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I Ain’t Saying She’s a Gold Digger: Entitled Wall Street Wives Bail on Their Husbands

January 28, 2009 26 comments

Extra! Extra! The Wall Street crisis is having a far greater impact than previously imagined! In addition to taxpayer-funded bailouts, tens of thousands of layoffs of hardworking people, banks600children whose parents have lost health care, mortgage foreclosures and a rising homeless population, there’s another casualty of the financial meltdown: The wives, girlfriends and mistresses of Wall Street bankers, financiers, and traders.

According to the New York Times article, It’s the Economy, Girlfriend: “Once it was seen as a blessing in certain circles to have a wealthy, powerful partner who would leave you alone with the credit card while he was busy brokering deals. Now, many Wall Street wives, girlfriends and, increasingly, exes, are living the curse of cutbacks in nanny hours and reservations at Masa or Megu. And that credit card? Canceled.”

Wow, where do I begin? How about their seemingly gross lack of emotional support for men whom they supposedly love? Instead of helping their husbands and boyfriends, they’ve formed a “support group” where they mourn the loss of their carefree shopping sprees and weekends in the Hamptons. The craziest thing about this gaggle of entitled, shallow women is that they actually take themselves seriously. I’m waiting for their televised charity benefit, “Blahniks for Selfish Chicks.” Maybe Bono will perform?

“They shared their sad stories the other night at an informal gathering of Dating a Banker Anonymous, a support group founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers…In addition to meeting once or twice weekly for brunch or drinks at a bar or restaurant, the group has a blog…that invites women to join ‘if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life.'”

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale lists being fired from work, business readjustment, change in financial state, change to different line of work, change in responsibilities at work, and starting a new job in the top 20 highly stressful life events index. Instead of offering understanding and reducing their spending, the women depicted in this NYT articlegold-digger whine about canceled credit cards, their husbands/boyfriends being too distracted to pay attention to them, and cutbacks on dining out and vacations. Cry me a river.

These women blame the economy for their current relationship troubles, and not, oh, I don’t know, their utter lack of empathy and fair weather affections. Yes, their relationships have suffered because of the economic downturn, but you have to ask, did these women really love these men or the lifestyle they afforded them when they were living off the their husband’s/boyfriend’s fat salaries?

Several of their relationships with F.B.F.’s (Financial Guy Boyfriends) have ended. They also attribute this to job stress, failing to take into account their self-centered responses and selfish insistence for more material goods. One woman recounts that her boyfriend told her to “grow up” and stop “complaining about vacations and dinner” since he had to “fire 20 people by the end of the week.” Good for him.

Here’s a thought: If you want more Jimmy Choos and trips to the Caribbean, pay for it with money that you earn and if you can’t, STOP COMPLAINING. It’s easy to be loving when times are high; the real test of a relationship is when the chips and stocks are down. It’s extremely difficult to feel sorry for these women, however, you have to wonder about the kind of men who were attracted to them.

Looks like these guys used the same faulty judgment in their choice of relationships as they did in the financial market: High short-term yield, but worthless when the market crashes. It just goes to show how out of touch some of these Wall Street guys and their entitled, pilot fish girlfriends/wives actually are. I guess they missed Obama’s message of personal responsibility, pitching in and working hard. Can you declare emotional bankruptcy?

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.

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If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Spoiled Women Anonymous on NYT.

Gold digger unknown source.

Relationship Roller Coaster Ride: The Cycle of Abuse

January 24, 2009 69 comments

rollercoasterDo you feel like you’re going around in circles in your relationship? Are there so many emotional highs and lows that you feel as if you’re on a roller coaster? Have you tried and tried to make your relationship better, but to no avail?

You may be involved in a cycle of abuse. If so, here’s what you need to know.

Not only is it possible for women to be the emotionally abusive partner, it’s quite common. In fact, women have been found to be more relationally aggressive than men.  Women use verbal assaults, withhold affection, the cold shoulder or shut you down to inflict hurt instead of physical blows. However, women often commit physical violence, too. In fact, recent studies show that it is a 50/50 split.

  • Although your partner’s attacks feel very personal, they’re not. You could be anyone–meaning that you’re not “bad” nor is there “something wrong with you.” She’s an abusive personality type and as such, she’d be the same way with any man as she is with you. This also means that if you finally decide to end the relationship, you don’t need to worry that your ex will miraculously get better and be the dream girlfriend or wife with the next guy. Pending a brain trauma, a frontal lobotomy or a lesion to the amygdala; she won’t change.

You don’t have to stay in a relationship in which you’re devalued, tormented, verbally savaged, and made to feel worthless. You can end it. There are women out there who are kind, loving, and supportive. You can have that kind of relationship if you have the courage to break the cycle of abuse in which you’re currently stuck.

The Cycle of Abuse or “Jane, Get Me Off this Crazy Thing!”

Lenore E. Walker wrote about the cycle of abuse in The Battered Woman (1979). She used it to3_jane-get-me-off-this-craz describe the pattern of tension that builds into violence against women by their husbands or boyfriends. This is a limited use of the model. It can also be applied to abuse in which the woman is the abuser and the man is the recipient.

There are generational cycles of abuse and episodic cycles of abuse. Abusive behaviors, be they physical, sexual, or emotional, are learned.

The abuser learns at an early age (usually from their family) that bullying and humiliation are how you get others to do what you want. For example, when your wife was a child, she probably observed her mother deride, criticize, and belittle her father. She learned that this is how you treat the people you “love.” Now she subjects you to the same treatment. If you have children, they are likely learn this pattern of behavior, too, hence, generational.

Episodic cycles of abuse involve specific periods of tension building behaviors that inevitably erupt into a rage episode or vicious verbal attack in which she alternates between name-calling and tears about some imagined or distorted transgression. Sometimes, you can predict these episodes; other times, they come out of the blue. Typically, men who experience this kind of recurring abuse deny that it even occurs or minimize the severity of it. This serves to perpetuate the problem and refutes the need to seek help.

female time bomb4 Stages of the Cycle of Abuse

1) Kaboom! The cycle begins with a loud verbal explosion, yelling, screaming, accusations, verbal harassment, needling, or threats of abandonment. “You’re lucky I put up with you. No one else would tolerate what I do. If you don’t shape up, I’m going to dump your sorry ass, you loser!” Meanwhile, she’s the one behaving like a lunatic. She’s not going to leave you. It’s an empty threat. You should be so lucky. However, one of the effects of emotional abuse is that you believe her nonsense and actually fear being abandoned.

2) Let’s be friends. Next, a period of remorse, rationalizations and/or excuses follows. She will either:

  • Apologize and vow it will never happen again.
  • Pretend like it never happened, which is also highly abusive.
  • Blame you for her outburst. If you didn’t do x, y, and z, she wouldn’t have to be that way. Abusive personality types never take responsibility for their own actions. It’s always someone else’s fault.
  • Deny the incident occurred.
  • Minimize her behavior and insist it wasn’t that bad.

Usually, you’re so relieved that the screaming and insults have stopped, no matter how she spins events, that you go along with it. You hope the recent attack was the last, but it never is.

3) The calm before the next storm. Things go back to “normal”–for a time. This is referred to as the “honeymoon phase.” No overt abuse is taking place. You’re getting along, while simultaneously waiting for the other shoe to drop and hoping that it won’t. She appears sincere in her efforts to be kind and loving, but what she’s actually doing is lulling you into a false sense of security that the worst is over. It’s not.

4) Tick, tick, tick… Tension begins to build again, replacing the all too fleeting honeymoon period. Irritability surfaces. Communication deteriorates. She makes veiled accusations, blaming you for her unhappiness, frustration and anything else she can think of. She emotionally withdraws and gives you the cold shoulder. Eventually, this escalates into another full-blown rage episode, verbal attack, humiliation party or completely shuts you out.

This repetitive cycle of abuse will leave you feeling insecure, fearful, worthless, broken, and dependent upon the abuser. Eventually, your entire life revolves around trying to second-guess her moods and needs in an effort to stave off the next attack. You become a non-person in that your needs don’t matter because your entire focus shifts to keeping her happy, which is an impossible task. You won’t be able to make her happy, no matter how hard you try. Nor will you be able to change her behavior; only she can do that.

The only way to end the cycle of abuse is to end the relationship. You can try some kind of formalized therapy, but the abuser usually denies the fact that there’s a problem. Alternately, if she does agree to attend therapy, she typically sabotages treatment by either labeling the therapist as a fraud, especially if she gets called on her bad behavior, or finds a therapist who colludes with her and piles more blame and abuse onto you.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t deserve to be treated this way. Please find a source of support and end this vicious cycle. Life is way too short.

Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Roller coaster by english invader on flickr.

Jetsons.

Female time bomb by Something to See on flickr.

When Love Hurts: The Emotionally Abused Man

January 23, 2009 513 comments

Does your relationship with your girlfriend or wife leave you feeling bad about yourself? Do you frequently feel misunderstood, rejected, vilified and devalued in your relationship? Do you feel trapped or stuck? Do you believe it’s possible for men to be emotionally abused by women?

Believe it. It happens all the time. The stereotype of an abusive relationship is that of a man physically beating a woman. Society has yet to acknowledge the vast number of women who emotionally abuse men.

In fact, the men who are being abused oftentimes don’t realize that their wife’s or girlfriend’s behavior is abusive.

2569321033_221a5b6a20-copy-2They use different terms to describe this behavior like nagging, bossy, difficult, strong-willed, tough, harsh, argumentative, “passionate,” or aggressive, which they always follow up with some excuse such as, “She had a really tough childhood. She was abused.” Lots of people have had less than ideal beginnings, but they don’t take it out on others in their adult relationships.

Men have been brainwashed into believing that it’s normal for women to be irrational, moody, emotional, and demanding.

Most men accept these behaviors under the guise that a woman is ‘just expressing her feelings’ and men are uncomfortable with because ‘men aren’t good at expressing their feelings.’ This is ridiculous.  This behavior makes men uncomfortable, just as it would make most women on the receiving end of it uncomfortable because it’s abusive.

Men, you need to wake up and stop blinding yourself to the obvious.

If you walk on eggshells around your partner because you’re afraid she’ll flip out on you for minor transgressions or simply because she’s in a bad mood, you’re experiencing emotional abuse. If nothing you do, no matter how hard you try pleases her, you’re experiencing emotional abuse. If she regularly puts you down, criticizes or demeans you through name-calling and humiliation, you’re experiencing emotional abuse. If she shuts you out, gives you the cold shoulder or refuses to have sex with you in order to control your behavior, you’re experiencing emotional abuse.

There’s no shame in admitting this. In fact, it’s your wife or girlfriend who ought to be ashamed.

Emotional abuse is like a cancer that eats away at your psyche until you’re left feeling powerless, worthless, anxious and/or depressed. Most of the time it happens so gradually that you don’t notice it. You explain away the first few tantrums, emotional outbursts and rage episodes. You take her criticisms to heart because you want to please her.

You’d give anything for her to go back to the way she was during the honeymoon phase of your relationship when she was fun, sweet and loving and therein lies the problem.

2569321033_221a5b6a20-copy-2-copyShe’s not abusive all the time. Sometimes she’s nice. Now and again, she’ll even make a grand loving gesture and you convince yourself that the relationship isn’t that bad. Abusive personality types frequently have a very charismatic and seductive side. If she was all bad all the time, you’d have never become involved with her, right? Their charming side is how they suck people in. Over time, the charm wears thin and their abusive traits dominate.

You can’t fix this. You can’t make her stop. You can’t make your relationship better. You can go to all the therapy sessions in the world and read all the How to Understand Women books on Amazon, but you won’t be able to change her behavior. Why?

First, it’s highly unlikely that your girlfriend or wife will see her behavior as abusive because “everything’s your fault” and, most importantly, her abusive behaviors are how she gets what she wants. It’s a learned and highly effective behavioral technique, which, even if she gains awareness about it, will be terribly difficult (if not impossible) for her to break.

The goal of an abuser is control and the way they control you is through emotional abuse.

Don’t want to admit you’re being controlled or abused? Ok. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you spending more and more time at work because you don’t want to go home?
  • Have you dropped out of touch with friends and family? When you communicate periodically, do you smile and tell them everything’s great as you feel the knot in your stomach tighten and the lump in your throat harden?
  • Do you feel like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop?
  • Have you withdrawn from life while retreating into alternate realities, e.g., books, films or the Internet?
  • Are you experiencing feelings of shame, worthlessness, low self-esteem or emotional numbness?
  • Are you experiencing physical symptoms like chronic stomach pain, nausea, headaches, digestive problems, insomnia or fatigue that your doctor can’t diagnose beyond “may be stress-related?”
  • Are you drinking more or using recreational drugs more than you used to? Are you using them to escape from or numb yourself to the unhappiness of your situation?
  • Do you feel unlovable? Like something’s “wrong” with you or that you’re “bad” or “crazy?” Do you worry that if you left your partner that no one else would want you?
  • Do you experience symptoms of depression, including thoughts of suicide?
  • Do you engage in risky behaviors in which your death would be considered “accidental” like reckless driving, riding your bike alone through rough terrain, going into dangerous neighborhoods,or walking into traffic without looking?

If you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions it’s highly likely that you’re suffering the effects of emotional abuse. Most often women (and men) with these traits either have Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder characteristics, if not full blown personality disorders. These psychiatric conditions are extremely difficult to treat.

All four can be extremely emotionally abusive types who are incapable of feeling empathy or holding themselves accountable, which does not bode well for you.

You need to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life being treated like this or if you want a chance at real love and happiness. You should probably seek some form of formal support to:

  1. Help resurrect your feelings of self-esteem and worth.
  2. Understand why you were attracted to this woman in the first place so you don’t end up in another abusive relationship again.
  3. Learn some behavioral techniques to deal and cope with these behaviors.
  4. Help you decide if you want to end this relationship and, if so, support you through it.

Private Consultation and Coaching

Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services for professional inquiries.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Jekyll and Hyde by That Damned Redhead on flickr.

12 Signs You Should Break Up With Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Spouse

January 20, 2009 283 comments

Breaking up is never easy (especially if it’s not your decision), but oftentimes it is necessary. Perhaps it’s a matter of growing apart or falling out of love. Perhaps one or both of you just aren’t into each other anymore. In extreme cases, perhaps the relationship has become emotionally and/or physically abusive, alternating between cold, sullen resentment and overt hostility.

People stay in unsatisfying and/or toxic relationships for a variety of reasons: fear of being alone, fear of change, the comfort of forked-heartthe familiar vs. the fear of the unknown, financial reasons, children, religious beliefs, etc. We tell ourselves it’s not that bad or things will get better as a reason (i.e., excuse) not to make a difficult, but positive change. Unhappiness in your primary relationship affects every area of your life—physical and mental health, career and other relationships.

Below are some strong signs that it’s time to end your current relationship:

1.    If you’ve been hurt physically.
Ignore excuses and apologies; if violence has surfaced, it will surface again. Get out at the very first strike. This goes for men, too. If your partner, pushes, kicks, shoves or slaps you and/or throw things at you; GET OUT. Physical violence isn’t acceptable from either sex.

2.    When you’re totally incompatible.
If your partner’s dream is to travel the road as a wandering musician and you’re a city person with ambitions, one or both of you will probably be unhappy if you stay together. Relationships have a better chance at being successful with people whom we share similar values and goals.

3.    When he or she isn’t even close to your fantasy.
You may be tempted to stay with someone just because they’re available and willing, but this is generally a bad idea. There should be some chemistry in order to have a successful future.

4.    When he or she just can’t say I love you.
Even if there’s chemistry, if someone can’t express their love for you with affectionate gestures, nurturing, and the words “I love you,” you’ll never really feel satisfied with them.

5.    When he or she just isn’t there for you.
If you’ve been together a while and can’t count on him or her to come get you if your car breaks down, or to attend family or work events, then you don’t have a solid relationship.

6.    When you’re afraid to express yourself.
Being in love should bring out the best in you. It should help you to be less self-conscious and make you more open and alive. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time because your partner is emotionally volatile and verbally abusive, it’s probably a sign that this is not the right relationship for you.

7.    When your self-esteem is suffering.
If your relationship is demeaning, makes you feel bad about yourself, leaves you feeling like you’re not heard, and you’re getting more criticism than praise, then it’s time to end it. A good relationship makes you feel respected and loved, worthwhile and good about yourself.

8.    When he or she is a philanderer.
Serial philanderers usually have a pattern of behavior. If you discover your mate has that kind of history, don’t believe “never again.” The heartache and torment will never end.

9.    When he or she commits an unforgivable act.
There are single acts so horrid that they should mean the END. If he or she sleeps with your best friend, is disrespectful to your family, consistently criticizes and undermines you, stands you up at the altar, or commits murder, end the relationship with no second chances.

10.    When the same problems recur again and again.
Loving someone doesn’t always guarantee you can spend the rest of your lives together. If you’ve broken up and reunited and you’re still having the same fights, the same problems or different versions of the same problem, especially if you’ve tried relationship counseling, it’s probably best to end the relationship. Saying, “things will be better” and actually making things better by changing attitudes and behaviors aren’t the same thing. The former is lip service and mollification; the latter is growth.

11.    When he or she says, “I need some space.”
The relationship seems to have stalled and your partner says something like, “I want time,” or “I want space,” or “I think we should see other people,” or “I need to devote myself to my career.” Almost always, what he or she means is “I want out.” These things happen, don’t drag it out. You might say, “Sounds like you want to break up. I’m sorry you feel that way, but I understand. I hope we can remain friends.”

12.    When the relationship just doesn’t progress.
Relationships have a natural progression. If you’re not progressing and you can’t pinpoint the cause, you might want to try couple’s counseling. However, if he or she won’t go, or goes but doesn’t think there’s a problem or can’t see his or her role in the problem, and/or uses counseling to blame and trash you while exonerating him- or herself, the relationship is coming to an end.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Forked Heart by Barsho on flickr.

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