Don't try to fix a messed up manSunday, August 23, 2015
By Marie Berbick
REGARDLESS of how fascinated you are with a man, be alert and get to know him before opening up yourself to someone who could very well be your Dr Jekyll experience.
Whilst we perhaps are more used to hearing about a hurting or messed up woman, there are men out there who have also been through painful experiences including failed relationships and are sometimes even more dangerous to become involved with if they do not resolve their issues. The saying "take time to know him" should therefore not be taken lightly, regardless of how perfect he appears to be.
Get to know the man behind the million-dollar smile and the constant gift giving for you could be looking at someone who has perfected the art of masking emotional trauma and one day, Dr Jekyll might appear and turn your life upside down. A woman who has been hurt is more likely to say out loud that she has no interest in loving another man, than a man who has been through hell with a woman who damaged his self-esteem and caused him to place a padlock over his heart. With the woman, you will get a clearer insight into what you're likely to face with her. With the messed up man, it might not be that easy as men can internalise and pretend for a very long time.
So what can you do to protect yourself from a possible nightmare? Do your research. When you are going to make a purchase for the first time, you normally ask friends' opinions and you read the product reviews and testimonials. So why not take the time to check out the man who wants to be in your life? Check out his background, what kind of household did he grow up in? Was his father abusive to his mother? What's his relationship with his mother like? What kind of woman was he previously involved with? How did he treat her? Is he a recluse? Is he comfortable with you having friends and being close with your family?
Don't let your emotions or neediness cause you to ignore the red flags that are sometimes blatantly in your face from the start of the relationship. And when you do see them, don't second guess yourself. He could very well be a wonderful man but he's messed up emotionally and YOU can't fix him, he needs professional help.
One of the biggest mistakes some women make is to take it upon themselves to try and fix a messed up man. What we fail to realise is that if someone does not acknowledge that they are messed up, you could move heaven and earth, you will not be able to fix them.
Red flags and signs are always there to help you know when a man has serious emotional issues. Here are a few:
1. If he's too clingy, watch it. It's good to have a man who loves to spend time with you. Quality and alone time are very important to couples but there is a difference between wanting to spend quality time with just you, and wanting to control you. Just like a clingy woman, a man who refuses to give you breathing space may have insecurity and control issues. That is why in your initial 'investigations' into his background, you should find out as much as possible about his previous relationships and the kind of family he grew up in. Men or women who feel they were abandoned or rejected by someone, including a parent, might show signs of clinginess or insecurity in their relationships.
2. He's in a hurry to have children. If you think women are the only ones who try to use a child to hold onto a partner, think again. Men do it too. There are still people who believe that having a child with someone will prevent them from leaving the relationship, so question his motives for wanting you to have his child when you're just in the courtship stage of the relationship. A man might feel inadequate among his friends if he doesn't have a child by a certain age, but watch for a man who is overly eager for you to have his baby when you don't even know enough about each other.
3. He ignores your attempts to show him love. Two of the reasons why a man might react coldly to your demonstrations of love or affection are that he has been burnt by a woman he loved and is still not over it or he has never been treated lovingly before. A man who has had his heart broken by a woman and is still not over the experience is likely to give you a hard time and will keep you at arm's length emotionally. His reaction to you is a defence mechanism, a result of his fear of being burnt again. The man who has never been treated lovingly before is confused by your good treatment. It is highly likely that his previous experiences have caused him to have low self-esteem and he cannot therefore understand why you think he deserves to be treated so well.
4. He thinks he owns you. There are wonderful, generous men who give because they genuinely care for a woman. However, there are also men who will give you the world because they see you as property they are investing in. While they are giving, look out for the red flags including signs of control. Sometimes this very giving man has had serious emotional issues which he masks by giving. Perhaps he was rarely able to get the things he wanted during his childhood or he is not used to getting something without paying for it so he believes in paying for anything he wants to own. He sees you as an object rather than a person. He gives in order to control that object. If the relationship fails, the moment you walk away, Dr Jekyll surfaces and your life becomes a nightmare.
5. He does not think he needs help. Men are taught to be macho; rarely does a man allow anyone to see him cry. To a lot of men, acknowledging that they need counselling or therapy of any kind is like admitting that they're weak. So you may need a lot of prayer and some creative ways to get him to agree to see a counsellor.
Marie Berbick aka 'The PR Girl', is a communications specialist, motivational speaker and founder of the women's ministry Sisters United for Prayer, Healing, Empowerment & Restoration (SUPHER). Follow her on Twitter @thePRGirl or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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