Posted by: frogstale | December 8, 2013

How to protect yourself from a personality disordered man

I recently responded to a post on Common Reasons Why Men Cheat   and explained that there are some men who cheat because they have a personality disorder.   I was asked to give advice on how women can protect themselves from a personality disordered man.  Here is my simple answer:

LEARN THEN LEAVE

Find out about personality disorders then open the door, walk out and never go back.

If only it were that easy.  It isn’t so here is my advice from personal experience and communicating with hundreds of other women who have been through the same thing.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A PERSONALITY DISORDERED MAN

Step 1: The light-bulb moment

Something doesn’t feel right, you are beginning to question your relationship, you have some doubts, things don’t add up and you are uneasy.

The process has begun.

  • Talk to your friends and family and see if they can see what you can’t or have any insights to offer – often they have sensed before you that you aren’t being treated well but are not comfortable telling you
  • Learn about what constitutes a healthy relationship and compare it to your relationship
  • Think deeply about what feels wrong with your relationship and let google be your guide – look it up and follow where it leads you.
  • Read the Top 100 Traits of Personality Disordered Individuals
  • Some other searches to try:
    • Lack of trust in relationships
    • Lying in relationships
    • Verbal abuse
    • Emotional abuse
    • The cycle of abuse
    • Crazy making
    • Toxic relationships
    • High conflict personalities

The light-bulb moment may come when you recognise your partner described on one or many of the pages you find.

Step 2: Knowledge is armour

  • Read, google, learn, join support groups, find Facebook pages, troll through the blogs on WordPress.
  • Arm yourself with knowledge, ideas and techniques to deal with your particular situation.
  • Take your time, make sure your thinking is correct, talk to others in similar situations.  Doesn’t matter what mental disorder you think your partner has, or what type of personality disorder – a diagnosis and a name don’t necessarily matter. Focus on the behaviours and how to deal with them.

Step 3: Decide what to do

  • Keep learning
  • If you decide to go – prepare yourself.
    • Collect documentation
    • Think about your escape route
    • Think about the consequences if you have children in particular
    • Learn about no or low contact
    • Keep learning
    • Get a support group around you – family and friends and other people who know what you are going through

Step 4: Pay it forward

Once you have gone through the trauma of a relationship break up – and that can take years if the relationship was long – and you are ready, it is the time to pay it forward.  Teach the next generation of women to look out for people with personality disorders so they can avoid getting into the relationship in the first place.  Educate the world one person at a time and support anyone you find who is going through what you went through.  That we we can all learn, grow and support others from our experiences.

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Responses

  1. I find this article to be stigmatizing of individuals who are suffering from very real mental illnesses. Can people with personality disorders be difficult to deal with? Yes. But not everyone who treats their partner poorly has a personality disorder, and many of those who struggle with personality disorders are engaged in treatment to help with their functioning. It might be more appropriate to warn people against abusers and not “men with personality disorders,” since it contributes to an overall social attitude that people who are mentally ill are somehow unworthy of fulfilling relationships.

  2. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your honesty.

    My advice in step 1 is to learn and find out what the problem is – it might be something completely different to a personality disorder. Only then move onto making some decisions about what to do once you are armed with knowledge and support.

    If you are the person that know something is wrong within you, the same advice would apply. Find out what is wrong, learn about it and then decide what to do.

    If it is a personality disorder, which is of course a real mental illness it is unfortunate that due to the very nature of the illness, often those with personality disorders can’t see it themselves and don’t get help. Often it is only those of us living with them that see the problem.

    Some do get a diagnosis and help – and I did comment that if you decide to stay you need to get help and information to deal with it.

    If they don’t get help (and help is normally therapy of some sort as there are no ‘pills’ for most personality disorders – only pills for the symptoms/behaviours displayed) then it is up to the non personality disordered to decide if they want to continue in the relationship.

    Not all abusers have personality disorders, not all personality disorders are abusive, but in my experience and from what you can read online in thousands of blogs that are now available, there is a big crossover.

    My ex also displayed the behaviours of a sex addiction, which also has many similar behaviours and features. Again not all sex addicts are personality disordered and/or abusive, but there is an element of similarity. Not all abusers cheat – but many do.

    We can all only talk in generalisations – that is the nature of blogging and the world wide web.

    Just as people with mental disorders seek help and support online from like minded people with similar problems, those of us who are living with or have lived with someone with the behaviours of a personality disorder need support and help. That can only occur by making generalisations and sweeping statements.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

    • Some experts make a distinction between mental illness and personality disorders. Someone once told me that having a personality disorder is like looking at the world through colored lenses– it’s a rigid and inflexible way of thinking that colors their relationships and everything they do. It can be a conditioned response to life rather than a physical problem. A lot of what we call mental illness is actually physical illness, caused by an underlying disease, undiagnosed food allergies, and so on.

      • Interesting thoughts. When it comes to human behavior no ‘experts’ can ever give a definitive answer and it is something we can only speculate about and never truly ‘know’.

        It is clear that there is some genetic component to personality disorders though – and I can see that playing out in my 13 year old son. I am so very concerned that he has his father’s personality – and the ‘disordered’ side of it too. I can only watch, try to help, teach him right from wrong, and see how he turns out. In some ways it doesn’t matter what the cause of the behaviours, learning to deal with them is the most important way to protect ourselves.

      • I agree that sometimes there seems to be a genetic component. I’ve witnessed that firsthand too, but in those cases, the younger person developing the personality disorder has usually been raised or strongly influenced by the older person with the personality disorder. In other words, the kid is around those behaviors so much that they see them as perfectly normal. Toxicity spreads.

  3. Reblogged this on Spiritual Life Coaching | With Adolf Mathebula and commented:
    Knowledge is power. I believe that this post will greatly help you when it comes to dealing with a cheater or a personality disordered men. I encourage you to take a look at the first two comment on this post. They’ll share some wonderful light on this topic. There are good men out there, but we can’t ignore the other side of the truth. God bless you, lets remember to “love each other as we love ourselves”

  4. Reblogged this on Army of Angels and commented:
    I read once that it takes 11 attempts before a woman finally leaves the abuser. I have also known women who have become quite skilled at navigating the “cycle of abuse” and stayed in the relationship. I really like that “A Frog’s Tale” includes tips for those who stay. I stayed for a very long time… Went to therapists myself in order to learn how to better navigate the cycle of abuse… In the end, the abuse was too much, and I had been reduced to a shell of emptiness disguised as me.

  5. Reblogged this on Narc Raiders and commented:
    Short, sweet and to the point…follow these tips and you should be well on your way to recovering…

  6. http://www.documenttheabuse.com/ Everyone should know about this website. It explains the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, a way to document any abuse that can stand up in court, which is especially important when you leave because the risk of homicide goes up considerably then. I also highly recommend Sandra L. Brown’s website http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/ and her books How to Spot a Dangerous Man and Women Who Love Psychopaths. Those two books should be required reading for both men and women. Teens should have this knowledge before they venture into the dating world. You talk about light bulb moments… those books will help you realize the reality of your situation.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this:
    “Teach the next generation of women to look out for people with personality disorders so they can avoid getting into the relationship in the first place. Educate the world one person at a time and support anyone you find who is going through what you went through. That we we can all learn, grow and support others from our experiences.”


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