When it Comes to Bad Boys, Are They the Problem or Are You?
Some people just can’t seem to stay away from Bad Boys. But as our gay BFF points out, too often we’re the ones who keep coming back for more.
I’ve got it bad for Bad Boys. Always have. Let’s face it, they’re hot (in movies, anyway). Their lives are exotic (not that you really know where they are most of the time). And when you’re lucky enough to cling to them for dear life on the back of their motorcycle, you’re never bored (so what if your adrenal glands start to prune after week one?).
But recently, I’ve begun to examine my side of my Bad-Boy attraction. Bad Boys are who they are and unfortunately, there’s an endless supply of them. But why do I keep going after them? What are they giving me? What do I get out of these “relationships?”
After some serious self-reflection and about $800 in therapy sessions, (FYI, that’s $800 worth of $20 co-pays – yep, a lot of sessions), I’ve unearthed some hard-to-face facts that I think are worth sharing.
Early Trauma = Love of Drama
Like many of us, I grew up in a tumultuous household. I come from a large Irish family so someone was always getting divorced, getting loud or crashing a car into some trees. As a result, I grew up in an environment full of emotions and constant high stakes. It was kind of like a Vegas poker table, except that people were drunk more often and I never won anything. The result: My nervous system is “tuned” for danger and reads stability as boring.
So, if you’re like me, dating anyone who can actually be considerate or kind or loving or giving or supportive just doesn’t hold much interest. I don’t trust someone’s positive attributes because those behaviors feel foreign to me. Enter the Bad Boys. No trust there, but lots of familiar insanity. Of course, the trick here is to do your best to drop the childhood model of behavior faster than the two of clubs and welcome a jack of spades who calls when he says he will.
Fix It? Forget It.
I’ve never met a person who has perfect self-esteem. It’s something we all struggle with. One way I feel better about me as a person is by helping others. This is a good instinct and it’s also a by-product of my Catholic school upbringing, but when it gets out of balance it can backfire, big-time.
Bad Boys are the perfect recipients for my overdeveloped desire to help others. They always need money, a place for their skeevy “best friend” to crash or a car to visit their “grandmother” – who later turns out to be their drug dealer (true story).
If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s time to set some boundaries. (Trust me, I’ve been there!) Decide when helping someone is sensible and when you’re doing it to bolster your self-esteem, to feel superior to your Bad Boy or to avoid dealing with your own problems… like finding a ride downtown to pick up your car from the LAPD now that the “evidence” has been removed (same true story, unfortunately).