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Why are we attracted to the bad boy image?

It’s October, which is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. Last week I ran a ‘Survivors to Thrivers’ summit where 19 speakers told their stories of trauma to triumph.

One of the ladies mentioned how she was always attracted to the bad boy image, so I wanted to find out people’s opinions on this? We all watch programmes such as ‘Peaky Blinders’ and we all loved a bit of ‘Tommy Shelby’.

So, what is it about them? Why do we fall for the bad boy/girl image? Is it that they have lots of confidence? Is it that they’re damn right sexy? Or more adventurous?

A recent study by Lovehoney has found that many of us do actually still fall for these devious characters in real life. The study revealed that almost half of women (49%) have a soft spot for the ‘bad boy’. Around a third (35%) of men also admit to falling for the equally alluring but problematic ‘bad girl’. 

Falling hopelessly in love with someone that is a bad boy can be a common mistake for women and men especially if previously you’ve been involved in coercive relationships. Choosing the wrong men over and over again was definitely a mistake I made.

There are a few reasons behind why……..

  1. Fear of being alone – Believing a relationship is needed to complete yourself is false. I was on a variety of dating sites in the search for my soul mate because of the fear of being alone. This in itself is a mine field, sifting through the ‘Wheat from the Chaff’ as they say. The ones that message you for a few days and then you hear nothing, clearly found another more appealing lady, or suddenly appear back on the scene after a couple of weeks. I joined Bumble because it was a dating site where the lady has to message the guy first, avoiding any contact from people whom you’re not interested in. Dating sites are like sweety shops and more and more people are getting played on them, so if you are on a dating site, often the good-looking or toxic ones will have plenty of women lined up that they are chatting to.

2. Low self-worth and lack of confidence – Doing the inner work and healing is essential after trauma from domestic abuse, this stops the people pleasing and the fixing of others and we can begin loving ourselves. This then stops us making these bad choices of partners and allows us to spot the kind of men to avoid. However, in relationships nothing interferes with the ability to have an authentic, reciprocal partnership like chronic low self-esteem. It can cause you to sabotage relationships or settle for a relationship in which you’re treated poorly, which ultimately matches your beliefs about yourself.

3. Living in the past – When we are able to forgive ourselves for what has happened in the past it can free us from staying in that same undesirable place of trauma. Staying in the past only makes us depressed. Taking each day as it comes and putting one step in front of another can help, even if it is just brushing our teeth one day. It can be a long road to recovery, for me it was a longer path because I didn’t have the tools needed to heal or even know that I was holding onto the trauma from domestic abuse.

4. Being a fixer – Often we try to fix our partners or think that they will change. “If only I had done it this way or let him, do it his way”. The truth of the matter is that we can’t fix others; we can only change ourselves and we will find that this pattern keeps repeating if the record isn’t changed. Often, women or men who accept abusive behaviour from men are unhealed empaths, possibly resulting from earlier childhood traumas, which was certainly my case.

5. Fear – After domestic abuse we can become shrinking violets, fear of where you’re abuser may pop up from, due to being stalked, fear of what other people think of you, fear of leaving the house, fear of socialising, fear of rejection. This can be debilitating for some because this is where you may settle for an unhealthy and toxic relationship. We look for that forever Disney tale that never happens and cling onto anyone that shows interest and feel the need to move things far too quickly. After any toxic relationship the only person we should be dating for a while is ourselves. Our biggest fear should be, spending the rest of our life with someone toxic.

6. Lack of emotional intelligence – Understanding the difference between red flags and green flags are important for anyone to distinguish if they are in an unhealthy relationship. Educating yourself on the topic of toxic and coercive relationships so that you can avoid them like the plague. Having an arsenal of tools to use to get you on the right track can help with confidence in making healthy choices of relationships, when you do the inner work and healing you often find the true friends will always be there and you leave other toxic relationships behind in all areas of your life.

7. No boundaries – Having no boundaries in all areas of your life can cause difficulties especially romantically. When people disregard boundaries, communication issues, bitterness, distrust, or even co-dependency might arise which will obviously lead to conflicts later on. In romantic relationships, it’s important to consider both personal boundaries and self-dignity to maintain healthy dynamics.

Being single and trudging your way through dating sites can be a nightmare; they remind me of throw away fashion, you are in disposable or discarded easily; they see a flaw or find someone better looking and move to the next unsuspecting victim. Navigating yourself through these sites can be tricky. When I was on dating sites and if men suddenly stopped contacting me that signals a red flag for me. Going no contact is the best thing to do here, if a man is into you, he will make time to contact you. Never settle for anyone that doesn’t give you the attention you deserve. Find a man that loves you and has time for you always. Communication is key in any relationship, and everyone has time to text or call you.

If we don’t heal what hurt us, we end up bleeding on people that didn’t cut us up.

Don’t settle for second best 💯

You are worth it, know this.

Love Amanda 💜 My journey to transformation from domestic and narcissistic abuse

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