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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_03

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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Original Shrink4Men WordPress Blog Index

This is the index of articles found on the original Shrink4Men WordPress blog.

October 2010

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Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.


  1. Mark
    February 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Tara, the hyperlink for “Red Flag: Narcissists Play the Victim When Their Lies Are Exposed (January 18, 2018)” is directing everyone to the wrong post (Narcissist Club Rules #1 and #2 etc.

    Just thought that I would let you know.Been reading your site for years, keep up the good work.


  2. Jay
    December 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, great articles! Needed a boost given the ex reached out recently to be “friends” and I couldn’t bring myself to follow up, but thought about it – hey just friends right!?… Your article on what that really means is spot on and helped me to continue moving on with my life without ever looking back.

    PS – just before we got back together in late 2010 the ex said she had to marry and divorce her last victim to get him out of the house. I bought it. One month after we broke up for the last time in Nov of 2011, she remarried the same guy and then divorced him again 6 months later. Obviously, she was texting/communicating with him most or all of the time we were back together. She has been married 5 times and twice marrying the same guy 2 times. Luckily, I never went there…. Hang in there guys, and remember: If sounds, looks, smells, etc. like BS coming out of their mouth, it is!!

  3. Rj.
    November 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hello Dr. T.
    OMG, I really shouldn’t be laughing but, I ran across your site by accident yesterday and couldn’t be more pleased that I did. Not only has the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel been turned on but, it is so bright I have to wear sunglasses.

    I can’t seem to stop reading each and everyone of your threads, I’ve read a lot of them. I’ve been with same “girl”, and I use girl because she acts like a two year old when she doesn’t get her way, for 14 years. I swear, she has to be the “poster child” in everyone of your threads.

    I grew up in a family that was NOT abusive, hence, which is why it has taken me so long to identify what I’m dealing with. She has me right where she wants me, (for now). I have been going thru every phase of the abuse process you describe for the last 14 years, right down to the very beginning. When I read a thread from May 29, 2013, ‘How Covert Abuse begins, Part one.” I was absolutely shocked…. It was like she either wrote the thread or at least took the advise from it. The only difference was the housing situation, I moved into her house, which in some ways were worse because it actually empowered her even more.

    Her time frame took 7 mo. before she completed her mission and it just so happened to take place on Valentines day while I was making her a special dinner that she didn’t show up for. After repeated unanswered calls, she finally responded with an attitude of, “WTF are you doing interrupting my fun “…. I politely responded with Did you forget about the V-day dinner I was making for you? She claimed she knew nothing about it and was out with her “Girlfriends” and that is exactly what she was going to do. I said, well, if I didn’t tell you about it why did we go shopping the day before and buy everything I needed to make it???? “CLICK” The hang up was inevitable, which still happens today when she is confronted and won’t deal with reality. I called her back after I “cooled down” and after a brief argument she agreed to come home and eat but made it very clear she was going to go back out when she finished. I was devastated.

    For longer than I want to admit, I questioned myself many many times over the years, what am I doing wrong??? I just couldn’t stand living there anymore so I slowly, little by little after every fight we had, I moved my stuff that was there out and into an appt. From that point on I pretty much lived out of a duffle bag when she considered me worthy of her presence…. She ignores me on a daily basis, she ignores my phone calls and text messages and always has an excuse (lie) for doing so, trust me I’ve heard all of them more than once. It got to the point where I thought maybe she is telling the truth, but I never gave up on my “gut” feeling. I hate to say it but it got so bad that I just had to confirm my gut feeling that I had. I questioned myself a lot about what I was about to do because I almost felt like I was stalking her, but I just had to know. One night when I knew she was home I went over to her house and stood outside her window and made the call…. I was praying to God she would answer the phone…. Gut feeling confirmed… She picked up the phone, saw it was me put the phone down and “flew me the bird”… All while not knowing I was watching her, I was devastated once again. I can’t describe the sense of betrayal I felt at that moment, I felt sick. It was a long time before I let the cat out of the bag and when I did, she denied it and didn’t bat an eye while doing so.

    I don’t know if she has ever been clinically diagnosed as NPD or any other disorders but judging from what I have experienced, from little lies that really didn’t need to be lies to outright deception, major lies, emotional affairs… you name it she ‘s done it, I have to assume I’m not too far off of my “unprofessional” diagnosis. Either way I’m going to go with it and continue reading your threads in order to rid myself of this evil, controlling, manipulating woman.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rj.

  4. Charles Wilson
    October 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Love the posts I am in a state of confusion as this has left me second guessing myself

  5. honeybadger1032
    March 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this site. My husband’s ex is both a narcissist and borderline. Not to mention a severe hypochondriac. My husband says iif she were a horse….they would have shot her. The amount of medical issues she has are mind blowing. She is seeking disability now. “All I will have to live on is disability of $1000 a month and child support.” Child support for 6 more years sweetheart…she had not turned her wrath on me until recently. She us currently going through her 4th divorce and she is blaming my husband for it. I have never in my life dealt with someone like her. She is insane and childish. I received three hours worth of texts informing me of my husbands inability to tell the truth and his penchant for cheating. I diffused it by telling her that I knew all about his past. I had to. I was not going to get involved with someone without knowing all about them and starting our relationship with honesty. P.S. he wasnt a cheater or liar…as we all know it was her. But that’s obvious given what she is. She didnt like the fact that I knew about everything in their past and had no issue with it. She was trying to sabotage us because her marriage is dissolving. So….now she is using their son. That’s my husbands Achilles heel. He has such guilt over his son that is her ace in the hole. We have had issues over his complete lack of discipline where his son is concerned. He is spoiled rotten. My main problem is that he will not defend me to her. He will not set boundaries. While she was spewing her poison at me…he was of course angry and scared that I was going to believe her. But he did nothing to stop it. He said he was protecting me by staying out of it. After reading a lot of the articles I am a bit confused. I understand what he was saying and I see now he is probably right. But I do not understand why he cannot set boundaries. He has changed his views and opinions of her since we have been together in so much as that he sees more of her lies and manipulations. He defended her for a while because he felt that her actions and instability was a reflection on him. I guess its still a work in progress. He went to counseling after they split ip, and he knows what she is. He has no desire to even deal with her on any level…I do that.I arrange pickup times and drop offs. I just wish that he would set rules with her. He almost seems scared of her.

  6. Matt
    January 20, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Thought you may like to read this: Read the letter written by this guy, has BPD stamped all over it! Ex deresser to Sarah Ferguson murders her boyfriend after he rejects her.

  7. SNM
    July 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

    What happened to these two posts? They were my favorites.

    Why your Wife’s Excuses for Not Working Are Lame (January 15, 2009)
    The Real Reason your Wife Doesn’t Want to Work (January 16, 2009)

  8. Karl
    January 9, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Hi Dr. T,
    Stumbled upon S4M in search of healing/support/learning/growth out of the breakup with my girlfriend (necessitated by her actions and subsequently initiated by her,so she could date another man [whom she had been seeing for the last 3-1/2 months of our relationship]). What a resource for learning, support, & recovery from BPD relationship.

    Ms. Leo (not her real name & my now ex-GF) & I met 11 years ago and briefly dated. She is a Clinical Social Worker by trade and seemed to always be very caring/loving & understanding. I broke it off back then because she stood me up on more than several occasions, but we remained friends over the years. We’d meet for coffee or lunch, and each time I would share that I had very sincere affection for her and desired to build a relationship. Well, time & tide brought us back together in Sept 2012 and we began dating exclusively. by June of 2013 we were “in love” and were beginning to discuss the potential of marrying. I was happy, vibrant, and sincerely investing much of my time, effort, finances, and energy in to courting her in every way I could imagine or manifest. By the end of August 2013 I could tell we had some issues to resolve, and diligently tried to pass every SH*T TEST that came my way from her. By Thanksgiving we were at odds almost all the time….I could do, nor say anything to appease her or remedy the strife she created between us, and finally she broke off the relationship. (that’s when I learned that she had been seeing one of her male coworkers when I was not in town [I travel 3 days a week on my job].

    Since then I have struggled to understand exactly what happened to cause her to change so dramatically toward me and to become unfaithful. From what I have read/listen to on this site I can see/understand where & how she manipulated/emotionally abused me in those last months in order to justify her new relationship.

    I just don’t want to carry any baggage forward into a new relationship I may find as a result of this toxic woman.Thank you for putting this site together as a resource for support and growth for myself and every man that endures unjustified agony in their relationship with their girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, wives, & ex-wives.

    Looking forward to sharing my experiences and gaining understanding on the forums and through the articles posted.


  9. JR
    July 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I think men who are attracted to women who have BPD or NPD may have been raised by mothers with these conditions. Psychological testing should be mandatory as a precondition for marriage. This would be one way to stop the cycle of abuse.

    • 20yearsin
      July 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Hi JR,
      I can’t say that is the case for me. I was raised by a great woman that I consider to be near a saint to human standards. That women was very loving, very kind, very firm and very strong in character and principles. Actually when I met my wife I probably thought I had met that kind of woman, which I consciously know is what I want. My wife was great at first but she never went the distance.
      I had a short relationship before my current marriage and it ended up after 3 years in catastrophe. My current 20 year “marriage” has been catastrophic as well. I of course asked myself why do I attract and pick those walking calamities? I finally think I figured it out.
      I am very gentle and very much wanting to be connected because I was connected with the woman who raised me and was “looking” for that unconsciously as it was my standard of normalcy. I am smart and highly educated ( but not wise obviously). I am very good looking ( or was, as I am aging but I’m a James Bond-looking type and used to be a model, not trying to be a narcissist full of myself, I’m actually very humble).
      My childhood experience and personal qualities make me a very attractive prospect for narcissists and BPDs as I strike their huge “egos”. I think everybody has pretty much the same ego, it’s the regulation of the Ego by the Superego that’s off with BPD types, itself due to lack of/poor parental modeling, low moral standards, drug/alcohol use by the parents and then the “child”. I respond to the initial kindness and loving of these women as my heart gets triggered by the familiar, then the squeeze is on. I have been in a 20 years intense (for lack of a better word) relationship. Fought all along because I knew I wasn’t that wrong or that bad, even though tremendous efforts on her part went into convincing me and others of that. I often wished I had been at war instead, the fighting would have made more sense as it wouldn’t have come from a loving party supposed to be on my side. I often wish I had been a monk as the peace would have been wonderful. I consumed the strength granted to me by God and the woman who raised me floating the relationship. I lost my credit, my promising career, my integrity ( ended up in jail from 2 DVs) and my hopes and pretty much my wife too.
      My wife was beautiful when I met her and now with alcohol abuse and stress she looks ten years older than she should. And still, she doesn’t get it and has and still is fighting teeth and nails to reject responsibility or any consideration of personal flaw (when it goes there it is usually the “I’m an alcoholic and didn’t ask for it” line, or “I got the alcoholic genes” or “my childhood sucked” or, of course, the grand finale “I drink because of you”). My wife is very intelligent and in the mental health field wanna-be which you can imagine makes her a cunning opponent with the knowledge she has. It’s the crazy driving the ambulance type scenario. I look at her being in the mental health field as a way to help everybody else but me, as a way to be “above the law” and as a way to use knowledge to “treat” herself with hardened denial even though she knows with her inner mind that something is wrong inside. And I’m the glue that held it all together.

  10. RA
    June 29, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Are you ok Doc? No articles since July 2012 or is the more in the index? Did you get rich and quit? lol ;) Good Men need you you’re awesome.

    • shrink4men
      June 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      I just haven’t updated the index in awhile.

      There are articles from July 2012 through the present on

  11. Shell1
    May 2, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Dr. Tara,
    Thank you for this site.
    Reading has really helped me understand npd in a major way.
    Thank you.

  12. January 9, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I posted my story on this site years ago, but I can’t seem to find it. I’m about to have a relapse and want to see what I’ve written to help job my memory as to why I’m no longer in a relationship with an emotionally abusive woman. Do you have any older posts? I searched my user name and couldn’t find it…Thanks – CK

  13. David
    April 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Dr. Tara, Thanks for this website. I now understand what I thought was happening is true, I am in a relationship with a female bully. However, I do not know how to change the situation, I want to stand up to her, but I don’t know how to do it or how to get her to stop. Yes, she won’t admit to her behaviour and when I try to discuss it with her she says she doesn’t care about my ‘sissy, girly problems’. I am very confused and to add to that, we have an eight-year-old son together. I don’t want to lose the every day being a father to our son. I also fear he is becoming her second target and I am the only person that can protect him from her by taking her psychological attacks that target him as well as me. I feel like I am losing my mind. Please help me if you can. Thank you, David

  14. Gary
    October 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

    This site has been a tremendous help to me. I finally recognized that I can’t solve all the problems myself and until she can admit her contributions to our problems then things will never get better. After years of wacky behavior I couldn’t figure out and professional counseling, I decided it was time to divorce and I’m moving out this weekend…I am so looking forward to it!

    Tara, I might suggest you put the most recent articles at the top of this page…reverse chronological order.


  15. get
    September 28, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I noticed that that dates on most of these comment are 09′ is the website still active?

  16. Irishgirl
    September 24, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Time for some therapeutic vindication! Anybody like Law and Order? It’s season 20 episode 2 “Just a Girl in the World”. I saw this show and couldn’t believe all the parallels between this blog and the theme for this particular episode. The case depicts a very manipulative – possibly personality disordered suspect who ends up facing her worst fear of exposure on the witness stand. Sit back and watch her crumble beneath her house of cards. For anybody who wants to see a BPD-NPD crack on the witness stand this is really something to watch…

    Hopefully this link will work for awhile:

  17. Doug
    September 18, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    How does OCPD fit into this equation? My wife is obsessed with “balance and order” in her life and has manic period where she will clean 24/7. She’s very critical of basically everything about me and has a lot of the traits of a NPD but without the screaming. She blames me for everything that is wrong in our marriage and refuses to go to counciling with me. She said that I needed to get help so that I will be happy with our without her. She told me a few weeks ago that when she married me that I was “move in ready” (I had a house, job, cars, etc.). She’s looking for a job (she’s been a stay at home Mom for three years) so that she can get her own place. She told me in a 6 page letter last month all the things that I’ve “done to her” over the past 8 years and that she’s afraid my son will grow up to be abusive.
    I have NEVER been abusive to her -although she’s made me very angry with her moody behavior and she always twists my words to make me out to be a monster. I have been so upset about her leaving me that I’ve been depressed and worried about my loosing my son (and family).
    I have decided to get counciling with our without her and I’m hopeful that she may go with me. She does not admitt to her OCPD but everyone that knows her agrees that she has it. Is there a overlap with OCPD and BP/NPD?

    • Doug
      September 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm

      I finally had the opportunity – and nerve – last night to ask her what she wants to do in our relationship. She said that it depends on her ability to find a job and so I took that to mean that she’s moving out. So I asked her point blank if her decision to move out and divorce me is final and she said that it was. She left out this morning to look for a rental house. I’m strangely calm about this but at the same time I’m very anxious about the future. I almost would appreciate one of her rants at this time (Stockholm Syndrome? -maybe).

  18. Nice Girl
    August 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    So I was one of the nice girls that was dating a guy who couldn’t get over his BPD/NPD ex girlfriend. He is a great guy, but just couldn’g get over her and everytime she would call him, he would go running. She was horrible to him, so were his preiovus relationships and it was like he couldnt’ believe that there were really nice women out there, I think he was trying to move on with me but he just couldn’t. I finally got sick of it and walked away from the relationship. I couldn’t understand why he kept going back to her until I saw this website and explained so much to me, I actually sent him the link, I”m sure he won’t read it because he thinks psycho chick is great, but who knows. Anyway, he is back together with his BPD/NPD girl and there is a function coming up that him and I will both be at and I’m afraid she will be there. I’m really worried what could happen. What should I do?

    • anon.father
      August 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Nice Girl, if he’s hooked, he’s hooked. Oh well. If you see them, well, if someone gets violent, call the cops. Otherwise, it’s unfortunate he went back. That’s what he did. It was his choice. If you see yourself as emotionally sound then, well…why bother? Honestly.

      • Nice Girl
        August 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm

        Ya, that is what I tell myself, if he’s hooked and that is what he wants then it is what it is. She is just horrible and I can see her trying to make a scene, I plan on trying to avoid them, but she is the crazy that emails and texts me for no reason other than to be a bitch. I’ve blocked her from everything now and if the event wasn’t so important I wouldn’t go, I just have never dealt with this type of person and I’m not sure how to. I mean she has him, I’m completely out of the picture not sure why she keeps trying to involve me. Its like she wants to manipulate me and make me join her twisted life cult. I really just want to beat the crap out of her. Good thing I’m not a violent person. :-) Thanks for the advise.

        • August 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

          Nice Girl: That’s what torques me off about being a ‘nice girl’myself – seeing decent men being abused to the point of trauma, so that when they do end up with someone who treats them well, it doesn’t compute, or they react out of trauma, leaving us to want to cry out, “I’m NOT HER! I didn’t do that to you, nor would I ever!!” It’s hard…we keep trying to prove to them that we truly care…only to watch them CHOOSE abuse over being treated kindly!! Heartbreaking, infuriating, confusion, maddening.

          That rant aside, anon.father is correct – he is addicted to her (meaning: wanting something that you know is bad for you / is killing you); not that different from an alcoholic or drug addict. When we are addicted to other people /relationships, it’s codependence. And also, like AF said, your former guy is an adult and (gulp!) must be left to make his own decisions and contend with his own consequences of those actions.

          If I were you, I’d read the article about how to deal with a crazy woman…I remember the part where Dr. T suggests you look at her with just a slightly humored look on your face. One of my favorites is, when someone spews a bunch of crazy bile at you, Say, as though confused, “O…kay…” then, “I’m going to go over (pointing) there now.”

          The best way to ‘act’ is completely unaffected. When someone pays you what they think is an insult, you can diffuse them with a very sincere, “Thank you.” and consider the source. She’s not well.

          And please, please please IGNORE him…even if he doesn’t look back at you, any look of recognition noticed by her could lead to more abuse for him later.

          • Nice Girl
            August 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

            Wow!! TGI, thanks so much for the advice. I will for sure read that article you suggested. That is just what I needed. I planned on ignoring them, but her being the way she is I figured she would approach me with some sort of comment. I really liked your favorites, those would be classic to use. :-) Thanks for sharing. I feel so bad for him that he can’t see what he’s been through, but I agree with you he is an adult with a serious problem and just like the addicts he can’t fix it until he acknowledges it, but us nice girls can’t keep trying to help them and wasting our time. So I planned on not even looking at him or acknowleding him. Wish me luck we shall see how it goes. Thanks again for the advice!!

  19. GZ
    August 25, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Hi all,

    I need some advice on my very urgent situation, all comments are welcomed from any of you guys.

    My situation: I’m US citizen living abroad for the last few years, and married a local girl (of my ethnic origin) for over 2 years. I’ve been in now what I just knew (only few days ago)an abusive relationship with a NPD (possibly BPD) with OCD about cleanliness.

    To make the long story short, I never really got along with her, and we had verbal fights (almost weekly), and I believe we never really loved each other. I wanted to divorce her for over a year now, and she’s agreed to it many times, but of course, typical of these women, she never really meant it and would never go through with it.

    After consultations with my parents in the US, I’ve decided to leave her, and the best way to leave her is just pick up my passport and hop on the plane tomorrow.

    My question is: should I leave a text message on her phone saying I’m gone, just so that when she can’t reach me and not call the cops, or should I, after landing on US soil, I call her parents and tell them the marriage is over, etc.

    It’s so sad that I have to leave this way, but I all my family members are in the US, and she has all her extended families there.

    Please advise ASAP, as I have a day to make a decision, I’m leaving tomorrow morning, thanks.

    All suggestions and comments are welcomed, thanks.


    August 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I am so glad I found this website, I have had I think everyone of these EVIL games played on me the last 9 years. Between the controling my every thought to the nice-evil games and the blaming everything that ever went wrong in her life on me, I have nearly lost my mind all my friends and my health. I used to think everyday how I ruined everything now I see it wasnt me. Thank you for all this info you post and all the suport it really helps.

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