Monday, April 30, 2007

Ten Stupid Things

A best-selling book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger (yes, the Dr. Laura you hear on the radio), "The Ten Stupid Things That Women Do to Mess up Their Lives" is one of Oprah's favourites and something that you wish you could pass on to all your girlfriends. It's sort of like a survival manual to being a woman, albeit in hindsight, and I know that no matter how much you don't want to admit it, every woman reading my blog has commited at least one of these stupid things that inevitably fucked up their life in some way, shape or form.

Chapter One: Stupid Attachment

These women have no goals or dreams except in relation to a sympathetic man with a hero complex.. She feels she is nothing without him, who becomes her only reason for living. Both feed off each other’s fears of rejection, so she whines and demands while he wises up eventually and dumps her.

Too many of us do this (I plead guilty) because it is easy to do. You can easily lose track of yourself and mistake attachment and comfort for other things – you forget who YOU are when you are with him. Not good at all.

Chapter Two: Stupid Courtship

This mistake occurs because women are so desperate for a man that they don’t care what kind of loser he is. They dive in despite the telltale signs. Desperation breeds from not developing interests and goals for yourself, so the “female escape route,” aka men, is taken as a socially acceptable means of avoiding becoming an individual through attachment.

I know a person who hasn’t been single for more than a few weeks in the 10 years I have known her. She doesn’t know herself, and has admitted this, but is too afraid to find out.

Chapter Three: Stupid Devotion

A 42-year old woman listener lists the reasons why she’s still devoted to an ass of a husband: ”Number one, I don’t have to change. Number two, I don’t lose what I like in the companionship and security aspects. Number three, it would be uncomfortable making a transition to being alone or with anyone else. And number four, I guess, I would take it personally…his negative perception of me must be right.?

How many times have you heard this from women, especially a friend or two of yours in which you wish she would just open up her eyes and see…and yet sometimes, like this woman, they do see and choose “ignorance is bliss.” Very sad, but very common.

Chapter Four: Stupid Passion

These women confuse feelings of passion for the presence of mature love. They are carried away with the high of it, have sex too soon, give up their career dreams and get married out of desperation and not love. Divorce results usually.

Chapter Five: Stupid Cohabitation or “The Ultimate Female Self-Delusion

Cohabitation (living with your boyfriend hoping that it will lead to marriage) is the "ultimate in female self-delusion," Mrs. Schlessinger says, "Dating -- not living in -- is supposed to be about learning and discerning." Cohabitation involves "no public commitment, no pledge for the future, no official pronouncement of love and responsibility. Theirs is essentially a private arrangement based on an emotional bond. The 'commitment' of living together is simply a month-to-month rental agreement. "As long as you behave yourself and keep me happy, I'll stick around."

No wonder the subchapters within this section are titled like “Cohabitation as a Lease with an option to buy?” “When hope can hurt you” and “Living in = Giving in.” But with stats like these – a Columbia University study cited in New Woman magazine found that "only 26% of women surveyed and a scant 19% of the men married the person with whom they were cohabiting”- it’s easy to see what Dr. Laura is getting at.

Chapter Six: Stupid Expectations

Schlessinger starts out talking about a couple who were her clients. At first Maureen needed help with her nervous, crying baby, but Dr. Laura suggested that her husband Kenny join them (the baby stayed with a sitter after the first nerve-wracking session) and she discovered their very different expectations of marriage caused by unresolved pain from their parents. Spouses of similar ilk cannot heal the wounds made by parents.

Women also fail to realize that relationships are hard work. So many women want to get married, or get married, or go into relationships, thinking that it's going to be hearts a fluttering all the time. SO NOT TRUE.

One of my favourite quotes is from a Maroon 5 song:

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies but compromise that moves us along..."

A lot of women (and yes men) think relationships should be easy - and they usually are - to an extent. Too many of us give up when the going gets tough, not bothering to work through the problems. No wonder the divorce rate is so high. People give up at the first hurdle and walk away. No one said a relationship - or marriage - for that matter was a piece of cake. It's a lot of work, even for the best of relationships. Women get unrealistic expectations from movies, novels, a lucky friend.

Chapter Seven: Stupid Conception – “There are no accidents, usually

Just because a man says he loves you that does not no how mean that he wants a child with you or even marriage. Some women believe the fairy tale that she’s found Prince Charming just because “he said he loved me!” or maybe she’s trying to force marriage.

I can not tell you how many people I have known, met, heard of who do the whole baby before marriage thing JUST to ensure the marriage. It’s more common then you think – look around at the women who have kids but aren’t married. A good majority of them would LOVE to be married to the father, he just isn’t falling for the trick. Sure, there are women who don’t want marriage, or wants a child and doesn’t care so much for the father/mother relationship – but that is not usually the case.

Chapter Eight: Stupid Subjugation

An example from Dr. Laura’s show: "I’ve never been able to forget a case dating from when I first opened my counseling practice. The woman was a caller in her late twenties who had a problem with her boyfriend. He liked her well enough, but didn’t want her two little kids around at all. In fact, he was pressuring her to give them away. Her question, believe it or not, was “What should I do?”Naturally, she didn’t want to give up her kids, but she didnt want to give up the guy even more. How freaking crazy is that?

Chapter Nine: Stupid Helplessness

Instead of getting angry when guys treat them with disrespect, these women wonder if they should and if the guy gives a decent excuse for it, she accepts it willingly, even though she’s unhappy and lacking a sense of validation.

Chapter Ten: Stupid Forgiving

If you’ve ever caught yourself or heard a woman saying, “I know he’s adulterous, addicted, controlling, insensitive, violent, or fill in blank, but other than that, he’s great” then you have witnessed stupid forgiving because the speaker is attached, helpless, subjugated or deluded.

Of course we have all been there, but hopefully we learn as we get older and go through relationships, figuring out what we deserve and demanding it from those we love.

All right, so what do you think? Do you agree with all ten things? I know I sure do. Is there anything else you would add? (Personally I think there should have been a chapter on emotional spending, cuz, well, credit card debt can fuck up your life. Why do you think there are so many lazy, greedy and undisciplined bloggers out there asking for handouts from people on the net to pay for THEIR debt?)


The Stormin Mormon said...

The things all exist for men...

Not exactly the same, but we will do dumb things just because we are determined to make something work (or determined to not, in the case of some men). I know that I have a couple friends who rushed into relationships AMAZINGLY fast after getting out of relationships, and I couldn't help but laugh to hear about the same thing in women.

Desiree said...

I totally forgot about this book - my mom gave it to me YEARS ago.

Todd said...

I used to listen to Dr. Laura years ago. Her radio show was hysterical.

M said...

IMO these are all spot on.

#8 oh my god, that is horrific!

BecsLifeOnline said...

Hmm yeah all true. Even experienced a few of them myself in my short 22 years. I need to get this book! :-D

Karisa Petho said...

I agree with all of them except for the co-habitation one. Why? Because we're already making plans and our commitment is always growing. We've never been comfortable and bored living together. We don't live together out of convenience, but more because we were ready to make that commitment. I could move out in an instant...I think the key is not depending on your relationship because it'll be cheaper, or work better, but because it's something you want to do. I'm more the "I wanna try the dress on before I buy it" kind a gal. And if it doesn't work out then at least I knew that before a ring was slapped on my finger and I moved in with someone with disgusting habits...unhappily married for years. I dunno...seemed to work for my parents and their going on 25 years!

Rachel said...

I agree with Dr. Laura in this book but she has said some things that I totally disagree with regarding parenting.
Relationship wise she knows her stuff but her blatant declaration that I am destroying my kid by being a single parent was incredibly offensive.

Michi said...

great post! I've just started reading your blog, you have very good reads =)

Charm School Reject said...

Okay so I had all these great things to say about Dr. Laura but WHOA! I'm reeling from the single parent = damaged kid comment. Where the heck did that come from? If she said that I will beat her upside her head! If people as educated as she is think that, holy crap. Seriously. I think my son was way better off with little ol' me that he would ever be with little ol' me plus The Deadbeat.

I am saying this vrey begrudgingly simply to stay on topic : Yes. I agree with her 100% on all of those points. I should buy the book for my sisters. They commit every last one of those "mortal sins".

I really don't think I have though. Whereas my sisters will let anyone walk all over them, I'm the hardass. hmmmmm.

minijonb said...

my parents went to college with Dr. Laura... they don't have anything good to say about her.

almost famous kiwi said...

Do you remember that soldier I told you about, the one who thinks you're hot? He's going to Van next weekend and wants to meet up with you for coffee, are you interested? Can I give him your email address? Send me an email and let me know

Lulu (Dan's cat) said...

When is someone going to write a book called "The Ten Stupid Things That Cats Do to Mess up Their Lives". Now that would be interesting. So few books for cats.

Can I get a little belly rub over here?

simon said...

looks a great book to me.

There is nothing better than a woman who can stand on her own, and enters a relationship as an equal, rather and someone who lives their live through the "eyes of another". I guess its the same for men too.

Sean said...

i need to show this book to someone... thanks

Wanderlusting said...

Stormin - hey you! Isn't it true that men will ALWAYS rush into a relationship too soon after a break-up (adhering to the whole "best way to get over someone is to get under someone else"). I know for a fact that it's true - men do this.

But also, that women take too long to re-enter a relationship after a break up. And I know this is true. I do this. Although back in high school I just flitted from one relationship to the next because by the end of one relationship, I had already liked someone else and was ready to move to them. Hmmmmmm. It did have it's benefits...

Desiree - good mom, looking out for you!

Todd - Agree. Some people have the weirdest problems. Makes you feel kinda normal.

M - I know. But I believe it!

Becs - I think if you havent made these mistakes, you havent really lived! ;)

Karisa - again, it just comes down to individual motives. For some people it works, some it doesn't. For you it works because this for both of you is the first step of commitment to something larger. But some go into it wanting and thinking that and not getting it because the other person wasn't on the same page. I think cohabitation can totally led to marriage IF both people want marriage, if they both discuss their future (doesnt have to be in an absolute state) and decide what they want. But if one person wants more or wants less or just doesnt it for other reasons, then yeah, BIG PROBLEMS.

Rachel - when did she say that? Granted I don't know much about Dr. Laura but yeah if she said it she obviously doesnt know much about the subject of parenting...

Michi Hey, thanks!! Means a lot to me :)

Charm - I agree, it's not cool if she said those things. But yeah, spot on. I am much more of a hardass than I used to be - and I must admit lately I have been a huge pushover, one of those girls that gives everything for the sake of another - I've learned my lesson now though. We should all be loved the way we deserve to be and no one should ever make you feel like your love isn't enough - ESPECIALLY if they give you nothing in return. The love you take should be equal to the love you make. It's a hard and painful lesson to learn but there should be no exceptions.

Mini - I could see that - she must have been one outspoken biatch.

Kiwi - Really? Lol! Is this the guy from Belgium?

Lulu - only if you purr for me.

Simon - It's totally the same for both sexes. Unfortunately, some people enter relationships without knowing themselves and without knowing how to stand on their own two feet - kinda like an empty shell.

Sean - Not a prob...hope it isn't your girlfriend ;)

Vegas Princess said...

I have a friend who is the epitome of about four of those things. She is with someone who treats her like poo and has no respect for her and still she makes excuses. I think she is afraid of being alone and starting over...

It's sad because I care about her so much but don't want to say too much and drive her away. Quite a conundrum.