Human beings are social, pair-bonding creatures. That’s what most people are programmed to do.
Many men, on the other hand, take the impulse to pair bond and turn it into a willingness to be a doormat with a wallet, often in exchange for what appears to be a small amount of acceptance from a woman. There are women who allow themselves to become doormats, too. It’s usually due to codependent traits
Of course, not all men and women are like that. But there is enough of them to keep a steady stream of victims rolling into family court, year after year. One thing that might help men in avoid this trap is if they had a sense of their own worth and self-respect that is not dependent upon women’s approval.Same goes for women. Tying up one’s self-worth on the approval of an abusive personality guarantees abuse and exploitation.
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Counseling 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. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Thanks for continuing to take the time to create these vital films. It’s a wonderful return to the no-nonsense VFM Radio episodes I used to love from you two. I can’t get enough of this common-sense talk.
(And many congratulations on the successful Conference!)
Dr Tara Palmatier says
You are welcome, ABQChris, and thank you for the positive feedback. Paul and I are considering taking calls. We just have to figure out the technology.
This site has been an eye-opener and a life-saver for many! The truth shall set us free. 😉
Amen. This site and the stories people share here are helping guys around the world. I would have struggled to relate everything I could read about personality disorders to my own experiences without actually hearing from other people in the same boat.
Uneasy 1 says
I’ve couldn’t have said it better.. Common scenes which I thought I had, only to find out the opposite.
The title of this one brings back an old Tanya Tucker song, “Dancing the Night Away (1977).”
“Standing beside the ocean
Throwing rocks out in the bay
I should look for companionship
But, it just gets in my way”
There’s something about those lines.
There’s a great deal of Delta Dawns out there. Of course, these days, most of them are men…
Here are some notes I made while watching the video to summarize it and add in some of my own thoughts on the subject:
1. Men are programmed in to seek adequacy “being good enough.”
2. Abuse (systemic and personal) creates a loosening of boundaries in men/boys. Men/boys then perceive they responsible for the emotional or physical states of other people.
3. When their older male peers (brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins) are found to be inadequate by girls/women/societal expectations boys may be “parentified” and made to fill roles for which they a) are truly unsuited b) are inadequate due to their own developmental level / life stage.
4. When puberty arrives heterosexual men are programmed to seek status and the favor of women. As their interest in sex increases, they take actions that attempt to increase their status and sexual opportunities. Societal messages to men when they reach puberty suggest that women have special status and need protection and deferential treatment.
Without other masculine influences/connection/collaboration and a sense of respect and worth, some men learn to use psyops (pick-up artist tactics aka “game”) to subvert the “special status” accorded to women. Others refuse to play the game at all such as MGTOW, “Men on Strike.” Still others end up playing the game and giving away their personal power in the process.
* Men: true adequacy (and the associated healthy boundaries) vs. shame-based, “I am unworthy and disposable,” approval-seeking. Consequences for men who maintain shame-based perceptions of themselves: legal, financial, emotional. Isolated (don’t seek advice or compare notes with other men concerning girls/women until they are damaged in some way).
* Women: seeking importance and meeting their perceived “needs” (perceive themselves as indisposable and important) and become hypergamous in order to find men they perceive to be “adequate”. Connected (always communicating, comparing notes, seeking advice from other girls/women about men even from very young ages).
6. Societal perceptions concerning women (helpless, hapless, hopeless and in need of rescue) and the protective instincts in men have dictated laws, statutes and policies that grant rights to women and children at the expense of men. We have the ability to rise above “human nature” — instincts and scotomas in societal perceptions and change policies that restore equal treatment, equal protection and equal justice under law.
7. What to do:
* Comparison to human rights movement from the 60’s “Black is beautiful.” Today, it should also be: “Men Are Good!” “Good” and “adequate” however need to be defined not in terms of what men DO but in their existential qualities — who they ARE. (“human being” vs. “human doing”).
* Find a confederate: another man who understands the current dynamics between men and women.
* seek connection with groups and avoid isolation: avoiceformen.com, shrink4men.com, menaregood.com
* In the dating world, men need to ask: “what can she do for you?” beyond attraction and physical qualities. Whatever the answer is for the man concerning the required abilities and qualities he seeks in a woman, the relationship needs to be mutual and reciprocal to succeed. All relationships need 7 mutual/reciprocal qualities: Honesty, trust, respect, security, conversation, romance (honor), and touch (sexual/non-sexual).
* build good boundaries and understand where you are in your life. The same boundaries created by psychologists, counselors and somatic therapists in managing the therapeutic framework are also useful for men in dating relationships.
-books with ideas can be applied to relationships
> The Educated Heart by Nina McIntosh
> How to Fail As a Therapist: 50+ Ways to Lose or Damage Your Patients by Bernard Schwartz, PHD and John V. Flowers PHD.
> What Therapists Don’t Talk About and Why Understanding Taboos That Hurt Us and Our Clients by Kenneth S. Pope et al.
> If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!: The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients by Sheld B. Knopp
> The Situation Is Hopeless But Not Serious (The Pursuit of Unhappiness) by Paul Watzlawick
> The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Edition) Erik H. Erikson and Joan M. Erikson
9. Couples counseling can create “triangles” because the therapist is often complicit with the woman. Avoid counselors who take sides or reinforce societal stereotypes about what a man “should” be doing.
10. The road to self respect starts with healthy boundaries. It may be a lonely road — when you are no longer disrespect yourself, all of your relationships will change. When you are no longer tolerate being exploited and used, you will attract higher quality relationships.
11. Isolation is the ultimate poison. (google: “howard bloom isolation is the ultimate poison”) Seek friendships at avoiceformen.com, Shrink4men.com, Menaregood.com
12. Finally, What will you do to protect and fight for yourself?
One of my favorite quotes, to summarize the whole discussion:
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” — Hillel. Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
Thanks Tom. Wonderful insights and resources.
One other resource I forgot to mention:
Shari Schreiber’s site, gettinbetter.com .
Particularly, look at her article on gettinbetter.com DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED?
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Shari’s site is on my blogroll. Good stuff.
Thank you very much Tom for sharing another wonderful website.
Excellent video. As a single woman (never married) who has always earned my own money, I have been wary of men who might see me as a “meal ticket” and think they are entitled to tap into my wallet! And I wonder at the number of men out there who seem conditioned to thinking it’s fine for WOMEN to take THEIR hard-earned money (and life) from them! It pisses me off when it happens to me and I somehow keep expecting my male friends to feel the same way but far too often…
They are puppies and patsies for women who have nothing to bring to the table, women who demand and take but never GIVE BACK. This video brings this to the forefront. I believe self-respect and a “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” attitude are healthy for both sexes.
When life gets too full of BS for me, I visit Shrink4men.com and it’s like a breath of fresh air. So glad I found you guys!!
Men need to stop being such wimps and women need to stop being such bitches! Both sexes take part in this dysfunctional dance. Young girls and young boys both need to treat one another with respect and empathy. If you put yourself in other person’s shoes, you cannot go wrong. With our narcissistic society, that is where we go wrong. It’s not all about me me me but us us US.
Yea…right. Let’s take their logic and revisit the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Herman Goerring…charged with war crimes and mass murder. We’ll judge…Herman has been fat his whole life and people made fun of him-giving him low self esteem. Well…in that case…Not Guilty! Keitel and the others-ditto,in1way or another. So…also not guilty. And let’s just say Hitler had been there to stand trial. Charged with murdering 6 million Jews. And 50 million other people.war crimes…crimes against humanity. We’ll judge…growing up,poor little Adolph had an alcoholic abusive father who beat him severely all the time…1 time so badly he almost died. So he couldn’t help but grow up and murder millions of people. Oh well…in that case…Not Guilty! Extreme? Not really. I am just applying the same logic these borderline apologists use to an incident in history. See how crazy the logic is? Unbelievable.
Oh. Sorry. Posted my comment in wrong place. Meant to put it on one about borderline apologists. Too bad my crazy ex NPD girlfriend isn’t here to punch me and rage about this unforgivable sin.
I learn slowly and the issues I discuss with my therapist(a man)take time to filter down through the many layers of my damaged and confused brain, but the epiphanies do happen and the one I had a couple of nights ago was that the anger I have towards my wife for the 20 years of verbal and emotional abuse is misdirected. I’m angry at myself for allowing myself to be the object of her abuse. She was who she was. I say that in the past tense because she has stopped drinking, she’s involved in meditation and ‘seems’ to be a different person…except my wounds have never healed, so even though she has changed, I feel detached from her; she’s like someone I used to know. I don’t have and haven’t had, for several years, any physical desire for her, though she let’s me know she’s ‘ready’ whenever I feel up to it. Cruel joke since I have ED.
Most men and Dr. T would probably advise me to leave but I took early retirement, getting far less than I would have if I’d waited until 65 or older and my health is poor. I’m trapped in my life because I can only see me being homeless if I go, since I’m too messed up to work. I know what you’re all hearing is a man crying the blues about how he screwed up his life because he was naive and blind to the insanity that everyone else could see. But I haven’t resigned myself to living like this until I die. As I said; in my head and heart, I’ve disconnected from her. I need to plan carefully because once I jump ship, I can never look back, nor should I look back.
Jesus. You guys deserve a Pulitzer or some kind of award/recognition for these educational-tutorial-documentary-journalistic masterpieces. How nice to hear truth again, breathing life back into men.
Agree! And you too, cuatezon, are particularly insightful and eloquent. Shrink4Men is no ordinary site. I am so glad I found it.
Thanks for the compliment Seeker. Hopefully I contribute something, God knows I’ve been through the ringer (and still getting rung) but hey, there is strength in numbers.
Regarding your comment a week ago. I think these days men have been beaten down so much by media, society’s attitudes, and being marginalized, told we aren’t needed anymore…well then when a lady comes along and treats us nice, its euphoric and we roll over wanting our bellies rubbed like the puppy (metaphorically speaking). I think its all symptom of a deeper problem – a sick society. Men who were strong and had values were exalted; now they are ridiculed. Women who were virtuous and ethical were desirable; now its about having nice tits & ass. People have become commodities and society does not hold that people have intrinsic value. Thus, the growth in narcissism, cluster Bs, borderlines, megalomaniacs and miniature Hitlers. Calgon take me away…
Exactly. I’ve rarely heard the sick state of our society so accurately described. Everything bad is good…everything good is bad. How did it get so twisted??
Uneasy 1 says
Today I stumbled upon your great community, the sad thing for me is that it comes @ a time when I’m bent but not broken. My wife has said some damning things and out of fear of pissing her off I would not fight. I do admit I’ve not always been the best person, or maybe I have and allowed leaches to eat me from the inside out. I find what Dr T said at the end of the video absolutely true, once you defend yourself and not allow yourself to be a mat for people they abandon you so to speak then move on to another person and try to consume them.
Freedom!!!! Yes, it is now almost a year since slamming the door and running from 6 years of NDP abuse. She stole my entire life away and I had to file for bankrupcy!!!!
Dr T will forever be my hero and I will always visit this site to check in.
My recovery will probably take a life time so to all men out there….
do not sell yourself short!!! Life is great on your own and as Joni sang,”You don`t know what you got till its gone.”
To all men……take your time and do not get tricked!!!
As I have said many times…..go to the original Shrink For Men articles and spend a weekend reading them over……….that is a tiny investement and one that could save you years/a lifetime of grief and torture.
I never knew what the words Narcissitic,Gaslight or Co-Dependency existed until the relationship from hell kicked in full force.
Now, thanks to her……these words are forfront in my daily life and vocabulary.
Take care guys………follow your intuition……if something doesn`t feel right…….RUN!!!!!