More Thoughts on FOG, Hoovers and No Contact When Ending a Relationship with a Narcissist, Borderline, Histrionic and/or Sociopath

Many of my clients often have difficulty after ending their relationships with an abusive and crazy ex. These men and women torture themselves with self-doubt (Am I doing the right thing?), self-recrimination (Why am I so stupid? Why did I put up with her/his behavior for so long? Why did I have kids with that sadistic lunatic?) and second-guessing (If only I’d done this; What if I’d said that?)

These thoughts and feelings are a natural byproduct of being in an abusive relationship. It’s no secret that abusive personalities groom their targets to — you guessed it — take their abuse. They do this through a variety of methods, however, in order for any of their unconscious and conscious manipulations to work, they first need to envelop you in FOG (fear, obligation, guilt).

I also work with individuals who are distraught over seeing a beloved son, brother, grandson and/or friend willingly remain in an abusive relationship. They just don’t understand why their loved ones tolerate the abuse and stay in the relationship. FOG is the intangible glue that keeps many men and women stuck in abusive relationships.

It is often easier for outsiders to see what’s going on because they’re not caught in the disorienting and invalidating mists of an emotional FOG. To a mom, dad, sister, brother or best friend, it can be as clear as day, but when you have your mouth wrapped around the exhaust pipe of the Crazy Fogger 3000 night and day, it’s no wonder you can’t see the forest for the trees. For anyone who’s ever walked or driven in atmospheric fog, you know that being in a fog can play perceptual tricks on you.

In an atmospheric fog, it’s difficult to see what’s right in front of you. You get turned around and walk in the wrong direction. Objects seem further away than they are. Even sounds can be disorienting. A fog can feel cool and refreshing at first, like when your hiking in the mountains, but then becomes thick and muggy and uncomfortable and suffocating. This can be true of emotional FOG.

After enough time, the FOG may start to feel normal and being out of the FOG may feel strange and unsettling. Once the FOG is the norm, leaving the FOG becomes difficult because of the self-doubt and second guessing an abuser’s FOG induces. If the FOG is combined with a target’s need to be perceived as the Nice Guy/Nice Gal, it’s extremely difficult for the target to  break free. Most Nice Guys and Gals have been groomed to believe boundaries are mean and abusive and that taking care of themselves is selfish. See the problem?

For the FOG to be especially effective, many abusers instinctively know to isolate their targets from friends and family members who will help them to reality test and come out of the FOG. Once you get out of the FOG for a length of time, your head will start to clear and you will, hopefully, see things more objectively, which is precisely what a predatory abuser does not want to happen. They want to control you, the narrative, your feelings and your perceptions.

Even if your abuser doesn’t want you back immediately, she will expect you to be there when she comes back around looking for attention, money, triangulation, etc. Many abusers, particularly personality disordered abusers, like to return to prey on their targets over and over again; like animal predators frequent the same hunting grounds until their food sources dry up. They typically do this by employing a series of Hoover tactics.

Ultimately, Hoovers are just another instance of an abusive wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or ex not respecting your feelings, needs and boundaries. It’s just another way they ignore, invalidate and disrespect you and what you’ve decided is healthiest for YOU. How dare you put your own well-being ahead of their wants and needs no matter how unreasonable and abusive? For shame!

Whether it’s a Psycho Hoover, a Deluxe Hoover, a FOG Hoover or a Happy Ending Hoover, it’s just the Crazy’s way of saying, “Hell no” to your “No.” It’s not about her undying “love” for you. Narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and sociopaths aren’t capable of real love because they will never care about anyone else more than they care for themselves — and they don’t even really seem to care for themselves very much.

Their idea of love seems to be about being able to control their so-called loved ones and how much abuse and crap you will tolerate from them. Naturally, if you’re unwilling to tolerate their abuse and crap, then you don’t really love them. Never mind the fact that if they really loved you, they wouldn’t abuse you, treat you like crap and turn your relationship into a never-ending series of Shit Tests and power struggles.

Coming out of the FOG and shutting off the Hoover

In order to successfully come out of the FOG, you must go No Contact or, if you share children, minimize contact to the the greatest degree possible. Many targets of abuse have difficulty not feeling “needed” and/or have difficulty weaning themselves off the drama. You gotta go cold turkey.

Think of your need to feel needed and/or the excitement from the unhealthy drama as if it’s an addiction and set up social and professional supports for yourself accordingly. These people are poison. You can’t just take a “little hit” and be okay. Any contact after the break-up will put you right back to square negative 3.

I know how painful and excruciating it can be at first after the initial relief of ending the relationship subsides and you begin to miss your ex’s “good” qualities. These overwhelming feelings of loss and “I can’t live without her/It wasn’t that bad/I can take it/What if she’s different with the next guy?/What if I try just a little bit harder to make her happy?/etc.,” are temporary. You will not feel this bad forever — unless, of course, you get back together with her!

Before emailing, calling or responding to her texts, examine your feelings of nostalgia and longing and ask yourself:

  • Do I really miss her or the drama?
  • What void is her drama filling in my life?
  • Do I really miss her or does she provide an endless distraction from dealing with my own issues, which is probably what caused me to become involved with her in the first place?
  • Do I really miss and “love” him or am I re-creating a troubled and painful relationship from my childhood (e.g., with a parent) and insisting on a different outcome with an equally damaged person who is just as incapable of being in a healthy, reciprocal relationship as the individual(s) who caused me the original damage?
  • Do I really miss her or the fantasy woman she portrayed herself to be when we first met?
  • Do I have unrealistic fantasies about meeting a perfect woman or man who will meet all of my needs all the time, which is why I fell for her or him during the love bombing stage?
  • Is this because I didn’t receive enough unconditional love and positive regard from my parents when I was a child?
  • Is this what attracted me to her and, if so, how can I work through these issues and love myself enough so I am no longer vulnerable to emotional predators?

The Good News

If you can go 4 to 8 weeks and maintain strong boundaries and No Contact, it is very likely the FOG will lift, you will get over the hump and real healing can begin. Any contact with your ex after the break-up runs the risk of putting you back in the FOG, rubbing salt in your wounds and delaying your recovery. It also gives her the opportunity to “Oops” you (“accidental” pregnancy), exploit you (financially and/or emotionally) and/or, heaven forbid, make a false allegation of abuse against you. *By the way, false allegations of abuse can happen to female targets, too. I have worked with women to whom this has happened. Persuasive blamers of both sexes seem to follow the same playbook, unfortunately.

More importantly, 30 to 60 days of No Contact will  (hopefully) propel your ex to seek a new source of narcissistic supply and will (hopefully) give you enough time to realize you can live without the Crazy and that you’re actually starting to feel better without her.

Not all abusers will move on in 30 to 60 days. I have a client right now who is on month 6 of attempted Hoovers and his ex is escalating. The first 3 weeks were hard for him. He was feeling guilty and worried that he was being “mean” by not replying. I had him agree to a contract to continue NC for 3 more weeks. He did it and he got over the hump.

Now, instead of feeling guilty or like a “bad guy,” he is increasingly dismayed by her lack of boundaries and her unwillingness to accept and respect his No. Enough time and distance out of the FOG and most people have a very different perspective on their ex’s behaviors.

It will take 6 to 8 weeks for the FOG to lift (give or take); maybe longer, depending upon the length of the relationship and the severity of the trauma you suffered. However, the FOG will never lift if you continue to wrap your mouth around the exhaust pipe of the FOG machine.

FOG can be as emotionally as toxic as carbon monoxide is physically toxic. Hoovers aren’t about love; they’re just another boundary violation. Fear, obligation and guilt suck. Hoovers suck, too, so don’t be a sucker. Go No Contact. Odds are you will be very glad you did sooner than you think.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD 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. Martin D Brie says

    Wow right on time Dr. Tara! This was a needed read. It’s been 1 yr and 4 months since I went no contact with my crazy ex. It’s still been challenging but I’ve made much progress since last year. I did contact her because I owed her a sum of money and she threatened me. I sent her the payment and then she also wanted some of her things that she gave me back( total hoover moment). I was a bit hurt when I learned of her moving on less than a month after I walked away from her but, good riddance and I pray for the guy she’s with now!

    My friend is going to go with me to give her things back other wise I’m free from all that. Much of the struggles I have are just replaying the events in my head and dealing with the fears that came with all of the craziness. I don’t like living in shame and fear. I would like to date again but I’m still a bit afraid and my confidence is up to it. I keep having doubts and think that the next person I date will think less of me as well as I ashamed of talking about my past. (which is why I don’t understand how people like her(abusers) can just get another person dating them so easily and us normal folk struggle.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi Martin,

      Glad to be of help. There’s a new slogan in there somewhere:

      Friends don’t let friends meet up with crazy, abusive exes unchaperoned!

      I think it’s very wise of you to bring a friend along. Hopefully, she will be on good behavior since you will have a witness.

    • Coming Out Of The Fog says

      I’m new here. I saw some mentions in the comments that their BPD girlfiend/Ex wanted to know everything about them. When my wife and I were dating, she wanted to know everything about me. If I forgot to tell her something she would become enraged and tell me, “I don’t keep anything from you.” When, in reality, I wasn’t keeping anything from her, it was just things I forgot. I worked full time while I went to school to get away from my Narcissist Dad and Histrionic Mother.

      Anyway, I was damaged goods when I met my wife and she love-bombed me like I had never been love bombed before. Then, suddenly after marriage, kids, and mortgage, I no longer meant anything to her. It’s been tough. I will give more details later. I’m just curious about the wanting to know everything detail.

    • Clint E says

      This is so true and helpful. I’m two months into getting kicked out (I have two small kids I was forced to explain this to) and it took about one week for every trick in the book to lure me back in. After three weeks of daily painful conversations and every promise in the book, I promised myself no more contact unless it was scheduling time with the kids. Its amazing how differently you see things after 8 weeks. I’m still apparently the spawn of satan for leaving “me and the kids” but I can choose not to hear that every day. For those of you in this situation, write down every single belittling incident and inexplicable anger directed toward you. You’ll need to remember exactly what it is they’re trying to draw you back into. It is still a little frightening, but less frightening than the idea of being in that situation for the rest of your life.

  2. Swan Song says

    It’s frightening how thick the FOG can get in a 25+ year relationship with a BPD. It was especially blinding when alcoholism was added to the mix, because until just recently, I was unaware of BPD and attributed my ex’s bizarre and destructive behavior to alcoholism alone, never realizing that the two maladies fed and magnified each other to become humongous monsters dwelling inside her.

    Of course, in order to survive in such a perpetually foggy and dangerous environment, I slowly evolved into a co-dependent creature that could not only navigate through a constantly changing thorny labyrinth of her lies, unfounded accusations, paranoid delusions, and shockingly painful insults, but I could also do an impressive tap dance on hummingbird eggs without denting or cracking them. When I look back on the situation, I’m horrified at the twisted creature I had become, and it was more painful to realize that I had undergone my agonizing transformation just to continue a marriage with a dark hearted and supremely selfish woman who most likely never loved me in the first place, and is probably incapable of having a normal loving relationship. It may be too late to change back into the dynamic, athletic, accomplished, and very popular individual I was before I met my ex, there are some injuries so severe that you just never recover from them.

    It would be wonderful at this point if I could have absolutely no contact, or nothing to do with my ex, but we still share custody of our 15 year old son, and she maliciously uses him as a conduit through which she can continue her assault and drama games in her strangely never-ending battle to destroy me, my relationship with the kids, and my reputation in the small island community where we live. There seems to be no end to her efforts, it’s been seven years since we separated COMPLETELY, yet she still seems obsessed with my complete and utter destruction. She uses my deep love for our children as the sharpest blade in her arsenal, and she would cut right through them to get at my throat.

    I found this site today because I’m currently trying to find ideas and support to deal with the latest crisis my ex has crafted, she has taken my 15 year old even though the parenting plan dictates that he’s to be with me the entire month of July. My son was being disciplined for inarguable transgressions, and rather than accept his well deserved consequences, he called her and asked her to pick him up. Is this what you would call a “Hoover” maneuver?

    I’m now compelled to respond to this latest outrage by either; 1. Demand by email to return my son. 2. Go to court and get a court order to enforce the parenting plan, and risk getting involved again with a legal system that is extremely biased toward mothers, such that the entire effort could backfire. Or 3. Walk away from my son in order to further sever ties with my profoundly evil ex. I’ve grown emotionally and physically exhausted from waging an endless battle to have a warm and normal relationship with my son, and suppose I must start to consider how much that relationship is worth. It’s certainly not worth my sanity.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hello Swan Song,

      Thank you for registering with S4M and welcome. Combine alcoholism with BPD and you get the psychological equivalent of Hurricane Katrina on steroids.

      I’m not surprised she’s still obsessed with your destruction. Many of these types hold onto anger and grudges like a dog with a bone. Some really do seem to feed off anger and hatred. It’s also not uncommon for them to use shared children as weapons. They have an uncanny knack for going after you with what will hurt most.

      I would call what your ex did with your son piss poor parenting. She is doing him no favors by not upholding consequences for bad behavior. It’s also probably part of her alienation campaign. Your son is just being a 15-year old who is going to where he won’t get into trouble for his misbehavior. A good parent would say, “No dice, kiddo. If you did x, you need to face the consequences.”

      My advice is to never deviate from a court order when dealing with someone like your ex. However, you do need to factor in your local court system. If they have a track record of looking the other way when mom does something, it can become an exercise in futility. Will the threat of taking her to uphold the CO and the threat of suing for costs be enough for her to send your son back?

      Walking away from your child is, in my opinion, the last resort choice. How PAS’d is he and is he in counseling for it?

      • Swan Song says

        Thank you so much for your most helpful and insightful considerations, you obviously have an excellent grasp of the dynamics involved in PD fueled family destruction.

        At this point, I’m not sure about the level of alienation, but she has been pounding away at him since our separation more than seven years ago when he was 8, and bless his heart, he has strongly resisted her PA until recently. At that time, my two oldest kids, a 15 yo son and a 14 yo daughter, immediately enlisted in her army with the “It’s either your Dad or me” ultimatum and the PAS with both of them seemed horribly instantaneous. Of course, it only seemed instantaneous, my ex had clearly been working on them for years, and what I thought to be normal teenage issues and difficulties were actually the manifestations of their mother’s campaign to dehumanize and demonize me in their eyes. The last time I spoke with my daughter, in a counseled session 7 years ago, she stunned me with this horrible account; “Mom says that you forced her into having our little brother because you were disappointed with us, and that we were “duds””. I tearfully tried to explain to her that it was the exact opposite, that I was so thrilled and amazed with my first two kids, that I wanted more, and to my horror, she mockingly laughed at and ridiculed my tears as though she was possessed. In one evil fell swoop, my ex had destroyed my relationship with the two oldest kids, and she also planted the seeds of contempt and animosity that the two older kids would have for their little brother. I left that session in a daze; did anyone get the licence plate number of the truck that just hit me?

        My oldest son eventually realized after about a year what had happened and who the rat was. Apparently, since I was out of the picture, my ex turned her venom on him, calling him an asshole and that he was a monster, just like his Dad. He came to live with me, and it took several years before I could get him to even call his mother on her birthday. I haven’t had any contact with my daughter since the counselled session 7 years ago, and when I attempted some overtures to salvage a relationship with her, she sent me a rather nasty letter via regular mail and by certified mail (the handwriting on the envelopes was her mother’s) where she started out by addressing me by my name (uncapitalized) instead of “Dad” or “Father”, and she then informed me that she was terrified of me, and that she didn’t want anything to do with me FOREVER! She’s now 21, she’s hopelessly tied to her mother, and according to my oldest son, she’s more bat-shit-crazy than my ex.

        Having so irretrievably lost my daughter, I’m sure you’ll understand my hyper vigilance in protecting my relationship with my son, but that tiresome vigilance has taken it’s toll on me. I’ve found it to be impossible to have a normal, stress free relationship with him while I have to remain constantly on red alert. I’m not allowed to speak badly about his mother, so I’m struggling to find a reasonable way to inform him of his mother’s destructive PD. She has never stopped with the threats to whisk him away across the country and that I’ll never see him again. I wonder how long I can watch my ex hold a symbolic gun to his head before I crack. My ex’s cruelty has no limits.

        • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

          Gah! Swan Song, I am very sorry to read that your ex has passed the Crazy Torch down to your daughter, although, it is not surprising. Take a child with genetic predisposition for BPD, feed him or her a steady diet of hate, blame shifting and abuse and Presto! The cycle of Crazy continues. And it’s not just your daughter’s relationship with you that your ex has destroyed, but your daughter’s ability to have a healthy, loving reciprocal relationship with a man or a woman.

          I am of the mind that you should absolutely set the record straight with the kids when mom is lying to them and painting you black. It is not trashing their mom by saying, “What your mother claims is false. Here’s the evidence that proves otherwise.” You must do this early and as often as necessary in age-appropriate language and then let the kids draw their own conclusions. You can tell the truth and still take the high road. You also tell the kids you love them and would never prevent them from having a relationship with their mother, no matter what your feelings are about her. Again, let them draw their own conclusions from that.

          You don’t have to tell your kids she has a PD, but you can say, “What your mother told you is wrong” and “It is unfair and not right for your mother to make you choose between us. I love you and want you to love your mother, too.” You can and should say this to your kids. Let your kids know you and your ex don’t have to be an either/or proposition. You may also want to ask your son if he is afraid of his mother and what she will do if he maintains a relationship with you? Find out what his fears are and let him know it’s okay and natural to be afraid in these circumstances. Then you let him know your home will always be a safe place for him.

          I can understand being worn out from dealing with the Crazy and the venom. Many of these types never tire of the hatred and vitriol. They just keep spewing and spewing and spewing like demented Energizer Bunny Rabbits. Make sure you take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to help your son.

          • Swan Song says

            Thank you for your excellent advice and support, Dr. T. Finding this site has been a blessing.

          • kiwihelen says

            Hey fellow bird!

            Feel free to come into the forum and post for support from our team of wonderful people who are experienced in similar issues.

            I feel so sorry about your daughter. My SO is going through similar, and all I can do is pray that she will get through it, while knowing that she is unlikely to escape crazy.

          • Swan Song says

            When I’m finished muddling my way through this legal motion to enforce our parenting plan and sending out the copies (I’m not a lawyer and can’t afford one, so I’m up to my ass in alligators in this legal maze) I will definitely try to join the forum. Thanks for the invite!

          • RJ says

            My Mother-In-Law, Wife and Step-daughter all have BPD.. My wife just left me (I’m her 5 husband). My Mother in law who is 77 tears through all the retirees at the independent living center and my step daughter has a new man just about every month.

        • cuatezon says

          Swan Song, I had a very similar experience and just like you, seeing a child PAS’d in this manner was heart-wrenching. I completely understand what you’re going through. I often ask God why this happens.

          Our ex’s are Hitlers and will stop at nothing in their campaign to emotionally harm us. Keep your chin up and try to love your daughter, albeit from afar, and I hope she sees the light someday.

  3. mountainman says

    Thanks Tara, these articles are great. I was in an on and off again relationship with a woman for a couple of years and was starting to feel like I was the crazy one and didn’t realize what was really going on until I found this site. She constantly criticized and called me names, told me I was sick and needed help, said I was afraid of commitment, was a selfish child, etc, and then would want a ring and get married, then go crazy again. When I said something that offended her, or wouldn’t do what she wanted, she would ruin holidays, vacations, and birthdays, or break up with me and go sleep with other guys. Everything was my fault, she would take no responsibility for anything.

    She would always come back in a week or two and I would take her back, thinking it would be different. Of course, I couldn’t get over her being with other guys, so it was really difficult because I loved her and was close to her sons. She gave me an ultimatum a month or so ago, I refused to be controlled by her, so she broke up with me once again. I haven’t talked to her in a few weeks, so I assume she is with someone else. That’s her pattern, then when he won’t commit to her, is when she comes calling. I have decided to go no contact, got a couple calls and didn’t respond. It’s really tough, but I am starting to see how much crap I took from her and feel pretty dumb. My friends and family have seen it for a long time. Hopefully I can stay strong and stay away from her for good. It helps to read your articles, anytime I am feeling weak, I just start to go over them. Thanks so much.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi mountainman and welcome to S4M. Thank you for registering.

      I am glad to read you are not responding to her calls. Stay strong and brace yourself for her to turn up on your doorstep or stage an “accidental” run-in.

      If you haven’t yet, document all of the messed up, hurtful things she has done to you and look at it whenever you start to miss her and/or consider trying again. Also consider appointing a trusted friend as a “sponsor” (i.e., letting her back in your life).

      The more time and distance you have away from her, the better and stronger you’ll feel, so try not to look back.

    • Confused says

      Mountainman, your situation sounds exactly like mine. I have said over and over that I would not take her back but she sucks me in. After yesterday when she decided to rub salt into me about a guy she dated for a few weeks after we broke up it made me angry and told her not to contact me again. We will see how long this lasts until she contacts me again. I cannot reply to her texts or calls when she starts again.

  4. Mellaril says

    Great article! It ties a lot of related topics together.

    Where did the 6-8 weeks to come out of the FOG and 30-60 days for them to start moving on come from? Are they based on studies or are they empirical?

    After we broke up, my exgf was involved with someone within the 30-60 day period. My FOG period, which occurred immediately after Hoover1, lasted 3-4 weeks and I came out angry. I went NC and she came out of the woodwork at ~16 weeks after her subsequent relationship collapsed. When she realized she’d been replaced and a lame last ditch hoover failed, she went away for good.

    The 30-60 day number is based on them and relates to threat. The 6-8 week number is based on us and relates to vulnerability. Any ideas of the shapes of curves? Are they constant over the time, decay linearly, or more exponetionally (i.e, we’re more vulnerable early on)? The example you cite of the guy who’s in month 6 of being hoovered would show a constant, if not increasing, threat curve.

    If the numbers are reasonably close, a potentential strategy for breaking or, at least, weakening the attachment could be based on short and intermediate range goals focused on buying time. Once a “safe distance” is achieved, you can focus on other things. First things first.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Thanks, Mell. Those numbers come from my clinical experience, not peer reviewed studies, so they’re anecdotal. As I mentioned, for some people, it takes longer. It seems to depend upon the length of the relationship and the severity of the trauma and how healthy/dysfunctional their FOO (family of origin).

      Other variables are involved, too. Like minimizing/blocking contact of negative advocates/accomplices of the ex, participating in physical exercise, not letting oneself ruminate on the ex, making use of good social supports, re-engaging with life, etc.

      It also depends on the variety of Crazy one is dealing with. There are clingers, cut-off queens, and boomerangs (they fly away for awhile and then come winging back — like your ex).

    • Mellaril says

      Well, I thought she’d gone away for good. I got a FB friend request for her 6 weeks short of 25 years since our last contact.

      As much as I would have loved to know what in heaven’s name she wanted, this time I didn’t take the bait.

  5. elantragirl says

    Great article and very timely for me personally…….. But what if the next narcissistic supply for the ex happens to be your own family who have some bpd issues also, and they turn on you? It seems even harder to go no contact with ones own birth family for ones own protection, but the hoovers from them are even more crazy difficult. The professions of ‘ love and support’ seem even more cruel, while out of the other side of the mouth they deny my feelings and needs for no contact with the ex.

    Any comments.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi EG,

      I’m saddened to read that your family is being so disrespectful to you. That stinks. You may want to consider creating some boundaries with your FOO and minimizing contact if they have willingly become negative advocates/accomplices of your ex. It will be hard and they will probably vilify you as the bad daughter/sister, but they’re no doubt going to do that anyway, so you may as well protect yourself and get to a place of peace free from the flying monkeys.

    • kiwihelen says

      EG, urgh…yes, I can see how difficult the FOO being the next source of supply could be. My SO has gone LC over time with his family, and it does work, but requires hard work on your part to form support networks that take place of family. Fortunately my own Mum is used to adopting the waifs and strays her children bring along to the family so he is “extra son number 4″ in her list of children.

  6. bproven says

    Wow, very timely article. 4 months after getting kicked out of my home with false DV charges and allegations to CPS I am finally getting my name cleared… but I continue to wonder what I could have done or did wrong with the BPD. This really helps put it in perspective.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      I don’t know if you have to do anything except be involved with a sociopathic BPD/NPD/HPD/high-conflict abuser. Seems to be a common tactic in most high-conflict divorces. Most sociopaths know how to work the system with masterful skill and are quite adept at portraying themselves as the innocent victims when they are, in fact, the predators/criminals.

      I’m glad to read you’ve been able to clear your name, but be careful. She may escalate and accuse you of something even worse. It usually goes false allegation of DV, then, when that doesn’t work, sexual abuse of the children. They’re disgusting. I wish the courts would start prosecuting and jailing them for their criminal BS. Having a Golden Uterus shouldn’t be a get out of jail and consequences card. Nor should a PD.

      • bproven says

        Well my first reaction to that is “nahhhhh, she would never do that.” But now I look back at what she has done and realize that would have been my reaction prior to this as well. I will be on the lookout. Any effective strategies to combat this; things I can do proactively in case in comes up? My kids are in therapy during my visitation so I think that may help.

        • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

          1. ABR: Always Be Recording

          2. DDD: Document, document, document

          3. Whenever possible, always bring a witness to custody exchanges and/or do them somewhere with a security camera like the parking lot of your local police department.

          4. Consider prosecuting her for her false allegations. If the DA won’t do it; consider a civil suit. Women like your ex are going to keep doing this until more men start seeking real consequences.

          • Cousin Dave says

            I will add to that: be able to account for where you are and what you are doing, at all times. Keep a diary of everywhere you go, when you got there, when you left, what you did there, and who you interacted with. Record the time when you got to bed at night and when you get up in the morning. Do things that create a paper trail. Purchasing things with credit cards is one good way to do this. Or, if you don’t want to do that, hit up a nearby ATM for $20 or however much you need anytime you go somewhere. If the place where you work has a card entry system, make sure you use it and don’t “piggyback” off of a co-worker. You never know when a record created by one of these systems might save your bacon. And do not ever go anyplace where you might be alone with children who are not yours.

            The point at which the Duke Lacrosse false-accusation case started falling apart was when one of the players accused of participating in the rape was able to prove, by subpoenaing transaction records, that he was at an ATM some distance away at the time that the rape supposedly occurred. Keep that in mind.

          • cuatezon says

            Good advice. Makes me sad though. I’m OCD-ing on the Hitler analogy lately…and this stuff reminds me of Nazi Germany/Totalitarian/Stalinist societies, where you had to always have your papers and documents in order, and if you didn’t, you were screwed. F—–g sad society we live in.

  7. Mr. E says

    As a couple others have mentioned, this is a timely post. I’m so glad to have this resource so I, at the very least, know what to expect.

    I’m currently having an easy time staying no contact, because I do not want any contact. In fact, I’m somewhat afraid of my phone. It’s like the Hellraiser puzzle box – I’d prefer to leave it be. We’ll see what happens as time passes, but I am resolved to stay no contact.

    The day after I left, I’d checked my phone and discovered several voicemails and text messages. I didn’t listen to the voice mails, but did read the texts. Talk about a bad decision – I felt terrible. That was when I really understood what no contact is about.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Kudos to you, Mr E! I know how long you’ve been agonizing over this decision.

      It’s wise not to look at the messages. Even if you don’t respond, they still have the potential to mess with your head. Have you considered having a friend/family member screen them for you?

      • Mr. E says

        Thank you.

        I joked with my parents that I picked the perfect time to be upset and lonely: anyone local I might trust to screen my messages for me is currently out of state. Oh well. I’ve got my phone turned off, and I’m going to leave it off for a while.

  8. mimi says

    This could not have been a timelier article for me. My friend of 20+ yrs has been married to a woman with BPD for the past 3 yrs. She is an extreme BPD (if there is such a thing). She has almost every trait of a BPD plus she is VERY physically violent. Although she has tried to block him from having any contact with me, over these past 3 years, he has managed to call me with frantic pleas to pick him up. She hits, punches, head butts, rips clothing, scratches, bites and breaks various items throughout the house. Usually this occurs when drinking (yes, she is an alcoholic as well). When sober, she is verbally abusive. He has been arrested for domestic violence (police believed her, not him). Her behavior continues to get worse as the years pass. I have now picked him up a total of 4 times, 3 of those times this year alone. He usually stays with me for 2 weeks, she will either “hoover” him back or he ends up missing her and contacting her, always thinking if he changes something, or buys something, that he can make it work and he just needs to stay and be true to his vows. This last time he stayed with me, I printed out pages upon pages of BPD info, which helped him tremendously and at first, and I really thought he might break the cycle. However, that did not happen. He went back yet again with those pages in hand. He said that he now had a better understanding of her disorder and that he will place boundaries, assert himself more, and that should help contain the problems. However, this last time I told him that I could no longer make myself available to pick him up in the middle of the night when she has yet another crazy, violent episode, which I am almost certain, will happen at some point again. I am starting to feel as if I am not really helping the situation at all, and I end up getting so frustrated and angry with a situation I really have no control over. He said that he understood, however, I still feel guilty. I feel as if I am turning my back on him. Did I do the right thing? Should I turn my back on someone who is being physically abused or at some point, isn’t it his choice to be in that situation?

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi Mimi,

      First, thank you for registering with S4M and welcome. Second, you are a very good friend. What a heartbreaking and powerless position to be in.

      At this point, I would say giving your friend a safe haven is turning into enabling. It also seems to be causing you a great amount of stress. Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to be able to break free of this craziness. Hopefully, the BPD he’s married to will not end up killing him or landing him in jail where he will encounter a whole new set of abuses. He really is risking his life and his freedom. Are children involved in this mess? I hope not.

      Sometimes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him think or something like that. You seem to have provided him with enough resources, but he is choosing to stay in an abusive relationship. I think showing your friend some tough love is for the best. You may want to give him the number for Jan Brown’s DV hotline that services both men an women.

      Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women 1-888-743-5754

      • mimi says

        Thank you for your quick feedback. She has 4 children from 2 previous marriages. Both ex-husbands have custody. She only has visitation. However, she has both graphically insulted and punched my friend in front of the children. Luckily, she physically can have no other children, so he was not sucked into that nightmare as well. I would attempt to give him the helpline number, however, I cannot contact him now since his spouse locks his phone with an undisclosed password. He also has no email or social network contact (per her request/demand). However, I will keep it on hand if he can ever escape her manipulative web. You are correct, it does cause me great stress, because I see him walking back into a lion’s den. From what I understand, it is hard for these people to change, so the best I can hope for is that he can find a safe way to live in this madness. I will heed your advice and follow the tough love route. I really appreciate your website and sharing your knowledge. It has helped me tremendously.

        • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

          You’re welcome, Mimi, and I’m very sorry to read about your friend. Sometimes people have to hit rock bottom before they can climb out.

          He’s fortunate to have a friend like you. When or if you do talk to him again, you might want to let him know that when he is serious about getting out and getting on the road to recovery, you’ll be there to support him. Meanwhile, take good care of yourself!

  9. johnnyakey says

    just want to say you were right on. MY bpd wife hit me with a false tro 4 months ago. had me thrown out of my home. That night she took my 12 year old and 6 year old and moved into a battered shelter. I have been to court 12 times in the last 4 months. When i finally got the judge to let me see my children my wife came to court with DYFS and accused me of child sexual abuse of my 6 year old. Now I have to fight these false allegations. In the mean time I have seen my 6 year old ONLY 23 hours total in 4 months and half of those were supervised.Now the judge sees me as a monster and when i want to see my daughter i am not favored. She has no consequenses for her false allegations and she is living free in the shelter free food, free money, free cell phone and now they are going to get her an apartment for free for 1 year. all on false allegations.I am not allowed to look for her or my children or I go to jail. I don’t understand.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi johnnakey and welcome. Reading stories like yours make me so incredibly angry. Your ex sounds like she knows how to work the system very well. Tax payers are subsidizing her sociopathy. Do you have an attorney or, like many men, has just wanting to be a good dad to your children bankrupted you? Have you contacted the folks at SAVE to document your experiences with your ex, law enforcement and the courts? How about the False Rape Society?

      • johnnyakey says

        I have never heard of SAVE or the false rape society. How do I contact them? I feel I have no rights and she is exposing my children to horrible things living in a battered shelter for 4 daughter tells me everybody tells her not to love her dad, but she said she will love her dad forever. They leave the children alone and with other people to watch. My older daughter has been to the ER to get a brain scan she was riding a bicycle at the shelter with no supervision and no helmet. I found out only through the bills. Is there no way I can prove she is staying in the shelter under false accusations? can I get my daughter out of there. My 6 year old hadf to go for a physical eval and a psyco eval thru DYFS for these allegations. I need to get her far away from these people. They are hurting her so bad.

        Thank You,


        • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

          Hi JA,

          There are links to both SAVE and TFRS on the right of this page in the Blog Roll.

          I’d also start reaching out to father’s rights groups and NCFM (also on the blog roll).

          Have you considered filing a malicious prosecution suit against your ex?

  10. sanity1 says

    Hi Dr.T!
    I was one of your first callers…,My Wife is the one I separated from so she’d see the light…. and instead she bought animals, knowing that I have Asthma…
    Well, we are in the beginning of our Divorce.
    One interesting tidbit is that she decided to enroll our Daughter in sixth grade at a private school that costs $20,000 plus per year… and is asking that I pay half through college… Uggg… I’ve assured that I will be responsible for child support…(I’ve been paying that since the day I left her) until she is 18 and that’s all. Wish me luck…
    Regarding the No Contact…
    My Wife has stopped communicating…. But here is the drag…
    Everytime I pick up and drop off my daughter at a midway point, I still have to see my Wife…
    and that sucks…
    There is still a wierd connection between us as we hug when we see each other ( something that was withheld when we were together)…
    Anyway… any advice on No Contact when you both share a child?
    All the best and keep up the illumination of Women that think they half a lifetime ticket to Crazy Town!

  11. tenquilts says

    “Most Nice Guys and Gals have been groomed to believe boundaries are mean and abusive and that taking care of themselves is selfish. See the problem?”

    I do and my husband and I are still at a loss as to how to combat it with his children. The message they keep getting from their disordered mother (who gets paid a princely sum to do nothing and still complains it’s not enough money) is, “Your father and I were so happy together until he abandoned us (not her – she is inseparable from the children so she tells them they were abandoned too, although she is the one who moved them 300 miles away from him). I would have done anything to save the marriage just like I devote my life to you. It’s your father who is so selfish; he doesn’t love you. He only loves himself and his new wife.” The children are being taught that love is devotion to their every want, no boundaries, no responsibilities. BM is playing the popular parent who will bankrupt herself in the name of the children (she has already told my husband that she will not be able to afford to pay half their college tuition as required because she is too broke yet there is no reason she cannot get a job as she was employed very successfully before she had the children) and she has attached herself to a man who has seven children by two former spouses, is denied seeing any of them, and spoils these girls as compensation for all he can’t do for/with his own kids. When we try to run our home with a reasonable semblence of order including responsibilities (like helping with dinner cleanup) and consequences, they equate it with being unloved and begin to refuse to come see their father anymore. How on earth do you begin to deprogram children about what love really is; that you have to love yourself and have healthy boundaries about abuse WITHOUT going into the details of the reasons he left his ex and playing on her level? They are approaching the age at which they can simply refuse any relationship with their father and find justification in hating him if he pays no more than his required support just as their mother has successfully alienated and played victim of her own father for decades. It’s so sad to see and I have no words of wisdom to give my husband for helping his children get on a better track of understanding love.

    • kiwihelen says

      I would suggest reading both ‘divorce poison’ and ‘breaking the ties that bind’ as a start. Second, I would find a counsellor who ‘gets’ PAS and work on a plan which allows your hub to navigate the line between the truth and avoiding smearing his ex. Third, you have to accept this may all fail. My SO has lost one of his two daughters to PAS. We just pray she will come back one day

  12. toughmat says

    I read this site often and it has helped me gain an understanding about some qualities my current ex girlfriend has, but it also leaves me confused. You see, she has been diagnosed with ptsd from past experiences with rape and abusive boyfriends (physically and they cheated) but got very defensive at my suggestion once of bpd and says her doctors laughed at that as a possibility. she suffers immensely physically from possible somatic symptoms. In her past she was abandoned and neglected emotionally and at 14 did try to kill herself. She seems very aware of things and even said she did it to draw attention understanding her mom was always occupied and her dad was on drugs and unavailable and abusive. Since then she has not tried anything. In my relationship she has been extremely loving, giving, fun, and willing to go with the flow. However, we would get into a lot of fights:
    -if I glance at a woman, possible fight or I get a huge shift in mood from her and sometimes I would ask whats wrong and she would scream …once she flipped it on me when I got upset she thought I was looking and i wasnt and she started asking about how often and to what/who i masterbate too and I was honest (and angry) and I was labeled a mental cheater -she never does she says so she does not want a guy that does, she deserves better she says
    – my friends seem to be a threat. I have some immature and difficult friends, but they are not the “dogs” she claims they are and they I dont believe they “are the reason behind all of my confusion” about her. She hates them and tells me I am better off without them. It is forbidden to think another female is attractive for a friend of mine because that means I must want to screw them according to her.
    -each time we break up she rips me apart verbally and puts all kinds of stuff on facebook- some to make me jealous I think, some to get me thinking, some to just make me look bad and all of her friends tell her “you deserve so much better” and she likes the comments. It even got to one woman calling me a “disease” (never met any of these people mind you) and she liked that one too.

    I think you guys are getting the point. We recently broke up because I felt like I was being told I dont love her enough and that I was putting everything first. I dont know, maybe she was right because my resentment grew, Idk. Its been 2 months and we have been in contact via emails mostly and I have having a horrible time away from her. I really love her and miss her. She is definitely hoovering and if it doesnt work tells me I am choosing porn and other girls and my friends over her. (jealousy). My friends are all pleading me not to go back, but my heart longs for her…it feels like I am depriving myself and preparing to go back or something. She hardly takes any responsibility for what are in my opinion push pull tactics. I am so confused. Does she have bdp? does it even matter? She is in therapy now which im happy about and part of me wants to try couples therapy with her. Am I crazy, addicted, or what? Thank you so much for any feedback.

    • tallwheel says

      Ack. So typical. Sounds just like my ex GF. I’ve been out of her FOG for so long, though, I now find it hard to believe anyone would actually so these things with a straight face. How in the hell is she framing these normal behaviors of yours as horrible? (Seriously, I’m curious.)

      One aspect that was really fortunate about my relationship with my ex (and from hearing others experiences here I am REALLY lucky in this respect) is that she was so obviously immature that even her friends and family would always take my side. If she had posted the things I do to FB, I think her friends would have said, “He likes to spend time with his friends sometimes? So what? You’re lucky to have him.” That’s the kind of reaction she got offline from her parents and friends, anyway. It was amazing that she would still insist that I was “terrible” even when the world was against her on this.

      Actually, this is probably not helping, so my advice: Definitely forget about couples therapy and go no contact. Clearly the one who deserves better is you, and if her friends are too loyal to her to see that, then forget them. Your own friends sound supportive, and you should listen to them.

      • fubar says

        My ex displayed hypocrisy throughout our entire relationship. I would ask her how she would react if I did the same things? (cue explosion) I just wondered if anyone else noticed that in their relationships. Hypocrisy and lack of trust given to me, really had a devastating effect on my state of mind, and my relationship. I’m still trying to recover and pick up the pieces, I didn’t leave anything in the tank for myself. I can’t put together what was real, fake, my own bs, my mind runs in circles.

        • TI85 says

          I’d guess it’s a hallmark behavior, though I suspect that there might be a blurry line between “hypocrisy” and “a woman’s prerogative.” But I’ve thought of it as hypocrisy. At least when it’s hostile. And when it never ends.

          In sum, fubar, you are not alone. We all fell for one. But them [hostile, aggressive, hypocritical women] are crazy.

          • Autumn says

            There is no such thing as “a woman’s perogative” -it’s hypocrisy. The sensationalist media cultivates all this crap to make women think it’s okay to act like a lunatic, an out of control spoiled brat, because people love to watch and it gets them advertising dollars.

            Unfortunately it teaches young people who might other wise behave normally to be jerks, and normalizes personality disordered behavior. Yay, we all get to suffer!

        • tallwheel says

          Hypocrisy is hypocrisy. ‘My rules only apply to everyone else’ is not going to keep people on your side for very long. If that question makes her explode and she can’t see what’s ironic about that, then she needs to change (and I have a feeling she won’t).

          • fubar says

            Thank you all for the comments, I’ve been reading this site among others for a few months now. I decided to join because it seems beneficial to everyone here to have the ability to share experiences. I have a very supportive family but, they are ready for me to be done with thinking and talking about her, so it leaves me feeling a little lonely.
            Tallwheel, I read your posts on the article written about eating disorders and pd’s. My ex was anorexic, and bulimic, with the capability of being a wonderful partner. I do believe she will one day, even though that makes me feel sad because it will be with someone else. I know that treading on territory of believing she will be magically healed for the next guy, but I believe if she can get a hold of her insecurities it will be true. It is very possible that I lacked the strength to help get her through.
            It seems like I’m fortunate at the end if the day, my relationship ended before getting married and having children. That being said I still care about her a great deal, I feel as though I must have really screwed thugs up because she has not attempted to Hoover me at all. Either that or she played the victim so well to everyone that there is no coming back to me. It seems like most posters are being relentlessly pursued by their exes, is this a steadfast rule for these types or do some just walk away? It makes me confused about perceptions on my situation. When I contacted her after several months, I had several intentions of what I would get out of it. 1) I do genuinely miss her and question if I ruined my chance with “the one” 2) I was attempting to make amends for my shortcomings, get closure, and was hoping the would put an end to the shame and guilt that I feel. 3) I wanted to test her a little bit to validate my beliefs. I had read that bpds don’t give closure, and I believe she has many of those traits. The results of me checking in and seeing how she was doing, were that she told me she was doing very well, got a new job, and was in a great place currently. I was happy for her but it still makes me feel like I was holding her down. Things are so much better without me. What I noticed was that in her response she never bothered to ask how I was doing, other than saying I hope all is well. My reply was to just get everything off my chest, told her that I cared greatly about her, and missed her, and apologized for my perceived faults in the relationship. I let her know how remorseful I am about it not working out and that I wish her nothing but happiness, which was all I wanted for her throughout our time together. The response that I was expecting to hear from her was, I’m sorry for…whatever transgressions she wanted to name. What I got instead, was “you have nothing to apologize for, I don’t care what you or anyone else has to say on the subject”.
            If anyone has any questions or is interested in hearing more and allowing me share, I would enjoy it. I just want to add that to all the posters and Dr Tara, you are an inspiration to many. This comes from a person who has been reading from the sidelines, you have inspired me to join the conversation. I appreciate the time and effort that all of you put in to making this site what it is. My hope is that my experience may help someone else along the line, just as everyone here is helping me. Again thank you for your time

        • fubar says

          I should clarify what I meant by the “explosion”, that didn’t occur when I asked her about her hypocrisy. What I meant was if I did some of the samethings that she was doing she would have lost it. For example, she was my first long term gf, so I had no exes to worry about. She was friendly with several exes, or people she slept with, but my friend who was like a sister would text me about a game time for our coed team, my ex would cop an attitude and say “why don’t you just go f her…” Mind you this girl is married, and they knew each other. So it was ok for her peer group that she would go out drinking with consisted of multiple guys she had hooked up with , but I wasn’t allowed to associate with any women or I must be cheating.
          Another instance was she told me she was going to meet a girlfriend, and there ended up being guys out there, which is fine with me but it probably should have been mentioned. As it turns out a friend mine saw her out and asked me if we were still dating. I felt like such an idiot because I couldn’t just say yeah I know who she’s out with, it made me feel like she was hiding it from me, which made me a little insecure, I don’t know if that was a reasonable emotion to feel. When I asked her why she didn’t mention that there were random guys out, she responded by saying “you didn’t ask”. If the shoe was on the other foot she would have gone nuts on me.
          I fully admit that I need to learn a lot about relationships, so maybe I had no right to be jealous, and nervous about that activity. I just knew for a fact that she would have been angry about that, which is why I don’t understand why she would do something like that. The whole do unto others… Golden rule thing.

        • bipolarguy says

          I’d counter my wife’s bs with that question, fubar, and she’d either not respond or give me a weak, wishy washy response. Planning my exit, under the radar, and she’s thinking I’m just depressed. But I’m shakin’ in my boots. Though I have family in Florida that I can stay with, some cash in the bank, my monthly disability check and good friends, I’m not kidding myself that leaving and starting over at 62 is going to be easy. I feel like Morgan Freeman in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ when he gets paroled and he feels like a lost soul.

          My parents, who were the best parents any child could want, both told me, at different times, that if I wasn’t interested in having children, don’t get married, just live together. So I fell in love with a nut job, lived with the nut job and MARRIED the nut job. I walked right into the spinning propeller. I haven’t forgotten, though, the man that still lives inside of me, because I know that if I don’t leave, I’ll die or end up in a long term psychiatric facility. No way, no how! Even though I’m scared and disoriented, I’m one step away from leaving.

    • TI85 says

      If you’re thinking of spending some coin on couples therapy, skip that and get your own. I hear ya when you say that your heart longs for her and you’re thinking of going back. Get some help and work on that feeling. It’s probably not about her.

  13. toughmat says

    Tallwheel, thanks for the reply. I dont know if I would use the word framing, it just seemed like she had a highly emotional response to feeling slighted. She says it is the ptsd, and me being inexperienced in relationships which is true causing me to do stupipd shit (like have eyes and a life outside of her I suppose). Her family and friends never really take my side. She doesnt have many real friends in her life as she admits she pushes them away. I have my insecurities so I told her how once I checked her facebook messages between her and her ex a long time ago. She has always been insecure about this one female friend of mine who she pretty much demanded i cut from my life and she asked me to show her the dialogue on facebook between us by giving her the FB password or she would not talk to me anymore. This is recently after we had been broken up. She promised to only read those messages but instead went on to read all of them including ones with my best friend who hates her…lots of shit talking and me talking about other women being hot. I never cheated nor tried to hit on other women with her. That is when she destroyed me on facebook as she was hurt and all of her FB friends came to her support. I am shocked no one called her out on airing her drama but she composed a brilliant post about how she loves her FB friensd and she is just being truthful and raw. They all bought it and I remained a villain. She still wanted me back a week later.

    We are both around 30 but act like 13. I lost my mom when I was 15 and I think some white knight stuff is at play but I cant imagine life without her. I am remembering the many great moments we shared. In many ways she is amazing but yes, she needs to be given tons of attention or else! She denies that to be the case. I am in such FOG, she almost has me thinking my friends of 16 years are bad people for me. My best friend sort of gave me an ultimatem since he has been the one who always listened to me stress about her when we had issues…he said its either her or him. I think he is doing it from a loving place to get me over the hump but it has caused me a lot of stress and im distancing myself from him now too. I definitely have my own issues of fear of abandonment, jealousy, and certainly love for her. Trying to walk away from someone I love is almost harder than losing my mom. The choice makes it so difficult.

    • kiwihelen says

      You need to work on YOU, you can’t change her.
      Re the docs and BPD. Most insurance won’t pay for treatment for PDs because the cost is a bottomless pit, but will pay for PTSD. So it is not in their interest to use that label. Our tack here is to focus on behavior and call them all CBs. Remember if it walks like a duck. Quacks like a duck, then it probably is one, even if the webbed feet can’t be seen!

    • bipolarguy says

      My best friend has also given me a ‘tough love’ talk and he went through it 30 years ago, except his ex took an extended trip and he filed for divorce. When we talk, it’s almost like my father is channeling through him. I’m not out yet but very close. Go on YouTube and listen to the Four Seasons, “Walk Like A Man” and Glenn Yarborough, “Baby The Rain Must Fall”. Or, as Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through Hell, keep on going.”

  14. pucky900 says

    Dr. Palmatier, I would like to thank you for your site. I have a brother going through this and it really helps me understand what he’s going through. I desperately want to send him the link to your site but not sure how he will respond yet. He’s in therapy now but not sure how’s it’s helping. I know he’s at his wits end but he’s also in the “Fog” with his abusive wife.

  15. toughmat says

    Thanks. I guess you’re right. People keep saying I need to work on myself. I am in therapy 2x a week, is there anything else you suggest? Therapy seems like a very slow process. In the meantime I am obsessing over her daily and it doesnt seem to get better. Imagining me and her going separate ways feels unbearable, impossible. I dont see this feeling going away soon. Every dream is about her. Friensd say I dont value myself enough and I value her life over mine, even if she is a bit of a CB.

    • tallwheel says

      Wow. For the most part, your relationship is a mirror image of mine. We’re both around 30 and act like 13 too. My ex also wanted all my passwords (and ATM pin number). She would always say, “Because we should have no secrets between us.” Somehow I managed to get off the hook without giving her any particularly important passwords before we broke up.

      I had a couple of purely platonic friendships with females too, which she was definitely not cool with. I ended up unfriending them on FB to make her happy. (Luckily neither was too upset when I had to get them to refriend me later after the breakup.) Even on nights when she was busy and we couldn’t see each other, she would get noticeably upset when I would spend that time with my male friends. Ridiculous! She didn’t have many friends, and she would say, “I don’t need anyone but you, but you seem to need other people (and therefore you don’t love me as much as I love you).”

      I’m certainly not perfect either, I have to admit, but I’m pretty much an angel compared to her. I dated a girl she hates for a short time before I dated her, and deliberately kept this a secret from her. She even asked me, “There’s nothing else you’re keeping from me now, is there?” I replied with a straight face that there wasn’t, but later on she managed to convince me to tell her about it after another one of her “honesty” talks. Telling her didn’t help anything. She was furious, and said she couldn’t trust me anymore after that. I still don’t feel like I did much of anything wrong, though. It’s not like I cheated on her or something, and she’s done much worse things herself before we dated.

      Like I said, I feel like I’m out of the FOG now, but a year and a half with no contact since we broke up (and the length of the relationship itself wasn’t even that long, mind you), and I still get the urge to contact her all the time. I haven’t had any worthwhile relationships since then, and I feel like somehow, despite everything, I was happiest when I was with her. I feel like I’ll never have as deep a connection with anyone else. (This time I’ll put up with less of her shit and things will go better!) The feeling is especially bad recently since I just broke up with a girl I had a very shallow and short relationship with who seemed to be only interested in my wallet. I guess this feeling is pretty normal, but damn, it sucks, especially when my mind tells me that I am definitely doing the right thing going no contact. Like TI85 said, this is really a problem inside me. It’s not really about her. I feel like I should get help, but not really sure where to go… other than these comment sections on S4M.

      • Cousin Dave says

        “We’re both around 30 and act like 13 too. ”

        I’m willing to bet you don’t, except when you’re around her. There’s a reason for that: She wants to establish an equivalence between her behavior and yours, so that her behavior becomes excusable. So she drags you down to her level of maturity. When you’re away from that influence, I’ll bet you’re a pretty normal adult.

        Tailwheel, I do think you need to get some kind of counseling. It sounds like there’s some aspect of the relationship that you’re still snagged on, and it’s preventing you from being able to move forward with new relationships. I hope Dr. T can chime in here and advise you. She might be able to point you in the direction of getting the right kind of help. You are wise to be cautious about who you go to.

        • tallwheel says

          I do think I can be rather immature, but not in the same way she is. I suppose in most ways I am a shining example of adulthood compared to her, but I’m not really an impartial judge. On the surface, both of us are functioning members of society who make decent money at our full-time jobs.

          I really would like counseling, but I’m never really sure where I want to go and spend my money. I’m residing in a non-English-speaking country long-term, and I would prefer to speak with a native English speaker. I’ve looked into counseling via telephone, but it’s pretty expensive, so again, never really made the plunge to lay down cash and receive counseling.

  16. LT Greenwald says

    Hi all,

    Dr. T is right… It takes a month or two for the fog to lift. That’s about how long it took for my fog to lift. Currently, I’m about to start month six and can file for divorce in about five weeks. It feels great!

    But getting rid of the nasty wife is just the beginning. I’m trying to “work on myself” to see how I can improve and avoid women like my wife. It’s a scary thing, but it’s totally worth it. Even if I never have another relationship at all, I’ll be better off than I was with my violent and verbally abusive wife. I have no doubt that she would have destroyed me, perhaps literally. This web site was a godsend when I needed a way to organize my thoughts.

    Keep up the great work, Dr. T, and hang in there, guys!

  17. mountainman says

    Toughmat and tallwheel: don’t go back. I am a bit older than you, and have been through this a few times. My exfiance contacted me 10 years after I broke our engagement – she was a golddigger. My instincts were right. She went on to marry an attorney and pretty much left him broke, he ran out of money so she bailed. She wanted to get back together with me, but I saw she hadn’t changed one bit.

    My last relationship was with a much younger woman, she was a controlling, abusive BPD. Very verbally and emotionally abusive, broke up with me, and was other guys within days, then would come back and demand a ring on her finger. This went on for a couple of years until I got tired of it. With a history of cheating on her exhusband, I should have known better. It has been about six weeks, I have gone no contact, and damn, it kills me because I miss her, but it will get better. I am already starting to see just how horrible she was to me. You can’t see that when your neck deep in it. The FOG.

    Just think of the alternative for you guys – how many years of heartache and misery can you put up? Or just rip that band aid off now and get over her. It took me 2 years to get over my exfiance, but I don’t regret not going back.

    The moral of the story – she isn’t going to change and it won’t get better. Yes, you may suffer less in the short term if you go back, but it will get worse. Jail, pregnancy, or all your friends and family getting tired of it and walking away from you. Like any addiction, brace yourself to suffer greatly for a while, but know it will get better and you can find someone healthy.

  18. toughmat says

    Tallwheel, thanks. It seems like we were dealing with quite a bit of jealousy and insecurity…sometimes leading to manipulation. I dont think my ex has a bad heart, but if she feels slighted the gloves come off. It has been 2 months, and due to my fear of regret and loss I am stringing her along with conversation. Its selfish of me, but I miss her like crazy and still love her. I am confident I can get over her, but again, I dont even know if that is what I want. If my friends were not involved in basically pleading that I not go back, I probably would have by now.

  19. HisGraceHenry says

    I endured an abusive marriage and even after separation over four years ago my ex wife sought to exert control over me by continuing the behaviour, making threats concerning my involvement with our children etc even though she is heavily dependent on my financial support. I long suspected she has some mental health issue but manage to deal with her by minimal contact, even though her behaviour has taken its toll.

    I avoided a new relationship for 3 and a half years and then last year thought I had found the one. She was someone I had known for 10 years through work and we embarked on an affair as she told me about the physical,mental and sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. We had so much in common and their marriage ended just before Christmas. She hated him, labelled him with every insult imaginable and we were making plans for our future. She embarked on what I now know is impulsive,dramatic behaviour (she claimed he raped her, had people watching her house, she said he driving by the house and drove off to confront him one night resulting her crashing the car and being arrested for drink driving and more besides) he then wanted her back and for a number of weeks she continued her relationship with me ( he was told by her it had ended) and started spending time with him saying it was to keep him onside as the divorce went through. I exposed her lies (she was seeing both of us) and learned of a long history of dramatic behaviour from her teens following discussions with her brother. A psychologist helped me realise that for all of her adoration she expressed for me, she had BPD, NPD and HPD. I exposed her lies to her husband and wanted to tie up loose ends, she owed me money etc but rather than deal with that she called the police asking them to ask me not to contact her. Overnight, I went from rescuing white knight to the devil. She went back to her husband ( I suspect he puts up with this as they have children – I was the fifth affair she has had) and there was no contac for 2 months. Then out of the blue she rang me late one night after having deliberately slammed her head into a door frame and splitting it open before fleeing to a rental property she has. She wanted me to go and see her then because “I love you, come to me, make love to me.” I refused. She kept ringing and the next day texted me, which her husband saw and she told yet more lies about the contact she made.

    I have kept away but the impact her duplicity has had on me is immense. I feel conned. I poured everything I had into loving her, thought I had found the one (especially following what had happened with my ex wife) and feel like my legs have been taken from beneath me. I am still recovering but this site and it’s articles have been fantastic in identifying many of the consequences of being involved with such an individual. This lady is cognitively intelligent but emotionally unintelligent and she wreaks havoc. In common with other posters there is so much more to write but I wanted to thank you for such practical observations on this illness and the impact it has on men.

  20. bazman says

    Thanks a lot Dr Tara really apprecaite ur article
    I was in a relationship with BPD who used FOG.Every thing was like a fairtale romance then 2 days before the engagement she promised to wear the ring for the rest of her life.Then bam 3 hrs after engagement the ring was removed the reason was that my mom forced her to buy that ring this even after she chose the ring herself.She was very controlling of her parents and not in talking terms with her elder brother.She even told me i should not talk about my younger sister in front of her !!(isolating)

    I like a fool fell for this classic such as “no one is as kind as u etc etc “.Then there was another rage episode in the restaurant then in a cafe .I just dismissed it as normal.I left for 15 days trek in the himalayas by myself with out her.By the time i was back . She had broken it off

    Her explaination was i didnt care enough and she deserves someone who loves her more than me( becs i said something on the phone when she was having a bad day at work).All this happened in just 3 months after dating her!!!!!.When it eventually broke ,I was not informed even on phone!!!

    But there were lots of fully blown status updates on facebook about men (pointing towards me)to which i didnt respond but removed her from my list.

    I just sensed some thing was not right and told her i deserve my self respect so i am not coming back and maintained NC.But a month after that got a message to take care of myself and eat well ,I was very strong ,i am sorry to do this and all

    This week she is getting married to some guy at work .God knows how she would be or change etc its exactly been a yr after all this ended i wonder how come so soon or was he already there in her life etc??

  21. cuatezon says

    Have had rough past few months w/ the Death Star (the ex), and when kids are involved/utilized as a weapon its like an emotional castration that makes you want to stop fighting for whats right anymore. I’m also upset w/ myself b/c I knew my ex had problems yet still became involved with her.

    And recently last year, was dating someone that the red flags popped up immediately, but I chose to ignore them. Didn’t want to believe a pretty, articulate doctor (neurologist/psychiatrist to boot) could be a rotten egg…and I chose to take verbal abuse, head games, outright lies from this person. It was literally the ‘Shit Test’ that Dr. T mentions in another article.

    I finally ended it earlier this year, yet am questioning why I keep attracting and being attracted to these Borderlines/Narcissists…or is it that the aren’t any normal women remaining in the world today…I don’t know. Exasperated and exhausted.

    • Peter says

      Cuatezon, a good question and one that I have been asking myself for some time. After breaking free from 20+ years marriage i found myself “attracting” seemingly different but ultimately similar people. Go figure. Some thoughts I had: maybe it wasn’t so much I was attracting them as they were looking for people like me who have certain characteristics they seek (like strong arms for doing work, a kind heart and an open wallet). I mean, a prey animal like a lion selects a young, (naive) or weak prey animal like a newborn deer. They know the signs to look for and use stealth and camouflage to get close before striking. Also, I realised that i needed to know what healthy people look like so that i could recognise a good partner when I see one. Anyway, i am still working on the answer to this mystery…

      • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

        Peter and cuatezon,

        There are healthy, non-abusive women out there. When men and women consistently attract predators, it’s usually for a couple of reasons. These may not apply to either of you, but, in my experience, here’s what the CBs pick up on:

        1) Vulnerability. To quote Shari Schreiber, “Do you need to be needed or need to be loved?” If it’s the former, a CB is a bottomless pit of needs you will never be able to fill.

        2) Nice Guy/Gal-itis. If you believe boundaries are negotiable or unnecessary, and that putting yourself first/taking care of yourself ahead of your partner is selfish, CBs will see you coming from outer space. They seem to gravitate towards partners who will sacrifice themselves to their pathology.

        3) You’re repeating a relationship from early childhood/adolescence and trying to get a different outcome with the CB.

        • Cousin Dave says

          Let me add a couple of things from my own experience.

          1. As Dr. T said, predator women seek out vulnerability. That means that they will gravitate to guys who look depressed or down in the dumps. Guys who look happy and self-assured scare them. That’s one reason why it’s important in public settings to “put on a happy face”, even if you don’t feel it initially. Remember, normal women want a partner; disordered women want a “project”.

          2. If you keep meeting the same type of women, that may be a function of the social circles that you run in. Sometimes, when the same group of people hang out together for years, what happenes is that eventually the good women are all spoken for, and the disordered women are what’s left. When this happens, you need to do something to get out and meet different groups of people. This could mean pursuing a new hobby or interest, or doing some volunteer work, or it might mean finally treating yourself to that vacation that you always wanted to take but never could when you were with your disordered ex. In some cases, it may be necessary to move to a different city where the pickings are better. Sad to say, but the most glamorous cities and regions are also the areas most attractive to Cluster B types such as golddigers and con artists, such as New York, southern California, and south Florida. (I lived in that last one, and I can testify first-hand.) In general, your odds will be better in a region that’s less dependent on the fashion and entertainment industries, because those are things that Cluster B women gravitate to.

          • cuatezon says

            Dr. T & Cousin Dave, yes you are right on the money. I’m wondering if I have Aspergers Syndrome or something too. Despite being relatively smart and intelligent in some areas, I really just don’t quite catch onto things in the emotional/relationship realm until its way too late.

            The BPDs are street smart and emotionally saavy and savage, they do cloak and camouflage. Perhaps I choose to forget this (?). Denial has its temporary bliss I suppose. It sucks people like this abound (especially here in southern California as Dave so accurately points out).

      • cuatezon says

        Peter – you’re onto something – I think I’ve subconsciously known – yet need to see/read/hear it many times before it sinks in. Kinda like an alcoholic who needs to go to AA meetings repetitively…someday I will get it.

  22. chester says

    Orrrr…it may just be time to give up and stand on ones own two feet…sans woman. I mean really, isn’t extremme self care, and enjoyment of singular pursuits, the only true answer? Why walk into the buzz saw anymore. The odds are not good…disordered or not.

    • cuatezon says

      Chester – touche! I have been working at home for the past 3-1/2 years and with what I think are personal mini-depression occurrences, its challenging to be alone so much. However, I’m looking more into participating in positive, social groups, going to the gym, and other activities to occupy my time…instead of gravitating to the next BPD.

  23. Jan says

    I am a mother who has watched this situation with he of my sons and he is to the point of separating his funds and putting the she “will work and stop bankrupting them in place.” She also makes us out to be evil and won’t let the family come and see us. It is so heartbreaking and I know it will be impossible to keep all of the four children together. She took three of the children and went out of state and said she wasn’t coming back. She now says she will because the older boy told her he won’t go with her. My son’s FOG has lifted a little and he is through.
    Thanks you for this wonderful Site,

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi Jan,

      Welcome to S4M. I am very sorry your son married a woman who is treating your son and his family so horribly. I hope your son preserves his new found clarity of mind. Don’t be surprised if is wife goes full bore on the FOG machine, however. Is he seeking support for himself?

  24. Toto says

    Dear Dr Tara,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your website and its forum. I recently ended a 3.5 year marriage to a woman I loved very much. I read your website every day and I came back to it now mainly because I do miss her – your post above seems to be right on the money and is helping me immensely.

    My ex had kept it secret from me that she had been hospitalized on several occasions in her own country when she was younger until 6 months after our marriage day; and that her second anti-depressant was actually an adjunct used an anti-psychotic. We had a happy marriage until we decided to have a baby and the psychiatrist in this country advised against being on her current meds and switching to an SSRI from an SNRI, plus she dropped the Abilify.

    Starting almost immediately, but becoming increasingly worse over several months, she became controlling and insanely jealous, refused to do any housework, forbid me from making friends or staying in contact with those I had. She also forbid me daily from giving her any affection (I couldn’t say that I loved her). I wasn’t allowed to speak to her during “facebook” time (which usually lasted for 5 hours an evening), wasn’t allowed to touch her (by this I mean hug), I had to explain in detail any slight infraction that I may have committed in the house and she would often stay in bed until 2pm – while I worked 10 hour days. She did work part-time, but I literally paid for everything and she spent her money on clothes, lunches and cocktails (I am not kidding).

    I did engage with her psychiatrist once, but I was forbidden from speaking to her again because of the “lies” I had told her. Eventually, I asked her to arrange for us to speak to two psychologists in marriage therapy on an every other week basis and I was basically accused of infidelity, gaslighting, revisionism and deliberately making fun of her in front of people – to be fair even the psychologists said it didn’t make sense as there was no motive (or evidence). Again I was told I was lying and we had to stop going.

    The crux in April was that she wanted me to pay off her debts in her own country, wanted me to clear her tax arrears and wanted me to pay for her to fly 3000 miles for a 3 day trip to renew her driving license. She accused me of controlling her financially, irrespective of the fact I paid for everything and gave her spending money each month (over $600 equivalent). When I tried to put clear boundaries in place and get her to sort herself out, she went to the local domestic abuse shelter and told them I was verbally abusing her.

    She came back home 2 weeks later and told me she hadn’t made any allegations and she ‘just needed to get away’. Then I told her I had been to a Lawyer and she said I had hit & strangled her, in addition to the verbal abuse. I was being blackmailed by her – she said that she was going to tell everyone I was verbally & physically abusive unless she got 50% of pre-marital and marital assets. The allegations were all about money. I got the most expensive divorce lawyer I could afford and luckily found your website for moral support. The blackmail and allegations ended when the police were about to get involved. Eventually, despite trying to use a professional mediator (that I paid for), we used her community health nurse to mediate. One of my friends is in a mental health care role and he said one particular symptom I described was indicative of psychosis. I later discovered she had told the nurse that I had spit in her face. Nice.

    I remember my wife before they changed her medication and I know she would still be here if they hadn’t touched it. When I tried to speak to the nurse about this I got an evil stare like I was trying to disparage her character (I was an ‘abuser’). I feel genuine loss and bereavement for my lovely wife and I so ashamed of being accused like that. I feel like I lost something important and it is still close and obtainable – your questions have helped me get clarity. Your articles have been very important to me and helped me through this time.

    Thank you,


    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hello Toto,

      Thank you for registering with Shrink4Men. I am glad the information here has been helpful, although, I wish you didn’t need it. Who has custody of the child? Are you getting support for the trauma you suffered during the marriage?

      • Toto says

        Hi Dr Tara,

        Apologies for the late response. We never had a child, the deterioration in my wife’s mental health was rapid. This was a big regret at the time, but I am certainly very thankful now.

        I did go and see a therapist, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. As I explained the situation she stopped me and said that if she believed I had abused my wife she would be duty bound to report it to the police. Judge, Jury and Executioner. This is irrespective of the fact my wife was not in the same country anymore. My Lawyer explained to me that the Therapist was wrong, in that she should only report if she believed that someone was in danger and that we would be able to evidence quickly the mental health issues prevalent; plus the fact that these allegations were only made after April and never before this date.

        With the exception of yourself, I have definitely developed a deep mistrust of mental health practitioners / Therapists in general. I have never had cause to deal with them on a professional basis before, but it seems like anyone can make any accusation and they will believed without due regard to the reality of the situation. I am completely innocent of what I have been accused of, yet I am being labelled an abuser. I saw her friend the other day and I got a dirty look when I said hello – I did momentarily wonder whether it was me being paranoid, but the person walking with me commented on it before I could mention it.

        There seems to be so much resource thrown at female domestic violence victims and there seems to be a total acceptance of accusations being true. I feel bitter about it all and just want to cry sometimes. I am scared that I will end up trusting no one – particularly women.

        Not sure what else to say!


    • cuatezon says

      Toto – I feel your pain. You were in a mild train wreck that was veering off a very steep mountain cliff. Consider yourself very lucky.

      Now, repeat this phrase over & over again, even tape up notes of it around your home:

      “I will never ever go back to her again no matter what.”

      • Toto says

        Never will as I doubt I could go through that again. I just want to feel normal, but I feel guilty and anxious about intangible thoughts that I just can’t put my finger on. I am hyper-vigilant and seem to be scanning the horizon almost daily for the next attack and I feel exhausted & emotionally drained when I go to bed.

        I guess I am not used to not needing to be on my guard constantly!

        • cuatezon says

          This may be some kind of PTSD? The gal I was dating last year was serious Narcissist w Borderline charachteristics. She did lots of little emotional jabs & mind games, invalidation, and psychic attacks. It took me a few months to wind down my defenses and my body was worn out. The constant emotional attacks take their toll.

  25. PlayMistyForMe says

    I had to register here to thank Dr. T., these articles are worth their weight in gold!

    Up until a few months ago I was completely engulfed in the FOG, having been the classic Nice Guy with White Knight Syndrome my BPD ex girlfriend managed to alienate me from my friends, make me question my sanity, blackmail me emotionally and all the while convinced me that any amount of resistance on my
    part would get me labeled as a controlling A-hole and would result in the silent treatment. I endured this for over a year and when I finally had enough her hoovering tactics went from sentimental (did you ever really love me?) to accusatory (talk to me or I will contact authorities) to downright whacky. The grand finale was me getting fed up with the stalking and filing a restraining order. Well, I severely underestimated her and she did such a good job in court with mud slinging and character assassination that not only was my request denied, her request was granted for the maximum amount. So her ultimate “winning” was convincing not only the judge but everybody else that *I* was the one guilty of the very things she was doing. I have since changed everything; emails, phone, moved (twice) and have done everything I can do distance myself from this woman. There are good days and bad days but her specter constantly hangs over me and I never feel like I am far enough away. It’s almost embarassing to admit because it’s out of place for the male to be the one that is afraid, but I will not lie; when you witness the power that a mousy little woman with a barely audible voice has in a court of law it makes you wonder what sort of Hell can be cast about unjustly.

    This place gives me hope. Never again will I tolerate the intolerable.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi PlayMistyForMe (great username and speaking of scary, psycho female stalkers . . .),

      I am very sorry you went through that. Sociopaths are often very adept at gaming the system. I have experienced it firsthand. Even when you have reams of evidence, they play victim or play up some disability (even the male sociopaths) and lazy, incompetent judges are played the fool. Throw some equally sociopathic/negative advocate attorneys in the mix and voila. You are left trying to figure out how you went from obvious victim to the criminal. These people are just disgusting and the law system that frequently enables them is just awful.

      No one should tolerate the intolerable. I hope your stalker grows weary of her game, but who the hell knows with these creeps.

      Please protect yourself and, if her harassment is ongoing, keep documenting it. You may also want to consider taking her to civil court if criminal court won’t do their jobs.

  26. PlayMistyForMe says

    Thanks Dr Tara,

    Protecting myself is priority one and I try to make sure I am never out alone and specifically avoid places I suspect she might be. Not that it matters since in court she claimed I was following her around anyway when I did nothing of the sort. It was truly frightening watching a woman that I once loved spit out a torrent of lies and fabrications with the sole intent of making me suffer because I dared to finally leave her for good. That is what scares me; all a woman has to do is point at a guy and say “He scares me” and due process goes out the window. And now that she has the law behind her I shudder to think what schemes might be brewing behind those cunning eyes.

    The whole process just disgusts me, I had no idea what I was in for and being naive has taken a toll on me. Hopefully this can be a warning to other guys like me; guard yourself well and never under estimate the bias in court when it comes to domestic disputes. And never, ever *ever* walk into a court room without a lawyer.

  27. dwkone says

    Timely and helpful article as I enter my fifth month of no-contact with the abusive crazymaking ex. 22 year relationship, seven years married, and I can tell that no contact must be permanent. The ex is using his bellicose attorney in an effort to send angry missives to me via my attorney. My attorney screens all email at my request. The latest demand is a walkthrough of my house to look for ‘personal property left behind.” I agreed to the walkthrough as a way to help move along the divorce process – and to save countless demands down the road. But I will not attend the walkthrough which might have been the underlying intent of the demand. Hard to imagine what he left since he took all of his things, my new TV, and my CD collection when he moved out to be with his new lover.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi dwkone,

      Welcome to Shrink4Men. I agree, the walk through is probably an intimidation tactic. You should contact your local police department and request that peace officers be present for this.

      If you do not want him rummaging through your possessions, you may want to ask your attorney to contact his negative advocate attorney and require them to produce a list of items he believes he left behind. If he can’t produce one, then no access to the house. You might want to stand your ground on this one. If there are specific items, put them in a box and have them couriered to him. No access to your home.

      • dwkone says

        Thx Dr. Tara. I will check into availability of a peace officer to oversee the walkthrough. Fortunately, I keep my personal papers, documents, and valuables in my locked office. I will move some other personal items to the office. My attorney will inform the ex that if he wants to eyeball into the office then hye must cover her fee to be here so that she can assure that neither he nor his attorney open my boxes, files, or desk. My ex has free legal help from a friend of his hence he is further harassing me by running up my legal fees. I hate this process but know that I must get through a few more steps to get him out of my life.

        • dwkone says

          Dr. Tara, My ex is behaving in a predictable way. I stood firm on a couple of matters – the ex cancelled the walkthrough and decided to get a new lawyer. He is making a variety of legal threats. I think that you were right, it was an intimidation tactic.

          • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

            The gamesmanship never ends with these types. What prompted him to get a new lawyer? One hopes this one will charge him an actual fee. That might slow down some of his antics.

          • dwkone says

            The key issue had been that I would not allow him to bring his lover into my home to help him carry furniture. (I had a neighbor who was willing to help.) The new lawyer is solely to get an order for the ex to retrieve his property — even though my attorney has spent months trying to arrange for him to retrieve his stuff. Fortunately, I have ample documentation to that effect. I want him to get his ‘bad aura’ stuff out of my home so that I can smudge again.

          • dwkone says

            Happy to say my attorney’s response to the charges – with a detailed timeline of efforts to get the ex to pick up his property – led to a decision by the ex’s attorney to pull the plug on court. My ex had lied to his second attorney, had
            to bite the bullet and give me his list of items which my neighbor then put outside for him to retrieve. My lawyer was present to witness. Now the ex is looking for a third attorney. Can’t wait to see what he demands next. You are right, Tara, the gamesmanship never ends.

  28. ScaredLilSis says

    Dr. Tara,

    Awesome article, simply perfect. I emailed it to my brother’s friends who have often wondered WHY he stays with the “Succubus” as we’ve taken to calling her. It has helped me tremendously. Although it’s still so hard to see him be with this insideous snake of a woman, I know there’s only so much we can do. I do believe my mother, Carol, has contacted you via email recently and there are plans to talk. Until now, it’s always been so hard to know how to react and I have not always reacted, ahem, well. In fact, I’ve blown up at them both and that just serves to butter the drama toast for them and serve it up as they like it… She’s a pretty sick ticket and my poor brother is truly in a “FOG”.. I pray every day that the FOG clears and he sees her for what she really is.. I’ll most likely be talking to you soon via phone, or Skype. Thanks again, Dr. Tara.. If nothing else, understanding is key…

  29. FreeAtLast says

    Dr. Tara, this site has been a godsend. I have recnetly divorced a BPD alcoholic after a 32 year relationship (I hope that is not a record!)

    She took our divorce through a trial, but because of the information and stories here and on other sites, I expected nothing else and was prepared. The judge was a kind and compassionate woman who quickly understood the situation. After a 2 day trial, my ex got far less than she demanded and even less than I offered. But more importantly, I stood up to her, set boundaries and am free at last.

    I was lucky and found support from my lawyer, old friends and a wonderful woman. That gave me the courage to face my fears, set boundaries and end this terrible relationship. I have had no contact for 3 months and am feeling better than I ever remember feeling! She still pushes against the line, but now I push back!


    • cuatezon says

      Free At Last – glad you got out, and also glad you found support. I haven’t done a good job of seeking support and your post drove home the need to do so for me. Thanks.

  30. Joe says

    Is it common for a bpd person to become suddenly kind and sweet when she realizes you want out badly? If you don’t want to lose the house, how do you end a marriage to a bpd without moving out? She had told me that I needed to make some choices about being married, but when I made it obvious that I did not want to continue, it is like she has gotten a case of deaf amnesia and pretends all is well. Is this to be expected? I feel like I am stuck.

  31. Autumn says

    Hi Joe,
    Changing from constantly angry, cold, unempathetic and controlling to the sweet, understanding, loving woman you THOUGHT you married is textbook personality disordered behavior. It’s a tactic they use to hoover you back in. They start thinking about what they have to lose: your income (even if they have a good job of their own, what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs), their Narc supply (the crazy dance they do with you), and on and on. The sweetness will only last as long as it takes to get you back under her thumb.
    If you have no children with her, get a lawyer who understands these kinds of crazy women and prepare yourself, you may be able to keep your house. If you do have children with her, research the laws in your state and hire a lawyer to buffer your communications with her. There are a lot of men on the forums who are in a similar position as you, being hoovered with Dr. Jekyl after having lived with Mr. Hyde for so long and thinking that she’s had an epiphany and will finally be nice to you- Not likely. Keep reading the blog posts here and good luck to you.

  32. cuatezon says

    Just re-read this article from Dr T. Reminded me of the time my ex & I were shopping in Target years ago. We were in the book/magazine section, and after looking at some old cowboy novels, I was checking out a book titled something like “How to know what you want and how to get it…” some kind of self-empowerment book. Looked very interesting. I put it in the basket. Senorita Borderline (my ex) became infuriated, said I didn’t need a book like that (it was written by a woman), it was a waste of money, and useless. She told me to buy one of the cowboy books about the old west b/c thats what I really liked.

    We argued about this for 10 minutes. She refused to let me put the book into the basket so I had to carry it to the checkout stand. When I put the book on the conveyor belt, Senorita Borderline threw the book onto the ground – in front of the cashier and other customers. She said she wasn’t going to pay for that book and we weren’t going to spend money on a self-help book. We almost got into a fist fight. It was bad.

    Does it seem strange that it was okay to buy a novel about cowboys, but nearly have a fist fight in the check out line over a self-empowerment book? Another WTF moment.

  33. Tears2112 says

    This was a great article. My boyfriend (ex) was out of the “FOG” for 4 years. He was doing better, & swore he’d never go back to his crazy exwife who had done everything from throw him out more times than a person could ever count, to numerous TRO’s which never got upheld & most she dropped in court the following week by saying “I’m sorry” (probably 10 over 22 years), to using the kids as pawns in her game, to actually having him put in a jail cell for half a day (I bailed him out) to community service, probation, tried to portray herself as a domestic violence victim, to her trying to get DYFS on him which DYFS dropped the case but the court restricted his overnight visitation until he completed a class, to blocking the phones so he could not speak to his kids (31 days was the longest) and recently resorted to calling the cops on the older boy (still a minor!) when he tried to use the phone to call his dad… I know this was all a way for her to control him, she is the abuser. I cannot believe after 4 years of swearing he;d never go back to her & who the heck would ever want her, that he actually left our home & just went back one night…like that. Now she has been doing things to me indirectly after threatening to come to my residence…meanwhile I was the only one there for him all these years. How could he go back to that? How could someone who was out of the FOG actually just one day up & leave someone where there was love & respect & no abuse and just simply give the answer of “but I still love her”!? What is there to love about a woman like that, when the woman did all the above to you? I dont get it, and have tried to get him to see and be the man he was for 4 years out. I’m devistated :(

    • Autumn says

      Hi Tears 2112,
      I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I went through something similar with a man I had been childhood sweethearts with. It is baffling and excruciating to watch someone you love and who says they love you return to an abusive witch, especially when it seems like they have “seen the light”. Try to remember it’s not you, it’s something in them that is not resolved that drives them to keep going back. No amount of kindness, affection, respect and love -or information and education for that matter- will convince them until they have hit rock bottom, and some never get there.
      I know it is hard to let go and move on, but for your own sanity it’s what you must do. I hope you consider therapy for this, it has helped me tremendously. I still care deeply for this man and continue to pray that if his wife doesn’t change her ways and treat him appropriately that he get the courage to leave and the determination to stay away from her.
      Right now the only one who you can help is you. Hugs :)

  34. cuatezon says

    Watched part of a 60s movie on TV today ‘The 2 faces of Dr. Jekyl’ it had Christopher Lee as one of the victims. Although very 60s, its actually a pretty good film on the inner workings of Borderline/Sociopath/Evil people. It shows the dual personality traits, the master manipulating, and other pieces of these sick, sick people. I recommend watching/renting the film.

    Few years back I saw a good TV movie based on real life events, Jacqueline Smith (former charlie angel) plays a borderline narcissist who ends up murdering ‘by accident’ two different husbands. Its extremely well done, almost hits too close to home. Wondering if there are other films/movies out there about these sick sick people?

  35. bdautotech says

    I am so thankful I found this website!
    I now understand with clarity and conviction that i have been in an abusive relationship for the past 5 years. My wife and I are separated now, about two weeks, and I was going through the effects of the FOG and this just helped me so much. It’s amazing how when you are in the relationship, so close, you can’t see what is truly going on. My friends and family tried to tell me but I just wouldn’t believe it, at least not at this level. It’s kind of like, well that may happen to other people but not me, syndrome.
    What really keyed me in to the depth of this problem, that it was more than a normal relationship issue, was when my wife suddenly came up with a very serious accusation that I had tried to harm her, and it was a total fabrication, but it just blew me away. She was mad at me and in a very vindictive state, but honestly it really scared me, I had no idea what she was up to.
    I now understand, and I now have the knowledge I need to not only survive the divorce, but to protect myself in the meantime. Wow, it’s just incredible that I have been so blind.
    Thank you so much, this has started me down the road of closure!

  36. burnvictim says

    I am two days into NO CONTACT and it is torture, this despite the fact that I know, and have known for some time that the relationship was toxic and destructive.

    I have read every article on the shrink 4 men forum and even though I have gained a lot of insight into relationship dynamics there is still a part of me that says – what if you are wrong? What if she is the one?

    Over the last six months there have been 5-6 break ups. This one was initiated by my canceling a weekend get away so that I could spend time with my father who is ill and dying. When I talked to her on the phone about needing to change plans she asked “so are we going or not”. When I said “no” the phone went dead – she had hung up. I waited to hear from her and the next day got a txt message saying that I sucked as a boyfriend, that she had met a lawyer and was going out on a date with him the next night. She said she had wasted 6 months on me, that I was a miserable man and that she now had a chance to get everything she always wanted in life with someone more successful.

    She has left me and quickly started dating other men before – usually texting me from the dates to complain that she didn’t want to be out with them but that I made her do it. I would get jealous and usually reward her with a trip, jewelry or spending money to get her back. Sometimes she got diamond earrings. Sometimes she got designer handbags. etc… I make good money and didn’t think of it for what it really was. Denial is powerful.

    Her mother was in town several weeks ago and I paid to put her up at a very nice local hotel. I have never met her mother because she refuses to meet me – evidently what her daughter has told her about me is not flattering. I am “cold”, “insensitive” and not able to care for her daughter “properly”. I thought the Four Seasons might break the ice but no luck. The only thing that came out of that weekend is that I had lunch with a friend of mine (platonic) who is an artist and who had painted a piece I had given my GF. It had hung on her bedroom wall.

    When my GF found out she flipped out – burning the painting on her back porch and sending me pictures of it saying that I was “abusing” her and that I should not be seeing any other women while her mom was in town (“disrespectful”). Her mother, she told me, agreed!!

    Did I mention the private detective she hired to see if I was seeing other people?? Who “discovered” me spending time with my children from a prior marriage? Which sent her into a fit of rage…

    During our relationship birth control has been a major issue. She used it up until we started sleeping together and then didnt want to anymore because she thought it might “damage” her. She talked about wanting to have my child – thank God I took precautions and she never conceived.

    Her past relationships have been described as two failed engagements which I think were poisoned by infidelity. She still keeps in touch with her last ex and any time we are having difficulty he can be expected to be over at her place “supporting her”. She is constantly getting txts and calls from guy “friends” and when not with me paints, writes poetry and drinks to the point of drunkenness. One night when we where out some guy in a jeep followed us from the restaurant we ate at and I finally pulled over and confronted him – causing him to flee. She claimed not to know anything about it but did tell me that several of her exes “stalked her” still… I suspect this was one.

    She doesn’t cook – ordering all of her food from restaurants for home delivery. She goes to the gym but only to use the tanning booth. She doesn’t keep house and works as little as possible. Her roommates clean I think.

    I have paid tuition and books for her to go back to school but she doesn’t put time into studying and gets Bs and Cs. She always talks about her high IQ (and she is very smart) but I am the one with a good professional job and post-graduate degrees. She thinks she will go to an IVY league law school in the future. When I talk about how hard I had to work to get through school it doesn’t seem to register.

    She smokes. She has a large tattoo on her back that she got “on a lark” and which she alternates between wanting to enlarge or remove. She had piercings but removed these when we started seeing each other. She has no real core identity or values that I can count on. When we met she thanked me for getting her back in school and back on track. She said she was “broken” and that I could help her mend. Interestingly she says she would never date a guy who smokes or has tattoos… I have none.

    My friends who have met her tell me “run don’t walk”. She is attractive, seductive, younger and a hell of a lot of fun when she is in a good mood. BUT, I know that is not the basis of a relationship…

    Writing this I know the whole thing is CRAZY. I should thank god that some other fool wants a turn at the plate.

    I need to find someone to work with to help me figure out why I have such a strong attraction to such a bad relationship.

    Growing up my mom was an alcoholic who died of the disease. My father worked and was never around. I know that it is no accident that I became a healthcare professional.

    I am writing this now to remind myself of all the crap I have dealt with these past six months and find the strength not to respond when she txts or calls in the next few days or weeks to say how miserable she is without me…

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Stay strong, burnvictim. It will get better with time and distance, but in order for that to happen, you have to go No Contact and come out of the FOG.

      Please reach out to your friends for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.

        • Cousin Dave says

          Keep busy! Also follow the usual precautions in case she tries to track you down, which she probably will at some point. (Dr. T, maybe we should make that sort of thing a sticky…) Get your phone number and email changed if you can. Keep a diary of where you go, what you did, and who saw you there. Keep a recording device on you (a cell phone with a camera is good). From the description you’ve given, she’s unlikely to just let you go. Be prepared.

          • burnvictim says

            I got the first text today asking how I was doing and wanting to make sure I am ok.
            I need to change my cellphone number
            Unfortunately I can’t disappear entirely as I work, have an office etc
            Dread the idea that she will show up at my workplace but at least I run my own office and I have told my office manager of the potential threat

          • tallwheel says

            Don’t let her hoover you with her good looks. (I’m guessing from your original comment that’s about all she has to offer.) Imagine if it were your ugliest male friend who took all these advantages of you and expected so much in return. You wouldn’t do all this for him, would you? Judge her based on her personality, not her sweet looks.

            Hang in there, bro. I still have thoughts of contacting a an ex I broke up with over a year and a half ago. Lately it is every day, and I don’t know if it will ever get any better. But somehow, I have managed to go no contact all this time. Just stick with it. Keep in mind how much she’s going to demonize you and make you beg for forgiveness even if you do attempt contact.

    • Stefano says

      Hi. She sounds like a real catch! Mine was a looker as well but believe me it doesn’t make up for the horrid games they play and it will NEVER change. If you were Simon Cowell with all his billions she would still want more.

      They come in many flavours these broken women and mine was more the violent drinker type but has many of the traits you speak of. And yes she used the old date someone else trick on me to reel me back in. And yes it cost me too financially! Fuuny thing is her mother also hated me because ” I didn’t take care of little princess!” You see an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and most are exact replicas of their warped mothers.

      Even guys get sick of keep breaking up, getting back over and over again! You have no idea what it is doing to your spirit and your insides. Stay away and no contact. Write down all the evil horrible stuff she has done to you and when you get weak read it! Because you WILL get weak, yes you WILL think about the sex, yes you WILL get lonely…It’s normal and everyone goes through it but the key is to not keep going through it. Or trust me it will make you physically ill!

      Be strong, be true to yourself. I did it and so can you!

      • burnvictim says

        Thank you. She does have killer looks – if we walked into a bar you could see men sit up and take notice. I am sure that the ego boost for me was part of the attraction.

        She came over this week to talk because suddenly she says her world is out of control – she has bills, her roommates are moving out and she doesn’t know how she will pay rent, she is in school and working… And of course it is hard to stay on track when heavy drinking is what she does to relax.

        She asked for money and I said no. She raged at me for “making her feel like a whore”. We are no contact since. I will not answer the door if she comes around again.

        I hope she moves on to someone else. She scares me.

        • Cousin Dave says

          “She came over this week to talk because suddenly she says her world is out of control.”

          Well yeah. She doesn’t have you there anymore to clean up her messes for her.

          “making her feel like a whore”

          But most Cluster B women are whores. They don’t understand sex in any context other than transactional. By definition, that’s a whore.

          • burnvictim says

            It is hard to accept but you are right. For all her talk about what she really wanted was to be closer to me and spend more time with me the reality is that she always tied sex to some act on my part. She would become sexually forward and “adventuresome” if there was a trip or shopping planned. Otherwise lost interest.

            There were times that I felt like she was just going through the motions. When I talked to her about it she said it was me – that I use not be that into her. Weird.

    • tenquilts says

      Please think about talking to a therapist. My heart aches for all you’ve been through and it looks apparent to me that you keep yearning for her because you think maybe this time you can do or say or buy something that will “fix” her, help her, finally get her to turn that corner and give you real, true, compassionate (and passionate) love … and maybe that will heal some of the wounds you have from your childhood. This cycle of pain and punishment and atonement on your part is familiar to you. You sound wise enough to know that this is not right but you need to heal that damaged child in you who keeps living out the familiar again with a different woman’s abuse and neglect. Especially if healthy, together, successful, independent women don’t attract you because they don’t “need” you in the ways that this one does.

      I wish you luck and continued strength.

  37. Stefano says

    Hi Dr Tara. Another “top” article! My Ex BPD is still trying to hoover me in and it is now 16 months since I got rid of her. I am no contact but she does still text and write to my work E mail. I have them on block but I know she has written, but wisely i don’t EVER read anything.
    I guess sitting in the Police cell like I did after her false allegations of assault is all so fresh in my mind. The funniest thing was I looked down in there and someone had scratched a name into the wooden bench…HER NAME! How ironic eh? But joking aside you must go no contact because believe me you will get the “I will change routine!” and the “I am sorry and you are the love of my life routine!”

    One thing which helped me was to write a journal of all the crazy things she had done to me…Oh you know the stuff…Threw wine in my face, ripped my fav T shirt off me, threw a table, smashed wine glasses, punched me, slapped me and that’s without all the mental anguish from her games.

    But it works when I feel weak, I just go back and read it and think “Damn it really was THAT bad!” Time is very good at conning men, you will start to think “it wasn’t that bad, maybe it I did this or that I could defuse things,” but take it from me without the cold hard evidence to look back on you will be in danger of going back and after the number of times I went back I can tell you IT DOESN’T IMPROVE, NOT EVER!

    So get writing your weak times evidence and besides it’s excellent therapy to get it down and out on paper.

    • toerrishuman says

      Thank for your support Sefano, your words of wisdom are helping me keep my 11 week no contact rule still stronger. I love your comment, It doesn`t improve, not ever! I will keep remember those words of strength. I will take your advice and keep a journal of the bad things she said and did to me to remind me what I told her to GTFO. My sanity, soul and my children are keeping going to find the new improve me.

  38. go bro says

    Amen Dr. Tara
    No contact is the only way to go. Going no contact for me meant losing my whole biological family for a season. In the end, I learned which ones actually cared about me to start off with. Now after 7 years of no contact, I finally am seeing clear. Praise God for people like you.

  39. Tripium says

    Ok, Its been two months since I left my wife, I just filed for divorce and am waiting for her to be served in a couple days,(mail was behind in court *darn*) But heres my issue, I’m really struggling with all the symptoms of the split from a CB. I have children invloved and I made the mistake of filing for shared parenting instead of full custody because I was scared that I could not prove that she is a CB. So, with that said. I thought I should describe the fact that she’s very good at being a CB. She lies to a degree of nothing I’ve ever seen before. But, SHe cuts herself and provokes physical violence and yelling. She always hit me first or cornered me until I had to move her. I’ve locked myself in the bathroom and called my mom or someone to come help me many times over while she pounded on the door threatning to kill me. With all of this said, How the Heck am I suppose to combat this in court? I have many witnesses but the sad fact is. I fell into her trap so many times and confessed to all of my wrong doings without holding her at fault for her actions to so many people before I got out of the *fog*. Now that I’ve been away for two months I can see more clearly now but I must admit. Im scared S***less. I’m so thankful i found this site I felt completly alone before this and will be doing much research. *I was in this relationship for 10 years, I adopted my eldest son **he is ten,she was 6 months pregnant** We actually dated off and on for 4 years prior. So technichally speaking im 14 years deep and two children deep as well** Pray for me.

  40. pato says

    Your site has helped me a lot…but I am still a mess..a waste of 3 years with a girl who is either a borderline..narcissist..or sociopath..she has a bit of all..even for a 23 year old..a lot of borderline..
    never let me go….I finally did..has been 3 months almost 4..this time I had to break free and not look back..I was hooked..I fell for all that love she fell for me..and i was the love of the life..she was crazy about me….all this blah blah…wanted to marry me.. I feel a lot of shame that I never left early .
    She was very manipulative..possessive of me.. bossy.. jealous.. very sarcastic..she knew how to make me fly or make me hurt like none ever could..she knew how to seduce me perfectly and yet she knew exactly how to use all i told her about things in my past to hurt me with..she has this cruel side so strong.and yet she was this spoil brat side..and same time so clingy! I had to be all the time for her..jealous even of the time I spent with my horse! I am sensitive ..she had a abusive father..and no mom..she said crying was weakness..if I in a middle of a fight I cried ( she drove me to tears..more from frustration she change all I said..she played games ..and was like talking to a wall..and all was black or white )well if I cried..or was upset..she would mock..cry cry you are so sensitive” well so many ways to get to me..but so sorry after and I was her live..and she could not live without me..” typical junk…she sure was a hoover..and I was a sucker! A fool for her.. very cute looking but so ordinary..I am well read and she reads nothing..god I hate myself how I could be draw just for her looks/ and that she was nuts for me? I never been superficial…she was..and how how I sink myself so low?I am fighting with myself… I dont want her back!! I see it was all lies..this is not love!! I feel for a vamp blood sucker. queen of manipulation.. ! Impossible to reason with! Fact is has been 4 months I left her for good..firt 3 months she did all not to let me go..hoover very hoover as you described.. oh she went back to anorexia ..without you no reason to eat.. and all this things.. ..I blocked her and cut all the contact..( she has hacked once to my msn I thing she has tried to do on my gmail but I made safe now ) well last few weeks I was curious and ( we dont use facebook..but we both have you tube..I am very active I always was on mine I rehab wild life and help others with.. ) but her youtube she has no friends ..just make up videos she saves to look..she loves that stuff… but she is not active there.. …since I blocked her..and vanished from her claws..I had a set back over a week ago and entered her youtube she had a ton of comments she posted .. ( for sure for me to read ! she had no money and a bad job.. but in a a month she added a new high end job..she was telling all this things to who? ah me I guess..she has no friends! then later she posted she moved into a new apt all by herself..( she had no money nor qualigications for a job on add company (well the days later she added a make up video how to get ready for a first date… and later a comment ( like she is talking to somebody ..but no friends there!! about how was first night making love ..making love? ?? on the first date? is sex no? to a new person and all details.. ..then few days later 2 days later he made her open her heart again and his eyes looking at her..blah blah.. then I never entered that youtube of hers again.. in 2 weeks after she made a try to talk to me..she suddenly had a new amazing job new date sex and was in love ! fast no.. could be all lies.. or is true.. I say go and be happy and tell sad past stories of your live to this new guy..but I am bit hurt..I want her off my head… tell me why she post this new life and new better love…so fast they fall in love after they try not to let you go? is all lies?of well I guess I am all a mess..and I know she is a liar manipulator..and I feel so angry at me.. why would she brag about a new love in a site that has no one to read??not even her ” new man” ?? sorry I am very confused.. ..I used to love her.. I feel sad she never loved me.. I feel used and so much sahme..

  41. adrian evergreen says

    Just wanted to say thanks to Dr Tara and the team for making me realise that I have done certain things-enabling, White Knighting, needing to be needed- but that doesn’t excuse CGM – Crazy Gay Man – from doing all the things he did. A you say, they can behave when they want to. It’s just they don’t. I GET the NPD things now from the triangulation to the histrionics to the faux love.
    I will lift out of the FOG, 4 Weeks and counting and this website and ten months of therapy have worked wonders.
    Thank you so much.

  42. adrian evergreen says

    You have to maintain noooooo contact. I am day 29 and still feel confused, upset, used and baffled as to why all this happened. I DO know that I was perfect foil to be bombed and shit tested right from the start. And I guess that all of us want to believe that our ex/current other halves loved us at least a little.
    And I think that is the thing that is the most distressing. The fact that they can do what they do and have no moral compass at all. I mean all of us guys gave/give everything to someone who just throws that in your face.
    Now I find it so disturbing that I could be with someone that sick, cop all the abuse, be the laughing stock and have- ironically- a faulty moral compass to not get me out of there.

    My defining moment 4 Weeks ago was that I was devising ways to go see CP and asked if he would pay my plane fare. Only the second time I had ever asked for money ever. We’re talking 2 hundred bucks.

    His reply?
    “Oh no, can’t possibly do that, need to buy a new push bike”.

    Bearing in mind he had sold the previous one for a handsome profit but wouldn’t stretch a lousy 200 bucks, after I went broke passing for everything while he didn’t work.

    So a month ago I wrote himan email and quiet stated that he can have his bike, his enabling ex other half, (triangle remember), and live happily ever after.

    Has it been hard? Yeah. But this life is easy, a little boring while I wait for my dopamine levels to play catch up.

    But learning to. When I compare my lifelast year to the one now, its like OMG bad. Not that I saw anything wrong with it. I just wanted it to work and I wanted to FIX my wounded puppy.

    Its just that, as everyone knows, they are unfixable. And by going back you reinforce their atrocious behaviour.

    I regret nothing. He made me go to therapy and in so doing fixed myself. I became strong and questioning and loving of me.

    I learnt that I have a myriad of problems that have lead me down this path and all the preceding relationships before it. The only relationship that worked was one where it had no love bombing.

    So no, no more contact ever. Its hard because they come back at you all the time with promises of all sorts of things. But none of the things that actually matter. Its like they forgot why they threw you out in the first place

    My mantra always was,” the person you are with should enhance the good feelings you feel about yourself”.

    I kinda lost all of that and now at 55 am trying to find it.

    Thank you Dr T and crew.

  43. detective999 says

    Couldn’t find a suitable header for this one – so I thought I’d put it here – hope you don’t mind?

    Firstly – divorced from my CB for just over a year now – she left the house last January (walked out of her own accord with her son from her first marriage) – but made sure that the neighbours thought that I’d thrown her out – I’m non-aggressive and pretty laid back. (Two and a half years marriage and through the British Court system she took me for £40k – however if it meant I had no ties – then I was happy – i Got TFO!!)- She ceremonially turns up to neighbours BBQ’s (I don’t get invited – don’t know why as I’ve done nothing wrong!!!) – Well apart from ‘kicking’ her out from a beautiful home, sacking her from her job and removing her ‘entitlement’ to a better life!!! Anyway – I’m on a date on Saturday – lovely meal and film and just one bloody fantastic evening – drop my date back at her house and drive home to mine – get back about 12:30pm and pull on the drive and txt my date to say I’d just got back (It was an hour away and she’d asked be tot txt, so I did!) – when I see Ex-CB was being escorted from neighbours house (with her 10 year old son in tow) by two neighbours who would walk her home (She had great looking dress on her great figure too) !! (the fact that she only lives 600 yards down the street doesn’t seem to matter!!) – BUT, they stop in front of my driveway (me still in car) and turn around to look – stay there for a few minutes and then walked off – I was SPOOKED and worried – I went into my house and physically shook – how can one woman do so much damage psychologically – I know she is evil, vindictive and a great torturer and probably lives off this thrill – she ‘controls’ so many people with lies! – I’m so glad I’m out of her clutches (so I thought) – but she’s obviously found a weakness and after my great evening – yesterday I felt so down and lonely – couldn’t get her image out of my mind. (I’ve read that it’s a form of PTSD – which I’m suffering from – don’t know if that’s right though?!)

  44. Richey Woo says

    Hey Dr T,

    I never actually post on any forums, blogs etc, ever, but just had to do so on this occasion to say, thanks so much ! As many have said before you’ve been a life saver with your articles, exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. Genius.


  45. alive13 says

    I’ve discovered this site after heavy serious searching, there is not much info on these issues! I am in a very complicated situation living with my gf that is most certainly a crazy-maker, I dont know where to turn as no one can understand my predicament, besides your blog, thank you !

  46. gedwardcouch says

    My BPD wife, who has not been to therapy or medication for more than two years, is divorcing me and I’m struggling with: 1. Trying to save her from herself; 2. An enormous push/pull struggle within myself where I desperately want her back and am worried about her but I remember the feeling of being honestly scared of what she could do next and, often, being made to feel completely invisible. I thought things were going well. She hadn’t done any self harm in about two years and even though there were arguments, all couples have those and I didn’t worry. But I think I may have inadvertently set this in motion and what makes me think this could be resolved is this awareness and her being made aware that I know I’m partly to blame and am sorry about that. I gave up a good job to move with her for her first professional job (she’s a school teacher) but that left me without decent work for about eight months and was planning on going back to school to get my PhD which would require me to be about four hours away. I talked about it without thinking I was pushing the BPD trigger over and over again because of her fear of abandonment. She attracted a young student helper from a local college and they began having a sexual relationship at the beginning of this month (April). I caught them having intercourse and now I’m the one whose being made to feel like I’m doing something wrong!? After this news broke she began flying to a point of no return with mutual friends, co-workers, and family about how terrible I was (I wasn’t). I’m appealing to my attorney to give love a chance but I worry that taking a soft approach in my divorce defense (she filed the day after she got caught) may cost me. HELP!

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