About Dr. Tara Palmatier – Shrink4Men
I launched Shrink4Men on January 12, 2009 due to the recognition that men in relationships with abusive women have much less support than female abuse victims. Society and support organizations have been slow to admit that men comprise approximately 50% of abuse victims. Even worse, many men who seek help are ridiculed, shamed and not believed.
Many male abuse victims have difficulty admitting what they experience in their marriage or relationship is, in fact, abuse. Societal double standards are rife regarding acceptable behavior for men vs. acceptable behavior for women in relationships. How many times have you seen what would be labeled abusive behavior by a man described as “she’s just emotional” when engaged in by a woman?
I earned a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and an MSc in Counseling Psychology and have over 26 years of experience. Over the last nearly three decades, I have been providing counseling to diverse populations in a variety of settings. My doctoral dissertation, Ce ci n’est pas une these: An applied psychoanalysis of Rene Magritte, was completed and successfully defended in 2004. It examines unresolved childhood bereavement, the effects of a mentally ill mother and creative outcomes in an adult artist. I still have a keen interest in psychology and the arts. Additionally, I view my work with my clients as a complex form of grief counseling.
I help men trying to end abusive relationships and/or developing coping strategies while still in the relationship. While, I also work with women seeking to heal from abusive relationships, the majority of my clientele are men. Regardless of a client’s gender, the behavior of the abusive partners, spouses or exes they describe seem to meet the criteria for personality disorders. The most common are borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, dependent, paranoid personality disorders and psychopathy.
In some cases, the abusive spouses have received diagnoses from their own therapists. Additionally, I also work with family members who seek to help a son, daughter, brother or sister in an abusive relationship, new spouses of men with abusive exes still causing conflict and adult children of narcissistic and borderline parents. Many of my clients struggle with codependency and a history of trauma bond based relationships.
- Abuse is unacceptable from either sex.
- Abuse is unacceptable even when the perpetrator has a personality disorder or other mental illness.
- Tolerating abuse from your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband doesn’t make you a good person. Remaining in the relationship and/or not taking steps to end the abuse once you recognize it as such means you’re enabling your own abuse.
- Ending a relationship in which you’re actively being emotionally and/or physically abused doesn’t make you a bad or selfish. Even if you have children. Adults leave other adults. It’s not abandonment. And you’re still a parent to the children whether there are two households or one.
- Double standards and inequities in relationships are unhealthy and unacceptable. You shouldn’t have to “take it” or shoulder the entire financial burden because you’re a man.
- Both partners’ needs and feelings are equally important. Ideally, both partners come first in a relationship and are willing to compromise.
- Healthy relationships are a source of mutual comfort and support, not a series of endless pointless conflict, no-win situations, hoop jumping and double standards.
Mental health professionals are part of the problem.
We tell female abuse victims to end their toxic relationships. To get away from the abusive male partners. Consequently, we rightly condemn men who are physically and emotionally violent. Alternately, society and the mental health field perpetuate the myth that most abuse is committed by men. This simply isn’t true.
As such, it’s common practice for some mental health professionals to tell male clients that their abusers aren’t abusive. Due to bias and ignorance, some therapist tell male victims that the wife is just “emotional.” Even worse, that it’s normal for women to behave this way. Furthermore, because [insert excuse for her abuse] he needs to be patient and sensitive to her issues and stay in the relationship. Outrageously, this is no matter the personal cost to male abuse victims and regardless of children witnessing the abuse. In addition to being an unacceptable double standard, these therapists are accomplices to female perpetrated spousal and child abuse.
Counseling, Consulting and Coaching 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. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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