Some men have very strong stereotypes about women that keep them from wanting to get into a relationship with, or commit to, us. Well, in watching 2 hours of the Bachelor Pad on TV last night, and calling upon my, um, knowledge of Vienna's season on the Bachelor as well as the "Vienna and Jake Break-up Special," I could see exactly why men would have those fears. (I want to make a disclaimer here that Jake certainly has his own issues and that there are two people in a relationship... I'm not letting him off the hook. Nor am I letting men off the hook for using these stereotypes as cop outs).
Watching the way Vienna manipulates and controls her new boyfriend, Kasey, made me see exactly why so many men have the judgments about women and relationships that they do. So I'm writing this as a help guide... sometimes, we, as women, don't realize what we're doing, or we resort back to old pre-programmed ways. I'm sure that underneath Vienna is a good person... that's not the issue. The issue is the reactive, programmed ways we act when we are not living in our truths, when we are not aware of our own self-worth or power, when we are not taking full responsibility for our own lives.
Using Vienna as an example, here are six mistakes women make in relationships that have fed men's stereotypes and lead to our unhappiness.
1. Putting your happiness in his hands
There was some contest on the show that Vienna and her boyfriend didn't win. She threw a temper tantrum, telling him that he failed her, that she couldn't trust him anymore because he PROMISED her they'd win. She accused him of no longer being a man, and cried about how unhappy he has made her because HE lost. She expected him to make her happy, and when he didn't do what she wanted, she took out all her disappointment and anger on him.
Putting our happiness in a man's hands makes us a victim all of the time, and takes away our own ability to be responsible for our own lives. It's not a man's job to MAKE us happy. We are happy on our own.
2. Trying to control who he talks to and what he does
Vienna will not leave her boyfriend alone for a second. She tells him who to talk to and what decisions to make. When he disagrees or she finds him unexpectedly talking to women, she gets MEAN. She accuses him, again, of not being a man. Dude, let him be! Healthy relationships are based on trust and on letting the other person be who they are. If you don't trust him, don't even be in a relationship with him to begin with.
3. Using sex as a weapon or tool
You can see when Vienna feels like she's losing her power, because she immediately goes to the sex card. Our sexuality is not something to be used to bribe or convince men with. It is not something to withhold because we're angry, or use to get something we want.
4. Creating drama as a means of getting attention
Many men are worried that once they actually get into a relationship with a woman, it stops being fun. Well, yeah, with women like Vienna it is. In order to maintain what she thinks is a position of control, if she thinks he's not listening to her or he disagrees with her, she is immediately starts crying or throws a fit. It's her way to get attention. And, nope, it's not fun.
5. Trying to dominate
I have heard many men say they are afraid that a woman will try to dominate him. Well, unfortunately, some will. BUT NOT ALL OF US DO! When a woman, like Vienna, is trying to dominate and have power over a man, it all comes from her own sense of lack of control. She does not feel safe or in control of her own life, so she thinks the only way she'll have any sort of power is if she controls her boyfriend. This is so messed up. Just worry about taking control of your own life.
6. Putting him down
Anytime Kasey doesn't do what she wants, Vienna either cries, comes on to him, or puts him down. Many women do this as a defensive mechanism. We feel that if we put him down it will make us somehow seem better than him. It all stems from our insecurities. Putting a man down is NEVER, in any way, shape or form, an effective or loving mode of communication. Check yourself -- what insecurity was triggered in you that makes you want to put him down?
The root cause of all these mistakes women make is lack of self-esteem. What it comes down to is self-confidence and self-worth. When you know that you are 100% full and complete on your own, without a man, when you know that you are absolutely able to take care of yourself emotionally, when you have your own life that's rockin, you won't resort to these manipulations and games which give women a bad name, and which, quite honestly, make your life much more miserable. You are handing over control of your life to another person. The only person that has power over your happiness in life is YOU.
For more on my fascination with the anthropological experiment called the Bachelor, check out my post "The Bachelor Feeds Us a Batch of Crap."