The Next Guy: Did your Ex-Girlfriend or Ex-Wife Downgrade?

Grieving the loss of a love relationship can be a painful experience. Grieving and letting go of an abusive relationship and an abusive wife or girlfriend is frequently a far more painful and difficult experience. There are several reasons for this.

At the end of an otherwise healthy relationship between two reasonable, rational adults, the former partners are typically able to give one another closure. Abusive women and men, especially personality disordered women and men (Sociopaths, Narcissists, Borderlines, Histrionics, High-Conflict People – henceforth known as Crazy) do not do closure. Crazy blame shifts, Hoovers and/or disappears.

It is also difficult to let go of Crazy because of the high degree of ambiguity this kind of relationship creates. Did she ever really love you? Was any of it real? Maybe you’re the crazy one? What if you’d tried harder (i.e., withstood more of her abuse)?

This is almost always compounded if Crazy immediately partners up with her next target/sucker/people pleasing knight in shining armor/enabler/accomplice. How could she move on so quickly when you’re still grinding through the loss and trying to make sense of everything? Will she be different with the next guy? What if you had hung in there? Would she be telling her Facebook sycophants how she’s never been so happy and so in love with you instead of him?

This type of woman repeats the same behaviors over and over again in her relationships. She has a script in her head that she force fits new partners into whether they like it or not. She’s the eternal victim and boyfriend/husband du jour is her hero until she decides he’s the villain and presto change-o — he’s a “jerk” like all the other “jerks” before him. This phenomenon is described in Crazy Bitch the Musical! The Abusive Woman’s Script and Why She Won’t Be Different with the Next Guy.

When Crazy seeks to replace you, she will usually:

1. Find another people pleasing, rescuer, Nice Guy type who is eager to prove he’s not like the “bad men” who hurt her in the past. Men like this will take a number and eagerly queue up for their fair share of abuse. If and when they ever wake up and realize they’re being abused, they start looking for answers.

Some find Shrink4Men and other similar resources. They begin to understand that no amount of patience, love and understanding will end their wife’s or girlfriend’s abuse, they cannot “save” or “fix” Crazy, that they have issues of their own to address – particularly their willingness to tolerate abuse in a love relationship – and that it is necessary to have personal boundaries and limits in love. Some men, sadly, will get bad advice from female-biased, enabling/apologist therapists, ministers, family and friends to be even more patient, understanding and vulnerable with their abusers and, essentially, to continue to allow their female abusers to keep abusing them and their children.

2. Downgrade to another professional victim/abuser/loser. Sometimes, this manifests in the classic narcissist-borderline pairing, which actually works. Better to let two disordered people cannibalize each other instead of inflicting their abuse on the rest of the population.

If this is true of your situation, remember, she’s a crazy a-hole and he’s a crazy a-hole. They deserve one another and you deserve much, much better. The only wrinkle is if you share children with Crazy. Then you have two selfish, destructive, immature jerks to contend with while trying to nurture and protect your kids.

Downgrade Boyfriends are the guys who stand by and do nothing when Crazy abuses the children or willingly become her enforcer. These are the guys who step into the role of “newer, better Daddy”and either passively go along with or assist your ex in trying to alienate the children from you. These are the guys who do nothing when your ex denies you custody time. These are the guys who puff out their chests and let you know there’s a “new sheriff” in town, so you’d better toe the line. These are the guys who are unemployed or underemployed and move in with your ex and sponge off of your alimony and child support monies. These are the guys who buy gifts for your kids with your child support money and then tell your kids that you are the deadbeat.

Sociopaths (and people with sociopathic traits such as BPDs/NPDs/HPDs) don’t have friends — they have accomplices and victims. When Crazy downgrades to the type of guy described above, it can be extremely confusing for the Nice Guys who have been killing themselves (sometimes literally) to try to be the best husbands/boyfriends they can be and make Crazy happy (i.e., mission impossible).

She said I didn’t work hard enough or earn enough money, but Mr. Wonderful only has a part-time job.

She used to tell me I was a stupid, pathetic loser, but Mr. Wonderful doesn’t even have a college degree.

She used to accuse me of being an alcoholic because I enjoyed a couple of beers on weekends, but Mr. Wonderful is known as the town bar fly.

It’s confusing when Crazy re-couples with the loser, slacker, drunk, etc., she accused you of being. You did your best to be the man Crazy claims she wants you to be and then she pairs up with the kind of man she claims to not want. This is frequently a post-divorce WTF moment for many men.

Remember, Crazy is crazy and actions speak louder than words.

Nice Guy Mistake # 1

This is one of the biggest and most common mistakes Nice Guys make in their relationships with Crazy – they listen to Crazy’s words and ignore Crazy’s actions. More often than not, the truth lies in what Crazy does, not what she says. If you’re paying close attention, Crazy will sometimes confess/speak the truth, but these moments are fleeting and ephemeral.

The more you improve yourself, the more you act with integrity, the healthier you become, the more Crazy devalues and abuses you. The more you give Crazy what she says she wants, the more vicious, angry and/or withdrawn she becomes. You basically get punished for being a good person and giving Crazy exactly what she says she wants.

Partners act as mirrors for one another. This is one of the reasons water seeks its own level and birds of a feather flock together. When you are a fundamentally decent, kind, hardworking person, you make Crazy look bad in comparison. She resents your good qualities because, on some level, she knows she does not possess them — whether she can admit this to herself or not — and she begins to resent and hate you for it.

If Crazy cannot possess your good qualities, she will try to bring you down to her level by provoking and baiting you (e.g., antagonizing you until you become angry and yell at her) or she will try to destroy you or make you disappear.

Nice Guy Mistake # 2

The second biggest and most common mistake Nice Guys make with Crazy is believing Crazy’s damsel in distress – professional victim shtick. Crazy doesn’t want to be rescued. Crazy wants to be enabled.

Crazy doesn’t want to be rescued. Crazy wants to be enabled.

Crazy doesn’t want to be rescued, she doesn’t want to be better if it means she has to do the work to get there and Crazy definitely doesn’t want you holding her accountable and pointing out how she creates most of her problems herself. Meaning, Crazy doesn’t want you to help her to become a functioning, healthy, mature, responsible, gainfully employed adult. Crazy wants you to put up with her shit and clean up her messes and thank her for the privilege of letting you do so.

Enter Downgrade Boyfriend.

Like two addicts who enable each others’ addictions, Downgrade Boyfriend doesn’t make Crazy feel bad because he’s just as dysfunctional, self-serving and reptilian as she is.

This article was sparked by an online conversation with some of Shrink4Men’s CrazyBusters about the kinds of men their husband’s crazy exes paired up with post-divorce. SW explains:

Crazy truly married the anti-Jack.

She married Jack’s opposite in every single way possible — physically, religious practices, morals, work ethic, education, ambition, fidelity, parenting……

Jack is and was a good honest man. When Crazy met him, he was still a kid, stupid, naive and she made it her full-time job to emasculate him and keep him groveling to her. She was really good at it, but instead of letting her have control of everything, he just disconnected from her emotionally and withdrew. She couldn’t dominate someone who ignored her.

So, she pursued Drunko, a man who was already in many ways broken. Not because he was beaten down by anything, because he chose a life path that was revolting and he liked being a creep. She could be the superior one and, because he came from the same religious background, she could guilt him into almost anything.

She could also be revolting and wicked with him and never be judged. Jack always will be a person to tell others that they need to get right with whatever higher power the believe in. Believe how you want, but live your values. Jack will not participate in things he believes are wrong.

If he were Adam from the garden of Eden, he’d have made a lot of mistakes, but he would not have eaten that apple, just because Eve did. Crazy wanted a man who would not only  eat the apple, but get others to eat it so they could prove that what they did was not wrong.

I personally think Drunko is physically repulsive, he looks worse as the years progress and he buries himself deeper into this mentally ill life he shares with Crazy.

If your ex-Crazy has paired up with Downgrade Boyfriend she is dating or married to the proverbial “bird of a feather.”

Nice Guy Mistake # 3

Nice guys who aren’t quite ready to jump off the Crazy hamster wheel may see Downgrade Boyfriend as yet one more thing they need to rescue Crazy from. If this applies to you, no, you don’t need to rescue Crazy from Downgrade Boyfriend. No, really, you don’t.

By now, you should have learned that Crazy doesn’t do anything or anyone she doesn’t want to do. Nor does she do anything that doesn’t benefit her in some way – especially if it enables her dysfunction and hurts you.

If Crazy actually wanted to be with a good man, she’d be with you. If Crazy actually wanted to be with a good man, she wouldn’t have invested so much time and energy trying to turn you into a male-version of herself.

Many men see Downgrade Boyfriend as evidence that they weren’t “good enough.” If she wants to be with him, then I must be the loser she always said I was. If you’re succumbing to this kind of self-defeating thinking, stop and reality test. Is your behavior consistent in your relationships? If so, do your friends and family think you’re as awful as Crazy thinks you are? 

Downgrade Boyfriend is not evidence that you’re all the rotten things Crazy accused you of being. He’s not better than you. She’s simply found a mirror image of herself to “love” or whatever passes for love in their world. Having integrity, honor and strength of character is a liability with Crazy and so is kindness, generosity and a sense of fair play.

Let go of Crazy’s distorted thinking, mourn the loss of the person you thought you fell in love with when you first met, figure out what attracted you to Crazy and what caused you to tolerate her abuse, heal and when you’re ready, if you’re so inclined, be open to meeting a woman who is an upgrade.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.




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  1. Micksbabe says

    As always, very poignant observations.

    Nice Guy Mistake #3 is the most unnerving. Imagine the thrill Crazy gets when the one she threw away comes to her “rescue”???? Then she has two jealous (in her mind) men fighting for her.

        • bubbajoebob says

          She Who Must Not Be Named kept hauling out old boyfriends who reportedly sent her long letters begging for her to take them back. Even when I was still utterly taken in by her, old boyfriends didn’t bother me in the least. SWMNBN tried many, if not all, of the tricks in the book, keeping the ones that worked.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Thanks, MB. You’re right about #3. There’s nothing BPDs/NPDs love more than triangulation. Sadly, guys who fight over a woman like this, are fighting to “win” their own destruction. Very, very sad.

    • SSG says

      Exactly. It wasn’t enough for my husband’s ex to have her affair, to throw the husband out of the house and have her new (married) boyfriend move in right away; she actually had this man CALL my husband and TAUNT him about how he couldn’t keep his woman! Imagine! This is the man living with your children!

      ExW was getting off over two men at each others’ throats “over her.” Not only that, but her new BF’s wife was sitting at home with their baby (after she left the battered women’s shelter). It was all an huge ego boost for a very sick woman who amazingly could find 2 men on the face of this earth who would fight over her.

      The new BF was pretty illiterate and had a crappy job. He was, as mentioned, a cheating wife-beater, too.

  2. knotheadusc says

    Yup. My husband’s ex married a guy who is apparently as screwed up as she is… He’s her third husband and for much of their marriage, had not held a job. Now that the child support gravy train has reached its end, she’s quit working and he’s apparently gotten a “good” job after a transcontinental move. I have a feeling she’s about to dump his ass and hit him up for child support for their two kids. It would serve her right if he turned out to be as wacko as she is and puts her through divorce hell.

    I doubt it’ll happen, though. He appears to be dumber than hammered dirt as well as physically repulsive. He’s four years younger than I am, but appears to be about fifteen years older. He’ll probably stay with her and die young.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Did the ex move with him across country, knotheadusc?

      If so, do you find the geographic buffer helps or does it not make a difference because you’ve been No Contact for so long?

      • knotheadusc says

        The Ex has a history of making dramatic moves. When she and my husband split, they were living in Arkansas. She suddenly decided to up and move to Arizona, where she stayed for about 10 years or so… That was a very long time for her. Right around the time my husband’s younger daughter was about to turn 18, they suddenly up and moved to New Hampshire. We don’t know why they moved. It could be because ex wanted to make sure my husband didn’t try to send his daughter a letter like he tried to do with his older daughter (it was returned to him unopened). But I also have a feeling they moved because her lies were catching up to her and people were finding out what a creep she is. If she just wanted her daughter to avoid contact from my husband, she could have accomplished that without moving across the country. My guess is that she pooped one too many times in one place and it was starting to stink too much.

        And yes, the move included ex, her husband, and the kids… with the exception of her oldest kid, a product of her first marriage. He got married and stayed in Arizona for awhile, then later we found out that he, too, moved to New Hampshire. I have a feeling that he went there because Ex somehow made it attractive for him– she can’t stand not to have control of her kids. I feel sorry for my husband’s ex stepson’s wife, since my husband’s ex stepson is a liar and a snake and the one time we met her, she seemed very close to her family in Arizona. I have a feeling the dramatic move serves to isolate her from her normal friends and loved ones and keep her from upsetting the apple cart too much.

        On Christmas Day, my husband called his father to wish him a Merry Christmas. We found out that my husband’s younger daughter, who is now using her stepfather’s name and might have even been legally adopted (ex did threaten it), had called my husband’s dad while en route to Utah, where she is attending college. This kid and her sister quit talking to my husband’s father five years ago for no apparent reason. She called him on Thanksgiving… I’m thinking ex probably put her up to it, knowing my husband would call his dad, who then made it clear to my husband that his daughter had no interest in talking about him. But my husband didn’t call on Thanksgiving, he called on Christmas. If Ex meant to be hurtful, she succeeded. After that phone call, my husband was in tears… I was livid, because it was Christmas Day, which is stressful even when the Ex isn’t screwing with us.

        Ex and her brood mostly do leave us alone, but I think Ex puts stuff out there on the Internet or passively pokes at us through my husband’s dad, who just wants everyone to get along so he can have a relationship with his granddaughters. I have a feeling, though, that someone will eventually end up contacting us at some point. The Ex has repeatedly proven that she never lets anyone go permanently. She got her son in touch with his supposedly abusive bio dad a full 15 years after kicking him out of the kid’s life.

        My husband did send his dad a letter, pretty much reminding that we’re no contact with the Ex and if she’s going to get back with the family, we won’t be part of the family. And frankly, I pretty much don’t want to have anything to do with my husband’s daughters, either. I know it’s not their fault that their mother is crazy, but they appear to be an awful lot like her.

  3. Mellaril says

    My exgf appeared to trade across with respect to my immediate successor and her ex-husband. I think I gave her a taste for men in uniform.

    As for her current apparent BF, he probably has more money and social status than I do but in other respects, our credentials are eerily similar. She could be very comfortable with him since she’s seen it before. I’d love to be able to able to watch from behind the glass to see if she’s any more successful.

    If his Facebooks likes are any indication and she hasn’t changed, he’s a deadman.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Your ex definitely sounds like the rinse, wash, repeat type, Mell.

      I have to wonder if her attraction to military men means she sees you as “the one who got away” and she’s tried to recreate that with the men she has coupled with after you.

      • Mellaril says

        Speculation on that is entertaining.

        It’s possible. Heller and Levine talk about an avoidance technique called “the Phantom Ex.” The Phantom Ex is an idealized version of a former partner against which subsequent partners are judged and fail against. There’s no discussion on how long the phenomenon lasts.

        The Phantom Ex explains two things about the post-relationship that didn’t add up to me. The first was that she was using me to sabotage her new relationship. She claimed to have told my successor that I was still her best friend and she wasn’t ready to give me up. She’d complain to me about him and how I was better in almost every respect but she “was going to make it work” with him. Self-sabotaging relationships wasn’t a concept I’d considered at that point. The second thing was the night she made her admission about settling, she put me on a pedestal. She didn’t want to get back together, it was more like she was cementing some image in her mind. Being a “Phantom Ex” explains both. I have to admire her. Even after we weren’t together, it looks like she may have been leveraging me.

        She did operate from a script. She had an affinity for cheaters. In my immediate successor, she hit the daily double and got both a military officer and a cheater. One of the “aha” moments was when I linked what happened with my successors with what she had said about her past relationships where guys had allegedly cheated on her. Ready for this? Her apparent current BF is ex-military and an airline pilot. Her father, who was in an open affair for years, was an airline pilot. You can’t make this stuff up.

        Maybe, I achieved a kind of perverse immortality.

        • sun day says

          Kudos for bringing up the concept of The Phantom Ex.

          I was being compared to an army of Phantom Exes. It was great for her, having a Swiss Army Knife of reasons why I wasn’t performing up to her oscillating standards.

      • deltatango says

        The corollary is magnifying their own feeble accomplishments and degrading the success brought about by their victim’s hard work over years. My ex likes to brag about her two college degrees, an Associates in Early Childhood Ed and a Bachelors in Elementary Ed. She also bragged about serious study of the Peron era in Argentina which only translated to reading the Andrew Lloyd Weber script and watching Madonna in the role of Evita in the movie.
        By contrast, I was the single breadwinner for 90% of our marriage,worked hard, got promoted, funded the kids’ extracurricular activities, etc., ad nauseum and was derided for overcompensating for my lack of a college degree of any kind. Yep!

        • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

          She also bragged about serious study of the Peron era in Argentina which only translated to reading the Andrew Lloyd Weber script and watching Madonna in the role of Evita in the movie.

          Thanks for the chuckle and how very CB. By that token, I should have a job with NASA because I’ve watched all the episodes of Star Trek.

          People like your ex tear others down to feel better about themselves. They are the “mean girls” who have never grown up.

  4. spiralina says

    This article is SCARILY reminiscent of my husband’s ex-girlfriend. I don’t think she’s ever had a medical diagnosis, but her behavior pattern is classic BPD. When we first got together he was terrified to tell her about us for months because he was afraid he’d set off another round of threats (she was fond of starving herself and saying it was because he treated her so badly, and making superficial cuts to her wrists while threatening to commit suicide and leaving a letter telling everyone it was “his fault.” Very weird and frightening stuff.) She repeatedly cheated on him during the relationship to make him jealous, and after they broke up would call him crying for “advice” about breaking off her sexual relationship with her boss. It’s been a few years and she still tries to contact him, although he completely ignores her. I would personally love to rip her to pieces, but I realize it would just make things worse and it’s better just to support him.

    My question is for the blog writer and/or men who have been in similar relationships with crazy women. My husband is a good man, but he still bears the scars of the emotionally abusive relationship. It took me a long time to win his trust and get him to realize I wasn’t going to cheat on him, explode into histrionics or threaten self-harm to control him. Our relationship now is very solid and happy, but I know he still has trust issues since her failed attempts to contact him often seem trigger a sort of temporary depression or emotional withdrawal within him. What are some good things I can do to let him know I’m supporting him 100%? What are some things you would like the new woman to do to help you transition away from the damage the “Crazy” did?

    • Micksbabe says

      The scars are going to heal, but as long as your husband has you to support him and show him love, it will get better over time. If/when he does occasionally project his insecurities onto you, remind him that you are not his CBx.

      When my DH and the CBx were still married, she would spend all of their money on shopping and not have any left for the bills. As part of my DH’s “scarring”, he watches our joint checking account hyper-vigilantly. This has been going on for 12 years and I doubt it will ever change, despite me being frugal and responsible with my spending. Every now and then I have to remind him that I don’t have a shopping addiction.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hello Spiralina,

      Thank you for registering with S4M. I agree with Micksbabe’s advice.

      Be patient and understanding, but let him know it’s not okay to judge you by the bad behaviors of his ex. Attempts to contact your husband probably cause a trauma response in him. It is very common for men and women who have been in relationships like your husband had with his ex to develop PTSD symptoms if not full-blown PTSD. If your husband is open to it, he may want to seek some support from a therapist who specializes in these issues.

      Does your husband have a child with his ex? Does she contact him? Is it possible to block her from email and phone contact? Have you encouraged him to read some of the articles here and elsewhere that might be helpful for him?

  5. thatguy says

    I had a gf who was exactly like this. However, the guy she met after me she married?! Go figure. But what I find interesting is once I got over the devastation (really my lowest point) I started to figure things out and went absolutely NC with her. It bugged her so much that she called a few months after going NC. I saw the ID on the phone and didn’t answer. Holy cow I’m glad I didn’t answer. She left a very angry message saying how awful I was etc blah blah.

    After I heard the message I thought to myself how grateful I was to go NC and thank God I didn’t answer the phone when she called!

    The main lesson I started to learn from that experience was that I wasn’t the problem she was. Then I started to realize more and more people were the problem ones and it wasn’t me. I started to put boundaries up and low and behold the crazies started to come out of the cracks EVERYWHERE. It was amazing to see all the crazy cockroaches crawl out of the wood work. I then put a insect bomb in my life and they scattered not to have one again.

    Well I say that but…

  6. Robert1 says

    When my relationship with my ex-girlfriend ended on abrupt, “what just happened” terms, I bought two books: Stop Walking On Eggshells, and Ambiguous Grief.

    I had never even heard of “Borderline Personality Disorder” until I read the Eggshells book, and literally every chapter was a play-by-play analysis of the behavior of my ex.

    Ambiguous Grief is more about losing a family member to Alzheimer’s, Dementia, etc., but it also talks about the end of any relationship where you gave nothing but positive support to someone, and they abandoned you with no rhyme or reason. Even worse in the case of my ex-girlfriend, she went out and found another boyfriend literally within a month of the end of our relationship. I was struggling to just get by, and she was rockin’ on as if she had just traded in for a new car.

    It took me a long time to work through that.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi Robert,

      I also recommend the book “Swallowed by a Snake” by Tom Golden, which has been very helpful for many of my clients.

      I hope you are in a much better place now. Are there any specific things you did to help you work through the grief that you think might be helpful for other men reading this?

      • Robert1 says

        I bought the “Snake” book a few months back, and I agree that it is a very good resource.

        As for specific things to share with others, I think the biggest thing that I learned in the grieving process after life with my BPD-ex, is that you need to STOP trying to find a specific answer as to why things didn’t work out.

        As a typical man, I like to fix things and find solutions, and logic and reason are attributes that I count on. In the “post-mortem” phase of my relationhip, I kept ruminating on what went wrong, and if only I had done this or that then all the reasons would fit together neatly.

        Don’t do that. ACCEPT that crazy has nothing to do with rational thought or behavior. Don’t beat yourself up because YOU are the sane one. Go easy on yourself, and as another post on this topic says, be open to an upgrade: a woman who values supportive, healthy behaviors.

        • cuatezon says

          I think part of the problem of acceptance comes from society’s denial of the problem in the first place. I personally was in denial for years that it was my ex, not me, who had the problem. Kept blaming myself and trying harder to make things work. Our society teaches us that everyone is kind and nice, and that especially women are warm, loving caretakers and men are bad horny bastards trying to get laid nothing more. Just seems thats the general attitude, which makes it really hard for a man to understand/accept the ex-wife/gf is the sick crazy abuser.

          Add into that the counselors, pastors, priests, etc. who are also in denial, just makes it worse. I went to a big Christian Church out here, and met with some assistant pastor/counselor. Told him the problems, the abuse, etc. In every session it was the same ‘pray for her and pray to God and all will be okay’. Kept praying, kept bending over backwards, being the nice guy, and all it got me was more vitriolic abuse and punishment.

          Can’t go no contact b/c we have kids, however, with help of good counselor and websites, stories like this, I’m able to distance myself emotionally from the ex, and while her crap hurts the kids, I can at least maintain some sanity and serenity b/c if you’re not healthy, you’re not much help to your kids or anyone else.

        • queenbee says

          I love it. I also spent time trying to get to the “WHY did they do this? WHY are they like this?” of both my relationship with a narcissistic man a decade ago, and now my husband’s ex-wife. You can’t know why because they probably don’t even know why, and at some point you come to the acceptance that you don’t need to know why. It is just that you need to KNOW they are people you can’t be in contact with. ANY contact opens old wounds, they love hearing how they hurt you, they enjoy going over the painful details so you feel like crap. Hey, I’ve even learned to cut the friends out of my life that were abusive to me, or high conflict. I don’t need it. Am I curious about these people and their “stories” and motivations? Of course. I’m curious about everything. But you will go crazy yourself trying to figure it out. Not worth the time. Yep, go for the upgrade!

          • Cousin Dave says

            You’re right in that it is kind of interesting from the scientific standpoint, but that doesn’t help with understanding the behavior of a specific Cluster B person. A problem that you run into (and one that I think a lot of therapists don’t appreciate) is that you can’t rely on a Cluster B to give you accurate information about their past. My ex used to have all kinds of horrible stories about how she was mistreated when she was a child, but I later found out that most of those stories were either greatly exaggerated or just flat made up. She told me things that her sister had supposedly done to her that turned out to be impossible because her sister had been living thousands of miles away at the time.

            You have to keep in mind that to a Cluster B, absolutely any story that rationalizes and justifies their behavior is acceptable, and they have very selective memory for their own past actions. The only predictive method I’ve ever found that works with these people is to always assume that they will choose the most immature and selfish choice available. That way you’ll seldom be caught off guard.

          • cuatezon says

            Agreed. Its actually not assuming lol, its preparing for the inevitable. Also just take into consideration at least 50% of everything they say is omitting substantial fact, embellishment, or bald-faced lie. Its made dealing with these crazies much, much easier. I hate to become jaded but going to that default position with these sociopaths, once you identify them, makes life really easy and you can even make a game out of it with them. I’ve actually had a little fun with a bonafide, NPD/HCP and got her quite wound up playing her own games on her. Previously I would have been the dazed & confused one…yet now I just mirror her words & actions & whatnot, and its like the Medussa seeing herself in the mirror and turning to stone.

    • Michaelstidham2013 says

      That’s a fact. My CBx hit a 90 degree downgrade after giving me the boot after almost 30 years of marriage. She complained because neither of my two jobs was a regular 40 hour a week job, so I didn’t make enough.
      She tosses me out on the street…and hooks up with a dope-smoking, guitar-playing dishwasher from the restaurant around the block. “But HE has a steady job!”
      And the fact that she and I have a 20 year old daughter in college makes closure not an option…so I get to listen to CBx complain (!) about Mr. Wonderful’s getting high and/or drunk. Me (AND my daughter, not to mention my new wife) are looking forward to the day she graduates so we can all go NC.

      • Michaelstidham2013 says

        Oh, and did I mention Mr. Wonderful’s also a deadbeat dad? She won’t take out a joint account with him (or marry him) because HIS ex will come after the back child support for HIS daughter in another state!

  7. Autumn says

    My friend’s CB wife thought she downgraded to him- even wrote emails to her recycled “Ex Soulmate” she was having an (at the very least, emotional) affair with how boring her new husband was, and so on. He’s a classic co-dependent nice guy, easy to manipulate and control.
    IMHO, he downgraded. She’s dumber than a doorknob and so homely she looks like Frank Perdue’s twin sister 😀

    • queenbee says

      and I get a sick feeling when I hear the term, “soul mate”, because my husband’s ex, cluster B, ALWAYS uses that term. I mean, I heard that used before, and it’s a nice idea, but the total focus on that, on the absolute insistence that the new guy was her soul mate and all that, it just seems weird. What’s with that term?

  8. Curtman41 says

    Dr Tara, thank you so much for your insight on this subject. My wife of 10 years left me for another man 12 years ago. She ran off with a man who is fully tatted from head to toe, hideous looking, no job collecting government “benefits.” I was kicked out of our home I worked so hard to secure for her and my 3 small children. Less than 2 months later, he moved in. She testified to everyone who would listen that she left me because I abused her physically and mentally, was not a sufficient provider and had an anger problem. She would even buy me books on how to manage and overcome anger. 10 years later my ex shared with me that their marriage was rocky for the first 5 years due to the overwhelming anger issues her husband had. (as he described to me) He and a friend would seek out homosexuals. One would hold their faces next to the curb while my ex’s husband used his foot to kick their face into the curb. He has been collecting disability from the government for over a decade while fully able to work. He also has abandoned his own 3 children to avoid paying child support. I have paid her child support for 12 years (of which I have never missed a payment). What I find amazing is she ended up with the very thing she falsely accused me of being. I am a clean cut, fit professional who has built a career and a life and she leaves me for a dead beat, with a very serious anger problem. You’re article has really cleared up some confusion I have had over the years. There is NO doubt that she downgraded. They have been married for 12 years and there is no sign of that changing. Astonishing.

  9. tomg says

    Hi All
    The divorce is moving along and it appears we will bring this in for a landing in about 45-60 days.
    After a few outragious incidents with my wife and her “boy friend” (Yes, she was cheating on me) I went on several trips around the holidays to spare myself the ignomity of sitting on my hands while my STBE dressed up like the Sr. Prom to go to various holiday parties, etc… (All very true stuff).

    Well, I guess I appeared to be having too good a time way from crazyland, so when I returned from a weekend in Boston, I was told the closing on my home was on and that I needed to coordinate deliveries of furniture, appliances, etc….so i text her I would be busy the coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not away, but busy. I offered no explainations because first and foremost she continues to keep me in the dark. Stays over “his” house entire weekends with no idea what her basic plans are, etc…..
    She replied that it was okay. Several minutes later I recieved a text that simply read “Pussy”!!!. I have learned NEVER to engage or respond to such nonsense. Shortly after she text again telling me to ignore the second text as it was meant for somebody else.
    I arrived at work and was greeted by a voicemail from her boy freind basically telling me I had ruined the weekend (his weekend) and that I was being selfish, etc…..I asked him who he was and what he wanted and why was he calling me.
    I asked him to stop harrassing me at work or I would seek a restraining order.

    I text my STBE. No response. I called her. Right into voicemail……she was hiding.

    Doctor, you know I am 7 years Sr. to my wife. Her Dad died when she was 4-5 and her new BF is slightly older than her, but a tall muscular outdoor type (He owns a lawn maint. tree service, and in my brief contact with him, appears to be as dumb as a bag of hammers.

    Two things. First, she put him up to this. (She is playing off I am a verbally abusive person) and he is now buying into doing her dirty work.
    or, Second, he has jumped in on his own and is protecting her???? (from what???.

    Anyway, I told her he sounded like a “real prize” but that whatever happened will stop or a restraining order will be sought. She then admitted the situation was “out of control.”

    Anybody want to comment? Most of my freinds simply have no words, by the pathology is blinking red. Danger Danger…..

    Lastly, STBE pushed for the divorce and refused to even discuss trying to work things out. She proclaimed the “for once in my life I am standing on my own two feet” (She is feeding me straight lines BTW) NOW……she has discovered that she will have to pay $500/ month to insure herself. Pay taxes, insurance and utilities on a house I gave her as part of the settlement, car insurance… on and so fourth. SOOOOOOO….she calls me (rare event) and asks me to slow down the final divorce because: “I have to find a job that offers benefits.” HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says


      I wonder if the “pu$$y” message was for Mr Wonderful because perhaps he didn’t want to abuse you by proxy for her (i.e., balked at calling you because you “ruined” his weekend.) I suspect “ruined his weekend” means your ex was spitting nails because you no longer take orders from her and she had a tantrum because of it.

      Never, under any circumstances, be in the ex’s and Douche Bag du Jour’s presence alone. Ever. Always have a witness with you and have recording devices on when in their presence. Your ex is a manipulative snake and I could see her plotting with him to set you up for trouble with the police. Please be extremely careful.

      Slow down the divorce so you can keep paying for her health insurance? I think not. It’s hard standing on your own two feet when the former ATM is no longer required to spit out cash on command. Drive that divorce home to completion and let boyfriend start paying for the privilege of her company.

  10. Clintiskeen says

    I don’t disagree with any of the points you’ve made, but the saying is “Toe the line” as in to literally line up with your toe right behind an actual line on the floor, not “Tow the line” as in to carry the rhetoric

  11. director17 says

    Hi Dr. T

    Thanks for this. In so many way this article was helpful to me and provided the right words at the right time. Your website, articles, and the community members here at s4m provided the first clear indications to me of the type of relationship I was involved in with my ex. I was engaged to marry a woman who seemed to fit perfectly the description of npd, (and/or maybe any of the other personality disordered traits). At the time however, I had NO IDEA what these were. I thought I was involved with someone with a maturity problem and just used to getting whatever she wanted from her father. What I DID KNOW for sure though was that so many of her behaviors and actions (and words) towards me were just not normal. It’s been a year and a half, and frankly I’m embarrassed (and a bit concerned for myself, truth be told) to say that I don’t feel like I’ve fully healed from this experience. Despite a lot of therapy and self-analysis, I still often find it difficult to forgive myself and get past the feelings of guilt and/or remorse about ending my engagement and calling off the wedding to my ex. Even though she was aggressive and accusatory and didn’t take any responsibility for anything right up until the end, I think it was her suddenly doing an about face and crying and begging me not to send her away, that left me with such a guilty conscience…to the point of still feeling feelings of anger, sadness, and even self-loathing…Hard for me to understand (as logically, and given the overwhelming evidence in addition to the support I’ve received, I know I made the right decision), why I can’t reconcile my head and heart. This has been the most confusing, soul-splitting experience of my life…I will get that book you recommended, “Swallowing the Snake.”

    Many thanks again for your work.

    • cuatezon says

      Director17 – if I may, please allow me to validate/affirm your decision. If it was anything like what I lived, you made a very good decision to call off the wedding. You got off the train BEFORE it became a train wreck. Good move.

      Even after exiting an abusive relationship, I ended up with another abusive woman that we had talked about moving in together and maybe marriage. She was a doctor, made good money, socially active, it was great…but she would rip me apart for very small things, she had histronics, acted very immaturely, flirted with a lot of other guys, and played many head games with me. I was torn, and when I ended it felt some pangs of guilt too…but I knew I made the right decision in getting out of the relationship.

      I say be grateful for escaping an emotional holocaust.

  12. guidodozorro says

    Hi Dr Tara,

    I just wanted to thank you for this blog and all the advice contained therein. It has been an immeasurable help to me in understanding my circumstances over the past few months. I met my BPD ex 3 years ago, and a year later moved to China to live with her, where she cheated on me, left me for another guy then broadcast it to the world (read facebook) and claimed it was because I had abused her (outright lies).

    Not knowing better, and struggling to understand what had happened, I was determined to be with her, and followed her to Hong Kong, where we got back together and then found out she was pregnant a few months later. I got engaged to her to show I’d be there for her and our son. To cut a long story short she broke off our engagement (in the most humiliating way, in front of my mother) when our son was six weeks old then said she needed me to stay to look after him. Stupidly I did so. By this time she’d completely flipped and was being verbally, psychologically and physically abusive to me on a daily basis, all the while castigating me as an abuser to all her friends and family and on facebook.

    She eventually attacked me one morning whilst I was holding him then called the police on Me and had me kicked out of the flat (which was in her name), in a foreign country where I knew nobody. She is now saying I will never be able to see my 3-month old son again and I’ve been unable to open any dialogue with her about him. All the signs were there, from her rages over nothing, constant hypocrisy, continued sexual dalliances with other men (sending pictures of her genitalia to guys whilst she was pregnant !?), and inability to take responsibility for anything at all (everything was justified in her eyes, as she used to love to repeat to me ad nauseam “You deserve this”). Reading your blog over the past few months has been the first time I’ve actually been able to make some sense of our relationship and her seemingly completely irrational behaviour, and hopefully it’s a first step for me in healing myself and finding the ability to love again.

  13. cuatezon says

    Guido – I’ve lived a somewhat similar situation. First thing first is take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically. Just like they teach us on the airplane before takeoff – put YOUR oxygen mask on first before helping others. If you’re not healthy and strong, then its difficult to be helpful/supportive for your son and others in your life. Be good to you – it’ll feel good after so much abuse from another.

    Find support – counselor, groups of friends, church, something, anything. Being alone in a situation like ours just makes matters more challenging and depression can set in.

    • guidodozorro says

      thanks Cuatezon, I appreciate your advice a lot. I definitely need help because I’m terrified of ending up in the same situation again, and anything that will help me recognise the red flags and learn how to cope in such situations can only be positive. I know I need to go complete no-contact (my son notwithstanding) and rebuild myself before I attempt to engage her over visitation rights, child support and everything else that comes with it.

  14. Cousin Dave says

    Last I heard, my ex was a barfly — trading sex for alcohol and drugs. She was a borderline alcoholic when we were married, so I guess she decided to go all in.

  15. JWE_escaped says

    “Let go of Crazy’s distorted thinking, mourn the loss of the person you thought you fell in love with when you first met, figure out what attracted you to Crazy and what caused you to tolerate her abuse…………”

    I am so thankful for coming across this site. It seems as though each blog touches on events I experienced with my BPD/NPD.

    The person you loved did not exist! I had to live it and get passed it to see it. This site has given me so much validation for feelings I experienced living in a four year cycle of bliss, confusion and frustration. My ex fiance kept an ex boyfriend in the shadows the entire time we were together. He had convictions for harassment, gun possession and DWI. She caught him cheating (she also did the same with her ex husband) and that supposedly ended their relationship. She played the Professional Victim role masterfully. I fell for it and was more then willing to save her. When I questioned her about her lies or distortions, it was all turned around and I was accused of being just like the others (without the cheating though)….. “another man taking advantage of my good nature”.

    It all ended for me when she was horrible to my kids after we bought a house together. I kicked her out after only four of months of living together. Needless to say she ran right back to the arms of the ex boyfriend. God bless them they are made for each other. It has been a year and a half since it ended and I have not engaged her at all. She tries like clockwork every three months to create an issue to engage me and I have refused to feed that attention monster. She has now attempted to make me the shadow ex. Now I see the traps and the only way to escape is through NO CONTACT.

    Yes, she downgraded, but in the end, Who was she? I realize now that I fell for a facade and I will never know who the wizard was behind the curtain. Guess what? It does not matter! As Dr. T says, there is no closure from their kind. Gather what you can and call it a victory by putting them and keeping them in your past. But most importantly, chronicle your experiences and list the red flags and the gut feelings you experienced when you first met because that profile will help you in the future and you will find the love you deserve and not the devil you have to endure.

    • Cousin Dave says

      “Who was she? I realize now that I fell for a facade and I will never know who the wizard was behind the curtain. ”

      I went through that after my breakup with my BPD ex too: “Who was she really?” I finally realized that, to quote the old saying, there was no there there. Without someone to psychically and financially mooch off of, borderlines basically don’t exist. I think of her now as a computer virus: something that’s really good at propagating its own existence by using other people’s resources, and might also be really good at causing damage, but otherwise has no function.

      • JWE_escaped says

        My favorite all time line from her was near the end ….”you haven’t surrendered yourself to me after four years”. This was during her demand that I pay off her credit card bills, buy her a new laptop and buy her a new car. She was entitled to my success and when I said “NO”, she turned on my kids. Last straw! She was out the door within a week and back into the arms of a cheater. They use whoever is available and as a friend pointed out, “they pray to the God of convenience.

        She even had the nerve to demand that I reimburse her moving expenses after I asked her to leave because “a real man would”. Laugh, delete…. no reply

  16. ron7127 says

    A person I have had to deal with did the following:

    Convinced her boyfirnd of 10 years to let her accompany him on a trip he was taking to the west coast for business. He was paying the tab.
    While there , she hooked up with an old acquaintence who she had been cultivating over the internet.
    She arranged to dump her boyfurend(presumably after he finished paying for the trip) and brought the new guy( a former heroin addict) back to their home state and began a relationship with him.
    In a few months, she had to call the police on him ,as he was acting threateningly and intoxicated. But, they must have patched things up as they are still together.
    Next, she “borrowed” 40-50,00 from a diabled sibling, someone who is naive and vulnerable. This was his inheritance from his mom. He makes minimal $$ and would need it for retirement to survive.None of his siblings were consulted about this. She has a history of not repaying “loans”.
    You cannot make this stuff up. It is shocking.
    I will bet he never sees a penny of this money again.

    • Cousin Dave says

      “Next, she “borrowed” 40-50,00 from a diabled sibling, someone who is naive and vulnerable. ”

      One of my wife’s sister-in-laws, whom I’ll call ‘A’, did this to her mother (the in-law’s mother, not my wife’s mother). When A’s mother got sick, she set herself up as her mother’s caretaker, and presented a public image to everyone of the dutiful daughter helping out her mom. But what A was really doing was siphoning off of her mom’s bank accounts and assets. Her deceased father had left her mom a pretty good nest egg, enough to live comfortably off of, and a paid-off house. A volunteered to take care of her mom’s financial affairs, and then went to work on siphoning off the bank accounts. A secretely took out a mortgage on the house, and a title loan on her mom’s car. It took her about a year to blow through the entire nest egg on partying and bling.

      One day A mom got a dunning notice from the mortgate company, and said “WTF?” She then thought to check her bank accounts and found them all empty. She called up A and said “What is all this?” A basically told her, “You’re screwed. It’s your fault for trusting me.” You know what A’s mom did then? She killed herself. Was A at all contrite about this? Not in the least. In fact, she was pissed at her mom for not offering to go back to work to support her.

      Last I heard, A had just been hauled back to the county, after having been on the county’s ten-most-wanted list for failure to appear on a DUI charge while on parole. She used to be a pretty gal, but she now looks like she’s in her 70s because of all the meth she’s taken despite only being 35. She’s had six children by five different men. The last two times she was convicted for something, she got herself pregnant before her sentence commenced because she heard somewhere that it’s against the law to put a pregnant woman in jail. Despite having been proven wrong twice on that, she’s probably going to try it again.

  17. Fll says

    Hi Dr. T So you have been following me around? Listening to my conversations and seeing my texts? I have never read a more true to life, spot on, description of what I have been going through for the last two years. Thank you!! Mostly my fault because I was going to rescue her from the downgrade BF who by the way was sooo important that she kept the game going with me for almost two years now. I stopped the games a week ago. I read your blog often and appreciate it, but This one was THE BEST and I read it at a time I needed it most as I was disconnecting from her games. If she is so in love and so happy with her new Man who and I quote from her, this really hit home after reading your post… “He treats me so nice” then why keep contact with me? Thanks for the insight Dr. T, I understand why now!! I really needed to read this one! Thanks!

  18. Edward says

    I’ve been in strict “No Contact” for 6 months, and it’s been excruciating. My ex of 4 1/2 years put me through Hell with her cheating, lies, deceit and manipulation.

    After catching her cheating, I broke it off with her. That’s when the real trouble began. She begged me not to leave the relationship; she said that she wanted to be with me, not him. She called me from 5 different phones (her phone, friend’s phone, her kids phone and work phone) after blocking each number when she called. She then began coming by my home at all hours of the night banging on my door, asking me what my problem was and begging again not to leave her. This hoovering occurred 3 different times over a 4 month period and would go on for weeks until I brought her back, only to catch her cheating again before I finally had enough and was emotionally drained from her lies, deceit and manipulation.

    The day we broke up for the final time, she got in a committed relationship with the stooge she cheated for months on me with and painted her new relationship and new found happiness on Facebook for ALL to see just days later (immature, classless and rubbing it in my nose). Keep in mind this woman is 49 years old. But, there is no doubt I did the right thing by turning my back, walking away and instituting “No Contact.”

    Also I want to add that for 4 months following the breakup, she text messaged, Facebook messaged and emailed me every week. All attempts went unanswered. She never called. Instead she tried using manipulation and control by hiding behind the written word. After all, love is personal. Text messaging, Facebook messaging and email is impersonal. She then used friends and family to snoop and stalk me on facebook. In the 4th month following the break up, she went as far as to access her mother’s facebook account and send me a friend request after I blocked her (she set up her mother’s facebook account, and knows her password). Thus, I had no choice but to delete my Facebook and email accounts and get and new phone number and different email address. Since then, no contact from her.

    I learned afterwards that she has cheated on every man in her life, including with multiple men behind the back of her deceased husband. Our relationship began with her saying she was on the “outs” with her boyfriend, when in fact she was cheating on him and stringing him along. I have sought the council of 2 psychologists and am currently under pyschotherapy to find out what would attract me to someone like this. All 3 agree she may be BPD. After reading the materials on this web page, I am convinced she is or, at the least, has some type of disorder.

    After 6 months, this still hurts and I don’t know why when I should be able to drop my feelings for this girl like a bad habit. My therapist thinks it’s normal, and it takes time.

    • Cousin Dave says

      Edward, first of all, congratulations on remaining no-contact for six months. You are absolutely doing the right thing, even though it may not feel like it right now. As something that will help, think of a few things that you wanted to do but couldn’t do while you were in the relationship, and go do them soon. That’s one thing that will help you get through it.

      And as far as “why did I fall for that”, consider this. We all like to think that we’re pretty good at taking care of ourselves, and avoiding traps and harmful entanglements. And, generally, we are: we know who we can and can’t trust at work; we know not to fall for Nigerian scams on the Internet, and we learned long ago that the “X-ray specs” they advertise in the back of comic books don’t really let you look through women’s clothing. We can spot drunk drivers on the road and avoid them, and we know not to fall for those teaser “introductory rate” credit-card offers.

      This level of competence is like being a good amateur chess player. You can play games with friends and although you’ll win some and lose some, you won’t embarrass yourself and it will be fun. That’s what it’s like dealing with non-disordered women; some relationships are better than others, but you can spot the obvious traps right away and avoid them. However, a relationship with a Cluster B is like being forced to play a chess match against Boris Spassky. You may be pretty good, but he’s a grandmaster and will checkmate your ass in four or five moves, every time. Not only becuase he has natural talent, but also because he lives and breathes chess, 24/7. That’s what Cluster B’s do; they live and breathe for their escapades; thoughs of games occupy their every waking moment. They almost never think about anything other than what want, what they believe other people owe them, and how they’re going to “get even”. Ordinary people, who actually have lives to live, simply cannot keep up.

      So the problem is not that you aren’t any good at chess. It’s because you were forced into a competition that you could not possibly win, with someone who has played more drama games in the past week than you have in your lifetime. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that we all have to get as good at game-paying as Boris Spassky is at chess. It just means that we need to learn to spot Boris from a distance, and avoid getting sucked into a chess match with him. That’s what you are working on in your therapy now.

      • Edward says

        Cousin Dave. Thanks for the insight. The metaphor was outstanding. Trying to make sense from this nonsense has been an uneventful venture, not to mention it’s kept me from emotionally moving forward quicker than I have been.

        I guess one would have to be a Cluster-B to make sense of it. The frightening thing for me is how could someone be so cold, empty and remorseless? How can someone, after 4-5 years, wake up everyday, look you in the eye, tell you they love, be around you every day, and still sleep with and have a relationship outside of their current relationship, and go on as if everything is normal?

        That’s one Hell of a chess player. I am proud that I have had the self respect to fend off her onslaught of text messages, emails and facebook communications filled with her disingenuous caring and insincere apologies….man, are these people selfish and narcissistic. My hope is that, after all of my pain, I burst her ego a little…maybe you could comment on that.

        • Americanitis says

          Cousin Dave is spot-on. Here’s the thing: unless you are a crazy person, you can’t think like one, and you can’t keep up. Period. Good luck. Sounds like you’re doing the right things. An old boss of mine used to say “Don’t feed stray cats, and eventually they go away.”

      • cicak says

        In my opinion, being in relationship with bpd is not like playing chess with Spassky, it’s like playing chess with a crocodile. If she senses you’re going to win she’ll eat your figures. If you eat her figures she’ll eat your head. Even Boris Spassky would lose match with a crocodile :)
        You can become like Spassky i.e. master in relationships and games but you cannot become like crocodile, not if you don’t have a personality disorder.
        Ofcourse the only way to deal with them is to avoid them completely. If it looks and roars like a crocodile then it’s a crocodile.

        You burst her ego just by not having a personality disorder. Being normal is enough to hurt Cluster Bs.

  19. elosz says

    Hey everyone, its been a year exactly from today that I broke up with my ex NPD girlfriend. I must say that it is true, that healing time takes long time… Even up to date I’m still not all healed up. But i am free, free from all of it. I am definitely not ready to date anyone seriously yet, even though during that whole year I’ve been seeing a bunch of women. To all those that are stuck not knowing what to do, take my advice. Get rid of the cancer before it gets the best out of you. My ex was literally a nut case, she use to flip out on random things. Even as something as dumb as me wearing a t shirt too much…all these example on this site are all living proof of what i use to go through.

    i read this article and it truly shows me that these people will never have healthy relationships, ever! They’re a just mean all the way to their core. I dumped my ex and she never even bothered contacting me, she didn’t even fight back and i did feel like “wow did she really love me?” Now I really know she didn’t, she loved of the idea of me…

    Thanks to this site i got out of its. Thanks a million

    • chester says

      Off topic, but just ran through my mind for some reason. I remember being in my home office, and around the corner she would come. In the doorway she would stand blathering on about her grievances with me…what I needed to do better/not do/where I fell short etc. ad nauseum. Eventually she would leave to go to work as an “interior designer.” Me? Well, I would often have 2 and sometimes three bowel movements…resulting from a case of frazzled nerves. What a lousy existence. Glad she’s long gone. Years later I was bs ing with her first ex (who I graduated high school with) He said; “yup, whenever I saw her coming round the corner, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.” We then had a pretty good laugh :)

  20. Americanitis says

    I feel bad for the New Guy. I hope he’s smart enough to read our divorce proceedings for himself, so as to get a better idea of what he’s in store for :)

    Poor guy…

  21. sickofit says

    wow this web site could be written about my stbx wife. we are in the middle of divorce.she has been trying to alienate me from “her” three kids for years. now she has gotten my brothers and sister on her side. they are mad at me because i started putting up boundries with them. i have allways been the “fixer”and now im not letting them take advantage.loaning money,using my stuff,etc.the zero sum equation that they have adopted is breath taking. if they all worked as hard at working instead of schemeing to screw me they would be rich. none of them really work . my stbx hasn’t really worked in 20 years. she has run up 70k in credit card bills which i stoppped paying 8 months ago.she has been defaming me to all my customers and aquintaces all over true friends are livid with her actions. i could write a book about her actions. this web site has really opened my eyes to the truth about her. she has my brother spying on me and bad mouthing my to my customers and friends threating to close down my business.if i dont work you get no cs but she wants me in jail to punish me for standing up to her

    • cuatezon says

      Charachter assasination is part of the sociopath/HCP/BPD/Cluster B’s repetoire, its one of their fundamental weapons, and is especially effective/damaging to the typical ‘nice guy’ who isn’t well versed in her ways and in defending himself from said attacks. Its an effective weapon since women are automatically considered the victims of men’s (imagined) oppression of them. Basically, you have a penis and she has a uterus – you’re bad she’s good. Generally the default thinking in our society.

      • sickofit says

        now im wondering if my brother is my down grade she is at his house when im away and his wife is at work. he has been giving her “rides” to get her car fixed etc.she wants him to watch our 5 yr old daughter when we are in not at all comfortable with that. there have been rumors that he likes chidren alittle to much. he has his two adult daughters and their small children living with them.the childrens fathers are no where to be found.they were around for two or three months after the children were born and then almost never seen.the youngest daughter became pregnent at 14 yrs old. in a twist of irony he has tried to tell our mother that “the reason he’s so screwed up is because i sexually abused him when we were kids” my mother threw him out of the house and took him out of her will. stbx wife and i went to psych eval two weeks ago she got blown out of the water. she is still trying to get me thrown out of the house. the law gaurdian told her im not getting the boot but she still insists i am. lucky for me i have several very good friends that have been through simaler situations. this web site has been a god send. it has really opened my eyes. sometimes when i feel my self slipping into the same old patterns of appeasment i go here and it builds my resolve to get through this intact with my children. i have never ducked a fight in my life but this has been the hardest thing i have ever done.

  22. BitByBitIHeal says

    “Particularly their willingness to tolerate abuse in a love relationship – and that it is necessary to have personal boundaries and limits in love.”

    Oh my goodness!!! This line resonated so deeply with me – I’m currently in the process of divorce from my HCP wife. I tried to move heaven and earth to make the marriage work over the last few years. I was really in a deep dark place about a year and a half ago when I somehow google-stumbled upon this site. It was like the blinds opened and a heavy rock was taken off of my chest!

    First, I want to thank Dr. T. because she helped me to realize that I was not alone. The emotional belligerence, the constant cycle of projection/conflict then lovey dovey phase drove me to near depression. We had no effective communication without the simplest of subjects degrading into an ugly argument, and conflict resolution never existed.

    There was no major fault in the marriage, as in cheating etc, but I would describe it more as death by a thousand cuts by a very sharp and crazy knife. I just couldn’t take it anymore…and that leads me to precisely the point about the line I quoted- why did I take it for as long as I did?

    It is important to recognize/define the problem – defining crazy, and highlighting the common patterns of crazy behavior are a key for us men who have benefited from this site. Second, I learned what the reason was for not being like most other men and running when crazy first pops its ugly head up in the relationship! I think the reason for so many of us men (including the high functioning/intelligence, six figure salary ones with solid jobs) to allow ourselves to be in an abusive, unsustainable relationship is because of an ugly childhood. I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional home were yelling, screaming and put downs were a norm, my parents never loved each other.
    In one way I was desensitized to my ex-wife’s yelling because of how I grew up, but oddly enough I knew something was wrong because my marriage reminded me too much of the childhood I hated, and it horrified me. I was clueless about what to do until I found this site.
    Regardless, going forward I have learnt to accept that my childhood really hurt me, I wasn’t able to develop that skill-set most ‘normal guys’ have when it comes to detecting and evading crazy. After accepting that my parents were less than perfect AND because of their lack of respect/nurturing for my development as a child, I never learned how to set clear and concrete boundaries for myself.

    For most of my life I always struggled in being able to say “NO!” I finally traced that back to a childhood of verbally abusive and negligent parents that made normal ego development next to impossible. I know that my parents love me in their flawed ways, but I also know that they don’t know what it means to express their love unconditionally and to deal with their frustrations like adults – probably a result of their respective childhoods as well.

    Anyways, I feel like a new man now, thanks to Dr. T’s work and everybody on this site for sharing your story!

  23. dshannon123 says

    This is certainly the situation I found myself in the last several years. I treated her extremely well and was 100% dedicated to the relationship. However, she, behind my back, was always looking for something else. When it would come to my attention and I would confront, I was the bad guy for making a big deal out of it. After all, these were only male “friends”. It was my fault I happened to be at her house when roses showed up from these “friends”. After all, what could she do about the fact they were sending her flowers? She would even lie concerning who she was with because, after all, she didn’t want to hurt me. I was making way too big of a deal about these things and I was the one who had the security issues, not her.

    Most recently, we had plans to go to florida to visit family and friends. I was at her home and she said she needed to tell me she had met someone else, had been invited to a military ball, had always wanted to go, and was going to do so. I was taken back because, again, foolishly, thought we were in a committed relationship. Oh, we were she said. This is just something that “happened”. It wasn’t planned. She just happened to meet someone who just happened to invite her to a function and she just happened to accept. Now this ended up being about a month before she bothered to tell me, but when I questioned again, I was the suspicious one, I was the one who was insecure, and so on.

    I left me a message I was coming by her place last Saturday to pick up some of my things. To my surprise, the happen chance meeting guy’s truck was parked in her drive way. It was early in the morning so clear he spent the night. On week after I had spent the weekend at her place. She returned by call in a panic saying she was at work and I could come by later. I said I am in front of your place and its clear you are not at work. I said its clear there was much more to this than she told me as the guy is in the same bed I occupied but a week ago. She said, I told you about this! I responded, no, you said you met a man who invited you to a function, not that you were already in an intimate relationship with someone else.

    I drove back home. She called later and again, made it sound as if some how it was all my fault, why do i have suspicions, why do I have insecurities, so on and so on. She lives 2 doors down from my sister, (another story) and I told her that being the case and the fact they see my car there regularly the least she could do is have him put his car in the garage if he is spending the night.

    I could go on and on but sure you get the gist. Its been this way on and off for 7 years and need to extricate myself because every time the “other” guy bolts she finds her way back to me and I give in. Our families and friends are very much tied together which makes it much more difficult. As I told her, the behavior she has exhibited, always looking for something better, might be cooler at 26, but we are 56. I guess age really has nothing to do with the behavior, now does it?

  24. Confused says

    I am so glad I found this site, reading the articles and blogs has made me realize I am not solely to blame like my ex wants me to believe. This article hits the nail on the head with my ex. We have known each other for several years, dated on and off the last 2 years. She always claimed to be the victim and that she wanted to be with me and needed a good guy like myself. One day a month or so ago she was picking out rings and talking about buying a house together. She was in such a good mood. The next day she was cold and distant and come to find out a friend of mine saw her online on a dating website. I confronted her about it and immediately she blamed me and accused me of being jealous and not trusting her. This happened more than once.

    But then a couple of days later she would always come back begging me to take her back and she changed. A few days ago I found out an old flame she dated for a few weeks while we were broken up has been contacting her and she was depressed because he was with another girl. I told her why did is matter because she was with me. Then she got distant again and when I asked her what was wrong she said nothing and said that I am paranoid and jealous. Come to find out she was planning to meet with him and that the entire time they dated (for 3 weeks while we were broken up) he practically lived with her! She would not let me stay over because of the bad impression it would leave on her kids according to her. This guy also has a criminal record and she is an executive!

    I was a good boyfriend, I planned dates and outings that included the kids but she would back out and find some reason to blame me. After what I found out a few days ago I told her never to contact me again. Because of this relationship and a couple of others I feel as if I can’t trust most women and feel emotionally damaged.

    • Confused says

      I also want to add that one time she broke up with me because the night before she had a dream that I was cheating. I never did. I know I have some blame in this because I let her come back but I guess when you are in love you do stupid things.

  25. tomg says

    The STBE did not file an answer to my complaint for judgement. She actually waived her 45 day period so we had a court date on May 6th.
    A week before that I started receiving some pretty long winded text messages from her. Not really messages, more like silly details about the kids activities…….something seemed “up.” In one text she asked me if I would be willing to talk over coffee or dinner (just her and I) because she wanted “to be open.” She assured me it was nothing bad, and that she was not looking for money. Oh brother!!!!!!
    I gave it a day, but agreed to a public meeting.
    She was there before I arrived (I am always prompt) and the conversation was really like a Seinfeld episode……nothing.
    I did discover that she broke up with her lover because (Are you all sitting down?) “He was a control freak.” Seems he “took” her phone and was texting and calling me on it without her knowing it. Whatever the reason was, this poor bastard was taken for his own crazy house ride. He was chosen to save her and protect her from me who she calls “verbally abusive. Mentally unstable. Paranoid. and CONTROLLING…….”
    Now, after all their abuse she appears to want to be friends again which is really not nessesary from my point of view. Again, she wants to be friends….then damn it, I better do so or suffer some consequences.

    Now the corker. Could I please postpone the final hearing because she still hasn’t found a job, and the $550/ month COBRA payments are just out of her reach (forgot to mention the lump sum of cash I gave her, which like throughout our marriage is also considered out of bounds and “hers.”

    She also has a medical situation she needs to resolve. Yes, she contracted an STD……….Jumping crickets!!!!!!!!! All those mental problems, and a scumbag as well. What a prize.
    I would say nothing…..I was actually stunned. 5 hours later my attorney called me in a panic to say her attorney called her to say I was dismissing (not postponing) the hearing. Meaning push it out indefinitely………I blanched.

    Dr Tarra……she has covered all the basis on this blog. She exhibits nearly all those traits.
    Push on I will………

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Please tell me you are not postponing the hearing. The entitlement. Just wow.

      Honestly, I don’t how you didn’t soil yourself from laughter when she made these “requests.”

    • queenbee says

      Due to the use of the term “COBRA”, I have to assume you are in the US. So am I. While it isn’t your job to fill her in on all this crap, as I did for my husband’s ex-wife while begging her to sign the divorce papers, there are definitely things through the state that can get her medical help, particularly if she is actually suffering from some illness, whether physical or mental. As far as an STD, well, guess what? Planned Parenthood has been around for decades, and they can help, and it will be on a sliding scale. She can research her options on this thing called the internet, she can do something she enjoys making others do, which is jumping through hoops, and then she can get a bunch of her medical stuff fixed. Without you. Get rid of her as fast as you can.
      I see the post is from a few months ago, but still I had to say something. One other thing, the requests you had from her? I was told my husband’s ex-wife’s Four Demands. She went through each one, and all of the first 3 were already in the paperwork she had been given repeatedly by the attorney, and each time it was costly to us. The Fourth Demand? She could not recall what it was. For weeks. Finally, I told her it was off the table. She went nuts.

  26. DarkStorm says

    Thank you for another brilliant article, my experience with CRAZY can be summised as 1 easy to remember rule:
    past behviour predicts future behaviour

  27. Resilience says

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I’m the WIFE (hoping to soon be ex) of A Crazy. If you change the pronouns, almost all of this applies to ME.

  28. queenbee says

    I want to state that this is the site where I learned a wonderful lesson, one that I had never even considered before.
    It was to never, ever, ever allow my husband alone with his ex-wife. Why? well, I KNEW she was going to attempt seduction, and I was not worried about that at all. My husband gags thinking about her that way. But I never once considered that she might accuse him of assault or rape, or anything like that. I am glad I found this site. You may have saved me and my husband time in court, money, and the capability to see the children. See, I’d never have thought of that, because I just don’t think that way.

  29. artfuldodger says

    I have been married for 13 years. I was 25 years old when I met my soon to be ex. I was finishing my last semester of college and she was finishing what she told me was her second associates degree. I would find out later that she had previously flunked out the first time around. I was still living with my parents and was ready for the post college move out. She had been recently been jilted by her fiance who she had dated as far back as high school. I was immediately love bombed from the second date on. I graduated in December and was living with her by January. By June she had pressured and convinced me to buy an engagement ring. She said that if I really loved her I should be able to make that kind of commitment.Looking back I can see that I was already in a FOG. I wish I would have clued in what was to come early on in the relationship when she screamed at me to cook her some f@#$ eggs! At the beginning of the relationship I had one credit card with a $0 balance. By the time we were married I had 3 cards with rapidly growing balances. I later found out that she already had charge offs before she even met me.She bragged about how she maxed out her previous fiancee’s credit card when he left her. A few weeks before we were married she confided to me that she had given birth to a son a few years before we had married and given the child up for adoption. She told me that besides one friend I was the only other person that knew. I wonder why she waited so close to the wedding to tell me? 2 years after we married she began to push me to have a child. I agreed. The childcare costs came and she began to criticize me for not having a good enough job to support the family. Our combined incomes should have been able to live a comfortable life yet every month. She was handling the finances and I was completely oblivious to what was really going on. She had acquired numerous credit cards which were maxed out before our first child was born. She had directed me when and where to spend on my credit cards. I was even emasculated at the grocery store one time because I did not step and pay for the groceries with my credit card. During the next 2 years after our first child was born, I was pressured into taking a second job and going back to school.I quit school during the first semester. I was studying for a test late one night and my child would not go to sleep. My wife put the child on the floor in front of me and said “you deal with”. She slammed the bedroom door and went to sleep. I did not fail the test I was studying for, but I did not make a good enough grade either. I dropped out because I new I would not get any support from her. When I told her I dropped out there were consequences. I was told I was unmotivated, lazy and did not care for the family. I was able to change my primary job shift to night shift and quit the second job. This eliminated the cost for childcare. Things should have improved financially but only got worse as a result of her overspending.In the course of the next few years, our next child was born. My brother and sister in law also had a child. I continued to work night shift. During the course of a day I would take my oldest child to elementary school, my youngest to preschool and baby sit my infant niece. I was expected to pick up the children from school, help with homework, cook dinner, do laundry and keep the house clean. This was to be done before going to work an 8 hour shift at work. If my wife began to find any of these areas lacking, I would be told that I was lazy and unmotivated. One time she told me she wished that she had my easy “pie” life. On weekends I did landscaping to earn extra income. If I ever complained that I was tired, or said that I would like to spend more time with the family she would cut me down for making her feel guilty. During this time it seems that she was only required to work a 9-5 job. She would constantly complain about her job and the people she worked with.After my second child was born which was 4 years into our marriage, my told me she just was not a very sexual person. She then began allowing our children to sleep in our bed. I was then removed from the sleeping arrangements. My children are now age 11 and 9. They still sleep with her even though I have clearly expressed my displeasure to her numerous times. She also still bathes with them as well and ignores me when I tell her it is creepy The children are both boys by the way! In July of 2013 a dis-functional couple began renting a house across the street from us. The wife was an extremely volatile alcoholic. My wife immediately became attached to this couple. I stayed away because a new they would be trouble. One night my wife, neighbor’s husband, and unfortunately me were on our front porch. The alcoholic wife came home intoxicated and approached the husband on our front porch. He picked her up and threw her off the porch on to the concrete. The wife was able to get back up by herself. I told them both to leave and that I would not have that kind of behavior at my house. My wife just commented that the alcoholic wife deserved it. The next weekend my wife and the neighbor’s husband stayed out on our front porch having drinks until 5:30 a.m. In September 2013 my wife seems obsessed by this couple. One Friday night I was at the kitchen table when she got home from work. She came in and did not say hello or even look at me. She went straight over to the neighbors’ house. I did not her from her for 2 hours. I decided to give my wife a call and ask her if something was wrong. She came home and began screaming at me. She told me she did not feel loved or appreciated, had lost feelings for me a long time ago, was unsatisfied with our sex life and needed to drink and f— all night long. She further added that she wanted to separate. I was completely devastated.2 days later she said she wanted to reconcile. She gave me a long list of things I had to improve or do. She said that she needed “things” to know she was loved. In October of 2013 I was given a good promotion at my place of employment. The very same week the neighbor from across the street decided to leave his wife. My wife moves him in the same week I started my new job. She has only known this person since July. After the first week of his stay I questioned my wife about the length of his stay. She told me she did not care what I thought and that she just needed to do something good this year. He ended up staying in our house for the entire month of October. During this time it seems like my wife never left his side. Every time his wife sent him a crazy text my wife was glued to his side reading it. She constantly flirted with him. When they would sit on the porch together she would rest her legs across his. They sat in the bed together side by side, just the two of them watching television. I found out later that she told her friends he was gay. I also found out later through financial records that during this time my wife rented hotel rooms in the local area twice when she was supposed to have been babysitting overnight for a friend.She paid his rent twice for which once we appear to have been reimbursed. She also paid his cable, utilities and cell phone bill. She did not make our mortgage bill and many other bills. Apparently as a result she had me borrow 4,000 dollars from my parents in November only to be broke again after Christmas. The neighbor’s wife move to another state and died 2 weeks later from complications related to severe alcoholism. The husband moved to another state to live with a woman from his past which is likely to be wife #4.
    My wife seemed to become even more distant after this. In March my wife quit her job and cashed in her 401K. By July it appears she had spent all off this money.She claims she paid off bills but collection calls are still coming. In May my wife asked for a separation again after an argument about her Mother’s Day entitlements. She was not satisfied that I had built her a garden shed, bought and planted over $100 worth of flowers, inlaid our flower beds with brick and freshened the shrub beds with new mulch. She had asked for for all of these things for Mother’s Day. The one thing I did not do was finish cleaning out the garage. That is what she focused on. She told me that was the one thing she wanted for Mother’s Day and I would not give it to her. I told her she was being selfish and she replied that she wanted to separate. I said okay. I told my parents about what had happened the next day. I also told them about what had been going on with our relationship for all these years. They immediately saw the situation for what it was. They recommended that I get a lawyer. The very next day I talked with a lawyer. The lawyer told me that my wife was cheating on me and that she had a plan. I could not believe it. I told the lawyer I just wanted to give my wife what she wanted. She told me to look through paperwork at home and see if I found anything. I started poking around and immediately found red flags. The reawakening and WTF moment came quickly. I told my wife I was not ready to leave yet so I could stall. I hired a PI and found out that she had reconnected with the fiance who had jilted her years ago and that she was even exposing our children to him.I suspect she is trying to replace me with him in regards to the children.He is even still married. I found his resume on the home computer in the recycle bin. His phone number was on the resume so I tracked his calls to my wife’s phone via our cell provider. They had been in contact since December. She reconnected with him just a few weeks after the neighbor across the street moved.Through my own surveillance I have discovered that many of her friends have known and aided her in this affair.Some of these were mutual friends of ours. I heard her make comments regarding this paramour. She said we have got to get him a job. He has a job, just not one that could pay for her insatiable appetite.I know I had this one used on me. I intercepted a phone call from an online university that said my wife has inquired about a bachelor’s degree in a field that I know she has no interest in. Same tricks, different person. I found years worth of documents stuffed with credit documents any many other goodies that she kept for some reason. I have scanned them all. I also went to a psychologist and myself pretested. I also had my children interviewed about their exposure to the boyfriend and their mother bathing with them. I am about 2 weeks out from having her served. After that I will have to wait for one of the predefined outcomes. Will I be met with a Hoover, physical violence or the false allegation? I know where I am going to put my money. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this website. I have been glued to it for days and it has been a really healing for me.

  30. ehansk says

    Thank you Dr. Tara for the excellent resource filled website, Cameron for the superb article on PD, and for the other posters sharing their experience/insight. I literally feel that this website is helping to save my life (help my sanity).

    After enduring and exiting a 3 year relationship with a BPD woman in 2007, I just ended (in late July 2013)another 9 month relationship with a BPD woman. I got two therapy sessions with a MA counselor back in 2007, recognized that my ex back then was BPD, but I never pursued the therapy further due to it being too difficult to handle as my mother died at the exact same time. So, 6 years later, I voluntarily enter into a relationship with a BPD. After an intial (classic) 2 month period of feeling magical, excited, intellectually bonded, and intimately bonded(false and superficially, and irrationally)…..the smoke (FOG) and mirrors started to evaporate and disapper, her true C2 traits started to shine glaringly through, and of course, I willfully ignored them and became the White Knight. I will refer to my most recent cluster B ex as JF.

    Cousin Dave: your comment in this thread , on how you CANNOT rely on a Cluster B to give you accurate information about their past, to be SO TRUE – it is very eye opening and insightful for me. My ex BPD JF is 4 years clean and sober, or so she claimed. I actually believe she has been sober for 4 years, but she has never had therapy for her alcoholism, or coke addiction , OR for her BPD. She told me she did undergo therapy for her relationship issues 5 years ago, but because she was still using at the time, she was not able to get anything out of it. She would never reveal what the relationship issues were other than she only dated drunks and cokeheads. I question whether or not she actually got psychotherapy at all. I don’t know whether half or all of what she told me about her past is true, fabrications, prevarication, exaggeration. What little I did get is that she was sexually molested by boys in high school in front of people in positions of authority who did nothing to prevent the molestation. (grabbing of her breasts in science class in front of a teacher). She went on, in her late 20’s to mid 30’s, to become a daily cocaine and alcohol abuser. What she did reveal to me was that she would go home with drunk men from bars, have unprotected sex with them, and then regret it the next morning. She would not tell me the number of men, but said it was “a lot”. She said she engaged in this behavior for “a number of years”. She said she stopped this behavior when she became sober 5 years ago, and that I was the second man she has been sexually involved with since becoming sober. That other man (supposedly)was a married man from Turkey with a wife and kids back in Turkey. I should also share that this ex JF rejected my kiss on our 3rd date, and in 8 months would never kiss me. She gave many reasons for it, all of which did not make sense to me. She disclosed to me 4 month into our relationship that she did a lot of shoplifting in her 20s (common BPD behavior). She disclosed to me at 7 months into it, that the only men she has felt passion and romance for sexually were two married men (one the Turk, another a man living in her condo complex with a cocaine habit they engaged in together). She is telling me this right after she is telling me she loves me and I am her best friend.

    In nine months, we were sexually intimate 14 times (without any kissing). After the 5 month mark, the FOGGING and withholding of sex started to become strong.

    She has never had a job more than 3 years. She has had over 20 different jobs in her life. She is broke. 2 months into our relationship, she got kicked out of her shared apartment by a female roommate. I was in SF visiting a friend when this happened. When I returned, she was living in her car and in a shelter. I agreed to let her stay with me a week, but I am allergic to her cat, so she had to find an apartment. She was broke, so she couldn’t. So, I put her up in Motel 6 for two months, and then her dad put her up there for another month. Her father (supposedly), gave her the rent for an apartment, which she moved into at the 6 month mark. At the 6 month mark, I really was starting to reach the end of my rope, and demanded that she tell me what happened to her as a girl, in the bars, with her coke boyfriends. She would not. She refused to disclose anything more. I couldn’t tolerate this, and after she told me about only being passionate for 2 married men, that put a dagger through me. I ended it with her on July 25. Went on an international vacation for a month in August, so no contact for 4 weeks. But when I returned, I started asking the Whys and What IFs in emails. Got nothing coherent or revealing on her end. Only that I was “manipulating” her and causing her “anxiety” and was “clinging”

    where I’m going with this is – I think she is the type of BPD to make her white knight “disappear”. I constantly got differing answers about the pain in her past, but never got much information at all. When I requested and finally demanded that she disclose more about ex-boyfriend, sexual abuse, and why she refused to kiss me, she would call ME toxic, demanding, manipulative and cruel. She never tried contacting me after 7/25. Stupidly, weakly I have tried contacting her twice in email, only to have the hell resurface. I am currently 8 days NC from the last email exchange. I am seeing a clinical psychologist weekly, and have had 6 sessions so far. His observations pointed me in the direction of her being BPD/NPD, without actually saying that about her. She has 328 friends on Facebook, but never talks to any of them in person. She has no friends. She never once took a picture of us (or herself) together, despite that she loves photography. She has filed bankruptcy, constantly is broke, and lives in constant fear of becoming homeless.

    She has a Master’s Degree, is extremely physically attractive (super pretty girl), and yes, the image she presents to the public world is completely opposite to who she is behind closed doors). Sorry for ranting too much , I had to relate this though. I deleted her from facebook 8 days ago, and I’m finally able to sleep more than 5 hours a night now the last week. My birthday is this Sunday and hers is two days later. I have read about how many CBs and BPD women give the relationship end a few weeks or months, then they will suddenly reappear in an email or a text. I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety about this happening to me as I get further into NC time.

    • cuatezon says

      ehansk – the shady past and not divulging important/relevant information is part of a NPD/BPD person’s repotoire. I believe its part of their effort to add ‘mystique’ to them and make them more desirable. Its a cheap marketing tactic. She’s inferring that she is desirable and that you may qualify for this great deal that is available for a limited time only. NPD/BPD will find anything they can to drive you crazy, make you doubt yourself, make you feel insecure. This game is part of that strategy. Keep you wondering. In healthy relationships there shouldn’t be a lot of wondering. We have a right to feel unconditionally loved and respected. We have a right to feel reasonable secure and both emotional & physical fidelity.

      Cut the snake’s head off quickly & cleanly. Meaning, go No Contact and keep it that way forever.

  31. Driver says

    Great article. I’m still playing “catch up” reading but these one really made a great deal of sense to me.

    My exgf told me that her last relationship (2 yrs) was an abusive one. Now, I don’t know the whole truth because, of course, this is her side of the story but I could see her at times playing the professional victim. We saw each other for 2 and a half months (very good times). Then, out of the blue, she breaks if off with me citing that I am needy. I don’t mind looking at myself and improving my ways but I thought this whole relationship was a two way deal. You were crazy in love with me…I was crazy in love with you (but now I’M the needy one?). After she gave me the “full court press” in the beginning how did I become the needy one and not her? It didn’t make sense.

    So, I find out (after a few weeks) that she actually went back to her exbf (the abuser). Wow..great for me, huh? I was devastated and I had no respect for her at this point but still had feelings. It was rough. I know she downgraded because I have much to offer (i.e. great job, decent looking man, athletic, easy going) but it’s exactly that easy going mentality and caring attitude is why I found myself in trouble with this type of woman.

    Once you are aware that your woman has a PD, then you have to just cut her off. No favors, no help…let her new (or old) bf “rescue” her or help her. Otherwise, she’ll abuse you and disrespect you.

    I actually called her a hustler, one time, because she was trying to “hustle” me (and others) into painting her new place. I told her to ask me like an adult if she needed my help…I’ll be glad to help. She did not like that comment one bit (and she didn’t ask for the help). Oh well. What is it with these types asking for help? Do they see it as being weak?

    Lesson learned, guys. Once you are no longer the bf or husband, then no more goodies (no help, no favors, etc…). No contact, walk away. I know it’s tough, I’ve been there, too.


  32. justwakingup says

    OMG. This article is pretty much the script of my life for the last 2 1/2 years. ALL of it. Starting with my ex’s BF who moved into MY house only weeks after the divorce and drove THE FAMILY VAN I paid for and slept in the same bed I shared with my ex for 13 years. That was right about the same time he texted me to tell me “he was the man in her life now.” He was an out-of shape guy living with his mom. Not exactly an “upgrade.” He lasted longer than others, but the relationship was (surprise!) turbulent and the law enforcement was involved on few occassions. As of lately, her relationships don’t last more than 3 or 4 months.
    And yes, I’ve done all three of the mistakes listed above. Over and over and over again…
    What really complicates the situation is the fact that we have three kids together (6, 9 and 11) that live with her. Otherwise, I would not be living anywhere near her.
    A lot of the articles and posts on this site ring true with my experience and with my ex CB, but this one hit home the closest. This was one of the most painful aspects of the divorce.

    • justwakingup says

      Just wanted to clarify something. If you live with your parents or if you are out of shape, don’t take offense to my comment about my ex-CB’s ex-BF. There’s a lot more to that comment. Basically, I stayed in good shape the whole time we were married and busted my ass trying to provide for the family and have a good career, so when this guy that resembled Shrek, barely had enough resources to support himself (much less a family of five) and no job to speak of came along, let’s just say I was slightly bitter about it.

  33. civil says

    hey people, hope u all well. I have a problem. I’m 22 years old n dated a woman 14 years older than me prior to the break up so I met her when I was 19 n been with her for 3 years n we have a son that’s 1years old. We recently split up and I can’t handle the fact that she used all my insercurites against by finding someone that’s better than me. Older and successfull and wiser etc. I mean she knew I had little when she found me n I got a lil more these days but I’m still a good dad that provides for my son no matter what. Starting to think she used me and made me believe I’m nothing with her coz she will always use my son to hurt me. Just when I think I make progress without her, she finds a way to bring me back down when my heart is broken n she knows very well I love her so much coz she was my first everything and now I feel like I’m stuck in limbo. All the good memories filling my mind thinking to myself not give up on her n fight for her like I always have to prove myself to her. Think she felt sorry for me coz I was destined to finish my studies and n make a life for myself but didn’t happen coz the nighT I met her she. Asked me to be donor for a child she wanted n told me about her broken marriage she is in n I felt sorry for her I really did. That moment changed my life coz iv been labelled a home wrecker and have very fractured relationship with my parents and family to a point where I am a outcast. She is divorced now coz of the baby we share and he ex husband is still to this day out for blood. We have struggled so much to live our dream of being a family and we didn’t even get close to it..she knows now that I can’t turn to any1 coz I always told her that she is my choice n even tho time changes my feelings won’t. We have been thru a lot of break ups to make ups…- got chased away the day my son was born for the hospital coz he ex husband showed up with their own kid to being blackmailed to my sons name with I gave him at birth being left out of his birth certificate and it goes on coz I believed if I hold on n forgive her we could make it last but I was so dead wrong…now she has someone new n I feel I’m being replaced by this new guy. She even went public to humiliate me on Facebook with this guy when I asked for the same I was told ‘nobody needs to know our business’ which hurt so much n u can imagine how heated arguments became n I was always the villain trapped thru passive aggressive behaviour. I held on for my son and wanting to give him a family he always deserved. Don’t want him years from now to hate me for it coz its the role n burden only I can carry. I’m struggling a lot can’t sleep at night, when she is off having a great life with him and I left in the rubble of her love when all I wanted was for her to be happy. That’s all for now. Thank you for your time and any advice would be Appriciated.

  34. MrVimes says

    A family member just sent this link to me as i moved in with a girl who i thought was lovely 6 months ago. Since then she has come very close to destroying my self confidence in ways i had never thought possible. Turned people i thought were friends against me through prolific lies and explained (very honestly i thought) that she was out to “ruin” me in the village where we live. We’ve had doors kicked off hinges, phones thrown at faces, and items stolen and placed in ridiculous places then complete denial. The behaviour did stop for a few weeks as i decided to film her, blatantly, not covertly. At first she screamed and i thought she would become more violent, but then reality seemed to hit and i had proof of her irrational behaviour. I still keep the video, just in case.
    A close friend of her family took me to one side and told me “you are not her saviour, you’ve done better than most but for your own sake, let her go”. Unfotunately i’m stuck with a house with her for another 6 months but feel more able to carry on with life as people are aware of her behaviour not only with me but with past boyfriends. I’ve also found it odd that her key Enabler is her mother, who is terrified of her but at the same time positively encourages her behaviour when it’s not directed at herself. She had found the new boyfriend a few weeks ago. She took pleasure in hinting constantly and a mutual friend confirmed she had been seeing someone, when i didn’t rise to the bait she has got rid of him and now wavers between following me around like a little lost soul and trying to put me down.
    I really do wonder how many people suffer because of situations like this. I had moments of sheer terror i’m not ashamed to admit. She would wake me up at 4 in the morning screaming nonsense and then ask why i was tired in the morning and why i always look on edge.
    This article has come at the right time as i’m fully aware of what is happening and her instability and destructive nature, but needed confirmation that my instincts were right. Awful condition for a person to be in but i don’t think people like this are capable of Love as others know it. Great to read and the relief i felt was, well, i needed to read that. I hope that it is accessed by more people who need to see it for themselves.

  35. joejon says

    I found this article and site today and it really hit home. My g/f and I had a great relationship for the most part. However, I began to see some major red flags. After the first year together, she tells me that the whole story of her divorce was a lie, and she was actually still married when we first dated, although separated. She had told me she divorced him because he was unfaithful, but later she confessed that it was she who was unfaithful. Her ex is a great guy, btw. She said she was also diagnosed BP, and had stopped taking her meds when we met, but knew my exwife was bipolar and didn’t want to lose me.

    After she told me that she became very distant. Then she all but stopped texting, returning calls, and started breaking dates. I was totally confused and lost, because when we did see each other she was talking about marriage and children. After two months of broken dates I find out she is dating a 22 yo HS dropout living out of his truck and doing odd jobs (We’re both 34.) 5 months later, she is begging me to take her back, because she caught this kid blowing marijuana smoke in her 6 and 7 yo’s face. She tells me she is afraid of him and he is threatening her.

    I take her back and things are wonderful again. Then 3 months later, she suddenly starts the disappearing act. I tell her I notice a distance building and want to talk about it before it gets worse. I get a text that she’s never been single and needs to be alone to figure things out. A month later she is dating a 21 yo unemployed kid who lives with his parents. The whole time we have been apart she’s been with this kid, but telling me her two boys need me in their life, and how much they miss me, ect. She says she wants me to spend time with them, and I agree. (Not knowing about her new bf.) I buy tickets to theme parks, and fun events, and she keeps cancelling on me. I’m beating myself up and at the lowest I’ve ever been in my life. I know things will get better and I dodged a bullet, but I’m devastated, and now I keep asking how she could leave me for these losers.

  36. mongoose says

    To all of you guys that are stuck in this situation:

    I was “hyper vigilant” of what my ex-abuser has been doing. I am not that stuck anymore and am finding my way out of this sinkhole. I had to take some meds though, and am still taking them to balance the chemistry back inside my brain. I was also lucky to find an objective therapist that is helping me get out of this maze.

    I am perplexed by the accuracy of Dr. T’s statements and words. You have to be ready for your ex-abuser to jump into another relationship PRONTO. As she broke up with me, my ex told me she had no time to lose and “god would give her another guy, not time”. If I trust my gut, this new guy of hers was targeted BEFORE she broke up. Make no mistake, feel the vibes. There is an old saying with this kind of gals: “piensa mal y acertarás”, in other words, “think that something is wrong and you will hit bullseye”.

    Think of yourselves as circles with lines tied up around. Every line is a loved one: friends, family, even your loved pets if you have. Abusive personality girls will try to cut every line around you and leave a secure connection between her and her prey. That was what she tried to do with me, she viewed my family members as obstacles and disrespected them all the time.

    Since it was a long-distance relationship I was blinded by this gal’s sex drive at the beginning of the relationship every time I had a chance to see her. Sex came at first to control me, then sex came every time I bought something nice to her, invited her to trips etc. If I refused she got herself naked in the room, slept close to me, got me going, and then withdrew.

    She was my first. People say that when you have your first sexual relationship with someone you know, you feel an elevated sense of connection, a meeting of souls. This wasn’t the case for me. There was no foreplay, no kissing or anything. She just opened up her legs as a machine and went down on me at the first date. She told me she had only dated four guys before me, but I got well informed and yes, four is the number she had to multiply times five to get to the true number.

    I felt the bad vibes somehow, and placed my armor and shield against her incessant needs. My family also grew deeply disappointed with her behavior at my house (she felt she was the owner of everything, house, lake house, coffee farm house) and my family felt they were intruders at their OWN house.

    One day, I found out she has a warrant for larceny in the FDLE system, and confronted her about it. I called every day to see if she could fix the problem and said she needed 500 bucks. Never gave them to her. As soon as she discovered that I was breaking away her mask, she “pulled the rip cord.”

    Now she has her fangs stuck into a younger guy, who is paying a seven day trip to cuba as I write. I feel sorry for him, since he is a very weak person because of problems in his childhood (I know the guy). Some friend s of him already warned him about the gal, but it seems the venom is already too deep for him to snap out of it. The vacation plan is OBVIOUSLY a sneaky one. In this time of the year, in our country lots of people congregate in a lake near the city and throw parties, etc. She has taken him “covertly” to cut the lines of his circle (friends, family) who already know the problems this 30 year old woman has.

    So guys, be strong. Develop a shit radar and if you have a loving family, trust them. Mothers and sisters can smell shit women for miles. I almost fell into her lies. I almost proposed, but something in my conscience told me the ring was not for her. So I pulled out my combat knife and fended every attempt to break my boundaries.

    A good woman will not break your boundaries. Good women HAVE installed in their brains “rules of engagement” and will provide with a healthy kind of love.

    I really hope I can find a gal out there with a noble heart that will respond lovingly and respect herself during sexual relationships. Remember this is a GIFT, not something to control men with!

    Watch out for those “pigs on the wing”.

  37. rusticles says

    Was in no contact mode with ex girl bpd/narcissist for 14 months. She contacts me to say she’d looked me up on facebook and said that I looked happy. She had a new number and had kept mine to contact me. I was in a real low point in a new relationship with a wonderful gal so I agreed to catchup with the wicked witch. At the bar she’s already drunk and we start to chat. She’s still uber seductive and on heat basically. Tells me about her new lover and yes she’s gone for the complete opposite of me. He’s violent, withdrawn, under employed and recently lost his license to DUI. This loser is 43 and still lives with his parents! Anyway after learning that my new sexlife is pretty good she tells me that hers is AWESOME. Then in my semi emasculated state she tells me that she needs someone like me and Drunko is really her Ex now. Then she touches me whispers my name and lies about loving me and takes a good long look at my crotch…2 days later she tries to triangulate me by saying ‘it’s a sticky situation’ but if you can handle it then I can see you and hide it from Drunko
    I refuse the offer to be a sugar daddy sucker. Nevertheless her offer was a real put down to me and took me a long time to recover from and being exposed to how awesome her new sexlife was felt quite emasculating. I’ve come to believe that she simply couldn’t stand seeing me happy on facebook and she simply wanted to allure me then stick a knife in me to induce hurt. Well I hurt her back in our last email exchange. If I were a novelist I would create an evil female character based heavily on my memory of this deeply troubled and disturbing woman

  38. loislane says

    I know this is shrink for men but I was researching answers to try and understand my very f***** up sociopathic ex. Change the he’s to she’s and her’s to him’s and it describes him perfectly. So glad I read this as had really began to question myself, was it my fault, again. But I know it wasn’t. Can’t control crazy. Brilliant article.

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