You Are Not a Princess! 25 Points for Women and Men to Consider

I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now. In that time, I’ve noticed many double standards and gender inequities in relationships that are culturally acceptable. Here are some of my observations for women to consider in terms of their own behavior and for men to consider in terms of their own enlightenment when it comes to women and relationships. The following points don’t apply to all women, however, they apply to enough of them that they’re part of our faulty cultural belief system. Hey ladies (and you know who you are):

1. You are not a princess. You do not deserve to be treated like royalty just by virtue of your sex. You deserve to be treated no better or worse than you treat others.

2. You are not any more “special” nor any more “entitled” than anyone else. You don’t deserve special privileges and nobody “owes” you anything by virtue of who you are or because of your gender.

3. You are just as “lucky” to have found your husband/boyfriend as he was to find you. Have you ever considered that there are times when you are lucky that he puts up with and tolerates you?

4. Men have feelings, too. They hurt just as much as you do when you criticize, reject, dismiss, ignore, make fun of, disrespect, invalidate and/or mock them. In fact, they may hurt more because they don’t have as many emotional outlets as you—especially if you tell him his feelings “don’t count” or to “be a man” when he expresses his feelings that you mistakenly claim he doesn’t have and/or is “wrong” for having. He has feelings and he has a right to them even when they’re not the same as yours and/or are expressed differently than you express yours.

5. If it’s okay for you to have male friends and maintain friendships with your exes, it’s also okay for your husband/boyfriend to have female friends and maintain friendships with his exes. It is not different for you because “you’re a woman.” It’s faulty logic to suppose women are inherently more trustworthy than men. This is called a double standard and it’s not okay. Otherwise, the culturally acceptable pronouncement, “Men are all dogs” should be met with “Women are all bitches” (i.e., female dogs) and should be equally culturally acceptable.

6. A father is just as important in a child’s life as a mother. Period. Just because you have a uterus doesn’t make you the better parent by default.

7. Children are not “hers” and “his” objects. The correct possessive pronoun is “ours.”

8. Your husband/boyfriend does not “owe” you. He shouldn’t be expected to financially support you and shower you with gifts unless you’re willing to reciprocate and equally support him without question or complaint. You’re neither his child nor his dependent. You’re supposed to be his equal partner.

9. Your husband’s/boyfriend’s desires, needs, wishes, feelings, likes and dislikes are just as important as yours. It’s not all about you all the time. You’re supposedly in a mutual and reciprocal relationship; not a service industry/client-vendor relationship.

10. If you’re not willing to make changes in yourself and your behavior,  you’ve no right to demand that your husband/boyfriend do so. Nor is it reasonable to demand or expect your husband/boyfriend to make all the changes you want first before you’re willing to do your own work.

11. You are not a better human being by virtue of being a woman. You’re not a goddess. You’re not a sacred cow. You don’t “rule.” You’re a person, just like your husband/boyfriend is a person. You both deserve to be treated with equal dignity and respect when you act and treat each other with dignity and respect.

12. It’s a lie and a manipulation to say you “sacrificed” your career when you never really wanted to work in the first place. If you see your husband/boyfriend as your ticket to freedom from being a wage slave, be honest with yourself and your husband/boyfriend and most important of all, BE GRATEFUL. Having another person pay your way through life is not an inalienable right; it’s an enormous gift for which you should express gratitude on a regular basis.

13. It is wrong to use your child(ren) to hurt, control or extort money from your husband/boyfriend/ex. In fact, it borders on child abuse. Children are not pawns or human shields to be used for your own selfish reasons. They’re people who will later grow to resent you for using them in this fashion and will likely develop psychological problems of their own as a result.

14. It is wrong to expect or demand that your ex continue to financially support you after the relationship ends. The children are entitled to support until they become adults at the age of 18. You’re already an adult and, as such, you’re capable of and should legally be expected to take care of yourself— unless you’re willing to continue to support your ex by doing his grocery shopping, cooking cleaning, errands, etc. If your obligations to your husband are finished after a divorce, his obligations to you should also be finished.

15. Your husband/boyfriend is not responsible for your happiness. It isn’t his job to make you happy; that’s your job. Just as he is responsible for his own happiness. He’s supposed to be your equal partner, not your emotional wet nurse.

16. The desire for sex in a committed, loving relationship is healthy and natural. Using sex to control, shame or hurt your husband/boyfriend by withholding affection or making sex transactional is unhealthy and wrong.

17. Your husband/boyfriend should be more important to you than your child(ren) just as you should be more important to your husband than the child(ren). In other words, you should be each others’ first priorities; children second. You don’t need a husband if your sole desire is to have children—unless you see the man as a source of income for yourself and the children. If you can’t support yourself, you probably shouldn’t be having children. Marriage is a bond between two grown adults; not a bond between parent and child (Marc Rudov, 2008). You vow to honor your spouse and put him or her before all others, this includes your children. Children eventually fly the coop. If you make them the focus and raison d’être of your marriage, don’t be surprised when you no longer have much of a marriage as the years pass.

18. You are only entitled to what you earn or produce. Men are neither beasts of burden nor “working boys” to be pimped out in the service of their partners or ex-partners. No one owes you a living. As an adult, you’re not entitled to be taken care of by another party unless you have documented cognitive or physical disabilities that prohibit you from working. Last time I checked, being a wife, ex-wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, mistress, ex-mistress, mother and/or simply a woman wasn’t considered a disability.

19. It is just as ABUSIVE when a woman slaps, kicks, hits, spits at, scratches, shoves, pushes, punches, pulls hair, uses a weapon, swings a golf club at or throws objects at a man. It isn’t funny, cute, justifiable or deserved. It is indefensible, inexcusable, criminal and just as prosecutable as when a man acts violently toward a woman. Period.

20. The same goes for emotional abuse. It is unacceptable.

21. It is neither “normal” nor “acceptable” adult female behavior to throw temper tantrums, withhold sex, cry, rage, pout, have disproportionate reactions to events or be unable to control emotions and behaviors. At the very least, these are signs of emotional lability and poor impulse control; at worst, these are indicators of serious pathology and quite possibly some kind of personality disorder.

22. It is not okay to divert money from your joint checking/savings account(s) or open credit cards in your husband’s/boyfriend’s name without his knowledge and explicit permission. The first instance is stealing and the second is considered identity theft and fraud. Signing your husband’s/boyfriend’s signature to financial and legal documents is forgery. All of these actions are illegal.

23. It is irresponsible to live beyond your means and abusive to expect your husband/boyfriend to foot the bill or go into debt to cover your expenses. If you can’t responsibly use a credit/debit card then, much like a child, you shouldn’t have one.

24. It is never acceptable or permissible to threaten to deny your husband/boyfriend/ex access to the children you share. It is not okay to make up abuse allegations because you’re feeling angry, hurt or out of control. This is an act of slander (spoken) or libel (written) and if you swear to it in court, it’s also an act of perjury.

25. It is not fair to commit to or marry a man and then try to change him. If you don’t accept him as he is, just like you expect him to accept you and your faults, then you have no business being with him. Everyone has a right to feel accepted for who he or she is in a relationship. If he’s “not good enough” for you from the get go; keep looking and cut him loose so he can be with a woman who appreciates him.

All of these observations seem self-evident to me, which leads me to ponder how did we get here?

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/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.


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Photo credits:

Princess syndrome 1 by anagley on flickr.

Princess syndrome 2 on lavalife.

Brat child on turnbacktogod.

  1. Kitten
    December 17, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Sorry, but I am a princess, and my fiancee loves me that way. Just because I’m a princess doesn’t mean I don’t treat him right. ;) He just happens to love being needed by me and taking care of me!

    • shrink4men
      December 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Kitten,

      Unless you were born into one of the royal houses of Europe, the Middle East or Africa, actually, no, you are not a princess.

      I wonder if your fiancee will find “being needed” and having to take care of you as charming after a few years (or weeks) of marriage? Perpetual neediness becomes a drain on a relationship fairly quickly. I sure hope you’re treating him like a “prince” and not your “squire” in return.

      Dr Tara

      • Jon
        December 17, 2009 at 8:56 pm

        Well Said Dr. T,

        An interesting trait amongst borderlines is that when you say something that is true about what they are or what they are not, that they will find it far too tempting to object to what you are saying–thus attempting to maintain their false reality (on this article that being the reality that they are princesses).

        Borderlines love to maintain their fake realities and false senses of security.

    • Vantage1
      December 17, 2009 at 5:33 pm

      @Kitten: don’t take this as hostility, but please take a moment to define for all the readers/posters on this site in some detail how you are a “princess.” Simply said, you need to back up that title (and Dr. T has a VERY GOOD point in the first paragraph to her response to you).

      In any relationship I have been in, I have never fancied myself a “prince” or anything else with some sort of royal title attached; it’s not realistic and it smacks of arrogance and ego without any major accomplishment attached to support it. I just simply expect to be treated with what I feel I am rightfully owed, which is simply courtesy, kindness and respect (and in the grand scheme of it all, that’s not asking for much); anything is a bonus and always appreciated. As in relationships and life, it all comes down to something very simple: you recieve ONLY AS WELL as you give. Being reciprocal is key; anything less will eventually fail.

      Of course you are more than welcome to disagree but your counterpoints will need far more substance than a mere two sentences.

      • free2beYou
        December 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

        haha I agree Vantage1,
        Princess…. Oh Barf! You seem to be looking for attention getting on this farfetched comment whether it be positive or negative. haha funny though. You may find taking the time to polish your royal Crown embellished with jewels of terds & a lackluster of kaka to be more beneficial.No to be nasty, but we all are equals & your cr#$ smells just like anyone elses my fair lady!

        • Vantage1
          December 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

          @free2beYou: no worries at all…I know who your message was intended for all along ;-)

    • Vantage1
      December 17, 2009 at 5:34 pm

      @Kitten: you may wish to take a look at this past post from Dr. T for further consideration:

      Points 2, 3 and 4 are very hard to argue with.

    • Recovering Alpha
      December 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Wait til his brother passes away and princess has too much to do to be with him during grief. I’m not saying you’ll be that way, but thinking you’re a princess leads to “It’s all about me.” I’ve watched this in many other women in my couples acquaintances the past two decades.

      Just be careful. Your name “Kitten” evokes images of helplessness, so I’m instantly leery about you actually being an equal in this relationship. In real life, (female) kittens don’t (can’t?) take care of Tom Cats.

      • nick
        December 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm

        Hey “Kitten”….I have a longstanding habit of hooking up with women who have the effect of turning me into a “sqeaky little gerbil of a man”… if things don’t gel with you and the fiancee……..

    • TheGirlInside
      July 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      1. You are NOT a princess. Felines do not recognize royal lineage.
      2. One of the most heinous excuses for a human being I have ever known, and shudder to remember, nicknamed herself “Kitten.” She is a true sociopath, got a free house from Habitat for Humanity, while weighing 300++ lbs, and engaged to a truck driver. She seduced and attempted to seduce every boyfriend / fiance I had (as well as my other female friends’ bf’s), then when FINALLY confronted by me for her sins (b/c she kept whining to mutual friends about the mystery of why I refused to friend her on FB or (upon which she once bragged to the world of screwing / giving birth to another man’s child while married)…doing so in a way that smacked of “Poor, dumb misguided TheGirlInside”–she actually tried to convince others that it was ME who had used and abused all my friendships.
      3. The male spelling of fiance’ only has one ‘e’ — Ms. higher ACT scored but kicked out of college after 2 Quarters for being a lowly wh*re. PS My 4.0 GPA on my current MBA is goinggreat.
      4. If any of the above sounds remotely familiar to you, please forward me your fiance’s (or, should I mis-spell it ‘finance’s’) address and I’ll overnight to him a burlap sack a length of rope and a bucket of water. Do the math.

  2. Shannon Edwards
    December 17, 2009 at 6:35 am


    What a profound post, thank you. It is a real problem that most of the women I know have these false beliefs…..(and I am a woman and I know I am far from perfect too). But where do they get these beliefs from? Their moms and dads? Men in their lives perpetuate (resentfully) the beliefs and enable them because they don’t put their foot down? Isn’t it partly about boundaries and false expectations?

    If we wish to create an improvement, we need to understand this, don’t you think?

    • Q
      December 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm

      IMHO, it’s pop culture and the things that are commercially available for kids these days. Parties and some toys for girls are often princess themed, and those, coupled with what they understand princesses to be, seem to subliminally reinforce the message that girls are princesses. It doesn’t only happen to the girls themselves, but to the parents who buy these things for their daughters and to boys who watch girls perusing these things.

      At least that’s what I’ve read from somewhere, but can’t remember where other than it not being on the internet.

      • shrink4men
        December 17, 2009 at 5:55 pm

        Good points, Q.

    • shrink4men
      December 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. The first time I remember hearing grown women referred to as princesses was in the 1980s and it was a derogatory comment (e.g., “Jewish American Princess). Then in the mid 1990s, I noticed a proliferation of women referring to themselves proudly as princesses and arrogantly demanding to be treated as such. I don’t know how the shift occurred.

      Was it the self-esteem movement, which feeds people’s egos about being “inherently special” that never once addressed that true self-esteem develops out of a sense of efficacy and real accomplishments? Is it the proliferation of Disney Stores selling Princess costumes and accessories to the parents of young daughters who think it’s cute? Is it the glamorized bad behavior of reality TV divas and other pop celebrities? Is it the perversion of Betty Friedan’s original brand of feminism that has created this new breed of over-privileged entitled women? Is it a confluence of these and other factors? I don’t know.

      I agree with your statement that men often perpetuate these behaviors by not putting their foot down and setting boundaries or because they themselves believe that this is “normal” behavior and have resigned themselves to it. Alternatively, perhaps they’ve resigned themselves because of the incredible backlash when anyone criticizes Woman, even when the criticism is legitimate and merited.

      Thanks again for commenting.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • artemis
        September 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        I am really glad that you said this. I am the 42 year old offspring of a JAP and a recovered catholic scientist. the term “princess” was VERY derogatory in our house. if dad called you a princess, you knew that you had just done something pretty unacceptable. My own daughters (14 and 10)know what “princess” means and don’t have these entitled expectations either.
        the disney princess thing was horrific. luckily, we discovered the powerpuff girs (kindergarten super heros!) at the perfect time. they are tough girls and that helped to negate the disney princess bombardment….and Jessica needs to get her head on straight. even AFTER I divorced, I was clear that while my girls are very important and being their mom is a huge part of my life, that if I entered into a new relationship that it would hold an elevated place in the hierarchy (and i have been in a 4 year relationship with a great man – my girls love him).

    • Recovering Alpha
      December 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm

      I just watched a movie with my two oldest boys (12 and 14 yo) last night titled, “A Knight’s Tale” (Heath Ledger). It’s about a knight and a lady and all that. What totally FREAKED me out and I spoke out very loud for the benefit of my boys is the following scene. The “lady” tells the knight about to joust that “if you love me you won’t win”. So what does the knight do? He takes repeated lances into his chest without aiming his own during each pass. He of course doesn’t fall out of his horse so is made to continue this until he has a pause. Next scene he’s taken off his armor and is showing all kinds of injury. Then the “lady’s” second (a woman) appears and says, “if you love me you will win” and you can guess the rest.

      When this scene came on I very STRONGLY told my sons, “That’s a bunch of crap!!! If you have a noble girl tell you to take purposeful injury to prove your love, GO FIND A NICE PEASANT GIRL WHO’S WILLING TO BE YOUR WIFE.” I worry about other boys who don’t have a father who has liberated himself from such non-sense. This is very sensitive to me because I DID THE SAME F’N THING FOR MY EX FOR NEARLY 2 DECADES. IT ALMOST KILLED MY HEALTH. It was in many ways propagated and taught by culture particularly TV and MUSIC LYRICS.

      Just my two cents.

      • shrink4men
        December 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

        Hi Recovering Alpha,

        Television, movies, books and commercials are riddled with examples like this. Most people just ingest these subtle and not-so-subtle messages without thinking twice. Disney is one of the worst offenders, but I’m not even going to get on my soapbox re: Disney. However, they stripped away all of the valuable lessons from the original Grimm’s fairy tales and created a nation of junior princesses in training.

        Dr T

        • Recovering Alpha
          December 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

          Hi Dr T

          Thanks for reply. (BTW, I will be sending you those documents in January!)

          Anyways, I recall reading a book written for an earlier (and different) generation. T H White’s “A Once and Future King”. Anyways, he basically rewrites the original Morte d’Arthur by Mallory in more modern prose. But one thing I recall in there is Sir Gallahad. He, rather than smirk his ‘purity’ (I don’t recall the details), allows multiple women to jump from castle towers to their deaths. (I believe T H White was homosexual.)

          I’m not advocating that bad behavior in women either (and also why I think I mentioned the author’s sexual preference) but just wanted to contrast two different eras in Western European literature and the tales woven for men/women. Contrast to Disney’s tales?

          Just an intellectual meandering …

  3. Jessica
    December 17, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Hey. Just wanted to point out a mistake you made. CHILDREN COME FIRST. Then spouse. Any married person would agree that no matter how much you love your spouse, the children always come first. children are the reason many couples stay together even when the love is gone. children are the reason why most families stay in touch. Children are the MOST IMPORTANT thing in a parent’s life. To say the opposite means you either don’t have children, or you are the selfish kind of person who doesn’t like them. Please take this as a correction, not as criticism. Thank you.

    • shrink4men
      December 17, 2009 at 5:29 am

      Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t see it as a criticism; however, I respectfully disagree with you. I also disagree with adults who stay together “because of the children.” I think it’s a cop out and unfair to place the burden of remaining in a loveless marriage on kids. The reason most people stay in an unhappy relationship is FEAR. I speak from both personal and professional experience.

      Here are some excerpts from the post by Marc Rudov I cite in my post that will help to explain my point:

      . . . regardless of their financial or familial motivations for saying, “I do,” what men and women don’t do, quite clearly, is adhere to the vows they took to forever cherish, love, and honor each other. Somehow, the import and memory of these vows vanish when children arrive, and THAT is the problem. Children are born outside the bounds of marriage and must never be allowed to invade it. Alas, they’re allowed, even encouraged, to invade it. . .

      . . . I’m not suggesting for one minute that spouses not have children. That’s ludicrous. I am suggesting, though, that spouses gain perspective on where those children rank in the hierarchy: not at the top. Spouses must keep each other at the top, as they promised to do.

      Now, if you’re concluding, while reading this, that I’m advising you to ignore, abandon, and mistreat your children, you’re not intelligent enough to marry or procreate! Parents own and run the home; children must respect them and their rules. Brats cannot survive in a home where parents honor and admire each other. . .

      It is inexcusable to vow, on your wedding day, to place your spouse first and then violate that vow by subordinating your spouse to your children. . . Children don’t ruin marriage, unless their parents give them the power to do so. Spouses ruin marriage — way before they become spouses — by believing that children belong at its center. Again, if that were true, marriage vows would include children. They don’t.

      Here are links to other articles that also explain my point:

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • Jon
      December 17, 2009 at 8:49 pm



      But by saying that the children come first, What specifically does this mean? What does it mean when the children come first? How would this belief alter the facts that pertain to borderline personality disorder, which is what this site is mainly about?

      And whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinion, how could one person speak on behalf of every married couple–even going so far as to say that an opposite belief indicates selfishness.

      Indeed, there is nothing of a more selfish nature in a person than when they take it upon themselves to tell everyone else what their opinion should be and how they should feel.

    • nick
      December 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

      oh puhleeeze Jessica….”children first?” Go ahead and neglect the marriage cuz junior is more important. On the heals of that, comes divorce and the breakdown of the family unit. No marriage. Just another woman,or man, wandering this earth bitching about being a single parent…looking for the next mistake….looking for someone else to clean up the mess.

    • Peter
      December 25, 2009 at 8:10 pm

      No, they don’t. The thing children need more than anything, including affection and attention, is the knowledge that Mommy and Daddy are in control, and that the home is intact and safe. That only happens when the marriage comes first. If the marriage isn’t a priority, it makes the children very insecure, and they begin acting out and being discipline problems. Kids want the marriage to come first. They don’t realize it because, of course, they’re kids, but they do.

    • March 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      I agree with everyone here: My wife will always come first. The best thing for children is to have parents who love, support, care for and inspire each other, and demonstrate that. It also helps if the know from a young age that they are _not_ the most important person in the world.

      Look at it like this: The job of my wife and I is to take care of our children and raise them in a good way. The stronger our relationship the better we can do this job, so putting my wife first is far more beneficial for my children than putting them first.

      • September 15, 2010 at 4:19 am

        I agree with P and Dr. T: The best gift any parent(s) can give to children is to show those children what a loving relationship looks like. That’s a BIG PART of being a parent and raising your children for success in the world.

    • burntorangehorn
      July 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Wrong. If the children are what’s keeping a couple together long after the love is gone, the couple shouldn’t be together anymore. That’s bad for everyone, especially the children. I fought that notion for years, but eventually realized how toxic it really becomes. My former spouse and I are extremely cooperative, enthusiastic, and amicable co-parents at this point, but dragging out our marriage for as long as we did only made things harder on ourselves and our little girls.

      A lot of people kill off their marital identities, or at least give them complete makeovers, when they become parents. I’ve actually come to avoid dating any women who make it obvious that they place more importance on having children than finding the right spouse. That is a recipe for a dysfunctional marriage. Putting a spouse first means making time for each other, not just enjoying a moment of silence together before passing out once the kids are finally in bed. It does NOT mean your children go hungry because you and your spouse are busy playing for several hours in the bedroom.

      It’s absolutely a horrible idea to neglect the children to focus on one’s spouse, but it’s just as horrible to neglect a spouse to focus on one’s children. I don’t have to make that choice at this point, because I have two amazing little girls and no wife, but I know I won’t be marrying or forming some other permanent romantic relationship if I don’t feel like I can put my spouse first. My kids are growing up extremely well-adjusted and loved, only very slightly spoiled, and not even a little bit neglected. It’s turned out to be a great balance.

  4. vexed
    December 17, 2009 at 2:25 am

    ambassador for the extraordinarily perceptive,
    and BRAVO

  5. Vantage1
    December 17, 2009 at 2:15 am

    @Q: Not rude at all…and what you pointed out were just a few more “lessons learned” during this time…there was a LOT of reevaluation during this year after all I went through…but a new year — AND a new decade — is only two weeks away.

  6. shrink4men
    December 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm


    When sharing your stories, please don’t use the real names of your friends, gf’s, wives or exes. Please don’t disclose identifying information.

    I’ve had more than one poster contact me after the fact to remove entire series of comments that others responded to because they later regret sharing identifying information and names, which is time consuming for me to do.

    Dr Tara

    • Vantage1
      December 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      In the spirit of full disclosure, those aren’t real names. Apologies for not noting earlier.

      • shrink4men
        December 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm

        Thanks, Vantage. It wasn’t clear.

    • Q
      December 17, 2009 at 12:54 am

      I don’t mean to be rude, but seriously what do you expect from those “friends” of yours? 3 years isn’t a long time and sharing alcohol means jack-shit.

  7. Vantage1
    December 16, 2009 at 9:36 pm


    It was New Year’s Eve 2008 when I met Donna; a 52-year-old (going through “the change”) ********PERSONAL INFORMATION DELETED BY DR TARA********** between jobs at that time who looked a little like a Paula Abdul/Lena Olin mix which made her so damned appealing.

    From the stroke of midnight when I met her while hanging out with a group of so-called “friends” I had known for 2-3 years at a bar/restaurant (coincidentally, I met her through these friends), I went to her introduced myself, wished her a happy new year and boldly went on to kiss her. The moments the sparks seemed to fly between us, I thought to myself, “It’s been a great 2008. Now it’s going to be a fine 2009!”. Two days after meeting her and exchanging numbers, I went on a date with her to a wine bar – complete with a bouquet of white tulips which she seemed to appreciate (even saying how it’d been two years since a man gave her flowers!). We followed with a second date that last twelve hours: museum, dinner at a Zagat-rated pizzeria in the Ravenswood area and then meeting a couple of friends at the same wine bar. During this time, Donna told me about how she wasn’t looking to get married again or have anymore children – she’s divorced with a college-aged daughter – but was looking for “companionship.” Being a young guy not ready to settle down and even more doubtful about the prospect of having children in the future, I thought this would be something nice to fill the voids in our lives for the time being. Two weeks later after coming back from a family vacation to Puerto Rico with her mother and daughter, we met one night for drinks and she proceeded to take me back to her place where she (please pardon my freedom) and “keep me up all night.”

    Sounds like the makings of a perfect relationship for any red-blooded heterosexual man, right? As I was to find out down the road, it sadly wasn’t.

    For about a month the first month, several “red flags” (and let’s remember that saying about hindsight being what it is) popped up:

    · A romantic dinner out ended with her not being happy/overly critical of the figs prepared during dessert and starting to cry at the end (she felt so bad she willing split the bill with me for ruining our evening)
    · Driving her home that same night feeling a romantic night had been ruined but her doing a quick turnaround and inviting me up to spend the night (which I did)
    · The next day, she proceeded to praise my bedroom skills in front of a gay friend of ours who was always jokingly saying I was gay myself (not the case at all but Donna always kidded about how she thought I might be a little as I don’t act like the typical crotch-grabbing, baseball hat-wearing, one-syllable-word-using man!)

    A week later, I took her to a friend/former work colleague’s event at a Chicago nightclub where she spend part of our night criticizing how I dressed (“See? I’d like to see you dressed up in that type of suit!”) as well as the quality of the appetizers being passed around (nothing was good enough or up to her standards!). After we were done there, we headed off to meet friends celebrating a double birthday at a nearby bar. Later on – and after paying for her drinks that night and as we were leaving – she looked at me with disgust for waving “hello” to a work friend who happened to be there by saying how what I did was so “gay!” When we got into the cab en route to my car and after I stood up for myself by telling her she should pay for the cab ride for the rude comment she made, she just about flipped out with calling my masculinity into question (“What kind of a man makes a woman pay for a cab ride?”) but certainly not before almost closing my passenger side front door on the tips of three of my fingers! I dropped her off that night (note: she put together a delicious spread of foie gras, pate, cheese and crackers that night at her place before we headed out; I picked up three bottles of good wine for us!) and then foolishly proceeded to call her cell and talk things out in an attempt to find out what was wrong…and to use the bathroom in her apartment before the drive home; she said, “there are some bushes you could piss in!” The call ended with her saying “F— you” to me six-seven times in a row before hanging up; at that point, I texted her and told her to delete my number, never contact me again and have a nice life.

    On Sunday, she texted me back apologizing for her behavior the night before and about how her “drunkenness” was “no excuse”; she wanted me to call her and talk things out. I called her and laid down what I thought was self-evident: that her behavior was appalling, I didn’t appreciate her barbs about my clothing (NOTE: I went so far as to tell her that if she had such issues with my attire, then I would taken every article of clothing I owned, dump it into a pile, thrown some gasoline in and set it all ablaze…providing she was willing to take me shopping for new gear afterwards!) and that this was not to happen ever again. I vented this entire episode to two of my closest friends, Melanie and Carla (both whom I’d know for a few years), and they were so nurturing, supportive and quick to take my side.

    Donna agreed to this sheepishly and I thought the matter was at a close.

    But it wasn’t.

    Between then and mid-late April, we had many moments of what I thought was passionate, physical intimacy (she called me her “porn star”), nights out getting drinks, grabbing a bite, meeting friends, hanging out inside when the weather was inclement with wine, cheese, crackers and a good DVD (she was always fussy about anything happening to her hair) but throughout all this, one or more “red flags” began to immerge singularly or repeatedly:

    · Always wanting to know what I spent on a bouquet of flowers or the bottles of wine I brought for us (a heavy and quite crass emphasis on the dollar amounts spent)
    · Hyper-critical about not only the attire I wore: it’s usually a mix of things from The Gap, J. Crew, Banana Republic and some Thomas Pink here and there (NOTE: we went to a nearby Bloomingdale’s because she wanted me to try on a suit at first but after getting on and admiring it, she was forceful in wanting me to buy it (you’d think she’d have burst into flames on the spot if I didn’t spend $700 for a suit I only “liked.”)
    · Not wanting me to bring up anything relating to Family Guy , South Park or Facebook because “it would interfere” with our love life
    · Pressing me on getting a new, late model car (NOTE: I’m currently driving a 1999 VW Jetta that’s been VERY well maintained and immaculately detailed!)
    · Wanting to know if would I be willing to dress better if somebody was willing to pay me more money

    At the time, I put this down to the emotional/hormonal issues a woman at a certain period in her life can experience and – being an emotionally strong man who lost a father at a young age to alcoholism and worked a good part of his way through Catholic high school and a private university – let my understanding and sympathetic side get the best of me. This all came crashing down in late April on her birthday. I bought her an Ed Hardy scarf, treated her to dinner at a French restaurant, organized a small gathering of friends at a nearby bar and forked out a few dollars for a few rounds of drinks and even took 1 ½ days off of work to spend with her. More red flags crept up during the night: overly critical of the moleskin fabric of my dress jacket in front of my friends (she kept thinking it was corduroy!), demeaning to me about a funny comment I made to the waiter saying it sounded “gay” or “rainbow” regarding the escargot we had, etc. Regardless of all this, I just let everything go in “one ear and out the other” so I could have a nice night with her.

    The next day (on an inordinately warm one for late April in Chicago), it all came crashing down.

    She treated me to lunch that afternoon at a reasonable Middle Eastern place, we walked around the lakefront and met more friends that night at the same place from the other evening. After we were done there, we went to a place to dance and have more drinks. I made a comment at one point about how I was feeling a little tired and just needed a sit-down (remember that I work full-time and she, not doing any films at that time, was sleeping 12-13 hours a day and collecting unemployment checks). It was at that point everything came tumbling down: mocking behavior, refuting my futile apologies, wishes to give her a kiss or hug, acting like a spoiled child on the dance floor and one of my closest friends telling me to cheer up while all this was happening. This started happening at 11PM and I had stopped drinking an hour earlier (for the record, I’m 6’1”, 185 lbs., had five beers but made sure I ate plenty to not get too out of sorts). Around 2AM, I tried to tell Carla – already well into her cups at that point – that it was a good idea to just get her home and that I had left my bag at her place which contained, amongst an MP3 player and such, my car keys which I wanted to get so I could go home; I didn’t have a good feeling about how the night was potentially going at all. Carla and Donna were coaxing me into going to one more place for “just one more drink” and I was outnumbered by two drunk, bull-headed, selfish women who I thought cared about me. When we got to the bar (paying cover and a round for us with me still on club soda), Donna started hugging and kissing me and then saying, “You don’t have to fall in love me” or something to that effect. The club was loud and I had a hard time hearing her and then she started raising her voice louder calling me such lovely terms as “bitch,” “stupid” and “idiot.” At this point, I asked her to at least give me her keys so I can go back to her place, get my stuff and leave (and my stopping back at the bar to give her back the keys which I had access to all the times I spent at her place). After the over a dozen times I asked her – almost bordering on begging – her abuse got worse and worse and I tried telling Carla that we needed to leave. I finally got to the point where I could take no more and threw the club soda I was drinking in her face to shut her up.

    She responded by smashing a wine glass into my head with the stem nearly going into my neck or cutting the left side of my throat.

    At this point we both ejected from the bar and a half hour later, I was back at her place getting my stuff. I proceeded to get my things but not before going into her kitchen with a towel, taking out the glasses and dishes and putting my head under the running faucet to rinse out the shards of glass in my hair (note: the only injury I received was miraculously a tiny bit of glass by the back of my ear which bled no worse than a standard cut from a razor). All the time I was at her place, she was teary eyed and looking down at the floor without ANY ability to make eye contact with me. As I left her place, I said to her, “I have an education, a job and friends. What the hell do YOU have?” She slammed the door on me after that but I managed to get my car keys and stuff back from her.

    A week later, my friends Carla and Melanie got together with me after work and both made fun of me in various ways for what happened and both looked at me as though I was the bad guy for all this. Reasons they gave – more like justifying – for Donna’s behavior ranged from how since I was the closest to her (read: sleeping with her) that I was the one who naturally took the abuse to how she didn’t want her birthday party to end. The only rationale I have for my actions, aside from not wanting to listen to her abuse any further, was that I wasn’t in the mood to start writing out checks – almost in the amount of over $500-$600 – to replace two sets of car keys, an iPod, building pass to my off, Filofax planner, spare battery for a Leica digital camera, etc. She had already nearly taken some finger tips off with my car door two months prior so destruction of property wouldn’t have been too far off on the horizon. Regardless of all this, I was still the “bad guy” and what I did was not an excuse. Carla went further to tell me that going forward, always keep my car keys with me. While she had a point, I thought that when two people were dating one another, there was already an unspoken bond of emotional and behavioral trust between the two. That said, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I should also note that Carla got blind drunk that same evening and I ended up having to drive her home; no doubt a patter was there for a while.

    A week later, Donna mailed me a card with a check enclosed in the amount of $66.15 – the cost of the Ed Hardy scarf I bought her – with the card saying, “please take this gesture as an attempt to make some balance and not that I’m rejecting what was a beautiful and thoughtful gift from you. My thoughts are only with the 98% of our time together.” Friday of that same week I actually was stupid enough to see her and treat her to dinner (only over $60 out of my pocket) because, in retrospect, I wanted to go back to those first couple of dates and try to see the woman I first met. All through the night and back at her place, any efforts for intimacy on my part were opposed in the manner one would expect of a teenaged schoolgirl (completely the opposite of the sultry lady I met four months prior). As I felt dejected and went out on her balcony for a cigarette, she came out and joined me trying to tell me that she was still dealing with what happened – unlike a heated phone call the day after the fight/break-up which was filled with accusations of me being insensitive to what she was going through, how it was all “hard work” on her end, how I was ungrateful for all the times she “spread her legs for me,” etc. and a finale of “I hate you! F*** you!”

    All this time, I just didn’t feel right about anything with her or my friends. It was as though some internal gravity and gut instinct was pulling me away.

    Donna was going to be at my friend Melanie’s birthday party on the same Saturday as my three-year-old nephew/godson’s birthday party with my family. Melanie knew about all this well in advance and that I may try to make it but I made no firm commitments. I even, in a fit of slight anger, asked her to “uninvited” Donna from her party; she refused on the grounds that it would be rude. I had been friends with Melanie for three years – many nights of wine-fueled bonding, being there when she lost a job, providing her with references, support for when her father passed away, much history, etc. – she had only known Donna for about four months. While it may have been selfish of me to suggest that to her, I was coming from an angry, hurt place and just needed to vent. One night when I was talking with her about all this two days before her party, she was cold on the phone and suggested that I just “..MAN UP! There’s blood on [my] hands and hers. Donna was fine before you came along and she’ll be just fine after you’re gone!” Hardly the support a friend gives to another. Donna was even suggesting that I pick her up from her place to go to Melanie’s party but she got angry when I told her that was unlikely as I was coming from the south suburbs and she lived under a mile from the restaurant/bar the party was being held at.

    That Saturday night at 11:30 P.M., Melanie sent me a simple text saying, “where r u [sic]” and my nephew wrapped his arms around my legs and said, “Uncle Billy, you stay!” My nephew won that battle and I skipped out on an evening where shots were being done until 6 A.M. in favor of having birthday cake with my nephew. The following Monday morning, I stopped at my friend Melanie’s work before she got there to drop off the gift (a $50 card to Apple for the iPod she always wanted and a white orchid). That same day, Melanie chastised me via e-mail about how she was hurt by my absence at the party (she over two dozen people there!), that she never wanted to hear anything bad about Donna ever again because she was her “friend” and that I should have just told her I wasn’t going to attend from the start. Interestingly enough, she said she was harsh on me that night two days earlier because she was “helping me become a ‘better’ man.” This came from a supposedly close friend who went on countless dates with ‘scumbags” and such and always bemoaned the fact that more men in the world weren’t like me (imagine how shocked I was to learn I had been “deficient’ all the time we had known one another!). Carla (another friend I had known for two years) echoed almost the same sentiments about how I had “hit a new low” and that “I would do the same to her” and so forth; her e-mail ended with “NEVER E-MAIL ME AGAIN. HAVE A NICE LIFE!”

    Two weeks later, I attended a party with the whole crew of so-called “friends” I thought I had (Melanie, Carla, Johnny, my ex Donna, etc. and so forth). Melanie was is still not speaking to me and I suppose she expected me to get down on bended knee, cry my eyes out saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” ad nauseum and offer up a kidney or some bone marrow for missing her party in favor of my nephew’s b-day gathering. It was very strained, weird and slightly hurtful when those you thought were close to you – and that you’re in the same room with – treat you with some icy politeness or, altogether, a ghost: NOT a good feeling. At that point, I came to feel as though certain people I’d known finally out-served their purposes or maybe I simply overstayed your welcome: perhaps varying degrees of both with certain people.

    I felt as though the one thing I’d had in common with any of them had been the “bending of the elbow” at some bar in “The Viagra Triangle,” seeing what happens when that extra glass of wine or cocktail strip away all decorum and politeness and leads to unwelcome, unnecessary drama. I saw some get mad because they missed out on a career/lifestyle they felt entitled to and form one-sided “friendships” to reap certain opportunistic benefits and advantages…others get obnoxious and combative to alleviate the pain of family matters, personal crises and such…and those who weep over long-lost relatives …or some just battling deep-seated personal “demons” that come out like jack-in-the-boxes…based upon the family traumas I have dealt with in my life where alcohol was the prime culprit, seeing all within the first five months from the start of what I felt was going to be a fabulous new year had given way to uneasiness, regrets and substantial introspection (and my stomach in knots, dropping seven pounds, sleeplessness, etc.)…this all said, I wondered if it was just simply time to see the “expiration date” and move onward to other people – maybe not entirely perfect but certainly less complicated!

    To that end, my ex Donna wanted to remain friends with me after we have broken up and made what are now seen as fraudulent efforts to her part. I initially thought all of this was quite sincere but here was the rub: she’d been unemployed for five-six months on account of no long stretches of film work, her IDES benefits were running out very soon, some female biological issues in place, “demons” from her past long ago creep up (her father was a drinker who loved fighting and ended up getting murdered over a six-pack of beer)…and she still wanted to go out occasionally for dinners and drinks when she had no money (though the grass she bought allegedly took the edge of certain female ailments). In other words, we were over as a couple but she wanted the side benefits of one: too damned much for me and would not work. And she told me in front of my friend Carla (who started to hang around with her more often!) one night that she was “old school” and that “men pay for everything and women give men their p***is…and that’s the way it’s always been and will be” (funny how she NEVER felt that way and never bothered to mention it when we were dating). I believe there’s a term for women like that: they’re called prostitutes and perhaps she could do that as a sideline if she was so hard-up for money. Carla just sat there saying not one single word 9and she was a close friend who talked about how crucial it was in all relationships to reciprocate!). With the benefit of hindsight, I wonder if despite the facts that Melanie and Carla said Donna “never said anything bad about me” whether this was indeed true; my guess is there was plenty of “smearing” occurring behind my back.

    A week later, Donna sent me an e-mail after I helped her work on a resume to get some work (felt it was the least I could do and I wouldn’t want to see anybody starve or be evicted) that read: “Hi Billy, (can I call you Billy? – meaning to ask). How have you been? I guess you are busy creating a new social circle like you said you wanted. A note from you once and [sic] a while would be nice but if you don’t want to talk to me I’ll understand. I truly wish and want for you all the best.”

    I replied a week later with a seven page letter that politely but firmly reprimanded her for her actions the night after her birthday, how trashy her comments about what she expected from men who took her out and that any trust I had in her was completely gone. She had the opportunity to respond but nothing happened. A month later, I went to a book fair not far from where she lived with a woman I am currently dating (have been for about five months now; more later) and all she couldn’t even make eye contact with me or simply drop me a line saying how happy I looked. An apology from her would have been nice but given her personality, it won’t be forthcoming. A month after this, I made the possible error of texting her that I had new friends in my life, new love, that it was nice to have “grown ups” for friends and she proceeded to tell me via text, ‘F*** off, you stupid b****!” When I replied she should do the same (without any profanity on my part), she told me to never write/e-mail/text/call her again or be anywhere near her home unless I wanted a restraining order. Please keep in mind a few things: first, that I have my share of fights and disagreements with women I used to date but NEVER resorted to profanity when we argued or split up and, second, that I have NEVER had an ex-girlfriend take legal action against me (in this case, Donna never did). After that, Carla (who works in my building) disconnected all contact with me and also told me to never contact her again (even after we managed to “patch things up” which, ultimately, was a falsity on her part). In retrospect, I had no idea about people who suffered from NPD, BPD or other Cluster B disorders and the extent of damage they could do but after reading sever of your articles and itemizing all the behaviors, the similarities were just too uncanny to ignore.

    So six months ago, I cast off Melanie, Donna and that whole group of so-called “friends” from life and started over, wiped my slate clean, went back to square one socially…and it’s made all the difference! While I hold the memories I shared with them all near and dear, the many nights of drunken, inappropriate and infantile behavior finally got next to me post-break-up and I decided it was time to move on (even one of my closest friends – Carla – became a casualty of this).

    I went back to the online dating world (sick of meeting people in “Viagra Triangle” bars and decided the change of pace/new practice would be beneficial…) I actually started dating a wonderful woman named Linda: 40, born/raised in Chicago, ***********PERSONAL INFORMATION DELETED BY DR TARA************* – different but she’s so real it’s wonderful…and amazing sweet. I have also managed to reconnect with friends I’ve lost touch with, spend more time with family and I have the loyal support of close friends (who, in number, I could count on one single hand). I may not have over a dozen e-mail addresses, cell numbers or Facebook connections but in the last six months, the peace of mind I have gained has outweighed and exceeded all of what I went through. My birthday this year was amazingly special with time spent with family and friends, dinners, drinks and just being thankful I made it to another year (which wouldn’t have been possible thanks to a certain woman I used to know).

    I have very little regrets now as this year almost draws to a close and I think all of what I endured served a plethora of purposes, the most important of all was being able to see what was “real” and what clearly – and sadly – wasn’t.

    • Joeschmo
      February 4, 2010 at 3:06 am

      No offense sir, but sending her a text about how much better off you are without her after it was over, and telling her at the end of that argument that you have an education, friends, etc. were displays of very childish behavior. Maybe she dragged you into playing the game at her level, or maybe you were at that level and needed this whole experience to learn from. I sense that the latter is the case. If you were sucked into thinking facebook and things of that nature had any importance in your life…I’m sorry. What seems to be missing from your long post is the presence of a solid guy friend. A solid guy friend that you trust to the core is equally as important as a woman you can trust, if not more so. Best of luck man.

      • Vantage1
        February 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

        @Joeschmo: the only time I sunk to her level — that of…well, I won’t say — was getting tossed out of a bar we were in because she was caught in a maelstrom of alcohol/psychotic behavior and I wanted to get my keys/stuuf and go back home (simple enough request, you would think!).

        Also, it was not until 4-5 months after the split that I started to find out of NPDs, BPDs, HPDs and other “Cluster B” personalities via Dr. T.’s article on “Dating Street Smarts” (FYI: I’d make this required reading for any single man or woman “in the field”) when my eyes were forced wide open to things I never knew.

        If I were a man of considerable wealth, I’d have had my gold-digger radar on at full capacity but it turns out the one thing I had of any “wealth” or “gain” was a what-I-once-thought-was-a-healthy-social-life (what she was after all along and her comments about not having any friends and on how I had so many should have been tip-offs!)…oh well, it’s called ‘experience for a reason.

        Regarding my “text”, I can see your point but being childish wasn’t the aim at all…in the words of a close friend of mine, “You just get to a point where you don’t feel like taking it in the you-know-what anymore”…VERY true words and I’ve gone through a good part of my life being nonconfrontational (probably what guided me into the whole mess to begin with)…besides, there’s an old saying: “If you’re gonna dish it out, be prepared to take it as well”…again, basic common sense that many grown adults don’t even comprehend (if you know what I mean!).

        As to friends, I have a smaller group of friends in my life now and I cannot tell you how great it feels to have peace. Anybody in my life that wishes to be considered a friend is never based on anything (let alone gender) other mutuality and respect. If those don’t exist, it’s buh-bye — simple as that.

        And what experiences with Cluster B disordered people have you yourself had? Please feel free to share.

        All the best to you, too.

  8. Dave
    December 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    WOW! Another awesome article!

    In short, why don’t people (men AND women) just treat others the way that we would like for them to treat us?

    IMHO, your articles should become required reading for every young person before they start dating.

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm

      Great question, Dave. Some people feel like they’re losing “something” or worry that they won’t get their own needs met when they’re nice to others and treat them fairly.

      The irony is that if they followed the “Golden Rule” most people would return their kindness in spades rather than having to forcibly take, demand and battle their way through life. They’re miserable people. I try to give them a wide berth.

      Dr T

      • Charles
        May 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

        Hello Tara my ex has all 25 points she believes she is never wrong and deserves special treatment we have 3 children together and she now doesnt speak to me and avoids my calls

        Because she doesnt get criticized and gets her butt kissed she still lives in that world, she is extremely narcissisitc and borderline sociopath she goes around thinking about hurting people thank you for this wonderful site and giving men a voice that is hardly heard

    • Taras
      December 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm

      I agree, this should be required reading and it’s an outstanding article. There was a time when children were raised with the idea they were going to be mothers and fathers, as well as wives and husbands. It’s more than time to return to that idea, because preparing children to be adults would put an end to much of this narcissistic behavior on the part of younger people of both sexes.

  9. wife#2
    December 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Awesome! I’ve had the same grievances regarding women throughout the years, and I’m a woman! You really hit it “spot on”. I grew up in a circle of friends that were male, and I couldn’t believe how their girlfriends treated them, but I kept my mouth shut about it.

    Now, I’m married to a man (I’m wife #2) that has had some terrible experiences. After reading various posts on your site here I am pretty certain that she was a narcissistic. He lived alone for quite a few years when I met him, was pretty frightened by women at that point. Our relationship started out as a friendship. Needless to say, these first 8 years of marriage have been difficult, and A LOT of patience has been needed. I feel like I’ve been dealing with such old emotional baggage from their relationship that he never got worked out (he probably didn’t know how to start!). At times I’ve felt that I was losing it, and going crazy, or that something was wrong with ME! It’s been hard for him to trust, and there have been patterns involved that I have never experienced in a relationship before. I think she really got him to believe that there was something wrong with him, but I understand…Geesh! Her middle name was ‘infidelity’, it was all about her, her, her…and, she had a tendency to hit and throw kitchen knives at him. He has mentioned that she would at times start raging and get a “crazy, wild” look in her eyes. She left him a couple of times, screwed him for money, took everything he had…*sigh*…I could go on and on (kind of feels good to get it out, because I don’t have anyone to talk to about this). At times he looks scared at a drop of a pin….

    It’s been SO difficult to get our own marriage established in its own right. It’s taken a lot of repeated assurance for him to trust the smallest of things. I’ve had to just stand strong in myself and hope that who I am (through consistent behavior) will comfort him and let him know emotionally that not all women are like her. But in his defense, it has got to be difficult! And, I really don’t think he believed that he was suffering emotionally from her, but once married and living together I understand (looking back) that just the physical framework may have triggered stuff. There have been reactions (his fear) when nothing has happened, but he may have anticipated something would happen. It’s really hard to explain what I mean, but it’s strange to experience it (for someone with a completely different background of experiences).

    He was married for 15 years. We have a lot of kids between us. I raised my kids with the goal that they would some day be confident, happy, and independent people..I feel integrity is important and healthy boundaries are important…so, sometimes as a parent (throughout the years) we say ‘yes’ to things, and sometimes ‘no’ (teenagers can have a lot of whims..LOL)…but, they are great kids! His youngest two are almost suffering from a sense of zero self-worth!! There personal boundaries seem to be suffering too! I’ve used time to compliment their strengths, and help. But, they are almost pained by even accepting a simple gift, even if it is for their Birthday. It is almost ridiculous. They seem to have gone the extreme opposite of their Mom……His eldest daughter is 33 years old (is married w/ 2 kids), and she would drain our account in a minute all by her lonesome. She feels entitled to everything, and the cost of anything she wants doesn’t matter. She has no regard for our financial situation, nor that there are other kids as well, including her own siblings! She has such an entitlement attitude, that it is scary. She deserves ONLY the best, and we are to provide it. Both he and I work hard, but I almost feel guilty if we should take a vacation, because she gets so jealous of what we have, that she will sully for long periods of time, because she didn’t get it…this is just one example. But, in this case when she asks how a vacation was with a smirk on her face, I almost have to downplay it. What is her reaction then??? She loves it! She smiles and seems happy if she thinks we have had a terrible time. Dr. T…is it possible for this daughter to have learned certain behavior from her Mom? The hard part is that her Dad can never say ‘no’ to her. It’s almost like he is afraid to!

    I’m sorry for the long ‘book’ here. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Dr. T……….can you write an article for us ‘second wives’ and how we can best help our husbands that have lived through a relationship like this? I will be bluntly honest. There have been times when I’ve wondered if I can do it anymore. I feel I also have this one life to live, and 8 years of such consequences…Well, it’s hard. But, I keep thinking that time will help. I do care about him, but it has an effect on my emotions as well…In some strange way, I feel like I am living her abuse as well, and I don’t like it! Does that make sense?

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

      Dear wife#2,

      Wow. Throwing kitchen knives?!?! I think that explains some of the residual issues. The infidelity and other emotional abuses probably explain the rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if he suffered some form of PTSD from his first marriage.

      As for the children from his previous marriage, that’s no big surprise. Unfortunately, many narcissistic and/or borderline mothers transmit their pathology, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors to their offspring. Alternatively, they raise children who are afraid of their own shadows, afraid to stand up for themselves to mom and others.

      Has your husband been to counseling? Has he read the information on my site and other sites re: NPD spouses? If not, I encourage you to encourage him to do so. The two of you shouldn’t have to cowtow or walk on eggshells around his grown daughter. Furthermore, she’s an adult and a parent in her own right. He’s not obligated to financially support her anymore. I wonder if he responds to her in the same way he used to respond to his ex.

      I know this may seem harsh, but when a person is that sick and toxic, you have to cut the ties—even if they’re your adult child. My mother and step-father had a similar experience. They didn’t begin their relationship until his children were grown (many of them married with children of their own). His ex was uncaring, cold, controlling, entitled, etc. Probably had some NPD traits.

      His kids were outraged when he moved in with my mother (I was 16 at the time). His 25-year old engaged to be married daughter told him, “I guess you don’t need me in your life anymore since you have a new daughter now.” Up until that point, my step-father was nice to me. After that, he wouldn’t make eye contact with me and only spoke to me in monosyllabic words for over a decade (until he started having mini-strokes and started being nice and talking to me again, go figure). He even ignored our family dog because his daughter made some crack about replacing her dog. It was nuts.

      I let it roll off my back and made a joke about it since I was almost out the door. Plus, I was psychologically savvy enough to understand what was going on—not that it excuses his behavior. He and my mother didn’t marry until after they lived together for 12 years. Primarily because my mother didn’t want his feckless, entitled children to try to make claims on her house, business and other assets should she die before my step-father. Keep in mind, over the years my step-father gave his adult children down payments for their houses, bought them cars, appliances and god knows what else—all the while his kids treated him and my mother like dirt. No “thank you’s;” they believed they were entitled.

      Then his health began to decline. I told my mother she had to marry him in order to protect him and herself. What if he was hospitalized and couldn’t communicate? His kids, who had no interest in helping their own father, would surely have prevented my mother from having access to him out of spite. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia, has had several surgeries to remove the blockages in his cartoid artery and his kids told him and my mother it was “all in his head.”

      My mom and him finally married and his kids made some really nasty comments—again—some of them even demanded he get the marriage annulled. FINALLY, my step-father stood up to his own kids, told them how cruel their mother had been to him, how unhappy he had been and goddammit, at this point in his life he was entitled to his own happiness and if they didn’t like it, too damned bad.

      Some of them stayed away for awhile. However, they resurfaced when they wanted something. Even now my mother calls them from time to time to say, “It would be nice if you visited your father.” Sorry for the personal tangent. My point is that your husband has a right to a second chance at happiness and if his 33-year old daughter can’t come to terms with that, he needs to tell her to shove off. You also have a right to be happy and shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around your step-daughter.

      You can’t work through your husband’s residual issues for him, but you can be supportive and very gently approach this matter with him. Otherwise, the specter of his first wife will continue to be a presence.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • wife#2
        December 29, 2009 at 4:41 am

        Too many similarities. Not to mention that some fears I have had did manifest in your experience. So, I may not be crazy. These things can happen. I sway back and forth between feeling sensible and wondering if there’s something wrong with me. I seem to sway even more after finding the site here. I kept coming back and reading long before I wrote a comment. Now, I feel like a lid wants to loosen and everything feels like pouring out. And, the strange thing is that I feel guilty for leaving so many comments to talk about my situation. I don’t know. Maybe something is starting to happen inside, and I should just let it. Thanks for your comment. It really helped!

    • Recovering Alpha
      December 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks for your story. I am just recently out of a 16 year marriage with a woman who has — I think — many BPD/NPD attributes. I am nearly committed to being a bachelor the remainder of my life, and the more I’m on my own the more I feel that way. To read your story makes me wonder if that is too early of a decision. A friend who I recently told my story to said, “Abe Lincoln’s step-mother was a terrific second wife and loved him and his siblings as if they were her own children.” You sound like such a woman. My intuition guesses there aren’t many like that out there and the ones like that aren’t probably available long. It’s nice to see blogs from such women; like many of us here just coming from the “front line” we’re kind of shellshocked and very leery.

      • wife#2
        December 29, 2009 at 4:29 am

        @Recovering Alpha. Thanks for the feedback. I would like to get it all to work and for everyone to be included. However, there are some things that are so screwy. The hard part is not having been there in the past to know what happened. As you know, everyone has their own subjective take on it. All I know is that the relations are very dysfunctional. I really don’t need to know the details of their past, but I feel it normal to wonder since I feel a part of consequences of things I don’t understand.

        I have a really neat relationships with my kids. I DO notice that I have put them on the backburner too often to put especially the one daughter I wrote about first..but, nothing is ever enough! And, really never satisfied either. I really need to stop doing this. Dr. T mentioned the dilemma, but I think that even if spouse can’t handle it, I have to at least create boundaries for myself. My kids need to be included too.

        I don’t know. I have now written in several comments how confused I feel, but that can’t continue. I have to do something about the situation. I do know that if this marriage doesn’t work, I will be right there with you in the thought of, “NEVER again”. That’s it.

        16 years with something like that. I don’t blame you for thinking “bachelor for the rest of your life”. Trust must be an issue after a relationship like this. I mean, really..just the thought of “who” people really are inside is enough to cause knees to shake. I am learning a lot from reading about the stories and comments of others. :-) That’s a good thing!

        • Kev.
          December 29, 2009 at 5:52 am

          Hey Wife#2,

          First and foremost, I want to thank you for giving it a try with your husband. He’s been through a lot, and though he may not know how to express it, I am sure he’s probably grateful for your presence. That said, he should learn how to express it a bit better, and to differentiate between how you handle stressful situations versus how Wife#1 handled them. This will probably take some re-wiring on his part.

          I was only “in” for a year, but it felt like a couple of decades. My ex violated my consciousness, my mind, my emotions, my privacy, my relations with others, my home, and dare I say, my soul. I also suspect she may have been cheating on me, may have faked a rape, may have faked a car theft, and most definitely was into playing gaslighting-like head games, hiding things in the house (or removing them), and demanding to know what I had “done” with them, screaming at me for days over “lost” items.

          So, yeah. Trust is a gigantic issue right now. :)

          At one point, when things were bad, I confided to a friend that if this relationship went south, I was “done.” No more. Nada.

          I’d like to one day prove that statement wrong. I would like companionship again at some point. I want to believe that there are good people out there. I take that back. I know there are good people out there. I want to believe that there are good people out there who are single, and who may want to share a life with me as a true, equal, partner. Not as someone paying lip service to that whilst whittling away my identity, incapacitating me through constant criticism and emotional abuse, and blaming me for “constantly making her angry” – just by breathing, just by how I prepare food, just by how I go to the bathroom (really!), just by how I ask her about her day, just by how I open a door for her, etc.

          I hope she’s out there.

          And I hope we’re both ready for each other when we meet.

          And for the record, this is probably the most optimistic I’ve been in a while, as I’ve used “when” and not “if.”

          So kudos to you, Wife#2 for giving it a go. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Unfortunately, like the old STD ads, by being Wife#2, you’re also peripherally involved with Wife#1. He needs (and you can help him with this) to figure out how much he wants to continue to let her control him, either directly or indirectly (the radioactive fallout he’s infected with from that relationship). Not impossible, but only you can decide what levels you’re willing to deal with.

          While I certainly hope your marriage works, it would be hypocritical of me to tell you to stay no matter what, hoping that things will magically get better.

          That’s the road that led too many of us into the situations we found ourselves in.

          Be well…

          • wife#2
            December 29, 2009 at 7:27 am

            Thanks Kev..

            Reading everything on this site is either going to help me have continued patience and empathy needed to try to understand the consequences being dealt with…or, it just may help me define those boundaries as to how much I can take, before I can’t anymore.

            Do you what is the most *scary*? It is how many people can be affected by these personalities! Their kids, their exes, etc. etc..It is extremely frightening! My spouse can act shell-shocked in general, and then he can turn the next and almost act like his ex’s personality the next. It’s almost like he either: 1) has learned from her as a reference about ‘what works’ to get one’s way…or, 2) like flash-backs where it almost seems like he is not relating to me, but back somewhere else relating to something he never dealt with.

            That’s what I mean by not knowing where things are coming from (originating). It’s the craziest thing. We’ve now just been through another sad holiday season with him sulking and miserable for no apparent reason (everything in our ‘world’ is just fine, meaning nothing has happened that I can see would trigger it)…and, it’s almost like a light-switch..on and off..on and off..I never quite know what is going to happen. Thus, I really do not understand if I’m dealing with post-trauma or some behavior he has learned.
            Ugh! I used to love the holidays, and now I never know what’s coming and if I’m allowed to be happy.

            I really hope you find that person some day. There are good people out there. But, from everything I’ve read here it must take quite some time to allow oneself to heal from an ordeal like that. I don’t have to deal with all the criticism you went through, though. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I’m sorry anyone has to go through it.

        • Kev.
          December 29, 2009 at 8:54 am

          alas, we’ve threaded too far, and I can’t reply to your reply to my reply. :)

          So I shall reply here.

          Re: The Holidays.

          I suspect (and I’m speaking from my own experience of the last couple of days) that what your husband may be going through is PTSD-related, or something similar. He may not even fully understand what’s going on, just that there’s a fear, a deep-rooted cold, gnawing, terror that he’s experiencing at the core of his being. He’s waiting for the shoe to drop, the bombs to fall, and the inevitable explosion. In my case, it’s even somatic. Perhaps by causing these problems, he’s “getting them over with” and taking control of them before they get him. Is this fair to you? Of course not.

          Holidays and special occasions with my ex were a source of constant stress and worry. Inevitably I would do something wrong. Inevitably I would be reminded of how worthless I was. Inevitably I would be reminded that I didn’t “understand” her, and was therefore unable to “properly” give her gifts (my alleged motivations for giving her gifts was to “make me feel better about myself,” not because I wanted to do anything nice for her – how do you “change” that “behavior,” to prove to her that it’s not the case??!)

          There’s a term used in a lot of the non-BPD literature: “fleas.” After sleeping with dogs (figuratively speaking), you’re going to walk away with some of that dog’s fleas. Same with someone who’s been with a BPD/NPD/abusive partner – we walk away with some of their undesirable character traits, even though it’s not something we would ever consciously choose to do.

          And, like fleas (or radiation – my favorite metaphor), as you noted – the residual fallout, the blast radius, if you will, tends to hit a LOT of innocent bystanders, such as the person who becomes NextGirlfriend, or Wife#2 (or gender pairing of your choice).

          Are you allowed to be happy on the holidays? Of course. So is he. Eventually, this will probably come to pass, when he realizes that she’s no longer there, making them horrible. But the fear, the deep somatic terror will be there for a while. It may never go away completely. It will rear its ugly head at inopportune times.

          I missed in your responses if he’s currently in therapy. If he isn’t, he should consider it. Your observation that there needs to be a time to heal is spot on. Therapy will be tough. It’s going to dig up some demons he may not even realize he has. There are ways, however, to at least CONTROL these demons. Exorcism is another thing – I’m not there yet, so I can’t really say.

          Additionally, one thing that I encountered with the whole “you need to go to therapy” /”you need to heal yourself” thing (at first) was the resistance based on “she was the crazy one! not me!” – a feeling that MY need to go to therapy somehow validated all of the accusations/criticisms/rages I endured. Obviously, this is not the case, but if he’s not in therapy, this may be one of the reasons he’s reluctant.

          Be patient, and supportive, and one day you’ll probably both laugh at all of this. But I stress, it is EQUALLY okay, if you determine the situation is beyond your capabilities. As I said before, I’d be a hypocrite if I said “stick it out no matter what.” This doesn’t make him a bad person. This doesn’t make him terminally hopeless. I have no doubt that in his core, like the rest of us, he’s a good person. My heart goes out to him for having gone through all of this. I don’t wish this on anyone.

          He’s been through a war. That leaves scars. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of scars that are contagious and have effects on others.

          I hope New Years goes better.

  10. Canoe_Convoy
    December 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Well, Done. It is high time that someone points these sort of issues out for the general public. Far, far too often, relationships focus only on one side of issues. A couple of these double standards are deal-breakers for me (which explains why I’m single – and happy – right now). Please continue your writing & research, Dr. Palmatier.

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Canoe,

      Thanks for your support and encouragement. As for me, each of these 25 points would be a dealbreaker. I’m hetero and won’t have friendships with women who have these qualities, behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes. I think they’re huge hypocrites and the level of entitlement is maddening.

      Sometimes you can reason with them; sometimes you can’t.

      Thanks again,
      Dr Tara

      • Vantage1
        December 21, 2009 at 8:01 pm

        @Dr. T: it’s so interesting how I had an friend who befriended my NPDXG and has been friends with her ever since (a woman I was close to for two years!) and either:

        a.) got warped into thinking the same way as my NPDXG
        b.) shared her traits all along and was looking for a perfect vehicle to travel in tandem with
        c.) all of the above

        My old friend use to talk about the importance of friendship and how reciprocation was important but after my split, she said my ex was simply “old school” (i.e. — her man is expected to pay for EVERYTHING) and offered no support at all!

        I never understood when people in the dating scene talked about how lying was always a dealbreaker (I always thought it was grounded in fidelity and monogamy)…but it goes deeper than that. It’s behavioral honesty and emotional fidelity in the end.

  11. NS from Portugal
    December 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Aleluia, another hit, another kill (Karate speaking), you hit it again Dr. Tara, I will pass this site on to others as I did in the past, recently when i passed this site to a female friend who is a psychologist she seemed amazed and at same time offended, saying her feelings were hurt and she is still angry with me (can´t wander why,eheheheh). Others seemed to have opened their eyes,(God is great)and even changed their behaviour.

    God bless you and help you on your work.

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Hi NS,

      Thanks. I’m not surprised your female psychologist friend was offended. Much of what I write is an indictment of the field of Psychology in its current warped and extremely gender-biased state.

      Happy hols,
      Dr T

  12. happy
    December 16, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

    I’d like to know, what % of American women don’t have ALL of the above traits.

    I’m a really social guy, and I come into contact with dozens-hundreds of women per month. But 100% have all 25 bullet points. I’d be thrilled to meet a woman that had only 22-23 of the negative qualities.

    All I can say is, for me the no-contact rule is just as important for women in general as it is for the ex.

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      Hi happy,

      I removed the second half of your screen name because I oppose misogyny just as much as misandry. I don’t think all American, Western or Eastern women are like this. I’m not. I don’t think the woman who participate on my site are. My friends and most of the women in my family aren’t. I’m sure there are other women out there who don’t have these attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • nick
        December 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm

        I once had a misogyny at one of those day Spas….

        (feeble attempt at humor)

    • NoSeRider
      December 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

      Well, I keep reading studies that say 6 percent of the population is narcissistic, and 6 percent has borderline personality disorder……that would indicate you have about a 1 out of 10 ~ 20 chance of encountering these kinds of behaviors.

      If you’re encountering these behaviors all the time, I can only assume you’re still in High School. I mean people have their emotions and sense of entitlement, but it’s really a question of when it becomes pathological.

      Basically, if you’re a blockhead and can’t listen to reason then you got a personality disorder.

    • March 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

      My husband and I are both in touch various exes. Why shouldn’t we be? We trust each other 100%.

  13. nubiansage
    December 16, 2009 at 5:38 am

    (handclapping) Another great post by Dr. T!

  14. thedivorceencouragist
    December 16, 2009 at 4:28 am

    This is a great post! These issues have bothered me since childhood. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better…

  15. John Small
    December 16, 2009 at 4:11 am

    These double standards are, unfortunately, all too standard. Commercials especially are rife with these. I don’t think it’s any sort of conspiracy but people don’t spend money without expecting a return. These advertisers play to these, easy to relate to, beliefs. Sadly though, men are played as the fool so much easier than women and for some reason this is accepted. For that matter, one would probably risk the label chauvenist for voicing disapproval of it!

    On a (somewhat) related note, I was listening to a Bob Dylan song “She’s Your Lover Now.” What a perfectly descriptive song. It’s kinda nice to know others are/ were dealing with these similar issues, much less one of the greatest (if not “the” greatest) lyricist etc. of all time. It’s such a spot on description of my ex and from the various posts I’ve read, many other’s exes as well. Check it out, the best is him dealing with the new meathead his ex is with. Such a good song. I decided today after hearing it that I’d share it for those unfamiliar with it. It’s perfect.
    It just shows that none of us are too smart or too rich or too anything to fall for these predators.
    Sometimes it’s nice to relate. . .

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      Hi John Small,

      This is exactly what’s happening right now to Levi Strauss because of a recent Docker’s ad encouraging men to “wear the pants again” and which also asks the question, “What if men weren’t viewed as disposable by our society?”

      They’re receiving a tremendous backlash from entitled women’s groups—probably because they’ve hit the nail square on the head.

      I don’t know the Dylan song to which you refer, but I’ll see if I can download it.

      Thanks for the rec,
      Dr T

      • March 7, 2010 at 12:10 am

        I think the Dockers ad is despicable. Not just because it’s blaming feminism for emasculating men, which I don’t think is fair, though I sense that people here might disagree. Let’s not get into that – the main reason I dislike it is because I think it’s really offensive to men. It tells men to “step away from the salad bar, put down the plastic fork etc” and “wear the pants”. To me, that’s implying that there is only one possible model of manhood and that “real men” behave in a certain way. That’s damaging to men who don’t fit that norm. Don’t you want the freedom to be whoever you are and eat salad if you want to? You don’t need Dockers to tell you who to be, any more than you need a domineering woman.

        My husband thinks I’m wrong and that the campaign is anti-denim rather than anti-feminism. He also thinks it’s hilarious since they are advertising khakis, which he says are not the most macho attire. I can see his point but given that Levi Strauss owns denim lines as well as Dockers, I think he’s missing or choosing to ignore the wider context.

        • Billiekent
          February 18, 2014 at 5:59 am

          I agree.
          I also think this “one way to be a man” attitude is damaging to all men, not just the ones who don’t fit the norm. These patriarchal attitudes of what a man should be contribute to the stigma of being an abused man and prevent men from getting out of bad relationships.
          The answer to a bad relationship where the woman constantly makes you do things you don’t want to do is to assert yourself and leave if necessary. It is NOT to “wear the pants” and take control of your unruly woman. That doesn’t lead to anything good.

  16. Steve
    December 16, 2009 at 3:43 am

    Thanks again Dr. Tara. Great stuff. #12, 14 and 15 were particular issues with my soon to be ex-wife. The sense of entitlement and childish dependency is unreal. She’s made such a big deal out of how she has “managed to pay the bills during our separation on the money I’ve sent to the joint account without asking for anything more ….” Yeah…. that’s called a budget. Where the hell do you think I’m going to get more if you ask for it? Do I look like an ATM machine with no limit? And, by the way, why can’t YOU get more if you need it? Or better yet, how ’bout I come to you for a change if I NEED MORE ! I’m the one workin’ 60 hours a week on a contract 600 miles from my daughter in order to pay her spending habits. Meanwhile, she’s “slaving away” working 23 hours a week and acting like the world’s going to end. Sheesh… Always good to read this stuff and know that I’m not insane. For years I felt like I had married a permanent 16 year old. Now I know why she is that way. But come to think of it, my 16 year old daughter already seems more mature and responsible than her mother. Maybe there’s hope for her. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Women like your ex (and narcissists) expect gold stars for doing things that we lesser mortals do because they’re daily living skills. For example, making a budget and living within it, working and earning a living, tidying up after ourselves, cooking, showing up for appointments on time, etc. They want rewards and recognition for these very basic activities that most people don’t think twice about doing.

      You’re not insane. These women are spoiled, entitled, bratty children who inhabit adult women’s bodies. Unfortunately, our society, particularly family law and the MSM, enables them. I think it’s high time we all begin setting limits and say, “UNACCEPTABLE,” to these out of control monsters

      • Chris
        January 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

        Thank you dear author for your work on this. You are right its high time to stand up. But its hard to stand up to these disordered people, they basically just flip out and go on to believe they won the argument. They sort of widdle away at you over time.

        Obvsiously, there are many women with none of these traits. (including my wife and our dear author). But in my experience, it is extremely hard to find someone like this for marriage purposes.

        What none of these comments touch on is the consequences. The inevitable result of all this is men will adapt. Consider this: what happens when men decide AS A GROUP that it is a mistake to be a companion to women?

        Its happening right now. There is a whole new era of objectification dawning, and it will wash us over until we are all pure and horrible again.

        At the very core of everything humanity has built is the unspoken symbol of the strong protecting the weak. But somehow its failing from the inside.

        • metalman
          January 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

          It’s happening right now with MGTOW, or ‘Men Going Their Own Way.’ More and more men are voting with their feet and saying ‘No thanks’ to female entitlement. The marriage rate is dropping, and will continue to drop. Sooner or later, men were bound to turn around and say, “What’s in it for us?”

  17. Jon
    December 16, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Amen Dr. T.

  18. Vantage1
    December 16, 2009 at 2:03 am

    These posts just get better and better!!!

    My recent experience with a NPD/BPD ex just reinforces most of these points, especially how gender does NOT entitle a woman to fancy herself as expecting royal treatment: one DOES get treated as one treats others…

    After my break-up, my supposed close friend just suggested I “man up” and that she was fine before I came along and would be just fine after I left, as though my own feelings counted for nothing (glad, at least, both of them have been rightfully 86’d from my life!)…

    Absolutely brilliant…thank you!

    • shrink4men
      December 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks, Vantage1,

      Glad you ditched the unsupportive friend, too. With friends like that. . . you don’t need an entitled, abusive girlfriend!

      Dr T

  19. Danielle
    December 15, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    You would think that most of this would be common sense, but unfortunately it’s not. I just wanted to make a quick comment about number 22. Is anyone else irked by that Capital One Rewards card commercial (or whatever card it is) where the wife buys a dress using the rewards of her and her husband’s supposed joint checking account while he imagines all the things they could do together? I always thought that was extremely rude that she bought something for herself without consulting her partner. And it’s an ugly dress to boot.

    • shrink4men
      December 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Danielle,

      I agree. Unfortunately, as Bill Clinton (please no accusations of me being political) once pointed out, common sense has become all too uncommon.

      I haven’t seen that credit card commercial. The only commercial television I watch is “Ugly Betty” and “The Bachelor/ette” (total guilty pleasure—I do it for examples of BPD – NPD behavior in my writing!) Other than that, I alternate between HBO original programming and TCM.

      I hate the Dannon yogurt commercial where the wife makes her husband feel like an idiot because he asks her if she’s dieting—or something to that effect. The husband character’s name is “Steve.”

      • Lighthouse
        December 16, 2009 at 5:48 am

        Through experience I have come to realize that the ‘common’ in ‘common sense’ only refers to anything explicitly agreed through collaboration. If you choose to perceive it as implying ‘widely accepted’, ‘intuitively obvious’ or ‘God given’ then your unilateral expectations may be set a little high.

        • shrink4men
          December 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

          Very good point, Lighthouse. What can I say? One continues to live in hope.

          • LIghthouse
            December 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm

            I too now live in hope.

            Unfortunately I used to live on hope … and that is my answer to your question “how did we get here?”

    • meyoufools
      December 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm

      I always laugh at that commercial as well. When I first saw it me and my friend watching joked that the guys real reaction would have become upset and yelled “you selfish, self-centered woman…those points were supposed to be for our anniversary and you blew them on that stupid dress…eeeaaagh!!!”

      • free2beYou
        December 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm

        Hahaha I agree, That commercial always gets me upset too. I hate woman like that who think they are entitled to everything & walk around acting like they are a Princess. I mean, all she had to do was ask how they could share the points together(a nice dinner, vacation etc)? She thinks her dress will make him super happy too……whatever….lingerie maybe but a stupid dress…nah lol.
        PS. Another GREAT post Dr. Tara :-)

      • shrink4men
        December 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm

        That is probably still hanging in her closet with the tags on it 6 months later, unworn and forgotten. . .

    • nick
      December 19, 2009 at 10:07 pm

      Oh yeah…very irked myself. Also sick to death of the “kiss begins with Kay” jewelers crap. Men being shamed into buying rocks they usually cannot afford…all in the name of christmas…..better get the little princess something. Where are all of the -women buy this or that- for the guy commercials?

  20. John Dias
    December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Another outstanding post, Dr. Palmatier. Why can’t more people in the psychological profession stand up and say this too?

    • shrink4men
      December 15, 2009 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks, John. I think there are other mental health professionals out there who think as I do, but choose not to speak out—probably because they eke out a living in the Estrogen Ghetto (i.e., the field of Psychology).

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