I recently fell in love again with the wrong person. This is a habit that now annoys me because I know what I am doing wrong and still do it. The man is wrong for me because he, quite honestly, is completely crazy. He is violent, irrational, sadistic, unkind and completely ruthless and unpredictable. You probably wonder why I am with him. I see so much beauty in him when he is not being mean. I don’t know, Yenta, what to do now because I am in this, and he has an effect on me that I can’t resist. Help. I know I am smarter than this.
My first questions for you would be to ask, how bored are you? How happy? How supported and how stimulated? When we take ourselves out of healthy living environments and live in places that draw on our weaknesses, it can be nearly impossible to resist temptation. Your job is to cultivate a life that easily yields healthy choices. And in the process, forgive yourself because self-sabotage is American women’s middle name.
One friend suggests Pema Chodron’s Getting Unstuck on ways to overcome and understand addictive life habits. While alcoholics and narcotics abusers are ushered into meetings for their addictions, women addicted to loving harmful people might not find their support group so easily. (See below for a list of support groups.) You have a problem. For whatever reason you are bending your power and walking towards these “wrong people” with an open heart. You need to face yourself, be honest, and do so with assistance.
Sometimes fierce and bored women choose men that are toxic because it is thrilling, stimulating, an exercise for the mind, body and spirit, a game of survival. Others choose these men because they can’t accept their own goodness, can’t stomach their power and brilliance. You know which of these you are. Work on finding the root to this action. Why would love look like this to you? Professional help could be a great avenue for finding those answers.
And finally, this love is not “love” as much as an addiction to a feeling, ie, “it hurts so good.” There is a rush that comes from being emotionally tortured, but not a lasting one. In that moment it is like when a cat is dropped from a high height and always lands on its feet. You sort of plunge yourself into the depths and get off on the test, finding your footing despite being tripped so hard.
So figure out what it will take to find that footing, that love, that peace inside without needing the eyes of someone with a critical voice and an unstable core. Stop “falling in love with their potential” as one friend puts it, and start being honest with yourself about the whole package. He is nice in the morning, but mean at night. Ok. So nice only comes then, in the morning, and you might need to seek the dude who is nice always, even when angry. Anger is fair, violence and cruelty are not. Advance accordingly.
Read Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change by Robin Norwood or
How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.
For help and/or basic questions, try an Al-Anon meeting in your city. While the program is designed for people who love alcoholics, the method of this group applies to people who love anyone addicted to self-abuse. What you describe is the pattern of a woman who might benefit from this support network.
In an emergency, or again, with basic questions/help contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
You can also create your own support group as I guaruntee you are not alone. Working with a group of friends to help support each other in setting higher love standards is effective, you can even create your own 12-Steps/Sponsor system where you work through your pasts together and choose people to be on call in dating emergencies.
Take this quiz, “Are You A Bad Boy Addict” from YourInspiration.info:
Are you a genuine Bad Boy Addict? Let’s see.
1. Are you always looking at the cocky, macho type guy who seems tough?
2. Do you want the guy who struts his stuff and exudes sexuality?
3. Will you have sex with a guy who obviously is using you for sex only?
4. Have friends told you that you let men abuse you?
5. Do you only want a man who is distant,Â independent, and very self confident?
6. Do you choose a man who willÂ quickly physically fight to protect you?
7. When a relationship begins, do you think you can change your man?
8. Do you let a man hurt you physically?
9. Do you let a man criticize you, put you down, and still want him?
10. Do only players turn you on?
11. Are you always available for your loser lover?
12. Does your man always seem unavailable and unpredictable?
13. Do you want an edgy guy who is exciting and dramatic?
14. Do you let your man cheat on you , stand you up, and take it?
15. Has your ‘bad boy’ borrowed money from you and never paid it back?
Ask Yenta an anonymous question! Send an e-mail via www.send-email.org to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.