“Men Are Like dogs. Treat Them Like Dogs.” Throughout my teenage life into adulthood, those words would live in my subconscious. These words would go on to build a home, and create a fence around that home. This was my mantra.
I’m sure at the time, my mother wasn’t giving me this advice to sabotage my future relationships with men. In fact, she was doing the total opposite. She was trying to protect me from inevitable heartbreak. She was preparing me for what could possibly be the worst of my encounters with men.
To my disadvantage, this advice did not protect me, but actually set the tone for a sequence of dysfunctional relationships. I feared men. I didn’t know how to love them. Actually, I didn’t think they were supposed to be loved. They could only be loved, if they showed me this unrealistic expectation of love that only I could measure.
On the flip side, men were mysterious creatures to me that I desired to have relationships with, but I was ignorant to what role I had to play with them. If any role at all. My relationship goal was to keep men from hurting me, while, also trying to have what I thought was a normal relationship. I was tangled in a web of men having to prove themselves to me, but I also needed their approval.
I believe my mother gave me this advice when I had my first real boyfriend during my senior year of high school. Naturally, I rejected any advice she gave me, but the seeds were still being planted.
Almost ten years later, I finally realized that my mother’s advice had been guiding my encounters with men. I have been walking around afraid of men for almost ten years. As I began to learn what love really was, I noticed there was a tug of war in my relationships. I learned that I was a lover, but I was afraid to genuinely show my love; because I couldn’t believe that men were actually capable of love.
Men are not like dogs, and should not be treated as such.
There is no room for love in the above statement. Discounting another human being as less than human is a guaranteed recipe for destruction. Not only for myself, but for the person involved. Ultimately, I deprived myself of love. Most importantly, I deprived myself of self- love. I neglected the importance of loving myself, because I was on a quest to get love from men. If I loved a man enough, he would change. I sought out the men who would be placed in the dog category. Of course not purposely, but my subconscious was attracted to the emotionally unavailable guy, who was hurt, and all he knew how to do was hurt other people. I really didn’t know any better.
I wish my mother had given me the advice to love myself first. Those words specifically. No one can love you better than you. Self-love should set the bar for what loving another human being should like. Men deserve love too. #ThingsMomWasWrongAbout
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