I admit it. I am a "Bachelor" junkie. It is my guilty pleasure. People in my life know not to call me from 8-10pm on Monday nights. To me, it's eh-hem, research. I write about dating and relationships, and can't think of a better way to see the behaviors and patterns that women sabotage themselves and push men away with (desperation, anyone?).
The truth is, when I watch the ladies on "The Bachelor," I sort of feel like I'm watching previous versions of myself. In my twenties (and um, well, maybe even in my VERY early thirties ... did I say VERY?) in dating and relationships, I definitely acted out of desperation and low self-esteem believing something must be horribly, intrinsically wrong with me if a man rejected me -- I mean, if he doesn't like me, there MUST be something wrong with me, right? I've put up major defenses and walls so as not to get hurt, which has pushed guys away. I've tried to force relationships and push commitment way too soon. I've decided he was the one, my soulmate, my instant love, after like two minutes ... and, like Courtney, I've used my sexuality to try to make a guy like me.
We laugh at these girls on "The Bachelor," we judge them, we tear them apart ... but come on, we've all been them. In fact, many of us still ARE them.
I have been a Courtney hater, like all the rest. I even tweeted to Ben on Valentine's Day that I hoped Courtney was not his Valentine ... which isn't a "me" thing to do. Negativity isn't usually my style. But man, that girl got under my skin, like she did the rest of America. I don't condone any of her behavior. She treated those other women horribly and I wanted to reach through the television and tear off her grin whenever she said "winning." She acted completely differently around Ben than she did the girls and she used her beauty and sexuality to manipulate and catch him. BUT...
We have all behaved badly. We just haven't done it in front of millions of people on national television. And that is why I feel I must make an apology to Courtney -- because I've been like her, and I've behaved badly. I know why I behaved badly -- fear of getting hurt, fear of love not being returned, fear of love being taken away. But has anyone stopped to wonder WHY Courtney was behaving badly?
I think she must have some pretty deeps wounds she was trying to cover up by behaving like that. Perhaps her mean, manipulative ways were just a wall of defense she put up and maybe therapy could help. She alluded many times to the fact that she hasn't been treated well by men in the past, that she can't trust them, etc. So maybe she acted the way she did to protect herself. She didn't want to feel vulnerable to the other girls in case she DID get rejected by Ben. And, of course, she didn't want to get rejected by Ben in the first place, so she used her body, her beauty and her boobs (albeit, small boobs) to manipulate him into falling in love with her.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I watched "After the Final Rose," and I think she is actually feeling remorse about her behavior. I get the feeling she has recognized, after seeing herself on film, that she may have some issues to deal with and needs to make some major changes in her life ... And I hope she does. Usually, the only way we CAN change is through painful experiences and mistakes (which oftentimes, we don't realize are mistakes until way down the road). But again, most of us don't make our mistakes on national television.
As much as I don't think any of us want to admit, Ben was in love with her the whole time. There was no way he wasn't going to pick her. Ben's been getting a lot of flack, but I truly don't believe that we pick who we love. And I don't think Courtney is acting about her feelings for him -- believe me, I'm doing a complete 180 by saying this. I spent most of the season thinking she didn't care about him at all, and that she was just there to win. However, perhaps her whole obnoxious "winning" act was a huge coat of armor of protection she put on so she wouldn't get hurt by the man she was falling in love with. We've all been in love. And we've all been TERRIFIED of having that love not returned or having that love taken away from us, and we each have our own defense we put up to try to keep us from that hurt. That's what Courtney was doing. I owe her an apology for being so quick to judge her for something that I have done myself.
It's not ok that Courtney's issues caused other women pain and allowed her to treat people meanly.... But... we've all done it. She's wounded. We're all wounded. Through much self-awareness and self-exploration, I've learned where a lot of my wounds have come from, so that I've been able to work on healing them. So that I've been able to lower the gates of the defenses I had put up in the past, to change unhealthy and self-sabotaging behavior and patterns. I hope that this show and experience was a wake-up call for Courtney and she can now do the same. Underneath it all, the truth is, we are all doing the best we can with what we have. And sometimes it takes seeing our wrong- doings, our short-comings and our mistakes to push us to the point where we know we need to change.
Follow Holly Sidell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HollySidell