touches on how loved ones see the relationship. I am a parent of a son who is married to a women with BPD traits. We don’t just know something is “off.” Of course, maybe we see more because they actually live with us. We’ve experienced her physically and verbally abusing him. We’re scared for him and his daughter. We can’t figure out why he can’t see her for what she is and what she is doing to him. We live on a roller coaster too not knowing each day what mood she is in. In many ways we feel hostage to her too as we try not to upset the cart for his sake knowing that if we say or do something she perceives as a threat or slight, she’ll take it out on him. Their daughter is only a few months old and though she hasn’t abused her in anyway yet, the daughter is present for the rants and arguments that lead to both of them yelling, screaming and threats, as well as hitting, scratching, throwing things by one or both of them and threats of police being called. His wife wants him to take care of the baby but doesn’t want him to do it out of her sight so he can’t bring her into another area of the house and he can’t seem to live up to her standards. She wants him to skip work (their only income) to stay home and take care of the baby because she’s too upset to. She accuses him of waking the baby up and making her cry in the middle of the night just because he wants to bother her. We see all this and experience the fights and it has totally messed up our lives too. And, yet, when the fights are over, her threats to leave gone, she hoovers him back in. She is now starting to verbally abuse us and is trying to drive a wedge between us and him. In his moments of clarity, he knows the problem is her but most of the time, due to her gaslighting campaign, he’s convinced he’s the problem. That he’s pitted us against her for so long so we’ll never get along. We see the truth. That he didn’t pit us against each other. That her behavior is what works against a loving relationship between us. We see that she places the responsibility for her happiness on others – her mom, him, us. If she’s unhappy it needs to be someone else’s fault, not hers. I fear for their daughter when the day comes that she decides her daughter also now needs to be responsible for her mother’s happiness. And our son doesn’t see this. Oh, the loved ones see so much more and are at a loss as to how to help.

    • Kay says

      Oh, most definitely! Your situation sounds very familiar. My friend and his wife were about to be evicted and had nowhere to go, so my husband and I took them in. First, for two months, it was just him while she and their children stayed with family. That’s when I began to hear all sorts of things from my friend about what his wife had been doing. Then she and the children moved in for a month and a half, and I began to see firsthand the verbal and emotional abuse. (I didn’t see physical abuse till later, but eventually I heard about that, too.) It angered me, and every day I had to deal with her moods. He also seemed to be a different person when she was around, joining in with her making fun of me and criticizing everything I did. She began a smear campaign against me, making me out to be the problem, driving a wedge between me and my friend.

      Even after they moved out, it seemed she had no problem screaming at the kids in front of me or ranting at my friend. Later on, she started doing things that I saw as physical abuse, but seemed to have no qualms about doing them in front of me. She almost seemed to be daring me to call CPS on her. Then you start dealing with, “Should I call CPS on my own friends? Is that betraying my friends or helping the children?” Meanwhile, they both blamed me for not being able to “befriend” her, and she claimed that I was “hurting” her and violating all sorts of social rules by not getting close to her, when it was her own behavior driving me away. I never knew what was going to set her off, because she’d either seethe silently or get on my case over things that seemed completely harmless to me.

      I also saw how the babies of the family would get all sorts of wonderful motherly care. But then when they got to be around three, they were subject to threats, smacks on the head, and verbal abuse. The babies could do no wrong, but the older kids were treated like they just wanted to annoy their parents, when I just saw kids being kids. And they started to act out, which the parents didn’t understand, but I could tell they were reacting to the abuse. Half the time I had no idea why the kids were getting yelled at, or I could see that they had done nothing wrong. Like the day one girl got yelled at for tucking her pantlegs into her snowboots. (She was from California. But everybody does that here! It’s Wisconsin; you have to! The poor girl was probably just imitating her classmates.)

      The Web, in general, seems to have far more information for the abused than for the families/friends of the abused. But we get emotionally damaged by seeing our loved ones in abusive relationships. Sometimes we get hit with the abuse as well. It’s so painful to see and feel helpless to stop it. It almost seems like the family/friends of the abused should have our own online support groups. 😛

  8. lagioiella says

    I am involved with a man who is married. We love each other and want to be together. However, his once wealthy and manipulative wife moved all money and assets to a foreign country and continues to liquidate his business account. He seems to want to believe she is going to stop somehow. She has threatened me and even coerced her adult sons and their friends to do the same to me. It took hearing the messages they left me for him to say something to them. However, the drivebys are ignored. I am scared of this woman with a highly controlling personality disorder. Sadly, I do not see him ever getting away from this mess. I love him, but I love myself more.

      • B Experienced says


        This sounds like you are in a very lethal situation with someone who has some smarts. I would get out of it for now to protect yourself and stay out until it is all over. The drive bys you stated are usually warm up practices to terrorize, intimidate and warn you of future harm.

    • ron7127 says

      Be careful of “fundamental attribution error” L. You are involved with someone highly invested in painting a certain picture of his wife to justify the cheating.
      And, since cheating is considered one of the most severe forms of emotional abuse, you may be seeing this woman merely reacting, out of character, to a trauma that many experts feel is tougher than rape or loss of a child.
      If she is acting nuts, it may well be a response to her husband’s cheating.
      Same with shifting the assets. She nmay be trying to protect herself and the kids from the effects of his philandering.

    • ron7127 says

      Again , please, take a long hard look at this guy(and yourself). You are abusing someone, even if she is disturbed.
      Cheating is rampant among the disordered. So,what conclusion might be drawn by your engaging in this?

      • ron7127 says

        “Coerced her adult sons’? And you know this, how?
        Ever wonder why the kids, if she is so monstrous, side with her? Ever consider the fact that even if she is a monster, the cheating affects the kids? How do you justify that, as they, apparently , were innocent?

  9. ChrisH says

    Dear goodness, it sounds like you’re writing my life. In the 8 months since I finally got the nerve to move out, I have gone from having excellent relationships with my kids, to their choosing not to spend time with me, and telling me they’re mad at me. In once case, one of my son’s emails could have been written verbatim by his mother; it was strikingly similar in content and feel. After several court continuances, we finally have a custody / visitation schedule in place (and, being from PA, it’s ridiculously limited for me) and she has already screwed up several of the visitation days.

    I miss my kids very much. I just don’t know what to do. I was in a loveless and crappy marriage for so long, going through the motions, and following the inertia, that when I finally left… well, I’m still carrying a lot of conditioning and emotional baggage. I’m in a much better, much happier place in life, in my new relationship, and most of the time in my own head. But when I think about how seemingly broken my relationships with my kids have become… I honestly don’t know if I’m strong enough, emotionally, to deal with it. I feel very lost, very betrayed, very sad and all in all, victimized by a seemingly unwell woman.

    It’s heartbreaking.

    • Micksbabe says


      So sorry that your Ex is alienating your children against you. Do you have a good attorney? A good therapist?

      I don’t have alot of advice, other than to tell you that the longer you are away from your PD Ex, the healthier (emotionally) you will become. In the meantime, I would recommend that, during the time you spend with your children, that you not, “take the high road.” This doesn’t work when one parent has a personality disorder and chooses to alienate your children. I’m not saying you should join in the mud slinging, but rather that you have nothing to lose by being completely honest with them about your situation, and how you divorced their mother, not them. Combat her lies with honesty.

      Good luck to you!

      • tenquilts says

        Although I would advise against giving them detail that they are too young for. If she accuses you of having an affair or leaving for your new relationship, be sure to tell them that it is an adult matter that is not appropriate to be discussed with them. Reiterate that you love them, that your relationship with them is separate from your relationship with her. Get the book “Divorce Poison”. Also, be sure to spend some time with your kids without your new girlfriend around since they need that relationship with YOU.

        I know you feel like you are the victim here, but you are the adult and they are the children. You need to fight for them, not them for you. Their mother is likely waging a war against you and enlisting them as footsoldiers; she is waiting for you to prove her right when she tells them that you don’t love them and won’t show up. So don’t give up that fight. If she consistently violates the court order for custody, enlist the police to enforce it, document it, and take it back to court.

        In the beginning of their split, my ex had to fight the children as well as his ex for his custodial rights. He felt wishy-washy about it but had no doubt that if the tables were turned and the kids didn’t want to leave him to go to her, she would have no problem calling in reinforcements to make it happen. Your kids are hurting and they want to hurt those whom they feel responsible for their pain. To some extent, you have to take it, but you can love them through it. They need you to not let them down. With enough time, they will understand the truth. Good luck.

        • tenquilts says

          Sorry, the first line of that last paragraph should read, “In the beginning of their split, my HUSBAND had to fight the children as well as his ex for his custodial rights.

  10. concerned mom says

    I have so much to say and then I don’t know how to even start to tell you how my Husband and I have been suffering because our Son just will not listen to us about his crazy X. He still loves her even after 4 years of divorce and being put in jail 3 times and beat up by her boyfriend. They have 4 children and he has been fighting for them these last 4 years and will be fighting for them until they are old enough to leave her. His money is all gone because of Lawyer and unpaied bills from her. I think sometimes that he is as sick as she is becaues he will not stay away from her even though she tried to kill him when they were married. They were married 12 years and she was so abusive to him and he just took it. It is making us crazy. He is 43 years old and we can’t make him do as we say but I think that we are empowering him by backing him up. We are always by his side through it all. The kids want to come live with us (I guess to get out of all the crazyness.) Our hands are tied we have no controll over any part of it. We are going to be in our 70’s in a few years and we feel like our life will never change before we die. We love our Son but when is the time to say that we can’t take it anymore.
    I am so glad to have found this Web Page. It is wonderful to know that we are not the bad ones because we think that he should leave her alone.
    He is a good Father. He has moved close enough so he can make sure that the kids get doctor’s and schooling things done. I know that he is in a bind with the children, but I am so afraid that she will find a way to kill him because the Master just lowered the child support because he lost his job before Christmas.and she would fair out better if he were dead.
    When will there be an end that we can sleep at night??
    Please don’t write me any hate mail because I sound so selfish about my Husband and I. We have no life to say of. When our little Grandchildren come it is the only gift for us.
    I guess I am trying to say how do we keep him away from her?(or can we)?

      • B Experienced says

        Concerned Mom,
        You sound wise and sane to me and not selfish at all. I feel sick that you are nearing 70 and are still going through this. I have to agree with you that your son isn’t mentally well if he still loves her. Maybe you should show him this site or one like it. I think that a certain isolation and feeling like a lone fool can take place when people are that harmed in a Cluster B relationship. They can more or less think that they are too far gone and only deserving of their abusers love. He probably believes what she has said too so he may very well think her love is an approval that he is worthy. Fear and terror can really reorganize someone’s personality in a very unhealthy way.

        Perhaps if he saw that he is far from being alone, and that people will understand and accept his position without abusing him further,he may start to pull out of it. I don’t mean that you are abusing him either. People in his position often fear reprisal from normal people and stay in abusive situations because they believe they are inferior. It is a Catch-22 in their minds.

      • concerned mom says


        Thanks for the reply.. I will send it to him and hope that he reads it.
        There is so much more to life than to put up with this PD Ex.
        Everyone of these people that have writen about someone that they know that has PD sound alike. They could have been writing about our X daughter in law. Her children are ages 13 to 7 and she is doing a job on them.
        This is what confuses me though. She was so kind to us in the begaining. We loved her like a daughter. We started seeing the abuse the longer we were around her. Our Son never said a word to us about it. He slept in a locked room when she was pregnant because she said that she wanted to kill him. He and we put up with this (I do not know why we did). Where we blind?? We have been asking ourselves these questions.
        I do see a lot of pain in these comments from others and me.

  11. Jason says

    Though it is not a broad indictment, the worse treatment I’ve gotten is from the most religious family members with the exception of one of my ex’s brothers and his wife. They know me very well and I think are quite skeptical of my ex’s claims, but are wary of rocking the family boat. (Yet, during a recent trip, my former sister-in-law gave the brush-off to my ex and visited my oldest daughter.)

    My ex was clever enough (by instinct, not intelligence) to keep a grain of truth in almost every lie she told. She also returned to the church we’d both been raised in (and which we both left a decade before.) I suspect that these family members simply can’t grasp someone could be that blatant of a liar AND go to church. (Even “our pastor” was amazingly clueless and non-caring.)

    • B Experienced says

      I worked for Priests for nearly 7 years. I can tell you that Churches are one of the favorite hang outs for Cluster B’s. It is part of their ruse and a way to gain allies because of the trusting and loving atmosphere in Churches. They try and live off the funding programs that the Church has as well. They have story after story of them being a victim in need of something or other a lot of the time. They are parasites.

      Some of the smarter clergy may catch it and some of the dozier ones won’t. Same goes for the parishioners.

      • Kay says

        Yeah, when I met my ex-friend he was posting religious messages on a web forum. (We met online and his family moved to my city a couple of years later, to find work.) He seemed very pious, very spiritual, and had the answers I was seeking. When he moved here, we went to the same church for a while, until his wife decided she hated that church, and they found one in the next county. Because they were Christians, I felt that trust. I knew from the wife’s forum postings that she did have a “colorful” vocabulary which I was not used to from church ladies, and that she could get angry, but I had no idea just how nasty she could get, until I met her in person.

        And they were perpetually poor. At first he seemed to be okay with asking us for help now and then, such as crashing on our couch or gas money. But after a while he started acting offended if I offered him help, seemed too proud to accept it….And yet, again and again, something was always going wrong: the car dying, no money to pay for gas, about to get evicted, something getting disconnected….For two and a half years, it seemed like we were constantly helping in one way or another, because they were constantly in dire straits and rarely had jobs. And in the middle of it, I kept hearing about how angry the wife was all the time. I thought it was just life giving them a lot of hard knocks. But here you talk about Cluster B’s being parasites….There were things we could do to help them that did not involve an exchange of money, such as providing Net access when they lost their Internet and he needed to keep up with his college courses. But he rarely took us up on that, which jeopardized his continuing with the courses. And my husband and I and our mutual friend all noted how hard it was to get him motivated to do things he needed to do. Even though my husband and I were willing to help them out, even felt joy in it, after a couple of years I got very weary of it.

  12. SineNomine says

    One problem that arises is when the sociopathic woman in your life has your family and friends gulled as well. They don’t necessarily see the abusive and manipulative side of her, and don’t know about it until you tell them. However, before that happens, she’s been working very hard to isolate and alienate you from them, and you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about it anyway. She goes further down that road of teh crazee, all the while blaming it on you, and you don’t have anyone you can go to, or feel you can go to, to get some reality testing on it. I know Dr. T has discussed this phenomenon on her website here, and it’s been my personal experience as well.

    I think one point of advice to take from all this is to not let your HCP isolate you and cut you off from sources of support. If your healthy loved ones don’t know about what you’re going through, they can’t help you – which is how the HCP/abusive person wants it.

  13. Forever Frustrated says

    I don’t know where I should be, I’m probably not in the right place but I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I am needing some help understanding why my abusive ex has everyone convinced that I am the crazy one and abusive yet has successfully hidden his abusive behaviors from everyone. Please…

    • B Experienced says

      Hi FF:

      I am sorry that you are going through this. It sounds as though your spouse has psychopathic behavior or as some call it sociopathic behavior. They are experts at spinning people’s reality and shifting blame. You are far from being alone. This site is loaded with people who have the same problem you do. Some behaviors differ between men and women who have psychopathy, but much is the same such as their defense patterns.

      Dr. T’s site here has excellent information regarding this behavior. It is part of what is called the Cluster B Personality Disorders by some. Another valuable resource is Dr. Robert Hare’s book, “Without Conscience”. He gives an example of what you are going through almost verbatim in it. The Aftermath Program site for people recovering from relationships with Psychopaths is run by him and some of his colleagues as well. Dr. Hare’s personal site has a lot of information of it too. I believe that it is best to study all that you can regarding this disorder by all the competent people you can muster up in the field. A vital piece of information may pass by if you don’t. Keeping yourself safe is your first job. Don’t tell him what you find.

      It is my well educated opinion regarding Psychopathy that Dr. T, Dr. Hare and his colleagues have very accurate and competent help, if not the best. Please be very careful when you are on the internet regarding this because you don’t want to get roped in by a psychopath pretending to be helpful.

      • Forever Frustrated says

        thanks for the reply, it’s nice to know I am not alone. Sometimes it is very easy to get roped in and be confused by the things that he says. Such as sending me links on psychotic ex-girlfriends comparing me to them and calling it “proof” that I am just not right, despite the fact that the situations are not even close and do not compare. It is true that he shifts alot if not all of the blame onto me, as well as being quite verbally and psychologically abusive and manipulative. He is also Bipolar and has addictions to lying and porn and severe anger management issues, more like rage. I guess I have alot of reading to do to learn, and I am looking for a counselor to help with learning to deal with issues that all of this has caused.
        He uses this site as a way to back up his claims as wrong as they are, but has little actual knowledge, even going as far as going to anger management group JUST to get ammunition to backlash onto me, not to get help.

  14. ron7127 says

    I have a bit of the reverse situation. A sibling was involved with a very nice, successful guy who she would badmouth and treat terribly. Often, she would expect him to bail her out, financially, and she would even rant about his unwillingness to marry her(despite her acknowledging that she neither loved or was attracted to him) so that he could buy them a house and put her on his health insurance.
    Tough position to be in, but I , eventually, told the guy he was being abused. Now, fortunately for him, he is out, as she has moved on to another target.
    In my first marriage, one of my wife’s sisters, came to me and informed me about the infidelity and my wife’s history of being abusive. She advised me to divorce her. I was always grateful for her assistance.
    It is touhg to know what to do when a family member , who you love, is preying on an outsider.

  15. Martin D Brie says

    Thank you for the article Micksbabe and Dr.T.
    I need some help right now from any of you survivors and folk that have been free from PDexs. I just found out that my PD/BPD ex girlfriend has moved on with another guy. While I’m EXTREMELY HAPPY that she’s not in my life anymore when I heard of the news that she moved on I felt sick, anoxious, crushed, and I just wanted to breakdown, I don’t understand why I have these feelings. Maybe I’m upset at the fact that she’s happy with someone else. What advice could yallz offer to a hurting but free abuse survivor? ( Im asking everyone including Dr. T and Micksbabe). Thank you for your help.

    • Kay says

      My abusive ex was a guy, but the pattern is much the same as with women, so this may apply. My ex was probably some kind of Cluster B; I see many of the characteristics when I think back. After me, he immediately went on to a new girlfriend. As the girlfriend told me, they had a very tumultuous relationship, constantly breaking up and getting back together again. She saw him doing the very same things he did to me. She was always getting angry at him, and noted him doing very childish things. They finally broke up for good, and she finally realized just how dysfunctional they were when her friends started pushing her to go out with new, better guys right away.

      Then he went on to a new girlfriend. I had since graduated college, so I didn’t witness it myself. But I had friends who graduated after I did, and they had adopted her into their circle, so they saw what went on. They saw the very same patterns, and were disgusted with him. One friend tried to encourage her to leave him. He got her pregnant and married her. Some ten years later, they were divorced.

    • ron7127 says

      Martin, I have found that the fastest, most effective way to get past this is to go no contact. make no inquiries about her and seek no info on her life. Takes some discipline, but it can become a habit if you stick to it.

      • Martin D Brie says

        Actually Ron I have practiced 0 contact. I learned the news from a friend.
        I guess my real frustration stems from the fact that she’s experiencing so much after she was so horrible with me. I feel bad for the guy she’s roped up . I will soon share my story with all of you. It pains me that in my first relationship I got hosed and abused. I have grown a lot since I walked away from her control but there must be areas of healing I need.

  16. Autumn says

    Yup, when you confide in your best friend about how unhappy you are and he tells you that you always seem to “hook up with the crazy b*tches”….when your grown son tells you it makes him sad to see how unhappy she makes you…when your sister despises your PD wife and calls her a troll…When your mother doesn’t like how manipulative and controlling she is…oh yes!~ and the cherry on top: When she gives you the ultimatum, “your son or me!” -and now she’s still around but your son is thousands of miles away….from the outside, it looks like abuse.

  17. moedee01 says

    I was the New Woman, for two years, and I just recently ended the relationship. Every time I read articles from this site, I feel physically sick because they’re so on point and my (now) ex is so far from anything healthy. I just wanted to say thank you, so much, for this site. If nothing else, it helped me realize that something was terribly wrong with his relationships, do what I was capable of doing to getting him focused on his childrens’ wellbeing, and then leaving.

    I wanted to email this article to him and his parents, because I still don’t think they really understand what’s happening. He and his parents enable his ex’s terrible emotional and mental abuse of both him and his kids. His parents either couldn’t or wouldn’t acknowledge what was happening to him – I was the one who came in talking about abuse and personality disorders and I’m guessing they thought I was crazy.

    So I’m out of it now, but I can’t stop thinking about his children and how much they continue to suffer from living with their mother. He’s tried to get the parenting agreement changed but she won’t agree, and the courts won’t step in unless it’s a custody battle (which he has no hope of winning). Is there anything anyone can do to help those kids? And for those of you who’ve been in similar situations, how did you help yourself move on and not continue to feel torn up about the children?

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