Dear Dr Tara J. Palmatier,
I have recently come across your articles on Shrink4Men and have been reading them — especially those related to controlling and abusive women — and am hoping you can answer a simple yes or no question for me:
Am I involved with a controlling and/or abusive woman?
I hate to sound dramatic, but the sooner you could answer, the better, as we are engaged and supposed to be married next week. I have become increasingly concerned that I am heading down a not-very-healthy path.
There are a few behaviors that concern me:
1. She frequently becomes extremely hostile and aggressive if I’m not able to meet her demands. For example, she fought with me for 3 days about not taking her to Paris where I was scheduled to work for 4 days. I explained that I couldn’t afford a last minute ticket, hotel, etc., for such a short trip.
Additionally, my job doesn’t allow significant others to go on trips. I offered to take her on another trip a few weeks later, when I had the time off and she refused. She had to go on the Paris trip. She even threatened to leave me if I didn’t take her. I ended up caving in and bringing her.
2. She often threatens to leave me or end the relationship when she’s upset or we’re having a disagreement. I’ve asked her repeatedly not to do this, as it really makes me feel insecure in our relationship. She’s done it repeatedly, even after leaving a therapist’s office a week ago, because she did not like the direction of the therapy session, and afterward told me, “I’m leaving.”
3. She has told me in no uncertain terms that a very good friend of mine (female, strictly platonic – always) is “not welcome in my house.” She doesn’t like this person even though they’ve only met twice, because, as best I can tell from really trying to have a heart-to-heart about it, she feels insecure about the friendship I have with my friend.
Honestly, I only see this person maybe twice a year. She’s been a close friend of mine for over a decade and dates another very close friend of mine. I’ve explained that I think it’s unreasonable to tell me she’s not welcome in the house, but she insists the only way she’s comfortable is if she doesn’t have to ever see her.
All of this has caused an extreme amount of conflict between us and I am feeling very high levels of stress and anxiety-borderline depression. I realize this is only my side of the story, but truly I’ve tried to explain everything as objectively as possible. She’s not a bad person, but I’m afraid that these behaviors will only get worse. My family and friends all tell me her behaviors will get worse and that I should end the relationship.
From just what I described, I’m curious if you feel that she is a controlling/abusive person?
Thank you so much.
I can’t tell you what to do, but the behaviors you describe in your email are very troubling. Also, her behaviors are not that of a good person. If your description of her behaviors is accurate, she seems pretty bad to me.
I think it would be a colossal mistake to marry this woman. The behaviors you outlined are highly controlling and abusive. Your family and friends are right; your fiancée’s behaviors will most likely become worse after saying, “I do.”
Once an abusive woman legally binds you to her in marriage and/or with a baby, her behavior almost always gets worse. The attitude is, “I’ve got you now and if you try to leave, you’ll pay.”
1. “She frequently becomes extremely hostile and aggressive if I’m not able to meet her demands.” This is one of the biggest red flags of them all. Children have meltdowns when they don’t get their way; adults accept it or try to find a good compromise.
Your fiancée’s behavior is incredibly immature and abusive. Spouses inevitably disappoint each other from time to time. Being able to compromise and handle disappointment are essentials of a healthy marriage. Your fiancée’s behavior demonstrates that she’ incapable of both. If you marry her, you can expect her to continue to have woman-child temper tantrums whenever she doesn’t get her way — and why wouldn’t she?
She pitched a fit and you took her to Paris. She learned that if she wants to get her way, all she has to do is bully, intimidate and harangue you. Once a woman like your fiancée gets away with this kind of behavior even one time, it’s mighty hard to undo the damage. She’ll only escalate her tantrums.
2. “She often threatens to leave me or end the relationship when she’s upset or we’re having a disagreement.” The threat of abandonment is a control tactic; nothing more, nothing less. She figured out one of your “buttons” is abandonment/loss of the relationship. She’s using it to get her way and to silence you when you challenge her or try to express feelings/opinions that differ from hers.
This is the equivalent of a little kid threatening to take her ball and mitt and go home if you don’t play the game by her extremely unfair and one-sided rules. More often than not, the threat of abandonment is an empty one. It’s not easy finding someone who’ll put up with her abuse and other nonsense.
You should know this, Peter: Healthy people don’t tolerate the kind of behavior you’ve been tolerating. You don’t have to tolerate it either.
Much like her temper tantrums, she’s used the threat of abandonment to successfully manipulate you, which means it’ll be next to impossible to extinguish this behavior. Everyone has a toolbox of skills we use in relationships and life. More developed individuals use empathy, compromise, fair play and dialogue to negotiate relationships.
A woman like your fiancée has very primitive tools in her toolbox. She’s like a cave woman with rocks and sticks that she uses to clobber, prod and poke you. She no doubt failed to learn qualities and skills like empathy and compromise at the developmentally appropriate age. It’s highly unlikely she’ll be able to learn them as an adult. Bullying and intimidation are powerful tools. She’s unlikely to give them up easily because she’s probably been able to get whatever she wants by using them for most of her life.
3. “She has told me in no uncertain terms that a very good friend of mine (female, strictly platonic – always) is ‘not welcome in my house.'” This is another jumbo red flag. She’s trying to isolate you, which is a technique of abusers. They cut you off from friends and family — the people who care about you — to gain total control over you.
Right now, she’s “uncomfortable” with your platonic female friend. What happens when she becomes “uncomfortable” with your mother, father, brothers, sisters and other friends? Once you give in to your fiancée’s demand that you end this friendship, she’ll demand that you end more of your relationships. It’s only a matter of time.
The decision to end an engagement is a frightening one. However, the thought of marrying and reproducing with this woman should be even more frightening. If you legally bind yourself to her and have children with her, you’ll effectively be signing your life away.
I know the thought of calling and emailing friends and family to tell them the wedding is off is unimaginable, but try to envision yourself 10 years down the road. After a decade of marriage, you’ll want to get out, but will worry how it will effect the kids. You’ll worry that she’ll abscond with the majority of your assets and destroy your relationship with the kids. You’ll feel stuck — far more stuck than you feel now. If you can’t end it right now, at least postpone it for a year.
Brace yourself, Peter. If you think her tantrums, tears and bullying are bad now, she’ll throw everything she’s got into pressuring you to go through with the marriage. Let your friends and family support you. Any embarrassment you may experience will be temporary. It would be far, far worse to marry this woman and give her little hostages with which to torture and control you.
Ending an engagement with this woman might feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Marrying this woman will be the beginning of the end of your world and then you will have to fight like hell when you later realize you should’ve listened to your instincts and said, “I don’t.”
What do you think? Should Peter go through with the wedding?
How many of you had similar concerns before marrying your high-conflict, abusive personality disordered, abusive, controlling, crazy wives or husbands? What advice do you have for Peter?
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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PLEASE I IMPLORE YOU, GET FAR AWAY FROM HER! If you ever take any advice, take this, you are engaged to an emotional vampire, she will drain you of your energy, you money and spirit and leave only a husk afterwards, G-d forbid you have children with her. This is the exact same behavior that my ex wife exhibited, including the European business trips, mine is Barcelona. I refused she not only forced me to sleep in the basement bedroom but basically arranged to have her family and friends to ignore me, it wasn’t till I wised up and saw what she was doing to me that I filed. The divorce has been going for 3 years and is still not over, she has drained me of ever penny, and fights me tooth and nail for every minute of visitation with my children. DON’T DO IT! DUMP HER, DUMP HER QUICKLY AND CUT OFF ANY CONTACT WITH HER FOREVER, OTHERWISE YOUR LIFE WILL BE HELL!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Thanks, sh*tshield (chuckling at your username!)
I agree with your take 100%
never again says
Peter, run like the wind! Take whatever money you can scrounge, arrange some vacation time, cancel the wedding arrangements, tell your family and friends, then call her from a pay-phone and tell her it’s over. Turn off your cellphone and GET OUT OF TOWN UNTIL AFTER THE DATE OF THE WEDDING SO SHE DOESN’T HOOVER YOU BACK!!!
The shitstorm you’ll endure by cancelling this wedding is NOTHING to the shitstorm that your marriage to this woman will be. Short-term pain for long-term gain. GET OUT!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
RUN RUN RUN!!! DON`T TURN BACK AND LOOK EVEN ONCE! You are smart enough to pick up the warning signs….now go with the gut feeling…there is a lot wrong and everyone on this post will tell you the same thing…IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE!!!
You are still free.Do not ruin your life. Your fiance is a monster and your love of life and youthful spirit will die a slow and painful death.You will end up living with a female Dracula,with no friends or family.She will suck the life right out of your entire body,mind and spirit.
First it is a female friend…..next it will be your mother….it will never stop.
FLY ON,MY FRIEND TO A BETTER WORLD.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Comments from the S4M community on the Shrink4Men Facebook wall:
David Gullickson: In his own letter he has answered all his questions. Don’t just walk, RUN away from this woman as fast as possible. Trust me….if it’s bad now and she doesn’t have the ring on, it will only get 10x worse once it is, because she KNOWS she has you by the balls. Get out now and say good riddance.
Andrew Harris: RUN PETER, RUN!
Deep Expanse: lovvin that engagement ring picture Dr T!…and NO to Peter!
Radbecca Breeden: Your answer couldn’t have been explained better. A little embarassment now beats out a miserable divorce later. Run, Peter, RUN! 🙂
Matthew Arciniega: Don’t marry her, please. The warning signs are there. Let her go, and get yourself into some therapy so you can begin to figure out why you are willing to let yourself be a doormat. Once you do get married, it’s very hard to extract yourself, and the legal system will not be in your favor if you ever do decide that you can’t take it any more. Let her go.
Paul Mark Joseph Prinz: Tara, you wrote:”It’s not easy finding someone who’ll put up with her abuse and other nonsense”. I disagree. This is where men are pretty dumb. There will always be another enabler around the corner. Don’t think she hasn’t lined up another unevolved man just in case. My advice, walk away, cry the tears, heal and when you meet a woman of character, you will be glad you bailed on the abusive one.
A Shrink for Men: Sadly, you’re probably right, Paul Mark Joseph. I always seem to underestimate the number of people lined up waiting to take their fair share of abuse.
Daniel Pettas: No, and disengage.
Heather Darling Neil: Wow, he needs help in figuring this out? @ David you are correct…
Deep Expanse: looks like the solitaire I bought my ex..PMSL..I think its now at the bottom of the local sewerage treatment works….
Samadhi Fisher: speaking from experience, he needs to follow his gut, cut his losses, and chalk it up to a hard lesson learned before it’s too late. I ignored my instincts and I’m paying for it. I agree 100% with what DG wrote above. it does NOT get better. it DOES get 10x worse. don’t just walk, RUN away.
Tammie Kuhn: I hope to hear an update, and that Peter didn’t marry this monster. She will get worse over time, he has only seen the tip of the iceberg. RUN, Peter.
I wish Dr T had been around before I got married.
I had the same concerns. Trust me when I tell you this Peter
you will die prematurely. Not violently perhaps but between
the stress and strain you will be under a full life is probably not
in the cards. Get out!!!!!
Run, Peter! RUNNNNNNN!!!!! Everything Dr. T said is true. If you think she’s abusive and controlling now, just WAIT until she gets a little peice of paper that says (to her) she OWNS you. And God Forbid you have one or two children/pawns for her to emotionally and financially blackmail you with.
Every person I’ve ever known, who said they had strong doubts before walking down the aisle, ended up divorced. Myself included.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Thanks for the input, MB. I’m hoping “Peter” will register and reply to the comments and everyone directly. I know he appreciates the support.
Peter, a few of close friends and relatives warned me but I didn’t listen. I’m no longer with her but I’ll be paying the price for at least 12 more years until our son is an adult. Hopefully the nightmare will end there. Listen to people you trust. Don’t try to be here savior and don’t think that you can change her. Good luck!!
Peter – if you elect to stay it will be like a prison in your home. you will be interrogated daily as to where you have been what you have been doing and who you have been seeing. Any chance encounter with any acquaintance will be viewed as a suspicious event and will be twisted to make you seem as if you are betraying her. You say she threatens to end the relationship when you are not getting along? You should be so lucky. Trust me. There is NO WAY she will end this relationship. to do so means you win and she loses and that is not tolerable in her world. RUN while you still can.
Marshall Stack says
I was in a similar situation, and didn’t get out when I had the chance. Here I am nine years later, struggling to find a way out for my kids and me. Don’t end up like me, get the fork out of there!!!!!!!!!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
More comments from FB:
Stu Johns: FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS! If you are not sure and are being pressured or coerced at all, run away! You can always regroup and if it was meant to be it will wait. Please be careful.
Candace Bennett: This poor guy needs to run and run away fast and not look back!
Alicia Luz: Run away, break it off now!
Dawn Hiller Gialelis: I don’t see where ANYONE here or on the website said ” yes – you can work this out…. she sounds like a keeper” — Please heed the advice of all these people — you came here looking for an answer which I think you already know in your heart. Yes it is easier to just go along and be swept up in all the festivities and think that it will all work out for the best. It won’t. Please. If you do ONE thing for yourself from here on out….. do not marry this woman. Do NOT let her bully you into it. Good Luck.
Luca Ballarini: Run, while you still can. I am sure they you deserve better.
Peter I dealt with the same type of person almost word for word. The others are 100% correct. After you end the relationship with your female friend, she will go after others. Mine went next about people I work with, other friends to isolate. She eventually tried keep me from mother (mother’s day) and then my son. Broke up two years in a row on mother’s day. (1st for months second for good)I refused. She will never lighten up and stop. There is no compromise in their world.
I had the same thing with work travel. I gave in twice. She wanted to meet my friends at work. We spent no time with my work friends. She didn’t want to do what they were doing. We argued the entire time. She wanted all my attention. I needed to work. It is to isolate you from everyone. Most people want a partner in life. She makes you feel like a servant. Run!
I am afraid that your life with this person will be hell-like,
She cannot respect you as a person because she doesn’t respect you now at all.
And that is only your fault.
She can’t be one to blame because she has bigger issues, and probably doesn’t even realize that.
I second, third and fourth what all the posters have said.
Peter, if you have any doubts it is better to have a broken engagement than a broken marriage.
I bet that she has taken insurance out on a cancellation as well, so don’t be thinking it will financially be a problem!
” so don’t be thinking it will financially be a problem!”
Even if it is, it will still be cheaper then the inevitable divorce.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
<> sounds ominously familiar – and every time it would provoke a punch in my guts. Not good.
<> with you, when you offer rational explanations – ominously familiar – rinse and repeat for ‘All’ the yet-to-come issues life throws at people. Childish, self-centered drama replaces adult conversation the rest of the relationship.
<> say goodbye to important friendships (and expect her version of payback ie. flirting, cheating).
For each of these situation imagine how a healthy, mature woman would react:
“Ok dear, don’t worry about Paris, I understand. We can travel together when you get back. Have a good trip, and call me.”
“I don’t mind your female friend, I’m glad you have them and introduced me to them. If you tell me it’s platonic, I trust you. I love you.”
<> – ask yourself if a normal healthy mature woman would pitch this in the face of the man she’s planning on marrying.
It all sounds way to familiar – unfortunately we have the life experience and you have to turn the QEII around 180 degrees in a few days. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
But I don’t envy trying to balance all this out. I can imagine the pressure at this late juncture. But like all, my 2 cents – a small price to pay in the course of a lifetime.
RUN. I have been with involved with my wife for 2 years. I have a beautiful son that came with the wife and a baby daughter. I love my kids. I’m there for them. I let her use her tools to manipulate me. Whether it is my self doubt or bending over to please her when she walked out the Friday before our first Valentine’s day. When she was just entering her 8 month I was scheduled to travel for business. I don’t know whether it is real or not but intense contractions caused me to cancel the trip. The contractions went away. I’m continually working on the relationship for my kids sake but I can only survive and change me until my wife wants to change. Oh and be ready for her to call one of her flames then text you about how you need to make her feel special. That happened to me for the first time yesterday.
REPOST – seems the blog software deletes test in double brackets …
“She frequently becomes extremely hostile and aggressive if I’m not able to meet her demands” … sounds ominously familiar – and every time it would provoke a punch in my guts, a ‘oh no, don’t leave’ feeling – not good.
“threatens to leave me or end the relationship” with you, when you offer rational explanations – ominously familiar – rinse and repeat for ‘All’ the yet-to-come issues life will throw at you. Childish, self-centered drama replaces adult conversation and understanding the rest of the relationship.
“very good friend of mine … is “not welcome in my house.” Say goodbye to important friendships (and expect her version of payback when she’s not happy ie. flirting, cheating).
NOW – for each of these situation imagine how a healthy, mature woman would react:
“Ok dear, don’t worry about Paris, I’d love to go but I understand. We can travel together when you get back. Have a good trip, and call me.”
“I don’t mind your female friend, I’m glad you have them and introduced me to them. If you tell me it’s platonic, I trust you. I love you.”
Ask yourself if a normal, healthy, mature woman would pitch threats to leave in the face of the man she’s planning on marrying and committing her life to.
It all sounds way to familiar – unfortunately we have the life experience and you have to turn the QEII around 180 degrees in a matter of minutes. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
But I don’t envy trying to balance all this out. I can imagine the pressure at this late juncture. But like all, my 2 cents – a small price to pay in the course of a lifetime.
Your worst enemy would be ‘faint hope’ and the thought that you’ll marry her, she’ll see your commitment, and you’ll work it out ‘in the mix’ …
Yeah. Work it out is code for suckering you back in to her web. The only way we can move forward is to forget the past. Funny that only applies to me. The past is my wife’s favorite tool to inflict pain. She may be beautiful. The sex may be great but there is a terrible price to pay and very little or no light at the end of your life tunnel with her in it.
I write this to you because I love you. As a fellow victim of a likely Cluster B, we share a faraway camaraderie as members of a fraternity of trauma survivors the likes of which can only be matched by war veterans, rape victims, and the lucky few who have beaten cancer.
I have had the misfortune of dating a psychopath like this not once, but twice. The second time, she was my roommate first, and I had the strength to break things off before the lease even expired… I had to live the next three months without initiating any contact with her whatsoever. Wanna know what?
It was the most empowering experience of my entire life. Now that you’ve found yourself in this situation, you have a golden opportunity to improve your life in ways you never thought possible.
I know the way you’re feeling now. You’ve invested a great deal in this woman. You think she’s physically attractive. The cyclone of ups and downs has ratcheted up the intensity of your relationship. You probably fiend for the sex and artificially inflate the enjoyability of the experience because of the outside factors attached to it. You’re scared that if you break this off, you will (GASP) NEVER GET LAID EVER AGAIN. You don’t wanna play the field. You’ve never been good at picking up women. Very infrequent sex for which you have to beg and grovel is better than no sex at all.
However, you’re also miserable in every waking moment of your life. You know it gets better than this, but you’re too paralyzed by fear, self-doubt, and general insecurity to do anything about it. This woman has sucked the life out of you.
Does that accurately describe the predicament? Believe it does.
Here’s my advice. Steel yourself, call off the wedding, and calmly inform her that you can’t do this anymore. Do it with a smug smile and remain totally serene in the face of her ridiculous reaction. Emotionally detach yourself from the histrionics and watch as she devolves into a hysterical puddle of rage and indignation. Watch her reveal herself for the demonic, soul-sucking shrike that she truly is.
Meanwhile, conserve your resources, enjoy being single, and do the following:
–Get a recommendation for a really good personal trainer and begin working out (if you’re not doing so religiously already). Doesn’t matter what shape you’re in. Just do it. If you can couple your training with boxing and/or martial arts, do that also.
–Reconnect with your blood relatives and close friends, including the platonic one that she’s trying to unceremoniously kick out of your life.
–See a psychotherapist and let off steam. You’re gonna be angry, hurt, and deflated on the inside. You gotta let that out to someone. See this person twice a week and talk his or her ear off for 50 minutes. It’s immensely helpful. If necessary, accept a temporary regimen of benzodiazepines and/or anti-depressants (Celexa worked incredibly well for me for 6 months).
–Most importantly: learn Game. Citizen Renegade (roissy.wordpress.com), Ricky Raw (www.therawness.com) and Roosh (roosh.com) are your best sources. As an absolutely essential supplement, read everything ever printed by Robert Greene.
Doesn’t matter how old you are. Undergo these steps and you will be an absolute monster within a year, and you’ll be wondering to yourself how you could ever consider attaching yourself to a pit viper so eager to drag you into the abyss.
Best of luck, hermano. Come back to the light side of the Force.
Peace, love, and happiness,
I suspect that you have tried to impose certain conditions on her behavior to determine whether she has truly changed, only to fail again and again. There’s a term in PUA blogs called shit tests.
When a woman shit tests the man (I won’t go into details, but they are basically attempts to control or emasculate the man), the correct response is for the man to reject them, stand firm and make her understand that a man must remain ‘upright.’ If a man capitulates, he loses.
When a man shit tests the woman (and here I am talking about putting her in her place), the correct response for the woman is to obey, be submissive. If she becomes indignant and escalates, she has failed.
The premise on the above is that men are wired verrrrrry differently from women. Men pick their battles, whereas the weak woman follows her emotions, bringing the man into her delusion.
Sadly, few understand this dynamic and instead see it as the man being controlling, and the woman just ‘expressing herself’.
For you, it seems to be way past the point where the proper application of shit tests would establish proper respect and boundaries.
We obviously have a limited window into your relationship, but based on what you’ve divulged, I’d have to say, “Yes, you are involved in an abusive and controlling relationship. Get out.” If you’re having these types of questions now and have contacted Dr T. for her opinion, I think you may already know the answer but are afraid to pull the trigger. You may not want to her your fiancee, but ultimately you need to always remember you need to be responsible for your happiness first, and not become her emotional whipping post. The co-dependent me always thought that sentiment felt a little selfish until I woke the heck up after my emotionally abusive, NPD ex walked out on me with a very generous golden parachute (divorce-style). You can bargain and make all of the excuses that you want, but at the end of the day, you need to trust your instincts. There are greener pastures, my friend.
My husband married his first wife even though he was having serious doubts about their relationship. At the time, he was serving in the military overseas. She showed up on his doorstep with her toddler son from her first marriage. Before long, she had moved into his apartment and was leeching off of him. They got married even though he had a “little voice” in his head telling him it wasn’t a good idea. They fought on their wedding day, which coincidentally was also the day that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Almost ten years later, she served him divorce papers over Easter while they were visiting my husband’s father and stepmother. He spent ten years slaving away, trying to earn enough money to take care of the ex and her whims, which included buying furniture and cars that were beyond their means, taking care of the two other kids they had besides her son (both were “oopses”), and a money-pit of a house that neither of them had the time or the know how to fix up. They went through bankruptcy and foreclosure and my husband’s daughters eventually disowned him in favor of ex’s third victim (with whom she’s had two more kids).
My husband is doing very well today and has largely recovered from the emotional trauma and financial mess created during his time with his ex. But recovering was a long, tough road to hoe. While I’ll always be grateful to the ex for divorcing my husband so he could be with me and for keeping some other woman from marrying him, it’s also been tough for me to deal with the aftermath of their marriage. I met my husband’s daughters once and their mother determined that I was “too much of a bad influence” for them to get to know me. Since then, I have been blamed by my husband’s family for pissing off his ex. They have since come around and realized that she’s nuts, but it took a long time.
Peter, if you are having any doubts about your fiancee– and it sounds like you have reason to have doubts– I would urge you to think twice about this wedding. You are now in a position to protect yourself from the nightmare that my husband and so many other guys have had to deal with when they marry HCP women. Please think about saving yourself, if not for you, for any innocent children that may come from your union. As much as I dislike the way my husband’s daughters treat him, I can’t help but feel sorry for them. They had to be raised by their mother, who thinks nothing of using them to fight her battles. And if you love your immediate family, I would urge you to think of them, too. Your parents and siblings will also end up being exploited if you’re dealing with a HCP woman. She already has issues with your good friend. Your other friends may be next.
Run like the wind – I read in your questions that you already really know the answer – but are questioning if you are right – I take that as your reasoning skills are already being severely impacted by her powerful gas-lighting skills.
What you describe in behaviors match what my ex-wife displayed – only I didn’t have the skills to detect at that time in my life.
I agree with everything posted above this comment. Short term pain – Yes – but potential long term unbearable agony to come if you say “I do”.
Run Forest Run…….
Oh – an one more comment – don’t worry about the fallout of cancelling the wedding – the people in your world that really do love and care for you will support you. Those that don’t do not matter.
The ones that do matter probably secretly hope you don’t go through with it.
Simple: Get Married and Multiply all your problems by at least 10!!! This is nothing compared to the person she will become once she feels like she OWNS you.
Hello everyone, this is Peter. I have only a quick moment to write here, but wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I’m overwhelmed and extremely appreciative for the many examples, feedback and frank advice. This has been very eye-opening for me, as I never would never have previously labeled my situation as controlling/abusive. I thought that I’ve been dealing with someone with a maturity issue, but coming across this site has been a blessing – as well as all of your comments. Thank you so much – I will try to respond more to individual posts soon. One thing is cystal clear though: I need to suck it up and move on from this relationship immediately.
Peter, I’m glad you were reading. I left an earlier comment later in this thread, but your comment above stuck with me, that you thought you were dealing with someone with a maturity issue … but if that was the case, what did you think was going to bring about the maturity when she’s old enough to be married? My grandmother married at 15 – SHE was immature, but her husband’s rage at finding his paycheck gone on frivolities and threats to send her back home to her mother to be taught a few lessons made her grow up quickly. Can you imagine in 1920 a woman saying to her husband, “well, it’s YOUR fault because you’re not there for me emotionally!”? Modern marriage can be a trap for either party, but more often men (because women generally have less to lose in divorce), but you are certainly left with less recourse to repair anything than you were before once you are legally bound to each other (and each other’s assets). She needs to find that maturity on her own BEFORE entering marriage. And trust me – as someone now with the man I fell in love with 24 years ago and only recently reconnected with – if you’re meant to be together you’ll get back to that place once it’s right for both of you. I’m glad you are focused on moving on. In the future, if you think that there’s an issue, ask yourself what it is that will fix that issue (and if that answer makes sense), and don’t be afraid to seek couples counseling if necessary. It’s WAY cheaper than divorce. Good luck.
Peter, a lot of people have made the mistake of staying with a bad situation because they felt that they could make it better. Identifying that there is a real problem before you attach yourself completely is a great first step. Your friends and family are important but ultimately it’s your decision. Just remember, however, our instincts are usually the best answer…it’s the second guessing that fouls us up. Read what you wrote to Dr. T again, then go with your first, and best instinct.
Thanks musegumbo – I have been mentally torturing myself over this. You’re so right about following my instincts. I’ve let a lot of my own mental chatter cloud my judgment – that as well buying into (wrongly so) guilt thrown at me. Thanks
Forget all the warning signs and go with your gut.
I got married despite serious doubts. It was a huge mistake. Due to religious reasons at the beginning and then kids, it took me 25 years to end it, the last eight of which were bad and the last two utter hell.
Had I simply postponed the wedding, my fiance would have eventually revealed her true self. (She really hadn’t–her ability to adjust herself in new situations it’s frightening, but I’ve learned she can’t sustain it.)
In your case, she already has revealed herself! All are issues, but threatening to leave tells me that all else aside, she simply doesn’t take this relationship as seriously as you. Frankly, I’d egg her into an argument, have her make the threat and then leave. But that’s me.
There is not much I can add to what has already been said here except to say that you are a very, very lucky man.
You are a lucky man because your fiancee began her high conflict and disordered behaviors before the wedding date. She has unwittingly given you the greatest gift ever. She committed a fundamental strategic error. In the Cluster B playbook, this is a grievous self-inflicted foul. She tipped her hand.
You are now going to terminate your relationship with her (and I trust you are putting the wheels in motion to do just that) and walk away free and clear. You will begin a new phase of life with no strings attached.
Some of us did not have the same luck as you. For us, we married people who were on their best behaviors during the courtship and engagement period. It wasn’t until we were married, or procreating, that they peeled back the layers to reveal their truly disordered selves. Mine didn’t start banning people from my life until several years in. Mine waited a few years before having tantrums. I had no warning signs prior to asking for her hand in marriage. If I did, I either ignored them or wasn’t sophisticated enough to recognize them.
Peter, I envy you. Sure, you will have to go through the short-term turmoil of canceling a wedding on a week’s notice. But that will pass before you know it. And you will move on.
Be afraid, Peter. Be very afraid. And be glad that you could get out before it was too late.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Hey, Verbal! Good to see you still knocking around.
Thanks Dr. T. Even though I haven’t posted much recently, I’ve been reading all your blog posts and been generally lurking around. 🙂
Is she fit? Ha ha – thats a joke. Get out man.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Better question: Is she psychologically fit?
Computer says, no.
Tell her the wedding is off.
Get a journal. Document EVERYTHING. All correspondence with her, transcripts of phone calls, EVERYTHING.
And this is most important. STOP HAVING SEX WITH HER YESTERDAY!
DON’T SLEEP WITH HER! Very good advice!!!!. And wear three condom’s when you go to bed at night if you’re in the same county as she is. No physical contact!!!
If this was “who wants to be a millionaire” and the Poll the Audience said 100% leave and 0% stay…if a million dollars was at stake (and who’s saying it’s not?), what would you choose?
Peter – I wanted to postpone my marriage to my AXH (exhibited some, but not all of what you describe), but couldn’t find someone to really talk to about it, until it was too late. Turns out, he had a married girlfriend on the side, expected me to bring in all income so he could ‘play’ farming and never let me spend time with my divorced girlfriend who I’d known since junior high, because she was a ‘bad influence’ [on poor, stupid me.] He even started choking me one day just because I disagreed with him.
Thankfully, that was over quickly (i think he expected his married gf to split w/her husband)…but the divorce dragged on longer than the marriage – he actually tried to force a judge to rule on allowing him to take out a life insurance policy on me.
Believe me and everyone else here who have ‘lived to tell’ – it only gets worse. Most people try to stay on their best behavior, especially in the beginning of a relationship, only to let their more ‘sloppy’ or ‘boring’ self show through after marriage…if she’s this hateful, childish and wicked now…what do you suppose ‘worse’ looks like? When she takes her ‘mask’ off?
I have a male friend who has been with his AW for 30+ years – she slept around on him before they got married and while they have been married; he rewarded her with a ring and his continued commitment. She made him feel unwanted, unloved and unworthy. He began to hate himself and wish for death. They have two grown sons and guess what? Both sons have ended up with women just like ‘dear old mom.’ – and they have both had children with these ‘women.’ How many more generations do you want to carry it down for?
Here’s my litmus test question: How do you feel when you are with her?
How do you feel about yourself when you have spent time with her?
What do you say and think about yourself after you’ve been with her?
That will tell you everything you need to know.
Your description of our fiancées behavior is identical to that of my ex. The constant projection and gas-lighting will slowly drive you insane. Hit up Wikipedia or here at Dr. T’s site if you don’t know what those are. You will begin to doubt yourself and everyday another small piece of you will die. When you inevitably come out the other side of this relationship and you begin the recovery process you won’t even recognize the person you’ve become. It happened to me and I would give up a limb to be able to turn back the clock and have the option of running away. I had two children with mine and when my son was 6 months old she abducted the kids and moved 100 miles away. Family court is my home away from home now 🙁
Peter, would you treat her this way?
I would call her on her threats to leave. Next time she goes bananas – and she will before the wedding, trust me – hopefully she will make the leaving threat and just say “OK, you win.”.
It will escalate.
As a very good, female, platonic friend of a man in an abusive relationship I emphatically say GET OUT NOW! My friend’s wife also demanded that we break contact. After the death of his father we exchanged some benign calls and texts which he (understandably) didn’t tell her about because he didn’t have the emotional stamina to deal with her bitching. The result? Because she routinely checked his cell phone use she concluded that we were having an affair. She then filed for divorce behind his back, filed a false DV claim against him and kept his children away from him for 6 weeks. So please listen to your instincts and get out! Also ( and I say this with irony!) by calling off the wedding you will give her the opportunity to relish in playing the victim and give her a sob story that she will no doubt use to hook her next victim! Best of luck to you!
And best of luck to the next poor soul she gets her hooks in.
It drives me nuts when I see advice columns and the like saying that a person should cut off friendships with people who make our spouse feel uncomfortable, that it “respects their feelings.” But what about spouses who are using their “feelings” to control and isolate you?
I was very good platonic friends with a guy whose wife decided to be jealous of me. I heard about other friends she didn’t like who either left or were driven away; I saw it happen in real-time to a guy friend. So it wasn’t just about female friends. Her problem with me: I wasn’t sociable enough, apparently; I’m just a quiet, shy introvert, nothing personal. But she decided that everything I did was somehow “moving in on” her husband. The very same things that made my own husband shrug, she would fly into rages–only I wouldn’t see the rages, my friend would, and I’d wonder why I kept getting this jealous and hostile vibe off her. She added them all up over time as reasons why I couldn’t be trusted. The rules she made for what I could do to pass her test and be “okayed”–they kept moving back and forth. And the rules for what I could do vs. what his other friends could do, were very different, and kept changing.
Finally, some time after I thought I had finally passed her test, she took my post to him on Facebook about an upcoming trip–“I’ll miss you dearly, but have fun!”–as an excuse to make a very possessive, weird, bizarre, ranting reply about me making a “fuss” over a man going on vacation with his family. Then a few weeks later, she saw an e-mail I sent him, which was actually perfectly innocent, but she read into it all sorts of things. The rage episode was fierce, and though she kept insisting the friendship was NOT over and we just needed to have a “conference,” my husband and I decided it most certainly IS over.
I do believe her real, secret reason for all this is not anything I actually did, but the fact that she knew I saw her actions towards her husband and children as abusive, controlling and possessive.
However, as much as my friend seemed to be trying to protect the children, and kept telling me of her abuses, it now seems that they both are abusive, very abusive. I wonder how much of it was already in him, and how much is him being affected by her poison. Now both of them have done some very bad things to the children…. I always thought he was a good father; I wonder if he would’ve been a better one if he’d stayed away from the BPD women who seem to have dominated his romantic history. Now I want nothing to do with either of them and their poison.
When my Dad was teaching me to drive on the highway (oh so many years ago) one piece of advice has stuck with me and is really so applicable to many other things in life.
He said when you are driving at highway speeds (life speed) look down the road (at your longer term goals) not right in front of the car (the sh*t in your face at the moment). If you look at the road directly in front of you you’re going to wander all over the lane and have to make endless corrections. But if you look further up the road (visualized goal) it’s easier to get there and you don’t need to make as many directional corrections and the ride will be much more pleasant.
And you can see the road hazards in time to stop before you hit them!
Free at Last says
HappyMan, my dad taught me the exact same thing. In retrospect (now that I’m rid of my psychopathic ex-girlfriend), it appears that all the “in your face” behaviors serve the primary goal of destabilizing you to make you easier to manipulate, and the secondary purpose of trying to derail your long-term vision.
Peter, keep your long-term goals (including a stable, reciprocal relationship with a mature and healthy partner) in clear focus; that might help you put your fiancée’s crazy-making into perspective.
Don’t do it. Interesting that you should ask – I was in your precise situation, and didn’t have this excellent website to help me triangulate on the insanity that would soon be my life. I didn’t want to create hassles for all the people coming to the wedding. Plus – I figured I could work it out and maybe I wasn’t such a great catch anyway.
What a mistake. Bringing kids into the equation provides just another new set of victims for her to manipulate for power.
Run man. Go to a monastary and learn to meditate.
“The threat of abandonment is a control tactic; nothing more, nothing less. ”
While I agree it’s a control tactic, I think it’s more as well. It shows a callous disregard for the relationship itself, in addition to him. That disregard will grow as she becomes board or dissatisfied within the relationship, which will happen, ether becoming bored because he doesn’t stand up to her, or becoming dissatisfied because he does. Eventually she will actually follow through on her threat, most likely when she has everything to gain, IE, child support, alimony and the marital home she will surely insist he get her.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Excellent point, Kratch. Thank you.
Thanks Kratch…this is exactly a point I’ve been trying to impress on her re: her constantly threatening to leave (that I have no trust that one day she won’t actually do that). She still can’t believe that it’s actually even an issue, even though I’ve been telling her for two years how much it bothers me and to please stop engaging in this. She continues to try to explain away/justify why she says it (claiming every time that I “make” her say it).
I’m sure Dr T can confirm, this is common high conflict behavior. Turning their abuse of you into their own victimization.
Peter, I’m a woman, and would like to think that I can be fair and unbiased about the sorts of things that Dr. Palmatier writes about on this site. I’m betting that there are reasons beyond the embarrassment of calling off a wedding that have you second-guessing; maybe you’ve already got so much time and money invested, or you’re afraid of being alone, or the sex is so amazing and you can’t imagine having stuff like that with anyone else ever again. So you’re not sure you’re overreacting maybe?
I don’t think that a wedding should EVER be more important than a relationship. In a healthy relationship, if one partner approached the other and said, “baby, I’m really not sure we’re ready for this. Can we postpone the wedding while we seek counseling together to work on some of our issues?” a loving, balanced, healthy person would say, “of course! I don’t want you to feel pressured into this! Being with you is the most important thing to me, whether we’re married or not. I love you and I’m committed to solving our problems together.”
So I suggest you turn to your fiancee with those words. If she says that or something like it, delay the wedding and work on this stuff. However, if she throws something at you or screams or does something else typical of a disordered person (high conflict personality, personality disorder, mental illness), let that be your signal that she considers your being TIED to her more important than whether you WANT to be with her or not. And that is not someone you want to be spending the rest of your life with. Heck, that’s not someone you want to spend one more day with.
Good luck. And trust me, the sex will be even more amazing when you fall in love with someone who loves you just for YOU, not what you can do for her.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Excellent insights and suggestion, tenquilts.
If she rages, guilts, manipulates, makes threats, etc., you have your answer.
You already have your answer. RUN. NOW. Follow the advice given above, and you will have a “surprise” baby. It is right here in black and white.
“If she rages, guilts, manipulates, makes threats, etc., you have your answer.”
– This is exactly what happens (and happened again today), so yes, I DO have my answer! Thanks!
DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT MARRY THIS WOMAN. YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET IT. TRUST ME I HAVE JUST GOTTEN AWAY FROM MY CRAZY AND NOW I HAVE TO DEAL WITH HER HOLDING OUR 5 YEAR OLD SON HOSTAGE. SHE THINKS ITS A BUNDLED PACKAGE, HER AND HIM. I CANT HAVE HIM WITHOUT HER. THIS IS ONLY THE LATEST IN THE MANY MANY MANY EVIL THINGS SHE HAS DONE . DONT WASTE YOUR LIFE. RUN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Peter, I am so very scared for you. DO NOT marry this woman! PLEASE. PLEASE. Wherever you are, I swear to God I will come pick you up. I will take off work and drive across the country to save another man from the HELL that I went through. I can’t possibly express this to you strongly enough. Boundary #1: no person should tolerate the type of behavior you describe from their significant other. This is supposed to be your life partner. You deserve better, and you can have better. Better than HELL ON EARTH isn’t a very high bar. Oh, yeah, my Euro-trip episode was London.
Hi, this is Peter again – I am truly thankful for all of the responses here. I can’t even describe how much it has helped. Again, I’ll try to respond to some individual posts as much as possible over the next few days. My friends/family have all – to a person – been adamant about this situation (to leave). For some reason, I always found myself justifying certain behaviors though and have bought – hook, line and sinker – a lot of the guilt trips she has thrown at me. The clarity and courage this forum has provided however has been exactly what I’ve needed. After seeing these posts today I realized how truly deep I have allowed myself to sink, but rather than focus on that, felt stronger and more sure of myself than ever. I ended up breaking off the relationship entirely this afternoon and it went through the predictable cycle of shock, anger, denial, negotiating/bargaining and hysterics. Instead of getting drawn into all that (as I have before), I remained very calm and on point. We live together, so I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but (thanks to this forum) at least I’ve got a high-powered flashlight to help me see clearly at last. Thank you to everyone for the invaluable feedback.
“We live together, so I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but (thanks to this forum) at least I’ve got a high-powered flashlight to help me see clearly at last.”
Please, for the love of god, do not have sex with her.
Expect a teary ‘I’m pregnant’ confession in a few days or weeks.
You might also want to sleep somewhere she isn’t, because even if you lay down the law she might try taking what she wants by force.
^^^ what TBlue said. Oh dear god, listen to her.^^^ It may actually be beneficial to stay at a friend or family for a few days till you can arrange something for yourself.
Good job, and good advice. Don’t expect the rest of this to go smoothly. What happens with high conflict personalities is that rather than giving up or seeing reason, they figure they just haven’t upped the ante enough and have to do something MORE extreme to get you to respond. Have witnesses available and don’t hesitate to involve the police if you think it might be necessary.
I know it might seem odd to take action based on the advice of a bunch of strangers on the internet, but strangers who have been where you are can tell you what questions to ask and reinforce your own natural instincts when you’re not getting the right answers. It’s your decision, not ours, and it says something wonderful about your nature that you hoped for the best from this person (and probably still hope and expect rational behavior from her now that the engagement is off), but reality is what you have to deal with. Prepare for the worst case scenarios these people who have lived it have experienced, and consider yourself lucky if they don’t happen.
One more bit of advice – after everything settles down, talk to a therapist to figure out why you were drawn to this woman despite everything she put you through. If you don’t fix that glitch that found this behavior endearing, you’ll end up sniffing it out again with someone new. Good luck.
Ron On Drums says
In addition to what others have suggested & I would not stay another day in the house with her. Either make sure a relyable witness is with you if you do have to go to the house to pick up belongings etc. OR have at the least have a recording device on you.
FULLY expect her to make a false claim of domestic violence as soon as she figures out that you wont be back this time. While you may (or may not) be able to prove it false it will cost you thousands. It cost me that much to prove the one against me was false by my psycho ex.
Also as somebody else mentioned. Fully expect the fake pregnancy call.
Here is what I told my step son after a breakup with a NUT! I told him when she calls with the “I’m Pregnant” call to tell her this. Well I still can’t be with you but would like to be very involved in my child’s life & insist on going to your doctors appointment. The next call will be “I had a miscarriage” or the even more classic play of I had an abortion & it is YOUR fault”. My step sons ex gf did it exactly on cue.
Best of Luck
Peter, leave, leave NOW! Stay at friends. Stay with family. Break the lease. If you don’t want to change your cell number, BLOCK her. File her emails, unread, or designate a trusted friend to read and filter them to get out all but the necessary info. Open a new email account that she doesn’t have. Use the new email to open a new FB account, transfer ONLY the friends you KNOW you can trust. Use your old account to block ANYONE AND EVERYONE you have any doubts about from your new account. Get on with your life. These suggestions are as much for YOUR mental health and healing as anything. You are fragile, you have been victimized and still sleeping under the same roof shows you are NOT in the clear yet. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT sleep under the same roof with her. If you do, you WILL be at extreme risk. She will be nice, she will be sweet, she will be sexy, she will be the woman you loved, and she WILL suck you back into hell. Succubi are all too real, one more mythical creature with basis in fact. The fact of BPD/NPD/HPD. I don’t hate her, I hate the disease. The disease that has dogged me in interpersonal relationships my entire life, that has stolen from me, on more than one occasion a life partner, people I thought were friends and relationships. Please do not add yourself to the walking wounded by allowing her disease to permanently damage you and your ability to have a healthy relationship.
I plead this as a woman who has seen too many men and women destroyed. Please Please stand up for yourself. There is someone out there who will make you fly, not cry.
Peter – my perspective is that you should run, run fast, cut all ties, cut every bit of communication. heck – if you even want to pay all the deposits so you ease some guilt – the price of those deposits is absolutely nothing to what you will be drained of both financially and emotionally.
First – during the “Bridezilla” time that I experienced I wrote it all off. I kept telling myself and even heard from HER family that her behavior is just because of the wedding stress. And if she has shown you Bridezilla with comments along the lines of “see – I am not THAT bad.” Well, guess what – she is. I bought my now ex a ring that was ~ 40% of a full years salary. One night during one of the rages – she threw the ring at me. We were in a movie parking lot and it was dark. She then drove off and I would have walked all the way home (~ 10 miles) but I decided to call a cab about halfway there. Oh – and I did find the ring at the time. And just so you will know – when I was married to her, I had this same “walk home” experience because she was upset about something several times. Typically it was when I was about to leave on a business trip.
And what is even weirder to me – during the marriage, the ring was lost or stolen – who knows, who cares. Good news is we got the insurance money on it. I NEVER got her another one. Took me years to figure out why I would not do it. Now I know , I just did not have any feeling inside me that would prompt me to get her one. And this is not the weird part. The weird part is that after I served her with divorce papers, left the house, left everything behind – she went out and got another ring exactly like the wedding ring. Anyway – I find that weird.
Bottom line – if you leave now, there are lots of constraints you do not have – no kids, no in-laws, no wedding vows, no joint financial issues of any significance, etc. etc. If you go thru with it, you seem to be the type that will try everything to stick in the marriage because you said those vows.
You will first lose your friends during the marriage – not because they don’t like you or you are not a good person – you will lose them because the “wife” will in both subtle and not so subtle ways make it very painful for you to be around them. You will actually be glad to lose touch so you do not have to endure the interrogations because you talked to them on the phone or any other contact with them.
Next – you will lose the relationship with your parents. It will be done in much the same way as with your friends. And what will happen is that you will dread your parents coming around because of all the pain the “wife” will put you thru because of them. This happened to me and my biggest regret is that I was unable to repair the relationship before my father passed away. My parents never stopped loving or caring and my father saw thru exactly what was happening to me. He understood I was trying to stay for the sake of the children, but I still have regrets that I could have had a much more fulfilling relationship with him had I gotten away before he passed.
Next – you will be in danger of losing your career. I lost mine and am in the process of trying to rebuild it now. Why will you lose it – eventually all the pain you experience because you have to travel or because you need to work late or because you need to work some on a weekend, etc. All this pain will take you to a point where you lose faith in yourself, you lose faith in your company, you lose faith in your coworkers, etc. I got to the point of “I hope I get laid off so she will realize that I do have to go to work since she doesn’t work.” Well guess what – I got half my wish. I did get laid off. She was glad I did and just wanted me to keep bringing home the same money, just work less and do it at some place I had not put 20 years of my life into. I have built up to about 60% of where I was, and only because I left my ex.
Next – you will be at risk you losing any children that you have with her. What will happen is this – you will be convinced that what is best for the children is to stay even if you are absolutely miserable. What you do not realize is because of the emotional abuse you are experiencing, your children never see the real you. You have to keep this hidden if you even remember who the real you is. It is not until you realize that the kids are much better off seeing the real you. When I decided to leave, I thought this would be the case. Now that i have “detoxed” from her for a year – I know that this is true. I have fun with my kids now, I have no discipline issues of any significance, etc. Basically, the relationship I have now with my children is the relationship I have always wanted.
Next – you will lose yourself. It is a slow process – I called it “death by a thousand cuts.” But basically, the happy, fun, ambitious, good person you are will be constantly attacked. And attacked to the point that you will first begin to hide the real you. Then, the more you hide that person, if the attacks are less painful, you will try to hide and suppress your true self even more. Eventually, you will forget who you ever were. After I left, the quote from my mom was “we now have the real you back, and it sure is nice to be around the real you again.”
Finally – if you build anything of value up during the marriage – you will lose this too. Let’s just say that I gladly gave 70% of my net worth away so that I could get away. And I make this the last point because for me, it was the least important. When I first met with my lawyer I was asked – “what are you willing to give up?” My response was – “if you met someone serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole – what do you think they would give up to be free again?” My point obviously is that while I don’t want to give it all away – I would have. Freedom, being yourself, having friends, having a real relationship with your children, having a good relationship with your parents, cousins, etc. These are priceless – so take it all away if you have to, just let me be free.
So anyway – this has been therapeutic for me. I am not angry anymore with my ex. I have been released from my life sentence and now I can enjoy life again. I have my own place, I have a great relationship with my kids and my mother, I am rebuilding my career and I am rebuilding my finances. I can do this because I am free.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Wow. That’s powerful and moving, finally free. Wow.
“The weird part is that after I served her with divorce papers, left the house, left everything behind – she went out and got another ring exactly like the wedding ring. Anyway – I find that weird.”
Wanna hear something even weirder? My mothers new husband, his ex wife still uses his last name, even though she’s remarried as well. Creepy, and I pity her new husband.
never again says
ff, people are shocked that I walked away from over $1/2million after what amounted to 10 months of actual marriage. My simple response is “It was worth it.”
A lot more dynamics at play but, in the long run, the value for dollar is definitely there.
Peter, good on you. Things will be tough for a while, but you’ll look back on this and know that it was a watershed in your life. You know what they say “When you’re going through Hell, keep on moving.”
Peter – I did not see the comment that you are living with her now but you have decided to break it off. Good you have made the decision that you have.
I strongly advise you to move out immediately. Try to move in with a friend or even your parents or do 30 days in a hotel – who cares just get away.
If its your place which you pay for, which I am sure it is, you are perfectly right to tell her to get out. You seem like to nice a guy to do this so yoy may need to get out first. You figure out what logistics will work – but the main point is that you have no business being in the same living location with her. This puts you at lots of risk so do not stay in the same location.
At the end of the day, it is only you who knows the answer, i agree with Dr T about the first 2, but the 3rd about a platonic girlfriend ? I think it is normal to be jealous, personally.
Men always think things cannot be as bad as other men write, but believe me they are a lot worse, men are now beginning to understand this, but one mistake and we are in the PooPoo.
A NORMAL LOVING woman just would not do the first 2 things that you are saying, you will always have problems, only you know if she will be worth all the trouble. It is my experience that the attractive ones behave like this, will it be worth the price of having attractive but crazy spouse ? But the price is just not worth paying if it all ends up in divorce, Dr T and many men here have already described what will happen to you if there is a divorce.
I agree with everyone else that you should bail now. In addition to the suggestion of getting her out or you moving out, I recommend you prepare for the worst. Your fiancee sounds like she could be prone to revenge. In addtion to asserting your authority, she may see calliing off the wedding as extremely humiliating. It’s a double whammy for you. She’s going to play the victim card to the max and you’ll be perceived as the dirt-bag. It’s a small price to pay. And my guess is she’ll try to make you pay.
I’d start doing things like removing heirlooms, financial information, and start establishing alibis. Pay for everything with a debit/credit card that can be tracked, smile at the security cameras and, to the maximum extent possible, don’t be alone with her, especially after you call it off. Warn your family, friends, employer, etc., they may hear things about you. If you haven’t, I suggest you read Dr. T’s “Stalker Series.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It’s exponentially worse when the woman is a Cluster B but whaterver short-term crap you have to go through will be better than the life-long crap you’ll put up with if you marry her. Good luck!
Hello again Peter,
I totally agree with those who are telling you to leave your shared residence! You cannot take the risk that she will file bogus DV charges against you out of revenge! I also recommend alerting the police in your town of your situation and your concerns as an additional CYA. It might be embarrassing but, if you can, give your employer a brief overview of your situation and alert them to the possibility that she might be contacting them in an attempt to get back at you. I also agree that you should be prepared for the “I’m pregnant”. Don’t give in to this because inevitably you will then get a phone call about the “miscarriage”. Don’t give in to this either!
Or conception date won’t match up and the paternity test will come out with 0% probability.
There is an old saying: “Marry in haste, repent at leisure”.
DO NOT SLEEPWALK INTO MAKING YOUR LIFE A MISERY.
*** DO NOT MARRY HER – DUMP HER ***.
Peter- I saw the line about the guilt trips she sends you on. You are NOT responsible for this persons happiness. Nor are you responsible for any decisions she has made in her life. Nor are you responsible for her care and feeding. An adult, and I assume she is at least chronologically an adult, takes responsibility for their own lives, decisions, and actions. I married and stayed with my STBXW mainly because of the guilt trips she heaped on me until I found this site and and the stunning clarity that I was not responsible for her failure to grow up. If she is still a child it’s not you’re problem. You are not her parent. If you let her draw you back in you will find your self dealing with a child that has all the privileges of an adult while accepting none of the responsibilities of being an adult. It’s a no win situation. Move out now and cut all ties. Do not let her make you feel guilty for her childish behavior. The world does not revolve around her. You are not responsible for taking care of her. Ask yourself this. Who is taking care of you? Who is responsible for your well being? Who is the one who is in charge of your happiness? The answer to each of these questions is yourself. The same thing applies to her. She is responsible for herself. Hold her to it.
Hi, Peter here…Thanks alreadylost – this is something I have to keep high in mind. She does use guilt quite a bit, and is using it frequently now. Currently it’s about how I’m ruining her dreams, her life, etc. by splitting up. She’s saying now that I’m cold and heartless because I’m not giving her a chance to change – but I’ve been asking for 2 YEARS for her to stop threatening to leave and having such extreme, hostile reactions when there’s something I’m not able to do. We’ve gone to couple’s counseling (which I had to insist on) and after the last session (last week), she said “I’m leaving!” because she didn’t like the therapist and some of his questioning. She then blamed the therapist for wanting to break us up. Re: being responsible for her happiness, that’s a great reminder too and I recall an argument we had over the phone once, where she yelled that, “You need to keep me happy!”…In any case, as I posted earlier, I had chalked much of this up to a maturity issue and often felt I was dating someone with a child-like mentality. Now I’m seeing it’s probably that and much more. Thanks
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I’m so glad you’re here and receiving support from everyone (gents and ladies, you’re truly the best!)
You’re calling off the wedding because of her behavior, for which she is solely responsible. She is responsible for “ruining her dreams and life.” Ending the relationship is a consequence of her behavior. She has done this to herself.
You’ve given her ample time to change. Here’s a test: Tell her you’re willing to give her time to change, but that you want to postpone the wedding for 2 years and she needs to move out, get her own place and show you the change. Odds are you’ll just get more rage, tears and guilt.
Strength to you,
In all honesty Dr. T, I wouldn’t even give her that much rope. Why give her some conditions that, as a likely Cluster B, she can’t possibly meet, and which will just generate another round of tantrums. Not worth it. No Contact.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
That’s for Peter’s benefit and peace of mind, not for his fiancee.
I agree with you, but, as you know, lots of men “need to be sure.”
This is one way of being sure.
Not to mention time and opportunity to create alternate traps through children. Marriage isn’t the only way to create that link. I agree, cut your losses and move on.
Peter- this will never be a healthy normal loving relationship. She doesn’t want a husband and a life partner she wants a parent to take care of her like her mommy and daddy did. You wil provide everything and get nothing in return. Unlike a small child you won’t have the joy of watching her grow up and and become an adult because she will never grow up. Have you ever watched a 5 year old try to manipulate it’s parents? Her behavior is almost identical. I would venture to say you hear the phrase “if you loved me you would” or some variant of it on a regular basis. The only way to deal with her is to treat her like the child she is. How many times has she threatened to “leave” you? I can almost guarantee it will never happen. Were she to do so she would be faced with becoming an adult and functioning in an adult world. Right now you provide everything for her and she gets everything she wants. Take time to observe small children and you will see what I mean. Then decide if you want to be this womans mommy and daddy for the rest of your life.
Thanks alreadylost (this is Peter): This is really to the heart of what scares me – it doesn’t seem like a normal, healthy, mutually supportive relationship. She has been supported by her father for awhile. Now I am doing the supporting, and when I haven’t been able to do something (i.e., Paris), it turns ugly fast. Demands, criticism, threats, etc…What I never receive is understanding and/or compassion. I have to remember this – especially now – because she is swearing she wants to change and is remorseful about how she’s been. Thanks.
never again says
“if you loved me you would” lol I got that one after I left her, walking away from the horses, house, and two income properties. She wanted me to continue to do the upkeep and maintenance on the income properties – “If you really love me, you’d do it for free!” rotflmao!!!! Sure, marriage to you has cost me everything I ever worked for in my life. And now, you want more!! :bang head:
She also thought that we were going to get serious about repairing our relationship, so why did I leave? Apparently, the previous 3.5 years of my begging and pleading weren’t enough to motivate her to do it. Only my leaving for good convinced her I was serious (I previously had one false start, which apparently wasn’t motivating enough for her), and by then it was too late!
I remember that once after she went nuclear and threatened divorce, she would not later apologise. She said, and I quote, “YOU need to say..now honey, you don’t mean that, and try to get at what is really bothering me” I about spit up my coffee!
Ron On Drums says
A true classic…lol
In good times or bad times, thru harmony and strife, people build a foundation, set a precedent, on how they’re going to interact with each other, what they’re going to accept or settle for from the other person. These are the building blocks of further communication, actions, deeds, expectations of both yourself and the other person. If you allow something that egregious to continue to happen, while you may not be condoning it, you’re accepting it on some level. People are creatures of habit and they will use what has been successful time and again. So by caving in to preposterous behavior, you are giving her a “get out jail free” card that she will most likely see as something she can use time and again. All she has to do is get loud, throw tantrums, become abusive, bully, cry, become unreasonable, play the victim and she will eventually get her way. Why? Because its worked for her (probably very well) in the past throughout her life, AND its worked in getting her way with you. IF you decide to stay in the relationship, i strongly advise getting a new set of hard-core boundaries. But the problem with setting new boundaries with someone like that is – again – people are creatures of habit, and breaking those habits is gonna be hell. She’s gonna have to learn a whole new set of coping and interaction skills, and that’s not an easy thing. She’s much more likely to do everything she can to get you to change instead (go back to the way things were/are), that way she can go on without having to make any significant changes on her part.
Now, you couple all of this with the fact that once she gotten you into marriage, and that also means that she can become even more set in her ways. Too often people become complacent in marriage simply because its human nature. Now that they’ve acquired their mate, they don’t have to continue the dance and effort of getting their mate. They settle in and get really comfortable. So someone like your girl would seem to be someone who, once she gets totally settled in, she’s not likely to take herself out of her comfort zone. It’s much easier to take you out of yours. People who are not healthy do not/will not/can not make healthy partners. Its much easier to try to make you unhealthy (like them) than to try to hold themselves to a higher standard. They are people who will try 10 times harder to find the path of least resistance in their lives than to work on making a change.
You have a tough decision on your hands. Its easy for me or anyone else on here to say “all you gotta do is…”, but its not that easy. If we’re wrong, there’s nothing for us to pay, no price. And with a decision like this – to stay in and pray that it gets better and if it doesn’t then what? versus getting out and letting go of someone you love – is going to make you second guess yourself many times over. Decisions of this magnitude always come with second guesses because if you “guess” (shall we say decide) and it doesn’t work out, you’re gonna curse yourself for not deciding on the other choice.
but please remember what i said… you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is unhealthy.
all my best to you…
Peter, I agree with the others. Get away from her now, whatever you have to do. Take all of the “alarms” and extreme advice about protecting yourself extremely seriously.
There is healthy self care that is NOT selfishness. I have learned that.
Ron On Drums says
I’ll just join the chorus & say RUN….But iof you take nothing else from this situation think about one thing. On that European trip your company has a policy that you can’t take spouses or girlfriends. She was willing to ruin your job, your career, your ability to buy food, pay rent, buy gas & your lively hood just so she could get her way. On what planet is that a loving woman?
Also read everything you can on the behaviors of abusers. The whole isolation thing is probably the most common tactic. Also somebody else had a good idea to take that honeymoon vacation time & get out of town. People like this do not handle rejection well & she will try to make you pay. But temporary inconvenience sure beats a lifetime of abuse. Hell you could always tell her you are giving her exactly what she wants with all the threats of leaving you…JUST kidding 🙂
Run Like a Leapord my friend
Hi ROD – this is Peter – thanks for this reminder. The biz trip really has me hung up for precisely the reasons you mentioned; it put me in a very awkward/borderline precarious situation with work, as I basically had to hide her being there the entire time (then she accused me of being cold to her on the trip, and I explained it wasn’t a vacation for me; I was there to work and was frankly, feeling resentful towards her because her meltdown and threats basically left me choice but to bring her). Besides her lack of care about the position it put me in, it also was extremely expensive to bring her there – at a time when I just had moved us into a new apartment and was (am) supporting both of us.
Hi Peter. You are a very lucky man for finding out before you married her. The whole not understanding and appreciating work obligations thing is very prevalent in my wife too. I mentioned how she was either in or faking strong contractions until I cancelled a trip in the 8th month of her pregnancy.
Remember you always have a CHOICE!
Whether you go the route recommended here or continue your relationship with this woman. I’m learning these lessons now that I have been sucked in. Its hard. Find help so you can detach in the most healthy way possible from this enmeshing relationship.
Don’t feel resentful. She can’t help who she is but take care of yourself.
Ron On Drums says
The one she pulled is a classic among these types. It is like somebody else said, a 5 year old throwing a tantrum. I have read some of your other comments & may have missed something. But I understand you are still living in the house with her?
Dude as soon as she does figure out that you really are serious that it is over I can promise you SHE WILL try a false charge of domestic violence. It is VERY common for these types to do this. So I would get out. Move in with a friend or family member for a few days. If it was your place in your name you can get it back AFTER she moves out. But get out she must or YOU will be financially responsible.
BUT be prepared because this will more than likely be an event where she will finally get it that you are through. If you do have to go back there to pick up stuff make sure you have a witness. Keep a recording device on you as well. Notify the landlord that she will be there by herself until she moves.
Also the last classic these types LOVE to pull is the fake “I’m pregnant card”. DO NOT fall for it. I’ll tell you what I told my stepson when he broke it off with a crazy. To tell her when she does it that I am still not going to be with you but I want to be involved in my childs life so I insist on going to your doctors apointments with you. Or in your case you father & you would like to go because you will not be in her presence without a witness. You wont actually have to do it anyway. Keep in mind she isn’t really pregnant. This call will be followed up- by the ‘I had a miscarrage because of what you did” call. Or the second classic “I had an abortion & it is YOUR fault.
Get out and get out right now. I am a long time reader and first time poster. I don’t want to see you make the same mistake that I did. I thought it would all be good and I could handle anything. Sixteen years later, I am a beaten down, financially ruined shell of my former self. I read this site to help retain a little sanity but too scared to do anything about my own situation but take my word, it will never get any better.
Here is an example of some texts that I received from the flame thrower this past week:
• June 2011
• FWD: Thanks 4 waiting 4 me!
• FWD: I was in hail . Doesnt matter u were gonna go with out me anyways
• FWD: Have a good x! The bitch is left @ home!
• FWD: Udidnt ask me u told me about it ! I could tell u didnt want me 2 come in ur tone
• The weather . U dont want me there an u know it . Or u wouldn’t of left me! U know im not gonna get out with it like this. So have fun. Iam .all i do is bitch anyway
• FWD: Isthere a bday cake 4 u?
• FWD: R u coming
• FWD: I guess ur not . Dont tell me uwill come n get me then shut ur phone off
• FWD: Im gonna go 2 missouri star in Hamilton
• FWD: Im not worth it
• FWD: Im here
• FWD: I will go in phone co an ask where u r wking then
• FWD: How r we doing ? Im still sick. It sucks! A sucky weekend ! Hope urs was good!
• Thanks 4 hanging up on me 2day . I fell apart all afternoon . I must really need 2 b dragged thru the mud! I never will say anything about anything again . I dont know what 2 do! U just dont like anything about me anymore ! My life has turned up side down since i got b.palsy! I have lost alot adjusted 2 alot . Im alone! Sorry i embarrassed u when somebody asked u do i ever shut my mouth ! Of coarse i would of had ur back if it was the other way around nobody talks about my family ! But when it comes 2 me its fine with u! Always !
• My health has 2 mean something 2 someone. U dont have an idea what i go thru everyday ! I cant b perfect 4 u! No im not the same person when we fell in love. But i cannot live this way! Im struggle with alot of pain the past few days . Im not pulling your string ! I physically cant do the 4 day n 3wk plurisy . I wanted 2 make up an i interrupt d u an everything else i do. Just because u get my meds n do things 4 me doesnt mean u can treat me like ur x wife! I need 2 worry about my health so i can see stevan graduate . We both deserve better . I have been trying ! U dont even notice . I dont want this 2 b nasty! U win i got what i deserve! The pain i have in my back n feet is 2 painful . I knew this was gonna happen thats why i was so desperate 2 do this yesterday . U didnt handle it well last nite! I cried all nite . Im nt the woman u married n ur nt the man i married . I love so much
! I cant force u 2 c it is what it is! Please dont come home n b nasty .
• Please dont think im saying all this 2 win this shit ! Nobody wins! An if this is what winning feels like it suck . I was trying 2 get the boys 2 push harder like i did with the others . Im done with that also! I didnt know u were going 2 use it against me! I have been wking hard on alot of things u said u didnt notice . Just the bad! I need 2 worrx about my health no one else will but me! I always thought i would get better n then a curve ball ! I prayed n left it in gods hands! I deserve happiness 2! Someday with or without u ! Hopefully with u – we have alot of wk ! But i think u have punished me alot enough ! O im paying ! I cant bitching anymore ! I cant b perfect if i wa7 pain free i could ! I know my illness is a pain in ur ass! Im a pain in your ass – you r perfect ! I will worlk on me! I just alittle busy with my health but i will wk on both !
• Well again i pour my heart out 2 u n tell u i cant deal with this n this not good 4 me ! N u want 2 b the bad ass n i dont care ignore the wife .how do u do it ? Im in pain crying n u dont want 2 help me ! Show me how u do it ! I need 2 want 2 b like u ! Please ! I wish i could b like u ! I would b better off ! Boy i wish i had ur tough exterior! I want 2 b as caring like u! God bless u!
• I didnt interrupt god ! I was crying pouring my heart out 2 u! Im also having a hard x with my dad an u dont ever want to talk about it u saw me cry about it . U r so immuned 2 my crying ! I can never sit n watch someone i love cry or hear them n it not break my heart ! The sex thing used 2 it ! Sad but used 2 it ! Maybe when i get skinny! But dont care so much anzmore ! I have lost alot of the desire also . Not much of a turn on when ur husband tell u hes lost it when im going thru alot ! U didnt even notice me wking on myself 4 u ! Why try when u dont notice . I m glad i did im desperate 2 get well so i can get on my feet ! Look like im going 2 have 2! Least im starting 2 look like old me
• FWD: Listen an enjoy !
• FWD: C n enjoy ! U called me both days cause u were worried about me !u want me 2 feel better! Dont ya! I cant get sick in this marriage!
• Ur right im wrong ! Im stupid bitch whore fat ugly! Big mouth mean hateful selfish undisirable person ! There i believe it ! U done so much 4 me ! U r always there 4 me emotionally n thru sickness n health ! N going 2 go have a cigarette ! O n u win! Ur the winner! Ur the champion of all of our fights! So go celebrate n brag about it !
• FWD: O thanks 4 the pain
• Ur done! Im still in pain n hurt ! I have alot of things 2 think about n it hurts ! **** even called cause he was worried about me! ***** txt me! When i feel like no one cares! I luv my kids! I cant hurt anymore ! The only thing u care about is hurting ur sick wife ! Maybe someday ur life will b better ! U have made my self esteem pretty bad being sick does nt help! I wished when i get sick u wouldnt fight with me didnt last long ! Ur the champ ! When i just called i could tell in your voice u were g6ing 2 b a smart ass ! When i sent u the txt i was hoping u would feel bad n worry about me! But u dont never will ! Everybody else is but the one person i want to b concerned !u have drug me thru the mud n not a care in the world !the crying doe7nt stop the pain in mx chest get7 worse! How do u do champ?
• FWD: Least i bee n doing shopping 4 therapy !
• FWD: Im not trying anymore since u didnt notice
• FWD: Thanks 4 being there 4 me when i was crying about my dad the hug was great
• N i dont care what u think of me anymore n i dont give a shit about what u think about my 2oo txts use 2! Cause i thought u cared about my health what a joke dnt understand
• Another day of hell 4 me! Fun! Nothing will ever get worked out! Bummed ! You say i say ! The pain is terrible i need 2 try hard n figure things out be4 i get 2 old!
• I tried 2 warn u that its not good 4 a marriage not 2 have sex once a week on all level of a relationship not just sexual ! Im sorry im not desirable ! It hurts so bad ! Least i have my kids ! I need 2 remember that !
• FWD: Remember when we would sit on couch n makeout . If we knew then what we know now !
• FWD: Havent u punishment me enough
• FWD: Let me know when u want 2 wk on our marriage
• I guess its my fault again! U could of came up an talk when u home. U have someone dont u. Im scared 2 hear the answer! Is it someone i know?
• FWD: H2o co. Has a slot u can slip the bills in !
• FWD: Dont 4 get garbage day in morning anyways the chicken in the fridge is bad so take out with garbage
• FWD: Where r ***** court paper ? I asked u if u would get that 2gether . Im hoping u did .
• I have tried 2 make up all wk but things had 2 b on ur terms then i didnt do it right . Im in alot of pain n the only one that hurts is mean
• Im telling the boys 2day. The 2 r coming w me. I hope u listened 2 the message b4 u read this . I just need a little bit of x 2 get things situated . Im looking into apt 2day. I got ur message . Getting all ur clues . Ur signs. Im not going 2 beg u n cry n make n ass out of myself anymore . Pray 4 god 2 give me strength . Sorry 4 getting sick in our marriage . I know u dont believe im sick or u wouldnt b doing this. Sorry things r ending this way.
• FWD: He need 2 get the paper in 2 her 2day
• If u truley loved me u would not want me in pain ! U would of wanted 2 make up a long x ago ! U have issues! Listening 2 a woman cry an not a blink did u wanted 2 help me get out of pain ! I want an apt the boys will b fine. Better than hearing their mom cry n u yelling @ me! U have a mean streak n u cant shake it! I waited all weak 4 u 2 talk n u dont want 2! U interrupt me also but that doesn mean we shouldnt wk it out . I lost ten lbs this wk !how could u not let me in the car 2 talk n i asked u please upstairs u were nasty. I dont get it ! My back hurts so bad i thought u might enjoy knowing that make ur day. What ***** no?
• All i wanted 2 make up ! But thats a no . Now im i want 2 move on im not begging . Im still young my aunt found happiness so can i. I wanted 2 b happy with u but u dont want 2 c **** u dont want me sexually and i want all! On tv yesterday they said if u only have sex 2 amonth the marriage not wking . If u truley love me you would desire me.
• FWD: I want ***** no! Please . We will talk when i want 2! I hate u 4 this
• FWD: Please give me her number
• Im desperate 2 feel better ! So i dont care anymore ! Someone has 2 care how i feel i guess it just me! I wanted u 2 but not happening soon .i dont know how u went day by day letting this go . I had 2 do the pushing n the calling . I really need 2 speak 2 ***** cant u just ask **** ? My back hurts so bad im shaking n crying
• FWD: Thank u 2day is a good 2 talk 2 her she understand
So please get out before you have a lifetime of this. I wish that I had the strength to do it.
I know these are old posts, but those conversations are like the same ones I always got. I’m new here and was doubting my decision, thinking that my exgf couldn’t be borderline. Then I noticed the “you win, I lose” type comments. It’s like I was seeing my own exs text come streaming in.
Looks I’m a bit late to the party, but I second everything that’s been said. Peter, it sounds like you’ve already made the right decision. Let me encourage you to stick to your guns, no matter how she tries to manipulate, shame or punish you. Like others said, too, protect yourself at all times. Don’t take any shifts in her tactics or seductive behavior by her as substantive change on her part, either.
Hi SineNomine – this is Peter – thanks for this. This is EXTREMELY difficult because I did make a decision and am trying so hard to stick to it. She is very upset and has blamed, insulted, tried to make me reconsider, has used guilt, and most recently becomes hysterical and swears she wants to change and is so remorseful about how she’s acted. I tend to be very compassionate and fair (perhaps too much), and it is really pulling on my heartstrings. I am trying to stay strong and remember that these things are going to be VERY difficult to change if at all…
Anyway, thanks for the comment.
Mr. E says
Try to harden your heart. And stop communicating with her. As other have mentioned, stay in a hotel if you have to and quit answering the phone/responding to emails.
Stay strong, you’re doing the right thing!
Concur. Peter, you really need to invoke No Contact as soon as possible. Cluster B’s are very persuasive, and she’ll have you doubting that you can tie your own shoelaces given the chance.
When you experience the inevitable moments of doubt over the decision you have made (and you will), just come back here and read everyone’s comments again.
The blame, insults, hysterics are standard operating procedure for Cluster B’s when they get called to accounting. She is following the script exactly.
You are permitted to still care for her. And change is possible but it’s a long, hard road for her, and while one might think she should have done something about it before now, maybe this is her rock bottom. When she turns it on you, ask yourself (and maybe her) why you would want to stay with someone who speaks to you and treats you like that. When she says she wants to change, say you support that, and as Dr. Palmatier suggested, state that it would be best if you both got separate places (and separate incomes, if you’re supporting her!) and went back to the beginning of your relationship with just dating until you see that she truly has changed. Give her the figurative rope and let her decide if she wants to hang herself with it. Chances are, she will blame you for her choices; repeat what she says back to her and ask if that sounds like someone mature to whom you want to commit your life. She may accuse you of cheating, of there being someone else, and then say, “that’s not true and I love you, but if you don’t trust me then we definitely aren’t ready for marriage.” Use everything she says to prove your point, and – compassionately and lovingly – show her the one path she can take if she really wants to be in your life.
I’ve found that when given this sort of ultimatum, people prove the point of the person they are trying most desperately to argue with. You can be loving, and empathetic, tell her that you know that it’s hard, and that you care about her, but she needs to be an adult and take accountability and control of herself, and make solid steps to change. (PS – that quitting a therapist and shopping around for someone more enabling is classic.)
She claims to be willing to change, but I can assure you, she doesn’t even know what the problems are. If you asked her, she may at best, be able to provide some examples you have recently brought up, but not the underlying issues that brought them about. Remember, she still thinks all this is your fault. Even saying “I will change” doesn’t allow her to believe she’s played a part in this. How can someone change if they don’t see themselves as part of a problem? In the end, she would just claim you were trying to control her, to abuse her into being submissive.
Threatening to leave you over minor issues will only ramp up 10 fold once you are married, particularly because you are now training her to believe IT WORKS. You cave. I was threatened with divorce at least 50 times….pretty much over nothing. It is THE reason I finally pulled the trigger….I couldn’t respect myself anymore. I had to go. Period.
Peter. It IS hard and it does tug on your heat strings. She will pull out all the stops to get her way. You have to stand firm and resolute. Youvare the master of your destiny. If she were your child the best thing you could do is tell he no and help her grow up. I doubt however that she is capable of growing up at this point. Stay with her and you have the following to look forward to
Stress induced heart arythmias
Loss of concentration
And much more. She will badger you. Beg you. Scream at you. Threaten you. Call you names. Blame you for everything. Cajole you. Become oh so sweet and nice and apologize and swear she will change. She may
physically assault you. That’s what you can look forward to if you give in to her now
I did not recognizing what was going on. It took a backhand to the mouth as I lay in bed to send me searching for information about women abusers. Then I found this site. I’m changing my life now. I just wish I had known about it 5 years ago.
Thanks again alreadylost (Peter here) – What you describe as things to look forward to, many I’ve already been having: chest pains, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, depression, anger, loss of focus – are all things that I’ve been having DAILY. On more than one occasion I thought I might be having a heart attack. The constant conflict – and especially her defiance about things that have been troubling me – has been unbelievably stressful. I barely can focus at work, and some days can’t drag myself out of be until noon (so not me – I used to be on my bike or in the pool in the early a.m. on a regular basis). I have to remember this now too: that I have let myself dissipate into a shell of my former self.
So like me you now have to choose. What is more important to you. Her continued presence in your life or your very survival? If you continue on this course your own physical and mental well being are at risk – possibly even your life. If this woman truly cared about you would she be putting your health at risk to “keep her happy”? That is not a loving relationship. I used to be like you and put other people first. Part of my job is serving on emergency response teams. They teach us – no drill in to endlessly that “when you go to a scene your safety is the most important of all. Don’t let yourself become a victim. You can’t help anyone if you are a victim”. This outlook has changed the way I look at life. It doesn’t make you a selfish a$$hole but rather a safe and sane person who can face what life throws at you and still remain standing. Don’t remain a victim any longer. Keep telling yourself you refuse to be a victim any longer.
My grandfather had chest pains too, as he sat on the floor with his hand on his chest, just before my grandmother refused to call a paramedic in time to save his life. When my aunt made her regular visit to the home and asked, “what’s wrong with dad?” My grandmother’s reply was, “I don’t know, he’s just being difficult and trying to get attention.” He died on his way to the hospital. And the will he left detailing what little assets he was able to acquire after raising 5-children and a wife on his 8th grade education for 50-plus years, went mysteriously “missing.” He was relatively healthy, stayed active, was kind to his family and strangers, and didn’t abuse his health.
She was disowned from an affluent family after she was found out to be pregnant by him with their first child. He worked his knuckles to the bone, and she was NEVER satisfied with him and incapable of validating a single thought, feeling, effort and/or emotion, of her husband, children, or anyone else. Especially if they pee’d standing up and/or was attached to a penis.
My point is, these people never change, and you will be stuck in a state of Purgatory throughout your marriage, and perhaps most of your adult life. You will never receive any validation, or appreciation, for your good qualities, or what you accomplish. Your self-worth will be consistently challenged, and eventually diminished. You will risk bringing in a new generation(s) of people with moderate to severe personality disorders, who will go through most of their own lives suffering. Is that what you want?
I encourage you to look around the corners, and consider the following statement,
“You can’t make a cat walk backwards.” -Gooberzzz
Peace and good luck to you.
Peter. In reviewing one of your replies and descriptions of her behavior it is striking. You say she latterly throws a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her way and now that you have called her on her bad behavior she promises to change just give her a chance. Here is a translatio of what she is saying to you
“I’ll behave from now on daddy. Honest I will. Please don’t make me take a time out. I’ll be good. I promise”
She is just using more sophisticated language to express it but that is exactly what she is saying to you. And just like any small child she will not be able to keep the promise to behave. She will throw tantrum after tantrum. The parallels between her behavior and that of a small child are so close you almost expect her to call you daddy. (yes I’ve been there). How do you discipline a grown adult? If you figure that one out let me know.
P.S. When you do find a lady with which to have a loving and nurturing relationship I bet you will make a great dad.
Alreadylost: thanks so much for this point. She is crying, despondent, lost, and begging for us to remain together right now. She is relentlessly promising to change and apologetic for how she’s acted. I’m sure to some extent she is genuinely sorry and remorseful, but I wonder if it’s more for herself and what’s being lost and wonder – as mentioned – if she really understands what she’s even sorry for ( she claims to). I
trying to be strong and remember above everything, how negatively affected I’ve been just on a physical health level.
Thanks for your remark about finding someone and being a dad: means a lot since it’s I really want to have a family and part of the pIn of this is seeing that possibility die (at least temporarily). Thanks again.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
It’s more likely she’s sorry she’s experiencing consequences for her abusive behaviors rather than the behaviors themselves. There’s a big difference. It’s like a thief who’s sorry he got caught and is going to jail, but not sorry for stealing.
If you plan to stay under the same roof with her take some safety precautions:
1. Do not drink or take other substances that will make you susceptible to her emotional manipulations.
2. Do not sleep in the same bed with her.
3. Do NOT have sex with her.
4. Do NOT have sex with her. This one’s so important that I wrote it twice. First, it will cloud your judgment. Second, you don’t want to get her “accidentally” pregnant,
5. Get a digital recorder you can keep in your pocket in case she attacks you/threatens to call the cops w/false accusations.
6. If you haven’t sent out emails to cancel the wedding, do it. There’s no going back after that.
Thanks so much for this.
You are like me only eleven years earlier. I also had the feeling to cancel my wedding but I was afraid to do it. But you can cancel it still! My suggestion is to just get out of town. Go on a vacation and just leave her a message. That will give her some time to accept the situation. Also getting away will prevent her from trying to change your mind.
Over time, I’ve abandoned all my friends and family. I don’t want that to happen to you. In one way, I’ve abandoned them to protect them from my wife. It’s no fun listening to your wife complain and hate people you love and care about. So, after a while, you just end up forgetting about them. My wife started to monitor and criticize my communication. She would tell me what to say and on top of that she would send emails in my name. So, I don’t even communicate with them via email or instant messaging anymore.
And, things won’t get better. I felt like I had to try to make it work. I felt like it was my duty as a man and as a spiritual person to accept my decision to marry her and to make it work. I thought that she would change with me because I’m a nice and understanding guy–Nope. Or, perhaps if I’m spiritual enough I can help her be better–Nope. Or, as soon as we are married she will change–Nope. Perhaps, once she is a citizen she will change–Nope. Or, maybe, once we have children she will change–Nope. (In fact that escalated her abuse.) For sure, once I graduate she will change–Nope. When I get a nice job she will change–Nope. When I get a nice home she will change–Nope. Long story short–they don’t change!
Hi A.N. – this is Peter – thanks for your comment. U touched on a lot of what I’ve been going through. She thinks it’s practically a non-issue about barring my friend from the house (who doesn’t even live in the same city, btw). I’ve explained that it’s the principle of what she’s demanding, and I refuse to set a precedent lime that, for exactly the reasons u describe. My close friendships are important to me; I don’t want (nor do I think I should be forced) to abandon them. Realistically speaking, I think it’s ludicrous what she’s demanding (she says she’s negotiating by “allowing me to go out and meet for a coffee” if this friend is ever in town.
She has also monitored my communication in the past (until I changed my passwords) by going through my email/facebook accounts. When I confronted her about it, she outright lied about it, until I pressed her on it a week later). I chalked it up to insecurity and tried to let it go, but that betrayal (and lying about it as well) has always bothered me. Thanks so much for your comment: so helpful.
Sad State says
One thing that has only been touched on the edges: When you do decide to leave, expect things to get worse, not better (for the short term).
A control freak that loses control is a terrible force of nature. I will bet next month’s paycheck she will try a two-pronged attack: 1) try to “hoover” you back through guilt, niceness, and promises of change; and 2) become so mean, destructive, and abusive that you will fear leaving her. She will do both at the same time – her sentence will start with a promise and end with a threat. Also, there is a 50% chance of a suicide threat/attempt thrown in for good measure. Add a false DV charge, and you have what your future looks like – and that’s if you break up with her before the wedding. It will get worse if you wait too long, when she has kids and assets to use as additional leverage.
As others have mentioned, you need to leave the apartement. But take EVERYTHING that has value to you – both financial and emotional. She will rob you blind and destroy anything she thinks that you hold dear. She will feel entitled to it due to the pain you have caused her. She will stop only when she runs out of stuff. She will feel no guilt.
It took me 20 years of wasted life to decide there was nothing I could do to help my ex. I have not guilt now, because I know I did everything humanly possible. I understand your concern that you really could help her. But don’t waste your life – there is so much more good you can do than throw your niceness and generosity to a black hole of evil.
I would advise you to not go through with the wedding. The amount of grief you get for leaving her at the altar will be nothing to the years (decades, potentially) of lamentable misery that you will have by staying with her.
I’m sure that you’re scared of being alone, but something I learned after two terrible and abusive relationships was that Girlfriends are a lot easier to get than they are to get rid of. Don’t be afraid to walk on this one. No abuser ever gets better after the wedding. NEVER. It doesn’t happen. They always feel safer about abusing you because you are financially and legally entangled. Go NOW.
I hope you will take this advice. I know it’s hard to listen to this because you are a loving and loyal man. This is what is so terrible about abusers (whether they are men or women), they use your good qualities against you. Without your loyalty and love, they wouldn’t be able to do the things they do. She cares nothing for you, and she has demonstrated it time and again. Look at her actions, not her words. How does she treat you? Like someone that she loves and trusts? No. She treats you like you are her chattel and her servant.
Run for the hills.
Hello everyone – this is Peter – thanks so much for all the amazing, invaluable feedback. If anyone has left a relationship and can comment on the guilt of doing so, I’d love to hear. She has been going through spells of seeming fine and others of despondency. She came here from another country and I’ve been very supportive and understanding of the adjustment she may be experiencing. I adjusted my work schedule so that I only had to travel once a month instead of 3 times, to be with her and she wouldn’t feel isolated. She’s continuously telling me that we haven’t given it enough time since she arrived (3 months), but the truth is it’s been mostly 3 months of conflict and it was going on for a long time before that even.
In any case, I’m doing my best to stay resolute and haven’t given in, but any comments about dealing with guilt in this case would be appreciated. When I’m feeling like caving, I come back here and re-read these posts, so please know that you all have truly been a blessing for me during this extremely hard time. Thank you.
Please get away from her.
You are not responsible for saving her because you cannot save her. Men are really prone to this idea that they are somehow capable of saving women.
It’s absurd. Women wield more emotional power in a relationship then men. Look at the studies on relationship dynamics.
Thinking you’re going to save her emotionally is like thinking you can somehow stop a bear from walking off a cliff; you’ll get mauled(possibly to death) and the bear will do it anyway.
I wish guys would approach relationships with women with the firm knowledge that the woman is the emotional heavyweight. If men made choices from awareness of their greater vulnerability–thus chose women who showed them respect–they would be much better off.
Also, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, HAVE SEX. If she forces herself on me you have my permission to do whatever it takes physically to stop her getting her way.
Ooops, that should read:
If she forces herself on you, you have my permission to do whatever it takes physically to stop her getting her way.
Sad State says
Guilt is a very real and powerful emotion felt during the breakup of a relationship. However, you must pass through emotion and act on rational facts. She is falsely manipulating your guilt emotion through her claims of helplessness, replaying your promises made before her crazy came out, crying over how far she traveled to be with you, etc., etc..
The only way to completely remove the guilt is to marry the girl, spend the next 20 years bending completely to her will, and losing all shred of dignity. After that, you will finally realize there is nothing you can do that will make her happy or lead to a healthy mental outlook. She will ALWAYS define herself as the center of the world and will never consider you wants and feelings to mean anything. After 20 years of soul smashing, heart draining, social/work life killing, and general misery, you will be able to leave without any guilt.
So you have a choice: leaving now will leave you with guilt of “what could have been” or you can sacrifice 20 years of your life and the screwed up lives of your kids (because you will have kids – she will make sure that happens) just so you don’t have to have those little pangs of guilt.
Here is the best way to look at it: would you feel guilty for not staying at a hotel you booked because it showed beautiful pictures on the internet but was really a roach infested trashdump? Would you feel guilty for no longer dealing with a stock broker who took your money and went on vacation to Barbados? No, you wouldn’t, because these are cases of fraud, where the person falsely presented themselves to get something from you.
Don’t feel guilty or be held accountable for promises made prior to her letting her real self be known. She is a fraud. She is a trickster that did the right things to make you fall in love, then pulled the rug out from under you.
I think what is important now is for you to create a vision of your life moving forward and not get sucked back down the rabbit hole. Happened to me several times.
Once I had that vision to remind me of where I wanted to go and what I wanted my life to be – it became much easier and successful.
Additionally, I have told her I am sympathetic to her moving here and her adjustments, but it’s still does not excuse constant threats to leave me when she’s upset, having fits if I can’t do something (in this case the Paris work trip, which put me in a very bad position financially, and potentially with work…this was not the first time something like this happened either), or trying to impose limiting conditions on my friendship, according to what she feels is appropriate, so she can feel okay.
I spotted your comment about the guilty feelings. Although I am a woman, I can comment on this because I was absolutely convinced in my mind that my ex would commit suicide when we finally parted.
Nah, he was too f##king egocentric to do such a thing, and she will be the same…
You feel guilt because you are a nice guy. It’s nothing to do with HER.
My SO had similar doubts to you, but went ahead with his wedding, and he is now dealing with the issues of shared custody parenting with a freaking fruit-loop 16 years later.
I know this stuff is tough, and it sucks and it hurts, but it would be 10,0000x worse if you were dealing with a marriage and kids.
If he wants a look at what his life will be like after having a couple of children, he can go to my site. OOOPS! That’s right, the family court judge ordered it shut down.
Marry her at your own peril. I don’t use the term “peril” lightly. If you marry her in the face of all of these comments about how astonishingly familiar all of her behaviors are to the great many who have failed miserably before you – you’ll have no one to blame but yourself for not breaking off the engagement, ending the relationship, and going COMPLETELY no-contact with her.
Hi Mr-M, been posting your site appeal as wide as I can. Good luck with it!
(I moderate on Heart2Heart interactive)
I agree with what people are saying, and also urge you to think and read what you’ve written. It’s not healthy. It’s not right, and with her you will never be seen as a human being with needs, wants, desires, responsibilities (except to her and her only) and dreams.
Would this sound reasonable if say your close female friend had a fiancee who was experiencing what you are? Would you be worried that her happiness and well being would not be fulfilled and say something? Would you be hurt if she would cut off all communication with you and you didn’t know why?
Your fiancee has taken a lot from you already and will continue to do so no matter what. You are very, very lucky that you didn’t lose your job but when it happens again (not if but when, because you know it will) you might not be as fortunate.
There is a great chance your family is already worried for you but trying to support your decision and stay quiet. You are the only grown up in your relationship and I honestly believe that the people who truly want whats best for you will rally and support your decision to leave. You’ve already made a huge step for yourself by trusting your instincts, honestly you are ahead of the curve, but now the hard part starts. Gather your trusted friends and family, confide in them that something is wrong in your life and you need to get out, DON’T let anyone tell you to stick it out (they don’t have to deal with her. YOU do), and get an emergency exit plan in motion at once.
You weren’t born to placate this woman. Your life is meant to be shared with someone, not evaluated and tested. Please, get out, get yourself help, and go live.
And I finally got the last bits of whats happening. Sorry to be late. It’s good that you are taking the steps you need. Please be strong! It may not seem like it but it will get better.
Listen to Dr. T….I know, I thought I could “fix” things, too late, but not for you. Take an inventory of all the good you experience with her; she satisfies you sexually, she keeps a good home, she’s a good cook, smart, affectionate, caring, funny, I mean, you’re with her for a reason, right? Did you at least get laid on the trip to Paris? Did her companionship make the trip better? Consider all these with the issues you describe in your letter. That will yield your answer. Her nature won’t change so be thorough. All relationships require work
We think these women will be the last one we’ll ever have and hang on for dear Life. Once you’ve done the inventory ask yourself “IF this is the “last woman” (it’s not, but…) is she everything I want? If not then why would you give yourself up? Fuck being embarrassed about canceling wedding plans. IT’S O.K. TO CHANGE YOUR PLANS. The people that really Love you will see how great it is you respect yourself enough and have the balls to get what you want.
Peter, I have not read all of the above, but I must post because I am in a panic for you. Those. who say “only you know the answer” are WRONG IN THIS CASE. Those who have lived this experience KNOW the answer. STOP discussing it, thinking about it, etc. until AFTER yo u are safely away from her. Then, take care of yourself. GET AWAY NOW!
You can not appreciate this situation until you have died it. (not lived it). It is a death. The slow, painful, tortuous death of your soul.
REGARDING GUILT …
Remember, we choose from the choices we think we have.
Guilt is an interesting concept – you see your actions having a negative effect on another person, someone you care about and love. It breaks your heart to be the source of their suffering.
Being adult, responsible, ready to question the appropriateness of your actions and seeing the results of your behavior, guilt is a reasonable response.
However, it needs to be contextualized. If your girlfriend was acting adult, responsible, ready to question her behavior, etc … in other words if she was behaving in a fashion deserving of your personal readiness to feel guilty … your guilt would be warranted and she would have earned your readiness to feel guilty. That appears not to be the case however. It is instead being offered up due strictly to your own personal upbringing and personal standards of behavior. Her behavior is unworthy of your readiness to feel guilty, and is the source of your guilt – not your behavior (which is in reaction to her, and not a prime action but a secondary action).
Additionally, the source or trigger of her behavior towards you – to which you are reacting – is not yours, but rather things from her past.
Offering yourself, your health, your life, your time, your patience, your understanding … will not heal that which is buried in her past and is ultimately responsible for her behavior (which you are reasonably, as a mentally healthy person,just now questioning).
While it is noble to be of such character that you are naturally prepared to feel guilty, it does not necessarily mean that it is warranted.
She is the genesis of your confusion. Her behavior is the source of your reticence. No one should move forward in a marriage – a bonding of two lives together – with such preoccupations hanging over them. Marriage should be a joyous occasion, one celebrating the conviction of two people coming together – if that is absent, the occasion will be a charade – one with very heavy legal consequences should you try to terminate it.
Banish the idea that you will go ahead and fix things after. We’re talking about a marriage. Digesting the weight of all the comments shared here, it must be obvious that the telltale signs of an emotionally disturbed person are present.
You mentioned in a post something about 3 months together. If I understood that correctly, 3 months is very typical of PD individuals to try to hook up like that – it is not, NOT, what healthy normal people require to evaluate someone.
Guilt is a reasonable response, however, make sure the person is worthy of your self-questioning and your readiness to offer feeling guilty. Perhaps, under your guilt is a more subtle feeling of your intuition trying to tell you this is not the right thing to be doing right now.
Maybe at a different time, maybe with a different person.
Life is not a rehearsal. You do not get your time back because you made a mistake.
Sometimes, you have to roll with the feelings and information you have – the human experience is such that you cannot know the consequences of your decisions before you make them.
You have a lot to digest but regardless, life will continue on either way. But many seem to say ‘trust our collective wisdom’ …
Zibot: This is Peter – thanks for this. Great perspective on the guilt I’ve felt. What you’ve shared has really helped me put in perspective and actually feel and act stronger as well as made me understand and value my worth. Dr. T had mentioned in her initial response to me that, “Healthy people don’t tolerate this kind of behavior.” That was so helpful to have clarified, as I started thinking, “Why have I been tolerating this?” (as well as a list of other things), and with what you wrote, I realized that I really don’t have much to feel guilty about. I’ve been clear (for a long time) about issues that we needed to resolve, and have also reiterated that I wasn’t comfortable with getting married if we didn’t. I needed the courage to act on it and your post as well as others have strengthened my resolve and helped me see things in a way so that I’m not continuing to act like a victim. Thanks again.
Hi Zibot: I wanted to clarify something about my earlier post: we’ve actually been together for 3 years – 3 months refers to her coming back here after going back to her country for a few months.
Peter, I just wanted to add yet another “huzzah!” to your ending this before it got worse. If I had only listened to my friends/family before my wedding, I would have a completely different state of being right now.
Also, it’s very much worth reiterating: Get away from her. No contact. No ultimatums. No deals. If she changes, it will only be a tactical retreat while she resolidifies her power. And, of course, absolutely no sex. Best not to have any sex with someone else for the nonce as well, just for their own safety.
It doesn’t matter what it costs – borrow if you have to – but get the hell away from her and stay there. A friend or parent’s place is best, that way there’s always a witness as to your whereabouts. You think this is paranoid? It’s not.
Stop being the Great Protector. It’s this very hard-wired notion we men have that makes it so easy for these women to lure us in. They need saving, we ride in and rescue them, then we’ll live happily ever aft… oh wait… D’OH!
Also Peter if you should take the advise here and get out of your shared apartment for the time being take a video of the place. It’s just CYA, if she would go bonkers and trash the place while you are gone you have proof you didn’t leave it that way.
Oh my dear. So glad you recognize that there may be a problem. You are half way there already. Trust me. It is not worth putting your future on the line for this woman. It sounds like at a minimum you should postpone your wedding and try counseling. If she is willing to change and meet you in the middle, you will find out quickly enough. If she is not, then say goodbye and do not look back. There are many “fish in the sea” and you deserve to feel confident that you are marrying someone who will negotiate and compromise. There are way too many giving, generous, loving, and most of all HEALTHY women out there who are worthy of your love. Do not settle for a life of misery. Once you are married and have children, it is a long painful battle to get out.
I hope “Peter” listens to all this. Dr. T is the big time guru about this stuff and we’ve all lived the nightmare. Everything changed as soon as the marriage license was signed. Now I have to battle her in court to see my son. She even had the audacity to ask me to sign my rights away. My son is the only way she knows how to get to me. I could care less she’s got a new victim other than I feel sorry for him. I wished I had ran and now I have to fight her for everything. She cleaned me out of my life savings, two trucks, one of my snowplows, and a house. Don’t be a victim, this is not love! I see nothing but pain and heartache in your future. I had big huge red flags and I didn’t listen to them, now I have to fight like hell to fix my son’s life and try for full custody since he’d be better off with me. PLEASE listen to everyone here and Dr. T!!!
I am married….and I am in the exact situation as Peter.
She had once hit me so hard on my cheeks…for arguing.
I still live with her. I am very afraid to leave her.
Do not marry her Peter. Take care of yourself.
Peter, I don’t know if there’s anything anyone can say to make you change your mind. I know you want to love and be loved. But why her? If she’s treating you like shit, why put up with that? I stuck it out with a crazy bitch like the one you’re engaged to for 27 years. I’m just gonna give it to you straight: if you do marry her, you’re gonna lose yourself, and if you eventually dump her (or, what’s more likely, she dumps you, takes the kids, the car, the house, everything you worked for), you’ll end up with nothing, with everything stolen from you that you gave out of love.
When you’re done reading all these comments, have a listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy_H-1J4xWs.
It’s a sad fact that a lot of women are like my ex, your fiancee. The good ones (I haven’t met many) are out there, you just have to learn what it is about you that attracts the pyscho-broads, and learn to recognize them when you meet them.
Before I married my wife nearly 13 years ago, my mother tried to quietly help to break things off, suggesting that maybe we should take a break while I finished my Masters and before I started work. I only wish that she had been more forceful. While I love my children and have very close relationships with all of them, the last 13 years of my marriage have been one roller coaster after another of negative emotion, willful non-functioning, constant criticism, hysterics, blaming, overspending and virtually no intimacy, either physical or emotional. And to make things worse, she has also transformed herself from an attractive, fit woman pre-marriage to an overweight slob who wears dirty clothes (I have gotten to the point where I am embarrassed to be seen with her, particularly in front of potential clients/coworkers – and to make matters worse, when I was an attorney in law offices, she would regularly try and call through the secretaries between 8-10 times a day, and she will still call me at work and ask me to do things like find numbers for her online).
When you have a clear sign that the person you are about to marry exhibits signs that are likely to make your life hell, you owe it to yourself to listen to those good voices around you who are telling you to leave. It does not matter that the person may seem intelligent, have advanced degrees, and be an interesting conversationalist, at times, when they want to be. If the overall pattern of behavior shows signs that indicate that she will make your life hell, it is generally a good idea to leave. It is much easier to break things off before marriage and kids.
Thank you mr – this is Peter – this is so helpful. This has been simply torture since I said I wanted to break things off. She is desperately wanting to work things out, yet all those around me – including this blog & especially my mother – have been adamant to stay the course of leaving. Of course I’m in the middle of this, so I start to question and second-guess my decision, especially if there’s contact with her. I inevitably start thinking of all her good qualities and begin to feel remorseful…the only thing keeping me on track at this point is this blog. The point you made about an overall pattern is so important to my decision about this, because there are specific behaviors that do clearly appear to be a pattern, although she has a good reason (to her) to explain each scenario and chalks it up to the “stress of the past, and why don’t we leave the past alone and just start fresh from today.” Hard. Thanks again for this – I really needed it.
““… why don’t we leave the past alone and just start fresh from today.”
I recall this with my most recent relationship – she always wanted to forget about the past, leave it behind, live in the moment, stop talking about what had happened, etc, etc.
First – she never stopped living in the past, never stopped throwing events from the past in my face if she needed it in an argument, would easily ruin a great event happening by suddenly reliving, and I mean re-living, in her memory something awful (from weeks, months, or years back).
Second – I think the hope for such a person about forgetting the past is they are absolved of all their bad behavior – I’ve acted awfully towards you, disrespecting you, indulging my tantrums, threatening your emotional security … “why don’t we just agree to forget about that”.
People study, teach, write about and read about history for a reason – it’s the best predictor of future events – where we’ve been is a good indicator of where we may be headed. We learn from our past and it helps define our story, show who we are, illuminate our character, patterns.
For some, erasing history serves their purposes very well.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
The same thing happened to me. When I suggested about 3 months prior to the marriage that I move cities, set things up, and that she would come down about 6 months later (and that we would postpone the marriage by a few months while things were getting organized), she threw a a major ballistic crying fit. Since then, I have seen so many that I do not even care to count. We also went through 3 different marriage therapists who did the good old middle east conflict thing – blame everyone equally no matter what the facts are. Finally, we came to one who said — SHE HAS BPD — Let me work with you to help you get out! A true wake-up call.
I am glad that I ended up getting married to my current spouse – but only because had I not done so, my kids would not have been born. But I should have cut my losses long ago (and the main purpose of my therapy is to help me develop enough mental strength to finally end things). The thing that is really pushing me is that my now 10 year old son hates his mom, and I realize that the only way for me to really be the best kind of parent that I can be is to have an independent living space where she has no control over the general mood.
But back to subject — as far as patterns — look at how she treats her parents and siblings, including whether she regularly beat up her younger brother and used to call him names over many years (regardless of what many people may say, kids who are bullies often turn into bullying adults); look and see if she regularly gets into fights with her mom and blames her parents for everything that went wrong (i.e. I don’t function because I saw bad parenting) – particularly when the target parent seems to have positive relationships with nearly everyone else, and most importantly, try and see whether she is someone who can take responsibility for their own happiness. As one of my good friends succinctly puts it: Happy wife; happy life.
Peter – from all the comments and information here you surely realize by now what you have to look forward to if you stay with this woman. You said earlier she monitored you cell phone, email, etc. Has she called all the numbers she doesn’t recognize yet? Has she demanded that you give her your new passwords yet? I’m sure if you ask her for HER passwords she will refuse. Does she call you at work a dozen times a day? When you are involved in something does she demand that you drop whatever you are doing and tend to her wants and whims? If all of this sounds familiar it’s because I speak from experience. What you are experiencing now will get worse if you stay with her. Is this the life you want to live. Yes when you are with her she can be an amazingly sweet and nice person. To people who only know her public persona she is an angel. When she is being that sweet person you find yourself believing there is hope that she has changed. Then it all starts again. The really sad thing is if you tried to explain things to her she wouldn’t understand. What’s more she does not have the capacity to comprehend why she can’t understand. Her world view is such that she is the only important person in the world. No one else’s feelings matter. She is not capable of seeing anyone else’s point of view. I can’t stress to you strongly enough that you need to stop for your own sanity and physical well being. I know how hard it will be with her hammering at you incessantly. Being in a relationship with this kind of person is almost like an addiction. You want to quit but then you think it’s not that bad. I can take it a little longer. Don’t let yourself get caught in that trap
areadylost – thanks for this. You are very right – she does have a very sweet side as well and it is interesting you mention addiction: a therapist we went to said that part of it (the relationship) has “addictive and/or need-base”d characteristics. You’re also so right about the health ramifications – those have been significant and starting to worry me.
Peter – Why should you be responsible for this woman? As an adult she is responsible for herself. She try’s to make you feel guilty in an attempt to make you stay. To put in a different perspective. If you had a medical condition that was life threatening would you feel guilty about seeking treatment? When you have those moments of doubt and start feeling guilty remember the adverse health effects this woman has already had on you. If you stay they will get worse
Let me add my own comments here as well. I married a woman who did all the things your fiancee is doing now. I echo everyone’s sentiment that it will only get worse and you will either find yourself divorced, miserable/beaten, or both. While I don’t know your fiancee, my wife failed as a companion and succeeded as a leech.
Like you, my wife tried and in some cases succeeded in isolating me from close friends. She was jealous and insecure, and one benefit from my divorce has been reclaiming these relationships. If you have the courage to leave this relationship, then you’re likely going to find out how much she had suffocated you.
Also, the temper tantrums are something so many of us can identify with. If she isn’t throwing things yet, then she will, especially as your resistance grows and you’re able to say No more frequently. (The time will come when you’re just not able to say Yes anymore.) She’ll threaten herself, threaten you, threaten others. Rest assured, it’s a pattern of escalation. At that point, ask yourself if you’re ready to risk having a neighbor–or worse, her–call the police.
GET OUT NOW!!!
You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have this truth already buried in your gut. I hope you have the courage to do what you need to do for yourself. I didn’t until it was too late. Good luck!
“I’m never getting married again. I’m just gonna find a woman I don’t like and buy her a house.”
In December It’ll be 2years since I got the courage to end my relationship with a HCI ex, unfortunately with a child involved and still going through the divorce. I’ve been gauging my progress against the usual 5 stages of recovery…denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. One thing I’ve read somewhere here is that during the last stages(depression/acceptance) you start to feel how STUPID you were for not seeing the obvious right from the beginning.
In Dr T’s own words: “..This is when it sinks in there’s no going back to this woman and that the woman you loved NEVER EXISTED. You mourn the loss of time and the abuse you tolerated. You direct the anger at yourself and feel stupid for being with her and fear getting into another relationship, lest you become involved with another woman just like her. Like the Anger stage, you don’t want to get stuck here either”
I am still not sure which stage I am in now, I’ve definitely felt the anger and I am way past bargaining, that’s for sure. I still feel a knot when I think about the past…But again In cases of HCIs surely there must be another stage between depression and acceptance, THERE HAS TO BE…THE STUPID STAGE. I always think of that spring doll in the Movie Madagascar2. The one that Kowalski (the smart penguin) is so infatuated with…that scene captures my situation best (and maybe for most people here)…I mean that’s who I was “in love” with all along! The dumbness of the whole thing is a big factor when trying to recover.
My question to Peter is how will you explain your decision when you get to this stage (course its not a question of IF but WHEN – that is if you decide to go ahead and marry her) – given all the advise you’ve received here. How will go past the bargaining stage, the depression, will you get yourself to accept?? For the past few days I’ve been on this thread my interest in this topic slowly turned into envy…You are one lucky guy, that’s all I can say – Your cross-road has signs!
…Oh btw my “Paris” moment was a pair of shoes on our way to a friend’s wedding. The shoes cost more than $800 at a time when I was just struggling to start my business. Maybe I could’ve understood if she had been planning to get this pair for sometime, but no! she just saw them there and wanted them on the spot en-route to the wedding – otherwise we we’re not going to the wedding. I still cringe when i think about that episode. On another occasion, we turned back about 2miles away from a party we were invited to simply because she wasn’t sure how her hairstyle looked – despite my assurances, this was after we’d travelled about 150miles to get there.
…and THAT threat of leaving is NOT just a threat but a promise – it’s a real killer, Peter. Wait till she does it on you – worse if there’s a child involved. The pain of being left alone is no laughing matter, she’ll do this everytime she feels you deserve some “punishment”. every time it happens a part of you disappears until there is nothing left. You’ll go after her and beg her to come back and work things out, right there she has you by the balls. Mine did it five times on the fifth I decided to end it and not beg her ever again…it’s been 18months plus divorce.
I´m 2.wife of a man that once had the same choice you had. But unfortunately his crossroad didn´t have signs and he sure didn´t have all the fine people here sharing their experiences with him.
But he had a strong gut feeling and he had parents that tried to send him abroad to university, but noone ever said it out loud: “Your girlfriend is abusive and mean”.
They had an ooops!, and there he found himself being a dad at 21. Wanting to do the right thing he married her, and ooops! over and over again until 4 children.
None planned, and always “contraceptives failing”.
I knew him before he had children and married her, and the man I met again after 20 years was hardly a shadow. He was at the point where contemplating suicide just to get away. He was so beaten down he saw no value of being alive, because he felt totally worthless.
Imagine two whole decades of abuse. Every day you hear what a slob, what a deadbeat you are. How she can have anyone by just snapping, how you disappoint her, what a terrible dad you are. And the constant arguing, underminig, controlling, hysteric fits.
It´s been 2 years since the divorce, and we´re still fighting. She is carbon copy of all and every one described in this thread. It´s scary how women like her seem like a species of their own.
The stress of living with a man that has the ex.wife from hell is tremendous, and it affects the children so much you wouldn´t even imagine.
There are days I´d rather flee and never look back, but I love this man and I´m sticking by his side.
But think about this too; after the divorce (becaus ethere will be one if you marry her) you put your next family through her crap as well.
I pray that you keep your strenght and looses this woman before you loose yourself and your chance of a good future.
Peter RUN !!!
If you think her tantrums now are fun just wait until she has been throwing them for things like control of the finances because you can’t be trusted with the money or deciding on what house to buy because you can’t be trusted to pick the right one or even have any real input as to what is the right one.
And because you married her you will tell yourself how much you love her and how much you just have to learn to understand her because this is part of being married. I would be willing to bet you have even questioned yourself currently about how bad can she really be and rationalized that it is just “cold feet”.
She has learned one of your “buttons”, I prefer to call them “pressure points” because like fighting she is looking for weaknesses she can exploit to force you to bend to her will. Marriage should be about “sharing”, but what you are about to enter is nothing like that and never will be no matter what you do to fix it. Over time she will probe and look for other “pressure points” to use and I guarantee that sex will be one, so won’t children and the household finances. She will use them like an artist uses different colors to constantly keep you off balance and to control and manipulate you.
Right now she has her tendencies at least somewhat under control, but in your case she feels at least somewhat comfortable enough to allow a little of them to surface, which means she either thinks she has you locked in or she is even worse than many of us think.
In my case, my Ex, was very careful to hold back until I said “I do”, so please for the love of God, don’t make the big mistake and save the next 20 years of your life for a real woman, one who loves you and is not looking to use and abuse you.
Peter, you’re wearing rose colored glasses and hoping things will get better after marriage or after she gets what she wants.
I made the same mistakes when I didn’t take the red flags seriously. They were there but love made me blind and I hoped for the best. I was wrong.
Listen to Denis, Peter. He knows of what he speaks. I do as well.
You have read impassioned commentary from many on this board.
Not one of them is a woman hater!!!!
The old adage is “a relationship is based on trust”. Well, Peter.
In your heart do you trust her? From what I have read of your postings.
No you do not.
I understand the difficulties in leaving said relationship.
I lived it and continue to live it. No place to turn and no where to go.
Though in your case it sounds like you have a support system which I do not.
You have one commentator that is willing to drop everything and drive cross country to help you out. That speaks volumes Peter.
Please do not end up like me.
I will give you an example of what you might be in for.
Picture yourself (me) in the throes of a heart attack.
Crying because you (me) believe there is a possibility you will never see your son grow up. Your (now) wife leans down to you in the emergency room just before you are whisked away to the cardiac resuscitation team and whispers in your ear
“Stop it you are embarrassing yourself and me”.
The above scenario happened to me. Histrionics is her middle name.
Peter there are some vicious men out there, cruel, and inhumane. Make no mistake however they’re are women who are equally as vindictive, vicious, inhumane, and cruel. They are not in the minority.
“a relationship is based on trust”. Not only must you ask yourself if you trust her (which you obviously shouldn’t)
Ask if you believe she trusts you. The answer is most likely a resounding no. If she trusted you would she insist on being involved in every single aspect of your life? Would she question where you go and who you see? Would she pitch a fit when you are 15 minutes late because of traffic? Would she snoop through your cell phone, email, and social networks? She doesn’t trust you and never will hence there is no trust either way and no chance for this relationship to be ” worked out”
Sorry not “they”re” it should be there.
Free at Last says
Peter, I concur with everything that has been posted so far. I have only one thing to add… bear in mind that marriage is a LEGAL contract. Look at how much time, energy, money and resources she has drained from you so far — using only her abusive and manipulative tactics. Now imagine how much more she could drain from you using a divorce lawyer. I hope the thought frightens you enough to cancel the wedding and never talk to her again.
My ex-girlfriend (we were together 18 months) spent our entire relationship trying to fleece her ex-husband out of at least $100,000 of his million-dollar retirement fund. After he had spent $50,0000 on their wedding, $35,000 in tuition fees for her master’s degree, and pumped over $100,000 into her home equity. When I saw the divorce-court papers detailing how much he had contributed to her financial well-being, I realized that I was the current “sucker du jour” and got out of there (although not quite fast enough, I must admit). I still can’t believe that she sucked so much money from him and insists on fleecing him for more.
BTW, I’m now gone, she already has Beau #3 that she’s sucking off and telling him how awful and abusive her ex-husband and ex-boyfriend were (yeah, right… That’s our reward for being loving, kind and generous). Last I heard, she got him to pay for a one-week vacation in… Paris! (sound familiar?) And her divorce is still dragging on… they’ve each paid over $25,000 in legal fees at this point.
I’d also like to add that scatmaster’s story about the heart attack really touched my heart… when I lost my job, my ex-gf’s first words were “how are you going to pay your share of the expenses?” I suddenly felt SO lonely and unsupported, and my gut told me that this woman was not a true life partner. I had supported her 100% through all of her difficulties, but the moment I had a problem, it was all about her and I didn’t matter at all.
Peter, there are roughly 150 postings so far that recommend that you get the hell out of there. Please, please heed them. You seem to be a kind and level-headed sort, and certainly deserve someone more loving and supportive than your fiancée. You deserve a happy and fulfilling relationship… keep that image in your mind, drop this one, and resume looking for what you truly deserve. My best wishes to you.
Free at Last: Thanks for this (this is Peter). your words are encouraging and I have to really keep in mind that I deserve a happy and fulfilling relationship.
Thank you for this. You’re right, it’s much better for me to keep that image in mind than continuing to rake myself over coals with feelings of guilt, regret and thoughts of what might have been – even though it seems clear from everyone’s postings here what that future would have been. Thanks for the kind words.
Morning Star says
Is it too late to tell Peter to RUN FOR HIS LIFE???
Run. Run. Run. After you have run out of the door, pat yourself on the back and keep moving away from that monster.
Might you be feeling a bit of guilt for running out on that manipulative sociopath? If so, just put that to one side. She is choosing to be abusive, remember. If you can’t resolve the issues you mention in your post at this time, wait til you’re married! Just imagine waking up in the middle of the night when she is burning your feet because you’re snoring. Or going to work with a black eye or a broken nose because she ‘lost it’ and in her rage took a frying pan to your face.
You’ll be married. Any self defense will be identified as wife beating. There are lots of sites with sad sad stories of men defending themselves from the physical abuse meted out by their entitled spouse only to be arrested and jailed as a wife beater. Check them out.
Just like the other survivors of abuse, I say the people that matter will stick by you when you cancel the wedding. If people that you know think otherwise, then they really don’t know you that well at all.
As others have pointed out, you have answered your own questions. You know the answers. I don’t believe you’re asking whether it’s right to cancel the wedding or not.
I think what you are really asking is; Do you have the right to cancel the wedding?
Do you think you have the right to cancel the wedding?
If you do, and you know you are having doubts, then I think it’s probably a better idea to call for a cooling off time, to reflect whether you really want to tie yourself to someone for the rest of your life. Wouldn’t you say that’s reasonable? You could even suggest that to her (although I still say RUN). If she understands your concerns, then great. Wait for a bit: 3 months? 6? What’s the rush?
If she doesn’t understand your concerns then she doesn’t understand you. If she wants to push ahead with the wedding, in spite of your reservations and requests to wait for a reflective period, then she doesn’t respect you or your needs. How can you love someone you don’t respect?
Personally, I say get out now. Find someone fantastic. I really like Matty Monkees post (some of which I hadn’t thought of and am going to include in my life now). Don’t wait.
Whatever your choice, good luck with it. As Wilde said, some people cause happiness wherever they go: other people cause happiness whenever they go. I think you belong to the former group. You have A life and I hope you enjoy it fully.
“My family and friends all tell me her behaviors will get worse and that I should end the relationship.”
This is a huge plus. You’ll have the support of your family and friends. Don’t get married!
Hello everyone, this is Peter. I’m writing here to thank all of you again for the posts and words of encouragement and advice. I’m sorry if I haven’t been able to reply to each post individually, but please know that each one touched me. I kept referring back to this blog whenever I needed some strength and was feeling confused. As for where the situation stands now, my fiance has left and gone back to her country, effectively ending any chance of our following through with a wedding. There was a 3-4 day period of intense emotions for both of us, statements that she recognizes the things she needs to address, and promises to change. The intensity of our interactions was totally exhausting, and included her blaming me, making me feel guilty for this decision, yet then also taking responsibility herself and her feeling remorseful. To be honest I am struggling terribly now that she is gone as to whether I truly made the right decision. The whole situation feels like a enormous gouge in my heart. I can’t help but think of the qualities that I loved and appreciated about her, and the sadness, depression, and guilt I have about this has been overwhelming at times. When I look back at the reasons that led me to this decision (as well as other instances of very self-centered behavior that I had not even mentioned – lack of trust, possessiveness, rudeness to a friend of mine), and look to this blog, it seems natural that it would be difficult to change and most likely be a hard road to travel…especially since I am already feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually broken. The last 3 months I have felt a lack in energy, vitality, enthusiasm, hope and joy – and it has been a result of the conflict in this relationship. My main issue now though is dealing with the feeling that I should have given us more time to resolve our differences and to work on the relationship. Some of these things though I’ve been trying to talk about for close to 2 years, and was hesitant to believe that they would change once we were married (which she implied, writing to me that she wanted to change things about herself). I feel horrible at causing her so much pain and anxiety – so much so that I feel like I’m collapsing/dying inside and having panic attacks myself. I guess I will not ever know with 100% certainty if I made the right decision, but at least this blog has been immensely helpful in helping me make an informed, healthy choice. Thank you all so much for your care and contributions.
Free at Last says
Peter, I’m relieved to hear that you’re not going through with the wedding, and I can understand the struggle you’re going through with yourself right now. Especially given your totally exhausted state after the events of the last couple of weeks. For me, that “gouge in my heart” actually worsened after I moved out of my ex-girlfriend’s place, and peaked about a month later, after I had done some research on personality disorders and psychopathy.
The hardest thing for me to accept was that the intelligent, attractive, pleasant woman that I thought I had loved — had never existed. That woman was merely a façade she had created for my benefit, in order to lure me into a relationship – which in retrospect was a very, very one-sided relationship, where I contributed everything and she almost nothing. Although I still intensely missed the “good side” of her, those feelings were overshadowed by even more intense feelings of betrayal by her and contempt for myself for allowing myself to be duped so badly.
In the (terrific, IMHO) movie “A Beautiful Mind,” there’s a quote by Dr. Rosen at 1:18:30 that somewhat describes how I felt: “You see, the nightmare of schizophrenia is not knowing what’s true. Imagine if you had suddenly learned that the people and the places and the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead… but worse, had never been.”
You’ll never know with 100% certainty if you did the right thing, but please don’t lose too much sleep over that. None of us are clairvoyant, but in your case, all the signs of a disastrous future together were certainly there. Don’t ever feel unjustifiably “selfish” for taking steps to protect yourself and your future; any psychopath will immediately sense that and use it to her advantage. It helps to remember Darwin also – “survival of the fittest” – all of us need to survive.
I’d like to try to dispel any doubts you might have about “giving the relationship some more time to resolve our issues.” I suggest that you start by reading the Wikipedia entry for “empathy” – the second paragraph states that “empathy is the key cornerstone in genuine human relationships.” Even more interesting is the “Lack of Empathy” section – “Some psychopaths are able to detect the emotions of others with such a theory of mind and can mimic caring and friendship in a convincing manner, often in an effort to exploit others… some research indicates that components of neural circuits involved in empathy may also be dysfunctional in psychopathy.”
fMRI research (a near-real-time neural mapping technique, see Wikipedia) has shown that personality disordered individuals (PDIs) do not have the neural pathways that support empathy – they are dysfunctional! These pathways are developed in childhood, around the age of five or six, so you’re looking at maybe twenty years of regular therapy to develop those pathways to a mature, adult level. Are you willing to wait that long to “resolve our issues?”
Now, I’ve implicitly diagnosed your now-former fiancée as a PDI, so I’ll willingly incur the possible wrath of Dr T and the entire community of psychologists to tell you something very important that I’ve firmly come to believe in: you don’t need a licensed psychologist to diagnose a personality disorder; all you need is thermometer to tell if your child has a fever, and all you need is to observe consistent non-empathic behaviour to see that your parter has a personality disorder. Yes, you need an educated, experienced expert to determine the precise nature of the problem and prescribe a course of treatment, but you only need common sense to recognize that there’s a very serious problem.
Finally, I have one last suggestion for you. Take two or three months off for yourself, if you can possibly afford it. You’ve been through hell, as all of us here have been. Learn about personality disorders (so that you don’t get into this situation again), seek therapy, and continue it aggressively if it helps. Don’t let this episode ruin your life for years to come. Deal with it as quickly and effectively as you can, and get your life back on track. If your ex-fiancée does anything at all to derail you from getting your life back on track, calmly and firmly tell her that you will have no further contact with her – and stick to it.
My very best wishes to you, my friend, and may you live long and prosper,
…Julian from Canada.
P.S. For me, it’s been five months since I moved out, and three months of no contact. I’m finally getting to “the other side.”
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Hi Free at Last,
Actually, I think one of the best ways to spot a PDI is by the damage left in their wake. I agree with your take. If you’re reasonably intelligent and can read the behavioral checklists—you lived with the person and you’re the most knowledgeable about what you witnessed and experienced. I cant diagnose a person I’ve never met, but I certainly tell my clients, “Based on the behaviors you’re describing, it certainly sounds like Hurricane BPD/NPD/HCP blew through your life.” Again, the damage they leave in their wake is often the most telling.
I’m concerned that you don’t get what kind of “dog and pony show” that you’re truly involved in. She won’t “fix” herself because she can’t. Fixing one’s self is an empty promise that most of the time never comes to fruition. Your guilt is coming from walking away from the person you want her to be (and she’ll never become) – and FAILING to recognize the person that she truly is.
You are your biggest problem and resolving the problems with you are where you need to start so that you might have a shot at finding the person who IS who you want… and not settling for a person who isn’t what you want but you would like them to become.
You need more help that you could possibly get here. That’s not to say that the replies and advice and experiences shared AREN’T helpful – quite the contrary. You need to seek personal, private, one-on-one help to address the root of your issues which have you (still) on the precipice of making the worst decision of your life.
Adding: You didn’t call it off, she did. She let you off the hook and that may be a huge blessing that you’re not ready to admit. My fear is what happens when she comes back (again).
Hi Mister-M, this is Peter. I absolutely agree with you here – and thanks for reiterating it. I am clear that I do need to develop a clear understanding about what it is about myself that attracts a relationship like this. The day she left, I scheduled an appointment with a therapist, to look specifically at this issue and try to understand it. Personally, I believe that I have taken on a caregiver/caretaker role in relationships. Of course this hasn’t been a conscious choice, but in looking at this relationship and previous ones, the theme seems the same; I tend to become involved with woman who are needy and insecure, and need some type of “taking care of” on some level. Of course, for one reason or another, this becomes completely unsustainable. I am determined to discover why I am doing this….what it is about me / what is broken, missing, unhealthy, etc… inside me that causes me to (maybe subconsciously) seek these relationships out. What is it about me that feels not deserving of a mutually supportive, inter-dependent relationship that includes, or is based on trust and compassion (two things that clearly to me, this woman had issues with) among other qualities.
When I look honestly at this relationship, there have been a few incidents that occurred long ago/over time that – at the time – were so infuriating and unacceptable to me, that mentally I told myself that it was over then. Yet, I ALWAYS looked to try to discuss these incidents with her to “understand” her better / to try to maintain good communication / and maybe subconsciously, to not lose the relationship, because on some level, I believed that I didn’t deserve better. I would buy into her flipping the script on me and making these incidents my fault. I was always clear enough to realize they were not, so this inevitably led to more arguments that never were resolved and ended up leaving a resentful taste in my mouth. This is key for me to understand: why did I continue to allow myself to stay in a situation that was not healthy, when there were repeated signs of red-flag type behavior? I guess that’s the golden nugget as best I can tell. If I can figure out why I kept allowing that to happen / why I kept burying my emotional needs and ignoring what I absolutely knew to be very wrong behaviors, then perhaps – I truly hope – I can get to a place where I am whole enough to attract the type of healthy relationship I desire.
Thanks again for you post – it’s really helped me gain some mental clarity about all this.
Morning Star says
Peter you are a strong man. I thought about your situation all last night and even this morning and that’s why I logged on again. I must admit, in the pit of my stomach, I was sick with worry that you would go through with it. You have done the right thing for yourself, your family and friends and any potential children you may have had with his woman.
The feelings of guilt will go away, the hurt will pass, the emptiness will fade. One thing that angered me in your original post was that she demanded to be taken to Paris and that YOU paid for it. As you would have paid for a lot of things had you married her. PLEASE Peter seek some counselling, talk to your friends, accept the support of your family. You cannot imagine the RELIEF they must feel.
I can almost predict, however, what will happen next. You say she has gone back to her country (I was amazed at this). She will now pull your emotional strings and play on your guilt. As hard as it may seem, do not engage in any contact with her. Take heed of everything that people have written. I could tell you my story but I don’t have the emotional strength to tell it right now, even though 5 years have past since then.
Whenever you are feeling down you know we are all here to listen to you. You are lucky; this site didn’t exist for most victims of BPD women when they were going through their issues. Nobody recognised the serious malady that is abusive and toxic women. Dr Tara has done an oustanding job in bringing this social malady to the public domain. Trust her Peter. Lean on us. Count on your family and friends.
Thanks so much for your posting and thoughts. This forum has been immensely helpful as I’ve gone through this process – In fact, I truly don’t know if I could’ve managed without it. I am so grateful to everyone here.
Peter, just in case you need any more arguments in your personal armoury I just wanted to add my two cents based on my experience, which is:
Don’t imagine that you will ever be able to change her!
What I fell in love with was the person I thought I saw behind the “veil” that was her behaviours, but after not very long (and almost by luck, before any firm commitments were made) I managed to see that she *was* her behaviours and *nothing else*, and any positive qualities really were just an act to get me hooked in.
During the first few months she projected this image of a strong, independant, loving, feeling person who nonetheless struggled with intimacy, partly as a result of her having been abused as a child and the residual trust issues she had. She needed a man who was not like “all the other men” who only wanted to take advantage of her, use her body, plumb her knowledge banks and leave her high and dry. And for a while I was that man; my role was to constantly reassure her that I was ok, that I could measure up to her standards, that I was not abusive. Easy! because I knew myself to be a decent, respectful person, whose idea of a mature relationship was to be on an equal footing with my partner. I thought I could save her by showing her that men could be good.
And so I found myself constantly having to assure her that her suspicions about me were unfounded. She would accuse me of the most extraordinary range of misdemeanors and sleights, and I would have to demonstrate to her satisfaction that I was not guilty of them – or risk her wrath. The closer we got, the more the pressure built up to show that I met her standards. Then, when I started pointing out that her accusations were unfair, this was all the evidence she needed to justify saying “see, you are just like all the other men! You’ve just been taking advantage of me!”, and she had a massive blow-up and said some things that I’d never imagined human beings were capable of saying. The next day she dumped me, and my theory on this was that she did it pre-emptively because she knew I was probably going to do the same to her, so that she could leave on the higher ground. And of course she had already lined up a new guy, and told all our mutual acquaintances (she didn’t have any real friends, I noticed…) that I had abused her, so that I couldn’t convince them what she’s really like.
But throughout this whole time what I did was that i never stood up for myself. I ignored my gut instincts, and I thought that if only I could extend my patience and sympathy long enough then I could change her – and by doing so I created a pattern of rolling over to her increasingly virulent demands and criticisms. Some research shows that conditions like BPD can be treated successfully, but for this to happen the sufferer needs to acknowledge that she is the one with the problem… which (ok, the one caveat) would be up to her to demonstrate to you, on her own initiative, if ever you were to have any semblance of a positive connection with her at all. And even then, an intimate relationship would still be all but impossible, because while she might learn to control her reactions, she will never be able to develop her emotional capacity beyond that of a child.
Needless to say I’ve learnt to trust my instincts more through this experience, and if something doesn’t feel right, to do something about it STRAIGHT AWAY! While it was hard at the time, reading the stories of other people posting here I consider myself to have gotten off lightly. Please please make sure you do the same by leaving this woman, and by cutting her out of your life! You won’t look back, trust me (and all the other guys here)! Peace to you all.
Ah, I just noticed your latest post Peter. Good for you! and don’t forget, it will be difficult for the coming months, but please, don’t feel guilty at all for feeling fragile at this point. Do what you need to do to soothe yourself, reach out to family and friends, and tell them how you feel, because they will understand and support you. The rest of your life starts here!
So she’s broken up with you and left…but watch this space! Remember the control tactic Dr T spoke about earlier??? See what happens next…IMHO there can only be two outcomes –
1. FACT: most PDIs like her are very afraid of abandonment if they sense it
coming they’ll leave you before you break up with them. In this scenario, you are lucky Peter! Now run don’t look back don’t answer the door don’t respond to calls/text/emails, RUN, you got off lucky. Open a bottle of champagne and celebrate your last round in “Russian roulette”
2. On the other side, this could just be a punishment ritual and all she’ll need is to see some sense of remorse/guilt/empathy from you. Remember, she promised this before – to leave. She’ll get this feedback from your tone whenever she calls/text/email you. Then the hoovering begins and if you haven’t dealt with your issues (what Free@last mentioned earlier) just then you are smoke Peter…
What will speed up your emotional recovery is First, the support from your family, close friends and those on this blog. You probably have kept secrets from them (what she did, etc), Don’t worry WE ALL HAVE. Now is the time to tell your story, you can do it even here just treat it as some crazy memories.
Secondly, and perhaps the most important is to deal with “your issues” the problems YOU have – what got you attracted to her and her to you. If you still haven’t realized those issues yet, then go to therapy, read books, or stick around this site and read old posts in the index section (some you may have to re-read now cause they turn to be even more relevant with time or “as you hit THE spot”…), take walks, take walks, take walks – it worked great for me.
Don’t they look innocent (mine tearful) and sincere when they promise to change? I mean don’t they??? Then you suddenly feel your heart beating faster and it just feels like ‘OMG she must be the “ONE” this is all I needed to hear’… Then your heart tells you to comfort her and show her that she’s not alone, that you will also do your part ito what she’s been complaining about…Oh, Peter we’ve all been there for the moment it could seem like the most beautiful feeling in the world except that it’s no different from an ACT from that romance movie, the one you’ve watch repeatedly. Oh and btw this episode always ends as soon as you “I do” or there is a little baby on the way.
Ron On Drums says
On the one hand I am sorry for the heartache you are going through. Just know that it is normal in this situation. On the other I am so glad to see you avoided YEARS of misery & feelings of low self worth because you “Couldn’t do enough” to please a woman who can NEVER be pleased.
She talks of change & may actually sincerly want to change. The problem is she is NOT capable of change. This is who she is. Normal people can make small changes in their life. But NOBODY can change who they are. Add to that a personality disorder which has a cure rate of less than 5%.
Always remember no matter how much she proclaims it you are NOT responsible for HER behavior. It is so common for all abusers to make the claim ‘I only did that because YOU did this”. Ask any victim of domestic abuse male or female & 100% will tell you their spouse blamed THEM for the abuse.
Always remember that she has a serious personality disorder & can’t change no matter how much she expresses the desire to. Even in the breakup while apologizing she still blamed YOU for HER behavior. Keep that mental picture every time you start to question your decision.
I do wish you the best. They call it heartbreak for a good reason. It literally feels like your heart has broken into pieces. But I PROMISE you this will pass in time. It really is the only cure. But it is a cure that is 100% effective.
Thanks for these reminders Ron. So often the last few days I’ve felt overwhelmed with feeling like I acted hastily and made the wrong choice and have been feeling so much guilt. You are right though, she often (most of the time actually) made me responsible for her actions and behaviors. I have no real basis or enough understanding of PDI’s to categorize her as such. There are some behaviors that seem like they could fall into those definitions, but I can’t say that for any certainty, as I’m not a professional, and frankly this has all been so eye opening to me (the fact that I’ve actually been in a controlling/abusive relationship). Right now I am just trying to stay grounded as best I can because I’m feeling a swirling confusion of sorrow, grief, guilt, and regret. I try to balance this with what I KNOW were highly inappropriate/controlling/abusive/isolating behaviors towards me that over time led me to this point. Thanks again for the thoughts – they are very helpful.
Ron On Drums says
Best of luck
Peter – you wrote “To be honest I am struggling terribly now that she is gone as to whether I truly made the right decision. The whole situation feels like a enormous gouge in my heart. I can’t help but think of the qualities that I loved and appreciated about her, and the sadness, depression, and guilt I have about this has been overwhelming at times.”
It is very hard to let go of someone you love even though they are damaging you in ways you may not even realize. It hurts more than most people can realize. You need time to heal and you need the support of family and friends to complete the healing process. There are some aspects of this you may never get over completely and you may have lingering regrets for years. The pain of having this person take over your life will assult you at unexpected times and in unanticipated ways. realize now that you made the right decision; for your own mental, physical, and emotional well being. You will find that your life will slowly return to normal and that as this process occurs things will feel a bit strange at first. I suggest you change your routines. Develop some new interests and hobbies perhaps and when those times come when the regret sets in come back here and read your own posts as well as those of us who responded to you and you will find the strength and compassion to forgive yourself for those things for which you really dont need forgiveness. I say that because you did not do anything wrong here even though it may feel like it to you now. So don’t punish yourself for putting yourself first this time. It may be the first time in your life that you put your own feelings and well being ahead of everyone else. Know that it is perfectly OK to to do that very thing. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
Alreadylost – I appreciate this so much. Thanks for the thought and reminder about putting myself first. You are exactly right: This IS the first time I’ve acted in a way that was a very determined effort to put my own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs first. Right now it’s so fresh that I’m going through a lot of grief and sorrow, but trying to move through that as best I can and realize that I have a new perspective about the importance of putting myself first in the future. Thank you so much.
Peter, if you had any doubt that you did the right thing, her reaction proved you were right. I know a couple who postponed their wedding indefinitely, resolved the issues they were having and eventually married. Neither of them got angry or blamed the other. They realized they had to address some issues and they put the time and effort into doing so. None of their family or friends got angry or made fun of them. We respected them for listening to what was going on and dealing with it and we supported them both with the postponement and the marriage.
The fact that she’s stuck in this blame cycle and keeps begging for another chance when she’s had numerous ones speaks volumes. As does her behavior in Paris. You gave in and at great expense, took her there. She didn’t show appreciation of any of that, but rather found something else to complain about. That is what you had to look forward to had you married her. As Prince says in “When Doves Cry” “maybe you’re just like my mother, she’s never satisfied”. People like that will never be happy with what you do, it will never, ever be enough. It’s a thankless and difficult task to be near them.
You may want to look for Dr. T’s posts on Lucy. Are you familiar with the comic strip Peanuts and how Lucy always grabs the football away from Charlie Brown as he’s about to kick it? That’s what people with PDs do.
My perspective a bit different because it’s my mother who’s the PDed person. Our first estrangement was when I was 24, after she’d had numerous second chances. A year or so before I turned 30, I let her back into my life because she’d stopped drinking and was in AA. She gradually started her behaviors again and because I was living long distance from her, it wasn’t as obvious. We finally became estranged again when I was 43.
That’s about 15 extra years of damage she got in because I gave her yet another chance. She also helped destroy my relationship with my brother, my only sibling, because of her smear campaigns. My brother, as well as sister-in-law, and I are now estranged too and I’ve never met my niece, who was born after the estrangement.
I used to feel mixed feelings about giving her another chance. It had done damage to me, but at least I did everything I could. But with therapy and growing awareness of PDs, I now value myself, my needs and well being far more than I ever did. If I had to do it all over again, she never would have been allowed back into my life after the first estrangement. Maybe I’d still have a relationship with my brother and I’d be an active part of my niece’s life. But what’s done is done. I have learned from this and am arming myself with knowledge of Cluster Bs and red flags. I am learning about taking care of myself and putting that first.
Thank you exscapegoat. I certainly have been going back and forth with feelings of regret and guilt, but also reminding myself of the specific reasons I felt the way I did, and the fact that I had a strong gut instinct that I had to end the relationship…the red flags were clear, but my second-guessing has been strong also. You’re correct about her reaction – I told myself that that was a clear indication of what I was going to be facing. When she kept blaming me for killing her dreams and that this was all my fault, I realized that she wasn’t taking any responsibility for her actions/behavior – and how they were affecting me and the relationship. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that the Paris trip a few months ago probably was the final death blow (although I was trying to not let it affect me that deeply), because I just couldn’t get over the fact that she would completely disregard the fact that it could jeopardize my job. Just seemed to me that a true partner would not be so callous. Thank you again.
aryan vaid says
how i wish i had read this website before i got married.despite my friends and family warning me,and my own instincts kicking in,i decided to do the honorable thing and marry her.because i did try to call it off,and i never saw anyone cry that way over a broken heart.anyway i melted and a week later went down to the local courthouse and registered our marriage.thought the security i now provided her would help her calm down and settle in and become a better person.boy was i wrong.almost 3 years later,and i cannot even count,but millions of rupees (indian) later.and a million tears and emotions,i realised,that this woman is the devil herself.a thankless unrelenting uncompromising woman.who wont let me meet my parents for dinner.if i meet my male friends,she will call me a million times in the middle of it.female comny is unthinkable.the consequences so far,lost money.lost peace of mind.this woman is just not happy.it is almost like dealing with a blood sucking vampire.except this one sucks the life out of you,on a daily basis.my life morning to night,is a roller coaster of crazy abuse,physical and verbal.well the incident you mentioned about you travelling to paris.same thing happened to me.i was going to london for filming.not only did she force herself there,but also made me spend a fortune on her sight seeing trips.same thing when i went to new zealand for filming,or anywhere.in new zealand i confessed to her that i could no longer bear to keep paying for her silly expenses.next thing bam,she went up to the producers of my film and abused them for not paying me enough.recently for my birthday i bought her 2 diamond rings.yes my birthday but somehow i had to give her the gifts.2 diamond rings and one of them a big solitaire.the night she received the ring,same night she abused me,coz i wouldnt take her to the movies.there is no ebd to pleasing this woman.i have gone from being a reasonably successful actor in bollywood to being her personal slave/driver/…..whatever she deems fit.oh yeah along with the rings i also bought us a trip to thailand phuket and krabi.well i was abused left right and center on that trip.after paying for all the flight tickets and hotels at some point i fell a little short for our daily expenses coz i had to be hospitalized in bangkok.very very expensive that was..you think she offered any help.i asked her and all i got was abuse back.she makes a decent living too.so there i was,in a foriegn country walking the roads in the middle of the night,out of the 5 star hotels that i had paid for,with very little money to afford another hotel.you think this is much.well i could go on.she has abused my mom/dad.sisters.according to her,the whole world is made of ar..holes,and she is the only sane one around.my friend.your life will be over.you will pray for death.and you will lose a lot of money and dignity.and guess what even if you do go ahead,work really hard at your marriage,somehow make it work,you will have no medal waiting at the end of it all.just a hollow person of what you once were.my friend i dont know you.but all i can say is please run.change your no,your address.your job.but run.no good will come out of this marriage.no matter what you do or how hard you try.the only thing that will happen is you will lose your sanity,money and life.and then guess what after you have lost everything.she may dump you too.coz now there is nothing left for her to suck out of you.run peter run.
Someone once wrote that these types are so linked to the idea of being a victim, that it seems tehy abuse you MORE when you are being nice / doing things for them.
Just the other night, my father took my mother, sister, myself and my two children out for supper. Within minutes afterwards, mother and sister were both blaming him, bossing him around and giving him the ugliest looks you ever saw…
…because in order for them to remain a victim, they have to have a ‘perp’ – so whenyou are nice to them, it ruins that idea that you are a cold hearted piece of crap…so they have to quickly turn that around on you and make you their ‘bad guy’ in order to keep their victim status.
You can’t be a victim when nobody is victimizing you…yeah. messed up.
Don’t marry her. I made that mistake. I had lengthy discussions about the problems before hand. All the control issues have only gotten worse. Having a child has made things a nightmare as my wife is obsessed and controlling more than I ever could have imagined or put up with. You have the warning signs. Get rid of her. It sounds like you have lots to offer a lady and there are lots of them out there. Go on more dates.
DO NOT MARRY HER.
I’m not saying to not get married in the long run. In my experience, I know that there are ‘good’ women out there who are not controlling. You can find one. Do we get an update on this guy??
I have been following this site for about a year now…first post. Peter, Like many of the articles on this site, your story strikes a chord with me. What can I say that hasn’t already been said. As hard as its been on you the last week or so coming to terms with this sad reality ask yourself…how can this many people be wrong about this when so many seem so sure that you should run. I amazed at how many of these comments sound like my life and how much insight I have gained from them. This site is such an amazing tool, like you I wouldn’t have had any persepective like I have now without this site. You are so fortunate to have had this awakening as you can probably tell with the staggering number of broken men commenting on this post that you are headed in the right direction. I haven’t been so lucky, you see my PD is the type that didnt give few, if ANY signs away before marriage. That or I was blinded or unable to see because of my naivety to the reality of these types of women. Being the nice, somewhat shy, moral man I am/was I tried to do everything the right way i.e.-virgin at marriage, didn’t live together, old fashioned stuff etc. I sometimes wonder if either of those things would have helped me realize her true character which didn’t show until after we lived together and the fireworks began, name calling, throwing things, ripping up college papers, damaging my property, of course all the guilt trips, blame, shame, to name a few off the laundry list. Oh it gets better when you have a child…HA…that only escalated the torture for me, more of the same X10 including being locked out of my house on the night before my birthday all because I went and seen a movie with my brother, came home to a locked house garage door plug pulled, so I slept in my car and the porch that night into my 23rd bday. Oh not to mention being texted during the movie there was an emergency at home. Good example of her alienating me from family and guilt as well as other things. I have now been to counseling 4 times(twice with her) and I know for me it was a pride swallowing thing to have to go to counseling as well as admit that you have been abused as a man but I guess its good to do it sooner rather than later, you would have had to and I’m glad this site can save you from the heartache. At 25 and having been married for almost 5 years(feels like a life imprisonment, as Dr. T has stated), I am truly a broken man with a forever wounded soul, full of regret. That being said I look forward to healing and repairing that, I know it can be done. I am in the process of separating again. AGAIN-yes because I did for 2 months back in February. Real telling story of a BPD and how good they are or think they are at their game. First thing she does is get a part-time job(15 hrs a week), joins a church group, signs up for 10 weeks of exercise classes all to show how much changing she is doing as if she doesn’t “tell” me enough how much she is changing. The only reason I came back after 2 months is because the exercise class was at 5:30 AM, so I had to be there so my 3 year old son wasnt alone. Pretty sure that time slot was on purpose. Now I am trying to find the strength to move out again and start the NO contact as well as pay for a lawyer, which I have no funds for. Peter consider yourself lucky, many envy your situation. If I did anything other than ramble about my personal experience, at least you have this site and numerous stories which should be constant reminders that you made the right choice. Good luck to you.
I have not read all the comments but I am wondering if Peter did postpone/call the wedding off?
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Yes, he did call it off.
I am now, as I write, going through the initial fallout of living with a batterer for 16 years. I was at court today amending her bond conditions to match her restraining order conditions. I’m broke, my three kids are damaged, my soul is broken, and at 47, have to learn to live all over again. Your post was my life when we dated, and through 16 years of marriage. Like everybody else has said, all the red flags are there, waving. Abusers simply don’t get better, they only get worse. Good luck to you whatever you decide, but do understand that regardless if you bail out of the wedding, she isn’t going away. Abusers are pariahs, and, as much as I hate to say it, are like sexual offenders in the sense that their disease is so multi-faceted that they rarely respond to therapy.
I’m depressed reading your post. I guess when all your options are taken off the table the pathology becomes crystal clear. My wife exhibits soft abuse. Silence and stonewalling. She is a master at getting me hopping on either foot.
I just recently told her that I was through defending and explaining myself to elicit any response whatsoever.
She sets a course, occasionally tells me the basics, and then goes into autopilot while the clock ticks waiting for me do what she wants. Or what I think she wants since I rarely know. I get passive aggressive feedback along the way like bread crumbs leading me where she needs me to go while I run the guantlet of her family’s unending support of her craziness. Her silence is like a suit of armor and because we are married my upset becomes her justification. “See, I told you so. See what I’ve been putting up with all these years.”
Putting up with being totally taken care of and resenting me for it. Not working a day. Having so many choices. Having the luxury to cherry pick situations and take whatever I say out of context. See, saying nothing allows one to be a victom while getting their way.
Take care and good luck in your new phase in life.
OMG! Where is the wedding? I’ll throw cooked rice……! Danger Will Robinson!
Oh yeah, all that will get better over the next 20 – 30 years….Not.
Your throwing your opportunities to walk away with NO CONSEQUENCES whatsoever.
If you think for one moment that there is equality between the sexes you have obviously never spoken to a divorced man. It’s cruel myth.
If your writing here there is a problem. Listen to those feelings, you sound pretty smart. At the very least postpone walking the plank and let her make the decision for you. You’ll see her complete bat shit side and it will become very easy to close that chapter. Either that, or repeat after me: “Yes dear.”
Just read this on the Huffington Post.
Anybody want to take a poll for men and see how many had the same red flags?
What a joke. One comment to the article pointed out that when woman called it off they were brave, self aware, mature and perceptive. If a man did they were smucks. One red flag for woman cited the option to get divorce if things did not workout. Sure, why not be rewarded for deciding to go the “Eat Pray Love” route. These fools are looking for pleasure at first, and when that fairytale comes crashing down they try to settle for happiness and fail again to step up emotionally. Who is the right person then? Someone to share their delusions with?
Buy a dog if you want real love.
Did we ever find out what happened to Peter? Did he indeed get married?
Been reading allot of articles on this site.. and i belive my fiance does have some sort of personal disorder.. i belive she is self aware of it too. She is in therapy.. Cognitive behavioral therapy but i dont think its making hur better.. think she is just learning better to controll hur explosive temper and rants. Since we broke up a few years ago, she actually did.. leave.. and i swore never to take hur back.. but the therapy seemed to be helping and she seemed so difrent… but now i think she has just learned allot of new skill sets when it comes to controlling and manipulating.. + i belive the therapist might be enabling hur…. fantastic site this is, if Peter does not take your advice the at least i will.
Because i do not want to live through any of the story’s here.
Things make so much more sence now after the make up love time has passed and my head is clearing,,, might be im having my second WTF moment..
Been really good to have all this information online, keep up the good work.
I should get better at filtering wimen.. always seem to atract a bit of crazy..
Best regards David
Cousin Dave says
David: It could be that she’s only going to therapy in order to learn how to better fool you. Cluster B’s can never control their temper for very long, and the longer they have to control it, the more explosive the outburst is when it occurs. You’d be surprised how many Cluster B’s study psychology; some even get degrees in it. Not because they are trying to “fix themselves”, but because they want to learn more effective techniques for manipulating people, plus cover themselves in a cloak of authority.
Glad to see that you’re waking up. Remember what that feels like and stick to it. And as for attracting crazies, the first step is to change your social routines. A lot of the time it’s got to do with where you are meeting the women. You also have to work on how you present yourself in public. Remember, Cluster B’s are drawn to people that they perceive as vulnerable. People who project a confident image scare them away.