Have you ever found yourself drawn to men who are completely wrong for you over and over again?
You know, the type that is so pitifully self-destructive that you end up feeling maternal and savior-like, or the type that just thinks of himself and never you, or the type who never talks about his feelings but leaves you with the possibility that maybe one day he will?
Dr. Lillian Glass calls these men toxic, and almost fifteen years after writing her hit book Toxic People, Dr. Glass is back with a follow-up specifically about those men in your life that you can’t seem to get enough of — no matter how hard you try to steer clear.
We were lucky enough to speak with Dr. Glass to get a few pointers straight from the author of Toxic Men.
Chikabuzz: Thanks so much for speaking with us. Here at Chikabuzz many of us are busy dating all the wrong guys and your book certainly speaks to that!
Dr. Lillian Glass: Oh thank you! In this day and age, it’s staggering that close to 50% of women surveyed say they don’t care if they get married. You’re seeing a huge divorce rate — 100% of marriages end in divorce in some populations! Dating has changed, ideas about relationships have changed, people have changed. We have to find the people in our lives that won’t make us miserable.
That’s what’s great about Toxic Men, it’s more about women taking responsibility for their own choices and patterns than just blaming men for being terrible. That’s too easy.
Oh absolutely! Here’s a little experiment: list five men, it could be your father, a kid you knew in third grade, a boss, brother, ex, current boyfriend — just five men you’ve had strong negative feelings about. Next to their names, list three adjectives describing them. When you’re done, circle the adjectives that are similar, and I think you’ll find a lot of them are — those are your patterns. Those are the men that you are allergic to.
I like how you put that, because it’s not that the men are inherently toxic, but that they are toxic for you, specifically.
Right, exactly. The men with qualities like the ones on your list, they’re just not a good match for you, based on your reactions. Some women absolutely hate men who talk about themselves a lot, but I love it. On the other hand, I cannot stand a man who is mousy and quiet and won’t stand up for himself, but some women prefer that.
You talk a lot about how to trust your gut more, how to listen to your instincts, which I think is very valuable for anyone in the dating scene.
Oh absolutely. We need to rely more on our initial reactions. If love at first sight is a real thing, why can’t “gut reaction at first sight” be real too? We need to keep our eyes open for physical cues that make us uncomfortable. Instead of being polite or PC when we feel put off, we need to listen to that feeling and react based on it.
Trusting the gut comes up in your chapter about online dating too.
Yes, ten years ago it was unheard of to date online, now it’s the norm. It’s very important that you scan any potential date’s profile for as much between the lines information as possible. Look at the moniker he uses, the pictures he posts, the way he types about himself and about what he wants- if he has pictures of himself with other women on his profile, that’s something to think about if you’re the jealous type. His profile is the information he’s choosing to put out there, and we need to focus on that rather than just seeing what we want.
I’ve used the old “I think he’s just scared he’s falling in love with me” before. Yeesh. You’ve definitely got to pay attention to what a guy is actually communicating.
Rather than running what a guy says to you through a filter to hear what you want to hear, absolutely. Sometimes it seems we’re more focused on the kind of guy we want to be with than on what’s actually being said.
Amen. So once we know what kind of guys are toxic for us, what do we do then?
If you know the type of man you are allergic to, you are forewarned. And forewarned means forearmed. I detail lots of techniques in the book that you can use to deal with toxic men in your life – techniques like letting it go and taking the high ground, or fighting back, or giving him more kindness. You have choices in dealing with these guys.
I really want to help empower women, so we don’t have to feel like victims of the guys we’re dealing with every day.