About Dr Tara


Dr TDr Tara J.Palmatier began Shrink4Men because she recognized that men who are in abusive relationships in which the perpetrator is a woman do not have the same support resources as their female counterparts. Much of society and support organizations refuse to recognize that men comprise approximately 50% of relational abuse targets or, worse yet, ridicule men who seek help for this reason.

Many men in relationships with abusive women don’t even recognize that what they’re experiencing from their nearest and dearest is abuse. There are many double standards in our society when it come to what is acceptable behavior for men and what is acceptable behavior for women.

Dr Tara holds a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and an MSc in Counseling Psychology. She has over 15 years of experience delivering direct services to diverse populations in a variety of settings. Dr Tara completed and successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, Ce ci n’est pas une these: An applied psychoanalysis of Rene Magritte, in 2004. It examines unresolved childhood bereavement, the effects of a mentally ill mother and creative outcomes in an adult artist. She continues to have an interest in psychology and the arts.

Dr Tara currently publishes the Shrink4Men website, wordpress blog and forum. She specializes in helping men who are trying to end relationships or seeking coping strategies for dealing with their abusive wives, girlfriends or exes, many of whom have been diagnosed with personality disorder or whom they suspect have personality disorders or traits.

The philosophy of Shrink4Men is as follows:

  • Abuse is unacceptable from either sex.
  • Abuse is unacceptable even when the perpetrator has a personality disorder or other mental illness.
  • Tolerating abuse from your wife or girlfriend doesn’t make you a good guy; it makes you a victim. If you remain in the relationship or don’t take steps to stop the abuse once  you recognize you’re being abused, manipulated, controlled or terrorized you are enabling your own mistreatment.
  • Ending a relationship or a marriage in which you’re actively being emotionally and/or physically abused doesn’t make you a “bad guy”—even if you have children.
  • Double standards and inequities in relationships are unhealthy and unacceptable. You shouldn’t have to “take it” or shoulder the entire financial burden because you’re a man.
  • Both partners’ needs and feelings are equally important. Both partners come first in a relationship. Both partners need to compromise.
  • Allowing yourself to be devalued in a relationship is not okay. Relationships should ultimately be a source of comfort and support not a series of endless hostilities, psychological castration, no-win situations, hoop jumping, emotional withdrawal, transactions and resignation.

When a man is abusive, he’s designated a jerk and we encourage his wife or girlfriend to end the relationship. Abusive men are publicly humiliated, vilified and often imprisoned for their violent behavior. When a woman is abusive, we advise her male target that she’s just emotional, she was abused as child, so he needs to  be patient and sensitive to her feelings and stick with her no matter the personal cost. When a woman is violent toward a man in the context of an intimate relationship, it’s still the man who usually gets carted off to jail even when he’s the one with the cuts and bruises.

Dr Tara J. Palmatier is in no way minimizing the legitimate abuse many women suffer in their intimate relationships from men. She is, however, trying to shine the spotlight on the abuse suffered by men who are targets of their female intimate partners and exes, which is just as real and just as painful, if not worse, due to the lack of ready social and personal support.

Private Consultation and Coaching

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting 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.

Donations

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

 

  1. Kevin L Barton
    March 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    The postings i have read have hit the nail on the head. It was like you’re spying but from inside my brain and eyes. Thanks for stepping up and not being just another female dr. to just exist to gender bash. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter who is in what role and your not afraid to go against the popular grain and educate others . Again thank you

  2. shawn
    December 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I am in a 10 month relationship with my girlfriend she does everything you’ve said the thing is I cheated on her and I regret that but she gave me another chance and I have been faithful to her since.she makes up stuff saying I’m looking at her girlfriends and she’s ready to pull the plug on our relationship.of course then I feel guilty of doing it but then I think I didn’t look at or check her out then it’s bak on me because of what I did in the past and can’t trust me? How can I go on doing this I love her very much and I’m not abusive person very Mello it takes a lot for me to get mad and she knows that

  3. Robert Smith
    October 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I have been being abused for about 30 years mine is coupled with hoarding. I still work, and right now she locks my clothes in her car and only allows me to have one or two things. I can’t have a candy bar or a sandwich without her bitching. There’s a lot more that went on and this usually happen on weekends, by Monday everything will be ok I be so relaxed glad that it is over, I often went into work with marks all over my face. She trusts me in front of my only grandson. I looked up lawyers I’ve looked up people like you but it seems when it I want to react everything is better for a little bit and I forget about it

  4. Mat
    August 7, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you for your help. You are amazing. I have experienced a moment of clarity. Thank you.

  5. cifaclub
    July 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I need serious help. My daughter is only 6 years old my wife has made her scared to death of me. Last year my wife’s father came to visit us from China how well he was here he molested my little girl and I had to call the police on him. They did not convicted because there was not enough evidence that he went back to China. I had a restraining order against my wife and her father at that time and sole custody of my daughter but I made a mistake by letting my wife come back to live with us. Now exactly one year later my wife has obtained her green card and I caught her cheating on me so I yelled at her and I left the home to stay with a friend and I was arrested for communicating a threat which basically I said she’s going to lose her green card. My wife took a protection order out against me and I haven’t seen my daughter in two and a half months and when I finally tried to see her she refused to come in to the visitation center. She not reports that she’s afraid of me because I yell. I have videos and photos of my daughter playing together only a week before.
    Now my poor little girl has a therapist and she has told her therapist that I drink alcohol and her mother reported that as well but I have Crohn’s disease and I don’t even drink one drop of alcohol and never have. I took a polygraph test and I took a hair follicle test that goes back 6 months and have proven that I don’t drink there’s not even a drop of alcohol in my system but nobody has given me a chance to speak in court and my next court date is 3 months from now and by that time I will not have seen my daughter for almost 9 months. I have a feeling that I will never see my daughter again I need help please

  6. Ben
    July 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I want to be free from her.

    Narcissistic behaviour.

    My letter to her!

    The past is the future!

    Got to know online in Jan 2015 -I saw her – said hello, but only briefly. 2 weeks later I get a msg back to contact her. Which I did we started to talk on the phone after a while. We agreed to meet us, and before she told me she is divorced and has 2 young children and she told me her ex is an hospital MD and made 750 K – And I said oh forget it – I never made so much money. However she said no I am not looking for that – so we liked each other on the phone –she had an accent from Africa and mine from Europe and said she has a visitor who is performing voodoo in her room. This was later gone. She invited me to come over for breakfast so I came and the house was HUGE – and we embraced happy to see us. We both liked us on the spot and after breakfast I went with her to her shop. I am retired (but still working on ideas for online Biz) our age difference 25 years – but for heaven sake I look VERY young – no wrinkles.
    Turned out that she asked me often to come to her shop and help here and there – and I did. I was on call and I liked it bc. I liked her. I believe I loved her already at that time. However I realized that many man came into the shop and she greeted them all with embracing and smiling like only she can smile. Later when she used me more and she stayed home while I took care of her fashion shop in the believe I do her a favor and man came into the store asking for her and asked me who are you? Oh – just a helper I said since I don’t know that man. However after February came and my birthday she barely made it and I had to wait 50 Min in the restaurant but she said she will come. She came – no card -no small present nothing. We had dinner and I realized that she was angry with the waiter like this and that was not right and she did not like the food.( Italian AA+ restaurant) I was surprised to hear her speak like that and seeing her angry face as if she does not like the service. Little did I know what would come month later! Since I was under the impression that we liked each other which I believe was true – I wanted to spend quality time with her but she never had time – also no time to talk. In March I said to her WE NEED TO TALK. I need 2 hours for my point of view- fact is I got 10 min after 18 month, WOW) since I had the feeling I don’t know what I am – friend – helper – or whatever. Every time I said we need to talk she found always a reason not to be specific – when. After March has passed – and I came to the shop every day and she was in her office – and we still had no time to get to know each other – I invited her to a cinema with restaurant and we meet there – she looked stunning and I kissed her with passion and she me – but I felt after some time she had enough – so she stopped – like she was in control. She also never liked to be embraced or hold hand in public. That’s not her style. As March ended and we never had a minute or she found excuses to talk I was frustrated – no quality time – no kiss, nor affection from her – but she need me to come sometimes when I said not today – she got upset. I ended the relation in April since it went nowhere. I got to know the kids -very nice – and did some shopping with her to carry the heavy stuff aso and meet also her ex who comes often to the house and she still cooked for him at that time. So the husband was and will be in the next 10 years always in the picture and I said to myself W..F. April we have not seen us and we talked a bit on the phone and we where both not happy but never said anything. Finally around 3 weeks into April we saw each other, she phoned and said she wants to start anew. And the daughter looked at her mother and smiled and yes we where both happy to see us. I thought now we could talk what about us and how to continue = and she never had any time but I realized she gave me commands what and when I should do things for her. ( she is a 2x leo – Sun and Ascendant ) She spoke with authority sometimes yelling at me and I said I never had a woman talking to me like that! She said that’s how she speaks and sure enough sometimes she called her kids F…..U – when they did not act as she liked. I stood a couple of times in front of them when she had her outburst – also towards me. And again I was not used to that. I was used to communicate and I showed her a model of communication and commitment. She was only listened half and had no question – like in – OK I am busy.. however I was most of the time frustrated and started to think this goes nowhere – when she needed help she ask me to come to do this and that. I felt sorry for the kids and asked her to go spend some days with the kids on the ocean and she said may be. And as I later find out – she and her ex and the children went all happy to a nice hotel and she slept with him in one room while I was for a week in her shop. But nothing happened and I bet my right arm for that. She needed him to pay for the nice hotel and time on the ocean. I wondered why I barely got a phone call and thought this is not normal. Another time she was busy going to CA with her son and again I stayed in the shop and I phone her and had the feeling like this is a bad time – we talk about 8 month and I tell her every day – I love you or every time I see you I fall in love with you again. It was like a dream – but I woke up as she sent me a pic from her son with a copy to another man. I flipped in my brain – and when she came back I asked her What? She saw nothing in there and just said well the other man thinks that’s ok and asked about you and I asked her – and who is this? She never gave a clear answer and I realized here is something very wrong. No affection – no kissing – no embracing only me running like a chicken for her …. . I love to give I love to help and I gave her the most beautiful flowers and she looked at them ( I gave her often flowers) and sometimes she called me and said they are cheap – 50 US is cheap OK!
    In the end of the first year – she had to stay home after surgery and I again offered to stay in the shop, beside I was there at least 3 days a week – for her for 4 weeks and run the shop. I went to the hospital to learn that another couple of man were there to visit her. Friends – like me? While I was there she asked me to bring her some food and I did – But had my car key inside and the door was looked. Food in my hand she waiting in the hospital – I decided to smash the rear window to get it done. Came back to hospital gave her the food – no thank you or reaction when I told her my window problem. I was inside not happy to never receive a reaction and I said to her – can you hear me? She again – no reaction. I started to question already longer time before – can she love – does she have empathy for my view of the side – it seemed that it was only her and her – and the admirer as man where in her life like flies on dusk. Often when we had arguments she brought me down – I am a loser – I am cheap – I am old fashion I am negative – and will not succeed with my own plans a.s.o. Nice support I thought. Often when she had a cash register problem she ask me for MY credit card to test purchase a transaction. I asked of course for the money back sometimes she forgot. But I got it back later.
    However since I wanted a side job she asked me to stay in the shop for me and she will pay me. After out of the hospital for a HEAVY surgery approx 7 days later- she should have stayed in the bed – the door opened, she comes in with another man TG ANDY – and I am speechless and not happy and I ask – why are you up? She happy with that other friend said he helps me to bring staff to the storage. I answered – and I stay here that you can get better at home in the bed! She was fully dressed as she wanted to go out!
    Comes the time that she comes back and is ready to stay in the shop and I told her that I wrote all hours down – and to my surprise she says very aggressive in front of me: I OWE YOU NOTHING.
    I left and of course I said to myself – F..U ( and meant me and my stupidity) Of course we never talked in that year again and she never contacted me for Christmas after being with her for one year and also not on NY eve. I phoned and wanted to church with her – she had no interest!
    In January we started to talk again and all started from the beginning – only this time I felt in Feb. – that she has something going on. She told me another man asked her out and I was devastated and asked her will you go? She said no! ( till today I am not sure). She still wants me to come to help her to come to her house and eat with her and her Kids. (That’s her way to show affection – cooking) She is very charismatic and all man fall for her – wherever she goes. She only needs to smile. And I went with her many times and that was may be as body guard bc she has the tendency to become super aggressive and outraged when she does not get her way as she wants it. ( what complex is that??? )
    On Valentines Day – she txt me that she will think the whole day of me – and she leaves to a planed trip to Europe. In Europe she phones me on what’s up and shows me her breast and that she misses me. We did had arguments in the months before but she never saw my view it was only hers and she is always right bc she knows everything. I have 3 degrees and I still learn.
    She comes back and biz as usual – I think I should date others as well bc I am not sure anymore – but feel inside as I betray her.. so I don’t date and wait what will come. All of a sudden she phones me in May / June at midnight and says 3 times “ I love you’ and on one visit she sings to me that she loves me. Of course after I fix her washer. And let me kisss her breast and says she likes the way I do it!
    She moved recently to a second shop ( much bigger) place and asked me to help – in the meantime our contacts are more “a friend” for her – as she need help and I find out from another source while she has no time for me – she has other man coming to her house and one is obviously very close. As I confront her – I see the true color – I was humiliated and that’s not my biz we are not married and she can have many friends aso. ( one time she told me that she wants a man where she can do whatever she wants and she will not cheat ( MY RIGHT ARM FOR THAT – I BELIEVE HER!) But where does cheating and using other people start? (OBTW she prays every evening and has the bible almost in her head.)
    Shortly after that conversation which was ONLY her viewpoint she fly’s overseas. While I am being asked to go to that new place and make pic’s to send to her – she is abroad ( and calls me on arrival to say I wish you were here – and I miss you and I believe Ok we still have some fire going. Let’s me talk to the kids as well by saying they want to talk to you.( Guilt bc of the other.. ) I find out that she does not want me to come to the store at a certain time and is trying to orchestra my visit at the shop at a later time and sure enough another man ( I find out ) has visited her home and brought some COX material to her new shop. She has another helper already – that’s how it starts. I send her after all my love guts is all over what’s up – a msg –
    “ I feel stupid”
    We phone in the evening and she said that is not right to say ( I feel stupid ) We talk a bit and she explains some stuff for her move being postponed ( tiles are not ready – which I told her – but all from me is nothing she confirms that and never says – yes you are right! Or yes thank you. So I tell her that other man is still there – we talked about him in your house – and you use me after I send you E mail and tell you that I love you .. and even send sentences in her language – she starts to giggle – I ask astonished – You are laughing? And hang up – thinking aha from I miss you to – I wish you were here – I love you – to laughing. I am convinced that if I would have continued to be on her side whenever she wanted me I may have another chance which I don’t want any more at this time – may be when she has learned if ever!!!! Like you must come in 30 min – when I can’t I am not reliable – IN A VERY ANGRY TONE.
    YES – she needs admiration and constant admirer – and since we are done, she will say to the new victim: “I love you” very soon – to secure the admirer. May be she is lucky bc there are men outside they love when their GF or “wife” is loved by many. Some go even so far to share. Just saying! It’s not her but yes, men come in all colors and emotions. And in the beginning or our time I would have told the pope to phone you. Easy to judge w/o experience. ALL her numbers and unknown are blocked – I want to be strong – but I think we both got the msg. I have wasted or experienced 18 month of rollercoaster in my emotions. Sometimes I ask If – but that is nonsense – bc this was not a healthy relationship and I wish her luck – but I still love her and I wish I would be the stupid monk – with patience …like whatever..
    I am not capable to hate – since hate is like drinking poison and whishing the other one harm
    How do I feel – abused – humiliated – sad – happy it’s over – unhappy that it is. And – alone.
    Good luck. There is a system after all!
    Narcissistic personality disorder: Egotistical, arrogant, grandiose, insouciant. Preoccupied with fantasies of success, beauty, or achievement. Sees self as admirable and superior, and therefore entitled to special treatment. is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings.
    This is a common theme among boomerang relationships. They defy common sense. They are not logical and you usually find people behaving in ways they never would under normal circumstances, such as:
    • Putting up with their partner being involved with other women or men
    • Putting up with being ignored
    • Putting up with never being able to rely on them
    • Putting up with long periods of unexplained absences
    • Putting up will being lied to and deceived – even though you know you’re being lied to and deceived
    • Putting up with them putting in little to no effort
    • Putting up with looking weak, like a fool, doormat or like you have no self-respect
    • Putting up with the feelings and behaviors that show that we aren’t special to that person – missing our birthday, standing us up, ditching us on holidays
    • Putting up with being allocated to the friend position

  7. Stephen Rees
    May 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Iv just found your website and its making me cry.im still going through this with my wife.my lovely son and daughter are being used as pawns against me.i left because my wife was trying to get me to hit her. Her first husband did beat her up.i can see a lot clearer since i went to a very good therapist and i didnt believe him when he told me i was in an abusive relationship. Im a lot bigger than her and it was very scary how controlling she can be.im an ex soldier.my son hates me and my daughters playing the same games as my wife.her dad has hit her mum and she experienced her dads temper towards her.my name is mud around my village but slowly some friends are seeing through it.my son is suffering and I can’t do anything to help.
    Stephen

  8. Paul McLean
    May 15, 2016 at 3:46 am

    It’s refreshing to hear a female expert listen to and speak for men who feel they may be in an abusive relationship. I feel I’m in a ‘game relationship’ where the rules change to benefit my wife. The most recent situation happened today: my wife has been visiting my 90 yr old father in law who was just admitted to the hospital for suspected cancer. I’m also concerned about him and expressed my desire to visit him. Her comment, inflammatory in my opinion, was to say “I’m sorry this is happening at the same time as your birthday, I know how important your birthday is to you”
    I was hurt, and because she asked if something was wrong, I did tell her that her comment made it sound like I was very selfish.
    She blew up basically and said ‘you could easily have just said – o honey, that’s not true, my birthday’s not important at all -.
    Am I wrong in feeling that she was baiting me?

  9. pbcjr
    January 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Hi Dr. –

    Thank you.

    This is really cool.

    I read some interesting stuff about The Four Horsemen (my wife and I had read that book in the past – nice to revisit it).

    My question is:

    As I read through that –

    Specifically how people treat / respond to one another’s concerns…

    Is it possible to be mutually abusive?

    My wife (I am positive) is no saint in this relationship –

    And yet at times I find / found myself saying some of the things you said in your article about the Four Horsemen –

    …for example, she may want me to apologize for something I said in anger after feeling totally neglected, ignored, withdrawn – for days….then I finally loose it and all she wants to talk about is how I lost it.

    .Can you comment?

  10. Dave
    December 22, 2015 at 3:28 am

    This site is AMAZING. I’m going through some things now and I literally JUST used some of the techniques I’ve learned here and I’m seeing immediate results. The results aren’t in anyway a fairytale happy ending, more like she’s not speaking to me because she’s confused and wondering why her normal tactics aren’t working the way she wants them to.
    Thank you thank you thank you so much for this blog. I’ll begin reading the articles every day. I feel SO relieved to finally have an understanding of what I’m dealing with. It’s all making sense now.

  11. Sadandsingle
    November 22, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    My “narcissist?” girlfriend just broke up with me after two years of relation. When I read your points of how to identify a narcissist I could think of the following example which relates to creating her own reality and trying to find you guilty of everything:

    Background:
    -We lived together for 1 year and when we broke up she kicked me out of the house (her house but we divided all payments). We then got back together (one week later) but I decided to stay in the place I had rented because it had been very hurtful when we broke up as she had me take all of my stuff out of the house within 3 days (I had the stuff in my office and lived in a hotel for 1 week until I got an apartment).
    -While we lived together, she needed a car and we bought it together (just so that she could use my insurance) and because I offered to pay for half of each installment. So every month they would charge to my check account and she would give me her half. When we broke up she kept the car and the full financial responsibility, so every month she would deposit the money on my account to cover for the charge.
    -I take good care of my ex (financially) because I want to ensure that my kids (they live with her) have everything they need and if I give her less money it impacts my kids. We don’t have any type of friendship and needless to say any romantic relation. Within the financial support I pay for her car’s monthly payments (the car is legally mine but she is the one using it).
    -I treated her very nicely, made her feel loved, took her on trips, etc. But the moment I stopped living with her I stopped contributing to her expenses.
    -Her ex does not give her child or spousal support.

    Fight example:
    -One day she got upset because she was stressed about money and she started telling me “basically she was paying for my ex’s car” because she gave me $500 every month and I paid my ex car which coincidentally is $500. In her rationale, she was convinced that she was paying for me ex’s car. Doesn’t make any sense at all but she was convinced.

    Others:
    -Her daughters and my daughters are the same age and love each other. But my daughters don’t like her because she has screamed several times at me in front of them (especially because she did not agree in my parenting style). Her daughters I used to have a great relation but lately they were upset that I would “take away their mother” when I took her on trips. I understand that her daughters would feel that way and don’t give it very much importance. Nevertheless, she kept telling me that we could not think of a future together because my daughters are not good people and because her daughters don’t like me because I’m not nice to them (which is not true). She says that I am a bad influence on her and creating problems between her daughters and her. So in summary our “blended family” does not work because my daughters and I are not nice people. NO responsibility on her side.
    -She has been divorced twice and talks terrible about her exes. One day I asked her (during a nice conversation) what did she think she could do better in each relation if she could turn back time and her response was that she had done everything perfect and that her only fault had been loving too much. And she really meant it!!! She could not name one thing that she could improve.
    -She is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hide. When she was sober most of the times she was caring and loving, but when she drinks she became abusive and mean. It only took her two glasses to start and she would pick any little issue to blow it into a big fight. Or she would go back to the same recurring issues (my support to my ex, my parenting style or that I was probably cheating).

    I could give countless examples of her weird attitude, but the issue is that I love her very much and miss her a lot since we broke up. I know it sounds stupid, but I would get back with her and if she took me. It’s been 3 weeks since she broke up with me and I have not contacted her at all, but it has really devastated me. I don’t understand why I can’t get her out of my head. She had so many up and downs that when she was nice it made me the happiest person in the world. So I had become addicted to those “treats” from her (eg. sex, telling me she loved me, being caring), and did not mind going through her abusive treatment when she drank.

    I don’t know how I’ll get through this and every day is difficult but it gets worst every day. I really appreciate your site as it made me feel identified and makes me think that maybe I was not such a bad boyfriend (although I’ve realized I could have done some things better).

    Sadandsingle

  12. Bill
    November 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Dr. Tara…thank you. To say this has been illuminating is a vast understatement!

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