The Nightingale syndrome is a powerful urge in us women folk. We crave redemption. We like finished work. We love to watch Walk the Line and see June feeding Johnny berries after a hellacious detox, resuscitating him with kind double negatives (“you are NOT nuthin” [the movie failed to mention June grew weary and resorted to drugs herself after years of ‘encouraging’ her man and getting nowhere. What a shit storm, huh?]). And don’t even get me started on the movie Sweet November. A bohemian babe curing workaholics with cocoa and kisses.
Why do we like men who are not loving? Control and familiarity spring to mind. They’re so stupid and dull hearted… they will be easy to navigate..we think. All they want is to have their physical needs met- piece of cake. Ah ha.. but they are vindictive, too. They want control as well. Now it’s a game of wits and vulnerability is useless in this contest for dignity.
Sneakiness and lying were part of life growing up. We hand picked him because he is like dear old dad. We know this play. We thrive on the drama. Until the snake starts biting. And we cannot escape the coiled attachment so easily as we imagined. Confusion is profound. Clarity is fogotten. We are literally screwed. We are completely addicted to proving ourselves to dad through this current cad we’ve let into our body and soul.
Breaking free is a lonely option but usually our sanity can no longer justify the crazy. Our misused resiliency continues to impress us with each new pain threshold we overcome. But we have created our own life. And it’s accutely apparent that it sucks. We reconnect with friends we abandoned for romantic bliss. We feel ourselves slowly returning to our right mind.
And then we ovulate or see a couple we envy and invite the snake over to change our Sparkletts bottle since we can’t do it ourselves (and we don’t want to bother our neighbor whom we barely know but has helped with other things). And the pain repeats, only this time we are armed with facts on angry/controlling men so we play with fire in our new protective gear. Eventually the day arrives where we are once again having to rationalize why we are lowering our defenses (usually just for the sex). We take off our mental gear, remember the few kindnesses he has done, but keep a little water close by for emergencies. We wisely withhold much of our heart now. He has become a comfort hook up. Which makes us feel cheap. He cleverly withholds little by little affection, time, money… “I don’t like french kissing” he says when asked why he no longer kisses before intimacy.
You two are not back together, he is saying one thing (I thought things were great with us) while doing something completely different (never calls/texts to connect). We take the crumbs and celebrate on common ground: sex, that we’re getting our emotional needs met. Yeah right.
Second reason we like them: selfish redemption. We long for missing pieces of the puzzle that were left in our heart from dad. We recreate scenarios to finally have our puzzle fall into place in our present with this man in front of us who grits his teeth when we ask for a hug while feeding ducks; because the sun is setting perfectly over the little pond at Hart Park and we haven’t had a man or a pond-filled sun set in decades at the same time. His reaction? “Now you’re pissing me off! We’re here to feed DUCKS! NOT make out!”
Wow…someone’s trying to set some weird boundaries. That was (hopefully) our last weekend together.. after scaring me, yet again, the next day by disregarding my safety then asking me for the hundreth time if I trust him. I finally said “No” to his face, which was brave for me. BaBye..
Another reason: low self esteem. We may be CEO’s, accomplished athletes, or self assured artists when alone. But our taste in men is pretty bad. We don’t think we deserve better then the crappy treatment we are given. They give enough attention and kindness to hook us, then subtly…intentionally, dump their crap on us.
My advice? Keep googling narcissism and why insecure men get off on hurting women because they can’t handle the fact that God made women, dopamines and euphoria to ENJOY, not resent for their intoxicating ‘powers’. And realize we attract what matches our soul. If we’re honest: we’re a little scantlous ourselves and want a victim to act out our rage on from past pain. Maybe we’re women who are not so ‘good’ at respecting men? Pethaps.
Then one day you will wake up. You will realize you haven’t spooned with a man or had coffee brought to you too sweet ‘cuz he knows you like it black with sugar but not that much sugar in months… or even years.
You’ll realize that maybe you’re not the healthiest tool in the shed either. Maybe you’re a little narcissistic, too, for thinking you can use your charm and body and spirituality to turn a jackass into a valiant steed. Maybe you choose these men for distraction purposes. Because if you were truly loved and accepted, reality may be too harsh a thing to face.
I know III woke up. I got tired of confusing manipulation with love. Of being lonely even when I was in a supposed relationship. I realized that I get paid more and work less at my actual job. I need to heal and outgrow being a victim so I don’t attract predators.
I’m ready for things that work like a well oiled machine and seek love, kindness, and respect: period. And if I have to make slow progress out of these patterns, I’ll invest in friends and people who want my help vs. control freak lovers who don’t take me seriously and label me ‘crazy’ even though I’ve spent countless hours and dollars working on myself so I could better take responsibility for my life.
People will either love me or not. Respect me or not. It’s up to them. I no longer need to prove myself like I used to.
From now on, if I want to spice up my life with a project, I will hit up Home Depot and redo my kitchen! : )
“We enter relationships either to love ourselves or punish ourselves.” -Unknown
“We can’t change or control a person. Attempting to do so shows profound disrespect.” -Tracy Yvon