Summary: Women, what kind of men are you attracting?
Women, what kind of men are you attracting?
By Rev. Pamela R. Staver
I was a youth minister and a volunteer assistant chaplain to the Indiana Girls’ School a few years ago. I ministered to many hurting girls and young ladies – many girls who were in all stages of trouble; girls who were runaways; girls who were delinquent in school; girls who were pregnant and unmarried, girls who had committed crimes. Believe it or not, many of the problems that these girls had stemmed from relationships; particularly with the males in their lives. Unfortunately, many of these girls had been exploited, misused and abused by men – either boyfriends or family members, even fathers and authority figures. It’s a hard fact to face and many don’t want to admit it, but a lot of the problems that we women deal with in our lives stem from our nurturing nature and our desire to please and receive validation from men. Sometimes in the cases of abuse or neglect by a family member or a parent, it’s not our fault. But, even in those situations, we tend to grow up still sort of gravitating to those types of people, those types of men. Because we either feel like we don’t deserve better or we just plain don’t know any better.
“Looking for love….in all the wrong places”
My particular burden or passion for helping and mentoring young women comes from the fact that in my younger years, I was a teenage girl who went down wrong paths, got myself into trouble – led by my desire for a man in my life.
My freshman year in high school I started dating a boy who I thought I was “in love” with. He was a Junior, 6’3”, 250 pounds mountain of pure muscle; a football player (of course), and popular. He was well respected in school ( well…he was HUGE so everybody was afraid of him). He had his own car. And he liked ME! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I just knew I was in love with him. I felt safe and protected and loved. He was the first “man” who had ever treated me like a woman…treated me like an adult, desirable woman. And I ate it up. He could do no wrong as far as I was concerned. That was for the first 3 months. Then, things started turning ugly. He didn’t want me to spend time with my friends; he wanted to be with me during my every waking moment. And if he ever thought or heard I was talking to another guy…there was hell to pay. I was afraid to break up with him because I discovered he had a VERY bad temper and I worried about what he would do to me. But, after a year, I finally got tired of his smothering insecurity and his overbearing-ness and I tried to break up with him. The result, he dislocated my nose, attempted to kidnap me and even at one point pulled a gun out on me. He terrorized my family and our home and stalked me everywhere I went. The only way I was eventually able to get away from him was that a good friend of our family got one of his friends, who was a state trooper, to follow him on the highway on one of his many trips home from college. This state trooper basically told my ex-boyfriend to stay away from me or he’d deal with him...personally. You’d have thought I would’ve learned my lesson from that.
Unfortunately, I didn’t. I ended up right back in another needy, emotionally immature relationship and as a result…. I graduated from high school at the age of 18, and was 3 months pregnant. I fell in “love” again and mistakenly thought that if we loved each other everything would turn out o.k. (I mean, afterall, isn’t that how it is in the movies?) Problem was, I didn’t really know who I was (who does at 18?) But, because my mother and father were divorced and my father wasn’t around most of the time, I craved and needed male attention and affirmation. To make a long story short, we did get married – 1 year and another child later. By the time I was at the ripe old age of 27 I had 4 kids, had been married for almost 10 years to a man with a drug addiction; I had no money, no car, was living at home with my mother, and my life was a complete and total mess. Why? All because I felt that I wasn’t complete without the validation of a man – a man who could’ve been the right man but didn’t know how to be. And because we married so young and both came from broken homes we didn’t know how to be what we should’ve been for each other. I in particular, didn’t know what or who I was called to be as a woman and how I should’ve expected to be treated – by the right man.