I think they were meant for each other!
Z+2 on the jealousy charts, for sure. Having dated someone just like this (and still recovering, years later), I know for myself that I'd absolutely push someone away who felt threatened by any relationship I had with a woman, past or present, social or sexual (i'd make an exception for 'current-sexual', that seems fair to be jealous about). My ex didn't like that I had a female physician, or boss, or the women that I did co-rec sports with, or coworkers - any and every woman was suspect. 20 years older than, married, whatever, didn't matter. I've had 2 or 3 partners like this, to varying degrees. When I was younger i thought, "well, when I actually fall in love with someone, I *will* think that person is perfect in every way! I won't mind texting them every hour with my whereabouts, or making sure not have any social interactions that don't include her". Maybe I still think that way, sadly. relationship PTSD or something.

LW - you're one of them. Just because your boyfriend was a wack bro doesn't mean you suck any less. So focus on changing your boyfriend, or focus on changing yourself. You make the call.
Oh, LW. My dear. Your letter touched a nerve.

You have this guy who took your desire for openness and honesty and turned it into a weapon to beat you with and you're wondering if YOU'RE the problem? Here's the thing with abuse. Love is like food. The first thing an abusive relationship does is shatter your faith that you can feed yourself - that you're capable and enough. Then the abuser begins starving you. The kind, loving moments that keep you hanging on or coming back? Those moments of kindness that are such a relief they feel like a miracle? A crust of bread can seem like a feast when you're desperately hungry.

Leave him. Be the ex he isn't "friends" with. When you have confidence that you can live and feed your own soul, you will not be nearly as vulnerable to these manipulative machinations. I feel like you could be writing about my ex. All of it. All. Of. It. is so familiar. Go and don't look back.
Please see a therapist, dear writer.

And no, LW is not jealous. She's had to deal with this fucko parading his ex-gfs around like they were the shining examples she should aspire to be throughout their entire relationship. Of course she would be put on the defensive in those situations. How would anyone feel after being told that 'oh, X was a 95/100, you're 70 at best'? I can guaran-fucking-tee that none of these women were the perfect creatures that he's made them out to be, and I doubt that any consider him to be a true 'friend'. For the most part, they're probably doing what they can to avoid him completely.
Read the whole letter? Nah, I'm good.
Honey, the reason you keep putting up with this crap is you have no self-confidence and no self-respect whatsoever. You need to spend some serious face time with a therapist.
PDPMN, you are the queen of all gluttons for punishment. The reasons why you ignore/endure/encourage such vile treatment have got to be legion. The only advice I can give is get yourself into therapy, YESTERDAY! and try to break this self-destructive cycle!
Actually, LW is the problem. She needs to break up with this guy and see a therapist. She REEKS of desperation and abusers can totally pick up on that. If she skips the therapy step the next guy might abuse her physically.

I have a friend right now who beat the shit out of her 6 months ago (hospital, stitches) and I just found out she's still talking to / occasionally sleeping with him.
She has to literally block this guy out of her entire life! Block him on her cell, social communication at all after letting him know she's done. Because otherwise she will keep being manipulated. The reason he's giving gifts to other women is he either wants to seduce them or he may already be sexually involved with them.

LW made several observations about his bad behavior, but the one that stood out to me was his willingness to go to her parent's please another woman and NOT with her to meet the parents! That says everything right there about him not really being committed to LW. He only tells LW what she wants to hear about promises of love and marriage- he most definitely is insincere.

My take on it- this is a very successful, wealthy, powerful, alpha-type male who whisked her off to Paris and showered her with gifts, spa treatments, etc. But he also does the same for multiple women he strings along with his cunning and deceit. Exciting and interesting. Dramatic highs and lows. Feels so real..and yet, he's not a good man at all!!

One thing I've learned over time- when actions and words are inconsistent, it means a man who doesn't care much about you. The sooner she faces the painful truth, the better. She has to take the lesson and learn from the experience.

Rip that bandaid off! SATC reruns, wine, new hobbies, take a class to fill the empty spot, but do whatever it takes to move on with life. Hopefully the next guy will be better!

LW, I have a feeling that this maybe a pattern for him. You'll be the one he talks about to the next one. This sounds similar to my ex-husband in someways but he was clinically depressed. We would both talk about our exes, but it seemed a bit different. You're not being jealous- there are times when talking about an ex is appropriate and when it is not and it sounds like he crossed those barriers. Walk away now. It won't get better.
@12: It's her problem. Making excuses for the guys behavior is HER behavior and SHE has to fix it. This guy may be abusive, but he keeps her around because she makes abusing her easy.
LW is getting something out of this. She appears to be addicted to the drama.
LW: Google “relationship with a narcissist” and read everything you can about what it’s like to date a person with narcissistic personality disorder. It should sound familiar. Then stop obsessing over him, and focus on why you got into that relationship and let yourself be treated that way. Read about codependent relationships. Look at your relationships with your parents. Learn to love yourself. I’m still working on it, but it can be done. There is a lot of support online, and twelve-step groups. You can do this. Remember: NO. CONTACT. EVER. AGAIN. Good luck.
Admittedly a feel good letter: some people have way more troubles than myself. It also became apparent fairly early, enabling one to skip most of the fairly torturous content.
Yeeeeaaaah, it sounds so appalling that I'm not sure I buy it all. If you read her letter again and rewrite from his perspective, it's not too hard to insert omitted "facts" that soften it significantly.

Sure, he wasn't over the ex at the beginning -- how long had it been out from a five year relationship? "I found out later..." She sure knows a lot about that conversation and that it was certainly, definitely, negative towards her.

An offhand comment about a trinket poked her existing ex-soreness. Wine and cookies, so special, who cares, why be hurt. Did she use her request for "openness and honesty" to ask/know *everything* about his ex?

Work stress and she feels like she's not getting the attention she needs (again).

"He said he wasn't bothered by it but I think he really was." Of course she does.

"He used to date her". Did they hook up drunkenly once in college and then move away? Did they date for two years? I suspect it's more like the former.

"Let's not be together". "I needed her that night." Yeah, he's not into you after the drama and break up...

"Our relationship was a joke". Wait, another snoop? After the breakup? Lost count now. "Out with friends" when we were trying to work things out. Still sounds like he's not that into you and, yes, is pursuing other people. Shocking.

I've been with one abusive, overly jealous woman that would turn absolutely everything around on me like this and created her own universe of experiences and slights. Not saying that's what this is for sure, but it's definitely written to be so awful and inhuman that it presses credulity. Some embellishments and omissions change the story quickly.

Either way, they're too dramatic together and Dan's advice still stands.
This sounds like a classic Narcissist preying on someone with self esteem problems. Every. Single. Bit of it.

The author needs to do 3 things immediately:

1. Zero contact. I mean it. None. Block the goddamn number. Zero. No texts or calls or booty calls or dinners. Don't accept apologies.dont refuse them. Just don't respond. Don't even chew him out. Even anger is a sign to a narcissist that they have an angle back in. Zero. Contact. You will need to be strong to do this.

2. Get thee to therapy. You need have been groomed into a punching bag by a walking fist. You need help to deal with the self victimization you are feeling. You need skillets to help you not he so attractive to narcissists in the future since someone already broken in as it were is especially attractive.

3. Go read on the net testimonies of people who dated or married narcissists. Prepare to cry at how textbook this is. It's not your fault. But it will be a wake-up call.

Good luck subby this will probably take a while to recover from fully.
@18 Flatline42 Yep. Everything LW describes is something I recognize from my ex. And now that he's with his new woman, he's been sending me messages about how she doesn't measure up to me. Which is hysterical considering how repulsive, crazy, and dull he found me while we were together. And that's why I feel for this person. These abusers are skilled at stringing people along while making them take the blame for all the relationship problems.

I strenuously repeat all the urgings toward therapy. Being with someone like that is a mindfuck and professional assistance in undoing the damage is critical.
He's awful. She's a disaster.
Kinda reminds me of my ex-MIL. She hand-picked my replacement, moved her to our area to fix her up with my husband, and once he left me and married the replacement, the MIL spent all her time telling the new wife how great I was, and how I took better care of the husband. So, so glad to be done with that drama, and you will be too, LW.
"A Slice Of Wedding Cake" by Robert Graves

Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls
Married impossible men?
Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out,
And missionary endeavour, nine times out of ten.

Repeat 'impossible men': not merely rustic,
Foul-tempered or depraved
(Dramatic foils chosen to show the world
How well women behave, and always have behaved).

Impossible men: idle, illiterate,
Self-pitying, dirty, sly,
For whose appearance even in City parks
Excuses must be made to casual passers-by.

Has God's supply of tolerable husbands
Fallen, in fact, so low?
Or do I always over-value woman
At the expense of man?
Do I?
It might be so.
Robert Graves
Sportlandia @1 She might be above average jealous (some of the details she quotes point this way) but c'mon. Unless the facts reported in the letter are completely made up, he behaved in an unacceptable way. Not so much the contact with exes/alternative lovers but visibly pining for a whole sequence of them to your partner?

Unless you are someone's consensual rebound/sympathy fuck (if consensual rebound is not a thing, it should be), it's not right. And telling her she was 70 to someone's 90 would have been a shitty thing even in such a situation. Unless she demanded a comparison...

Idk if LW obviously suffers with low self esteem. Mostly she seems very confused. And no wonder. So all those calls to get her into therapy seem quite extreme but I keep forgetting that's US so I'll leave it to cultural differences.

I think her ex fucked with her head in a way that made everything impossible to see clearly so that she could genuinely think there was a way to work this out. There isn't. Stay away and completely cut him out.

Narcissist or not, the ex seems to be one of those people who only value who they can't have. As if anybody who wants to be with them automatically became unworthy. If anything, it suggests HE has major self esteem problems. But that's NOT LW's concern.

Even if you didn’t read all the crap this guy has pulled, one thing glares out at me. She has no friends. No one is telling her that this is nuts and she needs to get out. And how much do you want to bet that he’s the reason she no longer has a support group of friends?
Fifthing therapy. How young is this woman? None of what this guy did is acceptable. Being friends with exes, fine; shoving exes in your current partner's face, not fine; badmouthing you to said exes, definitely not fine. PDPMN now has the contact details for some of these exes; perhaps at least the one who was smart enough to ghost Mr Narcissist could be a resource to help PDPMN see her future ex for the abuser and gaslighter he really is. PDPMN, run!
OOOOOOF, I remember being in a state like this, after being treated the same way for several years. Good on you for leaving, PDPMN, I got sucked back in after trying to leave, then discarded, then sucked into the same post-breakup faux-reconciliation cycle you described. I won't bore you with details, but living like that made me a nervous wreck, desperate, and clinically depressed. I might have written this letter with all its frantic typos and indignant details.

Going No Contact was the best thing for my mental health. And make no mistake, he tried his damnedest to hoover me, and when that didn't work he sent the flying monkeys. And for the most part (narcissists will goad and bait you, resist the urge to defend yourself), I remained NC, and it was (still is) 100% worth it. Once the fog of gaslighting clears, you'll see what a manipulative dirtbag your ex is, and your self-esteem can start to mend. Good luck!
Just reading that letter was traumatic. I hope the LW gets the help she needs.
IF this is real (and the second Europe trip makes me wonder and the THIRD Ex that he obsessed about also--can a woman be THAT stupid?) then this is an extreme example of what I hear about almost every day. I read tarot cards on line and women constantly tell me how in "love" they are with someone who is abusive, hardly there, usually has already left but they (the woman) wants to be friends, which gives the guy an excuse to come back again and wiggle their hook....

The reality is: the woman here and the women I talk to are in love with a FANTASY of what COULD be. They must block these jerks on their phones, social media and even the mails if they are to be rid of them. But like LW here, the drama is so much more fun.

Poor Dan for having to put up with a letter like that. Well, Dan, now you know how it works, so you don't have to read or answer any more of them.
I found myself skipping more and more of the LW's details, because past a point they didn't matter, and contented myself with enjoying the hell out of Dan's responses. I'm sorry to take pleasure in your professional pain, Dan, but that was pretty entertaining.
oh, honey....
Those digging into the victim blaming here seem to fail to understand that they make the issue worse - people who overly self blame like the LW do not need assistance in beating themselves up about it, that's the thought pattern that got and kept them in this relationship. For example, Sporty self reporting that he's been in multiple relationships like this and still victim blaming shows how persistent this thought pattern is, and how easily reinforced it is by self and others.
Doesn't help to kick people when they're down, shouldn't have to be said.
Therapy is a good idea.
Also relevant, for many people the reason why they end up here is because abuse is normalized in childhood. We're all getting a national lesson in what that does to the human brain and it's educational for those who have been lucky enough in life to avoid it thus far. The majority of people are susceptible. This is not an inherent flaw, it's an exploitation of a major social benefit, but is how we're wired as a species.
What the hell did this guy have, that he even HAS 'exes' to pester?
'...he has boughten me on 'special' occasions...'

All those pricey trips? Enough 'alpha' posing?

The Robert Graves poem is close to the whining of surplus men, and so is this note. But really?
No @32: Very good point. Telling this LW "it's your fault" will just reinforce her self-belief that she's worthless and stupid and doesn't deserve any better. People in love make stupid decisions, to be sure. But she'll only be able to get out of this awful situation -- and avoid future abusers -- if she can start to see that it's THEIR fault, not hers, and that she does deserve better -- "better" including being single!
This guys behavior borders on gaslighting. Throwing past relationships in your face and demonstrating clear affections for other women and then turning around and trying to make you feel jealous is some grade A emotionally manipulative bullshit.

LW - take nothing this guy says or does at face value. He sounds like a psychopath. He will say anything to anyone if it means getting what he wants. Cut him out of your life completely. And then strongly consider going through the relationship with a therapist to figure out how to spot and avoid this kind of person in the future.

Oh, and don't start thinking there is something wrong with you for getting sucked into this. There's something very wrong with him. If you're guilty of anything it's wanting to believe someone you cared about when they said they cared about you. See his actions for what they really were and let it be a learning experience.
LW has low self-esteem that is (was) being exploited as many other commenters have suggested.
Even still, her clinging on while being overtly doormatted prompts one to think that this abuser did indeed have something she felt worth hanging around for: personal financing.
He was her CATCH.
She wanted marriage to him even after the huge piles of BS he lobbed on her and all the liaisons with other women. The only reason any woman tolerates that is her perceived INVESTMENT RETURN: the wallet, the trips to Europe, the non-stop flow of his income, the belief that sinking claws into him means financial security for life. That part of the plan was perfect. No woman accustomed to her continental travels will hang on to an obvious schmuck unless his pockets are full.

I do not fault her for not liking his part of the plan (actively playing other women all the time). Her objections and belated protestations seem rather less emotional pain than economic competition (STAY AWAY FROM MY MARK! HIS MONEY IS MINE TO CLAIM!)
@37 At what point does LW say or imply that he was financing the trips? Or anything at all?

This letter made me cry - my (now) ex would tell me about his exes nearly every day. About the amazing sex they had, the times they spent together, how special they were ("G was my twin flame," "I've never felt that way about someone before, M was the only one I ever wanted to have children with", etc.). On my birthday he put on porn which starred one of his exes and told me he sometimes thought about going back to her.

We had a policy of "radical honesty" and he would tell me that talking about his exes was just normal. That I needed to get more confident, and "live in the present," and "love lightly."

I feel vindicated now. My constant fear in the relationship wasn't normal. He wasn't being skillful with his words.

Thank you Dan so much. <3
@32 nailed it. People /want/ shaming to be an effective motivator for behavior change, but empirically nah.

Question from an old, what does "he was filtering with other woman" mean? Like sending pictures using image filters applied?
@40 - I'm guessing that was just a typo. LW probably meant 'flirting'.
Ms Fan @35 - "Better including being single"? "Including" should perhaps be replaced by "for now, consisting entirely of". It's a good point, though, that a period of singlehood working to avoid particular mistakes in future can fit into a space between "doesn't deserve this" and "deserves a high-quality partner". The idea is that perhaps someone CAN deserve a better partner. My reference point will be Marcia Brady's convincing herself she was a true Juliet.

I'm on a really thin tightrope here, but will maintain that, unless one would actively want an advice seeker to marry a sibling one liked and with whom one shared a close relationship, "You deserve better," inviting the inference that the hearer at present deserves a good partner and not just release from a bad partner or ex is nearly on a plane with, "It's alright, sweetie" coddling. LW may turn out well and I don't wish her ill (which is not something I'd say for every LW), but I don't want her rewriting Shakespeare.
Popelick Monster @37, there is not one single word in that letter that indicates that her boyfriend is paying her expenses of any kind. That's all in your bitter and twisted imagination.

Women do actually work for a living these days, you know?
My ex bf was a milder version of this guy. Would describe him as difficult and abrasive, rather than outright abusive. However, he would rub my nose in things, instead of constructive criticism or a healthy discussion. He would also point out my shortcomings or tell me about his pretty new employee to make me jealous. He didn't buy gifts for other women that I know of, but would reference his ex-wife or other women's accomplishments to highlight my inadequacies. He often would dangle the carrot of a future together to torture me even further. As in, emotional blackmail. He knew how much I wanted to be a mom, so he used that against me also, having me pick gifts or do things for the kids.

My ex is financially well-off and secure, but really it wasn't ever about that for me. He always paid for dinners out or other similar things, and also bought many designer handbags, clothes and jewelry, etc. However, that doesn't mean I was a gold digger. Really the opposite, because he offered money multiple times that I never took. I tried to hold my own and pay for things when I could and at the very least made him dinner on my own dime for nights at home.

That does make it a little harder to walk away. He never paid my bills or anything, but being treated like a princess was very nice to say the least! However, a closet full of designer bags and clothes don't add up to love or respect, as everyone knows. The bottom line was that I got tired of being put down and hurt. So I left..and blocked all numbers, because otherwise I would probably be back with him.

Just saying that the LW wouldn't be that upset or brokenhearted if she was the cold, calculating gold digger some have called her. Money can't break a woman's heart, but loving the wrong man does. This seems like it's about the emotional abuse the LW suffered.
Sometimes marriage is monotonous. This letter is a great reminder of how awful dating can be.
The talk of money is kind of irrelevant to this letter but since it's come up in the comments, I think it's worth noting, though, that these types of abusers will often use money/gifts to keep the victim off-balance. They give nothing without strings attached and it's all calculated to increase their advantage over their partner.

Finally, I have to laugh at trolls like @37. If a woman lets a man pay for anything, she a gold-digger. The flip side, of course, is if she doesn't, she's an emasculating bitch. Those sorts really have their misogyny bases covered, don't they?

So, @45, please don't waste time defending or explaining yourself to his ilk. It's a waste of time and precious pixels.
Ex-BF is totally an abusive piece of trash.

PDPMN is an insecure mess, which abusers are going to continue to recognize and use as a prompt to pursue and abuse her unless she gets professional help to deal with her issues. Some of the comments may cross into shaming, but not all of those being identified as such. It's necessary to identify PDPMN's role in the abuse cycle in order for her to be able to see the way out of it, becasue her own behavior is what's in her control, unlike the behavior of shitty, abusive Ex-BF.

Yes, people should stop being abusive. People should stop shooting other people. People should stop the mass-immolation of other people with incendiary bombs. They won't, at least not all of them, so we also have to deal with a reality where some people are going to be really awful sometimes. This AA-style abdication of agency that I've been seeing a lot lately in relation to various kinds of victimization is not helpful, it just reinforces the learned helplessness. I think it's very important to tell PDPMN that she CAN do things to end this, since she doesn't seem to understand that. The decision to abuse is Ex-BF's decision and the abuse is his behavior; not walking away and completely cutting contact is PDPMN's decision and behavior, which she can and should change.
Even if half this letter is fake and the other half is exaggerated the letter writer still needs to dump this piece of shit. This man is actively emotionally/mentally abusing you because he is evil.
The only thing that gives me any hope at all is the number of letters saying in effect, "I was once i a relationship like this and I got out."
some people seem determined to be victims. there's always someone happy to oblige.
@47 Mirea Thank you- I know you're right. It never helps to feed the trolls. My comments came from sympathy for the LW, especially b/c I've been through something similar. It just sucks so much to have been abused, manipulated, mistreated and most likely cheated on, too. And then:some people love to kick you when you're down, so her punishment for being abused is further abuse in the form of victim-blaming.

Even close friends can be cruel (usually unintentionally, but sometimes out of frustration), as if it's so easy to leave- my relationship was actually pretty good most of the time, but then I finally had to admit that the problem behaviors were in fact dealbreakers. Emotional abuse can be very difficult to recognize, especially as the victim. It's not that easy to just give up on all the good parts from the relationship (still wanting to believe that it can be worked out), especially if your dating life before that was actually somehow worse. Having to admit that you're still not really even in a functioning healthy adult relationship feels like a huge failure. It hurts like hell to realize you can't fix it, b/c it's just too broken.

It's a vicious cycle to break, b/c the moment she lets her guard down, he would take the opportunity to gain control again. That's why she has to block him from every possible contact so that she has time and distance to regain her strength and self esteem.
How much you wanna bet that all the ex-girlfriends he has buzzing round him like horseflies on a shit pile -- imho, that isn't actually particularly metaphorical -- are there because he has succeeded in breaking down _their_ self-esteem and sense of personal reality the same way he is relentlessly working on yours? He's telling them that you're a lesser animal in order to feed their dependence on him. You are the same sort of pawn in his game with them that they are in his game with you. You're just not as far along the track yet.

Every last one of the women he is still playing is a woman that he has played with like a toy until he broke her. The ones you don't hear about are the ones with still-working bullshit detectors, the ones who told him to take his toxic ass on a long walk off a short pier, the ones who made their richly deserved DTMFA stick the first time.

Your choice which kind of woman you want to be. One of the horseflies? Or one of the ones who know to stay the hell away from such a pile of shit?
"When I told him I was hurt by this he said, "I'm just telling you my experiences, because I want to share everything with you!" "

Wait a minute, I think I know this guy...
Mirea @47: Thank you! You've nailed it. John @48 and Avast @53, gold star comments to you as well.
I thank Mr Horstman for the Expert Witness testimony in applicable vocabulary.

One thing that occurred to me in the night was to wonder why the default assumption seems to be that these relationships are almost always cases of a Master Abuser capable of charming normal people and turning them all into Victims, and almost never cases of a Master Victim capable of charming normal people and turning them all into Abusers. Think of a firsthand version of Curtain, only less severe. Is it just that the second type is more rare? (It would be interesting to hear from people who've had partners who brought out the worst in them, but that seems too much to ask.)
@56 It's hard to imagine the LW creating a situation where her partner throws previous lovers in her face and then calls her jealous for taking issue. Why would someone with that level of manipulative prowess ask Dan for advice on the matter? I'm sure we can summon some far-fetched scenarios from our imaginations, but it's outlandish.

At the same time - this guy does not sound like a master manipulator. Making someone jealous by conspicuously pining away for past lovers is far from subtle. This looks more like a case of some bush league find fucker finding (as they always seem to) someone with a low enough self-esteem to play along.
Letters to advice columnists from people who have a manipulative, abusive, or narcissistic partner all seem to follow a pattern. They tend to be really long, and they read as a slightly unhinged laundry list of drama and grievances: "my boyfriend did this shitty thing, then he did this other shitty thing, then things were okay for a while, then he did more shitty things, then we tried to work things you think he'll stop being shitty?" And of course we're all behind our screens screaming in unison, "jesus letter writer OF COURSE HE WILL NOT STOP BEING SHITTY." It's easy not to sympathize with a person who writes a letter like this, but the thing is that this is exactly what happens to your brain when you're being abused. Our brains aren't very good at making sense of painful situations, so from the point of view of the abused person, it seems like a series of disconnected events rather than a pattern (i.e. "my boyfriend is a leaky bag of foreskins who treats me like shit and I should dump him.") They'll probably be able to recognize the pattern later, after they're out of the relationship, maybe with some therapy. In other words, if you're blaming the victim, stop. The victim is just reacting the way people normally react to that kind of situation.

@2 I think you're projecting. If the only issue with PDPMN's boyfriend was that he was still friends with his exes, then yes, I would say PDPMN was being irrationally jealous. That's not the real issue. The real issue, as many people have pointed out, is that boyfriend uses his exes as props to manipulate PDPMN and make her feel bad.

@17 If you don't believe what's in this letter, maybe you've been lucky enough to avoid encountering anyone like PDPMN's boyfriend.
(Oh, and I'm not saying everyone reacts this way to a situation like the one our letter writer is in. Some people would see the red flags and get out. But a lot of people do react this way and it's pretty normal.)
@59: Agreed. When I was in my early twenties I was involved with a woman who was working out her personal traumas by reenacting them on a string of feckless young naifs. I eventually twigged to the fact that I was just the latest in the string, but it took being out of the relationship for a good long while to put that puzzle together. While I was still in the blender with her, there was no seeing any of it.

Yes, it is a case of being successfully gaslighted, (In a not-particularly broad definition of the term, for you purists.) It involves being manipulated into doubting your own common sense, sense of self, powers of observation, and ultimately doubting your own sanity. Of course the person being manipulated is in a state where they can't see the big picture.
Venn @56: I have encountered people who are "professional victims," who go through life appealing to the sympathy of one person after another by claiming the previous person mistreated them. In my experience with a "professional victim" BFF, it wasn't a case of looking for abusers, or turning people into abusers, rather of leeching off someone's good will until they ran out of things the PV could use them for and then turning on them, unfairly bad-mouthing them to the next sympathiser. They're looking for people with kind hearts who are a bit gullible, rather than people who actually will mistreat them. However, I can easily envision people who are so desperate to confirm their view either of themselves as a victim or of the opposite sex as universally awful that they seek out crazy/abusive partners, or, at a greater stretch, perfectly normal people whose buttons they push while guilt-tripping them ("you're going to leave me") into staying while their patience runs ever thinner. See comment @2, which, yes, Ghost @59, is absolutely projecting.
@63 Sorry you went through that avast, and I'm glad you got out and figured it out.
Oops, I meant @61.
this must be one good looking or wealthy dude for that many women to put up with that much crap!

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