By Carole Lieberman, M.D.
Yes, it’s very tempting to settle for anyone in your bed during the holidays, just so you don’t end the year alone. But, just like a lump of coal can disguise itself as an intriguing gift when it’s hiding inside your stocking, a bad boy or bad girl can disguise themselves as an intriguing new love when they are hiding behind a façade. Indeed, these manipulative lovers know that holiday time is a great time to go on the prowl because we are especially vulnerable. We all want a hot kiss from someone who’s madly in love with us as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. So, unconsciously we hear our inner clock ticking as soon as the Halloween candy is gone, telling us it’s time to find that special someone.
As you know, it’s hardest to find love when you are desperately looking for it, so you might become easy prey for bad boys who are prowling for sex and other favors, and bad girls who are looking to trap ‘sitting ducks’. Here are some tips on how to recognize these heartbreakers.
In my book, Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them, I define 12 types of bad boys, such as the Fixer-Upper Lover, Compulsive Flirt, Commitment-Phobe, Self-Absorbed Seducer, Wounded Poet and Prince of Darkness. A bad boy is “both a lost little boy and a man with a dark side…. Because he’s aloof and elusive, you get caught up in the challenge and excitement of the chase – though he’s not always someone you’d really want even if you did capture him…. He’s a frog you hope to turn into a fairy-tale prince with the magic of your kiss.”
Similarly, in Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, I define 12 types of bad girls – the ‘dozen dangerous damsels’. These include the Gold-Digger, Sex Siren, Husband Hunter and Trapper, Husband Stealer, Ball-Buster and Ultimate Damsel in Distress. “Just as little girls are forewarned that they’ll need to kiss a lot of frogs before they find their prince, society forewarns little boys that they’ll need to slay a lot of dragons before they’ll win the heart of their true princess.”
It’s our childhood roots that predominantly determine why we are attracted to bad boys or bad girls – and direct us towards certain types. When a little girl has a dysfunctional relationship with her father that makes her feel unlovable, she grows up being attracted to bad boys because she doesn’t think she deserves someone who will treat her like a princess, and she’s afraid of the emotional intimacy that a good boy offers. So, for example, a little girl whose father was unavailable to her because of divorce or death will unconsciously be attracted to the Fixer-Upper type of bad boy because he seems least likely to abandon her like her daddy did. The problem is that, just like the other types of bad boys, once she’s fixed him up, this frazzled frog hops away.
When these women are subsequently hurt by the bad boys they date, who confirm their fears of being unlovable, some go on to become bad girls who give up on ever being loved and settle for exploiting men instead for money, security, status and so on, as well the satisfaction of punishing them for the pain previous men have caused.
In turn, bad boys are created by dysfunctional relationships with their mothers, such as those who were too critical, demanding, seductive, or not nurturing enough. They cause their little boys to grow up with a lot of fear and resentment towards women, which is expressed by their bad boy behavior.
Men who become ‘sitting ducks’ for bad girls have had life experiences – beginning in childhood – that have made them feel inadequate or emasculated. It’s no wonder they are vulnerable to women who know how to twist them around their well-manicured finger and make them feel like the biggest stud on the planet.
Now, unless you plan to spend the holidays on a shrink’s couch, it is unlikely that you can change the love map that your parents instilled in you in time for New Year’s Eve. However, you can make a resolution for 2012 to gain better insight into yourself and your patterns of picking mates, which will ensure that this new year will be filled with more romance and love.
Remember, like a lump of coal, the heartbreak that a bad boy or bad girl leaves, can last forever. So, open your heart again, but do it with better insight into yourself, and a greater awareness of how dysfunctional childhoods – and the media’s glamorization of celebrity bad boys and girls – affect our quest for true love.
If you ladies would like to take the Bad Girl Test to see whether you’re a good girl, man-eater or somewhere in between, or you men would like to take the Sitting Duck Test to see how vulnerable you are to a bad girl, just opt in on my website – www.badgirlsbook.com – and I will be happy to send them to you. Here’s to a love savvy New Year!
Carole Lieberman, M.D. is a Beverly Hills psychiatrist, relationship expert and bestselling author. A three-time Emmy award-winner, you will recognize her from regular appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and countless other shows. Dr. Carole is the author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them &
When to Leave Them, and her latest award-winning book, Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. She is also the host of “Dr. Carole’s Couch” on voiceamerica.com. Check out www.drcarole.com and www.badgirlsbook.com