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"Why Men Love Crazy Women":

Ami Angelowicz (The Frisky) theorizes on this. I'm not sure whether she's right, but it struck me as amusingly put, especially as to item 2. Then there's always the "crazy enough to sleep with me" option.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
Now can someone explain why so many women are self-destructively attracted to a__h___s? The death row groupies, in particular, are beyond my comprehension.
9.11.2009 2:04pm
MAM:
What would you do if you wore white patent leather shoes and white socks with white shorts?
9.11.2009 2:08pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
I was very briefly involved once with a woman who turned out to be at least temporarily, nuts. Wasn't pleasant, wasn't amusing. And THAT wasn't good either, if that's what you're wondering.
9.11.2009 2:30pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Kent - "so many women ..."

How many women are we talking about?
9.11.2009 2:31pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Because if "so many" women are attracted to a__h___s, then we might reasonably ask why "so many" men are a__h___s, not to mention that if a significant number of women are death row groupies, that probably means that a significant number of men are ON death row, presumably for something.

I think in all cases we're talking about a vanishingly small subset of the actual population.
9.11.2009 2:38pm
egd:

I think in all cases we're talking about a vanishingly small subset of the actual population.

Liberals are now a "vanishingly small subset"? Should they be afforded status as a protected class?
9.11.2009 2:58pm
moqui (mail):
happily married now, but dated my share of crazy women in the past. I would have to go with a corollary to 5: it gives you a built in excuse to dump them at some point down the road. I know I was always looking for an escape hatch.
9.11.2009 3:10pm
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
After I was finally able to pull up the original post (linking here apparently overloaded their server), I see that at the very end of her post Ami promised to answer my exact question next. I look forward to it.

Laura, if you have not observed the phenomenon I speak of, there is really nothing more to say.
9.11.2009 3:16pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Kent, I guess I haven't. I suppose the women I know are less tolerant of jerklike behavior, or just not attracted to it in the first place.

One could drill down a little further and wonder why one person perceives that there are a lot of self-destructive women and another doesn't but we probably ought to leave that alone.
9.11.2009 3:32pm
Houston Lawyer:
I would say that guys date crazy women because they are available. Face it, for a while, most guys will put up with a lot of crazy if they are getting laid. They won't put up with it forever though. Most single guys will dispute the ready availability of non-crazy females.
9.11.2009 3:45pm
theobromophile (www):
I've always thought that it was #2 (and a bit of #1): crazy women are supposed to be great in bed. The bit of #1 is from the fact that crazy women are also good at making men feel special, so there is a high to it.
9.11.2009 4:05pm
ShelbyC:

One could drill down a little further and wonder why one person perceives that there are a lot of self-destructive women and another doesn't but we probably ought to leave that alone.


I've noticed that many women seem to be attracted to a-holes too (thank god). So you can drill in on men too.
9.11.2009 4:05pm
Suzy (mail):
How about one Grand Unified Theory of the whole perceived heterosexual phenomenon of women being attracted to assholes and men being attracted to crazies? The more attractive you are, for whatever reason, the more you experience active interest from the opposite sex as you grow up. Men tend to express that interest in ways that drive women crazy, and women tend to express that interest in ways that make guys more assholish. I'm sure that's a word, right? So the more attractive you are, the greater tendency you have to act crazy, if female, and the greater tendency you have to act like an asshole, if male. I can't imagine why anyone would have any doubts or questions to ask about such a masterful theory.
9.11.2009 4:15pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Most single guys will dispute the ready availability of non-crazy females.

+1
9.11.2009 4:19pm
Suzy (mail):
Here's a corollary to the theory: when a woman is perceived as very attractive to the opposite sex by other heterosexual females, they do not build up her ego because of this. Instead, they may treat her in various negative ways because of the perception that she is competition, which may tend to make the attractive one crazier.
When a man is perceived as very attractive to the opposite sex by other heterosexual males, it's a boost to his ego, and though the other men might perceive him as competition, their reactions only tend to increase his arrogance and asshole qualities.
9.11.2009 4:19pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
I think there are two general categories of guys here: the ones who fit some combination of 1 through 4, and those who fit 5.
9.11.2009 4:21pm
JK:
It seems like "crazy" is being used in two very different senses. Are we talking about mental illness, or people who are eccentric, wild, and/or dramatic? There's a real difference between being attracted to thrill seekers and being attracted to schizophrenics.
9.11.2009 4:32pm
11-B/2O.B4:

Then there's always the "crazy enough to sleep with me" option.


This.
9.11.2009 4:33pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Well, in the comments on the linked article we have this:


Okay, let's see if our definitions of crazy match (or let's just say "crazy behavior")... picture this… it's Christmas Eve. Your close buddy just broke up with his girlfriend who he has a newborn son with. He calls you asking for you to come over and have a few drinks with him so that he isn't alone the night before a big holiday. You tell your new wife, and she doesn't like the idea. A minor argument ensues. Without warning, your lovely new wife picks up your 6' tall, fully decorated tree and hurls it at you, the porcelain angel narrowly missing your head. Dozens of glass ornaments break all over the kitchen floor. You decide to leave in order to avoid full meltdown of said wife. Upon driving away, you look back at your house and watch, in horror, as your sweet little lady proceeds to PUNCH through 2 of the 3 living room windows, cutting up her fists, screaming obscenities the entire time. Crazy? We get small trees now.


They were having a "minor argument, when "without warning", she threw a Christmas tree at him. I'd qualify that as "crazy" and am pleased to say that in all of my 27 years of adult life, if anyone of my acquaintance has acted this way he or she has kept it a secret from me. Y'all are attracted to this? Seriously?
9.11.2009 4:34pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
JK, yes. I used to live next door to a woman who was delusional - she thought at one point that people were crawling around on her roof. Came over to the house to borrow the phone and call her mother to come and get her - she couldn't go in with them crawling around like that. This was tragic, to me, not exotic, interesting, or appealing in any way.

When I finally got around to watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" I couldn't enjoy it b/c Hepburn's character talked just like my neighbor did (on a good day) and it made me want to cry.
9.11.2009 4:36pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Oh - and the a___h___ term can be applied, also, to men who are just jerks from time to time, as we all are probably, and men who are abusive or refuse to grow up.

I worked with a woman whose husband, once he got out of the Navy, refused to try to get a job. She put up with him until she got pregnant and found herself begging the landlord not to put them out because her husband had spent the rent money on pot. Unable to contemplate taking care of two babies, she kicked his butt out. I wouldn't say that she, for instance, was attracted to him BECAUSE he was a jerk. I'd say that she was initially attracted to him IN SPITE of it and reached the point that she couldn't tolerate it any more.
9.11.2009 4:40pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I haven't read the linked to post, but my friend of many years keeps telling me of his many sexual experiences with non-mentally stable women v. "marriageable" women: "Crazy in the head, crazy in the bed." On a personal note, I don't have the experience make a judgment.
9.11.2009 4:59pm
Whadonna More:
Laura(southernxyl) - they aren't talking about serious DSM identified "crazy" - they're talking about immature emotional development "crazy". My suspcion is that immaturely developed men provoke immature emotional responses from women and report about the "crazy b*t@h". Or do any of the gentlemen commenters have anecdotes about professionally employed "crazy" women 30 an older?
9.11.2009 5:10pm
BGates:
Because if "so many" women are attracted to a__h___s, then we might reasonably ask why "so many" men are a__h___s

Selective pressure.
9.11.2009 5:15pm
Suzy (mail):
Well, I can't help but try to defend the Christmas Tree Thrower a little. Wife is about to spend her first Christmas eve with new husband. She painstakingly decorates first ever Tree and makes ready to begin new lifetime of married Christmas tradition. Husband decides to bail and hang with his friend instead. That's at minumum a recipe for a huge conflict. Proper resolution I'd say would be for wife to invite friend over for a few hours that evening. However, throw in some bad behavior by the new husband or a testy argument, some lingering issues about transitioning from "Friends-centered" to "Marriage-centered" social life, and the sensitivities that many people accumulate around the holidays for various reasons, and you have set up a real barn burner. Or should I say ornament breaker. Punching out the windows I can defend only on the grounds that she thought when he left her on Christmas eve after the fight, he had indicated a generic desire to leave her. Okay, so she's crazy. But I'm betting she's not the only one at fault in that house, that's all. I promise I have never thrown a tree at anyone; I just wanted to have a try at being Gorgias for a minute.
9.11.2009 5:28pm
BT:
Let's face it most of us are far from perfect. I've dated my share of female characters in my day and to be honest about it, I was no day at the beach 15 or 20 years ago either. It's a two way street. These days (I am now in my 50s) the women that I find attractive are not the "crazies" as described by the author, but women who are sure of themsevles and are far from drama queens. In my view, the "crazy" as described by the author applies to men and women. The male asshole is just as crazy in his own way as the female drama queen. And then there is this:


Upon driving away, you look back at your house and watch, in horror, as your sweet little lady proceeds to PUNCH through 2 of the 3 living room windows, cutting up her fists, screaming obscenities the entire time. Crazy? We get small trees now.


That fact that this guy is still with this woman is crazy. If she had treated me like that, I would be long gone.
9.11.2009 5:39pm
jccamp (mail):
I'd think it's more like the inverse of #2. You find someone who is quirky-fuuny and uninhibited in the sack, wild in thought and deed, and then, too late, you discover they're not just idiosyncratic, they really nuts. At this point, you tolerate the increasingly bizarre behavior, hoping you have reached some outer boundary, for the sake of the screaming...passion, let us say.

A vain hope, in my experience, by the way.

Sigh.
9.11.2009 5:41pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Whadonna More:

Or do any of the gentlemen commenters have anecdotes about professionally employed "crazy" women 30 an older?

None that I feel like telling right now, but yes.
9.11.2009 6:06pm
one of many:
The reason is quite simple, different people value different things differently. Some men (and women) are able to accept far more "crazy" behavior from women (and men) they are involved with than others (the authors of these articles) because they value the costs of putting up with "crazy" behavior quite low, and value other factors in the relationship relatively high.

For instance I am far more able to deal with crazy clinginess (only irritating) than I am able to deal with sub-crazy levels of spontaneity - having my plans disrupted at the last minute bothers me more; many people I know find sub-crazy levels of clinginess unacceptable while they are also willing to put up with absurdly crazy levels of erratic behavior. Not that I like clinginess but it isn't a deal breaker for me.

As long as the value of the benefits recieved by each person in a relations outweigh the costs paid by each it is a good relationship, and people value the costs and benefits dfferently. It comes down to a simple principal Keats got backwards, that which brings one joy is a beauty forever.
9.11.2009 6:15pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
jccamp, I think you're onto it.


I'd think it's more like the inverse of #2. You find someone who is quirky-fuuny and uninhibited in the sack, wild in thought and deed, and then, too late, you discover they're not just idiosyncratic, they really a___h___s. At this point, you tolerate the increasingly abusive behavior, hoping you have reached some outer boundary, for the sake of the screaming...passion, let us say.


Suzy, I married at 21 and had some maturing left to do. But looking back, I remember having moments when something came up that seriously needed resolving, and thinking that I had to consider exactly what I wanted and how the relationship going forward would be affected, not just expressing my irritation of the moment. Throwing a Christmas tree would not have accomplished anything of value to me, because it would not have facilitated a serene, loving and happy holiday and a precedent for my husband prioritizing our family over his dingbat friends.
9.11.2009 6:18pm
Fub:
Suzy wrote at 9.11.2009 5:28pm:
Okay, so she's crazy. But I'm betting she's not the only one at fault in that house, that's all.
Years ago an experienced family law practitioner gave me some good mixed metaphor advice on human nature along those lines when I was handling a bf/gf crim case.

Prince Charming doesn't marry the Wicked Witch of the West, and Sleeping Beauty doesn't marry the Big Bad Wolf.
9.11.2009 6:27pm
jccamp (mail):
We can call it Laura's Corollary of Campbell's Law of the Inverse Ratio of Satiation and Sanity.
9.11.2009 6:30pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Fub--
I have a friend who is in familhy law. Her expression is "ducks don't flock with geese".
9.11.2009 6:41pm
pmorem (mail):
I exclusively date women who are interested in dating me. I think that's common. I once (briefly) had a roommate who used a different standard, which didn't work out very well.

In my case, it seems to limit it down to women considered "crazy".

I suspect that in general there is an element of "catching attention". "Crazy" is one of the aspects which gets noticed.
9.11.2009 7:59pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

I suspect that in general there is an element of "catching attention". "Crazy" is one of the aspects which gets noticed.


Probably.

My mother told me, when I was but a teenager, never to date a man I wouldn't marry; because, she said, you never know when the bug is going to bite. You date someone who is truly unsuitable, and one day you realize it has to be him and no one else, and there you are. I suppose this kind of thing might dampen a person's spontaneity and encourage what some might consider an overanalytical approach to attraction, but it has the advantage of a crossing all kinds of potential problems off a person's list.

...

I told my husband the story about the Christmas tree, and while I was thinking that throwing the tree was really kind of beyond the pale, he said, "He was going to LEAVE HER on their FIRST CHRISTMAS TOGETHER to GO GET DRUNK WITH HIS FRIEND?" Eyes wide, he said, "He's lucky she only grabbed the tree! She could have grabbed a butcher knife and no jury in the world ..."
9.11.2009 8:12pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Oh ... he also said that she could have said, "Go on, go be with your friend. And be sure to go to him the next time you want ..."
9.11.2009 8:13pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
FUB:

I think your friend's quote, or ones like it may be becoming a FL truism; I heard it as "Mother Teresa doesn't marry Attila the Hun".

I've observed, in 30 years of family law practice, lots of folks with what I'd call "arousal disorder" (and not exclusively in the sexual sense) married or coupled with others with a similar disorders. "Drama Queens" would be a specific subset of these folks. These folks fight (in some cases using serious force and/or weapons) then reconcile and have "make-up sex". Again and again and again. They request domestic violence restraining orders, have the other partner arrested prosecuted, and then constantly and continuously visit the alleged perp, who will often succumb to the temptation.

Show then a chain, they'll pull it. Show them a cage, they'll rattle it.

I once took testimony from a wife, allegedly abused by my client, her husband, who testified that
after she'd called the police, and demanded, unsuccessfully, that they arrest my guy for allegedly hitting her, and allegedly threatening to kill her and burn the house down with her, him, and the kids in it, and
after my client had, at the cops' direction, gone to the master bedroom at one end of the house, closed and locked the door, and the police had escorted her to another bedroom at the other end of the house,

that she'd gone back down to the master bedroom, pounded on the door continuously until H woke up and (foolishly) opened the door, whereupon she walked into the master bedroom, took off all her clothes and got into bed.

What's even scarier is that these folks are repeat offenders, and rarely learn much from mistakes.

I heard, long after my involvement in this bit of drama had ceased, that my client's suspicion that his wife was having one or more affairs proved to be correct; that she'd had a child with one of her paramours, who had subsequently gone up the river for showing up at her business and brandishing a sub-machine gun...
9.11.2009 8:26pm
kumquat:
re: the wife who threw the Christmas tree

Something tells me the friend's character also played a part in the wife's reaction. I mean, the guy breaks up with the mother of his newborn baby on Christmas Eve, and then asks his newly-married buddy to spend the holiday evening with him instead of with his wife, and the buddy thinks that's a reasonable request?

I agree with Laura(southernxyl)'s husband.
9.11.2009 9:46pm
Tom B (www):
I think the choice facing men is between loving crazy women and being gay.
9.11.2009 9:49pm
srp (mail):
If you ever watch reality TV, they seem to cast for a**h***s and crazies. Clearly they aren't that hard to find. The type that needs lots of attention is likely to be good at getting it in a number of ways, some of which are attractive and some of which are crazed.
9.11.2009 9:52pm
Fub:
Richard Gould-Saltman wrote at 9.11.2009 8:26pm:
They request domestic violence restraining orders, have the other partner arrested prosecuted, and then constantly and continuously visit the alleged perp, who will often succumb to the temptation.
...
What's even scarier is that these folks are repeat offenders, and rarely learn much from mistakes.
Either you're psychic, or you've been reading my old crim case file, or you (as well as Laura, Lucia and others here to be sure) have identified a pattern of behavior common enough that it ought to have a name. I wonder what it's called?
9.11.2009 11:11pm
Fub:
I mean, by shrinks. If "arousal disorder" is actually a psychiatrically recognized name for the syndrome, then I guess that's it. But I got the impression you were coining it as a layman's descriptive term.
9.11.2009 11:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
Tom: "I think the choice facing men is between loving crazy women and being gay"

They should think again. Gay men make 'crazy straight women' appear sane as Freud.
9.12.2009 12:01am
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Having participated in the dating game for many years before finding the girl of my dreams I think the answer is obvious. Most guys who date are more interested in getting laid than getting married and if a girl is crazy she is more likely to sleep with you than one who is not.

Ever notice that when you approach a beautiful looking woman from behind, and you see from the front that she's not quite perfect you suddenly feel a lot less tension?

The question is why do men marry the crazy ones, and the answer is what Laura's mother said, people have a marriage clock, like musical chairs, and they marry whoever they happen to be dating when their clock goes off. You see it with women when their friends start to get married, but it also happens with men. So be careful.
9.12.2009 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ducks don't flock with geese


I think people tend to pick partners who roughly match their own level of attractiveness, and also roughly match their own level of mental health. So when we look at a couple and notice only one crazy person, it probably means the other person wears their craziness in a less overt manner.

Clues about all this are usually dropped very early, so when a sane person picks a crazy person, it's because the sane person isn't really that sane, and they put their latent craziness in charge of the decision.

And their latent craziness isn't totally latent. It's visible if you get up close. Which is why the crazy person picked them; they spotted that kernel of craziness.
9.12.2009 9:03am
ShelbyC:

I mean, the guy breaks up with the mother of his newborn baby on Christmas Eve, and then asks his newly-married buddy to spend the holiday evening with him instead of with his wife, and the buddy thinks that's a reasonable request?


That's a perfectly normal aspect of the friction that comes with the transition from being single to being married. Every couple undergoes that friction and there are acceptable and unacceptable ways to deal with those incidents. Throwing a Christmas tree at your spouse falls into the latter category.

Ideally, the wife would have invited the guy over, since that's what you do when you have friends in need on Christmas.
9.12.2009 11:20am
Michael Zeleny (mail) (www):
All reasons given in the cited article ring hollow. One reason that applies to all men regardless of their heroic ambitions, maternal fixations, and promiscuous predilections, is implied by Sigmund Freud's observation of their universal tendency to debasement in the sphere of love. It stands to reason that crazy women are far more deserving of such debasement, and much more fun to debase, than their sane counterparts.
9.12.2009 6:57pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

And their latent craziness isn't totally latent. It's visible if you get up close. Which is why the crazy person picked them; they spotted that kernel of craziness.

I agree, with one qualification. If gays have gaydar, crazies definitely have cradar. But just like straights are much worse at picking up the gay frequencies, most sane people have a relatively limited ability to pick up on crazy. And that does lead a lot of them into short-lived relationships with crazies.

They tend to get the bad news around the end of the usual honeymoon period. Except instead of a little waning sexual desire, or noticing that their partner is a toothpaste squeezer instead of a roller, the sane one gets the first glimpse of a crazy person who's maxed out their ability to keep up an uninterrupted sane facade. When that happens, you see a kind of deer-in-the-headlights look you'd expect to find on someone who wandered into a leather bar looking for someone to chat with about the latest line of Chanel handbags. (OK, a bad example. They probably would find someone happy to have that discussion. But you get my meaning.)
9.12.2009 8:21pm
lucia (mail) (www):
ShelbyC:
Ideally, the wife would have invited the guy over, since that's what you do when you have friends in need on Christmas.

Sure. And ideally, if the husband of christmas-tree-throwing-wife had been entirely balanced, he would have suggested this instead of telling her he planned to go out drinking with his buddy on their first Christmas Eve as a married couple.

It appears we have an example of "Ducks don't flock with geese" We don't quite know what the husband said or offerred. We don't know what options the wife suggested before the husband stormed out. It appears either neither the husband nor the wife manage to think of decent options or all reasonable options were rejected by whomever.

Also, notice in the story at "The Frisky", the husband did not leave christmas-tree-throwing-wife. Their solution is to buy smaller trees.

My guess is the husband is the sort of guy a non-crazy woman would dump quickly. He stays with christmas tree throwing wife because he knows he can't keep a non-christmas tree throwing wife.

(I'm still wondering how large this woman is. I'm 5'4" and I really can't hurl a 6' christmas tree very far.)
9.12.2009 9:32pm
Anatid:
Crazy women and asshole men? Why are these necessarily different things? In Western culture, at least, women tend to internalize their emotions and men tend to externalize their emotions. This leaves women more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, and men more vulnerable to anger, violence, and substance abuse. But the instabilities or stresses driving the behavior could very well be the same.

There's also a huge intergenerational component. If you've been raised in an abusive household - or even a non-abusive one that had dysfunctional relationships - you form different schemas of attachment than if you've been raised in a loving, accepting, secure household. About 70% of kids will keep their attachment pattern from childhood to adulthood, and if the only kind of relationship you understand is abusive and dysfunctional, then that's what you'll seek out. A spouse returning time and time again to an abusive or psychotic partner isn't much different from a little kid who keeps coming back to pester the playground bully, hoping maybe this time it'll all somehow work out.
9.12.2009 10:01pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
I mean, the guy breaks up with the mother of his newborn baby on Christmas Eve, and then asks his newly-married buddy to spend the holiday evening with him instead of with his wife ...

A few points to note:

* To me, the original comment was ambiguously worded by "Green Aura" -- it might well have been the woman who initiated the breakup and took the buddy's son away from him.

* We don't know how upset Green Aura's husband's close buddy was. Her husband might well have thought there was a chance his buddy would have done something stupid if he'd been left alone. I once had the wife of a friend phone me at midnight, asking that I meet her and talk with her after she had a fight with her husband ... and yes, she threatened suicide. (And yes, she was a Crazy Lady.)

* The comment was by the crazy lady, who has since outgrown her behavior. And she doesn't try to pin any of the blame for craziness in the marriage on her husband. Note that Green Aura also wrote:

I'm a total crazy girl (reformed, holla!). I've calmed down considerably since my late teens/early twenties (I'm 26 now) but every once in awhile, I feel like doing something totally nutso when I'm pissed. And I can honestly say that I have no clue why my husband kept coming back for more during my ultra psycho days. I'm a really good person with strong values and a normally sweet demeanor, but I used to be destructive, vindictive and psychotic when angry. Is it a Scorpio thing?

And let me just clarify that it has been years (at least 4) since I've done anything crazy. I guess that I fall into the category of "self-healed".
9.12.2009 10:23pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
By the way, am I the only guy here who thought that, except for acting like a homicidal psycho-bitch, Jessica Walter was damned hot in "Play Misty for Me"?

8^)
9.12.2009 10:28pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
My guess is the husband is the sort of guy a non-crazy woman would dump quickly. He stays with christmas tree throwing wife because he knows he can't keep a non-christmas tree throwing wife.

My guess is that he fell in love with her good side -- "a really good person with strong values and a normally sweet demeanor" -- and couldn't back out of the deal after she'd later revealed her ocasionally psychotic aspect. Have you ever been in love?
9.12.2009 10:35pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

* To me, the original comment was ambiguously worded by "Green Aura" -- it might well have been the woman who initiated the breakup and took the buddy's son away from him.


I thought about that. To me, the clue is that the buddy would call his newly-married friend on Christmas Eve and expect him to leave his wife at home alone with the Christmas tree so he could come over and hold his hand. That is some rank selfishness right there. Had I been the wife, I don't know that I would have wanted to invite the friend over, to tell the truth. I might have told my husband that his friend has a problem and he needs to solve it, and our shielding him from the consequences of screwing up his relationship and being alone on Christmas isn't solving his problem.


If you've been raised in an abusive household - or even a non-abusive one that had dysfunctional relationships - you form different schemas of attachment than if you've been raised in a loving, accepting, secure household. About 70% of kids will keep their attachment pattern from childhood to adulthood


Another bit of advice my mother gave me was to look for a man whose parents were still married to each other. Observe how his father treats his mother, because that is how he will treat you, she said; and make sure that he speaks of and to his mother with respect (without being a mama's boy) because then he will respect you and teach your children to respect you. I did as she said and it worked out exactly as she said it would. I realize that it won't in all circumstances, and I'd never want to doom a man whose parents didn't stay married to a lifetime of loneliness.
9.12.2009 10:40pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Mike G in Corvallis
Have you ever been in love?

Yes. But not with a crazy person.
9.12.2009 10:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
leo:

most sane people have a relatively limited ability to pick up on crazy. And that does lead a lot of them into short-lived relationships with crazies.


I think the key words are "short-lived." I was mostly talking about a long-term relationship. Sometimes we see a couple that's been together a long time, even though one person seems crazy. And we say, why is the non-crazy person still there? Answer: because they have their own hidden craziness.

They tend to get the bad news around the end of the usual honeymoon period.


I think the bad news is available right at the start, but we tend to ignore it. Actually, I think it's worse than that. I think we hear it and are attracted by it, one way or another. Later on we act surprised, but if we carefully recall the first date we can remember that we were given clues regarding what the future issues would be. If we were completely non-crazy we would have exited right there. But if we're just mostly non-crazy we might play the game for a while before we come to our senses.

Just what I've come to believe after studying the subject for a while.

I recommend the book Are You the One for Me, by Barbara De Angelis. It's pop psychology, but very high quality. She points out that one of the biggest mistakes we make at the beginning of a relationship is that "we ignore warning signs of potential problems." She gives a nice clear explanation of how this process works. I wasn't aware of my own bad habits until I read her description of them.

===================
mike g:

My guess is that he fell in love with her good side -- "a really good person with strong values and a normally sweet demeanor" -- and couldn't back out of the deal after she'd later revealed her ocasionally psychotic aspect.


I think that right from the start she probably revealed clues regarding "her ocasionally psychotic aspect." A healthy person will see those clues and run. An unhealthy person will see those clues and somehow get turned on by them, one way or another.
9.12.2009 11:36pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
I think that right from the start she probably revealed clues regarding "her ocasionally psychotic aspect." A healthy person will see those clues and run. An unhealthy person will see those clues and somehow get turned on by them, one way or another.

Perhaps. But many people are on their good behavior when socializing with someone new, and don't drop the facade until they're comfortable with the other person ... or until the other person is committed. I saw this happen to a friend in college who hooked up with a young woman whose anger management problems didn't really manifest (with him) until after they had started living together.
9.13.2009 3:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whose anger management problems didn't really manifest (with him) until after they had started living together


I think this is the conventional view: that certain things are completely hidden, and then later we are ambushed, due to no fault of our own.

I've become convinced (via my own experience, and the experience of people around me, and by studying the subject in various ways) that it usually doesn't work that way. Imagine watching a movie of their first date. Imagine paying very close attention to everything she said and did (including acts of omission). I think you would see clues regarding the issues that popped up later. For example, there might be clues in the way she talked about (or avoided talking about) family members or exes.

If I review a mental movie of my first date with someone, I might realize there was a moment when something didn't feel right, when I felt tense or uncomfortable in response to some aspect of the other person's behavior. A moment like that is probably a warning sign, but I might have avoided seeing it clearly, the first time around.

Often we say something like this, consciously or unconsciously: 'yes, I can see that X was an issue for her in the past, but I'm special, and we're special, so it won't be an issue for us.' Here's another common one: 'I can fix her.'

The book I mentioned explains this process in a clear and practical way. It helped me change some bad habits and then I started getting better results.
9.13.2009 10:37am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

I saw this happen to a friend in college who hooked up with a young woman whose anger management problems didn't really manifest (with him) until after they had started living together.


If this woman was able to hide her "anger management problems" long enough to hook your friend, then I'm guessing that she was able to manage her anger quite well when she wanted to, and actually was just extremely bad-tempered.

Some people act like jerks because they see no compelling reason not to. Others do it out of their own personal misery, which is tragic but you can't let them work out their issues by spreading their misery to you. I'm guessing that others do it out of some brain chemistry problem that causes them to "see red" so to speak and lose control when their fuse is lit; and maybe that fuse is easily lit, and very short, or maybe they have a long fuse that doesn't get lit easily, so when they have their infrequent tantrums people around them just put up with it. My guess is that the woman you mention fell into the first category.
9.13.2009 11:15am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
I've become convinced (via my own experience, and the experience of people around me, and by studying the subject in various ways) that it usually doesn't work that way. Imagine watching a movie of their first date. Imagine paying very close attention to everything she said and did (including acts of omission). I think you would see clues regarding the issues that popped up later. For example, there might be clues in the way she talked about (or avoided talking about) family members or exes.

I wouldn't class throwing tantrums and picking fights as 'subtle clues that might be missed if one weren't looking for them.'

If this woman was able to hide her "anger management problems" long enough to hook your friend, then I'm guessing that she was able to manage her anger quite well when she wanted to, and actually was just extremely bad-tempered.

Well, yeah.

And couldn't you use this same description for "Green Aura"? It's just that now she has decided to want to manage her temper.
9.13.2009 1:49pm
marion (mail):
Hoo yeah! I don't get it. My brother has never in his life been interested in decent women. For 20 years, he had an untreated schizo g.f., (he said she was lousy in bed too) and the next one is a just plain dumb woman who can't drive and has very few job skills. His best male friend is functionally illiterate. In other words he likes people who need his help - I think it's also an ego trip. Our family was pretty normal, it's not like he found a girl "just like Ma", it's a compulsion he has for the hopeless.
He needed extra money during the recession so let someone live at the house - a normal working person who'd pay regular monthly rent? Nope - another helpless, hopeless guy who lived in his truck. There's helping people and then there's the life pattern!
Agree with the other poster - what about these women who have weird relationships with death row inmates? Crazy, dramatic but ultimately a safe non-relationship because the guy will never get out of prison. Are there men who pursue women in prison in a similar way?
9.13.2009 9:52pm
Bill Drissel (mail):
In my experience, the whole question can be answered: (genuinely) crazy = bad judgement. Mix with any kind of attraction.

Regards,
Bill Drissel
9.14.2009 12:35am
einhverfr (mail) (www):

If this woman was able to hide her "anger management problems" long enough to hook your friend, then I'm guessing that she was able to manage her anger quite well when she wanted to, and actually was just extremely bad-tempered.


More likely it isn't an anger-management problem but a deep-seated psychological problem. Most likely she didn't want to be in the relationship there and wanted to break it off but didn't want to make the first step.

When I was in college, I had this girlfriend. After two years of dating, we moved in together. There were some problem signs, before then but nothing of the magnitude that would manifest while we were living together. Prior, the issues had been her pressuring me to give her alcoholic beverages I brewed that I was planning to give to friends as thank-you presents, and the like.

After we moved in together, things started to go down hill. Eventually she started to hit me, first with her fists (she as fairly small and not very strong and I don't think she could have injured me with her fists if she wanted to). Then it progressed to blunt objects. And eventually, I was taking knives away from her several times a week. She even swung my sword at me (it was way too heavy for her to swing effectively).

On top of all this, she became suicidally depressed, and so I felt like I was in a situation where if I stayed I was in modest physical danger (having studied Kempo, I didn't feel the threat was unmanageable), but if I left, I was concerned about her committing suicide. I decided to stick with her through the winter and see about breaking up with her the next summer for these reasons. By that point we had been living together for a year and a half.

Eventually it became clear that there were two major problems going on: 1) She didn't want to be with me, and 2) she was in a guilt cycle over the fact she would lose control try to hurt or kill me, and I wouldn't respond violently beyond calmly taking the weapon away from her. For a while I started hitting back (but not hard) and the problems became considerably less. Eventually summer came around and we broke up (and she started dating my boss at the time). Unfortunately, neither of us had enough money to move out so we were stuck in the same apartment for another year, but the worst of the problems were over.

I think that a lot of crazy women have these sorts of issues. Certainly I have been through relationships where I was trying to play hero and that never worked out.

However, looking at my marriage I see another major pattern though-- crazy women are often masters of manipulation, and in particular of playing on insecurities. My wife isn't this way anymore, but she used to be (we have been through some tough times and on the edge of divorce a few times though of course there is more than enough blame to go around). One important element of growing up is letting go of those insecurities. I you are insecure, people will manipulate you, and you will find yourself drawn into these sorts of manipulative relationships because these validate the insecurities. The way out is to let go.

Every crazy relationship entered or pursued resulted in forcing me to let go of insecurities or unbalanced ideals. Each one forced me to rethink and to reinvent some aspect of myself.

Just remember: In romance, people always find what they are looking for. They don't always consciously want the same thing they are looking for though.
9.15.2009 2:49pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
einhverfr, there's one more possibility, and your mentioning women being manipulative caused it to occur to me.

It could be that a woman might have a very reasonable complaint, but her husband ignores it and her unless she pulls his string somehow or pitches a fit. If the Christmas-tree-throwing woman had said, "But honey, it's our first Christmas together and I really don't want to be by myself any more than your buddy does. And unlike him, I haven't fallen out with my true love, so how come I have to be alone?" and he had said, "You're right, I don't know what I was thinking." then she wouldn't have had to throw the tree. She did say that the tree-throwing was sudden and in the midst of a "mild" argument, so don't know what happened there, of course. But from what I've seen, people sometimes act out dramatically or are manipulative when they can't get what they reasonably should by being straightforward and asking for it.

I'll counter your "In romance, people always find what they are looking for. They don't always consciously want the same thing they are looking for though.", which is probably true, with "You get what you feed."

(And once again, a person in his or her 20's may have to unlearn ways they had to learn to get along with their parents; if a girl has to be manipulative in order not to get run over by others in her household, she won't automatically stop being that way when she hits 21.)
9.15.2009 7:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Laura:

I disagree about crazy women being driven by legitimate complaints.

But I figured we could save the male bashing for the next installment which is why women love a55holes.

The thing though is that I have watched some men (including friends of mine) who never do enough re-evaluating of ideals and values and end up over and over helping out crazy women. A lot of it can be "well I'm a nice guy and that means self-sacrifice." But there comes a point where too much self-sacrifice feeds a problem.

In both cases (women loving a55holes and men loving "crazy" women), I think the real issue is deep down inside there is sufficient insecurity that needs to be validation or ideals which require being in love with such a person.
9.16.2009 1:20am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

I disagree about crazy women being driven by legitimate complaints.

But I figured we could save the male bashing for the next installment which is why women love a55holes.


Well, I'd rather not bash anybody. Was that what this thread was, woman-bashing, rather than a sincere investigation of human behavior? If so, then your first quoted sentence makes sense. Otherwise it looks like you think there is one archetype of "crazy woman" of which all "crazy women" are carbon copies; and that their behavior is just an inexplicable force of nature rather than a problem to be solved.
9.16.2009 10:50am

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