Teaching Boys and Young Men about Women and Dating, Part 1

Last week’s Shrink4Men articles, 22 Things to Teach your Son about Women (or Not) and Fathers and Mothers: Teach your Children Well, Including your Sons, discuss what we, as a society, teach and don’t teach boys and young men about women and intimate relationships. Our society seems to be solely focused on teaching boys that they must always respect women and “treat them like princesses.”

We neglect the fact that not all women deserve respect (especially if they’re abusive toward loved ones) and that unless a woman was born into the House of Windsor, she’s not royalty. Furthermore, there seems to be a disproportionate amount of material about how men should treat women with love and respect and very little equivalent material regarding how women should treat men with equal love and respect.

Instead, there are articles and books about how to get your man to propose, how to get your man to treat you like a princess, how to take control of your relationship, how to train a man applying the same principles one uses to train a puppy, and, of course, how to screw your man out of all his assets. There are two people in a relationship and both deserve respect and to be treated well. Abusive, entitled and cruel women don’t deserve respect; they deserve contempt and a wide berth.

Recently, a reader sent me the following videos from iCarly, a tween television show, which I find appalling. If this is what we’re teaching children about intimate relationships between men and women, we have a serious problem.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube DirektiCarly

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YouTube DirektiCarly

Here’s a starting point for what we ought to be teaching boys and young men about women and relationships:

1. Beware of women who wear their victimhood like a designer gown. There’s a reason this red flag is at the top of the list—it’s a really big red flag. Professional victims are often she-wolves in sheep’s clothing and young men should know this. Professional victims play upon your sympathy and other caring qualities. Eventually, they will use your compassion and sympathy against you.

If a woman tells you on the first date, conversation, email, or text about her abuse history, put your guard up. I don’t care how hot she is or how sorry you feel for her, put your guard up. Being gang raped by the football team at the age of 15 is not, I repeat, not first date conversation material. Neither is, “My dad and/or brother molested me” or “My ex-husbands/ex-boyfriends used to beat me/cheat on me.” In fact, a woman who does this shouldn’t even be considered healthy girlfriend material. It shows an utter lack of boundaries. You want a woman with healthy boundaries and that means no inappropriate early disclosures.

These Too Much Information-Too Soon confidences are warning signs, big ones. If a woman has truly suffered these events, they’re incredibly painful memories loaded with shame, anger, regret and sadness. A healthy woman doesn’t bring these issues up with some guy she just met on MySpace, Facebook, eHarmony, Match, the gym, or a bar in the early getting to know you stage. Think about it. If you had suffered similar trauma, would this be the first thing you’d want a potential girlfriend to know? Of course not.

If a woman blithely tells you about her alleged abuse history within minutes or days of meeting her, you should be alarmed. Ask yourself why she wants a stranger to know these things about her. All you need do is observe your reaction to this kind of information. Do you feel sorry for her? Do you want to protect her? Do you want to fix her? Do you want to show her that you’re “not like all the other men” who wronged her? Do you feel obligated to sit there and listen to her? Do you feel obligated to invite her on a second date?

What you should feel when a woman trumpets her victimhood so early in the process of a developing relationship is violated and unfairly burdened. Essentially, she’s foisting an inappropriate obligation onto you. “I’m a victim and now you know I’m a victim. You’d better be extra careful with me. You owe me special treatment because I’ve been hurt. Anything I may do to hurt you is because I’m a victim and, therefore, doesn’t count. If you hold me accountable for my hurtful behavior, you’ll be victimizing me, the real victim, all over again.”

Healthy people focus on the present and future; not the past and how their lives have been ruined and will be forever ruined. Here’s the thing, once you disappoint someone like this, which is inevitable, you’ll be the villain and she’ll ceremoniously don her victim mantle. This isn’t a potential relationship candidate; it’s a potential life sentence.

Before I get hit with “you have no sympathy for abuse victims” comments and emails, let me clarify some things. First, I  publish this site because I’m trying to help individuals who have suffered abuse. Second, abuse victims need to do a lot of work to heal and move past their trauma. An individual who was truly abused and has done the hard work to heal themselves does not want to be seen as a victim. They don’t bask in their past trauma. They don’t use their past trauma as date bait. They don’t use their past victimization to avoid taking responsibility for their bad behavior. They don’t use their experiences as an excuse to hurt, control or abuse others because they know firsthand what it’s like to be hurt. It’s the last thing they want to do to someone else and they certainly don’t want their abuse history be the first thing people know about them.

A woman or man who uses their abuse history as an excuse to abuse others as an adult is just as bad as the individual(s) who originally hurt them. They were victims as children and are now abusers as adults. In my book, when they abuse others in their adult relationships, they lose their childhood victim status. Period.

2. Beware of women who display a general contempt or hatred for men. This one seems like it should be obvious, but sometimes the most obvious red flags are the easiest ones to miss. If a woman you’re attracted to regales you with monologues about what jerks all her ex-boyfriends are, how “all men are the same” or “men only want one thing” or “all men are liars and cheaters,” you need to understand something: This includes you, too!

She may tell you that you’re different or special in the early days of your budding romance, but your exemption card from the “all men are sh*t” belief system has an expiration date. Trust me, you won’t be exempt from her hatred or contempt for anything with a penis for very long. When you inevitably disappoint, anger or hurt her, you’ll be treated like just another “lying, cheating, controlling, loser, bully, wimp, and user man.”

This is especially a red flag if you’re looking for a woman with whom to raise a family. Do you want the potential mother of your potential son to be someone who believes all or most men are duplicitous, lying creeps? Do you want her to raise your future daughter to hate all men and to believe that no man can be trusted, including her own father? If you don’t think this can happen, just read through the comments here on Shrink4Men and father’s rights websites. It happens all too frequently.

3. Beware of women who live high on the hog without any visible means to finance their luxe lifestyle or women who always expect you to pick up the tab. This denotes a basic sense of entitlement, selfishness and an inevitable case of hostile dependency. It also means that should you marry and divorce, she’ll continue to expect you to foot the bill for her *LIFESTYLE.*

No healthy, self-respecting adult expects others to pay his or her way through life without contributing something in return. If she wants to be a stay at home mom while the kids are young, that means taking care of the home and kids without acting like a martyr or pretending that she “sacrificed” her “career dreams” of reaching the top of the corporate ladder with her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. If a woman expects you to pay her way just for the privilege of being with her (i.e., occasional or infrequent sex) without giving anything else in return for the money you spend on her, she does have a career and it’s the oldest profession in the book.

4. Beware of women who don’t let you have your own feelings. This is so important. I can’t tell you how many men I work with who are in relationships or were in relationships with women who do this. People in relationships hurt each other’s feelings from time to time. Being in a healthy relationship requires communication and you both need to be able to communicate when you’ve hurt one another and be heard.

If you tell your girlfriend she’s hurt your feelings and she responds by: a) denying that you have feelings, b) minimizing your feelings (e.g., you aren’t really hurt/are too sensitive), and/or c) turning the focus onto her feelings and how she’s really the injured party; just break it off. Don’t waste one more second of your precious time on her. When a girlfriend responds in one or all of these ways, the message is clear: Your feelings don’t matter and you don’t matter. You exist to serve and make her feel good about herself and nothing else. If she can’t acknowledge you as an equal being, that your feelings, beliefs, opinions and rights are just as important as her own, she’s not looking for an intimate relationship; she’s interested in a service relationship. One guess as to who the servant is in this equation.

Please check back in a few days for Part 2. If you would like to share warning signs or lessons we should be teaching young men based upon your own experiences, post them below.

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.

Comments

  1. typhonblue says

    “If a woman you’re attracted to regales you with monologues about what jerks all her ex-boyfriends are, how “all men are the same” or “men only want one thing” or “all men are liars and cheaters,” you need to understand something: This includes you, too!”

    Likely these women know they can manipulate men by making them feel special and unique and ‘not like all the other men’.

    • TheGirlInside says

      I was watching this (gulp!) Lifetime show…I know, I know, their shows are usually pretty dumb, but this one looked like a good psychological thriller (mindf***). Anyway, it was called “He Loves Me,” starring Heather Locklear.

      The movie was based on a woman who had a history of making up relationships with men, that didn’t exist. The men existed, but the relationships didn’t. She was so good at it, that she was able to manipulate her therapist into believing her. She justified every action that helped her to keep up the facade. It reminded me of Ron on Drums’ story about the crazed fan.

      I kept thinking throughout the movie, “This must be what it’s like to think like a BPD/NPD” ~ people are expendible, and as long as PD’d person can believe their own lies enough to convince others, then it must be real, and anything that contradicts that version of ‘reality’ must be stopped. Granted, her character was farther along the spectrum into sociopath / psychopath, but that is all just a matter of degrees, IMO.

      My 2 cents worth,

  2. joesixpack says

    What I try to teach my 9 year old son is the following three things;

    1) Be careful of someone who isn’t careful with your time

    2) Be careful of someone who isn’t careful with your money

    3) And most especially, be careful of someone who isn’t careful with your feelings.

    Point number four in the post above is VERY IMPORTANT. I can’t tell you how much of my life I wasted because I allowed my partner to dictate to me how I should feel, all the while placing her feelings above everyone else.

    • SineNomine says

      Excellent advice. I wish someone had given me that advice. To add my $0.02, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s a warning sign that a person isn’t going to be careful with or respectful of your time or money if they aren’t careful with or respectful of their own (or anyone else’s). You are NOT going to be the special case, no matter how much she might tell you that or how much you want it to be true.

  3. Beesley says

    Here’s another: Women who openly express their distrust of or contempt for females in general. They might talk about how all of their friends seem to be guys because they can’t relate to other women or that they prefer to hang out with men. They might also refer to women in general (but not them, of course!) as manipulative, bitchy, catty or distrustful.

  4. TheGirlInside says

    Dr. T article excerpt: “An individual who was truly abused and has done the hard work to heal themselves does not want to be seen as a victim. They don’t bask in their past trauma. They don’t use their past trauma as date bait. They don’t use their past victimization to avoid taking responsibility for their bad behavior. They don’t use their experiences as an excuse to hurt, control or abuse others because they know firsthand what it’s like to be hurt. It’s the last thing they want to do to someone else and they certainly don’t want their abuse history be the first thing people know about them.”
    *
    Yes! At least from my perspective, I want it to stay in my past, want to shed that image of being ‘damaged goods!’ I’m disappointed if someone seems to pick up on past abuse, b/c I feel like that is a sign that I haven’t recovered as much as I thought I had…it’s not a good thing!
    *
    Instead of the traditional conventional so-called ‘wisdom’ that says women who witnessed/ were abused grow up to be abused but men who witnessed/ were abused grow up to abuse, we need to change that cultural view that essentially, if one is abused, their options seem to be: use it as an excuse to abuse others, or do everything in their power to keep from putting anyone else what they went through…and in some cases, that makes us in the second option vulnerable to being abused (but being accused of being the abusive one should we dare to ever assert ourselves or express the mildest of objection / difference of opinion…).
    *
    I knew a gal who I felt so close to, b/c she told me all these details about her life. I guess I assumed that was a sign of companionship / closeness. This gal used to whine that everybody gossiped about her; then I witnessed her talking with people she had just met; she told them every dirty detail of her past, including graphic details about getting beaten and raped by her ex-boyfriend (who she then later cheated on her husband and had a child with, then left him for…until he beat her within inches of her life…for the umpteenth time). I felt duped.

    excerpt: “4. Beware of women who don’t let you have your own feelings”
    This one drives me berserk, too. Here are a couple others. “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “You don’t really think that.” BUZZ! Wrong answer!
    Or there’s always this gem: “I know the real reason behind why you did / didn’t do that (obviously, it’s b/c you have an Ulterior Motive, especially when you are being kind and loving).” This is the sign of a VERY SICK individual. Anyone who consistently second-guesses your every move, especially when you go out of your way to do something nice for them, is setting you up to fail ~ and no matter what, you’re an a-hole, b/c she or he knows the ‘real reason’ why (which is also an expression of how that person thinks – i.e. if they believe that you always have wicked motives for everything you do…guess what? That’s how he/she thinks.). This person probably believes they are not worthy of ‘loving acts’ so they p*** all over them rather than accept them with gratitude.
    Feeling sorry for people like this is a lost cause. Adults are responsible for their own feelings and subsequent actions.
    *
    I hope I’m not tromping on part II here, but this brings to mind another red flag: Making you responsible for their feelings. If you find yourself apologizing constantly (instinctively as a protective measure), so much so that people who are not your SO / abuser remind you that there is no need to apologize for things like that person having a bad day / feeling disappointed about something that has nothing to do with you…you are likely being abused by someone in your life, who has you convinced that you are supposed to make them happy (impossible, BTW), and if they’re not happy (est. 99% of the time), well that must mean You F***ed up somewhere! BUZZ!!! Wrong Again!
    *
    I have a theory that people will reveal how they think by how they define others. For instance, someone who is generally honest and sincere tends to (perhaps naively) perceive others to be the same way, so tends to be trusting. The inverse holds true for people who tend to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate…they are CERTAIN that everyone is out to screw everyone else over…IMO, this is not just a red flag, but should also be a loud buzzing alarm, doors slamming and red lights spinning!
    I related a story once to my sister—I don’t remember the details, just that in the story, I had done something nice for someone else—her response? “Nobody’s that nice.” BUZZ

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      “I knew a gal who I felt so close to, b/c she told me all these details about her life. I guess I assumed that was a sign of companionship / closeness. ”

      This is an excellent point, which I forgot to include in the article. Disclosing trauma experiences early on is also a way to unnaturally speed up the level of intimacy. It takes time to build trust and closeness. This is another way some predators accelerate the process. They use it as a way to get you to bond with them more quickly.

    • Sad State says

      “I have a theory that people will reveal how they think by how they define others.” This is called “Projection” and Cluster B’s do it to such a degree that you can actually read their minds. They call you a liar -> that means they have lied. They accuse you of cheating -> they have cheated on you. They say your divorce papers are full of exaggerations and lies -> well, you get the picture.

      At the end of my ex’s usual “I’m broke, I’m deadly sick, at the kids hate me” e-mails, she will frequently add “Are you happy now?” She really thinks that my goal is to see her broke, sick, and alone. That is projection. Since seeing me that way would make her happy, she is projecting that since she feels that way, then I must be happy.

      • Freedom says

        TGI,
        i loved your post and wanted to share a little of my own experiences.

        1 – Dr. T article excerpt: “An individual who was truly abused and has done the hard work to heal themselves does not want to be seen as a victim. They don’t bask in their past trauma. They don’t use their past trauma as date bait. They don’t use their past victimization to avoid taking responsibility for their bad behavior. They don’t use their experiences as an excuse to hurt, control or abuse others because they know firsthand what it’s like to be hurt. It’s the last thing they want to do to someone else and they certainly don’t want their abuse history be the first thing people know about them.”

        – – A lot of people here know, and there are also many who don’t know, i used to be a meth addict. I’ve been clean since 2002. it ruined my life and it turned me into someone i was very ashamed of. i beat my monster, my life is awesome now, and i’m a better man for it, tho i wouldn’t wish what i went thru on my worst enemy. how it ties to this conversation is that once i finally started to get back into the dating field, my past addiction was gonna come up, because i was still putting my life back together. it was my “really big awful secret”. so… i didn’t want someone to get involved with me and then find out about my past. so, almost upon meeting the girl, i would tell her about my past, thinking that IF she could handle that, then the rest is easy. the problem with that is you can’t sit someone down to a 50-course meal, shovel it down their throat, and expect them to not only swallow it all, but also digest it successfully. and just because i came to terms with my addiction and can talk about personally, its probably not what the girl wants to hear right away. most importantly, its who i was then, not who i am now. by giving way too much too early, and by giving gory details, i made a lot of women run for safety, and didn’t present myself as the man i am now. in their defense, i came across as damaged goods, and someone who was living in the past, versus the reality of being proud of what i’d overcome, but also had successfully let it go. i never presented myself as a victim, but i did not present myself as someone whose past was in the past. important distinction. its not what you say but how you say it.

        2. Beware of women who display a general contempt or hatred for men.

        – – Ever witness a close friend going thru a nasty break-up or divorce? during those times it think its natural, tho not entirely healthy, to bash the other side, the other gender. with time, the person calms down, gathers their faculties, and moves on, gets over their venting, and no major harm done. but those who seem to have a deep-seeded dislike of the other sex usually are people who are unhappy in general, and the other sex is a quick and easy way to point the finger at someone or something other than the person with the issue, so that way they don’t have to change. then it becomes the other gender’s fault all the time. i’ve been thru some stuff with women that would make Jerry Springer cringe in fright, and yet i’m not down on women, i’m not down on life, and i’m not down on love. my fiancee sometimes marvels at how, with all i’ve been thru, still trust and give. i tell her “you are never responsible for anything that ever happened before you got here’> and she is my heart and soul. its MY responsibility to take care of my issues and not take them out on her.

        3 – No healthy, self-respecting adult expects others to pay his or her way through life without contributing something in return. If a woman expects you to pay her way just for the privilege of being with her (i.e., occasional or infrequent sex) without giving anything else in return for the money you spend on her, she does have a career and it’s the oldest profession in the book.

        – – One of my dearest friends is a girl that i used to date. overall, i think its a good thing if you can eventually become friends after you date, assuming both sides are healthy. in fact, she wound up marrying one of my best friends, and i was best man at their wedding. we’re closer now than we ever were when we dated. i bring her up because the reason we broke was she paid for nothing in the 4 months we dated, and never once even offered to pay for anything. after about 3 heart-to-heart discussions about this (it really is the thought that counts and i’m very much a gentleman, but cmon…), she made me buy on my birthday. that was it and i broke up with her. now, since she’s married to my best friend, she is a great companion to him, pays for their nights out, gives her fair share. i jokingly tell my buddy “you’re welcome”. she’s doesn’t have any type of PD, just had the “gimme gimme” mentality, the “i’m a beautiful girl, therefore i get all the goodies”. it happens, but its no fun to date someone like that.

        4. Beware of women who don’t let you have your own feelings. This is so important. I can’t tell you how many men I work with who are in relationships or were in relationships with women who do this. People in relationships hurt each other’s feelings from time to time. Being in a healthy relationship requires communication and you both need to be able to communicate when you’ve hurt one another and be heard.

        – – i agree with all of this. i’m a good guy, my man card is firmly intact, but if you cut me then i will bleed. the “you’re so sensitive” thing hurts as well. if i can take responsibility for my emotions, then the girl needs to as well. i’ll come to her and say “i’m really struggling with A, B, C, and i need your help”. that’s me taking responsibility for what’s going on in my mind. usually there’s something i’m not understanding, and plenty of times where i’m flat-out wrong. that’s on me, but i’m trying to gain understanding of what’s going on, both inward and outward. i’m trying to find workable answers moving forward.

        when a person just dumps on me and blames me for everything that is wrong i her world, of course i’m shocked, hurt, and usually completely taken off guard because i try so hard to be considerate and a good man. yep, i sure do make mistakes, everyone does. but its those times when i’m being blamed for things i have not done, have not said, would never say or do, or being blamed for things that have nothing to do with me… then when i tell her that she hurt me with the accusations and tirade… to hear that i’m just being too sensitive, really sucks. it leaves me feeling like i’m a dumping ground with no recourse, no workable answers, and certainly not an equal in the relationship.

        been thru that one too many times in the past…

        thanx Dr. T for the great post, and to you TGI, for an excellent reply.

      • Peter says

        Cluster B’s live in a “zero sum” world. There is a small, limited amount of happiness in the world and they will make damn sure that you don’t have more than your share. That means they can only be happy is someone else is upset. You have to “wear” their misery (projection). once you are obviously distressed and miserable they are freed of the burden of their misery and they can feel calmer and more tranquil. Weird shit to live with.

  5. Paul Elam says

    “If a woman you’re attracted to regales you with monologues about what jerks all her ex-boyfriends are, how “all men are the same” or “men only want one thing” or “all men are liars and cheaters,” you need to understand something: This includes you, too!”

    Likely these women know they can manipulate men by making them feel special and unique and ‘not like all the other men’.

    Precisely. It is really funny. As I look back on my younger, blue pill days, I can vividly remember being in that position. My reaction internally to seeing the victim flag raised early on in meeting a woman was to start (almost unconsciously) developing my strategy to prove to her that I was not like those “other guys.”

    But it played out in a very consistent way. After one of these women started getting unreasonably demanding or abusive (and they always did) I would take it for as long as possible. Then, at some point, I would get fed up and tell them, sometimes not so gently, to knock it off or take a hike.

    Their reaction? Telling me (and treating me like) I was just one of those “other guys.”

    I came to recognize later in life that the poor victim song and dance was not about the men in their pasts being abusive, but about men who quit putting up with it, which qualified to these women as abuse.

    Thus the early inappropriate disclosure was not just a ploy for sympathy, but a set up for me to be abused…and to take it so I would not be like those “other guys.”

    Thanks again, Dr. T, for another supreme job at cutting through the nonsense and offering men sound advice.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Thank you for stopping by, Paul. You offer some great insights regarding how men get hooked and why they hang in their after the “victim” begins abusing them. We can flip this around, too. In my 20s, I had a soft spot for men who let me know early on on badly their ex-gfs treated them. The same thing you described would happen.

      I also date a guy who had a really abusive ex, but it wasn’t one of the first things he told me about himself. It came out slowly, in bits and pieces, over time. In fact, I’m the one who pieced together that he had been in an abusive relationship. He didn’t want to admit it to himself or anyone else. He had some issues, as we all do, but abusing others because he had been abused was not one of them.

  6. ssscrambled says

    I was thinking about this the other day, and I came up with “Beware of women who are willing to do something they dislike in order to please you”. In the early stages of my relationship with my BPD ex, she would absolutely go out of her way and make huge compromises to try to give me what I wanted – or what she thought I wanted – ranging from going to films she didn’t want to see, to offering to perform sexual acts she didn’t enjoy (which of course I declined, much to her consternation!)

    If there is an assumption on her part that any person (ie you in this case) would be able to enjoy a joint activity, while knowing that the other person is not enjoying themselves, then she has an abusive outlook on life. There’s no way a healthy person could enjoy an experience if their partner needs to suffer for it… but you will quickly find out that that’s precisely what she expects you to do once she knows she means something to you.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Good point, ssscrambled. This is also part of the shape shifting, “What do you like? I can be anything you want me to be to get you to love me” that some disordered people do in order to secure an attachment.

      When you’re dating or in a long-term marriage, it can be healthy to try new things you’re not particularly interested in or wouldn’t do left to your own devices. In a healthy relationship, partners can open new horizons to the other. Deliberately lying about liking activities to lure someone into a relationship is another matter entirely. It’s like false advertising.

      • thistooshallpass says

        I have to say…having experienced similar stuff with my pd exwife, early on being or ‘becoming’ who i wanted…or doing things she thought i wanted (even changing her ENTIRE look to be what i was attracted to…) (it worked).
        in any case. part of this is also that they view things…relationships that is…as ‘transactional’.

        part of it is to lure you in, for sure, to secure fast intimacy. but another part is ‘well, ill do this thing for them now and then they’ll OWE me when i want something they aren’t ok with’.

        my exwife tried to pull this crap when she started cheating on me. she searched for any historical ‘transaction’ she could use so that i would ‘owe’ her to go off and have this ‘experience’ and come back, (whenever she felt like it).

        and whenever she would do a chore around the house (rarely), it was like ‘look at what i did for you! see? i can clean/cook/take care of you too’. and then would always point to that one as vouching for her ‘equal’ contributions to the partnership. whereas when i cooked 3 meals a day for her while she was in grad school. well, that was just expected. bc she was in school of course.

        also, i am a woman too, and i do not act like her. i am not entitled and i say and do things authentically out of love and care for a person. not because eventually i am expecting a certain exchange later down the line. not all women are like this.

        i hope to find another one who is more like myself. ie, honest and caring, not victim and abusive. truly awful stuff. (and she was a psychotherapist herself). scary. learned a lot from this though!

  7. Closure at last says

    Since this post is aimed towards boys and young men, and assuming they are about to date young women in their own age range – a few other ‘flags’ to keep an eye out for:

    1. Beware of the type of women in media/history/life the young girls are adoring or seeing as their ‘role models': Given that so many vacuous samples and drama-queens are now glorified in our print and tv- world with their omnipresence, and given that future borderline/APD girls often lack a real sense of Self or identity and imitate their ‘role models’ – notice objectively which prominent women they follow, are fans of, emulate or imitate. If they are crazy about the likes of Snooki, the mind-numbing Kardashian sisters (or other sex-tape to limelight types), Kate Gosselin- types, the ‘real’ housewives, Lindsay Lohan; or conversely in the other extreme – incredibly angry male-bashing tv characters – be these male-bashing lawyers, ‘Cause-ranting’-extreme-artsy-fartsy types or radical feminists on tv or in reality – be very very wary. And definitely no emulations of afternoon soap opera drama- queens. Monkey see – monkey do.

    See if the women she emulates are instead kind, rational, level-headed, know how to balance femininity with inner-strength and have smarts and most importantly are self-reliant and not the victim-types. I don’t watch much tv – but from the few shows I watched, I can say that a couple of the female doctors who work under Dr. House, some female detectives in Law & Order, or Uhura in Star Trek (both tv and movie)were balanced-girl examples.Even Lisa Simpson the cartoon.(sorry – I have limited tv-watching habits so can’t think of others.) Of course, I have a soft corner for Hilary Hahn, Danika Mckellar & Steffi Graf.

    2. Beware of girls who take some glee to say how they like/liked bullying the quiet or bookish or kind-hearted girls in school: Or if they try to drag you to ‘show their love’ by joining in the bullying. Girls who will bully their boyfriends/husbands in the future usually ‘hone’ their skills on other girls before. Not surprisingly (though this is an extreme)the murderess Melissa huckaby – I read in the case details – ‘practised’ her future skills by drugging a former boyfriend (who did not report it to the police) and bullied younger girls before. At the other comparatively more harmless end, even Tiger Woods’ main mistress self-confessed she used to be the ‘mean girl’ in school and taunt the introverted girls.Find out if the girl you date has the hots for married men or sees it as a ‘challenge’ to sleep with another girl’s boyfriend.

    3. Beware of girls who are cruel to animals: pretty clear (except if she’s such a fanatic that she obliterates human rights over animal rights.) Future male sociopaths have always shown signs of being animal abusers in their childhood/ youth. Same applies for future female sociopaths or soul-murderers. See how she treats a puppy or defenseless creatures or reacts to animal abuse. The best test to check if the empathy connection is working in the brain.

    Thanks again Dr. Palmatier for an outstanding and so, so important post. If only this had been taught to so many men before…(sigh) if only….

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Thanks, Closure at last. I agree with your points. Watching a lot of reality TV is probably a big warning sign. Perhaps they enjoy watching programs like Real Housewives, Bad Girls, etc., because it validates/normalizes their own abusive, entitled behaviors. I watch them every now and again. The train wrecks are mesmerizing at first, then it’s like, “Oh for the love of god, shut up, you psycho!” and I stream something worthwhile on Netflix.

      People who brag about hurting others is also a good warning sign. Research shows that bullies must always have a target. When they eliminate one, they find another target very quickly. So if she boasts about hurting others, you could very well be next.

      Cruelty to animals means the person is probably a psychopath. Leave and don’t look back.

  8. Mellaril says

    When I look back, my father taught me a lot of things. By the time I hit my teens, my father had been through his second divorce. He appeared to have lousy taste in women. I was essentially raised by my grandmother. She was pretty cold and stern. My grandfather was pretty passive. It was obvious who wore the pants in the family. I don’t know if my mother was a Cluster B but the alcoholism, rumors of infifentility, her multiple marriages and her perpetual inability to find peace and contentment make me wonder. I know my step-mother had issues.

    When I hit 18 or so, my father taught me how to approach and seduce women. I leared about erogenous zones by him pointing them out on Playboy centerfolds. He also taught me some of the above lessons but it a very different context. For example, he told me that when in a bar, before approaching a woman, watch her awhile to see what she drinks. If she buying herself beers or well drinks and switches to Cosmopolitans if some else buys, that’s a hint. His hints were more golddigger oriented. He’d been through two divorces and he knew those warning signs.

    What he didn’t teach me was how the other things? How could he? He couldn’t help himself in this area let alone try and teach me how to protect myself.

    I intend to bring this stuff up at the appropriate times but I don’t have a lot of confidence it will help much. If what he grew up with as “normal” to him has given him a vulnerability to Cluster Bs, talking to him isn’t going to protect him. I put more hope into what his envrionment is. What I have noticed is how I’m interacting with my wife. Where I might have let go with a snide comment before, I now think about it annd I’m starting to do it less. Out of respect for my wife, I should have always thought it out first but since I’ve started to look at what we’re teaching the kids, it’s become a real priority,

    I have a daughter who’s almost ready to start dating and a son who won’t be that far behind. I don’t want to put either of them at any more risk than they’ll face on their own.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      I think kids mostly learn through the example adults set for them and not so much what we tell them—especially if what we’re telling them is, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

  9. Mr. E says

    I don’t have much to add, just wanted to say this is a great post. I wish I’d had it back in the day. I can go through the list above and check off each of the behaviors from my wife.

    It’s a more painful lesson now than it would have been years ago, but the good news is it’s never too late to learn and change.

  10. david says

    “Before I get hit with “you have no sympathy for abuse victims” comments and emails, let me clarify some things. First, I publish this site because I’m trying to help individuals who have suffered abuse. Second, abuse victims need to do a lot of work to heal and move past their trauma. An individual who was truly abused and has done the hard work to heal themselves does not want to be seen as a victim. They don’t bask in their past trauma. They don’t use their past trauma as date bait. They don’t use their past victimization to avoid taking responsibility for their bad behavior. They don’t use their experiences as an excuse to hurt, control or abuse others because they know firsthand what it’s like to be hurt.”

    Powerful words. I journaled the following last year;

    “The difference between a victim and a survivor? A victim moves on and anyone can move on. A survivor is someone who does not let the past dictate who they are.”

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      “The difference between a victim and a survivor? A victim moves on and anyone can move on. A survivor is someone who does not let the past dictate who they are.”

      Yes, this exactly.

  11. woodythesingingcowboy says

    As always you provide EXTREMELY GOOD information. I wish I had this when I was young, but at least I can make sure my son doesn’t make the same mistakes.

    What bothers me the most is I married someone who does and did ALL 4 points listed above. And number 3 was well hidden until I accepted her threat for a divorce and began the process. She has now actually said in legal documents how she expects me to provide for her to live in the style she has become accustomed to for the rest of her life.

    I would add two that I found along the way.

    Always beware of a woman who expects everyone to trust her, but trusts no one herself. Of course when you first meet them if you do take notice of this condition they will try to assure you how special you are that they “trust” you, but if you ask for specifics they will only name very minor things about which they supposedly “trust” you like how she trusted you where to go for dinner the other night.

    Always beware of a woman who is always looking to set traps for you in order to have situations where she has to forgive you. These traps can be minor like asking you to get “X” and when you return with “X” claiming she actually asked for “Y”, so now she has to forgive you for supposedly not paying attention to her when she talks to you.

    Always beware of a woman who takes credit for the work of others. At first you won’t be able to see it because there is a trust aspect to deal with, but if she claims some credit always be ready to engage and ask for specifics about how she did the particular work. This will immediately show if the credit is deserved for the work and also if your trust is well placed with her. If you don’t discover this early on you can easily become married to a woman who will tell everyone how if not for her you would be broke, starving, and living in a carboard box.

  12. Marshall Stack says

    I have such mixed feelings about all this! Part of me wishes I’d had this advice available ten years ago when I met my wife, but the part of me that loves and cherishes my kids knows I wouldn’t have these kids in my life if I’d made different choices back then.

    Either way, I’ve learned some very painful lessons the hard way. Hopefully readers will take these articles to heart!

  13. Ron On Drums says

    Very good post as always :-)

    Before I met my beloved I had some dating experiences that would apply. In the time in between my marriages (this is my second) I probably dated 10-15 lady’s. Some were short term 1-2 dates type stuff. Most were nice, just not a good match. But some showed immediate red flags so I didn’t make a 2-3rd date. But over time I learned some other BIG red flags. Now I have no scientific evidence or studies. These are just from personal experience.

    1)When on a first or second date the woman LOUDLY proclaims how she “Hates Cheaters” they are some of the worst cheaters you will ever know. In this case the no cheating rule only applies to YOU!

    2) When on a first or second date the woman LOUDLY proclaims how much she “hates Liers”, this woman will more than likely be one of the worst liers you will ever know. Many can no longer even distinquish what the truth is because the lies have become a normal part of their life.

    3) Early on in a relationship when the woman starts refering to any ex you have, anybody you ever dated etc, as “That Whore, Slut, Skank, Bitch etc will have insane jealousy issues. Trust me this does not get better. Soon you will be fighting off constant acusations of cheating. It soon escilates to if a woman so much as ask you the correct time, a waitress is polite at a dinning place, will be met with “I saw you looking at her”, Why don’t you just go F her”. I finally got fed up once & said, “you know your right I really should, at least then I would be rid of your insanity”. One word of waring though, this was met with a slap. This one was the psycho ex I have talked about on here before. See my previous comments on the first stalking post to see the nightmare the breakup turned into.

    Pretty much a good rule of thumb on the first two is if they loudly proclaim those things on the first date or two…..RUN!!!!! I guess in psychology it is called projection. The last will also turn into a real nightmare. It applies to many cluster b’s. See Dr Tara post on them wailing on others for doing the exact same behavior.

    Thanks Doc
    Excelent Post
    Ron :-)

    • TheGirlInside says

      ROD:

      I learned the Liar one the hard way too. “The one thing I won’t tolerate is being lied to.” Well, guess what? She ended up using me (unwittingly) as an alibi while she was out getting pregnant with another man’s baby, “Tell my husband I’m with you tonight.” *head smack*

      As a whole, if anyone feels the need to tell you what a kind, loving, good Christian/Jewish whatever, generous, honest, faithful (ad infinitum ad nausem) all-around wonderful human being they are…RUN!! RUN Like the WIND!!

      People who really are decent people, I’ve learned, don’t feel a need to project it through a proverbial megaphone; they let their actions speak for them.

      It doesn’t even occur to me to proclaim who I am to the world. I believe others will figure it out as they get to know me.

  14. Verbal says

    On one of those Real Skankwives of Wherever reality shows that my wife loves to watch, one of the cuckolded husbands made the statement, “A happy wife is a happy life.” I have heard a few women parrot this line.

    All this time I labored under the false impression that a happy [i]couple[/i] is a happy life. It isn’t. It’s all about the woman’s happiness. I have been re-educated. Thank you for letting me share.

  15. never again says

    Hell, my NPD put her “abuse history” right in her on-line dating profile!

    And #4 – denying feelings. When I told her I was lonely, she said it was because something was missing within me (and hence another reason why I needed therapy), not anything that she was or wasn’t doing. :rolleyes:

  16. TheGoodLife says

    My stay at home mom ex even went so far as to demand that I pay her the going rate to clean our house while I was at work. I had so many red flags, that I could have been in China, and yet at the time I ignored them all. I will do my best to point them out to my son in spite of what is going on with his mother.

    • Cousin Dave says

      Y’know, I had the same realization some years ago… after I divorced my BPD ex, I could look back and see all of the huge, waving, screaming red flags that I missed during the relationship. Even worse, I could look back and see that I actually did perceive some of them… but I made a conscious effort to ignore them. Insert head smack here.

  17. Lovekraft says

    I recently watched an episode of Rich Bride/Poor Bride on Slice tv here in Canada, and I literally wanted to reach into my television and … well I can’t say on the internet, but let’s just say that this bride-to-be was the bossiest, most selfish and materialistic twit I have had the displeasure of viewing. When discussing the spiraling expenses of her ‘special day’, she pouted and stated that ‘this is my day, it’s all about ME’? To which the groom replied ‘I thought it was all about us?”, thus receiving her scorn.

    And one wonders why there is so much divorce, and that men are on a marriage strike.

  18. mighty1500 says

    iCarly. I generally like this show. I watch it with my daughter on a regular basis. I do tell her that what Sam is doing to Freddie is wrong. She’s only 4, so I hope she gets the message that she should be more like Carly and less like Sam in that capacity. Anyway, I hope that Dan Schneider and his writing team get a clue and give Sam her comeuppance for the flagrant abuse she delivers in the name of comedy. I’d say if I were writing the show, a story arc where either Freddie stands up to Sam and she stops the abuse, Freddie leaves the show, or Sam goes a bit too far and realizes with the help of her good friend Carly that there is a better way to behave. Of course, you tell this to the writing team and they will likely say that it is not the purpose of the show to “teach lessons” or “make socio-political statements” a la the sitcoms of the 1970’s such as “All in the Family”, Maude” or “Different Strokes”. If they do it in a low key way, over time it would make me a happy viewer. I root for Freddie, I can identify with the character. He has been written with more gumption as on late, so the tide may be turning against Sam.

  19. pcrat says

    Great post. Unfortunately I had to experience some of the points mentioned. I have been dating this woman for a couple of months and;
    – I always had to pick up the tab.
    – She was having a high standard of living but a crappy job.
    – She showed no interest in my feelings.
    – Complaining that she was alone and always had to go on holiday with her mother
    – Curious enough to visit me at my place (checking the assets)
    – Very rude and insensitive way of rejecting (twice). Suddenly texting that she recently met a nice guy and I was ‘out’ (I hate men so I enjoy rejecting you)

  20. aholloway_314 says

    OK…I am noticing this more and more, but this is just too blatant.

    There is a very popular Nickelodeon television show “Victorious” and here is some dialogue at the end of an episode where the character “Cat” is cut-off from her dad’s allowance.

    She approaches a boy they regularly abuse and here is what follows:

    Cat: Hey Sinjin.
    Sinjin: Yeah?
    Cat: Do you have a girlfriend?
    Sinjin: No.
    Cat: You have a credit card?
    Sinjin: Yeah…
    Cat: [puts her hand on Sinjin's arm] Why don’t you call me sometime?
    Sinjin: Really?
    Cat: Mm-hmm.
    Sinjin: Okay. I’ll go buy a phone!

    Sickening! It is rampant in kids shows these days.

    However, I used it as an opportunity to discuss it with my girls (and son).

    Thanks for opening my eyes Dr. T

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