I spent the past 2 days getting myself caught up in a storm of controversy surrounding various YouTubers. A big part of the controversy is surrounding young women (and in some cases children) being manipulated into inappropriate situations. Some were one-night flings, others were months and years-long relationships filled with emotional and sexual manipulation. Whether these men were aware of how damaging and hurtful their actions were or not is completely irrelevant. Bottom line, it was wrong, and I’m glad they are being called out for it and that the public is being made aware of how badly they were behaving behind closed doors.
While I have been very lucky to not have gotten myself involved in a relationship like that, I most certainly have come across men like this. I did my share of dating over the years before I met my husband and I could tell from even a first date if someone was a manipulator … and some were far more blatant than others. They prey on women like me, naive and far too trusting. However, one thing I have going for me that they didn’t expect – I fight back. While I will be the first to admit I am very naive and far too trusting, the *one* thing I refuse to happen to me is being controlled. If someone tells me what to do (outside of a legitimate work situation where I am actually being paid to be told what to do), I get very easily pissed off.
Take for example one guy I had a first date with – this was one of the more brazen ones too. I met him at a restaurant that I recommended (the staff knew me, it was a good, well-lit area of town). I think I got a bad vibe from him almost immediately but I decided to give him a chance to change my mind through dinner. It was a fairly typical first data – sharing stories and anecdotes about each other in order to get to know each other better. He was intelligent, had a good job, but just couldn’t find the right woman for him.
After dinner he offered to walk me back to my car, trying to act the gentleman. Once we got there I was prepared to just get in my car and go home. I had felt no connection and wasn’t planning on accepting a 2nd date from him. That’s when he decided to get brazen. He tried to get me to bed over the hood of my car and show him my rear-end. While shocking, it somehow didn’t surprise me based on the bad vibe he had given off earlier. Naturally I refused and he got very angry about it, but he had to try and keep himself contained … there were plenty of other couples walking around and as I stated earlier, this was a well-lit area. Thankfully I was able to get into my car and drive off, but not before he threatened that I would “live to regret this.” (He never followed through on this threat). I think he was fooled by my general naive and trusting nature, but once he crossed the line, my inner-bitch came out and he did *not* expect that.
The thing is, I think many women don’t have the same level of inner-bitch that I do, or they don’t listen to their inner-bitch because they have so many insecurities. They fear the repercussions that can come with releasing the “inner-bitch.” I have my grandmother to thank for many reasons – one for passing on some really kick-ass inner-bitch genes, and two for being such an fantastically inspiring lady. No matter how bad things have gotten in my life, I would think about how her life had been 1,000-times worse. She survived so much pain, heartache, and abuse I can’t even imagine how she ever managed to smile. Yet she did. I get a lot of my strength from her and remembering what she endured. I even chronicled the majority of her life story on Tumblr in the hopes of inspiring others.
Getting back to the issue at hand – I am sorely disappointed at the level of victim-shaming, and even in some cases slut-shaming, that some fans of these despicable men are perpetrating. These women came forward, bravely, and shared some very personal and painful stories, in order to help educate other young women, and caution them about manipulative abusers like these men are. These women realize, in retrospect, how much they were being used, and abused by these men. However at the time their own insecurities prevented them from getting out. It took some pretty loud wake-up-calls to get them to realize what was happening to them. Not all women can hear their “inner-bitch.”
I know some people find it difficult to understand how women can allow themselves to fall prey to such manipulations. The problem is that many of these men are very skilled at manipulation, luring women into feeling loved, only to then slowly erode their self-confidence, picking away at their insecurities day-by-day. Some abusers can be brazen, but many are subtle, plying their craft well, making most people around them believe they are really just “nice guys.”
It can be difficult to tap into that “inner-bitch,” or to even know that you need to. As I’ve said, I’ve been lucky. All I can say is read through some of these stories, and then also through the false apologies and analysis of why they are false. If you recognize any of this in yourself and your current relationship, take the time to re-evaluate and if you need to – get out. It may be difficult, it may be painful, but for your sake, get out. Start over.
I hope you find inspiration from these brave women who have come forward to also find your inner-bitch.
The stories of the accusers:
A couple of “apologies” from the accused:
Finally, an analysis of Luke Conard’s “apology” by an expert who works with convicted abusers (just to put it into perspective):