Being in an abusive relationship doesn’t just hurt the target of abuse, it hurts everyone who cares about and loves the target.
In my practice, I find I am increasingly working with family members of men who are grieving the loss, or potential loss, of a beloved son, brother, grandson, etc. These men all had the misfortune of getting involved with and committing themselves to “Crazy” (insecure, immature, abusive, high-conflict and/or personality disordered — diagnosed and undiagnosed — women).
The families members with whom I work either have already been estranged from their sons/brothers at the mandate of the abusive, controlling spouse or girlfriend or are in the process of powerlessly watching their loved one slip away as Crazy increasingly isolates and brainwashes him into believing the worst of his family and the best of her. Common lies and distortions include:
- Your family is trying to tear us apart.
- Your family is rude to me.
- You family hates me.
- Your family is controlling.
- Your family is unhealthy.
- Your family is enmeshed.
- You need to man-up and quit crying to your mother/father/sister/brother.
Never forget, bullies and predators like weak, easy targets. Isolating their prey from “the herd” is just one of the ways they do this.
Why would an abusive wife or girlfriend try to force an estrangement from their boyfriend’s or husband’s family?
1. Many abusive individuals, Borderlines, Narcissists, etc., are pathologically insecure and jealous. She requires all of her prey’s attention, time, resources and affection. She views loving family members and friends as competition and a threat to her total control and ownership of her prey.
2. These individuals fear exposure. She worries that family members will see through her. She fiercely guards her prey and does not allow him around anyone with whom she does not control the narrative and/or is not one of her sycophants/toadies/negative advocates/flying monkeys. Removing friends and family from her prey’s life who would speak up and say, “The way she treats you is wrong” and help him reality test is imperative to her maintaining control.
3. As previously noted, these individuals like easy and/or willing victims. “Nice guys” seem to be the perfect prey. These women turn their prey’s kindness, patience, naivety, and willingness to problem solve and compromise into weaknesses. They count on their victim’s decency and sense of honor, loyalty and commitment to get away with the things they do. Isolating the victim is a very effective way to ensure he continues to drink her kool-aid and also to ensure that he has nowhere to turn for help if and when the light bulbs start to turn on.
4. Many of these women come from severely dysfunctional and abusive homes, but not all. For those women who are repeating the generational cycle of abuse and/or mental illness and personality disorders, this is just business as usual. If you look into their family tree, you will probably find a history of familial cut-offs, feuds, grudges, etc. Your daughter-in-law or sister-in-law or granddaughter-in-law probably sees estrangement and her host of other dysfunctional and abusive behaviors as “normal.”
5. For the abusive, personality disordered woman, isolating and controlling your son is essential to her psychological survival — at least, that’s probably how she sees it. Initially, she no doubt mapped her infantile wish for a perfect parent/mommy/daddy/knight in shining armor/savior onto your son or brother. If she has Borderline Personality Disorder or any of the other Cluster B disorders or traits (narcissistic, antisocial, histrionic), she no doubt began to devalue and abuse him once she secured a relationship with him. He probably went from being her “hero/soulmate” to a loser who cannot do anything right in quick succession.
Your son is more than likely jumping through an endless series of hoops in an effort to become her hero again. No healthy, happy, emotionally secure person with boundaries and self-esteem would tolerate this kind of behavior for long. Thus, Crazy keeps your son or brother tethered to her by keeping him in a weakened state of confusion, shifting blame, false hope and wishful thinking.
If you are watching this happen to a family member or friend, it is incredibly painful. You want to intervene and help, but Crazy probably twists your love and concern into something bad. You have more than likely had your hopes raised when your son or brother initially confided in you that all is not well and he is contemplating ending the relationship, only to have these hopes dashed when he inexplicably gives her another chance and another and another.
Every time he goes back to her, he becomes a little more distant and guarded with you. This is because Crazy more than likely punishes him severely for these acts of “disobedience” and “disloyalty.” This is often Crazy’s first act of parental and familial alienation, but it is directed at her husband’s/boyfriend’s family instead of the children they have together. Crazy cuts you out of your brother’s or son’s life just as surely as she will one day do to the children he shares with her. Consider it her dress rehearsal for parental alienation to come.
Some men see their way out of these relationships and reconnect with their families of origin; while others do not. These men become moths to the flame of Crazy until their very selves and souls are extinguished by her inferno of hate, jealousy, control and insecurity. Families with sons and brothers who refuse to escape often have to accept the loss because it is too painful to watch the destruction of their son or brother, and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Many adopt a “tough love” approach like you would do with a loved one with an addiction.
I can only imagine how painful and difficult it must be to let go of a beloved family member who has become a brainwashed husk of the person he once was. However, it is often necessary to look away and distance yourself from witnessing the ongoing abuse in order to grieve and heal.
Kristina Grant, who follows the Shrink4Men Facebook page, has experienced such a loss. She wrote the following poem to grieve the loss of her brother. She has given me her permission to publish it here.
For my brother..
The time has come
to accept that there’s nothing
that can be done
To let it go
to be free
Oh I’ve tried and I’ve tried
over and over
but it never changes
I’m just spinning my wheels
in the dust of your destruction
it feels like
I’ve been living the movie Groundhog Day
over and over
for five years in a row
around and around we go
where it ends
if it ends
no longer will I climb
your pathetic mountain of lies
to help you down
no longer will I cry
as I watch her bleed you dry
no longer will I try
to make sense of something
where there is no sense
deep in the folds
of her straight jacket
banging your head against the wall
over and over
excusing and justifying
the utter nothingness of what she is
as she tears you down
stomps on your crown
and laughs that crazy laugh
what will it take
to wake you up
to help you see
the nightmare that envelops you
the Succubus whispers in your ear
draws you down
fills you with fear
makes you cower
makes you whimper
I cannot watch any longer
I cannot bear
to see you suffocating
in the coils of the snake
as she squeezes you to death
so as the two of you
grab and nip at my heels
in the throes of your twisted dance
wanting my reaction
just to feed your madness
watch me walk
my solid walk
NOW is the time I stomp on your hands
and tape your mouths shut
NOW is the time
that I cut the ties
with all your lies
and walk away
to live my life
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.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
I really needed to read this right now. The timing is perfect. The poem is about how I feel. Thanks.
Swan Song says
They might be cluster B’s here at S4M, but for me, they’re definitely cluster F’s.
Isolation is the hallmark of an abuser. Whether the abuser is male or female. Whether the abuser attacks children, men, or women. Secrecy is a weapon just as much as a fist.
My ex was proudly said at one point “But I let you go out with your friends”. As though she deserved points for letting me have a normal life. In her mind, she did. It was a major reach for her to let go of the desperate need for secrecy and isolation.
How do we get an appointment with you Dr. Tara? My son is in the process of getting out of the horrible situation with a wife that is NPD. There are four children involved and he will be seeking legal council next week. I think it would help him to have a coach that understands what he is going through. Can you give your fees?
Click on the “Services” tab at the top of the page.
Yep… My husband’s ex wife sure did try this when they were married, especially with his mother. And then, when they were breaking up, she tried to cozy up to his parents and drive a wedge between my husband and his family of origin. Now she’s alienated his kids to the point at which they are completely out of his life.
I’ve experienced a twist on this. My mother has narcissistic tendencies, though I don’t believe she has NPD. The end result is that my youngest brother is the golden child and I the scapegoat (or dumpster child.) When my ex-wife attempted to win my family members to her side, she unwittingly tapped into this.
Since the divorce, some members of my family, especially the more religious ones, have deeply offended me. It has been difficult for me to determine how much of their behavior is related to me being the scapegoat, how much is due to my ex-wife’s behavior.
I haven’t felt close to my family since my teens and this has only amplified this. I have ceased contact with some family members, and kept others at a distance. This doesn’t bother me. What does is that I am distrustful of those with whom I still communicate. My attempts to discuss the dysfunction within our family has only partially succeeded with one sister, though since our first candid discussions right after my divorce, she seems to have put up walls. Even two brothers, who are willing to discuss most anything else, won’t touch on our family dynamics (or my divorce.)
Mr. E says
This post is chock full of truth.
I’ve been staying with family for the last couple of weeks, since I had no support system where I was, and their experiences have been coming out. I feel terrible that they were so worried about me, and for the nonsense she tried to pull with them, and above all, grateful that I never got so isolated and confused that they were cut off.
Since my wife always played “nice” when I was in the room when visiting my family, I had no idea about some of the terrible things she did when I was out of the room. Apparently, she threatened my parents that they’d never see me again if they didn’t do something that she wanted them to do. Of course, the funny thing there is that my parents do not go along with threats. Which explains where a lot of her “your parents hate me” complaints came from…
I feel for anyone watching a loved one in an abusive relationship. Their pain is different, but I suspect it’s no easier.
Oh, definitely. You see the abuse going on, maybe speak up, keep wanting it to stop–but because you spoke up, the abuse now turns on *you*. And you watch your loved one go further into the FOG until, if you criticize the Crazy, he turns on you as well!
Kay.. It’s true.. I wrote that poem and on one hand, it feels comforting to know there are others out there who understand instead of feeling alone in this. On the other hand, I feel sad that others have had to go through crap like our family has… YUK! It’s so true though.. I admit I was a bit of a ‘busybody’ and actually investigated her but it was solely because I wanted-no-NEEDED to get to the heart, soul, and truth of the matter. I called upon her most recent soon-to-be ex, with whom she cheated on with my brother and lots of others, and he was receptive to me! He even put me in contact with her earlier ex! I got more than I bargained for and I’m even more terrified for my brother. He used to be my best friend, but he hates me now because of my concern. He calls me judgmental and to butt out. He doesn’t want to talk to me and frankly, I’m pissed too and I don’t want to talk to him! I get angry and think “How the HELL can he not see!!?? He’s an IDIOT!” but compassion is the catch word of the day.. It has to be or I let this rule me. I can’t do that. Hence the poem. I’ve GOT to let go. My poor boyfriend is concerned for me because he sees me putting so much of my heart and good energy into it, when I really shouldn’t be. **SIGH** I miss my brother..
Mr. E; I’m glad you were able to see the light and be free of it. I wish you only the best and many years of happiness with the RIGHT woman. HUGS to you both!
It is difficult to watch your loved one be terrorized by Crazy. My husband has been divorced from Crazy for 8 years and it has been only in the past 5 months (since I stumbled upon this sanity-saving website) that he is realizing the extent of Crazy’s hold on his psyche. I have read him and had him read every article that has been posted on Shrink4men.
While they were married, she would never allow him to go out with colleagues for drinks, enjoy his hobbies or anything that he had enjoyed before they said “i do”. She required he be home no later than 5 pm each day, abhorred when he went away on business. When he went away on business, she would pout and cry, give him a card for every day he was away, and phone him constantly. It was like she didnt want him to forget she and the kids existed. She constantly accused him of cheating or other ridiculous mis-adventures. That’s how insecure and jealous she is/was.
Throughout their marriage she never allowed him to visit his parents. But as soon as he left her over 8 years ago, she was suddenly calling his parents and sister and brother and telling them her tales of woe regarding my husband. She even got their support when she had him arrested for “threats”. Her Crazy just got worse as soon as she found out I was in the picture and we were getting serious. I think she thought she would manipulate/hoover him back to her, but once she knew he and I were serious , she went into orbit. She would deny him his court ordered access and phone our house 45 times in a weekend to “talk to her kids”. She would tell other parents at soccer games that he and I were both terrible people. She would do all these things to inflame the situation and then phone his family members and tell them he was acting crazy and she was scared for herself and the kids.
They of course, would believe her and take her side against their own son. Never once did they wonder why she never barely visited them in all the time she and their son were married and now was suddenly their best friend.
His parents have very poor boundaries and continue to communicate with her “for the sake of the kids”. It’s hard for me to trust his parents when on one side they continue to talk to her (and even used to continue to buy her christmas presents) and then they want to come over to our house and see the 3 year old me and their son have together. It’s a very delicate balance for me to let them into my home knowing full well they continue their relationship with Crazy. I wont fully trust them and sometimes I feel they are further victimizing my husband by continuing to talk to his ex. Crazy, for her part, always puffs up whenever we go to his kids activities and his parents spend the whole time sitting/talking with her. It’s almost like she is saying to us, “See, your parents are on my side”.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Ugh. She sounds awful and your DH’s parents sound like disrespectful asshats. Talk about betrayal. Do you think his parents have traits in common with his ex, which might explain why he was attracted in the first place and why they are colluding with her to hurt DH?
Believe it or not, this is a common occurrence with these types of individuals. It can be part of their “scorched earth policy.” And I think you’re exactly right about the “See, your parents are on my side”.
If you’re not already, I’d start enforcing strict boundaries with DH’s parents and operate under the assumption that anything you tell them will go straight back to the ex. I’d also consider minimizing/eliminating contact with them.
Yes, my DH jeff always says he married his mom when he married Crazy. His mom has many histrionic/borderline/narcissitic traits. To me, his mom and his ex are the same person.
We have minimized contact with them as we find them to be very toxic. We do occasionally invite them to visit our 3 year old. I always govern myself accordingly when dealing with the in-laws because I know what we do, have, own is likely to be passed on to his ex to make our lives hell. So I share very little with them and treat them as I do distant acquaintances.
His mom and sister will pump in FOG constantly if we arent’t sitting in their soup with them singing “kkhumba ya”. But your validation means the world to us because sometimes we do feel guilt. But now we know, it’s ok to protect ourselves from the 3 Crazies in DH’s life.
So, thank you for this article, Dr T. And thank you for your sage advice. Since implementing your advice, we feel stronger and more confident when dealing with Crazy. It’s like someone has given us a flashlight and a map after we have been bumbling around for 8 years
Your story sounds so eerily like mine, only we were fortunate enough that Crazy never got my husband arrested. For the first eight years of our marriage, I was on pretty shaky ground with my husband’s father and stepmother, because they were still in alliance with my husband’s psycho ex. My husband’s dad went along with Crazy for the kids’ sake, but I think his stepmother sort of identified with her.
Things changed drastically when Crazy finally showed her ass to them. Then when we sat down and had a long talk with them and put all our cards on the table, they started to see her for who she really is. We discovered how she played my husband’s mother and stepmother against each other. She had them competing to be the best grandma. The reality was, she poisoned those kids’ minds so that all they were programed to do is use them.
Hopefully things will get better with your husband’s family. It’s likely that a lot of them just haven’t seen through the fog yet.
“Talk about betrayal. Do you think his parents have traits in common with his ex, which might explain why he was attracted in the first place and why they are colluding with her…”
Now there’s a thought. My grandmother only met my exgf once and my aunt only met her twice but they both positively loved her and she never went the slightest bit out of her way to charm them.
When I told my grandmother we had broken up, she blamed me for “letting her get away.” When I explained that I had asked my exgf to marry me and that she’d declined and moved across the country, my grandmother said that I “…must have done something terrible for her to do that.” On the other hand, my grandmother called my then fiancee “the little blonde gold digger.”
I have often wondered why dh’s mom always identified so strongly with Crazy, but since reading this forum and website I understand. When dh first left Crazy, his mom all but disowned him and essentially kicked him out of her house for daring to leave his marriage even when he told her about how terrible his marriage was. His mom took it so personally and instead of supporting her son, she looked at him as if he had betrayed her.
Indeed, dh thought all women were like his exwife. He thought all women gave the silent treatment when they were mad so imagine his surprise during some of our earlier fights when I didnt. He just couldn’t comprehend it. He kept expecting me to turn into his ex, but now after 5 years of marriage he has finally re-programmed his thinking. The damage these women cause men boggles my mind. I feel so bad for anyone who has gone through a relationship with a Cluster B woman. They take everything from you and just leave an empty shell of a man.
Dh is finally getting free, but since they share 2 kids together, there are always times when Crazy tries to sink her fangs into him and completely drain him. She has done basically everything she can to break us up and continues her attempt to destroy us and even her own children. It just never stops. The most we can do is shore up strength and carry on happily inspite of her destruction. I don’t think she banked on me being as stubborn as I am.
Very familiar stories. One time my ex & I went to my sister’s place for Thanksgiving. I rode w/ sister’s husband, ex rode w/ my sister. When we stopped for gas, my sister cornered me. She said my ex had been telling her how I was cheating on her and having affairs (we had only been together about 10 months at that time). It was a ridiculous accusation. I wasn’t cheating. I didn’t even look at other women. My sister was convinced though and peppered me with hostile questions. It was surreal. My ex was alienating my family from me, isolating me, making me the bad guy. I was a very faithful & loving partner. I later discovered my ex had been writing a couple of guys in secret – mostly emails – but also cards/letters. One of the emails the guy was offering to get her a calling card so the calls wouldn’t appear on the telephone bill. Some guy who lived 2,000 miles away in another state.
My ex would also play victim to her own parents; I wasn’t a good provider, I wasn’t affectionate enough, I didn’t do this, that or the other enough. She turned her parents against me, and, at the same time whined to me about her parents & family and how they didn’t love her enough, how they had not been very good to her, blah blah blah. At the time I didn’t know what was going on. I mean it was stuff you see in Alfred Hitchcock movies – creepy, weird, scary stuff.
This is just two small anecdote of my experience with Senorita Borderline.
Something I haven’t seen being verbalized here too much is shame and guilt. I impulsively got involved with Senorita Borderline, didn’t think the relationship through well, and have recently been trying to deal with my impulsiveness and low self esteem (which seem to drive me to the Crazies, and the Crazies can smell the scent of a floundering fish in the water from miles away).
Anyway, I felt, and still feel so guilty, about a failed relationship and kids involved. I didn’t tell my family, or hardly anyone, about the physical, psychological, and emotional abuse…and it was quite bad at times, especially the psychological/emotional abuse and bullying. Guilt still plagues me for getting involved with someone who I suspected had problems (but I had no idea the severity of the problems). I’m a pretty nice person, but have these flaws & defects of impulsiveness and making bad decisions, breaking my own values and committments to ‘be loved’.
Then last year I dated another, even more sophisticated abuser…a neurologist/neuropsychiatrist. I mean talk about someone having the knowledge and mental ability to f–k with you. Red flags popped up, yet I ignored them and dated her. She has many of the Borderline and Cluster B charachteristics. Yet I denied to myself that someone who makes good money, lives in the nice part of town, and is professionally/socially successful could be so bad. Again my naivette and poor decision making. Think I need to schedule regular visits to this and the other websites to keep myself in reality check.
This article truly hit home with me. While I haven’t lost a sibling to this unfortunate situation, I am dealing with the loss of a brother-like person in my life. Both of us are closer to each other than we are to our actual siblings; we are business partners, neighbors, and friends. Several years ago he started dating a woman I strongly suspect as being Borderline, and life has gone downhill ever since then.
I sat reading this article and nodding my head in agreement at just about every sentence. My friend’s GF is extremely controlling, and has openly threatened me and accused me of trying to break them up. As I stated earlier, we are business partners, brought on to run the HR department of a colleague’s business. Our job involves a lot of confidential work and late evenings. It’s been made worse by our colleague hiring the crazy GF to work for the company, after taking sympathy on her for being laid off and jobless. BAD MOVE. Now we deal with her jealousy and insecurity both in the office and offsite.
Though it has been very painful, I’ve distanced myself from my friend as much as possible. We no longer go out for dinner or drinks after work,or even as friends, and if there are work or industry related events, only one of us goes at a time. The last time we attended a work event together, then went for dinner afterwards to discuss how it went, it resulted in a three-day long argument between my friend and his GF, where she screamed at him, accused him of cheating on her, then pulling the whole “You hate me, you don’t love me, if you loved me, you’d come home instead of going to dinner” routine.
In addition,she has gone directly to our supervisor, who is the CEO of the company, who is also the colleague that hired us, and demanded that we NEVER travel for business together. This has been a huge hurdle and has made waves in the office. We are a bi-coastal company, and since I am unable to travel to the other office with my friend, sometimes help is needed from another department to complete a task. She is not a popular person in the company, having pulled rank on many coworkers and as such, has alienated herself. Coupled with her very eccentric behavior and inability to focus on work and poor performance has reflected very badly on my friend, as he is frequently embarrassed by her.
I barely see my friend outside of work anymore. During one recent occasion, my husband and I went to assist him with putting an air conditioner in an upstairs window of his house. GF couldn’t help, due to hiding in their bedroom and having a temper tantrum after being told that the air conditioner is very heavy, and my friend would prefer someone stronger to assist with carrying and installing it, for safety reasons. Most of our interactions outside of work has resulted in verbal assault, telling me to get out of the house, insults hurled at my friend and at my husband, as well as destruction of property inside my friend’s home. GF is also an alcoholic, and this makes her behavior even more violent and erratic. Her “rules” make no sense…she is allowed to go out for drinks with her ex boyfriends, but my friend is not allowed to have any contact with me outside of our normal work, and even then, she talks badly about me to other employees and executives…not a smart thing to do about your HR Manager.
My friend has become a “distant and guarded” shell of himself. He has been embarrassed professionally and personally by his GF’s actions. She always needs to be the center of attention, and has been known to get drunk and strip naked at parties…one memorable occasion had her flashing her breasts after bowling a strike at a company Holiday party. She makes bizarre demands around the office (the lights above her need to be replaced with special natural-light fixtures, there needs to be gluten-free snacks in the company kitchen, despite her not having Celiac’s disease, a door that is nowhere near her needed to be fixed for closing too loud, etc.) and they MUST be met, or the tantrums and rages extend to the office.
I wish more than anything that my friend would “see the light” and break up with her. He has started going back to therapy, which is a huge relief and makes me feel much better. I have told him numerous times that he has my support if he chooses to leave her, and that our entire company will be backing him up. I am sometimes overcome by feelings of helplessness when I think about my inability to fix this situation. This website has been a godsend in that regard, and I am so happy that it exists, all the while bemoaning the reason such a support website is needed.
Our family has been going through the same thing for six years with our son’s crazy fiance. We feel like we have been held hostage by crazy as she always blames us for everything while she plays the victim. My son is totally under her control and will not listen to us when we try to tell him that she is suffering from NPD. My son who used to think that our family (the four of us) were the best family in the world, now thinks that all these years we had it wrong. Crazy has shown him the light, and now he understands everything. He has been drinking the Kool-Aid for six years now, and we feel there is no hope. My son has decided that he is not attending our daughters wedding (he was to be the man of honor for his sister) which without a doubt was the handiwork of Crazy. My son and daughter were also best friends once upon a time before Crazy. Right now, my husband and I are on “good” terms with her, but with recent developments: our son not attending the wedding, and a venomous and hateful email from Crazy to our daughter, we would like to severe the relationship, but we are afraid to lose our son. We are in such a quandary, and we are so very, very tired of it all. Do we cut off ties with her, do we confront her, do we try to talk to our son AGAIN, do we carry on like all is “normal”? We have said nothing about the email nor will we mention the wedding to him. We thought that perhaps (since she thrives on chaos) we should give her none. I am sure that she wants us to react against her in light of the email which would upset my son, and hurray we are out of her life. Just the way she would like it. She was successful with my daughter. We don’t know if this is the right way to go either. it is hard to think like Crazy when you are normal. Any advise would be welcomed.
Please check out the Forum. There are several parents posting there who have children in abusive relationships. If you haven’t already, take a look at Dr. T’s blog
•Request for Help: What Advice Do You Have for a Father Whose Son is about to Marry an Emotionally Abusive, Controlling Possibly BPD/NPD Woman? (June 18, 2009)
You may also want to check out her “Brainwashing” blogs.
The reality is that until he decides that he’s had enough, the best you may be able to do is be ready if/when he crashes. There’s a lot of information on the site that can help explain what you may be up against. Good luck.
Yes they do tear families apart. It’s too late for me. My older brother and both my parents died in the past couple of years. While at their death beds, funerals, and interments I was subjected to extremely spiteful and hate filled voice mails and text messages acusing me of having extramarital affairs. I have also been told I was responsible for my brother’s death. Her support consisted of telling “their gone get over it”. The only direct family member I have left is a younger brother and he refuses to take my calls or answer any emails. There is nothing like facing this all alone.
When I finally left and decided not to go back to my now exwife, my family welcomed me back with open arms. The stories the woman I loved told about me came to me the first time. One sister told me my mother once said she didn’t think my ex was the girl for me. This was before we married.
The isolation was the worst through 28 years. I allowed all information to come to me filtered by my ex. Making friends is the hardest. I left old ones or they became her friends.
Only one of our children seem to be following in their mother’s footsteps.
I’m moving on with my life. My siblings have been great. All but 1 of our children, share their life’s and grandchildren with me. It took me 4 years to stumble on this site and reading the stories explains so much to me.
I feel for you, I just filed from my 10 year marraige 14 year relationship from my soon to be X CB wife. Good luck.
My soon to be X CB wife, She had a very great tactic that I don’t recall seeing. The suggestive agreement tactic. Or the Point it out tactic. I have a disfunctional family but we love and support each other, But she would always suggest how this one is messed up or that one is messed up or this friend did that wrong and that friend does this wrong. Just wanted to mention that some Unconcious CB’s are the worst and can do some serious damage. Good Luck Men!
Just found this article and am comforted, somewhat, to know we aren’t alone. My brother has already let us know he and his girlfriend will not be able to spend Thanksgiving with us, but will drop by to say hello. In the 7 years I have been with my husband, there has never been a conflict that prevented us from spending time with one another’s family on holidays or any other time. In the 18 months he has been with her, there has always been a reason he can’t come. So this will be our second holiday season where they blow in, say hello, collect gifts, and leave to celebrate with her family. Even though I know she is behind all of this, I’m angry at him. We always had such happy family events. Our grandparents are dying. She came in at a time our family was having problems, and he needed her. I guess she seized upon that. I needed my husband at that time, too – funny how he supports me and treats my family as his own, because he wants what’s best for me. Even at times my husband’s mother has treated me horribly, I have never refused to visit his family, ever. This is incomprehensible to me. I just hope there is an end to this, I don’t know what to do. The family stuff is the least of it. He isn’t allowed to pursue his love of photography anymore because he is supposed to either be working or spending time with her. He can’t be around us or do what makes him happy, but she visits friends and relatives, while he stays behind and is “so sweet” to clean (and do things like that) for her. How did this happen to my brother?
I have a friend who has changed 180 degrees since he met and married a woman 60 miles away from his home town. He seems to have abandoned most of his old friends of over 30 years standing and now has brand new “friends” (i.e. all of them HER friends) in his new home. He has completely cut me out of his life, has no interest his old hobbies and life goals and has turned incredibly angry and hostile, whereas he was once mellow, helpful, kind, concerned, very intelligent, etc.
I am worried sick about him but have no power to change any of this. Never have I seen a middle-aged man change so drastically in every area of his life, including divorcing his former wife and marrying this new woman, who doesn’t seem to work or share many of his old interests. Reading this blog is opening my eyes to what might be taking place with him and this woman.
I miss my old friend so much but I feel uncertain that he will ever return unless he can re-contact his old friends and end the isolation of living in “her” town and only socializing with her friends! Thanks for discussing the danger of brainwashing type behavior.
My heart is broken with the dissolution of our family because of a narcissistic daughter-in-law who has convinced my son that his family of origin is evil. Everything is so twisted. How can he believe that our normal and close and loving family is dysfunctional, controlling, and vicious in cruelty? (I know the answer.) Now he’s a stranger even when we are together…he’s just an echo and not the thoughtful and kind young man we used to respect. My son died on his engagement day and every time we have any interaction I dislike him more. Will my tears ever stop? I am in counselling but this is so hard.
Tears we are in a similar place. The pain is horrendous. We had 25 normal, close and loving years…….she spent the next 7 years turning him against us. Slowly brainwashing him (and he’s believing the lies, or it’s easier than arguing with her) until we are now estranged. It has been almost a year since we’ve had any contact. His Dad is so terribly hurt and I am deeply saddened. I’ve been in counseling too. He has to figure this out for himself……..sadly there’s a chance he may not. Family and friends (his and ours) have watched this unfold and are stunned that he cannot see what is and has been going on. This funny, easygoing guy has become a cold hearted stranger.
Thanks for that poem. My brother’s spouse is the most frightening person I have ever encountered. The things she has convinced him of are insane, yet he believes her. The worst is when she convinced him that I was sexually attracted to him……..thats when I gave up. How, how, how can he believe that?!? I don’t think I can trust him ever again. I wonder whats next, ya know?
He is a horrifying shell of the guy I grew up with. He was so much fun to be around and now he just spews hate.
Posting this is scary for me! I had to quit Facebook and all other social media on account of her behavior, she would say I posted things and make stuff up so she could accuse me of slighting her, like my whole life needed to revolve around her or she hated me and would punish him for it. He never even bothered to look at FB to see that she was 100% fabricating things. Is it really easier to believe lies then to seek the truth?
Glad I stumbled across this site; the post is spot on. I’m mourning my relationship with my brother. We were very close growing up and he, being 15 years older, cared for me during our parents’ contentious divorce. He was almost like a father to me. His first marriage did not work out and about 5 years after his divorce, he married Crazy. Before the wedding, she came on like gangbusters telling him how she loved his two children and was very friendly to me. I liked her and thought we got along. Well, almost immediately after the wedding the insane accusations against me began. She, through my brother, accused me of poisoning her drinks one night (because she got drunk and had a hangover, so it wasn’t her fault, right?). My brother called me the next day asking me what I had done to her because she was so sick. I was so surprised she would say I poisoned her and he would think I would do that, I thought he was kidding and laughed it off. A few months later, my brother asked me to housesit for them for two weeks which I agreed to. Everything went fine. But when they returned my brother called me, again, angry and accusing me of breaking a piece of her pottery while I was house sitting. I was again dumbfounded and said I had nothing to do with it. He eventually told me the housekeeper did it but never apologized. I started to see a pattern and how she was systematically trying to alienate me from my brother. She is a very jealous, insecure person and threatened my relationship with my brother. Over the years, she has accused me of hiding her cat’s medicine (!) to make her “crazy” (too late!), has rifled through my purse convinced I was stealing from her, and told my brother how selfish and rude I am. She has of course never said any of this to my face but instead tells my brother and he scolds me. Totally insane. She concocts these stories after I spend time with my brother (always with her. she never lets him see me alone). I have always been polite and honest with them. I’ve decided not to have a relationship with my brother as I will not put up with being treated like a juvenile delinquent in my 40s. She has accomplished her mission. I’m so disappointed in my brother and sad. But he has to keep her “happy” by putting me down otherwise she makes his life hell and he does not want to go through another divorce. She has also alienated him from his two children but he allowed it to happen. Goodbye brother and Crazy!!!