Over the years, some individuals who self-identify as having Borderline Personality Disorder send emails or try to post comments to Shrink4Men. Naturally, they’re often unhappy, offended, outraged, “concerned,” or, to be more accurate, concern trolling, etc., with the information here and the original WordPress blog. Their arguments and complaints are usually some variation of:
- But I’m not like that! And then they proceed to vomit volumes of blaming, shaming, vituperative, self-pitying screed proving that, actually, in that instance, they are like that. Even if the individual doesn’t have the worst of the BPD traits, many individuals with BPD do. And they abuse those they profess to love without remorse. Funny, I never receive emails from self-identified narcissists and psychopaths claiming they’re not like that.
- Would you tell a man whose wife had cancer that he should break up with her?! This argument is a false equivalency. Cancer symptoms don’t include abusing others, particularly others the cancer patient claims to love. Let’s say the cancer patient were experiencing severe behavioral and cognitive side effects from medication or a brain lesion. That would be the cause of the abusive behaviors, not the cancer. Once the lesion is excised or the medication stopped, that would be the end of the aberrant behavior. The cause of a BPD/NPD individual’s abusive behavior is their personality. It’s their lack of integrity, conscience and remorse and sense of entitlement that cause them to abuse. People are their personalities, particularly the person they reveal themselves to be behind closed doors.
- I can’t help it! I hurt others because I have too much empathy. People need to be more sensitive to how the BPD person suffers! Say what? It stands to reason if you have an overabundance of empathy you would be highly cognizant and careful not to hurt others because, you know, you feel so much.
- Are you saying all BPDs should just lock ourselves away forever and never have any relationships!? That we don’t deserve love?! Maybe you’d be happy if all of us just killed ourselves?!?! No, I’ve never said anything like that. Not even close. Ever. What would make me happy? I’d be happy if all abusive persons took responsibility for themselves and quit blaming others for their bad behavior. And quit sending me emails 🙂 I know many of you emphatically believe you fall into the special snowflake category, but you’re not penning anything I haven’t already read or rolled my eyes at.
Which brings us to an email a young man recently sent. He found Shrink4Men via an Internet search in an effort to understand his girlfriend’s abusive behavior.
Hi Dr Tara,
My girlfriend of (on/off) 9 months suffers from comorbid bipolar, BPD and (suspected) NPD.
I’ve been reading through some of your material on your blog – thank you, it’s a great resource – however, the ableist negativity of it’s [sic] attitudes towards people suffering from BPD/NPD exhausts me.
My feeling towards this is that people suffering from these terrible psychological issues are just that – people. They often do not have much of a choice in their behaviour, and they don’t choose the condition.
My question is: does this make them unworthy of love/partnership? While I understand how these people can be seen as “devils” on the face of it, this is disingenuous. They are still people and are also capable of some kind of love, and they deserve love as much as any other human. It’s not love in the traditional sense, and lacks many very important components that make a relationship “easy”.
I want to know your thoughts on this. I love this person very dearly, and I have a great deal of empathy for what they go through on a day to day basis. She does love me too, in some way. I’m pretty certain of this.
Barring the abusive pathological behaviour, she is someone I can see myself spending the rest of my life with, and to me that’s worth a lot, as she is the only person I’ve come across in my 25 years of life that I can say that about.
I want to try and understand how best to make this work.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
First, I am “triggered” by the use of the word “ableist.” Admittedly, that last sentence is super snarky, even for me, but give me a break. It’s not wrong to label an abusive jerk an abusive jerk. Am I being “ableist” if I say Jeffrey Dahmer was a monstrous homicidal psychopath? Aren’t psychopaths people, too? This is ridiculous, of course.
People who negate the personal responsibility and accountability of abusive personalities due to a mental health diagnosis are enable-ist. Coddling and making excuses for abusers isn’t the answer. These types of individuals spend their lives doing their best to evade the natural consequences of their destructive and amoral behavior. If you assist them in doing so you’re aiding and abetting their abuse of you and others.
Second, if reading my material is exhausting for Jordan, he can always navigate away from the page just like most well-adjusted grown-ups do when we find content irrelevant or tedious. Click. Third, isn’t claiming that BPD/NPD individuals are incapable of controlling their behavior its own form of ableism? It’s also just plain wrong. A good number of personality disordered individuals are quite able to control their behavior — particularly if it they’re engaging in image management or they fear a consequence for not behaving themselves. If they truly can’t control themselves they should be in a hospital until they can demonstrate otherwise.
More thoughts on Jordan’s email to follow my response:
There is no excuse for abuse — diagnosis or no diagnosis. It is not for me to say if individuals with these characterological issues deserve love. It seems to me that abusing and lying to people you claim to love is a good way to lose their love and rightly so.
If you can make your peace with your girlfriend’s issues and tolerate her abuse, then stay with her. If you believe you deserve to be treated with the same love and respect that you give to her, then end it and find some one who is capable of emotionally mature, reciprocal love rather than the one-sided love that a troubled toddler has for a parent. Your time might be better spent asking yourself why you are willing to accept abuse instead of whether or not someone who has a diagnosis that is on the same spectrum as psychopaths deserves love.
It’s not love in the traditional sense, and lacks many very important components that make a relationship “easy.” Ding! Ding! Ding! Da-ding-ding! I can only wonder why Jordan feels the need or desire to take this woman on. Some combination of parental issues from childhood and social programming seem most likely, as well as youth and naivete. You can’t have a fully functioning, reciprocal relationship with someone who lacks “the very important components” that make a relationship possible. Some issues in life really are this binary.
She does love me too, in some way. I’m pretty certain of this. This passage caused me to wonder if Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy once had the same belief about the tiger who nearly mauled him to death and permanently disfigured him.
Barring the abusive pathological behaviour, she is someone I can see myself spending the rest of my life with, and to me that’s worth a lot, as she is the only person I’ve come across in my 25 years of life that I can say that about. This is very sad. The only woman with whom Jordan can see himself spending his life is characterologically disordered and abusive. I was a bit short with Jordan in my reply, but he really does need to explore this. THIS is his issue, not learning how to cope with or accept ongoing abuse. Hopefully, Jordan will seek supportive counseling with a therapist who will help him understand why he’s willing to tolerate this kind of treatment and why he’s confusing abuse with love. If not, let’s hope he’s managing his birth control for his sake and any potential child(ren)’s sake.
Jordan never replied to my email.
Counseling, Consulting and Coaching 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. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Jordan’s email reminds of the The Offspring song “Self Esteem”…. “the more you suffer, the more it shows you really care…” Martyr? Masochist?
The components that make a love relationship “easy” are respect, honesty, compassion, and patience. I have never encountered a pathologically abusive (his words!) person who possessed and practiced those components.
I wish Jordan a lot of luck because he is soooo going to need every drop he can get.
James Harrison-Dees says
My Gosh, the technical side of this website did cause some confusion.
I have, however, followed your website for some years. At times finding it insightfull and of comfort. And I have donated. For my sanity and insight into the realm of BPD and other cluster disorders I feel, think or just lay my cards on the table. 30 years of controlling behaviour, abuse and aggression I have finally regained respect for myself. You, remotely, played a large part in that. Along with my own private therapist.
I find myself in a complete “Bemuda Triangle”
1. Father in law is a convicted criminal with three terms in prison.
2. Brother in law pretending to be a hero in the Royal Marines. (He wasn’t a serving member of the armed forces)
3. A now deceased mother in law, who condoned this. And lied about her name on her own marriage certificate. Altered with a Bick Biro. Real name erased and replaced
4. Another brother evicted from the Royal Marines for suggested sexual assault.
5. One relative, the eldest child, actually being honest and righteous. Serving for Queen and Country.
Jordan is 25. He is, not surprisingly, naive and confused re: both what love is and what kind of relationship he is in.
You can love a four-year-old girl. You can love that four-year-old girl’s thirty year old mother. You can love your sister. None of these is the same kind of love. If you are a thirty(ish)-year-old man, two of those three females are absolutely off-limits for having sex with. Even though you love all of them and they all love you.
The only kind of relationship you can have with a person is the kind of relationship they are capable of having with you. That sounds so stupidly simple but people overlook it all the time. For instance, when they desperately want to have a romantic relationship (and sex) with someone who is not capable of a real romantic relationship. The kind between equals who are both emotionally healthy, mature adults.
Every decent man instantly recognizes that little girls are off limits for sexual relationships. Physically four years old? Gah – no way. Intellectually four years old? Nope.
But what about emotionally four years old? What if that emotionally-four-years-old female inhabits the body of a 20- or 25-yr-old woman? This is very much like what you are dealing with, when you deal with a woman with BPD. She is no more ready for or capable of a mature, grown-up romantic/sexual relationship than is a little girl, but because the immature and stunted part of her is cloaked in a (usually very) attractive fully developed female body, guys tend to miss or ignore the critical clues that she is not completely grown up, not really.
Can a child love? Does a child deserve love? Yes on both counts. Just not the same kind of love that exists between adults.
Can a person with BPD love? Does a person with BPD deserve love? Yes on both counts. Just not the mature love that exists between healthy adults. Because the person with BPD is, by definition, not healthy. And the nature of their personality disorder is that they lack the emotional self-control, empathy and responsibility that healthy grown-ups have. Unfortunately, when you mix immaturity and lack of accountability with power (the sexual power of an attractive woman; the physical and intellectual power of a grown human), what you frequently get is a propensity for a misuse of that power and abuse of those around that person.
Jordan can rationalize the relationship, but it is not a relationship of equals. I think he senses this, but unless he is straight-up honest with himself he is going to undergo a lot of unnecessary pain and sorrow.
“Unfortunately when you mix immaturity and lack of accountability with power (the sexual power of an attractive woman; the physical and intellectual power of a grown human), what you frequently get is a propensity for a misuse of that power and abuse of those around that person”
Wow!! Hexaphone that was a brilliant description of the relationship dynamic regarding dealing with a women that suffers with BPD.
If Jordan is smart he will analyze his relationship situation and go with his gut instinct. He came to this website because something feels off. That was no accident. Do not give away your power Jordan. It’s all downhill from there. Get out while you can. You have no idea of the misery you are setting yourself up for.
Read all the articles and comments on this site. I would bet money that many of info you come across will be relatable to your present situation and confirm your need to drop this girl. Good luck in whatever you decide.
Hexaphone, that is an awesome way of describing it, I did find some “success” when I imagined (my now ex) wife as a spoilt four year old, explaining why she couldn’t get her own way. Which now would be a massive red flag.
Jordan, yes she deserves love. So do you, you deserve the unconditional, respectful, accepting the way you are, celebrating you achievements and all the things that make you the person you are love. (and anyone else reading this, you do too) this is hard, but she might make someone a great wife, but it wont be yours if you accept the way she acts. She might learn from you leaving, but she wont change if you accept how things are. My advice would be leave her for someone who is the same as her, and find someone who loves you in the same unconditional way. Even if it feels strange.
Hello Doctor Tara, Thank You for this really good eye opening post for men struggling to find reasons to be with a bpd woman. Men whose brains are set on the scarcity mode find it hard to detach from an abusive partner. If we truly believed that this world is abundant with loving people, we won’t give an abuser a second chance. And also how can we trust someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions and still judge others.
This guy Jordan or whatever his real name is, is just trying to justify why he should stay in that bad relationship. Actually if he was that sure he won’t do a search for bpd and end up on shrinkformen. The best he can do is not to search for approval on the internet or in the real world but stare at himself in the mirror and then try to convince the image he sees in the mirror.
He is confused and so are all of the men involved in abusive relationships. He is in love with the image of a loving woman in his mind and not in the outer physical world. He’s watering a cactus in hope for the roses. He’s just trying to find love in a graveyard full of bpd corpses. And corpses don’t love back, all they can do is rot, stink, and make you sick. You should just let them decompose on their own. And also the best revenge you can have against an abuser is to forgive them, move on, become the best version of yourself and most importantly never look back and I mean never look back, don’t you know what happens if you look back into the eyes of Medusa, yeah you die a hard rocky death. (plus you get a funeral selfie)
Anyway thank you Doc, this post provided us men with another rope to hang on till we are fully out of the lairs of Medusa(s).
God Bless You and have Beautiful Days, Always. 🙂
I was about that age when I got married to a BDP. That was 23 years ago before there was access to information. Heck I had no idea what a BPD was. In fact it took me 10 years just to realize what was going on. Looking back now I saw signs but did not know what they meant. Others saw it too but no one told me or warned me, partly because they didn’t have a chance. We got married only after a few months.
My advice to Jordan is to say good by and run. Get out of the building now while you can, trust me it may seam manageable now but that attic is on fire and when it spreads your going to get burned.
Don’t wait until you are in your 40s. You will and I say you will wake up one day with your entire life up in flames and the only way out is the front door. You will lose everything and have to start over fresh if you are lucky.
Jordan obviously if you are looking at this website she has issues and don’t feel guilty, you are lucky you found the resources from this web site and others. Get out now, she will get love from other victims but she will never return it.
I have one single moment in my life where I wish I could go back, it was a big red flag and I did not listen to my gut. I rationalized her behavior. If I could go back I would put her in that rear view mirror, turn up the stereo and hit the gas.
You are absolutely right about the difference it can make, having access to information. Dr. T’s website is invaluable. There is no way, no freaking way, any young man in his 20s is *ever* *ever* going to be savvy enough to recognize and resist a woman with BPD unless someone else tells him. It’s like sending in a 7-yr-old to play chess against Garry Kasparov. No. Just no.
Inform yourselves, gentlemen. The epidemic of broken families in our society is producing lots & lots of women with “issues.” You may *think* you know how to keep yourself away from the crazies, but there’s a 99.9999% chance you will never see the BPD coming until it’s too late & you think you are in luuuuuuv & she has moved herself in with you. Ruh roh!
Like Dr. T says … if you didn’t break her, it is not your job to fix her.
Trying to fix a woman with BPD is like going for gold in the Futility Olympics.
Walk away. Try baseball instead.
I need some help guys… just a few days ago everything ended for good… having a hard time with it all…
I had an overwhelming feeling to fix this person and I just could not give up. She had a very troubled past as her family is disgusting dysfunction and being in multiple abusive relationship and being raped. I loved this person and it pained me to see them in such a bad state.
So I began my journey trying to fix her. From the very beginning it started with her thinking I’m cheating on her with no tangible evidence. Followed by always asking if I truly loved her. She told me its hard to have sex sometimes because all she worries about is if i truly lover her.
After that it came to person attack on my friends causing me to drop all contact. I stopped using social media all together because it was easier. I felt like I still couldn’t bring my phone anywhere where she wasn’t.
fights started happening and then more frequently. The fights got worse in anger as time went by attacking me to the core. And i feel disgusting as I would give into the fighting due to pure frustration. The fights never started over something of merit. Always something arbitrary that would turn into multiple hour fights which started happening on a weekly to daily basis. Two weeks before we broke up she let slip she intentionally did not take blame in our fights and put blame on me because she herself cannot take blame and just wanted to hurt me.
Then came the day she hit me… which also became more frequent as it seems she could get away with it. She would always say I’m the reason she hit me because I got her that upset even tho she admitted almost every fight was caused by unsound thoughts in her head…
I struggle with this very hard because she is consciously admitting these fault but it seems like nothing I could do helped. I was even diagnosed with ibs due to this stress.
I could go on for hours.
Why is it I still love this person and want only the best for them… I truly hope they find the help they need. I feel mad at myself for still holding onto the hope our pathes may cross again.
Just want to tell you that I or nobody can feel the pain you are going through but believe it or not we’ve been all through this while being in a relationship with an abuser and trust me it feels so good and more alive after you are completely out of it. So what I mean to say is there will come a day when you will look back and laugh at the present situation because I know, we know that bad days pass away like a storm leaving the sky open for the sun shine through the rainbows. Trust me we have all been through this and the world becomes more beautiful when you say no to abusers and say YES to life. Yes we know it’s difficult to forget a person you so care for but just think from that person’s point of view will they reach out for you when you were in their present situation?, well the answer will always be a NO, they won’t, because they care for only their feelings. When we meet a bpd, npd or any personality disordered person we get to know more about ourselves like why we get attracted to bpds, or why we want to be people pleasers etc. It’s not our job to fix the broken world of an immature woman, we didn’t come here for helping abusers and bullies grow into mature people but we came here to enjoy, have fun and evolve. So just take this time to grow in the way you like, to grow spiritually, connect with yourself and of course connecting with good people who will respect you for what you are. This world is not what we see in movies, tv and newspapers, it’s a perfect world where there is no measurements for beauty and there’s only perfection. We men are not here only to breed make families but we are the men who make this world more beautiful everyday. So don’t let yourself down by taking responsibility for a woman’s bad behaviour or her life that’s her parent’s job not yours. Just decide whether you want a relationship in which you want to give love or get loved. Yeah I know you will choose to be loved. Just become the best version of yourself by saying no to abuse and start building a drama free life. Thank God always, never hate, remember the best revenge you can have against an abuser is forgiveness and just move on to become a better man and you sure will find a loving partner for life. All the answers are already inside your heart, you just have to trust those answers, that’s it. God bless you. 🙂
tamarindman has a terrific reply also. I don’t think I can improve upon what he said (especially the part about “building a drama free life” — yes!!!) so I will try to address things along a different track.
If a good friend had told you the same story you told us, how much easier would it be for you to see what would be in your friend’s best interest? I’ll go ahead and answer my own question: A LOT. If you knew your friend was being abused, you would tell him that his #1 priority would be to get himself somewhere safe and *do not return* to the environment of abuse. If you knew your friend was in a relationship where the stress, anxiety and grief were so bad that they were destroying his health, you would tell him that his #1 priority would be to stabilize his own physical strength and well-being — because that is the only way he can move forward, is from a position of balance and health. (You know how the safety talk on plane flights, they tell parents to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, and *then* on their child? It’s counterintuitive to a parent’s instincts, but it is the right thing to do. If the functional adult goes down, the child has no one. In a dysfunctional relationship, the person who has even a sliver of functionality to “put the oxygen mask on themselves,” so to speak, *must* do so. This is not the selfish thing to do — it’s the SANE thing to do!)
I say the above to illustrate that we can be so utterly blind to choosing what is healthy for ourselves — esp in relationships — when that same choice would be clear as day if it were a friend in our same situation. This in and of itself — finding that you would counsel a friend to do for themselves what you find it painful and almost impossible to do for yourself — should clue us in that something is broken inside ourselves. That we can’t make healthy relationship choices. That we are drawn to the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Sorting out the reasons for this is a long process but a necessary one. Choose healing and wholeness. *Then* you will be ready, truly ready, to love and be loved.
Speaking as one who spent a looooong time struggling with codependence and not realizing it until *after* a relationship with an addict (which didn’t work out – surprise!) slapped me into reality ……. it is my considered opinion that codependence is THE universe’s most convincing counterfeit to real love. Read just about any list of “qualities of true love,” read the classical literature on love, and codependence *seems* to match it, point for point — giving one’s utmost to one’s beloved; patience; kindness; faithfulness; forgiveness of wrongs; willingness to sacrifice and bear burdens for one’s beloved; seeking the good of the other before oneself. Check, check, check …. and, check.
True love has boundaries. In that sense it is *not* unconditional. Love is not a license to abuse or be abused. There is, with codependence, a real and very deep kind of desperation and emptiness on the part of the codependent partner — they *need* that relationship (esp the fantasy ending, where they rescue or fix the other person) in order to feel good about themselves. The thought of separating from the other person (i.e. that would be the abusive partner!) sets off an inner panic bordering on self-annihilation (I don’t know how to live without you). Whereas true love, the *real* true love, is characterized by being able to approach relationships with a sense of abundance, serenity, and knowing that one will be okay regardless of the outcome.
It takes two mature, emotionally healthy people to create a mature, emotionally healthy relationship. Broken people tend to be drawn to other broken people. Healthy people tend to have their “radar” go off when they encounter would-be partners who exhibit neediness, jealousy, mood swings, or way too much intimacy too soon. Healthy people don’t fall for love-bombing because they don’t need it. They already feel good about themselves. “No dessert for me, thanks, I’m full.” 🙂
You can’t force another person to heal, nor can you make their choices for them. The only person you can choose for is yourself. Choose to heal. It really does make all the difference.
“Why is it I still love this person and want only the best for them… I truly hope they find the help they need. I feel mad at myself for still holding onto the hope our pathes may cross again.”
One of the last things I told crazy was “I hope things get better for you.” She re-posted some BS “I want so badly for the good things to happen.” quote from BPD crazy Sylvia Plath. What I told her was genuinely true, but with a caveat. To the extent that she continues to rage, blame and hurt those closest to her, I cannot wish her well at all, however *if* she’s able and willing to actually be a better person, then yes, I hope things get better for her. She can just do it far, far, far away from me, as I’m no longer in her orbit whatsoever.
A person has to want help, they have to ask for it, they have to want to better themselves, and that begins with being introspective enough to realize that they have a problem. Narcs / Borderlines usually refuse to do this and instead blame and lash out at everyone around them as their life spirals more and more out of control. They also generally lack empathy needed to give a crap how their behavior is hurting others, even when it’s pointed out to them. You can’t fix that, and I don’t think it’s every healthy to “love” someone who will hurt you and not seem to care that they’re doing so.
So long as a person lacks the empathy to care that they’re hurting someone else and then change their behavior accordingly, no, I do not think they deserve love.
Chris Kiley says
I know how difficult it feels right now to have your relationship end- it is normal to feel this pain even when an unhealthy relationship ends. It is the worst pain- troubled by guilt, confusion, and grief. One thinks, “hey, I should be relieved”, but rarely does anyone actually feel this way in the period you are in. Studies have shown that attachment occurs in humans that causes actual neurologic changes in our wiring -this takes a little adjustment to undo- and will undo faster if you keep NO contact if possible! (In fact , abusive relationships appears to show a dulling of neural activity to traumatic stimuli, revealing the reason why we can grow more “tolerant” to the pain, or more resistent to leaving). So good for you!!- You took a brave and positive step to end this situation. I also think that many people who love you can see how much better you will be and want the best for you too- but right now you want “that person” (the heart wants what the heart wants…)but just try to tolerate those sad and scary feelings and know that they will lessen in time- as opposed to the icky feelings of your relationship that would be ongoing. Just remember… there are many, many, many people out there who have relationships that are loving, safe and overall good (not perfect, but are safe and balanced towards health, not sickness). Now it is up to you to choose that for yourself. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the more difficult it will be to truly believe you deserve something better.
You may also try to picture yourself as a little boy- even get a pic and look at it ( the age that you can feel the most compassion for) and envision that little boy being treated exactly how you have been treated. Now consider if he was yours to protect- and ya know, it seems a lot easier somehow to feel compassion for yourself when you can experience your own vulnerability and desire for healthy, safe love from a bit of a distance. But that is you, and not anyone else getting hurt. She does not need your love the most – you do. Best wishes 🙂
Simply perfect, Dr. T!
Loving an NP or BP is like having sex with a pit viper. You didn’t really “connect”, and the only unknown is what kind of poison ur gonna get bit with….
If you really need to…… do it from a (long) distance. But if you’re just looking for a pet, I suggest a cat, they’re similar.
The simple answer is yes. All people deserve a measure of love. But to what extent?
I’ve been married 13yrs. And I never realized that I’ve been being mentally abused for atleast 10yrs now. I thought what I did wasn’t good enough. So I tried harder and harder. She would get mad if I didn’t do things she wanted me to do. So as a loving husband and father, I did everything in my power to make my wife happy. But ultimately a person cannot make someone change. They need to do that for themselves. After reaching out to family and experiencing physical issues within myself, I have come to the realization that my wife does not love me for me. She only loves how I can provide for her, how I look in the outside and how I can please her sexually. But she doesn’t care about my emotions, my desires, my motivations or any facet of the man I am on the inside.
To say she doesn’t deserve love is wrong. We all do, as people deserve love. However, she will no longer receive my unconditional love. The real question is, are you willing to sacrifice your life to make one person satisfied? For me, it’s a hell no!
Mike Wright says
I made excuses for my now ex-Borderline for over 20 years. She alienated me from family, friends, co-workers, and now even my own children. I am way past caring if it’s “her fault” or not. Once the kids grow up to be just like her, they will all hate each other, and she’ll spend the rest of days alone, sitting on her front porch, complaining to the neighborhood cats about how wronged she was decades ago. And, frankly I don’t care.
The sad part is that my kids will either grow up to be abusers like her, or victims like me. I simply do not have the physical and emotional currency after a year and a half and $80,000 total to fight any longer despite every single interaction being another new struggle.
I need to forgive her but it’s hard when she alienated me from my teenage son, and is trying with my 9 year old daughter. Still some hope for my little girl, but I feel the odds are stacked against me.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Is there any chance of getting the kids into counseling with a therapist who gets it and might be able to help them?
I found the site a week or so ago and bought the book a few days ago. Grateful for both. To find people openly stating how hurtful these crazies are and that there is no excuse for abuse even if the abuser was hurt and abused. The chain of pain has to be broken and it starts HERE!
My partner’s ex and adult son and daughter all fit various apt descriptions of subtypes of crazy. From what I have heard of both ex’s family and my partner’s, her father was a heavy duty alcoholic tyrant. His mother was an “actress” who had a few small parts in plays and movies. And a selfish witch who complained her son was ruining her life and career, put him in boarding school as soon as he was old enough, as well as saying when she heard her husband had cancer that she was too young to have to deal with caretaking him and filed for divorce.
So on both sides of their marriage, both social and probably genetic tendencies towards Cluster B traits.
Son, now 30, has high IQ, could have had full scholarships in several fields but dropped out when he could no longer skate by with little effort, took a low paying job at a restaurant and lived with momma for several years before moving cross country but still supported by her for a year which caused her to deplete retirement funds. He says he will pay her back. Now working again in a restaurant, he still needs regular help with rent. He’s sullen, arrogant, rude, blatantly lies to momma and she sees and hears only what she wants to.
Daughter, 34, still lives with momma, has a bit more of a reason. She was born with a heart condition and died twice within a few days of birth. Had major surgery that repaired the problem. But had been brain damaged by the lack of oxygen. Parents told it was unlikely she would be able to even graduate from high school. She turned around enough in her teens to not only finish high school but get a BA. She started working on her own volition at 14 taking tickets at a theater, 16 started working in women’s high end clothing sales and did very well. Went to work at a law firm after graduating but lost that when the affair she was involved in with her married boss was discovered by his wife. Both were let go but it was kept quiet by the firm as much as possible. She found another job with a law firm processing insurance claims and doing well. So she, like her mother who has a successful career, are high functioning enough to show up on time, keep their tempers at work, and save all their crap for the people they believe will put up with it, family and lovers. And were horrified to find out I won’t.
Ex is very good at being a martyr, using guilt, blame, hypocrisy and double standards for passive aggression and when that fails, resorts to verbal attacks. She has managed to keep both of these adults at an emotional level of about 14, dependent on her, by passively allowing the ‘kids’ to be rude and disrespectful to their father and me, has encouraged them to treat us like dirt. A control freak, hates the word no, is never wrong, she and the kids are never to blame, the kids are only paying him back for things he did 20-25 years ago before he quit drinking, and any rejection has to come from them.
My partner looked in the mirror long before we met, both when he quit drinking and again after she threw him out to his relief–he had stayed out of guilt for his drinking and sense of duty.
He doesn’t like any of the three, but still has his own sense of responsibility to fulfill. Which generally only now involves occasionally seeing daughter when she is bored or crying about another breakup with the latest dastardly guy and ex tagging along as poor dear daughter can’t drive an hour by herself. And about 90% of the time daughter claims to want to see daddy, she either stands him up without a word or sends a text hours after being due to arrive saying she wants to come in the next day or next weekend, drawing out the drama and control. And when she stood him up on Father’s Day 2 years ago and I sent her a text stating she showed him how little he truly meant to her, replied vilely to me, unprintable obscenities, evil devil, wished I was dead, never wanted to see me again, then sent him a Happy Father’s Day, love you text. And as usual, expected me to eat the crap and smile the next time she wanted to come in. I told her to explain to both parents why I would not permit her in the same room with me unless and until she apologized. She has not.
My refusal of course started an extinction burst, mostly from momma. Trying to hoover me in, inviting me to join them for holiday dinners, blah blah. They were treating my partner better, showing up on time, asking if it was convenient to come down rather than we are coming, but backslid this year.
I started to send emails stating our schedule, when we were busy and that many weekends we had plans in the evening and if they wanted to see him, take that into account as he would be back home in order to get ready for some concerts. And that repeating their pattern of no shows, or being late, they were speaking loudly with their actions that he really didn’t matter. So this time they went screaming to him that I was this horrible, lying, control freak. I showed him the texts, said I had not before as I didn’t want him to know his daughter only said happy F. day after being prodded and that this was the reason I would not be around her. I regretted having to do so but he knew her well enough to not be surprised and thanked me for trying to keep him out of it as well as keeping my temper as well as I had. He knows them for what they are but has not yet freed himself from all of the FOG. I suspect these two drama queens are now upset enough over having been exposed that they truly never want to see me again and more reluctant to inflict themselves on him. I’m sure there will be more drama and attempts to hoover us in but they are flinchy and he’s not worth enough to them to try too hard.
While I don’t think these two women are ‘bad’, they are toxic. Apparently honest at work and public life, their biggest lies are to themselves. The greatest harm is to themselves and each other but on some level they love their addiction to adrenaline and drama. Both anger and fear are quick fixes for an adrenaline rush when leaving work and coming home to dreary lives empty of an outside interests or friends. The son I suspect is a true parasite. But he’s far away and unlikely to return. I don’t hate a rattlesnake for being a snake but I’m not going to let it nest near me. These three are already in personal hells of their own making and are not going to drag us in.
My partner and I are both old enough to have made many mistakes and have looked in the mirror, tried to make amends when we could and strive to do better. We are not perfect but we know we are very lucky to have found true love again late in life, especially being quirky, with our own need for adrenaline and experiences. We both learned ways before meeting to find healthier ways to get a rush, exercise, a broad range of interests and friends, and grateful each day for what we have together, overall good health, and have a happy home with 3 dogs and 2 cats plus 2 people living in harmony. Perhaps that is what they hate most of all.
My wife of 15 years keeps telling me that if I just communicate, show affection and love her, we’ll be fine. Of course, early on in the relationship when I gave her my 100% of all that, it was something else she needed (cleaning house). I’ve come to conclusion that it’s just another excuse. Tired of hearing excuses for her outbursts, constant unhappiness and for getting blamed for anything and everything bad that happens to her. Of course when she blames me for not communicating when I don’t respond or walk away after she just had an anger outburst. And of course it’s my fault as usual that she’s angry so she expects me to say, “sorry”. I actually did say sorry in early years, but no more. We have two young toddlers who I think have anxiety over the fact things are not stable in the home–really lost on what to do.
The reason Jordan feels this woman is someone he could spend his entire life with, is because this is all he knows. Guaranteed Jordan was raised in an emotionally abusive home. I would bet his mother was Narcissistic.
He doesn’t know anything different, and convinced himself that his mother loved him, even though she was emotionally cruel to him
I am sure you know better than I do, that abused people end up in relationships with abusers and users, until they realize and except the truth.
I speak from personal experience. I myself was raised in an emotionally abusive home.
I was used and abused emotionally by my most of my family.
This being all I every experienced, this is the type of relationships I ended up in.
It is very sad to watch others go down the same road, and make the same mistakes you have.