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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I Need help badly. I met this guy about 5yrs ago, I am now

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I Need help badly. I met this guy about 5yrs ago, I am now 31 and he is now 38yr old. When I met him, he had just gotten out of prison and was on parole. Now, I am not trying in any way to make him sound bad, but these are the facts: He has been in and out of prison since he was 19yrs old for drug possession, drug sales, grand theft auto, and more drug charges. When I first met him, he was the sweetest, most charming guy ever.... but after about 3 months or so, I started to notice severe anger outbursts towards me, after a couple of months from that he started getting physically and verbally abusive, biting my face, slapping, nothing too severe, no beatings, but grabbing my neck and trying to choke me, holding me down, and things like that. I had never in my life dated any guy that had gone to prison. I had just gotten my bacherors degree when I first met him, and as I mentioned before, his charming persona at the beginning was what drew me to him. I have no kids, but he has 3 kids by 3 different women. He has admitted to having gotten physical abusive with ALL OF HIS EX girlfriends. We have been on/off for the last 5yrs During this time, I have caught him cheating on me at least 4xs. Now my major problem, is that even knowing all this, I am completley obsessed with him. I literally have an addiction to him like a drug addict.. I know psychologists wont say that is possible, but I am living proof that it is. Even though he constantly puts me down, calls me names, and is down right mean to me, I am so attracted to him physically that I can not get turned on by any other man.. I have tried and it just doesnt happen. I think about him constantly, text him numerous times a day, can not focus on anything. I have literally been getting anxiety to the point where my hands shake, I vomit, I have bad migraines, and stomach in knots constantly. ( I think its important to note that I am diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder) I have tried everything with this guy; I get stomach cramps right before I am about to see him in person because I am afraid of what I may say that is going to make him mad. Even when I laugh about something that is funny it seems to bother him. I am certain I am doing something wrong.. tHE ONLY REASON HE EVER WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH ME IS TO EITHER HAVE SEX, OR GET MONEY FROM ME because I am financially stable, and he has no money really. However, my latest problem is that he somehow has gotten some money and got a car, and doesnt really need me anymore and for the last 2 weeks, he wants nothing to do with me. He wont take my calls or reply back to me, and says he never wants to see me again.
I want to know what can I do to not feel such agony over this guy not speaking to me? I am in physical pain with my stomach in knots, constant upset stomach,vomiting, not being able to sit still, racing thoughts.... I LITERALLY can not go more than 20-30 min without thinking of this guy and wondering or planning on when I am going to be able to see him next..It is destroying me physically and emotionally. So my question is:
- what can I do about this to get some temporary relief.
- since I am clearly addicted to this person, just as a drug addict is addicted to drugs or an alcoholic addicted to alchohol, and there are no support groups that I know about that deal with being addicted to a PERSON, could I just start going to AA or NA meetings and subsitute him instead of the alcohol as the addiction? WOuld that help me do you think? Any and all advice would be appreciated, I am desperate at this point

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how overwhelming this situation must be for you. You are using all your internal resources just to maintain any equilibrium given all the trauma and difficulties that you had in your early life. I want to take a pause, though, for a moment to just tell you how impressed I am with your ability to keep going amid such overwhelming feelings that you have had to contend with every day. Why do I say that?

You write that you are addicted to this abusive man. And he truly is an abuser. Why would you be so obsessed with him that you don't even let yourself be turned on by other men?

Precisely because of all the overwhelming feelings from your past. Just like other addictions, the alcohol, drugs, or in your case the obsession with this abuser keeps the pain away. It numbs you from all the emotions that might otherwise overwhelm you. That's the nature of emotions. When they "go away" without being resolved, they just get locked into rooms in our inner selves. They don't actually disappear. And then they leak out in unexpected ways and cause us emotional turmoil and we afterwards don't know where those feelings come from often. And we consider doing whole sorts of life altering things just to get relief. Like being an intelligent woman with a degree who obsesses on a man who hurts women for his own needs.AA or NA won't help in this. But there are support groups for BPD and I'll get to them in a minute.

And so this is why I am impressed: you have kept going and you move forward and you do not give up. The anxiety seem overwhelming at times but you keep persevering and trying. It is truly impressive and inspiring. So, two things: first, I want you to know that at the end of this posting I'm going to give you a technique for just lowering the anxiety a little when you feel overwhelmed or just "feeling". It is not a cure, but it is something you can do throughout the day to help bring you back to the present moment from the anxiety. And second, that after you do the technique throughout the day, I want you to remember and say to yourself what I just told you: that you have always moved forward and kept going and made the future happen and you will do it again this time. And I'll discuss ways to do that as wisely as possible.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. I am going to introduce a concept that is so important for you because of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).The first element you have to get to is: it is clear from the brief information you gave and the emotion packed into it that there is a truth you need to get to if you are going to find relief.

That truth is that relief, your personal salvation, is not going to come THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS!

You're not going to FEEL your way toward feeling better. Yes, that sounds like a contradiction. But, the key for you is going to be whether you are going to be able to learn to approach life from something other than feeling. Because feelings are too overwhelming. They keep changing. And they are telling you different things all the time. And that gets overwhelming and the anxiety then begin to take over. This is the way feelings are for you. So, life can be good for you but only if you have the patience and willingness to LEARN how to approach it from a different part of you than how you feel. So that you aren't always so often overwhelmed by what you're feeling and searching desperately for relief.

There was so much trauma and dysfunction in your early life that feelings are just going to be overwhelming most of the time. And you need help in learning how to manage your feelings that were shaped during your youth which was so difficult. For you, then, to learn how to approach life from something other than feeling, the best type of therapy is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). I want you to learn the skills that DBT offers. So, start with the following website put together by people who aren't psychologists but who have gone through DBT themselves. Try as many of the self-help options they have. Mindfulness is particularly important for you and a good place to start there.Here's their web address:

If you connect with DBT, then find a therapist in your area who works with DBT. Even better, find a DBT group to go along together with individual therapy. So yes, therapy is the step on your road you may now be ready for. If you don't have a good referral source for yourself, here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (you can see a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list anything about personality disorders or PTSD in their orientations and what they work with. And then ask them if they don't do DBT therapy if they know someone in the area they trust they could refer you to.

If you need more resources here's a commercial website. I don't like their therapist directory very much because its format seems a little hard sell to me. But they have a chat group that you might want to join:

You're a survivor and in my book a champion, so try to use the techniques to your best advantage. You've made it through very rough waters in your life. You've come to the DBT world so you're extremely fortunate. But remember: quick relief is NOT your friend; it is part of the problem. Always remind yourself of that. And when you feel like you just have to do something to get quick relief, remember what Dr. Mark told you and go back to your truth. And then continue with the slow methodical work that being the good human being you are requires.

I wish you the very, very best!

Okay, now I am going to copy for you here instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from anxiety and overwhelming feelings, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't have anxiety so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack. Why? Because when you're in the throes of overwhelming feelings, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.

I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in anxiety and overwhelming feelings is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help.

So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****


  1. After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
  2. Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.
  3. Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.
  4. Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
  5. Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
    • chest
    • abdomen
    • entire right arm
    • right forearm and hand (making a fist)
    • right hand
    • entire left arm
    • left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
    • left hand
    • buttocks
    • entire right leg
    • lower right leg and foot
    • right foot
    • entire left leg
    • lower left leg and foot
    • left foot
  6. for the shortened version, which includes just four main muscle groups:
    • face
    • neck, shoulders and arms
    • abdomen and chest
    • buttocks, legs and feet

Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.

What You Need:

  • A comfortable place.
  • Some privacy.
  • A few minutes.


Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help `with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I can not thank you enough, you are very kind and I truly appreciate your response and effort and suggestions. I promise to try your suggestions and I work on them. I was actually in DBT four years ago, and it was extremely helpful, however, it is extremely expenisve and I can not afford it at this point. I had a couple of follow up questions for you please

- Why do you think that AA or NA will not be helpful to me?

-I know it should not matter, but based on the history I have given you, do you think this guy will want to talk to me again? I am not saying I would talk to him, I just want the satisfaction of him calling one day, and me telling him I am over him and to never call again. I have never been able to do that. So do you think he will want money or something and call me ever again?

-also, I wonder, is it just me you think he acts this abusive toward, or do you think its any girl he ends up with? The reason I ask is because every girl I have heard or seen him with, including myself, he has been the most charming,nicest guy at the beginning,so why did he change?
Let's address each of the three questions individually:

1. AA or NA are dealing with how to prevent oneself from turning to a substance to "numb" one's feelings, to escape what is overwhelming to the person. You are dealing with a different situation in yourself: your feelings overwhelm you and they tend to make you easy prey for extreme behavior and extreme emotions. That's why I'm seeking to get you to focus on your relationship to your emotions. For example in the DBTselfhelp site, spend some time with the Rational Mind/Emotional Mind/Wise Mind concept of DBT. It is so much more important for you than the 12 step concepts.

2. You know, we all are confronted by "users". People who say or do mean and nasty things. They may not be on his level. But they say something to us. And then an hour later or a day later or three days later we think of the prefect thing we could have said to put him in his place and let him know what a jerk he was. It would be so perfect!!! And if the chance ever comes our way again, we wind up not being able to speak again. And we feel even more angry with ourselves. Why? Because we are still kind and good people and we aren't people who do that. But you face an even worse possibility: he'll be his charming self (remember, he's a pro at using women) and you'll melt and be abused again before you get out. Not worth it. I always recommend to nice, sweet people, practice what you'll say with your pet or the TV. Leave the narcissist alone!

3. Any girl. That is the short answer. It's not because of the girl it's because of HIM. He can't relate any other way.

My desire for you: seek healthy relationships! Let him go without that measure of revenge. Who needs it. Just seek healthy relationships.

All the best, ***** *****
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thank you so much, would it be ok to stay in touch with you if I need further help or have other questions?
that is fine. When you ask your question, begin it with:

For Dr. Mark...

That will get it to me. All the best to you, Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you