Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

I told you I was going to write a social blog post, and here it is.
Recently a friend on Facebook posted this:

To the young men I have fallen in love with in the past: It is my fault for believing everything you said, for words are meaningless without follow-through. It has been an assumption of mine that being motivated leads to success/happiness. However, without commitment & discipline, motivation stays in the mind...there must be practice. As with most people I meet, I believed in you more than you believed in yourself. I was never put first - by you or by me.

Moving forward: I am my number one, and forever will be. I will keep myself open to the universe's possibilities, but some of these walls are staying up for healthy measure. I still believe humans have limitless potential. However, if you have not accomplished at least one of your major life goals, don't waste either our time.

(credit goes to Heather Marcus-way to go!)

Just as recently I saw someone I used to know with a man. She put her arm around him while he coolly held his beer. She kissed him on the neck. She held his hand because he didn't take hers. He was cool and aloof, daring not to reciprocate any of her overtures. She was into him; he was using her.
That someone was me at one time, acting in complete and total deference to a man. My preferences were his preferences. I believed he was what he said he was. I loved the thought that I wasn't good enough for him and that I now had a goal, and he had a goal...to correct me, to make me his project. 
What was wrong with me? It isn't just me, either; this is a common occurrence.
WHY oh WHY do we do this?
There are a million articles online about this very topic. But we still don't learn. We don't. 
Where the answer lies is debated among therapists and psychologists, but I believe we do it because it is familiar. They do it because to demean and diminish is familiar. It feels good, chasing, being thrown the occasional crumb that you so desperately long for. Somewhere along the way, we have been taught that this is all we can expect. And men are taught that is all they are capable of giving.  Bad boys, or those who under-function in life keep you on a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement. It is similar to playing a slot machine. There is the excitement of never knowing if he is going to show up or not, if he is going to do it or not, and then when he does, ooooo, fireworks! A pay-off! And then one day you wake up, pissed off that the lever yields a pay-off less and less. And that you've spent your life savings. And he could care less.
The thing is, when we are on an in-love high, we think we've really got something here. This is it! We've got a catch. This could go on FOREVER. This is great! We excuse bad behavior, because, as Heather said, we believe in HIM more than he believes in HIMSELF. 
The sad reality is that it is just us, staring at the slot machine, taking what we can get, spending more than we have.
Recently I had an epiphany. I had received an email from someone in my life who is a taker, kind of like the guy my friend was dating. In this email, the person was upset that I was not grateful for a crumb they had thrown me after a l o n g time of taking more than they were entitled to take. 
I thought, "I am no longer grateful for crumbs." That used to be me, but it isn't me any more. I will not be grateful for crumbs, because I have more worth and dignity than that.
My therapist gave me a quote: successful people go all the way in. This is so true! If I go into a relationship whole-heartedly, then my partner should, too, at the very least. Crumbs not accepted. Words and actions must match up. 
 The simple truth is, there are men out there that at first, seem trustworthy, but are in reality just prettily packaged bullies. Another simple truth is that we KNOW what we are getting into. There are always signals we ignore, things that tell us something is not quite right, or this is familiar in the way chronically hurtful things are familiar. And yet we choose to ignore those signals, listening instead to our insecurity or fear, or thinking love can fix anything. This does not, however, give them an excuse or a way out. Everyone makes choices, and men who are selfish or hurtful are that way because they choose to be, not because you ignored the signals.
Precious women friends, let's help each other, as sisters, believe in ourselves.
for further reading to help strengthen your sense of self (please overlook the labeling of others if it bothers you, for there is good content in these:

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