A woman tends to believe if she knows the reasons why a man does what he does, she can better understand him. She can make better choices, and figure out how to “make” the object of her affection love her back. I am no stranger to this practice. It’s landed me in more pickles than I care to admit.
In previous blog posts, I have referred to the experience of having a relationship that drives you “bat shit crazy.” Typically, these kinds of relationships are defined as such because they ride the pendulum from intensely intimate to soul-crushingly remote. In my experience, there have been three types of men who’ve aroused this “crazy” response. Note, each type behaves pretty much the same—periods of intimacy, followed by prolonged instances of little to no contact—but they have different motivating factors.
What’s his deal?
Women forget that a man doesn’t have to love a woman (or even like her all that much) to sleep with her. Narcissism (historically referred to as egocentrism) is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige, and vanity. What better way to stroke a man’s ego than to let him fuck you whenever he wants in whatever way he wants? A narcissistic person is fed by regard, and if you constantly give it to him, he will continue to usurp it, and manipulate your feelings in order intensify them and build drama. His essential fear is that without your constant doting and inability to resist him, he is not important, and will cease to exist. I tend to think these men had doting mothers who were treated poorly by their misogynistic husbands, and typically received love through gifts or material things.
What’s the take away?
He does not love you; he loves what you give him. Watch out for the next newer, younger, shinier toy inclined to give him the same thing in spades.
What’s his deal?
Maybe his father beat him. Maybe his mother was an alcoholic prone to unpredictable outbursts of anger. Maybe he moved around a lot and never knew what it felt like to belong to someone or something. Maybe he just grew up in a tough neighborhood and fell in with the wrong crowd. Either way, he’s a “Bad Boy” now, with all that broiling inner conflict about his own goodness and self worth. Most women are drawn to this “noble struggle,” which activates their savior complex, and need to nurture every fucking thing under the sun; “Sure he hasn’t called me in three weeks, but its because he thinks he doesn’t deserve me. So, I’ll just wait around and prove him otherwise.”
What’s the take away?
He’s a rebel with a cause and nothing comes above it—not even you, no matter how hard you pray. He isn’t in love with you; he is in love with the potential you see in him. The more you prove your goodness, the less he’ll feel he deserves you, and the more he’ll fuck with you, because he wishes he did.
What’s his deal?
Maybe he has attention deficit, or perhaps it’s the effects of drug addiction, either way, this man can’t keep track of time or make a solid decision about anything. He is a charming, good-time, sensation-seeking type of guy who probably sees and appreciates all your attributes, enjoying them to the fullest when he is with you. Problem is, he sees and appreciates everyone else as well. Life is a big fat bowl of cherries, why settle for only one? When he doesn’t call, its not because he is manipulating your desperation, or struggling with his inner deservedness— he simply forgot. Then, when you finally reach him, he’s all, “Why are you so uptight? What’s with the intensity? Let’s just keep things simple and have a good time. What are you doing tonight?” You can’t resist him because he is fun to be around, but that is pretty much all he is. He’s a future talker who likes to hold hands in public and make you feel closer than you actually are, but don’t be fooled. Real intimacy is too much work for him, too “intense.”
What’s the take away?
When the going gets tough, this guy gets going. He doesn’t love you; he loves what a great time you have together.
To this day, the Bad Boy Sad Sack is my favorite type, probably because I struggle with issues of self worth as well. In ignorance, I have fallen hard for these individuals, hoping to fill the holes in him that I can’t tolerate in myself. I have often thought I am too smart to have low self-esteem, but I think that is a fallacy and a function of denial. In truth, I have felt helpless to control my thoughts and reactions to this type of person, and the turmoil they arouse in me.
Carl Jung attempts to explain this phenomenon through Complex Theory (aptly named). This theory (the prevailing inspiration for my books) asserts all human beings are subject to “complexes” which are quasi-human instincts, and the products of trauma, family interactions and patterns, and cultural upbringing, represented in the psyche by a particular image (or frozen memory).
Here is an example from Murray Stein’s, CARL JUNG’S MAP OF THE SOUL;
If a man reminds a woman of her harsh abusive father by his tone of voice, way of reacting to life, intensity of emotional response, and so on, he will [stimulate] her Father Complex. If she interacts with him over a period of time, material will be added to the complex. If he abuses her, the negative father complex will become enriched and energized, and she will become all the more reactive in situations where the father complex is [stimulated]. Increasingly, she may avoid men entirely, or on the other hand, she may find herself irrationally drawn to them. In either case, her life becomes restricted by this complex; the stronger the complex, the more restricted is the range of the ego’s freedom of choice.
When we speak of the ego’s energy, we refer to it as “free will.” When we discuss the amount of energy tied up in other complexes, we refer to them as our “inner demons.” When a complex is stimulated, it gives off a burst of energy and jumps levels until it arrives into your conscious mind. It penetrates and floods your ego, discharging stored up emotional energy and influencing it to spin a certain way.
When this happens, the ego is no longer altogether in control of consciousness, or your body, for that matter. Stein goes as far to say, “None of us is wholly responsible for what we say and do while in the grip of a complex. Needless to say, this does not constitute an effective defense in a court of law. Sometimes society demands a higher standard than the psyche will allow.”
The purpose of therapy is to explore why this happens, and develop an awareness of when it’s happening. Then, your ego can usurp the complex’s destructive power over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and keep that bitch under control.
But who cares? If a man doesn’t care enough about himself to want to be a better man in general, than he certainly isn’t going to care enough about you, and its a royal waste of time. On a first date, I might as well introduce myself as, “Hello, my conscious self has checked out at the moment, but let me introduce you to my inner demon. I think mine and yours will get along swimmingly.”
My advice, if you are interested in one of these three types, don’t date him unless he is in therapy (or some other form of self exploration) and trying to figure out why he does the things he does. Make sure he is actively attempting to change destructive patterns, for his own well being. If he isn’t, then he isn’t really motivated to have healthier relationships in his life, and just looking for someone to put up with him as is, adhering to the path of least resistance, and allowing his inner demons full reign.