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A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes

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posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 11:29 AM
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TL;DR at bottom.

First, congratulations on removing yourself from your toxic relationships. Now comes the hard part for you, figuring out how to stay away from that again.

I'm going to share my personal experience with toxic relationships. You can take it into consideration, or leave it if none of it applies. For me, it wasn't until I was ready to be brutally honest with myself that my relationships started to change for the better. I realize that your situation is different than mine, but perhaps there is something you can take away from it that might help you improve on your future choices.

First, I'm a 32 yo female, married for the past 8 years, to a 'sometimes' asshole.


A bit of background...because I've found that most of our troubles in the present stem from the past. I was raised VERY religiously in what was called a non denominational christian setting. Very strict, punishments flew fast and furious when the hint of disobedience was in the air. I was taught that obedience to god and authority was paramount to everything. I was also taught that sacrificing and surrendering oneself to whatever circumstance you were in was the ultimate goal, the be all end all of human existence and that this would be rewarded in the after life.

So, amply armed with this brainwashing as the background, I entered the world of dating and boys and men, shortly before high school ended. Boy was I ready for the the assholes that I would surely find! Oh sweet sacrifice. I thought that sacrifice and hurt co-existed with love. While on the surface I tried to convince myself that all of this self sacrifice was right, was healthy and what I needed to do to be loved, deep down I was simply feeding my need for validation and I had found the perfect role to satisfy this need. Enter the martyr! I was attracting men to me who were ready to solidify this need in me-- to give and self sacrifice, and inflicting emotional punishment when I failed. How perfectly I was suited to the role given my upbringing, and my experience that love and pain must be experienced at the same time. And while on the surface it hurt and I couldn't understand WHY? Why with all my love and self sacrificing was I constantly being punished and not simply loved? Where was my happy ending??

It wasn't until I realized that a happy ending wasn't what my subconscious was going for that, I could pull myself out of that place. Because if we're honest with ourselves, these things aren't just "happening" to us at random (for the most part). We are attracting exactly what we want. Even if it hurts to no end, the familiarity is comforting. Even drug addicts are addicts because they are rewarding themselves, even though it is ultimately their undoing, they are still getting SOMETHING out of it. Humans are lazy, we don't do things without a reward potential. Once I found my reward, and was honest about it to myself, I was free to pursue a new type of reward.

This is an ONGOING process for me. My 8 year marriage wouldn't have survived with my 'sometimes' asshole hubby (love ya) if I hadn't been totally honest with myself. And you know what, being honest with myself also brought him to accountability. When I stopped myself from playing the victim role and started demanding better for myself, he respected me more too and started giving me what I wanted and needed. I think deep down men are pretty simple (and no I don't mean simple as in unintelligent) but they do want to give us what we want. If your vibes scream self sacrificing, martyr, you will find a man who can slide right into providing that experience for you to be just that. If the vibes you put out are looking for a partner, with mutual respect and taking full responsibility for what it is you want out of each other, then I honestly believe you will attract that. (Using the term 'you' here as a generalization)

Even though I would lie to myself repeatedly about seeking out the 'nice men', I really wasn't. In fact I would sabotage those relationships so hard! Those men wouldn't have provided me with my need to feel like a martyr. So, I repeatedly passed on them.

So, coming to my current longest relationship I was provided with exactly what I subconsciously wanted at the beginning of my marriage, someone to satisfy my need to self sacrifice. Thankfully we both outgrew the toxic beginnings of our relationship together, and it was painful! Certainly some of THE most challenging times of my life. This is very rare, (for two people to change together) and in full disclosure we both grew up in the same religious upbringing so were able to have a deeper understanding of the root cause for this behavior. Had we not had that shared history, we probably would not still be together. I lovingly refer to him as a sometimes asshole because now that I'm out of the victim role, there are things that are endearing about his occasional petulant, obstinate and disagreeable nature, but I'm no longer a victim to it and I daresay we make a pretty good team these days. And no, I didn't threaten to leave if he didn't change etc., I first worked on changing myself, and he chose to adapt his behavior in the process. There are abusive situations where compromise would be futile and one should just walk away, however, in this case, his sometimes disagreeable nature compliments my mostly agreeable nature and we both have learned things from each other. And so far, I've learned from him just as much as he's learned from me.

I truly wish you the best in your journey forward!

Also, have a video by JP Sears about narcissism.

TL;DR Honesty with yourself is the best policy!


youtu.be...

edit on 9-3-2018 by seeker11 because: (no reason given)

edit on 9-3-2018 by seeker11 because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 11:11 PM
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a reply to: KarmasBiatch

you are free to do what you want, no man is holding you in chains. this is just more man hating propaganda.



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 06:19 AM
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a reply to: KarmasBiatch

read eckhart tolle - a new earth , that should help you focus



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 08:39 AM
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a reply to: KarmasBiatch

Just my observation; many women are attracted to the bad boy type because they are exciting to be with.
Nice guys are, well, boring. Interestingly it's the boring guy who stays loyal in the long haul. The bad boys eventually get tired of their women, and want to move on to keep their life exciting and fresh.
Ladies being with a bad boy is a huge risk......then after they burn you......you say I hate all men.
And it doesn't matter how good looking or attractive you are either look what happened to Katy Perry with Russel Brand.

It's the same risk any man takes when he dates a much younger woman....eventually they can't keep up and she get bored and moves on.

My final advise is give the nice "boring" guys a chance and avoid the bad boys, and if you can't sniff the bad boys out at the start, ask your family and friends. Some guys start out nice but there hiding a horrible personality. Somebody once told me an interesting test is to spill food on purpose on them like spaghetti and see how they react. Usually people have a hard time concealing their true nature if you spill something that ruins or stains there cloths especially in public. It's sort of an evil test, but if you have been burned before you need to protect yourself.
edit on 10-3-2018 by Blue_Jay33 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: Unity_99

I said it to make a point. I'm not publishing this, should but not going to. I admit I was upset at how demeaning that last bastard replied, I never started this because of a paper but I was thinking about it when I posted.Sitting in a bar with friends getting # faced was how this thread began, get over it. The events were real and painful but I'm over it, and so should all you guys who attacked me over feelings. I'm human like you ya know but some of you characters went beyond what most men would, proving my point.

Most crapholes don't care about feelings and attack at will cuz you are really good at demeaning others. I know amazing Men I talk to frequently about this and they even thought the idiots on this thread were over reacting because of their male need to control # all the time,only the ones who have control issues. I'm not saying any more on this because I have better things to do with my time than to worry about what a bunch of losers have to say about # they know nothin about. ThankU to the Ones that got it.
edit on 10-3-2018 by KarmasBiatch because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: KarmasBiatch

In fighting our own demons, we have to be wary of becoming the same as what we hate.

It happens far more often and far more quickly than we realize.

Good luck out there...



posted on Mar, 11 2018 @ 05:24 AM
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originally posted by: KarmasBiatch
a reply to: FHomerK


ALL MEN SUCK!!!!


Don't be so HARD on yourself.




Please let yourself relax and dont feel the need to be worked up. Youll find your way.

Besides, take comfort in knowing this: im sending most of them to the blank, endless void known as Hell, anyway.


Your name here on ATS...how fitting it is!



posted on Mar, 11 2018 @ 11:10 AM
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I'm confused the article/book seems to be about assholes in general, both men, women and anything in between. Why is this thread so focused on men as assholes?

Anyone can be an asshole, there have been plenty assholes of all creeds in my life. As someone bi, relationship wise I can confirm to that being true dating either gender. So anyone saying men are assholes like women aren't, and anyone saying the opposite are idiots because the # stinks in both courts.

I'm just confused how an article about avoiding assholes in general turns into a gender war...



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