Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 7-8-2022
I’m not a man hater. I have never uttered the words: “Men Aint shit” out in any type of public setting before. I try very hard not to come across this way. Because, truth is, there are incredible men that I have met who have helped me in many ways. My father, my uncles, some of my coworkers and friends. Men who have given me advice, served as role models, served as protectors and more. Then, of course, there are the men that have hurt me more than anything else. All women have stories of men that have made inappropriate advances in inappropriate settings, also men they have dated that have abused them in various ways or said hurtful things at the very least. I’ve come to realize I have a hefty list that I would like to share. Not just as an outlet for myself, but also to serve as education for let’s say; red flagged talk and/ or behaviors. Some mistakes, are of course, acceptable. Then, some mistakes are indicators of deeper issues. Talk and behavior can teach us a lot about people. It can indicate when there are issues such as control, manipulation, possessiveness, coercion, abuse and more. I also hope that the men that are reading this can use it as an example, because as we know, men can get abused by women as well… or other men!
Example A I had an ex that consistently pressured me to lose weight. It started out as comments about how “I eat too much”, to commenting about my food choices in front of family members and friends. When I eventually caved and lost weight to try to save the relationship, I engaged in eating disordered behaviors at an all time high. At one point, during one of my binges he told me “You have to choose, either food or me”. I tried harder to make it work and eventually got very thin. (I got down to 900-1K calories a day while working out 6 days a week) After I successfully got to a weight he was satisfied with, he told me: “Are you willing to get implants? Because you look incredible now, but you lost your boobs and butt”. In conjunction with this issue, this same man refused to do a single chore. Despite me working the same number of hours as him, he justified that as a woman ‘I’m supposed to clean and cook’. Sadly, this relationship went on for a long time. But if it’s any consolation, I dumped him. My lesson from this: Life is too short to be with someone that is NOT attracted to you, and that is not willing to collaborate and grow with you.
Example B When I was in the military our Dorm halls were Coed. One of the men who lived a couple doors down from me liked saying Hi and striking up conversation. I was pleasant but kept my distance. One day when I was changing in my room (Blinds and curtain covering my window completely) and was completely naked I heard him start banging on my door very loud and calling my name over and over again. When I finally opened the door he said “I just want to let you know, I happened to walk by and see you naked through the crack of your window, so…. Just make sure you are careful because there are a lot of creeps, you know?” I shut the door in his face without saying a word. I later tested the window myself and walked by it. He would have had to creep up to my window and looked through a small one-inch sliver to see my naked reflection through my mirror… I also blocked him from FB.
Example C I had a supervisor one time that liked to play practical jokes and tease people on the regular. One day he kept throwing a rubber ball at my head. I told him to stop and that “I hate him”. He then said, “well you can get revenge on me if you want! You can do anything you want to do to me, and no one has to know…” He stopped talking and so did I. He then said, “So…what do you want to do to me?” I immediately told him to shut up. Eventually, that same guy was kicked out of the job for making sexual advances on multiple female coworkers of mine. Through email and in person.
Example D When I had my first job interview after college graduation, it looked promising. This guy did me a solid and patched me through to the director that would hire me at a mental health clinic. He started calling me more and more, even after I got the offer and didn’t need as much help. He then started to flirt and let me know he thought I was cute. I then told him “I have a boyfriend”. He acted very irritable because I hadn’t told him that before. (I NEVER flirted with him, strictly remained professional through the entire hiring process) He also proceeded to tell me “You know I chose to give you this job over one of my best guy friends? I sent that guy to another job out of state so you can get this position.” I was blunt and asked him if that’s why he decided to hire me, to make an advance? He shut it down and tried to play innocent after.
Example E One of my exes (Quite literally the worst person I ever dated) often told me things like: “You’re lazy”, “You’re a nerdy chubby girl, people won’t like you, or take you seriously”, “Your job is easy” and essentially broke me down through mental abuse and manipulation. He was also a pathological liar and eventually admitted it to me. He lied about serving in the military, until I finally pressured him to come clean. Then he blamed me for that lie because ‘I probably wouldn’t date someone unless they served in the military like me’. He lied about how much money he had, and how much he made. He got fired or quit frequently, I paid many bills. He lied and told our friends he was ‘paying all the bills’. He pushed me to the ground on two occasions and then blamed me after and said, ‘he just grabbed me, and I fell over.’ He threw things at me. I helped stepparent for his child & fund diapers and formula, he was consistently ungrateful about it and criticized me as a parent when I was trying harder than him for a child that isn’t mine. I confronted him about a friend of ours who I suspected he was cheating with. He said nothing was happening, called me crazy etc etc. Low and behold, right after the breakup they were dating. My Lesson from This: I put up with WAYYYYY Too much BS and I will sooner send someone to hell & be alone for eternity before I accept this type of treatment again.
Example F When I was participating in online dating (For the first and last time!) I came across another one of those guys that happened to be turned on by the fact that I’m a professional. (He saw therapist and writer in my bio) He consistently tried to talk me into talking ‘intellectual’ with him. The more he tried to push it, the less I wanted to. Plus, I hate talking about work during fun nonbusiness hours. After a while of me trying to keep the conversation more casual and lighthearted/ fun he then proceeded to get angry and told me I was talking in circles and leading him on. When I wanted clarification, he proceeded to say: “I cannot believe you actually published a book! You sound no smarter than a drunk college frat person!” And various other angry rants. I made sure to let him know he sounded like a control freak. My Lesson from This: If I’m not for you, get lost! Which I made sure he did.
Example G I one time had this angry Male coworker that constantly berated me even when I was just one week into the job. He expected me to learn everything so fast because training me seemed to be too much of a hassle for him. He was verbally abusive all around, even verbally abused the clients. One argument involved him getting angry when I said to other coworkers that “I will not have kids”. He flipped out just because of this personal decision, and proceeded to debunk all my reasons for why I don’t want kids. He even went as far as to say ‘Women don’t sacrifice any more than men do in parenting’ despite me bringing up pregnancy and permanent body changes.