Tag Archives: dating

Going Mental: She Might Be a Crazy Bitch If . . . Red Flags!

crazy momForewarned is forearmed and, when it comes to Crazy, ignoring the warning signs is not only foolish, it is potentially hazardous to your emotional and physical health.

Sometimes you can see Crazy coming a mile away. Sometimes the Crazy is so overt you can see the red flags waving from outer space. In fact, sometimes Crazy will tell you straight up, “I’m crazy (LOL!)” on your first date.

Here are some real life examples:

  • There’s a huge woodblock of the word “Princess” in her apartment.
  • Noting that Oprah doesn’t help men drives her into a frenzy of rage.
  • When she rages at you for an hour plus on the phone, you can put the phone down, walk to the bathroom, pee, wash your hands, pick the phone back up and she doesn’t notice you left.
  • She throws such a fit of rage at her 10-year old’s softball tournament that the park shuts down all the games, has every team meet in the middle of every field, and calls the cops on her.  Her child is subsequently removed from the softball team and you are banned for life from the softball park.

If you ignore the obviously crazy ones out of pity or the in the hopes of having “crazy sex,” you may well regret your recklessness later. Crazy is like Vegas — the house always wins. It’s very difficult to walk away from Crazy completely unscathed.

Sometimes the red flags are more subtle, but present nonetheless. Stealth Crazy is trickier. These individuals often seem to have good excuses for their bad behavior when the mask slips during the love bombing phase. The high functioning ones (i.e., better able to hide the crazy) can often keep a lid on the crazy until after you legally bind yourself to her through marriage or children.

Please join co-hosts Dr Tara Palmatier of Shrink4Men.com  and Paul Elam of Avoiceformen.com and their guest Terrence Popp of Redonkulas.com at 9pm EDT, 8pm CDT and 6pm PDT for a more humorous take on dating red flags and/or neon flashing signs that say, “Danger! Crazy lady! Dive, dive!” tonight on Going Mental.

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Terrence has addressed this topic in several of his youtube videos including (put on your earbuds if watching at work):

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Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and 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.

 

Oops! A BPD Did It Again! Another Post-Break Up Pregnancy to Trap a Man

Calling all Shrink4Men community members! There is a young man in need of an intervention.

Earlier this morning, a 24-year old man, “Eric,” left the following comment on the original Shrink4Men blog article, What Can I Do to Protect My Unborn Child from my BPD/NPD Ex-Girlfriend:

I find myself in almost the exact same circumstances as the original poster. My “crazy, controlling, clingy” girlfriend made my life miserable for a year. I finally got her out of my apartment, into school and a job (which I paid for/facilitated) and then broke up with her, in January.

She was “utterly devastated” and begged for a second chance. After several months of strict No Contact, I finally gave into her pleading voicemail in a moment of weakness. I called her and agreed to let her visit me “for closure,” which she insisted she needed.

Well, one thing led to another and we ended up having sex, a decision I will rue until the day I die. To make matters even more fun, now there’s a baby on the way.

Meanwhile, I’ve done research, and now I’m almost certain that she has BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I’m no psychologist, but she sounds like a textbook case to me, from what I have read. She’s also been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Anyway, I’m 24, and don’t know what to do. It doesn’t help that I live and work in a southern state, while she is from New Jersey. She is pressing me to marry her ASAP “for the baby’s sake.”  Even though this is  the “traditional” option and would save my reputation a bit. All our friends are conservative Catholics who will no doubt consider me the scum of the earth if they know I not only had premarital sex, but refuse to marry the girl when she’s pregnant.

My ex presents herself very well and they have no idea how absolutely chaotic she is. Anyway, even though marriage is the traditional course of action, I can’t help but think it would be incredibly foolish in this case. She’s intolerable now. How much worse will she be when she’s not my girlfriend, but my wife?

I made a horrible choice by not sticking to my guns and ignoring her. Now I’ll be paying for it, but I simply don’t know what I can do. Try to help her while being in a relationship with her? Break up with her? Try to cut her loose and wish her best of luck? Try to get full custody of the child if possible? I know NOTHING about custody/family court/any of that stuff. Oh goodness . . .

After I stopped banging my head on my keyboard in frustration, I posted the following response:

Hi Eric,

Looks like you got “oopsed.” Any chance she’ll consider putting the baby up for adoption? Silly question, I know, as the baby was most likely deliberately conceived to trap you and give herself a hostage.

Forget about your friends and the church. They are not the ones who will have to live with an unstable and abusive partner. If I were in your shoes, I would be very clear that you have no intention of marrying her and that you do not want to co-parent with her. I would also strongly encourage her to go the adoption route.

Her behavior will most likely only become worse after the child is born and after marriage when she legally has you over a barrel. It will suck to co-parent with her, but it will suck exponentially more to be married to her and later divorce her. Please don’t do it. This website is riddled with stories of men who “did the right thing.”

If you do not want to be a father, tell her. You will be financially obligated to pay CS, but this was not your choice. She stole your choice from you.

Yes, it’s heartbreaking that another child will be born to and raised by another damaged, unstable, abusive woman who is unfit to be a parent, but the reality is that this child is just a drop in the bucket of children born to crazy, unfit mothers. Furthermore, if she decides to play games with custody, unless she is overtly over-the-top crazy, she will most likely be able to snow custody evaluators and judges.

Your best hope is that she will find some poor sucker who she will persuade to adopt the child. If you can make it clear that you want nothing to do with her and that there is no future, she will, naturally, play the victim/martyr, but may move onto another target/source of narcissistic supply. Then she will want to pretend you never existed and make the new guy the baby daddy. At least, this is one very common possible outcome.

A lesson to all men reading this: Beware of Crazy if she wants to get together to “just talk” after breaking up. Especially if she’s ovulating. Don’t have sex for just one last time. Odds are, she’s looking to trap you. And if you do, WEAR A CONDOM.

One last thing, I would insist on a paternity test. Yes, a paternity test. It happens.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. Fellas, fellas, fellas, you have got to be more careful with your sperm. It is not merely your genetic material. In the wrong hands (or womb), it can be the seeds of a life of misery, pain and psychological, physical and financial ruin. Monty Python wasn’t just whistling Dixie when they sang Every Sperm is Sacred.

When I was in college, my cousin’s B to the P to the D ex-girlfriend did this to him. He thought he was just having a post-break-up friends with bennies hook-up. Instead, he got a beautiful son, but many years of legal hassles, expense, threats and heartache — and not just for him, but for his parents, siblings and extended family.

I remember the night he told our other cousin (who was in law school at the time) and me about this “unplanned pregnancy.” My other cousin (female) and I looked at him and said in unison, “What are you? Stupid?” quickly followed by a chorus of, “What the hell were you thinking?”

Our cousin remarked on our lack of empathy, which we belatedly offered him. Then we had a discussion about how so many otherwise smart men are so stupid when it comes to crazy, predatory women. Things haven’t changed much since 1996.

Okay, back to Eric.

Eric, if you’re reading this, please try to disentangle yourself from the FOG (fear, guilt, obligation). Your ex violated your trust. Trapping you into fatherhood against your will is a form of abuse called reproductive coercion. You do not owe this woman anything.

Here is my advice based upon the information you provided:

1. As Mellaril, a Shrink4Men Forum mod recommended on your original post, you need to find out if she really is pregnant. She may be lying. Women who are willing to trap a man into fatherhood will have no problem lying about being pregnant. When it becomes obvious that they are not and/or their plan to force you down the aisle doesn’t work, then they will pretend they either miscarried or claim they aborted the baby because you weren’t — I don’t know — excited enough about being violated and trapped into marriage and fatherhood.

2. Once you confirm the pregnancy, have a paternity test done. This may be your kid or it may be some other man’s offspring she harvested to trap and trick you. Don’t think she’d go that low? Wrong. She’s already gone that low by trying to trap you into fatherhood.

3. Decide if you a) are going to marry her, b) not marry her, but exercise your parental rights (that is, if the child is yours) or c) sign away your parental rights and just pay the state requirement for child support. Whatever you ultimately decide, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in this area.

4. Do due diligence about the realities of  being married to a chaotic, chronically selfish and immature, abusive woman and the realities of trying to co-parent with the same. Your ex, at the very least, has OCD (I guess the obsessive-compulsiveness doesn’t apply to her birth control practices — e.g., no checking the diaphragm is in 30 times before sex), which is often manageable with medication, and, at the very worst, has Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD traits.

Ask the men on this website who “did the right thing” and married their version of your ex. Ask them what it’s like to co-parent with a person who has these issues. Most of them will tell you marrying this kind of woman is one of the biggest mistakes they ever made. Most will tell you it is practically impossible to co-parent with a person who has these issues — and that’s even while the marriage is intact. Ask them how effective they have been in shielding their children from their mothers’ craziness and abuse. You can buffer some of it, but certainly not all of it.

Then ask the women who frequent Shrink4Men what it’s like to be the wife of a man with a crazy ex who uses the step-kids as a weapon and constantly tries to wreak havoc in their marriage. You do not want to inflict this on the hopefully emotionally healthy, kind and loving woman you choose to marry in the future.

5. Start reading up on setting and enforcing boundaries. If this woman is carrying your child, you will need to become a boundary setter extraordinaire. If she is pregnant, if the child is yours, and if you decide to take an active role, you will also need to research parallel parenting vs. co-parenting, disengagement, detachment and Low Contact vs. No Contact.

6. Brace yourself to be portrayed as the bad guy for not marrying her and not wanting to be coerced into fatherhood. Heck, you will be portrayed as the bad guy even if you do marry her. If your ex really does exhibit the kinds of behaviors and traits described throughout the many Shrink4Men publications, you will be in a no-win situation no matter what you do.

7. Be prepared to lose “friends.” However, any friends who take her side are not your friends. Furthermore, do not keep her secrets anymore. Let your friends know exactly how she treated you and that you strongly suspect she is trying to trap you. Stop protecting her and start protecting yourself. If she is pregnant with your kid, you are going to need to learn how to best protect yourself, so that if the law allows you to do so, maybe you can also protect the child.

8. Be prepared to be chastised by ignorant people in your Church. Unless they have also been in a relationship with someone like your ex, they have no business judging you. Marriage is a man made construct and contract. Marriage as a construct and a contract is less important than the flesh and blood human beings participating in that construct and contract. Your ex has already demonstrated that she has no qualms about operating in bad faith. In my opinion, you would be incredibly foolish to enter into a legally binding contract with her and the State, which is VERY woman-biased.

9. Disabuse yourself of the notion that you can “save” this child from his or her mother. You cannot, especially if she is a high-functioning abuser (i.e., knows how to put on a good show for others). Unless she shoots crack in front of a family court judge while giving him a lap dance, the best you can hope to get is maybe 50/50 custody and that is a BIG maybe. Even if you do, that will not stop her from engaging in parental alienation and playing games with access. By the way, marrying this woman does not guarantee she will not alienate the child from you. Alienation campaigns often begin even while the relationship is still intact.

10. Reach out to everyone who loves you and ask for their support. You will need it.

Have I forgotten anything, Shrink4Men community?

Eric, if you would like to respond to the comments here, please register. I’m sure there are many men and women here who will offer you the wisdom of their experiences.

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.

Does your Partner Have your Back or Cause You to Watch your Back?

Here’s he latest article from Shrink4Men Forum moderator, Mellaril. Good stuff! – Dr T

When you think about your partner, do you feel she has your back or do you feel like you have to watch your back? In your relationship, who do you depend on and who depends on you?

I’m a big fan of Attachment Theory for a couple of reasons. First, I think it provides a bridge between who and what someone is and their observable behavior.

When I began to peel the onion in an effort to understand my relationship with my ex-girlfriend, I found references on Personality Disorders. While a lot of the information about personality disorders appears to apply to my ex-girlfriend, that information, in itself, didn’t explain particular aspects of her behavior. When I began studying Attachment Theory, things became a lot clearer.

I’ll never know whether my ex-girlfriend has a personality disorder or not, I know specific things she said and did. These are facts. Attachment Theory helped me put those her behaviors into context.  Another reason I like Attachment Theory is that it’s applicable to my marriage. Attachment Theory not only helped explain my relationship with my ex-girlfriend, it explained a lot of things about my marriage to a woman who doesn’t have a personality disorder, but has some quirks.

While I was researching Attachment Theory, I came across the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.  In one section, the authors discuss the “Dependency Paradox”  and conclude, “If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right (italics added) person to depend on and travel down it with that person (p. 29)”.

Their contention is that having someone in your corner is important, if not essential, to growth and happiness as an individual.  If you want to hear it expressed in song, listen to The Beach Boys Don’t Worry, Baby. The context may be a drag race, but what he gets from knowing his girl is behind him is priceless. If you want to hear it from the perspective of someone who has your back, check out You’ve Got Me to Hold on To by Tanya Tucker. I think of my wife when I hear it.

In the pages leading up to this statement, the authors discuss the “Codependency Myth” (pp 25 – 26), touching on familiar topics of avoiding enmeshment, establishing boundaries, and developing a “greater sense of self,” (p 26) etc. Their discussion reminds me of something I read on Shrink4Men, The Secret to Happy, Long Lasting Relationships (March 9, 2009) where Dr T pretty closely describes what Heller and Levine challenge. In Hostile Dependency: Is your Wife, Girlfriend or Ex a Child Masquerading in the Body of a Woman? (June 7, 2011), Dr T talks about the negative side of dependency and the resentment being dependent on someone can cause. It also reminded me of Healthy Self-Love: The Foundation of Good Relationships (January 4, 2010).

This was a problem. I found two apparently contradictory ideas that I think have merit and are based on solid research. On the surface, it appeared they both couldn’t be right.

Heller and Levine’s statement is elegant in its simplicity and, for a lot of us, a lot harder than it looks. Shrink4Men is a testimony to how difficult finding the right person to travel with can be. I spent some time thinking about the differences in my marriage and my past relationship in light of Heller and Levine’s statement.

It became clear, my wife has my back. My ex-girlfriend never did, at least not completely. While I never doubted my ex-girlfriend’s fidelity, she was inconsistent in the little things that instill confidence in a relationship, those things that you may take for granted since they’re always there and automatic. As I pulled that string, it led me to the question of what it means to “depend” on someone.  It’s an interesting word, full of nuance depending on who you’re talking about.  The Free Dictionary gives six definitions, two of which are relevant:

  1. To rely, especially for support or maintenance: Children must depend on their parents.
  2. To place trust or confidence: You can depend on his honesty.

One definition has positive connotations, one definition can have very negative connotations. Another definition for “depend” is “subordinate.” How we define what it means to depend on someone can tell us a lot of how we view the world and how we see ourselves.

The first definition implies need. Most of us who frequent Shrink4Men have come to learn that need is, oftentimes, not a good thing.  If someone wants you or you want someone it’s because of who you are or they are, qualities you have and qualities they have in them. If you need someone or someone needs you (i.e., depends on you as in definition #1) it’s because of something you or they lack or can’t do yourself/themselves.

There’s a huge difference between “dependent” and “dependable.”  My wife isn’t dependent on me, she’s dependable to me.  Also, subordinates are never equals. Any relationship where subordinate is the definition of depending on someone is inherently unequal. Trust and confidence can be mutual, you can’t be mutually subordinate. When you think about your relationship, does that person have your back or are they causing you to watch your back?

So, what’s the point? The point is I think both Dr. T and Heller and Levine are correct. Before you can depend on someone else, you have to be able to depend on yourself. After that, we may have what it takes to find the right person upon whom to depend.

Thanks again to Mellaril for some excellent food for thought. – Dr T

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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Man Woman Truth Radio Embed: Thinking with the Big Head Instead of the Little Head

Hello Everyone,

Apologies for posting this so late (taxes last week). As always, thanks to my co-host, Paul Elam of AVoiceforMen, our callers and the folks in the chat room.

The music featured in this broadcast includes I Need a Lover by Johnny Cougar (Mellencamp), Little Head by John Hiatt and The Female of the Species by Space.

Here’s the embed:

Listen to internet radio with AVoiceforMen on Blog Talk Radio

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.

Radio: Thinking with the Big Head Instead of the Lower Brain

Please join us Monday, April 9, 2012 at 8pm EST when Paul Elam and I will discuss the merits of thinking with the big head instead of the “little head” and lower brain. Too many otherwise intelligent men get themselves into trouble by choosing romantic partners based solely upon physical attraction and/or sabotage potentially good relationships or stay in bad ones out of fear. Here is the show page on blogtalkradio.

Physical attraction is important, but if what lies beneath the surface is ugly and incredibly damaged, you’re not using your big head. If you sacrifice your self-respect and integrity to please a woman, you’re using your little head. If you sacrifice your self-respect and integrity because you believe you can’t live without some woman, you’re using your lower or “reptilian” brain because you’re allowing fear to guide your behavior.

We’ll also discuss how to engage both your reason and emotion in your relationships with women. Reason and emotion do not have to be antagonists and making proper use of both is one path toward having more satisfying relationships.

As always, the phone lines will be open, so if you have a story about allowing your little head or lower brain to do the thinking for you or how you’ve been able to get your self-respect in alignment with what you will and will not tolerate in a partner, give us a call at +1 310 388 9709.

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.

Putting Women on Pedestals: Don’t Do It

The following article by Paul Elam was read and discussed on the Get Her Off That Pedestal! broadcast of the Man Woman Truth radio program.

Many years ago in a previous married life, I once participated in the now splendidly American ritual of taking a doomed marriage to therapy. Our stay was brief, like a car careening through a ditch on its way to hitting the base of a bridge.

At one point the therapist, a really intelligent but sadly brainwashed woman of about 40 years, turned to me and said, “Paul, it’s pretty clear you don’t trust women.” She said it like she was reading out a conviction for the jury.

“There’s some truth to that,” I said. “But then again, women don’t trust women, either. So why should I?”

Our kindly, bright therapist looked completely nonplussed. Her mouth moved like a guppy trying to suck water, but not a sound came out. It was pretty comical, actually.

If you’re a red pill guy you are going to recognize this situation. It’s another one of those moments when you have to tell someone you don’t fit the sitcom stereotype of some guy that shows up with his hat in his hands for being male. You’re not Raymond, and you don’t care if everybody loves you.

That is unbelievably hard for a whole lot of men, those we call blue pillers. Most of these men do not have the awareness or skills to do themselves a lot of good at this stuff.  I have seen it plenty of times, in the course of providing mental health services, in friends and relatives, and in myself. I can still see it in myself if I am not careful.

Generally speaking, men are by nature very unskilled at holding their own on an intrapersonal and emotional level with women. We have heard 50 years of drill about male power, patriarchy, and how those translate into an oppressive culture of dominated women.

My experience in studying human behavior for 25 years, particularly that of the sexes, paints me a very different picture. It’s a picture of a distinct majority of men that lack the facility to hold their own emotionally with women. They fumble for words, get quiet, or try not to say anything because they can’t out argue her. They often appear totally helpless.

If that sounds like unfair stereotyping of men, you have my understanding, but not a retraction. I stand by my admittedly unscientific opinion.

The important question here is why. Why do men, often very intelligent, accomplished and reasonable men, become either the class dunce, or in a smaller amount of cases, destructively angry, when they try to negotiate the complicated emotional landscape of life with a woman?

If most of these men were engaged in some sort of conflict with one of their male friends, they would be summoning all their logic and lining up their facts and not backing down from anything. How and why do they get so incompetent, even oafish, when it comes to a conflict with their wives or girlfriends?

The answer is Pedestal Power. This is what happens when you engage in conflict with someone who gets to play by different rules, who can’t be held accountable, and who will work hard to make you suffer if you win. This is how people on a pedestal operate.

But, of course, they only have power over people that put them on the pedestal to begin with.

We could engage in an exhausting discussion about why so many men are this way. But it would never get anywhere and wouldn’t mean much if we found the reason anyway. Call it biology, socialization, sociobiology or a government conspiracy, there are not very many men that can bring themselves to hold women to the same expectations and standards they do with men, and few that could do it well if they knew enough to try. Almost all men have the woman they are involved with on that kind of pedestal. And nothing good can ever come from it. When you are on a pedestal, the only place to go is down.

The answer, of course, is that if those men ever want to escape the pressure and stress of being a sitting duck during conflict, the pedestal has to go. The trick is in how you do it.

I think the mistake most men make when trying to depedestalize a woman is that they try to knock her off the pedestal out of frustration, when they would likely do better to invite her to step down and join the real world. The emotionally aggressive reaction of men to feeling powerless against a rigged game is more than understandable; it’s just not helpful. Actually, it is powerlessness personified. That strong reaction is because they still have her pedestalized; they are still seeing her as the one on a throne. They expect for some reason that she will volunteer to step down to earth out of some sense of decency or love. They expect a lot of things.

These men have a very hard time figuring out that she really only needs to come off that pedestal in their own minds.

A guy like this doesn’t need to make it clear to his woman that she needs to come down a few notches. He needs to make it clear to himself, and he is likely blind to that. Perhaps hopelessly.

If he is one of the few that can do it, though, the game changes. Indeed, it quits being a game and starts to resemble an honest, even if troubled, relationship. All a man has to do is decide that he does not do pedestals, for any person, for any reason, and he, of course, has to follow through.

If he does that a troubled but honest relationship might have a better chance at working. Even if it doesn’t, the guy is a lot more likely to leave on his feet and do better in the next relationship because he is prepared to see a woman be unhappy, even pissed off at him, but not prepared to even acknowledge her problems unless she is reasonable and mature. It doesn’t matter if he really screwed up or if she is out of line from the start, she still has to wear her big girl britches.

Just like with anyone else in the world, “Come back and see me when you can be reasonable,” is a perfectly constructive and rational response to a partner who is out of control emotionally, and it is what you would expect to say to someone who was your equal. Men who think it is out of the question to expect emotional maturity from women are the ones with the most trouble wrapping their minds around this.

And this is exactly what this is all about; treating yourself and your partner as equals. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of what equals don’t get to do. Keep in mind I am assuming you are pretty much average and try to do the right thing in your relationships. On the outside chance you’re a dick, none of this will help much.

Your equal doesn’t get to demand spot answers and stand there with her toe tapping, waiting for an answer. When you see her as an equal, that sort of behavior looks pathetic. You reject being treated like a bad kid in the principal’s office.

Your equal doesn’t get to ask you a question, and then refuse to actually listen to and consider your answer. She has to try to have at least some awareness that two people are involved.

Your equal has to be accountable for their mistakes, just like you do. “I’m sorry, but you made me,” is NOT accountable. Trying to reason with someone who is blaming you for their own mistakes is a guaranteed waste of energy. Don’t do it. Disengage and refuse them an audience until they pull themselves together. Til they “woman up,” if you will.

Your equal can’t dole out treatment that she won’t put up with herself. You have the high ground when expecting her to not be hypocritical and to reciprocate the accountability and fairness you bring to the table. If you retreat from that, it is because you propped up her pedestal with your failed integrity.

Your equal can’t expect you to entertain any of her concerns unless she is bringing them to you as an adult with agency, accountability and in a genuine search for a solution. You know the difference between that and someone just mad and venting, don’t you? Well, do your business with the grown up and tell the little girl to respectfully go take a hike. If she has been successful in getting you to lose your cool, this is a change you can make to stop that from happening.

People who summarily and immediately reject communication with someone throwing a tantrum usually have far fewer reasons to boil over. It is simple math.

But if you listen to a ranting child, and try to solve whatever her problem is, and then it blows up in your face, then you need to get real. You are fully responsible for creating that monster in your life.

Now, I am not an expert on how to make a relationship work. I am pretty sure that no one is. But if I had to guess at what would give two people a fighting chance to find any semblance of peaceful, mutual respect for the long haul, it would start with the assumption that it is easier with two grown-ups on a level playing field. I also know for a fact that level and pedestal don’t fit under the same roof.

This is why I think it is very important that we teach our sons the dangers of allowing themselves to be inhibited in their conflicts with women. Boys really need parental figures of both sexes to sit them down and tell them that women are supposed to be fair and reasonable, and when they are not they should be called to account; not by trying to change them, but by ignoring them till they figure out how to change themselves. If they are interested in staying, they will learn. If not, it is no great loss. But of course, if you have them on a pedestal, you won’t know that.

In fairness, I have to say it really is hard for men to do this. It runs against a lot of rote programming. There are many that I believe are simply incapable of it. Those that can do it, the red pill guys, are ones that are able take a look at themselves and make a conscious choice to dismount that white horse for good in their own minds; to see their women as full adults, with all expectations associated with adulthood. They are willing to face the fear of loss, and loss itself if need be, to get the job done.

There is no chance at a good relationship, and no possibility of toppling that pedestal, unless you have to capacity to let someone go who needs to go.

Thanks again to Paul Elam for such a no nonsense approach to the problem with putting anyone, woman or man, on a pedestal. – Dr T

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.

The Connection Between Cluster B Personality Disorders and Food

I’d like to welcome the newest Shrink4Men contributor who I’m sure many of you already know, kiwihelen (KH). KH has been a much loved and respected member of the S4M community for close to 2 years now and is also a moderator on the S4M Forum. In her offline life, KH is a registered dietitian with 15 years of clinical experience in three countries. So, in the words of another S4M moderator (Mellaril), it’s time to “Release the Kiwi!” – Dr T

Recently on the Shrink4Men forum, there has been considerable discussion about the dietary habits of many of the high-conflict individuals who trouble the lives of those who post there. I took both a personal interest (having had a whole load of trouble with a HCP spouse who blamed me for his overweight), and a professional interest thinking about some of the more alarming characters I come across in my clinical work.

A quick glance at the literature on eating disorders (ED) and the co-morbid mental health issues associated with this group makes it very clear there is a high incidence of diagnosable personality disorders (PD) in the ED population. Authors disagree on the actual incidence, but the argument behind this appears to be which tools are used to identify PD, rather than the existence of PD. The estimates of diagnosable personality disorders in the eating disordered population appears between 9% and 40%. However, this is the diagnosed rate, and we need to think about two things:

  1. Not all people with ED are diagnosed, and
  2. Just because they are not at the diagnostic threshold for a PD, doesn’t mean they aren’t crazy!

So what kind of red flags would be worth noticing (and running from) in the dating world, when it comes to working out if your love interest is exhibiting ED behaviour?

She is thin, but would like to be thinner

Big red flag, one of the diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa is “irrational fear of weight gain,” and this the outward expression of the fear of gain, or at the very least a distorted body image. Women with distorted body images are pretty damn miserable partners, no one is better in bed than a woman who likes her body.

Irregular or no menstrual cycle while thin

Unless you know she has an implant under her skin, or can feel the threads of a progesterone releasing IUD, then beware the woman under 50-years old who has few or no periods. We need a certain percentage of body fat to menstruate, and low body fat leads to cessation of periods. This is bad for bone health, bad for future fertility and a bloody great big red flag you have someone who has an ED on your hands.

The feeder

She cooks elaborate meals for you and/or family but will only eat a small amount herself. She seems obsessed with planning meals and food related occasions. This obsession was observed in the Keys studies on starvation in the 1940s, and seems to be a feature of starvation. If she gets upset because you don’t want to participate, it is a sign to GTFO.

The exerciser

If she has to do 500 crunches before she gets to bed or she won’t change her exercise routine for any circumstance including a holiday (this will provoke her to find out exactly where the nearest gym facility will be), then be wary. Exercise induced anorexia is common in elite athletes of all sorts.

Orthexic behaviour

She has funny food rules for seemingly no real reason. Some religions and philosophies have dietary rules, some medical conditions require a special diet, but unless she can talk about the reasons for doing what she is doing in a competent and adult manner, then be very suspicious of any faddy eating. If for example the reason for being vegetarian is “because I feel bad about eating cute wee lambs,” dig a bit further and find out what she understands to be a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. If you ever see anything that even has a sniff of ritual in an eating pattern, e.g., certain foods can only be eaten at certain times of the day, then run and don’t look back.

An alternate test for orthexia is asking if she would eat something on her forbidden list if she could not get anything else to eat. Choosing to starve is an abnormal behaviour.

Going AWOL after meals

That can suggest purging after eating. It is not a 100% rule, because about 1 in 10 people will need to have a bowel motion within 30 minutes of eating a meal. If she comes back to the table smelling of mouthwash and/or perfume you should be wondering what she has been up to. Pay for the meal and say “good-night,” run and don’t look back.

Chaotic eating patterns

OK, all of us are busy and miss meals sometimes or have them at odd times. A total lack of planning, loads of missed meals, not having some food in the house are all red flags which have to raise alarms, particularly if the person you are talking to is overweight.

Food going “missing”

If you buy food together, go to sleep and next morning some of the food is not there, but she denies it, then be suspicious she is a binge eater. Binge eaters, whether they purge or not, eat foods that are easy to consume rapidly and without much thinking. Commonly consumed items include ice-cream, crisps and biscuits. Finding recent till receipts with this kind of food on it, when the food isn’t around is a big marker.

Weight loss surgery which appears to have failed

Some people need weight loss surgery because they gain weight for genetic or genuine medical reasons, and once it is done it is a life transforming event. Good surgical teams screen for psychological disorders, but there are loads of people who can lie their way through the tests and/or less than ethical surgeons. I’ve met more crazy folk who have had bariatric surgery than I have done in any other field, up to and including hearing from a forensic psychiatric unit they had “found” a surgical patient who was anorexic and had Korsakov’s syndrome from nutrient deficiencies.

As a non-personality disordered woman, I have had to work through my own body insecurities and I am selective of my media use because I find the way women are portrayed unrealistic and disturbing. Like all women over 40 I have to make efforts to avoid weight gain, but I can put things in proportion, knowing I am comfortable in a UK size 10-12 (US 6-8), and no amount of dieting and exercise is going to change my body shape.

I am comfortable with my body and can make jokes about my “baby knees,” while still wearing shorts to exercise. I do exercise, but it is not a big catastrophe if I miss a session (though I can get grumpy if I miss a whole week of workouts!) Although I have food likes and dislikes and a strong preference to eat a healthy balanced diet, I have been known to eat McDonald’s or KFC when there are no other options rather than going hungry. I understand the importance of planning meals, and have just stocked up on my favorite lunch option for the next week because it was on special at the supermarket.

My house-mate and I have a very fair rule, “if you buy treats, you buy two and we share,” so we had a chocolate croissant for breakfast as he spotted them in the reduced to clear section while getting milk and coffee last night. I love cooking for friends and family, but it is not a 3-ring circus event. Food is something I enjoy but does not dominate my life. Any woman whose waking thoughts seem to be 90% on food should be treated as a PD bomb just ready to go off . . . particularly if she works in a food related area like me.

Thanks again, KH, for adding your wisdom and voice to Shrink4Men. – Dr T

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.

Radio Embed: The Problem with Pedestals and Men Who Place Women Upon Them

Hello and thank you to everyone who was able to catch the program live, to the folks in the chat room and to our callers, Jeff, Phil, Autumn, Justin Case and Valdez.

It takes a lot of courage to call in and share your experiences and we appreciate your willingness to do so. It’s also helpful to other listeners who are probably able to identify with the situations you describe.

Thank you also to the individuals who contributed to the show by way of comments they posted on Shrink4Men: JP, Mus and a S4M forum member.

In a few days, I’ll post an announcement for next Monday’s program.

Meanwhile, here is the embed of tonight’s program:

Listen to internet radio with AVoiceforMen on Blog Talk Radio

Thanks again for your support!

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.

Radio Program: The Problem with Pedestals and Men Who Place Women Upon Them

Paul Elam of AVoiceforMen and I are back on the air tonight, Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9pm EST. We’ll be discussing The Problem with Pedestals and Men Who Place Women Upon Them. Many men, whether they’re aware of it or not, place the women in their lives upon pedestals. Doing so can create difficulties and power imbalances in the relationship.

Men and women may benefit from a better understanding of what it means to place a woman on a pedestal and especially to de-pedestal her, and how it can improve your relationships. The knowledge alone can make the difference between walking upright, or crawling through a relationship getting your knees, and everything else, scuffed up.

Once the smoke clears from all the non politically correct points we will make, we’ll be left with is the most important thing for a man to know. If the choice is between keeping her and keeping your self-respect, it is better to keep your self-respect.

Sadly, it appears that there are a lot of men who are willing to sacrifice their self-respect in order to hang on to someone who doesn’t respect them. And remember, this isn’t Oprah. No one here is going to give you a pass on making bad choices. That is why they call them choices.

What we will offer, though, is the rationale for making better choices; choices that lead you back to dignity and well-being, and offer you the only legitimate path to being treated with respect by your partner, future partners and other women in your life. Ladies, we have a message about men who want to put you on pedestals, too.

As always, the call in number for the show is 310-388-9709. We would especially like to hear men call in that can tell us their stories about how they de-pedestaled a woman in their life or men with questions about how to go about de-pedestaling the women in your lives.

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.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Men Should Avoid Princesses

Over the last 40 years or so, there has been a sharp rise in female entitlement. Many parents just love buying Disney princess costumes for their little girls. Alas, many of these junior princesses don’t leave the Princess Mentality behind with their childhoods. As adults, they expect grown men to treat them like “royalty.”

A woman who self-identifies as princess, queen, diva, or goddess, is typically more interested in being worshiped as an infallible being or pampered like a Siamese cat than she is in being in a reciprocal love relationship. However, the problem doesn’t lie only with princesses, but also with the men who willingly become their subjects.

Below is the the Top Ten list Paul Elam read on the Why Men Should Not Treat Women Like Princesses radio program. It’s a little tough love, but it’s spot on and holds both princesses and men who knowingly become involved with them to account. – Dr T

The Top 10 Reasons Why Men Should Avoid Princesses

10. Because she’s not royalty. Unless you have inside connections to one of the few remaining monarchies in the world, she isn’t a princess anywhere except her childish imagination. Is her first name Princess, or Duchess or even Lady? If the answer is no, she is just a mere mortal, and unless you would enjoy life with someone who deludes themselves into thinking otherwise, then it is better that you figure it out, NOW.

9. Because anyone who wants to be treated like a princess won’t be impressed with anything you do for more than about 5 minutes. It’s a life of chasing your tail trying to satisfy a princess, and when you are used up, she will get someone else to take over.

8.  Because any grown woman who can actually look you in the eye and tell you she expects to be treated like a princess has the emotional IQ of a toddler, and that’s if you are lucky. Do you want a woman, or a spoiled brat who will always, ALWAYS end up making you miserable?

7.  Because princesses are not cost effective. They are expensive. They have constant demands that they fully expect to be satisfied, only they have no intention of paying for any of it. What you will get for turning your wallet into a cushion under her lazy ass is the pleasure of her company; time she will spend making more demands of you.

You will actually be paying for her to sit around thinking of more ways to make you pay. She won’t know that is what is happening, because it doesn’t pay for her to be aware of it. This is not true for you.

It will pay off big time for you to be aware. You not only have to be aware that she’s a princess, you have to know it and make the choice to get rid of her. You can’t manage a princess and, if you take one on, you’re going to get exactly what you asked for.

6.  Because princesses are invariably stupid and boring. Real intelligence doesn’t lend itself to being self-absorbed. Women that will tell you they want to be a princess and that they just love shiny presents and constant attention and always getting their way, are also telling you they’re not smart enough to realize the benefits of cooperation, shared burdens, or being invested in anything except themselves.

And that will become real apparent when they talk. Almost everything they say will be about themselves or something else equally stupid. Want to spend the rest of your life listening to a blow-by-blow account every time she buys a new pair of shoes, every last detail of her trip to the spa, or her cutting insights on the hair styles of the rich and famous? Get yourself a princess and get ready to dumb things way, way down, while you are forced to pretend that you like it.

Well, unless of course, you’re a simpleton yourself, and if that’s the case, a princess is just what you need. She’ll make your life very, very simple. Fetch! Roll over! Good boy! Now fetch! That’s the cycle, guys.

5. Because princesses are vindictive. If someone finds it acceptable to have a relationship based on getting their way in all things, it won’t improve when times get tough. In fact, it will get worse. Again, let us put this into the form of a question for you to answer as rationally and honestly as possible.

If, when she thinks that you are the best thing since sliced bread, when the sight of you makes her heart go pitter pat, she thinks that everything you do should be about her, and that every decision made should be what she wants, then how do you think she is going to act when things go south and you become the anti-Christ in her eyes? You think she was demanding before? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And she might just have a lawyer and a couple of cops there to help her express her disapproval of you when the time comes for you to be banished for displeasing her.

4. Because having a spine is fun. Your spine is the motor control that allows you to do everything you want to do in life. It starts at the base of your brain and ends in the same general neighborhood as your balls. It is instrumental in helping you pursue things you actually like to do, and allows you to walk away from doing things that you don’t like or don’t want to do.

Princesses only like spines in certain circumstances, like when they are removed and mothballed in a box for safe keeping. Of course when that happens, the brain and the balls get put in storage with it. You see, without a spine, a brain and balls are pretty useless anyway. While you’re storing those things away, you might as well include your dreams, desires, friendships, interests and ambitions, and maybe even your family depending on how much control your princess requires.

3.  Because a princess will cheat on you. You always have to remember the emotional condition of someone who actually thinks being treated like a princess is a normal and a tenable requirement in a relationship. You are dealing with someone that is grossly immature, self-centered and irresponsible.

She is more than capable of convincing herself that cheating on you is not only a good idea, but probably what you deserve — because if you really knew how to treat a woman like a princess it would not be happening to you. Even if she hates herself for cheating on you, she will figure out how to dump that on you as well. Royal is not loyal, guys. Remember, you’re not her man. You’re her subject and god help you if you ever cheat on her. It is subjects who are expected to be loyal to royalty, and not the other way around.

2.  Because whatever a princess feels for you, it is not love. At least not the kind you want. Again, when you have a princess, you’re not her partner. You’re the help. We may like the people who help us a lot. We may well think they are vital and indispensable in some ways, but we don’t love them. We don’t even really like having to pay them for what they do.

When you are with a princess, you are unpaid help. Well, okay, I take that back. You do get the pleasure of her company, and you get to enjoy all things HER, every minute of every day of your miserable life. Heck, every once in a while you might actually get short lived recognition that you are a human being. But if you think anyone that would treat you like an accessory really loves you, then you might want to check in with your self-respect and ask it how it’s doing.

1.  The number one reason to not get involved with a princess is because there is no one there with whom to get involved. I want to say that one more time: Because there’s no one there with whom to get involved,  guys. There is no there there. When it comes to princesses, there’s no one home. Princesses are empty, vacuous human beings with no real personal identity to speak of at all.

They are a mouthy collection of wants, imagined needs and whims, all driven by the fantasy of self-importance and specialness. They are just the sum of their desires, and without exception you can be nothing more in their eyes than the human “doing” designated to deliver what she wants.

In that sense, you can never be any more whole or real than she is. You will be just as shallow and fake. In fact, if you are involved long-term with a princess, it is probably a good time to take a look in the mirror, and to recognize that the only thing staring back at you is a useful clown.

If there is anything more substantive than that left in you, you might want to start talking to that part of yourself about making some changes.

Thanks again to Paul Elam for 10 very good reasons men and women should avoid princesses. – Dr T

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.