What does domestic violence against men look like?
How can men recognize if they’re being abused?
Why does the media and society ignore the problem of female perpetrated intimate partner violence?
Why does the media and society think violence against men is acceptable and, oftentimes, funny?
Why do men have such a difficult time accepting that they are in fact being abused by a female partner, friend or family member?
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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.
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Doug Hart says
I consider myself a normal guy. My ex wife was the most violent person I have ever met. She threw things (including punches) first, and listened to reason later. She put me in the hospital with a concussion in our final year of marriage. Her family likes to talk about the time she beat her own mother up because she didn’t like the guy she was dating. Like may not be the correct word but they all sat around and laughed about the time her and her mother went at it in the laundry room. I knew another guy who hit his mother and no one thought it was funny. He went straight to jail.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Sounds like her family was boasting and celebrating her violence. That’s messed up.
Michael Harris says
Hey Dr. T I have some horror stories of my own of knocked down walls assaults on family members pedophilia etc. all from the same woman. She maxed out the violence scale the local domestic violence center gave me when I finanlly found someone willing to help with my ptsd.
Doug Hart says
Just watched your “podcast” good job!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Dr. T, how can a sociopath female who has a long trail of victims who’s lives she has either ruined or caused their deaths be stopped? This person needs to be criminally and civilly held accountable for what she’s done. Her most recent victim took his own life after he finally decided to leave her and had gained custody of his children. During a visit he allowed her to have with their children in a public place she said or did something that pushed him over the edge. He walked out of the visit into the parking lot and blew his brains out. She followed him out pushing her young children ahead of her so they would be the first to discover him. She now has custody of her young children back. She’s also already picked her next victim. What to do?
This post struck home for me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’m passionate about what you do here because of the abuse suffered by my brother at the hands of his first wife. Now I fear his daughter will become the abuser and his son a victim.
Though that is primarily what brings me here to read posts and listen to Going Mental, some of what you said made me think critically about my siblings and I reenact the dynamic between our parents.
I also have an identical twin sister. Our family dynamic growing up was seldom peaceful. Our parents verbally and emotionally abuse one another. We grew up listening to bombastic fights that were never physical, but were most certainly co-instigated. Neither was innocent. Dad is Mom’s third husband, Mom is Dad’s second wife, brother is on his third wife, and sister’s marriage just fell apart, having married an insecure, verbally and emotionally abusive man for over ten years. I am fortunate. I have a happy marriage to an emotionally secure man who has taught me a lot about how to fight fair.
Just before my sister’s husband left her, she picked a fight with me that came out of the blue and slapped me across the face like a fish in a Month Python sketch. She had done so before, sometimes with legitimate complaints, but every fight had a theme: if she had done anything wrong it was so infinitesimally small compared to anything I had done. The fights were awful, confusing, difficult to follow, and traumatizing. Like some of Dr. P’s patients I would rather someone slug me in the mouth than go through that again. The last fight was the most over the top. It’s a long story, but I asked some questions and offered help when we were trying to transfer operation of the family farm from my parents to her and her husband. Everything I said was interpreted as my wanting everything she had and trying to take it from her, which she screamed at me over the phone. She realized how asinine it was and said she felt crappy, though no direct apology. After the call I was so angry, trying to figure out how I could interact with her without having to worry she’d take something wrong and let it brew for a decade or so.
I called her when we cooled down and said, “What bothers me is that when we fight you just keep coming at me and coming at me. You won’t listen to anything I say.” Her reply is, “yeah, well you never either.” We argued some more, me trying to get any sort of contrition and her trying to get me to admit it was my fault. I told her she never sounded sorry when she said it, and her reply was that I should always just believe what she says because she’s bad at that stuff.
I got to where I could let it go. The next morning I felt better and was going about my business when she calls me at work and says, “By the way, I want you to know I forgive you.” I nearly hit the roof.
I walk away doubting my own sanity. I recently realized that perhaps it wasn’t my own crazy but some gas lighting and DARVO. She is a rational and caring human being most of the time, but I’m wondering if the abuse happens when she’s feeling really insecure about something. I learned to fight fair from my husband. She and my brother didn’t have that advantage, because heaven knows it wasn’t modeled at home.
I constantly fear doing something to set her off again. I also worry that I’ve reinforced her abusive behavior. She is normally a rational human being. Her marriage broke up shortly after, and I noticed everything she accused me of doing was what her husband accused her of doing. He was no innocent angel, but I’m starting to think that, like our parents, she gave as good as she got with her emotionally abusive hubby.
I’m thinking that if she picks another fight and engages in the same tactics that I’ll insist on all conversations happening in front of a counselor to keep everyone honest. I’m hoping those of you who have been through this kind of situation has some pointers.
Let me say that I fully realize that what I’m trying to work through with my sister isn’t nearly so serious as what most of the folks here have gone through. Posted in an anxious moment, should have hit delete instead. Sorry.