I am honored to have been asked to contribute to Shrink4Men. This site has aided immensely with my healing from an abusive relationship with someone who I strongly suspect has Borderline Personality Disorder. I was only in the relationship for a year and my hat goes off and heart goes out to anyone who lasted longer or is still in the trenches. My year felt like 25 years and it literally almost killed me.
As I write this, I’m approaching 2 years of no contact with the ex. I am by no means “all better.” I don’t know if I ever will be. But if I’m not “all” better, I’m at least better than I was two years ago at this time. I hope this post and other posts I contribute will be more like postcards from the voyage. I want to say “the voyage back to wholeness,” but that would be an assumption.
All I can tell you is that I’m on the road and these posts are about some of the things that have helped me on the way. I’m not even close to being a licensed therapist (nor do I have any desire to become one), so please, take my advice for what it is – observations from someone who’s “been there.” Your mileage may vary.
My ex and I originally met on Livejournal. LJ later became a point of contention for her (I was “obviously” using it to meet/hook-up with/sleep with everyone I knew there). It got to the point where it wasn’t worth me posting there anymore, as it would inevitably lead to a fight. Then, of course, me not posting there became equally contentious. “Obviously” I wasn’t writing about her, because I was trying to hide our relationship, so (again), I could meet/hook-up with/sleep with people there. Remember double binds? Fun, aren’t they? When I did post about her, she didn’t like how I wrote and would inevitably nit-pick everything in my post, so I had to make a thousand revisions and disclaimers. You lose some and . . . you lose some.
By the end of our relationship, I’d cut myself off from all of my friends both online and “in real life.” It simply wasn’t worth the hassle of having to defend myself against charges of infidelity if I made the mistake of talking to someone or not hiding before they could approach me. By the time our relationship ended, I had been so beaten down that I no longer knew which direction was up. I likened it to Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984 finally “seeing” that 2+2 did, indeed, equal 5. I couldn’t remember to eat. I couldn’t remember to sleep. I couldn’t remember to get properly dressed for work each day, unless I wrote lists of these things and checked them off.
I needed to know what had happened to me. I needed to know how I’d become a near invalid. I needed to know how I had become the utterly horrible, worthless, immoral, inhuman piece of filth that she had convinced me I was. I needed to make sense of it all. During the course of our relationship, I had surrendered the narrative of my life to her. I knew her version thoroughly and intimately. It was time to reclaim and remember my version.
So I started writing.
I created a new Livejournal account, one that she wouldn’t know about, and invited a small, select group of non-mutual friends to read it; people I had known for years and whom I trusted.
Over the course of several months, I wrote out the complete story of everything that had happened between the ex and me. I wrote about the good times and I wrote about the bad—guess which ones there were more of? And as the months wore on, I began to notice a few things.
What I learned through writing about my abusive relationship.
- My friends, whom I had cut off out of fear, were still there waiting to be my friends again.
- I could begin to see the flaws and the cracks in the façade she had presented to me as her “self.” Things didn’t add up, practically from the beginning (and you know you’ve turned a blind eye just as much as I did).
- My friends were also able to provide valuable feedback that I was not the person she had made me believe I was (the aforementioned “worthless/immoral piece of filth”) and that a lot of things that had gone wrong in the relationship were actually her doing and not mine (and these were people I, again, trusted to tell me the truth, not just automatically take “my” side because they were friends).
- I regained a degree of confidence, and was able to reclaim the narrative of my life. She had stolen that from me, repeating to me over and over again during the countless all-night “discussions” she’d make me have about how I’d done something wrong again, that I “don’t get to” have a reaction, a response, a reason, a say, a thought, a feeling other than one that was dictated by her perpetually warping delusions. By writing it out, I got to. I got to have my say, my response, my reasons, my thoughts and my feelings. After a year of not being allowed these things, I have to say it felt damn good.
- You can begin to track your healing and how much you’re regaining yourself. As time goes on, you defend her less and less.
By the end of it all, I compiled the complete narrative into a 35-page Word document. I printed it out and mailed it to my family, with a brief letter stating “this is where I’ve been, and this is why I’m no longer the person you remember.” With this, I also found that my family (who, like my friends, I’d cut off out of fear) was also still there waiting for me.
Finally, one thing that this exercise also helped me with was confronting false nostalgia. “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was really to blame after all.”
When those thoughts come into your head (and even now, they still do for me, occasionally), go back and read the story you’ve written. Remember, this is your narrative – not hers.
Things were that bad.
You’ll remember that pretty quickly—and you’ll never want to let yourself fall into that trap ever again.
Write it out.
And remember: You get to.
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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.
Wow… thanks for an excellent post. My husband can relate, especially to the part of not “getting to” have a reaction or a feeling. I’ve watched him evolve in the years since he left his ex wife. It’s been rewarding, but also sad, because two children were involved in his breakup with her. I hope some day they will realize that his side of the family is still waiting for them, too. And I feel sorry for her current victim.
If it’s any consolation, my mother is likely NPD and she was instrumental in an estrangement between my father, his brother and my grandmother. She’s also estranged from much of her own family. Once I became an adult, I responded to the overtures from the estranged relatives. For example, even though we weren’t close, my cousins (kids of my dad’s brother) all invited me & my brother to their weddings at my aunt’s urging. I accepted the invitations (except one which I didn’t get ’til after the wedding because it was sent to an old address). We’ve gotten to know each other better. They live out of town, so I only see them a few times a year, but we talk periodically on the phone and almost daily on Facebook. They have been a huge support & consolation as I went through the cutoff with my mother/brother/SIL. The sad part is some of the relatives passed away before I got this chance, but I’m making the most of it with the ones who are still here. My aunt is a very family oriented person and I credit her efforts with bringing everyone closer. As well as the efforts of other relatives. Don’t give up, see how the respond once they are more independent.
Thank you for your kind words, knotheadusc…
As far as “you don’t get to,” goes… I’ve probably described the situation in a response on the old blog, but “you don’t get to” was literally a phrase my ex would hurl at me everytime I tried to speak up for myself. The cycle would go something like this:
-Kev inadvertantly does something the ex doesn’t like
-Kev is then subjected to 3-5 nights of “discussion” about his transgressions starting at 10pm, and ending around 4 or 5am (even though he had to be up at 7 for work).
Any defense or proclamation of innocence or explanation of my motivations for commiting whatever grievous act I’d been accused of committing was blocked with “you dont’ get to ___________!”
Sadly enough, while watching Grey’s Anatomy with her one night (to placate her, and since she had zero interest in anything I wanted to watch), I was startled to see the phrase “you don’t get to __________!” used repeatedly by Meredith in her arguments with Derek (sorry, not going to use the “McD” phrase).
I pointed this out to the ex, and she not only denied that she’d lifted the phrase, but just got even more pissed at me.
C’est la vie.
It’s a particularly curel phrase for me to hear now. Thankfully, I (“get to”) watch what I want to watch on TV now, and I (“get to”) do a lot more things that are meaningful to me, as well as have some peace and quiet.
Amazing – Kev you’ve just triggered a realisation for me – I used to hear the “you dont’ get to _____” phrase countless times from my ex as well, and guess what, she was a huge Grey’s Anatomy fanatic as well (as well as drooling over McD), and again I used to watch it with her in an attempt to forge “togetherness”, though her trance state used to cause me to drift off – that was my coping mechanism I suppose. I onyl remember the glib voiceovers at the ends of episodes. Oh, and Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City etc. Can hardly believe I sat through that kind of junk now.
I don’t think my ex watched Desperate Housewives, but Sex and the City? Yeah. One of the few times I successfully told her “no” was when she asked me if I wanted to go see the Sex and the City movie with her, during a vacation she destroyed. I opted to sit outside in the freezing cold for 3 hours, instead.
This is one of those instances where I begin to suspect we all dated the same person.
I remember her trying to explain to me that the characters in Sex and the City were like old friends to her…
I managed to stomach three seasons of Grey’s, but then the relationship ended, and I no longer had to watch it to report back to her about how wonderful it was.
Closure at last says
Wow! That is SO interesting Kev, for I have long suspected and seen a pattern that women like these prefer these shows (and of course the nauseating ‘Real Housewives’ series or read tabloids….) In fact I think these shows were made specifically to trap into the market of those who could relate, and the undiagnosed NPD/BPD/HPD are in high numbers in the crowd.
Even Dr. Tara had once remarked at a poster’s similar comment on the site of his wife’s tv preferences that these women watch it perhaps because they can relate to those characters.
Reading and venting on her original Shrink 4 Men site had helped me heal quite a bit. I have a sister with incurable NPD who sort of had ‘trained’ me to accept her hurtful behavior till I cut-off from her 2 years back and my relationship-health dramatically improved and also to not try to ‘help’ partners with BPD/NPD. ok – I confess, I am a woman but think much more like a man (as I have a very mathematical/analytical brain and am an introvert) and this site has helped me immensely with its rationality, straightforwardness and wit much much more than any other sites (which are a bit too sappy or ‘new-agey’ for my taste, if directed at women).
Before I found Dr. T’s site, I found myself as an unintended ‘free shrink’ at work to many of my male buddies who were in relations with B/N women, since I work in a male-dominated engineering field with 90% men and there are truly very few outlets for men to understand women like these. (I heaved a sigh of relief when I found this wonderful site so I could forward it to my male friends, since I am no psychologist and yet because there are so few outlets and help-bases for men, and because in therapy the BP girls can manipulate the therapist, men would often find a confidante at work to tell their stories and I would often end up as that confidante. This gave me tremendous insight that there was a problem, that double standards of abuse existed in our society and that there was a similar ‘pattern’ of behavior that linked these wives/girlfriends.) And though I did have a crazy BPD-ex myself, my second and longest relation was with a very caring man who had suffered a lot due to his prior relation with a BPD woman so I feel a lot of empathy for the men who went through this trauma. The woman who comes in a man’s life after his BP experience often has to become very understanding or else she ends up paying the price of the misconceptions and lack of trust inflicted by the former woman.
I think we need to redefine the concept of ‘love’ – and understand that shame, guilt, pain, blame is not ‘love’ as these B,N,H women try to make ‘love’ into. Or the commodity-fying of love like SATC does. Real love heals, is all-accepting and propels you to be more authentic, not less. Like my male counterparts, I also realized that I had to stop and fix my own urge of ‘rescue’ and ‘fix-it’ tendencies to try and heal ‘broken’ women and professional victims.
But back to Sex and the City – Wow! I finally do have a great sense of proof and validation of something I’d long suspected, when this critique was written on the type of women who love this show : http://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/sweatshops-for-your-sex-the-city-too/
I myself mostly watched Discovery Channel, National Geographic and tennis and could never quite ‘fit’ in with the women who watched DH, SATC etc. and now I know why! (These were also the girls who were very jealous of the no-nonsense quiet types of girls with a blunt sense of humor, and would bully them in school and the workplace.) Now I know why….Thank you so much Kev, for indirectly helping me understand. Both for the affirmation on how writing helps to heal, and also to see the pattern of why manipulative and power-hungry women enjoy shows like these, which the more rational/non-superficial women do not seem to like. Thank you.
And ha ha – I’d prefer to be out in the cold too than watch that crap-o-circus fim. When I wrote that analysis of the film, some obvious B and N women sent me horrible attack e-mails. Now I stand vindicated as I read your and other observations. Birds of a feather flock to watch that superficial cruelty-endorsing stuff and see nothing wrong about wearing fur which is obtained from skinning innocent animals alive, or wearing overpriced outfits to make up for a lack of authentic self- esteem. Ha! Thanks, Kev, again.
“I think we need to redefine the concept of ‘love’ – and understand that shame, guilt, pain, blame is not ‘love’ as these B,N,H women try to make ‘love’ into. Or the commodity-fying of love like SATC does. Real love heals, is all-accepting and propels you to be more authentic, not less. Like my male counterparts, I also realized that I had to stop and fix my own urge of ‘rescue’ and ‘fix-it’ tendencies to try and heal ‘broken’ women and professional victims.”
BINGO. This is what I’ve come to believe from all of this. Truthfully, I would have rather just read about it all in a book, but I don’t know that I would have believed it, unless I’d lived it.
As for the television shows we discuss above… I think these have done incredible harm to the ability for people to try to truly, deeply love and understand one another, and spend too much time validating bad behavior.
I’m a big fan of the poet/philosopher Rodney King… “Why can’t we all just get along?”
My gf doesn’t watch any of these shows but what with her being 46 years old, she is more like a 15 year old. She listens to basically a teenager and early 20’s Radio Station all the time and has her son’s friends on her Blackberry and Facebook. That also has to have some detrimental effect on her already warped personality. I figure she can’t deal with people our age (I am 50 years old) because she doesn’t read, does nothing to try to learn to become a better person….she just stays the same. Personally, I think she is afraid of getting old.
Right now, I am only here because I am waiting for this house to sell but we are basically living seperate lives…I am sleeping on the sofa because she kicked me out of the bedrooom a couple of weeks ago, but she still feels she has to tell me where she is going when she goes out and phones me to let me know when she is coming back…to me that sounds like she is trying to reel me back in…any opinions on this?
Sorry if it’s already been posted, can’t remember or I’d credit the person. Someone actually did a blog on which “Real” Housewife has which Personality Disorder:
The only one on SATC that I could even begin to vaguely relate to was Miranda. I never got Carrie’s obsession with Big when Aidan was so nice to her and had those furniture making skills! Charlotte was too obsessed with marriage/kids. And who wears a vintage skirt when baking with toddlers? I wondered the same thing on 30 Something when Melissa got all bent out of shape when she let her boyfriend’s kid play with the bracelet and it got lost. Kids will lose/eat/break things. So make sure it’s 1) safe for them 2) something you won’t get upset about if you break or lose it. It’s just basic common sense. Samantha was almost ok, but she was just kind of mean to poor Smith, who was really there for her.
And I hear you on feeling more at home here than on some other sites, even though it’s technically not geared towards women dealing with Cluster Bs (my mother is likely NPD, we’re in cutoff). One reason I like it is the non-nonsense approach that’s taken when Cluster Bs try to inflitrate and start insulting people. At one previous site I participated on, people actually tried to “befriend” a Cluster B who infiltrated and really went after one member. If a site is truly going to support nons, it needs to make the space safe for nons. This site does that and I really appreciate it.
That was it, yeah. Bloody “Desperate Housewives”, and the like. They’re so confusing. (sighs). I once went to the library, saw all those DVDs, so I thought I would see waht the hype was about. Seaon one, season two, steason three… (gags)… they sure go on and on and on and on and on, and never lets up. It’s insane. They’re not what real life was about, but then I guess they dont’ care, it’s just hollywood with a giant ClusterBs Ego-driven Crazy.
Even 8 years after my first ever long-term relationship (7 years), I still thinks, “Maybe she’s better now?” But I’d then shaked my head, nope. She’ll never get better, even when she came back two years after she left me, asking ME to help her get away from that bloke she left me for in the first place. How incredibly narcissistic of her. It was HER who choosed him over me and so on. It was her who ignored me and said I’m too young to know anything (She’s five years older than me) and thinks she’s smarter than me, even though she left in the middle of HIGH SCHOOL, year 9, I recall, and thinks she knows a lot more than I do. (I went up to year 11, only one year in college). She was always putting me down, and stuff. She expexted me to jump at the chance to go back to her. Why should I? I knew what she would do, like before, play games, and I’d feel like I’m on a boat, no moorings, just twisting to and fro at the mercy of her whims.
I prefers stability, not out of control life. She likes thrills however she can get it.
I recall we used to watch this foriegn movie, The Storm Rages Twice, a Lebanese soap opera, every week during those years. God, I am realising it was a bit like the rest of it. Silly shows that was crazy.
And I can see why I’m driven to swear off all women, except the ones I know would put God in their lives first; a biblcal type of woman, which I know are difficult to find, given that so many women are nuts about silly ways of life. (sighs).
Doesn’t matter. I’m learning, and growing, however slow it is for me, at least I’m moving forward, not hanging back, nor standing still. With hope in my heart that I will build the life I always wanted, and not worried about any women out there, for I know I can say NO to them, if they tries anything on me. No worries.
It is thanks to this site and many others, that helps me realised that I can be better and that I can do better. With my life.
“You don’t get to…” can work both ways. As in, “You don’t get to walk into and out of my life whenever you feel like it.” I told my exgf that when she was back on her second hoovering run. Made me feel better.
My gf blocked me on Facebook several months ago because she”doesn’t want me knowing what’s going with my life” yet this morning she woke me up and asked who was I talking to on Facebook at 3:30 this morning…so yeah…do it my way because it’s the only way…
Dr Tara Palmatier says
No idea what this is about. Seems like more head games or she’s pretending she still has a relationship with you.
Who knows…she says she is being nice until the house sells which I think is a load of crap because it could be either one of the 2 scenarios you mentioned above. she stills tells me everywhere she goes and phones me to tell me what she will be coming back. Personally, I think she is trying to “Reel” me back in because she does not have a dime to her name and her son is bugging her for a car and the “dutiful” little mother is going to get him one just like she did with her other son although it means her being flat broke.
“she stills tells me everywhere she goes and phones me to tell me what she will be coming back”
Probably so she can paint you as “controlling” to whoever she’s out with.
Don’t buy the car for her. You know that.
Yeah…besides she tries guilting me all the time that I never did anything for her kids although I paid for half the bills which includes half the grocery bills for the last 15 years and since there were 4 of us up until 3years ago (her older son now lives with his father), in reality, I should have paid 1/4 of grocery bills and 1/3 of grocery bills since the older one moved out and the same goes with the Utility Bills plus on top of the shared grocery bills,, I always spent extra on food because I like to cook and make different dishes, but she always discounts this when she starts up that the furniture in the house is hers because she bought it.
I received another rage attack from her this morning regarding the Facebook thing and also another one because “I mope around” and other things and the name-calling was unbelievable. I let her rant on and when she was done, all I said to her was, “Are you done?” Well, what could she answer but Yes and that shut her down completly.
Gosh Bogeyman she sounds EXACTLY like my ex-girlfriend!!!! Always something about Facebook – my ex does the same sort of thing and I figure she’s just trying to rope me back in – if she can’t get me back in a relationship she has to at least make some kind of drama happen. *sigh* – Thank God I’m not alone.
I find that a strategy that was used on me was the block /cut off technique. She would block me on facebook refuse to call and then sneak an unblock and ask questions about that. The foul language that was used on me was unreal, and the funny thing about it is that she is pledging a sorority where you have to have a set of values. I find that when it comes to abusing me the values don’t exist. Yes she also loves SATC. I escaped the relationship when I went home to chicago and called and told her she could not fly out to join me. This was when the fake apologies that I have heard dozens of times started up. I recommend escape to anyone that will listen. I mean Run as fast and as far as you can and return when you are strong enough to deal with those patterns. I still can hear all of the swear words that this nice girl sent my way. I wish I would have taped some and sent them to her supporters.
I agree with Kev that writing things down can be one of the most therapeutic things you can do for yourself. Mine only went to 12 pages. I sent mine to a friend who knew me then and had met my exgf numerous times. My friend had gone on to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker so she also had credentials. It was she who told me the relationship was abusive and gave me some tools that eventually got here. As a professional, she told me writing things out was an excellent way to begin to deal with things.
My friend asked me to call her so I did. The first words out of her mouth were: “I never thought that relationship was good for you but I didn’t realize you were involved with anything like this. I never knew you were in so much pain.” If they’re your friends, they’ll understand and be there for you.
If you start to write things down, I have a few suggestions.
1) Lay out a timeline of the relationship starting with major milestones. Mine were meeting her, getting out of the Navy, asking her to marry me, breaking up, etc.
2) Fill in important events in their approximate place in the timeline. I spent time with her family for over 5 years and there weren’t any real date specific events but they were significant in the overall narrative so I just stuck them in where I thought they would fit.
3) Embed links references or footnote important events. Link to blogs that describe what you’ve written. Im one of her books, Marion Solomon describes the how relationhsips with PDs can be “tentative” are repeatedly tested. Once I found that, I annotated my chronicle with page numbers.
My friend, with the usual caveate of not being able to diagnose someone she’s not treating, said what I described, in some places with “almost chilling clinical detail” was an abuse survivor showing strong symptoms of PTSD and NPD. She said she’d bet lunch on that my exgf was abused or molested as a child. She also said cutting the exgf loose was the smartest thing I ever did.
One of Dr. Ts other blogs talks about the inability to get closure from these people. This may be as close as many of us will ever get. I’ve come to find I refer to it less often and reading it is a little less painful eaach time.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Thank you for the great additions. They make a lot of sense. Could you explain #3 a little more? I don’t quite understand and my hunch is that it’s very important.
It’s a long response but here goes:
One of the firs references my friend referred me to was Marion Solomon’s “Healing Trauma, attachment, mind, body, and brain.” I highlighted excerpts that resonated with me. For example, on page 326, Solomon writes, “…To vulnerable participants, the relationship always feels tentative, and there is a tendency to test the love to allevieate constant doubts, even when things are going well.” In my story, there’s a section where I describe how I always felt like I was shooting at a moving target and when I met one set of expectations, a new set would crop up. I added the page number to that section.
On page 329, Solomon says, “They protect a vulnerable self with defenses such as aggressive distancing (she left town after I asked her to marry me), emotional disconnection, …They have a proneness to emptiness (exgf: “I just want to stop feeling miserable all the time”) and depression when the loved on separates (we had broken up)…and need to shore up a fragile sense of self, bind others to them through dependency and/or fear (exgf: “You didn’t need me. You were only with me because you wanted to be and there was nothing to hold you to me.”), and often set up rejection by others through unconscious aggressive acts. In the latter case, she told my replacement she (1) didn’t like his kids, wouldn’t follow him to his next duty station, and (3) I was still her best friend and she wasn’t ready to give me up. Then pulled the victim card when he cheated on her.
In my analysis of the relationship, I realized I was #4 of 6 in her failed relationships and at least 4 of them involved some form of cheating. I linked your blog, “Will She be Different with the Next Guy?”
For me, citing clinical references and likning your blogs served two purposes. First, it helped me realize that I was not making this up. The events really happened. Second, and more inportantly, it gave me the validation I needed in making my decision to cut her loose. I knew it wes the right answer then but I didn’t know why. I largely wrote the narrative before I really researched the subject and I can’t find a single real inconsistency in either the assessmnent or the prognosis.
You made the process much easier since your blogs address specific facets of the issues as opposed to finding the nuggets in clinical literature.
Double binds are some of the most confusing and infuriating experiences one goes through with Cluster Bs. I’ve tried to describe it to friends and relatives who haven’t lived through it. The closest common experience most people have is watching that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey freaks out on his kids. He’s giving Janey conflicting instructions on whether to play that piano or not and giving the kid who needs homework help conflicting messages too. At one point, Janey breaks down crying, “Oh Daddy” from the confusion of it all. Living with a Cluster B is like combining that scene with the overall feeling of Groundhog Day in that we’re living it every single day. At least George Bailey only freaked out like that when he thought he lost the Savings & Loans and almost got arrested. Cluster Bs will do this over what’s for breakfast of whether you can stay home sick for the day (if you’re a kid who needs permission to do so).
I’ve found writing about my experience (daughter of a likely NPD mother) to be enormously healing and cathartic. Just the act of verbalizing it makes it more real. When our reality has been denied for so long and so consistently just acknowledging it is powerful stuff. One thing my therapist has pointed out is that I feel a need to give huge amounts of information about a situation instead of just talking about my feelings. For me, just acknowledging the reality was my first step, I’m just starting to get into how it makes me feel.
On a whim, I wrote a letter of resignation for the scapegoat position and a help wanted ad. It really brought home just how insane some of the expectations were. If anyone wants to read them, here’s the link to it:
Again, E you hit it on the head with this one in your “ad” — “willing to spend vacation time/travel costs, etc. for family event/emergencies only to be shamed & berated regularly.”
I look back on my use of PTO and so much of it is related to me dealing with her emergencies or drama. That or me having to burn time because I am useless at work after a particularly awful evening or weekend. Or I have to take the car to the shop because the W “doesn’t know what to tell them” (tell them you want a GD oil change!) or “the cars are your thing.”
Again, there are double-standards. She flipped out when I took off a day to be with my 80 year old father when he underwent gall bladder surgery. “Can’t his girlfriend be there? I don’t see why you need to go.” Again when he had to get a catheterization of his heart. “Why is it taking so long?” “How long are you going to be staying there?”
But when her dad gets in a bad way *everybody* drops *everything* and rushes off to the hospital. That includes me dropping work and coming home. Not that her dad is not in very poor health, but its *assumed* that I will back her up when the crisis alarm sounds. It is “unreasonable” and “demanding” that my father wants me to be there when he goes under general anesthia. “You need to learn to say no to your family.” “Put me and C first.” “Make us your priority” “This is part of a larger pattern of yours.”
Crazy, crazy, crazy.
You hit on something that I have yet to figure out, which is the amazing double standards that arise over health issues, and family issues. In my situation, it was my health – I had kidney stones (probably pent up anger). It pretty much came down to, I was having them just to spite her, so I could get attention, sympathy, etc. from others. After the first “attack,” she stopped going to the hospital with me, and even had her mother take me, because she couldn’t be bothered. Her mother, feeling sympathetic, offered to pay for my meds, which sent my ex through the roof, because I was “obviously” taking advantage of the good will of her parents.
Yet, if the ex was feeling any physical ache or pain, I was supposed to take care of her (which I willingly did, because I loved her, and that’s just what I believe one does for their partner). This eventually evolved into a demand that I give her lengthy massages to help her fall asleep each night, because she was so tense from all of the stress I was “causing” her.
The other thing, is the double standard of “her family is more important than your family.” Again, this doesn’t have to be (nor should it be) a zero-sum game. BUT, if she’s trying to isolate you (which, frankly, she is), then what better way to make sure you’ve alienated your family then by not being there for a big event or medical emergency.
I sacrificed vacation time on more than a few occasions to provide us with an enjoyable time somewhere, that she inevitably ruined by throwing tantrums and/or refusing to speak to me (or alternating between the two states) for some “thing” I had neglected to do that thus “ruined” her whole time.
Making ammends eventually cost more and more of my soul, each time.
As you said: crazy, crazy, crazy.
I have lived through this with my g/f. A double standard. I brought her cold face cloths when she was sick, chicken soup, did my best to make her comfortable. Whan I was sick, I had to ask. And she would tell me to “not get used to this special treatment!” She is an intelligent person, so I could never figure this type of thinking out. I don’t think anyone could, so I have a hard time telling anyone…I could not see how it would be believable. You and I know better.
Marshall Stack says
Dude, this is like reading about myself! All the times I’ve been late to work because she started or prolonged an argument, all the hours of work I’ve missed because she started an argument on the phone while I was at work, the times I left work early or called in sick because she couldn’t take it anymore with the kids, or take over for her when she was sick. She doesn’t realize that I have no one to call when I can’t take it anymore at either of my jobs, or nobody to do my work for me so I can lay down for a few hours. When I get behind at work due to missing so much time, she says that my employers “will just have to understand.”
A month or so ago, I got home from my night job around 9:30pm. She told me the back tire on the van is almost out of air. Since that’s a “guy’s job”, as she so eloquently put it, I had to scrounge around for change and drive around at 9:45pm after working two jobs to find a gas station that was open so I could fill the tire back up. God forbid she do that while she’s out driving around on an almost-empty tire…
Of course, I’m too decent a guy to turn the tables on her. You can probably imagine the blowup that would occur if I were to come home hungry from a 14 hour workday, and tell my wife that making me something to eat is a woman’s job….
Wow M, are we with the same woman? I had a flat tire episode just recently. I had to call AAA when I got home to swap out the spare. (She argued with me that they would not come to our house, which they of course did.) I then had to call around and find the tires, go there during the workday, laptop in tow and get it done.
Do you find that your W seems to be the most demanding when it is the most difficult to respond and the most distracting? Like at work, when your young child is being demanding, driving, late at night.
Does your W use text messaging to drop emo bombs on you in the middle of the day? (Afternoons are my W’s favorite time.) And of course my one line response when I have deadlines to meet, hours to bill, and 20 new e-mail messages is always wrong or uncaring or cold or something equally reprehensible. Because you know text messaging is really the best way to communicate our most heartfelt sentiments and get our emotional needs met. (Eyes rolling.)
Wow, this using up time, etc seems to be a lot more common than I thought. My mother lives out of town, so she wasn’t able to do that to me on a regular basis. But I will share what happened when I took 2 weeks off from work and spent plane fare to care for her after a mastectomy. Last I heard, she is doing well, thankfully, even though I’ve chosen not to have her in my life, I don’t wish her any harm and I do forgive her (took a lot to get there).
She yelled and screamed at me while I was asking the nurse questions about her care. I finally had to say to her, that it might be the middle of the night and we have to come back to the hospital because I don’t know what to do (she was really anxious to get out of the hospital and go home). She looked scared and I felt terrible for saying it, but I really needed to hear what the nurse was saying, which I couldn’t with all of the yelling/screaming. At one point, I even got a sympathetic pat on the shoulder from the nurse. She handled the situation well, making jokes and complimenting my mother on her glasses.
My last visit to her, I’d been at my heaviest weight. I’d lost 25 pounds since then. She started in on how if I didn’t lose weight, I might get breast cancer too. Btw, this was one moment when I’d started to relax because the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Anya & Xander are supposed to get married was in syndication and we were laughing about the bridesmaid dresses. The silver lining is I figured after that, she couldn’t say no to my sanity saving daily power walk. I’d brought good walking shoes, an ipod & a cell phone. When my stepdad was around, I’d go for a good long, quick paced walk and vent to friends on my cell phone. Though the first couple of days, it poured and I couldn’t get out. I felt like it was The Shining meets the Golden Girls. I volunteered for a grocery run to get the hell out of the house.
Mother’s Day happened to fall during this. My brother, in prison at the time, managed to get a friend on the outside to send some flowers. She fawned all over them and said what a good son he was and how much she appreciates him/the gift.
This visit was a catalyst in the movement from the attempting a mother/daughter relationship to the civil but distant phase (which of course, wasn’t good enough for her). I think she sensed it because as I was saying goodbye to go to the airport, all of the sudden, the hoovering started about how I was an “angel”, she really appreciated me, etc.
One more, then I’ll quit.
Writing out your story and footnoting/linking references can help reconcile the inconsistencies you encounter in these relationships.
I can’t remember the blog but somewhere you say something like. “You’re damned if you don’t love them well enough and you’re damned when you do.” A statement like this from a professional goes a long way in making sense of things like this:
exgf: “If I had a boyfriend who loved me, he’d…(fill in blank)”
exgf: “You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.”
“You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.”
There’s a rare piece of insight and self-awareness!
That is no way to have a relationship. Ugh.
Cousin Dave says
Kev, when it comes from a Cluster B, I don’t think that is so much a self-awareness. It’s more of a boast.
never again says
“You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.”
Oh, wow, does that speak volumes. My best friend was just saying that to me today – that no three men could care for and do for my NPD the way I did. And what did I get for it? Flat out rejection, emotionally and physically. Which just made me try harder and harder. And the rejection just got stronger and stronger. She destroyed me financially and emotionally. I’ll recover from the financial part (though I’ll never be as well off as I should be), but I’m afraid that the emotional effects are going to last the rest of my life. I had an emotional breakdown this evening, and it’s been 8 months since I left her and 4 months no contact.
Paradoxically, she was the one who initiated the no contact. She’d call me in the middle of the night, drunk, usually in response to some milestone in our relationship (the last time was my step-son’s Gr. 8 graduation, and she remembered how many times we’d celebrated things like that). She even suggested to me in an e-mail that I should block her number so she couldn’t contact me any more. When I responded to her that I agreed that no contact was the best thing for us, and set a very clear boundary, she used that as an excuse to make a false report to the police that I was threatening her. Luckily, the cops saw the e-mail, and knew that she was the one initiating contact with me, and just simply told me I needed to sever all ties with her. I didn’t need to be told twice.
AFA friends, my NPD forced me to cut myself off from a very good PLATONIC female friend who was absolutely no threat to our relationship – from my standpoint. From my NPD’s standpoint, my friend had her number, and she knew it. And my friend even warned me about her before I married her, but I was too infatuated to listen. I’ve now reconnected with my friend and, bless her, she only said “I told you so!” once.
My NPD also tried very hard to cut me off from my only son. In a way, it’s a good thing he moved across the country, so the only contact we could have was phone calls and e-mails, because she did everything she could to prevent me seeing him or him visiting us.
I have found journalling and taking notes on what is happening to be very instrumental in my awakening to the reality of my emotionally abusive marriage. I posted something on the “old” site last week.
It has been especially important to combating the sense of disorientation and confusion that the W’s behaviors tend to create. She does everything she can to keep me off balance. I used to think “how did we end up here?” Now I can look back and see.
I also export all her text messages to a text file. I can go back and read the madness. It also helps to document all the time she is gone from the house and I am taking care of our preschool aged daughter because she checks in to see what have fed her and that put her to bed on time.
It also helps me process things and not internalize as much. Very important.
One more thing, I can barely keep up with the madness sometimes. I don’t get much time to make notes. I use my smartphone (work phone, locked with a password) to keep notes so I have to do it when she is not aware and I can’t ignore work or my daughter all the time. Even so, its just so fast and furious. And the exchanges are like cluster bombs that have all these little nasty messages embedded inside. And the W will fire off several weapons in rapid succession. I’m sure I don’t need to explain if you have been there, too.
Henry Hoover says
I too have found writing to be a cathartic experience. I started a blog a little over a year ago. It started out as pure catharsis. I was writing down the neglect I was feeling from my STBX. At that time I still had hope that marriage could be saved.
That blog has transformed into a more of a parenting log now that I have filed for divorce and am going for primary custody. But I still mention some of the crazy things that continues to go on.
I also had few trusted friends that I have allowed to read it (it is invitation only) and who have given me great feedback.
I highly recommend writing it all down. It helps. A lot.
Primary custody? Yes! You are my hero!
good luck, HH. I’m rooting for you.
Closure at last says
Thanks Kev for sharing that heartfelt personal story.
It is true that writing your own version can be exceptionally therapeutic… I laugh now thinking how many BPD and NPD men/women have compelled their suffering partners to find therapy through creativity by writing books, songs and music. I’ve also realized that this isn’t something we should ‘thank’ them for, we should thank our OWN resilience to find positive solutions rather than get infected by their poison.
I ended up writing a 160 page metaphorical book that an agent even asked that I should publish, but I felt it was my private story, one that gave me peace and solace each time I read it.
Your points of recovery for the journey is so true, so helpful. And the ways one is brain washed to doubt oneself as worthless….In my case I had won so many academic and professional awards in life, had healthy positive friends, and STILL was stupid enough to have lost all my confidence and accept the false reality of being “a stupid piece of…” in those 18 months of brainwashing.
I smiled at your “confronting false nostalgia” phrase. So true! That lasted quite long till I had a great laugh and release when I saw this hilarious cartoon (“our love is like a brontosaurus”) from one of my favorite cartoonists Randall Munroe the geek genius: http://xkcd.com/636/
Humor and Dr. Tara’s great posts as well as writing the truth helped me heal at last. Never again! never again (shudder) Knowledge IS power. Best wishes to you Kev.
I feel you on the loss of confidence. I was working towards a goal of a career in academia, which was completely de-reailed by the whole thing. I…gave that up for her. Because, after all, it was entirely selfish of me to have been accepted into a doctoral program before we even started dating…*sigh*
Now I’m trying to find my way back.
The cartoon made me laugh… thank you.
Marshall Stack says
That’s a two-pronged fork there – calling you selfish, and holding things against you that happened before she was in your life. It’s happened to me, too.
I was advised that our current state is my fault for getting a psychology degree eight years before we met. If I had a better degree, I’d have a better job, and not have to be working two jobs to support the family. It’s also my parents’ fault for not having me diagnosed with ADHD 30 years ago. Otherwise, I’d have gotten treated for it sooner, and may have been able to study something more involved like laser-powered rocket brain surgery.
I’ve also been called selfish for working two jobs to support my family so that she can stay home with the kids, both of whom she’s apparently sick and tired of. I’m selfish for not quitting both jobs and going on welfare so I can be home to help her day and night. I’m selfish because I like what I do at my day job.
I’ve been in this marriage for 8 1/2 years. Writing about it might help me, but I don’t know where to start. Any ideas?
You are telling “the story”, both your posts do. I think there end up being two (maybe 3) ways this goes: (1) your wife admits get a diagnosis, the right one, admits she has the problem she is diagnosed with and commits to an intensive form of behavioral intervention and while she does this in good faith, you stick with it and support her, OR: (2) you start planning your exit strategy.
The “maybe” 3 is: you endure in suffering until it eats you apart.
Exit strategy is complex. Staying when she’s working on it is complex. I recommend you write about what happens day to day as Kev describes here and I recommend you have an appointment or 2 with Dr. T. To get the good advise that you need and deserve requires more disclosure on your side than you should probably put on a website posting board and a professional on the other side.
Hey, Marhsall (great name, thanks for the smile)…
“Where to start” – the best advice I can give you is start at the beginning. Who were you before you met? How did you meet? What was the honeymoon phase like? What were some of the early warning signs you ignored?
Write only as much as you feel comfortable writing in one sitting. This will take time, and it will be emotionally draining. Persevere, and keep at it. It will get easier, and you will begin to feel stronger.
Marshall Stack says
D and Kev – Thanks for the advice!
Thank you for sharing. Yes, the “double-bind” I was surprised that there was even a wiki for this phenomenon. I have been away from the NPD/BPD sludge for just over a year. It’s lonely, but reading articles such as this doesn’t make me feel so alone, or crazy.
I am a gay male and had a BPD best friend that was a female for many years, but my most recent and damaging encounter came when I rented a room in a home of a gay male for over 3-years. It was affordable for me and close to work. In the beginning it seemed like a comfortable and suitable place to live. I paid my rent on time, kept the common areas picked up, kept the drama to a minimum and stayed out of the way, but was confronted by the homeowner that I ‘always’ stayed in my room and never was social with other people who lived, or visited my roommates in the home. I internalized that and realized that maybe I should extend myself more and get better acquainted. I was way wrong. With that came, backstabbing from the roommate’s friends, constant double-bind situations, scapegoating, smear campaigning and unwanted sexual advances from the homeowner. Whenever he made advances, or when he would leave explicit notes on the kitchen counter, I would usually just silently shrug it off, and kindly tell him that I am not interested in pursuing romantic/intimate relationship with my roommate. That didn’t seem to phase him, but then at the time, I was employed and paying my rent, so I there wasn’t much more he could do.
I soon later lost my job, and over the next several months I was looking for new employment. I paid rent and bills until my savings was depleted and I had nothing left. I would do odd jobs for others, and then my abuser offered me light remodeling work around the house and to help fix up an investment property he purchased. It took time away from my job search, but it was my payment to at lease keep a roof over my head. The advances and emotional abuse went into overdrive.
Top 3 warning signs your roommate is NPD/BPD and you’re their target:
1. When they say to you, “nobody lies to me.”
2. When they say to you, “nobody leaves me.”
3. When they say to you, “I get ‘weird’ about guys who don’t respond to me.”
…and the kicker…
4. When they get drunk, and say, “you know you’re a whore why don’t you just do it already.”
RUN!!!! Which eventually I did. I waited for him to leave town on vacation, and moved out while he was gone. I had no place for my things, so I had to pile them in the back of his leaky carport, until I could make more permanent arrangements, and left the furniture I owned in the room. Many of my things were later destroyed by the rain, and in some instances by him. I later retrieved my bins from the carport, but never retrieved my furniture. At the time it was a small price to pay.
I went to my sister and brother-in-law’s home for refuge (a very nice 5-bedroom home where they lived in alone, with 2-luxury vehicles in the garage), and even though my sister was informed of my situation, I was turned away. I spent the next 4-weeks living out of my car. I had some of my belongings in the car, which unfortunately included less than a thimble full of marijuana and a pipe. It was discovered when I was pulled over for expired plates. I was arrested, booked and charged with a felony. Yes, MJ possession, at ANY amount, where I am from is a felony offense. I did a night in jail, paid the fines over time and completed my probation successfully. It was my first and only criminal offense. Not a great place to be in, in your 30’s, but at least I have an arrest record to remember the good memories by. I wouldn’t of even been driving my car, if I didn’t have to live in it.
After my arrest I found a friend who was a roommate at the house I just left. He moved into an apartment unit of my abuser’s rental property. He was very kind and let me put a sleeping bag on his living room floor, until I could make other arrangements.
Once it was discovered where I was staying…my abuser went full speed ahead, he would harass my friend, he would threaten me that he would call the police, have my car towed from the premises (my last valuable asset) and yes, call my mother….which lives out of state. He actually called my sister who lives in the area, told her that I stole things from house and would invite people over for parties (I very rarely had more than 1 guest at the house, usually when he was there, and never threw parties), and I have never intentionally stolen anything in my life, except maybe some candy from a grocery store once when I was kid. He also employed the help of a friend, who was certified mentally ill, and was an ex-meth addict (he made his living from disability benefits and suing past employers). He knew this friend of his had a bone to pick with me, over the fact that I was a stranger that was allowed to live in my abuser’s house, but not him. My abuser had an interesting knack for playing people against each-other.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you find yourself in this situation and you start to see the signs, play your cards close to your chest and get dirt on them. It can be used to protect you later. NPD/BPD, have flawed memories and big mouths. I won’t say here what I had on him, but it made him uncomfortable enough to leave me alone, but a lot of the damage was already done. I stayed with my friend for a few months, and by that time my brother-in-law vetoed my sister’s decision and allowed me to stay with them while I was starting a new job, and to get back on my feet…that’s another story.
Very similar to your experience, I questioned, “how did I get pulled into this, what happened, and how did I get here.” I am only a victim to myself, by allowing myself to get into these enmeshed situations.
You are right about how important it is to create “one’s own narrative.” When emotional abuse is ongoing and covert, you start to look at yourself through the narrative of your abuser.
I actually did write that letter to my family about what was happening and why things were the way they were, but unfortunately it fell on deaf ears. My abuser was a wealthy person, with the power and financial leverage to reduce someone with less into nothing. There was this hint that they were taking his side on the matter without considering any of the context.
I am doing fine now, but still have a hard time trusting anyone. There’s always that fear of the other foot dropping. I am barely getting by financially, but there is still that fear of, when am I going to have to live in my car again, when is someone that I trust going to pull the rug out from under me. The PTSD aspect I suspect.
I don’t have any friends left from that time in my life. That was made possible by my abuser. They will make sure that you have nothing left and nowhere to go for help. There are not a lot of resources for men, especially gay men. In my experience, gay men are not that supportive, or nice to each-other. They see someone down and they will pounce all over them.
I have a nice straight male friend now, he had a tough break-up with a girl and I am actually helping him find a “Chica” (slang for a female companion) on an online dating service. I pity him. There’s a lot of sludge out there in any arena you play in, so I hope to help him find a nice girl.
Thank you for sharing your story, and I wish you the best with your recovery.
thanks, gooberzzz… it sounds like you’ve been through Hell, as well, and I’m sorry. I’m hoping for the best, for you, too. It sounds like you’ve got a bit of a road ahead of you, but you’re making progress.
I’m not a twelve-stepper, by any shot, but the phrase “one day at a time” does help. Focus on the here and now, and what you need to do to get through the immediate situation you find yourself in. Worry about the big picture later. It’s big. It’ll be there later, and you’ll probably find it gets smaller over time.
In a way, not having friends left from that time of your life is probably a good thing, if they were friends of his, first. If he slandered you to your friends, and they believed him, I question how true they were as friends to begin with. While I’m not gay, I do have a large number of friends who are gay (kinda difficult not to, with a background in theater, and currently living near San Francisco), and I know the community can be rather tightly knit at times, which can be good, and can have its drawbacks.
I’m assuming you’re seeing a therapist? If not, it might help. I found the experience helpful… as I described it to my therapist at the time, it was like having a safe space I could look forward to each week where I could express myself completely without fear of judgment or reprisal.
Hang in there, and I’m wishing you the best.
I would love to write my experiences out with my gf, but as such we are still living together in the same house but not sleeping together because I guess we are split up (According to her…makes me wonder why when she keeps staring at me and trying to make the same conversations we usually had when things were in the “Honeymoon Stage”)
Right now I am sleeping on the sofa (Had been for a couple of weeks now). I have been in this relationship for 15 years now and everything just built up slowly, so I am convinced that she is NPD (Just like my father was). It is easier to move a Wall than it is to move her. She’s right about everything.
Thank the Lord I have found this Website because I now actually know what is making her tick and she fits the NPD right down to the tee. She just said to me the other day, “Maybe we can get back together in 10 years”…well, that just blew me away…I didn’t know what to make ofit…it was totally off the wall (Although she kicked me out of the house like a dog).
Because of her outrageous spending over the years, we literally have nothing (Oh and it’s all my fault), so when we sell, we both will end up renting, which for myself, I really don’t care since I don’t have any kids but she has 2 boys. I only wish I had found this Website the first time she kicked me out, it would have made a world of difference.
Run for your life
i know this is an old post. but just reading comments. mine said the EXACT same thing:
‘maybe we can get back together after 3 years. ultimately i only want to be with you.’
(after cheating, leaving me, etc).
Yep – to Bogeyman and ditto of arneg: you have no kids together? Thank whatever gods you believe in, and run like hell. You have your whole life to live, happily, do it.
About Kev’s admonitions to write things down – amen, I offer whatever endorsements I can.
I had been confiding my troubles with my ex with a close friend for 2 years, the close friend happened to be a shrink. After about a year of listening to me he actually started saying, “you know, she sounds underdiagnosed? What did you say she’s on?” and he suggested that she had BPD.
It went in one ear, out the other, might as well have been “blah blah blah”. Two things turned it around though: one was that he sent me APA practice parameters on BPD, which I sat on for a month and didn’t read, then I finally read them and was like “OMG! this is my wife!” but the other is that I had been writing down small diary snipits for about two months at that point.
Writing things down made me realize the trick that I’d play on myself. While never 100% “normal”, my ex did cycle. And whenever she’d cycle out I would do this mental trick with myself, “ahhhhhh, this is what it was like when we first fell in love!” and then I would try to figure out what I can do “this time” that hadn’t been done “last time” so that the, ahhh, the bad things didn’t come back.
But the bad things always came back. And when they came back I increasingly understood there was no stopping them, no reasoning with them, all one could do was endure them until they passed.
Having my own writing starring at me, reminding me that “no, it isn’t getting better, this will come back”, that plus my friend was enough to make me realize that I was in a hopeless relationship with a poor woman suffering a hellish internal life with a broken mind.
It still took awhile from there because we have kids. I researched the law in our state and getting custody looked to be a fool’s errand, so I tried to stay in longer on the presumption of protecting my sons. Eventually I realized that there was no hope though and I had to get out, that to have one’s own life bonded to a mind that unstable was suicidal.
I am very grateful still for the writing. I know I’m an eternal optimist and I agree with the idea that there is some “false nostalgia”. You believe in a good time that never existed. When your own writing with your own words is there to remind you of the truth and to reaffirm that you made the right and best decision, it is very comforting.
“And whenever she’d cycle out I would do this mental trick with myself, “ahhhhhh, this is what it was like when we first fell in love!” and then I would try to figure out what I can do “this time” that hadn’t been done “last time” so that the, ahhh, the bad things didn’t come back.
But the bad things always came back.”
Gods, I remember that so well. I wish I had been writing things down as they happened. It might have led to me getting out earlier, and of my own initiative. I think this cycle that we put ourselves through of “wanting to believe” that things are going to get better, as long as we don’t do “that one thing” again, is one of the most important habits to break.
Writting can help yourself in many ways especially if you have kids. A daily journal type of writting can be used in court for custody arguments. It’s a way of consistently documenting the craziness and give you more leverage on the “he said” side of the argument.
Thanks to everyone for the stories/comments here even if it’s just a glimpse into your tragedy. I have passed it on to my friend who is suffering at the hands of a cluster B. I believe it’s helping him see that it isn’t him and that other people don’t think of him the way she says they think of him.
Keep up the great feedback. Thanks.
I feel like you guys are peering over my shoulder documenting my life. I found this statement interesting:
Kev is then subjected to 3-5 nights of “discussion” about his transgressions starting at 10pm, and ending around 4 or 5am (even though he had to be up at 7 for work).
What is it about the early morning bashing sessions? I have read somewhere that psychopaths sleep very little as they need very little sleep. I have also thought that maybe it is some sort of brainwashing/traumatization/conditioning technique. The cluster B’s in my life have always loved discussion at these hours. Maybe they know (consciously or unconsciously) it is a time when we are weak and will do or say anything so we can get our required sleep. Really, IDK.
I haven’t seen much about gift giving on this site. I was constantly bashed for not giving gifts. Here’s why. I can not count how many times an outburst resulted in the destruction of gifts that I have given. Example, smashing the diamond ring with a hammer on the concrete floor of the garage. And, the all time favorite tearing up pictures and greeting cards in my face. You know the drill. Pictures of you and her being shredded into a million pieces right in front of your face. Birtday cards, Christmas cards, Anniversary cards being torn to pieces. If this ever happens to any of you….GET OUT. It doesn’t get better, really it only gets worse from there.
Good morning, Jimmycr,
The late night/early morning “sessions”… I think it’s a predatory thing, mixed with the brainwashing techniques. Sleep deprivation is an amazing tool for getting what you want from someone. Dr. T mentions these sorts of techniques on the old blog, and their relevance to our relationships:
http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/how-abusive-women-brainwash-you/ is a good place to start, if you haven’t read it already.
As for your question about gifts…. I wish I had an answer for that. Gods, I wish I had an answer for why they behave that way. I may write something up about it in terms of my experiences (which sound rather similar to your own), coupled with the equally disastrous holidays/vacations/special occasions sabotage that she was an ace at. Just need to find an angle on it.
I think the late night/early morning madness is about several things.
1) Striking when you are most vulnerable/weak.
2) Disruption and disorientation including sleep deprivation.
3) Being the most demanding when you are the least able to respond.
Taking a look at the brainwashing article Kev posted is key to understanding 1 and 2 IMHO. I think the third is about fueling the W’s perception of herself as a victim in addition to just wearing you down. (See my post above )
The W used to start “conversations” (talking at me) at 9 or 10, in bed, with the lights off, when I get up at 5:30 most days if not earlier and be *incensed* when I would devote less than 100% attention or start to nod off during a lull. And if I couldn’t stay awake it was because it “must just not be that important to you.” Making a case that when my body is tired, its late, dark and in bed my body tends to want to sleep is “ridiculous” and “a cop out.”
As I mentioned above, another technique I have identified is what I call dropping “emo bombs” in the middle of the work day verbally or by SMS (or in the car when I am driving, or when I am caring for our daughter, ).
Its enough to make you crazy. (That’s the point.)
I bought her an orchid and I for some reason felt guilty because of what she did to it so i thought i could nurse it back to health. She attacked it again the second time spilling it from its pot and I had to throw it away. I really dont know who would ever believe that I wasn’t the abuser in the relationship because I am 6’3 and 240 and she terrorized me and that plant. you are not alone with the gift giving and she even broke a pocket watch that I was given from her one Christmas….. think about that, she broke my gift from her as if another woman had given it to me.
crazy crazy crazy
Run as fast as you can
onerob, Your description of the orchid, your desire to care for it when she wouldn’t, seems especially touching, a particularly personal and clear image of your goodness and desire to care. I felt particularly touched by this that you wrote. May your healing continue and good things come to you and all of the people who post here, who are struggling to make sense of the bad relationships they have become caught in or are trying to escape.
Writing has definitely helped me. I was still in a FOG when I decided to get legal help. I was asked by my lawyer to journal my marital experience. When my family and legal counsel read the journal, they saw my wife for what she is. I was blind but now am able to see. I have continued writing and the journal has now evolved as evidence for custody and chronicles her continued abuse. When this website found me, the postings brought back many memories which I had tucked away.It has been a wonderful resource. I encourage anyone with a similar situation to write. It is a healing experience and can aid you in court.
Good for you artfuldodger, am so glad to hear of a ‘victory’ for a victim…it sounds like you live in an area where there is actual impartial treatment of men in the legal system. You are the 1% who do receive fair treatment.
Many of us have documented evidence of abuse, lies, deceipt, criminal behavior, etc. including audio, video, witnesses, emails, letters, etc. Despite the overwhelming evidence against our ex crazies, they still receive preferential treatement in the legal system.
I hope your case continues to go smoothly and in your favor, as it sounds like it will!
Hello everyone, this site has also helped me along the way to a better tommorow. I was the victim of late-night early, tirades from my ex. Everything under the sun was up for grabs. I try reasoning with her but that just led to more screaming and accusations. My family was insulted, my friends, and my overall perception of life was put into question. I did not have many friends before this relationship took-off-so I treasure what friends that I do have. It came to the point where I would stare at the ground when I was with her, out in public. We would just be enjoying a great dinner, then out of the blue, here comes the train. I lost a sense of myself, it has been 7 days now, I feel fine at times but there are moments when I litterally want to scream. To get me past this dot on my timeframe, I think of graduating from the university, and traveling to all the wonderful destinations of the world. If I allow my mind to wander than it is her that I think of, it is really painful because there were good times. But if I can’t talk to a waitress to get some drinks, and not be accused of wanting to get to know/meet/sleep with than I can muster up the courage to see the sun rise another day. Well actually, it is like that with everyone. My friends are evil, my parents are controlling, and I like to sleep with everyone I meet, I could not live with the weight on my shoulders that everything in my life is wrong and to fix it I would have to submit to her every demands, ever so outrageous. That was my life for two years.
Hi all, I have just recently “Thanks to Dr T.” found out what’s wrong with my daughter in law. I’ve been watching my son die slowly from his soul sucking NPD wife. I’m not a doctor but everything I’ve been reading is her verbatim. I’m half happy to see that there are other people out there going through this and half horrified, the more I learn about what an evil entity these people are! I was able to get my son alone in the car and read the article “How Abusive Women Brainwash you”. I watched my son’s jaw drop. He couldn’t believe how well the article described his wife and how many people commented on it with things he completely related to! He too gets the early morning phone attacks and hundreds of foul horrible text messages every day!
I have just found NEW site here! I can’t wait to get him to see it. I have to be so careful because he still has a tendency to be defensive of her. Also, I know he won’t read it himself, I’ll have to read it to him. At this point I’m afraid for his life. What used to be my very self-confident, talented, outgoing son is now this person that I have to talk “off the edge” every day. His depression is so bad that he forgets to eat, sleeps too much, can’t sleep, won’t shower for days and just seems lost all the time. She’s really killing him! She hates me to the end of the earth because I don’t give up on him and I keep telling him he’s a great guy. Nobody else in our family want to deal with him anymore and think he’s just being a wuss. His brother tells him to snap out of it and just man up. They don’t get what she’s done to him. She fills my phone with horrible filthy text messages accusing me of being manipulative. I never respond cause then, it’s “game on” and no stopping the horror for days. If I could manipulate anything it would be her out of his life! He has moved out four times only to go back again (for more!). He finally has had his own place now for the last 4 months. A move ahead I hope! She is also violent and he’s been advised to leave the house anytime she gets this way to not subject his 2 sons to this behavior. She talks about killing him and I think she could do it! At least he has kept this safe place away from her! I keep telling him he needs to get well so his kids will have an option away from her when they get old enough (or he gets well enough to just take them!). I’m not permitted to see my grand kids. She has lied at mediation about me, fabricating ridiculous stories from me drugging my grandchildren to robbing her house! That I’m an unfit person for them to be alone with! They listen to her. I love and miss my grandchildren very much.
With everything I’ve been reading on this site and a few others, I haven’t heard any mothers like myself, watching their child be destroyed by one of these horrible women. Unlike a NPD female, I want nothing other than my son to be himself again. Just to be happy and be able to live his life like a normal human. The same guy I gave birth to. I’ve never hated anyone in my life and I can say that I truly hate her. Please cross your fingers or whatever you do, that I’ll be able to get him involved with this forum. I believe it could be his only way out.
Sorry for going on so long about this. I love him so much.
Frannie I too am a mom who is heartbroken over what my son is going through. Our story is similar to many here. We all thought she was great (although I have to admit a few people were a bit wary of her but had no idea what we were getting ourselves into)I started seeing some of it when the wedding was being planned but I oput it down to pressure from her mom (also very liekly an NPD) and jsut the whole thing. Throught the first part of my son’s marraige his father and I kept giving him advice thiking we were dealing with a normal woman. Telling him thatit is hard being married and away from family. Hormones You know every excuse in the book. But the things he did for her any woman would have been flying in the clouds to have such a loving thoughtful husband. Once we started seeing them more on a regular basis when they relocated to our hometown we realized this woman was not normal. Unforatuantley by this time they had a kid which my son did way more to take care of then most men who are working full time do. She wasnt working but that was what my son wanted. That is fine but she expected him to take care of their child when he was home. He was not allowed to sleep in on the weekend cuz she didnt get to. Intially they took turns sleeping in on the weekend but that soon turned to him getting up more often than her.
Too many other issues went on that are all too familiar to all of you when my son finally had it. Up to that point we had not said anything to him about her behavior except to reassure him that he was doing a great job and that it was her problem. We didnt really tell him all that we saw until she up and left one night after a fight. We then tried to get him out of the marraige becasue we knew he desreved better than this. The therapist that they saw mentioned that she had narcissit traits adn we looke dthat up. He found this site and intially was thrilled with it becasue he could see it. But as time wore on and she played games with letting him see his child and so many other things he started to doubt. “Oh she isnt NPD becasue she has shown me empathy” (I now know that this is part of their reeling them in and finding those nuggests) We did really well at keeping contact to a minimum but he fianlly talked to her becasue he felt he had to give it another shot for the childs sake. Anyway long story short. He ended up back with her. All of her apologies etc didnt take long before we were the ones blamed. We made her do those things.
Right now we are estrannged from our son. We told him that he was wlecome andhis child but she was not. We as a family could not have that toxicity in our lives. We saw him a few times but now the ultimatum is that we cant see him unless we see all of them. It is the hardest thing I have had to do. I am hoping my son realizes that we still love him and that he is welcome back into our lives anytime without her. I know that eventually he will see the light again becasue the only reason he lasted before is becasue we were there giving him support. I know from other sources that he is miserable right now. Of course it is our fault and he lashes out at us but we know in his heart that he know it is not true. I also know that she is telling him otherwise. That we dont care about him, that we threw him out that if he loves her he will stand by her against us .
I am just worried about him. (sorry to have gon on so long but I wanted you to know that there are other moms out there hurting for their sons.
I return to a Shrink for Men quite often having found it a truely fantastic site for helping men understand and come to terms with what they have suffered through, due to their involvement with a BPD/NPD women.
The fact that you are now two years with no contact with your ex and that you are STILL involving yourself in such a way, does not in my opinion give the best impression to those people going through the stages of getting away from the past hurt and miseries.
I totally agree that gaining as greater understanding as possible of exactly what we have all been through is a brilliant tool for assisting in us moving on with our lives. But whilst learning about this disorder and the profound effects it has on us, people must also remember that moving on is the key…. for many, many months I read all the blogs and comments on this site, and I in turn have been through many of the things I read, 3 years I was involved with a full blown BPD women. Its hurrendous, and thank god for this site…
It is not my intention to have a dig at you Kev, but people dont necessarily need to be reading stories written by someone who after two years is still wrapped up in it all. Your relationship lasted just one year?! There are guys here who were involved for over 15 years…They need to know that there is life after these terrible relationships and experiences, and that to dwell too long, only means the dredid ex just keeps winning…
Read, learn and digest and all of you will soon understand that you are not the problem, she was, and she will never change, but you can. Concentrate on that and you will get there.
I understand you are trying to help people Kev, but what you are doing in my opinion is broadcasting the fact that after two years, its still a major part of your life. Move on for your own sake.
Good luck to all of you, there is life after these people…. 🙂
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I think it’s important to remember that everyone heals at his or her own pace. What some people are bale to just shrug off is more traumatizing for others. Some people can suffer from PTSD after only one or few brief encounters, while others are more resilient. I think Kev is moving on and this is just part of his process.
For lots of people, abusive, mind-twisting relationships are more difficult to mourn and heal from than the loss of a healthy, benign relationship. Part of this is because it’s nearly impossible to make sense of the abusive ex’s crazy and unnecessarily cruel. A lot of people get caught up in the why, why, why, why? I think Kev is showing that even if you were devastated by your relationship, you can rebuild and get better. Again, this takes longer for some people to do. Some people are more naturally resilient than others. The techniques Kev has used to heal are good ones that can be implemented by anyone matter at any stage of the healing process.
Yes, natural resilience is a factor, also personal history. Someone who’s experienced a lot of traumatic loss in their early lives is more likely to be devastated by a similar loss in later life as the original feelings are reawakened and have to be processed again.
‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is the biggest load of bullshit out there.
People learn from trauma and they can heal, but seldom do they heal completely. They get scar tissue and walk funny and if they get traumatized again in a similar way it’s that much harder for them to rebound.
Hi Dr Tara
As usual your response is absolutely correct and I very much understand everyone needs to heal at their own pace. I remember reading the ‘Bunker Dweller’ article and thinking that it was wrong…to lock yourself away and to chew over things to the extent of insanity is very unhealthy. Eventually we must make sure we take the positive and final step of putting things in the past, and as I said this site and its eye opening information is a fantastic tool for doing so.
I learnt many things whilst going through the horrific stages of getting away from an emotionally abusive person, I read many books, some recomended by this site and spent months working through and understanding what had happened to me. But if I thought that I would still be doing so in two years time? It would have scared me. The whole subject is now an interest of mine, hence my sporadic returns to this site but I wanted to emphasise that there is life after these experiences and that is what should be sort after, not the constant thoughts of precious days of hardship.
One of the many things I learnt is that most emotionally abusive relationships are born out of an ‘addiction’ These relationships are not loving, they are toxic and addictive and I urge people to read a brilliant book by Howard M Halpern, titled “How to break your addiction to a person” It is brilliant! and helped me understand just why, depsite the hurrendous things she did to me, I still found myself wanting to be with her….it may also help people realise that what was has happend to them is not personal, its robotic abuse from someone who is actually very unwell.
In summary, my comment was not to criticise it was to hopely inspire, you wont fully move on until you regain your old self, concentrate on doing that and you will find many things will begin falling into place again in your life….if you dwell for too long and become so wrapped up in it all that it continues to control your thought processes, you may never escape, and lets face it, thats what every man on here wants to eventually do.
ps…to any new comers, NO CONTACT is the only way forward. Do not entertain and feed the beast!!!
Once again Good luck to everyone…
6 months for me no contact. I get sentimental sometimes. I kept a record of the yelling, the insulting and rage.
I always wanted to see the soft side of her but she saw “soft” as “weak” so it was only during her hard times when she dealt with her troubles. I could justify my position with examples, but why do that? It was just tough on me.
I still wonder how I could allow myself to go through it, and also how I could not see how things really were. So, I doubt my judgment and miss the person I thought she was. Sometimes I look at her emails to try and find that person.
I look at women now and find I can’t seem to see a face I could trust. Because of my glasses, not the women I see.
She has moved on and taking a real interest in him, according to facebook. But, she denied me that same interest, and actually acted disinterested in some of my life as a weapon…punishing me by refusing to look at a tv program about a place I had visited. I have bad memories and it might be PTSD, I don’t know.
I don’t think I could ever trust myself to see a good thing, if it came up and bit me. And am fearful of enjoying the company of someone special because it might all be a fraud again.
You can recognize the good ones not for what they are but for what they’re not. It was how my wife didn’t make me feel that allowed me to trust her. 22 years later, I’m still married to her.
A friend of mine who’s also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, once said, “(My wife) is nothing like (my exgf).” I took that as a good thing.
Thanks for the post, Kev.
I share the struggle that many others here have experienced. I was with a BPD female that nearly destroyed my career, alienated me from my family and friends, and left me with PTSD symptoms. We were only together for a year, but it felt like a decade.
I’ve gone ‘no contact’ for a month now, and I’ve found that reflecting on my journal entries allows me to become increasingly aware of just how damaged the relationship was and how unstable her behavior really was. I journal almost daily anyway; have done so for years as a form of self-therapy. It proved invaluable in reviewing the course of my destructive relationship with the Witch.
As I said in my comment way up above, would love to start journaling but she still hangs around until we sell the house. As for tonight . she has gone out with her sister so I have the place to myself and thank the Lord for this Website because I don’t care what she does tonight because I am more at peace of mind when she is not here whereas before the Website, I would have been panicking as to where she went and with whom because she did not let me know…it’s funny, as I stated in an earlier blog, she would let me know everywhere she goes(running errands and driving her son wherever he wants), yet when it’s going out on the town on a Friday night….nothing…I guess it is her little game-playing to try to get me worried of where she is, but again, I will reiterate because of Shrink4men.com, I don’t care because that what love is not is.
I must congratulate myself because last night, my gf startyed giving hints that she wanted to have sex, so at first I just ignored them. She then started coming on stronger and I basically told her, “No” a couple of times and she startyed saying things like, “Don’t you miss sex?”…I knew this was all manipulation so I told her, “You are not going to use me and then toss me into the garbage afterwards”….to make a long story short, she went upstairs with her tail between her legs and I kept my dignity and self-respect all thanks to Dr. T…
You could always journal in text or word files and email them to an email account that she does not have access to (which is what I did for a while). Then print them off later when she isn’t around.
Sounds like you are aware that she is using sexual behavior to manipulate you (mine did that all too well), and that her way of letting you know about her whereabouts is actually a controlling thing (or at least, a way of easing her own guilt and self-shame).
Thanks to this site it has made me really aware of what she is exactly doing and why. As mentioned, she went out with her sister last night and never came home so I know she slept there, but she never phoned me to let me know where she was going and whether she was going to come back home. Given the fact as mentioned she will always tell me where she’s going when running errands and let me know when she’s coming back. If this isn’t game-playing and trying to get me back into the fold, I don’t know what is.
Oh and a P.S. also, you said I am aware of her using sexual behavior to manipulate me…that’s the secret…learn as much as you can as to why they do what they do so when they do something that is totally off-the-wall, one is prepared and I must confess, it kind of makes me laugh when I see the shock on her face each time she tries a stunt and it back-fires on her…
I chuckled at your comment.
Maybe there should be an article called, “Top 10 Ways to Have Fun With the Personality Disordered Woman in Your Life.”
Sadly, I couldn’t come with any to get the list started.
I swear you could be telling my story at times sometimes even word for word ~ this is such a HUGE help – I am currently going through one more break-up wherein another abusive woman has suddenly dumped me then expected me to come crawling back to her and like you, not knowing what else to do – I left – and I’m resisting all her efforts to continue the madness. It is so hard as part of me just cries of desperation to run back into her arms – I still feel like I am in love with her or part of me does at least – but I guess I just want to say once more that so much of what I read on this site and your articles especially are instrumental in my discovery of my own sick tendency to end up again and again in these types of relationships – or relationships with this type of individual – abusive, operating on their own sort of “reality” and especially “needy” – I used to blame myself for being “codependent” but the only part that I see as my “fault” now is my repetitive tendency to continually fall for these women – I absolutely want to figure out what it is I do to attract or end up with thse women – what in the world can I do different to avoid this in my future – certainly not ALL women have this personality disorder how is it that every girlfriend I’ve ever had seems to?!?!?!?! If I could only gain some insight into my specific case, motivations etc., I might be able to avoid it in the future and just understand it better – your articles and this site are one of the FEW things I can do that help take the pain away – I just can’t thank you enough for your articles, your insight, to you and Dr. Tara and everyone involved with this site – at the risk of gushing here I’m telling you I’m 53 years old and this is the realization of an entire lifetime – I’m very sad about all the losses I’ve suffered but the relief I feel at knowing I might not be crazy after all is the best thing I could have ever hoped for. I’ll be reading everything here – and taking your suggestions.
Closure at last says
Congratulations junkyardsaint for recognizing your “tendencies” and coming to this incredibly rational healing site.
I don’t know if you’d read this one in the original “Shrink 4 Men’ – Dr. Tara’s first site which is there in her blogroll – but there’s an article there : http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/can-a-man-break-the-cycle-of-emotional-abuse-after-being-with-a-crazy-narcissistic-or-borderline-wife-or-girlfriend/
http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/why-men-are-attracted-to-crazy-emotionally-abusive-women/ and many other absolutely fantastic articles if you see the whole list in the index section of that site. Check out the March 2010 two – part ‘Brainwashing’ one too. Spot-on. Sorry in advance if you’ve already read these articles.
And what she’s doing now is called ‘hoovering’: http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/can-an-abusive-borderline-personality-disorder-woman-really-change/
True all women are not like this. But unfortunately there are quite a few that are, or the ones who are, are more ‘out there’ to hook men since they need to hook and manipulate more to survive vs. the self-reliant, healthier ones who don’t use these tricks. And from my own experience and those of my men friends, what one ‘misses’ and mistakenly misconstrues as ‘love’ with personality-disordered women is often the pain, the tension, the chase, the not-knowing, the ‘exciting’ uncertainty, the puzzle-solving obsession, the rescue-and-fix compulsion of ‘trying-to-be-the-nice-guy’. All these ‘feelings’ are not healthy yet predatorial (or professional victim) women (and men) make these ‘feel’ like ‘love.’ Those men who also relate only ‘giving’ and ‘rescuing’ to love, are often the ones who can’t ‘receive’ so they push away healthier or kinder women finding them as ‘boring’ or ‘too nice.’
Once you have identified what you mistakenly define as ‘love’ (pain, guilt, fear, shame) then you can de-program yourself from this pattern and find REAL healthy love. (Of course, watching out for the red flags, vigilant and wiser this time.) Try to remember your first formative relation (either in your family or your first adult love) and see if you got caught in the chase, guilt, self-blame, pain of that girlfriend as ‘love’. Sometimes the pattern gets started from there and continues till you stop and self-reflect and can’t take the pain anymore.
Dr. Tara’s approach is absolutely no-nonsense and logical. (Don’t worry – I too, and my men friends had gushed on first discovering her site.) It would be helpful to consult her too.
Good luck on your reading, and path to healing…..and when you get a chance watch Danny Boyle’s recent “127 Hours” and Werner Herzog’s “Little Dieter needs to Fly.” After journaling about your reality, taking time to mourn, and reading/consulting Dr. Tara to heal – it is also nice to be inspired by the amazing stories of these men who made it despite all odds of survival. If they could do it in much worse conditions, so can we!
You’re in the right place! Dr. Tara truly is one of the healthiest and most healing breaths of rationality in the world (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of this world.) Best wishes.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Hi Closure at Last,
Thank you for the kind words. I really don’t think what I’m doing is all that special. Most of what I do is just stating the obvious. I appreciate positive feedback because it’s good to know that people find the material provided on my sites helpful, but I’m often a little embarrassed by the gushing—although, it’s very sweet of you. Thank you. I know how horrible it feels to be bullied and no one should have to tolerate that kind of behavior. I just want men to get the same message that women have been getting for decades: Abuse isn’t okay no matter what and you don’t have to put up with it. You can dump the jerk.
Closure at last says
Thanks Dr. T. Ok – I apologize – I won’t ‘gush’ any more.
And no – you are being too humble – you HAVE helped many people. A man at work who I’d sent your site to had called it a lifeline after no one, not his family, his therapists (that his BPD girlfriend had dragged him to to make it ‘all his fault’) had understood his pain when she cheated and broke up with him and put him through hell. He felt this was the only place where at last he could recover. And other men from various places, no doubt, have healed though your work. And myself due to my own sister being an N.
Sorry- I won’t gush, (it’s not my usual nature as an INTJ, but your work and rationality impresses me a lot) and this is simply an observation through my own rational self-interest: Thanks to this site – I’ve been able to concentrate full time back on my work, instead of being the unintended ‘confidante’ since so few resources existed before for men who were abused. (and this dates back as far as engineering college.) Something like this should have existed eons back…and I’m glad it does now. It would have increased productivity at work too so those who went through this hell could concentrate at work instead of answering calls of crazed PDs at home or going insane themselves questioning : Why?why? why? I have healed and will not be writing here, but occasionally I pop back, to read the articles.
Hey thanks for the post – I will take your advice, read these articles, and try to see if I can’t start journeling and stuff like that too – I’m a little overwhelmed, not sure where or how to start but I’ll take it a day at a time and start reading on here and hopefully it will become clear – thanks so much
I could’nt agree more with what this article is entitiled. You really have to keep journals of what’s going on..
I have my journals from 2 years ago when I was with my abusive ex and I can’t even make it through a couple pages without shaking my head. It’s sad what kinda shape I was in back then! Very, very sad – totally brainwashed! My therapist used to chuckle at me and say “You’re brainwashed, like one of the Moonies”… yep!
People that were close to me and I talked to every day came to a point where they were just at a loss for words, even my Mother & Father knew what was happenning but I would’nt budge! Bad news, but I have to say, kick in the no contact and let the clouds part, you get some clarity, it feels so good you won’t beleive it… it takes time, and I still find myself arguing by myself, doing a little mental judo if I ever have to deal with someone like that again (I highly doubt it – I can smell them a mile away now).. but man, with some therapy and lots of social interaction with friends, acquaintences, this experience has helped me grow into a better/stronger man than I was before.
I had to go back before this experience, I had to find out why I was vulerable to abuse, why this type of behavior was acceptable to me!
After that, it’s a slow process, but an empowering one! Dr Tara lays it out in her articles, a corrective emotional experience is not the basis for a healthy loving relationship!!
Oh boy!! This article describes what I went through for 5+ years, and what a painful after math for 2+ years also. Going on my 3rd year now, I’ve met a nice gal, don’t think she is interested, don’t really know because I lack so many things I had before. Thought I was doing really well till I began to like this gal. Then I got all insecure again. Oh well, it is passing slow but surely. I finally got to the point I would argue with her to defend myself of her accusations, that were constant. Always these comments that implied I was bad or worse. All the while she would be the one to ultimately step out and I would be the one that was terribly hurt over it all. I even wanted to get back with her for months. WOW, glad that’s over. I wish her well and good bye. Don’t ever want to do that one again, ever.
Wow…confronting false nostalgia. How this article rings so true. Even after 3 months I still fall prey to an occasional memory loss. Sometimes I have to catch myself, and playout the key episodes as a reminder of what had occurred and how frequently it would occur at the end of a 7 month relationship. If ya don’t think 7 months of accelerated rages, unfounded accusations, asking me to leave, begging me to come back ( which I did ) isn’t enough time to take its toll think again I say to myself. And like Jim ” I finally got to the point I would argue with her to defend myself of her accusations”. God, I remind myself of those episodes too.
Even our final talk, wishing each other well, I was still defending myself, still feeling guilty, still feeling blame. And just when I thought I’d get any point across, she couldn’t remember things, ” it’s all a fog to me now ” she said.
When I read articles like yours Kev, it brings me back, back to reality of why I left and how bad, “bad” could be. The higher the pedestal, the further the fall…
I feel as if i should have left sooner. 14 years deep. And yet I still feel for your pain. Good luck.
All I can say is im 14 years deep with two children and just filed for divorce.* I adopted my oldest son and then some. THis all started when we met in Jr. High.. But I noticed something when reading. 1, Im not alone *THANK YOU JESUS* 2. Wow I’m in deep. and 3. alot of CB’s are nurses. 4. The watching shows for togetherness sucks I.E. days of our lives. 5. Wow I almost questioned my sexuallity. 6 This… is going to take some work. I still want to go back. Fight texting and calling everyday* 7. Thank you Shrink4men. WoW> *my most instrumental person in my life lived this but opposite sex, She always says. The first step is the longest. *keep your head up Men*