Depression, Apathy & My “Yes” Problem

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I can confirm that it’s possible to be completely apathetic and ridiculously productive and useful to other people.

Allow me to explain. I got bumped up to shift supervisor at work (not bad considering I started there two months ago), and everything’s been moving fast. I can’t say it’s been a blast being somewhat rushed through multiple training stages in two-months time. I haven’t exactly had a hard time adjusting, I’m usually quite quick to pick things up, even though that’s dulled over the last few years. My problem has come with the realization I kinda let this happen without expressing much reluctance to dive straight into everything head-first.

I should probably have taken it a bit more slowly. I sorta just agree to everything dumped in my lap and pick it up, no matter how much extra stress and anxiety comes with it. And since everything I do comes with stress and anxiety due to the complete and utter lack of self-worth in my head, it’s just added stress and anxiety when there is REAL stress and anxiety on top of the stuff I generate in my head for no good reason.

It’s not that I don’t think I can handle it: I can. And it’s not that I shouldn’t be doing this: I need the money and the hours. But what it really is is a problem I have with saying “yes”. I realized it when I picked up another shift tomorrow when I was supposed to have the day off. Which puts me at 6 days this week. Considering I worked the last few days, with my one day off being punctuated with heading into work for a bit to do something, and then working a bit at home as well, that means there is going to be a run of 11 days where I only don’t go into work one day. While that’s lovely for my paycheck, I kinda realized how much of a pushover it makes me seem to be.

It’s apathy. It’s a weird form of apathy that makes me not care what happens to me at all. If they wanted me to come in every single day for a year, I wouldn’t care in the slightest. I’d just go “sure, whatever”. If they wanted me to work from open to close without a break, I’d just go “sure, whatever”. Want me to wash the floor with my tongue? Whatever.

My apathy makes me easy to use. Having zero self worth and a general disregard for yourself and your own well being will do that to you. I don’t mind helping out and filling up time with work. I have nothing else going on really, so it’s something to do at least. But there are moments where I realize I should probably stop just kinda… agreeing to everything. That apathy is drawing me back into my routine of just bending over and taking whatever is shoved up my butt in regards to work and what people expect of me. I don’t view myself as someone that has limits, because I view limits as something someone who cares about themselves sets.

The last straw only exists when you have any straws to begin with.

Maybe I figure the only way to make any value in my life is by letting other people do with me whatever they want to. Maybe it’s just a distraction and therefore I’ll take it. Whatever it is, it comes from my mental illness and depression. It draws from that well. I know it does. And I don’t really care to stop it. I don’t have it in me to go “naw, I need my day off”. Or “I don’t think I’m ready to take on MORE responsibility when I’ve barely been here long enough to be completely comfortable”. I’m just going to continue doing whatever is asked of me and picking up slack wherever with no regard for my well being, sanity, or dignity.

That’s dangerous apathy right there.

Random Acts Of Kindness Shouldn’t Surprise Me As Much As They Do

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Yesterday, I had a customer at work who handed me a five dollar bill and said “please put this towards the next person’s order” and then left with her stuff.

The next customer happened to be a lady with two kids in tow. She ordered her drink, and as instructed, I paid for it with the five dollars left behind. It was entirely taken care of. She was completely blown away by it. I had a couple bucks left over and put it towards making the next guy’s order only come to about a dollar. Two people were taken by surprise and had a tiny moment of kindness in their day. It left both rather elated.

For some reason, this was a genuinely surprising thing that happened. A stranger just leaving behind five bucks, not a particularly huge gesture, but enough that it managed to give two people something randomly pleasant where they didn’t expect it. That blows my mind, actually. And I am at a point where it kind of makes me sad just how surprising it was.

The whole “pay it forward” random-acts-of-kindness moments aren’t exactly UNCOMMON, but they’re not rampant either. And I feel like we’re in a world where I have to grumble under my breath at how mean people can be more often than I can smile at how nice they are. So when things like this happen, it does remind me there are still relatively decent people in this world, even if they show it with tiny things.

Not really sure why I’m writing this. To let people know there is still good out there? That people are willing to do little things here and there to make a complete stranger’s day better? Maybe it’s to remind myself of these things so I can stop being so surprised by random acts of kindness. That the world isn’t so bleak all the time. It encourages me, really.

So, if you got five bucks to spare, maybe we should all give this a try some day? Just drop it on a counter and say “hey, make the next person that walks in that door feel good”. I think next time I’m somewhere, I’m going to give that a shot.

“Mental Health” Isn’t Broad Enough

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Usually, I’m uppity about terms being used to represent TOO LARGE of a behavior group. But the term “mental health” has always struck me as not being broad enough. That in order to make strides in awareness and recovery, we have to be more open to the implications of the terminology we use.

This came up during a discussion about the recent shooting in Southern California. I urge you to read the news article and consider the details before continuing. The shooter in this case gave a rather frightening manifesto video regarding why he sought out women and shot them, blaming his lack of ever having a girlfriend on a hatred for all women. It’s very easy to see why some believed this to be a simple case of a disgruntled, entitled misogynist lashing out when he didn’t get his way. But I immediately saw it as a mental health concern, as is usually the case when someone turns to taking multiple human lives as a way of projecting their feelings and thoughts.

Admittedly, I did not project that well enough, so I wanted to take this time to explain myself in greater detail and urge people to reconsider how we use the term “mental health” and what constitutes a mental health concern. Taking it at a rather literal face-value, mental health is anything related to your mental state and it’s well being. And since your mind is made up of such a large quantity of information and presents itself in a myriad of ways, your mental status is very broad and hard to take in all at once in a general sense.

The trouble I found is that the current use of “mental health” is usually equated to only certain types of mental health issues. Usually depression, suicide, psychopathy, sociopathy, or very televised mental health conditions like schizophrenia or things that are easy to spot on the surface. But I would argue that this is only the tip of a very large,and very hard to grasp ice burg. One I myself have been fighting to understand better ever since coming to terms with my own mental health concerns.

I am undiagnosed. I have never been labeled as “depressed” or “manic depressive” by any medical professionals. I was only in therapy for a few weeks as a pre-teen, and was put on medication for all of a week for anger management issues. Other than that, I have never once been TOLD I was mentally unwell. I never thought I needed to be. I became aware of my outward actions, and of my inner feelings, and recognized them as not being healthy. I believe without doubt that I have mental health issues, and that I am not a bad person for it. I also recognize that not everyone has that kind of self-awareness when it comes to these concerns, some never even finding out they had a problem to begin with.

That’s why I feel the need for “proof” is a bit sketchy. While it’s easy to instantly turn to mental health as a reaction to events like this, there are some that also believe it is hasty to use it as an excuse, that it derails the conversation. And that’s understandable, but I also believe it comes from a too-focused definition of what constitutes a mental health issue.

This shooter was called entitled, that he believed he deserved women, that it was his right. And I believe that mindset is unhealthy. Believing another human being is property is not a sign of a healthy mind to me, let alone being angry enough over it to take someone’s life as a result.

I parallel it to physical disorders. While there are physical issues that are very obvious, from cancer to abnormalities that show on the surface, there are also things such as the common cold. Or just feeling a bit wonky one day. I feel that we only see mental health as being the former, extreme, blatant, or not actually a health concern. That if it’s not something that can be labeled, treated, and diagnosed, it doesn’t deserve to be placed under the “mental health” umbrella. And I can understand that point, but as I said before, I believe your mind is such a large, vast thing that it can be unhealthy in many, many more ways than just depression or psychopathy.

And that includes entitlement and proprietary ownership of fellow human beings. As I said before, it’s an unhealthy state of mind to view yourself as in control of another person. This comes from a perpetual cycle of unhealthy mindsets passed down through our society and through those that shape us during our developmental stages. While this may not be an abnormality or a chemical imbalance such as depression, it is still a mental issue.

This is a result of, for lack of a better term, abuse of a young mind. This is why the way we present relationships, gender issues, and gender roles in media is truly dangerous. And the way we tell our children about certain things is equally as deadly. This is why people fight every day to show women as equal in our media. Not to sexualize and objectify them. It’s why it is so incredibly important to allow children to learn of respect early on, instead of this entitlement we blame this incident on. It is a matter of entitlement, but entitlement IS the mental health issue here. It’s the result of abuse, much like things such as drug addictions or anger issues can be as well. This kid was a result of an abusive home, with people who gave him at a young age an unhealthy perspective on the world, and of women.

I consider things like depression almost a physical issue. While thought processes, the way we’re wired to think, are more of a real “mental” health issue. It’s easy to believe that because his bad way of seeing things isn’t something that can be diagnosed or treated with medication, that it isn’t a health concern. But I think it doesn’t help matters to simply write this kind of escalation off as simply a person being bad. No one is bad from the start. And that’s where we need to start seeking understanding when events like this occur.

I don’t believe in demonizing someone like this. I believe we have to study the triggers, the things that “made” them do what they did, and figure out why they became this way. What is it about the world around us, the people who brought this person up, the situations and events he witnessed in his life, that led him to entitled misogynistic views of such a degree as to murder innocent strangers out of nowhere?

Treating this as a societal-centric mental health issue allows us to seek a better understanding of EVERYONE with these negative mindsets and points of view. It helps us address not only those that reach the level this young man did, but those that simply say mean things or treat people poorly due to their gender, race, etc. We have to remedy the cause, not just the disorder. We have to address what has caused this mindset to skew people’s point of view. And that starts with accepting that the term “mental health” has a far broader definition than we allow it to. Everything that causes our way of thinking to shift, and causes our actions to shift as a result of that, I feel deserves to be called a mental health concern.

And we need to keep that separate from other things. Such as depression, or suicide. Or what we label as someone being “crazy” or “insane”. These are different kinds of mental health concerns, not the only ones. The terminology is what catches us up. It’s easy to understand why some of these things get treated as something other than what they are: unhealthy.

I hope the conversation we can have going forward, as we inevitably face more events like this, can shift towards less demonization, and more attempts at understanding the underlying problems that cause unhealthy minds to grow, flourish, and explode.

 

It’s My Job To Stop Bigotry

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Something has been bothering me lately…

There is a consistent string of things written about, and conversations had about, various forms of bigotry and oppression. Be it sexism, racism, or other discriminatory blockades put up preventing certain groups of people from being equally represented or accepted, these conversations are (rightfully) being had every single day. But a lot of the groups bringing up these problems are excluding a very important part of the remedy, and that’s the oppressive party.

I won the privilege lottery. I’m a white straight male born in the United States. My religion aside, I’ve pretty much fallen on the “majority” side of everything. I have friends who have not. I know people across the world, of various nationalities, colors, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, and social status. I want them to have better lives. I want them to feel safer, more comfortable, more accepted, and better represented. It’s important to me because THEY are important to me.

But it’s not on them to achieve that right. It’s on me.

One of the things that troubles me is the exclusion of white males in any discussion or fight for rights in our society. The belief that the “straight white male” has no right discussing something like racism or homophobia. The dismissal of their desire to be a part of it, or their views about it as being unimportant because they have no frame of reference. And while it’s true a white person may not know the struggles of being racially discriminated against, it is still very much their conversation to be had. Why? Because they’re the oppressors.

And the only person that can stop oppression IS the oppressor.

This is not stripping those fighting for rights of their importance in the discussion. It is not taking the power away from them. It is admitting that if we are ever to have equality, it must come at the hands of those preventing it in the first place. To release our privilege and ALLOW the growth and progression that is being held back. To open ourselves to those trying to be by our side and allow them to be so.

It’s on ME, as a white male to stop sexism, racism, and bigotry. It is on me as a straight cisgender person to stop the horrible bias towards those with different sexualities and gender identities. I have to admit, recognize, and release my privilege. And I willingly will do so. And it is on everyone who sits beside me with privilege to do this as well.

If you find yourself in one of the “groups” currently battling for better representation and treatment, you have to be willing to accept that you need those holding you down to release their grip on you. You have to work along side them, not against them. “Equality” does not come from only one part of the equation. You have to balance the entire thing to achieve it, so completely excluding the oppressive force is not going to benefit anyone. It’s going to perpetuate the problem and prevent it from being solved.

By being biased and spiteful towards those that hold you down, you are only preventing them from being in on the progression, especially if it’s done in a broad sense. While it isn’t their problem, it is their fight. It’s EVERYONE’S fight. That’s what makes it equality. The trouble is, all of the bigots that are out there sour the entire group. Every racist white person prevents non-racist white men from being in on the conversation. Every sexist male prevents other men from helping feminists achieve equality. But that should not stop you from accepting and working with white males on stopping these problems.

This doesn’t mean that without the help of your oppressors you’re unable to achieve anything. It’s not stripping you of your power or importance by saying you need their help to stop it. Equality is for ALL. That includes those that are part of the privileged groups, because they’re the ones that currently stand in the way of it.

My purpose in writing this is to urge people currently fighting for better civil treatment to let me and other “majority” people in on the discussion. Let us work with you. Fight with you. Be your equal. I, and many like me, wish to be on common ground with you. Be by your side. Learn from you. Love you. Share with you. And if you allow us to, we will allow you to. It becomes counter-bigotry when you dismiss us from the conversation because we’re not like you and think that we’re not allowed to want equality for all because we already have the privilege.

I do not want privilege. I want you by my side, as my equal. And the only way I can achieve that is by taking the responsibility on myself and letting go of everything preventing it. It is my job to stop oppression and bigotry, because I’ve allowed it in the first place.

In Defense Of The Pessimist

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Let’s get one thing straight here: I am a pessimist.

I have no shame in this. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy things. And it is NOT. BY. CHOICE.

Something I find puzzling is that even people that recognize that mental illnesses, such as depression for instance, are not choices, will still assume that pessimism is something someone just CHOOSES to contain within their personality and self.

While there may be people who are negative by choice, pessimism does not automatically come down to deciding to see the bad in things or not. For me, it’s very much so how my brain works. It goes hand-in-hand with my depression. I look at the world around me and it feels crummy and full of dark clouds. I did not choose to have this happen. It hurts me every fucking day.

And yes, I vent it. I let it out of my head. You try keeping the weight of the world pent up inside your own head and tell me you wouldn’t want to spew a bit of it out at times. I’m a critical-minded person, I’m someone who is prone to emotional reactions to things (believe me, I wish that wasn’t the case, it’s fucking exhausting), and I can be down-right pissed off about the awful things that sink into my brain and make me fixate on them for hours at a time. It hurts. A lot. I cannot emphasize that enough.

So, yes: I’m a pessimist. And enough of this “just look on the bright-side” shit. I’ve spent many an hour talking about how you can’t tell a depressed person to “just be happy!”, so why do people keep assuming a pessimistic person can just stop? Start saying only pleasant, optimistic things. Pessimism is a part of my depression. So fuck you for judging it. It’s like judging someone with a bad back for grunting when they stand up.

I’m tired of this attitude towards pessimism. I’m sorry I can’t be happy-go-lucky and positive all the time, I really am. Not for your benefit. For my OWN benefit. If I could be optimistic and see the world as cotton candy and fluffy bunnies, I’d be all the better for it. But I cannot. It’s not a decision I make when I wake up in the morning.

And I’m not obligated to keep myself in check because you don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear a lot of things I hear every single day. I don’t wanna hear about your religion. I don’t wanna hear your political opinions. I don’t want to hear about your shitty kids. But I let you say what you want to say. I let you be who you are. I don’t expect people to change the very essence of their being for my benefit. So I’d expect the same treatment.

So next time you want to ridicule someone for their “pessimistic, negative outlook” remember that that may be all they have. For a lot of people, it’s not enjoyable to be surrounded by things that make you sad, hurt, scared, angry, and hopeless. And sometimes vocalizing it is all we can do to keep from being completely crushed by the bleakness that forms in our line of sight.

If you really want a pessimist to be optimistic: give them a reason to be. Be a positive influence in front of them, and maybe they won’t keep seeing terrible shit all the time. But if you’re going to bark at them and talk down to them: they’re just gonna see another negative. And that’ll just add to the thing you’re yelling about.

Culturing The Turn-Around – How We Turn The Bullied Into Bullies

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Let me start by saying that before you read my blog here, please take a moment to read this article by Matt LeMay. It’s a great read and raises a bunch of excellent points I don’t feel are emphasized enough these days. It’s also the focus of what I wanted to talk about today.

Setting aside the focus on tech industry employees that this is mainly about, I wanted to talk instead about a more broad point that I feel is important. The concept that we tell those who are outcasts, bullied and made fun of, as children that some day, they will be the ones on top. It’s done in a very unhealthy way that perpetuates a violent system that got us in this mess in the first place.

To simplify this point in the beginning, let’s look at the typical structuring of High School Cliques. The Jock vs. Nerd concept that is pounded into our heads as a means of conflict in media. As mentioned in Matt’s article, we are often told growing up that “you may be missing out now, but when you’re older…”. That when we’re older, the bullies will lose and we will win. Because that’s how we view it: as a competition. And women and money and jobs are the prizes.

This, of course, is fed by our society having a skewed status system. That having certain things mean you have succeeded in life more than someone else. You have more money, a bigger house, a more attractive mate. You have bigger muscles, and a prettier smile. You have more people serving you. You’re the boss! You’re the MAN!

At least, that’s what we’re told.

The problem is: that’s what breeds these bullies in the first place. That their hot girlfriend and their bigger muscles, their position as captain of the football team or their large group of friends, makes them more successful than you. That’s what they use to bully nerds. Their status, their power, their “success”.

I’ve written about adult bullies before, and how a lot of it mirrors the oft-mentioned “High School Jock” concept we parade around. And that’s what this article seems to be talking about: the fact we tell kids “someday, YOU will earn the power and status that lets YOU be the one to laugh at other people!”. We’re basically saying that someday, you’ll get the right to be the bully yourself. And that’s just not ok.

We put too much weight on adequacy, or at least what we define as being a sign of adequacy. And because of that, we use things like your job or your house or your bank account as a means to compare and contrast people. The “someday, that bully will be washing your car!” is just a way of shaming people who wash cars for a living. Saying they’re lesser people. In other words: you’re bullying people based on their status. By telling kids they’ll be above lesser jobs someday, you’re just pissing in the face of everyone with lesser jobs, or less money, or a less attractive partner. You’re perpetuating the very thing that made this kid bullied in the first place, and you’re just filling their head with the disgusting nature of our world. You’re continuing the cycle of status-based comparing and bullying we see every day.

And yes, in this scenario, women are often pushed around as being one of those prizes, one of those status symbols. One of those material objects you get to collect to show your worth. Sure, the jock is getting laid by the cheerleaders now, but you’ll have all the pussy you can fuck when you’re a rich, successful genius! The expectation that is pushed into our brains is that when you get status and power, when you become successful, you’re gonna get the girls! You’ll be the most desirable person in the world! No girl is gonna want that washed-up jock who works as a garbage man, but they’ll want you in your expensive suit and tie and big house.

It’s sexist for a number of reasons. The first obviously being the use of women as trophies. The second is that it shuts down any thoughts that women may want more than just money and status in their mates. That they couldn’t find someone who, using the last example, is a garbage man a good person. It’s the Caste system at work. The “Untouchables”. And the funny thing is, we then turn around and berate women for being gold-diggers. “She’s just dating him for his money and status!”. Well, that’s what you told HIM he should expect! So why are you demonizing HER for going along with YOUR fucked up plan? It’s the same thing we do when we expect women to fuck, but if they fuck too much, they’re filthy whores. We want to make sure women can’t win no matter what, as long as we get them in the end.

Bullying is not ok. But the last way to combat bullying is by empowering the behavior. By telling the bullied they can be the bullies someday. It just doesn’t do anything but create the adult bully system we have in this society these days. We need to stop acting like adequacy is something that can be measured.

The last little thing I wanted to get into is the neglect of bullies in this situation. I know it’s odd to say, but we mistreat bullies badly. The first instinct is to demonize. To turn them into all-bad monsters. Comic book villains. They’re just terrible bad guys who need to be CRUSHED. You have to STAND UP to the bully and DEFEAT HIM!

In media, this is often seen when the nerd being bullied does something to publicly humiliate the bully. They punch the bully in the face. They make him pee himself. Some form of public humiliation. It usually has that scene where the whole school is laughing at the bully and the bullied gets to walk away and wink at the cute girl. “I defeated the bad guy”.

No, odds are you just further hurt someone that is suffering from mental health problems.

While it’s not ALWAYS the case, bully behavior is usually caused by various mental health concerns. This person could be in an abusive household with horrible parents. This person could feel inadequate and bad about themselves, and therefore tries to make other people look worse than them to make up for it. This person could be compensating for confusion. A lot of it is brought on by abuse or poor societal pressures. We see this a lot in sexuality-based bullying.

I want to make a statement right now before finishing this, because it’s always important to say. I mention this a lot, and it deserves repeating.

Mental health issues are an EXPLANATION, not an EXCUSE.

I am not excusing the bully behavior here. I’m not saying “it’s ok for them to be bullies because they’re depressed”. What I’m saying is: we need to recognize there may be a darker reason they act this way. And we need to help them in order to stop them from being horrible. Mental health issues can cause you to act poorly, and we need to recognize and help those people instead of demonize them and attack them. They need help, not to be defeated. That will do nothing but make matters worse. Turn them into bigger bullies, or worse: ’cause them to give into their depression completely.

We continuously breed bullies in our culture, in a number of ways. We ignore causation. We perpetuate adequacy-measuring and unhealthy status-based reward systems. We objectify, we demonize, and we make everything about “get yours in the end!”. We make this a fictional story of good vs. evil, instead of a reality with complex people who should have complex reasoning, and a better reason to live than just what society dictates equates to success.

Don’t perpetuate the bullying, and try to understand there is no “evil” in this story. There is a person that needs to be addressed as such. Not defeated like a monster. Shaming and abusing bullies does nothing but hurt people. Even if you think they “deserve” it for what they’ve done. That doesn’t help anything. And that doesn’t make YOU a good person.

We need to address bullied children to feel comfortable and good as they are, not as they “will be” when they “win” in the future. And that starts with how we view status and power. How we treat people as PEOPLE, not as different degrees of success.

And for fuck’s sake: women are not a REWARD for men who win.

The Nice Guy Fallacy

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“Nice guys finish last”

You’ve seen this old cliche pop up numerous times, and often times it’s used to justify bad behavior or used to explain why someone may have failed to accomplish something. It also lends itself to a rather sexist and frightening view some men have about women.

This came up in a rather misguided and awkward article, which you can read here if you want to damage your brain a little. The article is a response to women who, after dating “bad boys” come “crawling back” to the nice men in their lives. The article reeks of ego-stroking as the guy refers to himself as the “man of your dreams” and various other things like that. It also points to the dated belief that women don’t like nice men.

The initial problem here is the generalization. The belief that there is only one kind of way a woman can think in regards to who they’re attracted to. The “women only like bad boys” dismissal doesn’t work unless you assume all women are interested in the same things. Considering the complexity of humanity, and the sheer variety of personalities and interests, this is an obvious load of shit.

The next problem stems from the dismissal of the various “nice guys” who have wonderful women in their lives. There are plenty of relationships between two very pleasant individuals. Are these man secretly evil? Are these women only faking it? How do you explain away relationships between two very respectful, nice people? Aside from attempting to pretend they don’t exist at all.

Setting aside the nice men that do have good relationships with women, and setting aside the women who do want nice men, and do seek them out, let’s look at why the “girls are into bad boys” thing happens. Because it does happen. Be it abusive relationships or just men who don’t respect their girlfriends/spouses, or couples that come across as being bad for each other, we’ve all seen relationships that don’t quite make sense. Why is she with him? There are a few answers to this.

First, not every woman is instantly smart, nice, or pleasant. I’ve met some awful women in my life. Ones who are stupid, cruel, mean-spirited, abusive, and generally awful people. Women aren’t all precious flowers, same as all men aren’t upstanding gentlemen. That’s just human nature as it is today. Some of these women, being blunt, aren’t worth your time to begin with. Some of these women are just awful as the shitty men they’re with. So that removes some of them from this equation of “girl dating jerk”. Let’s dig deeper.

The second one comes from societies pressures on men AND women to have relationships in their life. We put a lot of importance on fucking each other. Virgin-shaming, slut-shaming, and unhealthy views of anything  that isn’t a black-and-white one guy/one girl relationship shows that we put a lot of importance on love and relationships, marriage in particular. The problem stems from what we expect these relationships to be built upon. Being “nice” is not one of the things we put high on that list.

For one, we put a lot of emphasis on physical attractiveness. We want a big, muscular guy for our slim, busty girl. This forces a lot of men and women to be in a category of “undateable” because they don’t fit the gender roles our society still uses in media and advertisements that are implanted in us at a young age. Men are the provider, women are the caretakers. This is a dated concept that is still very familiar for some reason. And because of it, we see a lot of people take the first relationship they can get in order to fulfill the “need” to be in one. And when you stop being picky, you settle for things that are unhealthy and bad. It’s especially bad for women because society still puts a “you need to pump out a kid by this age or…” mindset. So women don’t want to become that “old spinster”. They don’t want to miss out ’cause their “biological clock is ticking”. Society forces them to get into relationships as a means to justify their existence. It leads to unhealthy relationships.

Speaking from personal experience, my grandmother was gay. And was in a committed, typical married relationship with my grandfather for a number of years. Even had kids. This was all too common, and I’d be more than willing to bet is still rather common today because of the societal pressures to “Settle down and have a family”.

This is, by the way, sexist towards women and men equally. If you’re a man and you don’t instantly seek to dominate women and have sex with as many as you can, you’re often branded as a loser. Or made fun of for being gay. Or mocked for being sensitive. Objectification is considered “manly” and men are attacked for not playing that game. In other words: men are breeding the “bad guy” that you hate so much because of the negative views of male/female relationships in our society.

The next reason a woman may be in a terrible relationship is a control problem. A lot of these relationships feed on insecurity. The men are manipulative, or at least good at hiding how awful they are until they’ve reeled you in. Women are still fighting off things pushed on them by society. Such as body-image issues or self-worth issues. A girl may feel fat or stupid or useless and it’s easy for a manipulative man to take that insecurity and play with it to their own advantage. A few “hey baby, you’re hot!” comments can easily ease insecurity in all the wrong ways. It’s dangerous, and not all women fall for it, but it is something to consider.

The same can easily be said the opposite direction. There are a lot of insecure men that can be manipulated by society, by both women and other men. The kind of gang mentality that forces men to act in a way they don’t feel comfortable with. In order to not be shamed, men may act a certain way in order to be accepted by their peers. We’ve seen this a lot in the homosexual community by men and women who are afraid to come out and instead attempt to cover up their true nature by over-playing into expected gender roles. It’s easy to play with an insecure person, and manipulation is all-too-common in abusive or unhealthy relationships.

There is also one other reason we see some unhealthy relationships, though I feel it’s less common than it’s made out to be. And that’s the “Rebelling against the father figure” concept. An over-protective father disapproves of how a daughter acts, and she decides to rebel against that by dating people she knows he’ll disapprove of.

This is bad for two reasons: one, it shows the rather unsettling way some men treat their daughters. It also puts young, impressionable girls in the position of using their sex and their affection in an unhealthy way, which can leave a lasting impression on themselves. It becomes a “sex as a weapon” concept, which is an entire other problem we face still.

There are probably other reasons that unhealthy or abusive relationships exist that I could cover, but I think you get a general idea that not every “good girl/bad guy” relationship is 100% the fault of the woman involved. And that it’s not always some “anti-good guy” mentality that leads to them.

But let’s discuss that term. The “nice guy” concept.

First and foremost, most people that genuinely think they’re really amazing probably aren’t. Humility goes a long way. And if you can’t show a little self-awareness and be humble, you’re probably not as appealing as you think you are.

The next problem is that these guys assume that just because they’re nice, it means a woman is automatically meant to be attracted to them. You hear terms like “friend zone” tossed around in these cases, and it’s cringe-worthy. Men believe that because they’re supportive and nice, a woman should instantly be in love with them. This simplified human relationships down to almost nothing. There are many reasons she may not be in to you, regardless of your being really nice. You may not be sexually compatible. She may not be romantically interested in you. She may find you boring! There are many things to look for in an ideal mate, and just meeting one of those requirements doesn’t make you someone she must have. Hell, she may have found one appealing trait in those bad guys you loathe so much. You’re trivializing relationships as being built around one thing and one thing only, and that’s the exact way the unhealthy relationships with the “bad guys” happen too.

The assumption is that any man that is nice to a woman should be boosted to the high standard of sex. The only thing that really separates friendship for relationships in the modern eye is physical affection. The “friend zone” concept is that a man isn’t getting to sleep with a woman that he is friends with. She could love you with all her heart, find you to be a wonderful friend, but because she doesn’t let you put your penis in her, she’s “Friend zoning” you. And that’s a BAD thing, apparently. Having a healthy friendship with someone of the opposite sex is viewed negatively. I understand what it’s like wanting more from someone, but if they don’t want it too, shaming them is not befitting of a “nice guy”. Nor is it in any way, shape, or form how a friend should act. If you actually cared about the person on a level that means anything, you’d never use a term like “friend zone” or blame her for not liking the “perfect guy” right in front of her. It’s disrespectful and makes you very unappealing to be in a committed relationships with.

This “nice guy” fallacy and the whole “friend zone” thing just shows a very male-dominated view of relationships. That a man is owed a woman’s affection by fulfilling very basic needs. Expecting a woman to love you simply because you open a door for her or listen to her when she’s sad is not a “nice guy”. It’s selfish and disrespectful. They don’t owe you anything. Women can have their own tastes and expectations in their partners, same as you can.

They shouldn’t settle just because you think you’re perfect for them. Because odds are: you’re not.