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Posts Tagged ‘dating advice’

Why Men Should Not Put Women on Pedestals

April 19, 2012 7 comments

There’s a new article on www.Shrink4Men.com that explains why men should not put women on pedestals and, if you have the women in your life on pedestals, how to remove them from their perches. Placing your partner on a pedestal is not the path to a relationship of equals, but a relationship between a superior and an inferior.

Here’s the link:

Putting Women on Pedestals: Don’t Do It

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.

Embed for Shrink4Men Radio: What Every Man Should Know Before Getting Married

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

This post provides the embed of the third episode of Shrink4Men Radio with Dr Tara J. Palmatier. The topic is “What Every Man Should Know Before Getting Married.” Marriage, divorce and effects on children from fatherless homes statistics are discussed. There is also a discussion about potential red flags or warning signs both men and women should be aware of when considering a potential mate.

Here’s the link:

Shrink4Men Radio Embed: What Every Man Should Know Before Getting Married

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.

Shrink4Men Radio: What Every Man Should Know Before Getting Married

September 23, 2011 1 comment

Shrink4Men Radio will air again on Monday, September 29, 2011 at 9pm EST. The topic will be What Every Man Should Know Before He Gets Married. Warning signs of potentially bad mates will be discussed as well as an overview of the Men Going Their Own Way movement.

Here’s the link to the show’s write-up:

Shrink4Men Radio: What Every Man Should Know Before Getting Married

Shrink4Men 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.

Dating After Divorcing a High-Conflict Woman: Are You Ready?

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

There’s a new article on www.Shrink4Men.com that discusses the importance of creating and enforcing boundaries with your high-conflict ex-wife, girlfriend or partner before you begin dating a new love interest.

Here’s the link:

Dating After Divorcing a High-Conflict Woman: Are You Ready to Date Again?

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.

How to Crazy-Proof Yourself After Breaking Up with an Abusive Woman

March 29, 2011 1 comment

There’s a new article on www.Shrink4Men.com that explains how to break the pattern of dating and/or becoming involved with crazy and abusive women by learning how to Crazy-Proof your romantic life in 10 steps.

Here’s the link:

How to Crazy-Proof Yourself After Breaking Up with or Divorcing an Abusive Girlfriend or Wife, Part 1

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.

Emotional Detachment: When the No Contact Rule Is Not an Option

December 9, 2009 53 comments

The No Contact Rule is always the best policy when ending an abusive relationship, however, many people don’t have that option. For example, if you share a child(ren) or if you both work for the same company and can’t afford to transfer or find a new job. In these cases, it’s vital that you learn how to emotionally detach and let the verbal jabs, criticisms, eye rolls, dirty looks, sighs and other passive-aggressive and/or just plain aggressive behaviors bounce right off of you.

What is emotional detachment?

There are two schools of thought on emotional detachment. Eastern-based, meditation types define emotional detachment as the ability to:

  • allow another person the freedom to be themselves
  • accept that you can’t change or control them
  • be compassionate and caring toward the other person while calmly accepting whatever happens

They explain that detachment is not indifference because indifference means you’re neither present nor caring toward the other person.

This is all well and good, but when it comes to an emotionally abusive spouse, partner or colleague, it’s not safe to be compassionate and caring in response to their abuse because it makes you a good target for more abuse. It’s only safe to exercise compassion and caring toward an abusive individual from a very safe distance — psychologically and/or physically. I don’t think it’s possible to develop compassionate emotional detachment until you’ve had time to heal from the abuse.

If you’re not quite ready to don saffron robes, the less “enlightened” form of detachment may be the best option for you. I define emotional detachment as the conscious choice to not allow another person push your buttons and hurt, anger, frustrate or annoy you. The easiest way to do this is to develop indifference. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference. While it’s natural to hate someone who has hurt you repeatedly; hate still gives her power over you. Indifference removes your psychological stake in her, her behaviors and the relationship.

It can take a while to develop indifference and emotional detachment. Until you reach the point where you no longer care what she says or does, my advice is to fake it ’til you make it. Here are some tips for cultivating practical emotional detachment:

1. Downsize her. Reduce the importance you give your abusive spouse or partner and increase positive influences in your life. Shrink her influence over you by:

  • Making new social contacts or reconnecting with old ones. The more time you spend with healthy, positive people; the less exposure you’ll have to her toxicity. This has the added bonus of reminding you that there are happy, kind people in the world which makes it more difficult for you to minimize or rationalize her hurtful behaviors and less likely to believe her lies that you’re a jerk who nobody likes.
  • Replacing bad habits with good habits. Instead of sulking, simmering in mute rage or flying off the handle, take up jogging, join a basketball league, etc. Making yourself physically and psychologically stronger will make you more immune to her nonsense.

2. When she says, “Jump,” stop saying “How high?” Tell her, “I’m working on something important. I can’t do x, y and z right now.” When she comes to you with a problem she wants you to fix or wants you to do something she’s capable of doing herself, respond by saying, “Wow, what are you going to do about that?” or “I’m sure someone as smart and capable as you will be able to handle that very easily. Let me know how it goes.”  When she rages; tell her you’re going out until she regains control of herself. If she gives you the cold shoulder; go for a walk or meet a friend at the gym. Create consequences for her bad behaviors, just like you would with a 5-year old.

3. Make yourself your first priority — especially if you have children. It is so very important to take care of yourself when you’re involved with an abusive woman. She’ll drain you and eat up all of your energy, resources and attention until you’ve nothing left for yourself if you let her. In this respect, this kind of woman is a parasite and you’re the host. If you don’t take care of yourself and maintain your physical and mental health, you won’t be able to be there for your children when they need you. This is the same reason airline safety regulations instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting your child.

4. Observe; don’t react. Everything your wife, girlfriend or ex does that drives you up a wall is purposefully designed to hurt and get a reaction from you. She controls you like a puppet on a string by getting you to engage in the content of her verbal attacks, silent treatment and/or passive-aggressive jabs (e.g., saying something cruel in a sweet tone of voice and then accusing you of being oversensitive). Therefore, take a mental step back when she starts the fun and games and simply observe her machinations for what they are.

Her covert and overt attacks are the adult equivalent of a 5-year old who calls a grown-up a “doody-head,” pouting, saying a bad word or tormenting you by saying the same stupid phrase over and over again; “I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I?” When you show a 5-year old that they’re getting to you, they escalate the behavior—just like your abusive wife, girlfriend or ex.

5. Observe and reframe. Think of her as a 2-dimensional TV sitcom or melodrama character and stop taking her seriously. Oh boy! It’s time for “The Susan Show” again. What crazy things will Susan say and do this week? Stay tuned to find out! The reality is that abusive borderline, narcissistic and/or histrionic women don’t have any depth. They’re very 2-, if not 1-dimensional beings. There isn’t any “there” there. If you continue to search for some deep meaning in her behavior and why she does the things she does, you’ll only continue to frustrate and disappoint yourself. What you’re looking for simply doesn’t exist.

Alternatively, think of her as a lab animal who has learned which levers to push to get her reward pellet. When you stop rewarding her with the reaction she seeks, sit back and watch her go into overdrive. She’ll push even harder on your buttons and levers and try to find new ways to get a rise out of you. All you have to so is sit back, observe and smile until she gives up in confusion and despair.

Next week, I’ll continue to explore other ways to emotionally detach from your partner and her abusive behavior. Thanks for your patience.

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.

Photo credit:

Iron man by freakscity on flickr.


The No Contact Rule: Committing to It and Making It Work

November 19, 2009 131 comments

The Power of No

Whether you’re a man or a woman who’s been on the receiving end of an abusive relationship, here’s why the No Contact Rule is the best policy after breaking up.

The sooner begun, the sooner it’s done. The sooner you make a clean break and stick with it, the sooner the healing process can begin. It’s natural to sentimentalize an ex after a break up, however, you’re playing with fire when you wax nostalgic for an abusive ex.

She may have been nice from time to time and occasionally very sweet, sexy, etc., but these fleeting moments don’t make up for the pain and damage she caused you. Each time you initiate contact or respond to her overtures, you have to start the healing process all over again.

Re-initiating contact only prolongs your pain. It’s the difference between ripping a band-aid off quickly and all at once or peeling off the adhesive very slowly, one arm hair at a time. Ouch.

Do not apply salt to an open wound. Engaging in contact with your ex, even a little bit, is like rubbing salt into an open wound. Some men maintain no contact for a year or more, run into their ex and Bam! They’re caught up in all the old painful feelings again. This is why it’s just as important to really explore why you were in that relationship while maintaining No Contact so that you’re not susceptible to your ex or others like her in the future.

If you give her an inch, she’ll make a grab for your kidneys. You may think you’re being nice by accepting her calls and responding to texts and emails, but you’re not. You’re giving her permission to keep yanking your chain. If you give an abusive ex an inch, she’ll take a mile.

This woman interprets your willingness to maintain contact as interest in rekindling the relationship or that she still has you on a string — and if you respond to her, she does indeed still have you on a tether. She’ll continue to be possessive and intrusive. All she needs is the smallest bit of attention — negative or positive — to keep her going.  If you want her to move on and find another target, you must starve the beast. That means no contact and no attention.

How to do it:

1. No calls, no texts, no emails, no smoke signals, no carrier pigeons. Make a list of every nasty hurtful thing she said and did to you and keep a copy near every communication device you own.

2. No “accidental” meetings (if you can help it). Change your routine. Go to the gym at a different time or on different days. Find an alternate sports pub. Go to a different grocery store. Yes, it’s unfair that you have to change your lifestyle for the moment, but time and distance is how you’ll heal. Alternatively, even if you have to have your best friend lock you in your apartment/house, do not go to places you know she’s likely to be. Even if you think you’re doing this to show you how happy you are without her, this will backfire on you. Don’t do it.

3. Avoid places that remind you of her. If it makes you turn into a sentimental mess to go to the restaurant the two of you went to every Friday night; don’t go.

4. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Ask your friends, family and associates not to tell you news of your ex or act as her intermediary. For example, when a woman like your ex can’t reach you because you’ve gone No Contact, she’ll often enlist others to contact you for her.

Alternatively, some people think they’re being helpful by telling you about your ex’s latest crazy antics or newest boyfriend. Nip this is the bud and explain that you prefer not to hear about your ex. Tell them that you know they mean well, but for the time being, you don’t want to know what she’s doing, who she’s dating or what her Facebook status is, etc.

5. Don’t keep a foot in the door. This applies to your foot as well as hers. Whether it’s leaving a few things behind at your place or negotiating visitation with a pet, you must cut your losses. When you break up, get all of her stuff out of your home asap. Pack it up yourself and drop it off at her new place when you know she won’t be home or have it delivered.

If you’re the one who moved out, do your best to get all of your belongings at once. Don’t leave anything behind that you can’t live without. Do not allow her or yourself an excuse to resume contact. If you adopted a pet while you were together, I know it’s painful, but just let her have the dog, cat, ferret, etc., and be grateful you only shared a quadruped and not a child.

6. Don’t take the bait. Many of these women send cruel, demeaning and often obscene emails, texts and voicemails. Your initial impulse may be to defend yourself or be “right.” Don’t fall for this. If you do, you’re taking her bait to keep you engaged. The only way you can “win” with a woman like this is not to play her sick games and get on with your life without her.

7. The eternal sunshine of a spotless mind. Pack away photos, gifts, notes, etc. that remind you of her and “the good times” — all 2 or 3 of them.

8. Delete her from your life. Delete her name and number from your phones. Delete her email addresses. Delete her from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and every other website on which you’re currently connected. Block her incoming numbers, texts and emails.

Do not answer calls from unknown or private callers. An abusive, crazy ex is the reason Caller ID was invented. Exception: If she is physically threatening you, blackmailing you or threatening to lie about you, save these communications and contact an attorney. You may need them for a restraining order and/or to press cyberstalking charges.

9. Avoid alcohol and other inhibition reducing substances. Drinking and dialing is generally always a big mistake. You don’t want to let this woman back into your life because you had one too many gin and tonics. Plus, if you’re feeling down or depressed about the break-up/divorce, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and will only make you feel worse.

10. Reconnect with yourself, your family, your friends and your life. Get in touch with the people you weren’t allowed to see because your ex threw a fit if you did. Start doing the things you used to enjoy. Pursue your interests again. Make a commitment to exercise/working out if that’s one of the things that fell by the wayside while you were with your abusive ex. The goal is to make yourself healthy and strong in body, spirit and mind.

One of my readers refers to No Contact as “living in the bunker.” Here’s a list he shared with me on how to be a successful “bunker dweller.” Everything on this list may not be feasible for everyone, but I think it’s a good example of the level of personal commitment No Contact requires:

  • Ability to give up personal comforts and not care at all.
  • Refusal to be influenced in any way by threats, further intimidation, or bad consequences.
  • Ability to change residences quickly and frequently. I have moved three times, soon to be four.
  • Decisive severance of any residual communication links–mutual friends, Facebook, etc.
  • Absolute refusal to feel shame or be put on the defensive–especially in your own mind.
  • Insistence that any discussion of the facts begin with the words “abuse,” “destruction,” and “control”
  • Refusal to negotiate until there is absolute capitulation (*he’s in the process of divorcing).
  • Satisfaction that she picked the wrong guy to F*** with
  • Accept collateral damage philosophically as the cost of freedom and further evidence of the rightness of your cause
  • Extreme patience–don’t be worn down by any reversal, surprise, or consequence. Stay in the bunker as long as it takes

Next week, I’ll post the third piece in the No Contact series about developing emotional distance for those of you who can’t go No Contact because you share a child(ren), work in the same office or some other reason.

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 credit:

Caller ID made at signgenerator.org