A year ago today, I ran across a thread comment under the article, "Strong Women Would Rather Be Alone Than Waste Time with Assholes" by Elizabeth at Curious Mind Magazine, that rubbed me the wrong way.
I'm reposting it here, so I can find it later.
MAN ON THREAD: I beg to differ. Women most definitely prefer to be with assholes. See it every day. Woman can't deny that.
ME: Aw, what does that say about your circle that you're so aware that all the men in your group are assholes?
MAN: It's called reading people, thank you very much.
ME: So all your male friends ARE assholes?
(I'm about to waste some time answering your snarky comment. Cos I'm bored.)
Now, I don't know you, and you don't know me, and while I agree that some men are assholes and some women seem to have a pattern of picking them, while also commenting that no one is denying that women do make bad choices, I think there are some things worth exploring (I did say I was wasting time).
In your 'reading' of people, did you also take into account that the sins of the past weigh heavily on the actions of the present? So instead of women 'preferring' assholes, how about the concept that assholes have spent their lives making women feel small enough that all they feel they deserve is more of what they know?
Or instead did you come to the conclusion that it's all right if men are assholes, but women, those dumb ass women, they should know better and not encourage bad male behavior? Or did you ask any of those women with asshole partners if he started out as an asshole?
Trick question: Of course they don't.
So how do these women get there? Why make that decision?
Let's be honest, if you take a human with less than stellar self-confidence, and you drop them in front of someone who is good-looking, oozes charisma, says all the right things, that's the hook. At first the asshole behavior remains focused on other people. Slowly but surely, that changes, but he gaslights her, makes her feel like it's her fault. Oh, and without him, she is worthless. Without him, no other man will ever want her.
Some women run. Good on them. They probably have a good support system or they have found the strength to break the cycle. You know, the strong women from the article.
Some women don't. Some women believe that they are worthless, and that thought continues to be reinforced by the abuser. Does that make them weak? Nah, it just makes them human.
(This is all applicable, if the abused person is male, too, just in case you were wondering.)
Last question: Do you stand up when your friends act like assholes? Or any man, actually. Do you stand up when you see assholes in general?
I do. At the risk of my personal safety (personal experience), to save other women (includes losing friendships), to help them find a way to break their cycle. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But I keep trying. Why? For two very specific reasons:
1) I've been where they are, picking assholes bc I thought I wasn't worth better, bc I fell for the pretty charade and was trapped in the cycle, and
2) I believe that it's the job of humans to bring people up, not push them down.
I realize that makes me sound naive, but again personal experience has shown me that sometimes it only takes one person to give a shit to help them give enough of a shit about themselves to break the cycle on their own, and that is worth all the shit I get talking to people who would rather label 'all women'.
Crazy thing, I bet you're not a bad guy. I bet you believe you're not an asshole. And crazier still, I bet most of the time you're not. But I hope you remember my verbal vomit here the next time you see a woman with an asshole. I hope you make the choice to stand up for her, instead of again pushing her down.
Have a great day.
(If you made it to the end, kudos. It was a lot. ;-) )
MAN: As much as i would love to have a conversation with you, i won't engage in a keyboard war. I have bigger things on my life plate that take priority.
ME: Feel free to PM me, should you ever wish to have the conversation. It's not a keyboard war. It's a conversation. That's how we change the world.
Have a great day.