Getting out of a bad relationship

January 14, 2009 4:33:59 PM PST
He's just no good for you! Strategies to help you get out of a bad relationship

A new book by author, Life Coach, and radio host Beth Wilson is for all women who have found themselves in a relationship that started out great, but ended up feeling all wrong: we know in our gut that something isn't quite right but we're not sure what. Beth helps us better understand the anatomy of a destructive relationship so we can determine, for ourselves, if we're with a man who is simply no good for us. Read the Q&A below.

Q. It seems that women often get caught up in these types of relationships. What are some of the signs?

Beth: Well, often, the relationship starts out well. He seems to be the greatest guy and you often feel very connected to him emotionally. But over time, a woman discovers that he is putting her down under the guise of "joking" or playing mind games to control and confuse her. It can be crazy-making. And because most women are so relational, we wonder what's wrong with us-it takes us awhile to figure out that it's really him.

Q. I know women are intelligent and so how can a man like this deceive them so easily?

Beth: Good question. In my Life Coaching practice I've seen brilliant women, creative women, and strong women all fall into relationships with destructive individuals. It isn't due to lack of intelligence, it's often due to lack of awareness. For many of us, we just can't conceive of operating this way in a relationship-lying, cheating, deceiving-and so we're not quite sure what we're dealing with at first.

Q. The truth is, as you mention in your book, women are trying to build a relationship while bad news guys are actually doing the opposite. They're trying to control the relationship and the woman in it, right?

Beth: Exactly! Women are highly relational and so we attempt to bond, create intimacy and find the best avenues for communication. Unfortunately, while we're attempting to forge a meaningful relationship, he's on an entirely different page. He's figuring out ways to weaken and control the woman in his life.

Q. And what does this do to a woman's spirit? Her sense of self?

Beth: It can be devastating and as I said earlier, crazy-making. Relating to a man who criticizes you then a minute later declares his undying love creates an emotional vice for women. The harder we try to fix things-perhaps thinking it's a communication problem or differing views-women bend themselves into pretzel shapes trying to figure out how to make things work. The problem is, the destructive individual is doing the exact opposite. He is actively working on eroding her self-worth so he can be in charge.

Q. So, tell us, what can a woman do if she finds herself in a relationship that is destructive?

Beth: First of all, it is important that she speak to other women who have been through the same or a similar experience. Those of us who have dealt with compulsive liars, alcoholics, and even sociopaths-on the more extreme end of the spectrum-know the red flags. We understand the games these men play and can help to educate others. Since some psychologists suggest that 65% of men may operate this way, it is essential that women know how to spot them. Of course, I can't teach everyone one-on-one so I wrote this book! First of all:

1. Is he inconsistent in his behaviors toward you? 2. Do you catch him in lies? 3. Is he often different in public than in private? 4. When you have a disagreement does he find ways to make your wrong as though the problem is with you not him? 5. Does he use jokes as subtle put-downs and to disguise demeaning comments toward you?

Q. What are some more of the red flags?

Beth: The list is long, but here are a few. Do you catch him in a lie but he insists you're wrong? Is he different in front of friends than he is with you? Doe he say things to berate you and when you respond tells you that you're the one being overly sensitive or you have no sense of humor?he finds a way to put it back on you. Does he have difficulty being affectionate and intimate in a consistent way? When you're having fun with your friends or with your children does he find a way to interfere and upset you? Does he play mind games and you often feel confused after conversations and find yourself running them over in your head-what did he mean??

Q. If these men want power instead of a relationship, what can a woman do?

Beth: The truth is, very little unless he is genuinely willing to change, and most of these men are not. They will tell a woman they wan to change. They will make empty promises and then go right back to manipulating and verbally abusing her. John Gottmann, a well-know researcher of successful marriages found that men who mistreat women are not open to their partner's influence no matter how gently or aggressively she tries to be heard. So, if you suspect you're with a destructive individual, remember, the arrangement is certainly not working for you, but it is working for him. It's a painful realization, but once you come to terms with it, you can begin to make decisions for your own life instead of wearing yourself out trying to fix a toxic relationship.

I was caught in a terrible relationship for over twenty years due to ongoing litigation to protect my son, but with the principles I discuss in my book, that I'm now passing on, I managed to create a meaningful life and a loving bond with my children despite the actions of a destructive man. It can be done! There is hope!

About Beth Wilson
Beth Wilson is a best-selling author, speaker, integrative life coach and women's empowerment expert whose active involvement with parenting and women's issues, as well as personal growth and change, gives her a unique perspective on the challenges facing men, women and families today.

Wilson is the author of the best-selling book, Meditations For New Mothers (1992), which was featured on the front page of The Wall St. Journal due to its volume sales in the first five months of publication. Currently, it has sold more than 800,000 copies and been translated into 15 different languages.

The success of Wilson's first book was followed by publication of Meditations For Mothers Of Toddlers (1995), Meditations During Pregnancy (2001), Restoring Balance To A Mother's Busy Life (1996) and Creating Balance In Your Child's Life (1999).

Wilson is currently finishing her latest book, He's Just No Good For You: A Guide To Leaving A Destructive Relationship, expected in January 2009. (Buy the book on Amazon )

Wilson is also the host of "Quantum Leaps," the popular Internet radio talk show with an international audience that airs on Voice America, the leading live Internet talk radio broadcaster. After initially airing on Voice America's Women's Network, where it became the top-rated show in just 10 weeks, the Internet broadcaster moved the show - which offers listeners a new path for self-empowerment - to its flagship channel in May 2008.

At the same time, Wilson launched a new website,, as a companion to the radio show. In addition to expanding upon the conversations Wilson has with callers to her show and life coaching clients, the website lets visitors sign up for a free bi-weekly ezine, "Teaming with Life," which covers personal growth and health topics.

Wilson earned her B.A. in International Relations from Oberlin College. Upon graduating, she worked as a legislative assistant for former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who was the only woman on the prestigious and powerful Armed Services Committee. As part of her duties, Wilson drafted legislation, floor statements and speeches on Congresswoman Schroeder's behalf and "learned first-hand, how challenging it was to operate in a man's world, and how misunderstood 'woman's issues' truly are."

Wilson's client list includes politicians, celebrities, scholars, royals, Olympians, models, parents, journalists and financial executives. She also has formed an extensive international network of physicians, osteopaths, nurses, healthcare practitioners, therapists, and social workers who utilize her skills for individualized wellness programs.

Wilson conducts life coaching sessions over the phone and travels extensively to meet with clients in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. Based in Mountain View, Calif., and the mother of three children, she enjoys distance swimming, film and traveling in her spare time.