This is second part of a four-part article exploring the traps and the power of Bad Boys for both men and women.
What’s in a Bad Boy – the upside of being bad
A Bad Boy’s outward struggle with men and women mimics his inward struggle. His emotional ADHD makes it difficult to settle down with others, a deeper purpose and himself. He lacks trust of himself, others and life. It as if he always has to be one step ahead of what might be coming after him even if it’s only his own emotions. No matter how successful I’ve seen these men be, certainly once you got to know them, you can sense their loneliness.
As men, our path in life is to reconnect to ourselves and the world around us. Bad Boys’ projected self-reliant mastery hides their human need for connection. A life of being alone is a hard life. It sucks the life out of you. The stress of it will make you old before your time.
The denial of the primordial need for human intimacy, for a deep connection to a partner, can only be repressed so long before you either give it up or something starts breaking. For men the breakdown will often manifest in their bodies. The healing becomes sustainable when as men we surrender to our feelings and needs.
The upside of being Bad
With all this talk of the downsides of being a Bad Boy, why would anyone want to be one? Beyond appearance of being free, men envying you, and women chasing you, there are a few overlooked benefits. Exploring these qualities is the portal to extracting the good from the bad.
Independence – being out there
The appearance of confidence from being your own man is a huge benefit. Women adore the untamed masculinity, independence and confidence of a Bad Boy. To women, these qualities are an aphrodisiac; to men they represent the essence of masculine strength.
Not being dependent on a woman when not denying personal needs is a quality few men possess. As men we are told not to need a woman, and as much as we try to be tough, we often cave to their needs WITHOUT asserting our needs and what is behind them. Taking a vulnerable stance of independence as you assert your feeling and desires is something we have no role model for – the Bad Boy is not vulnerable.
Tough men as well as normal guys will often back down from their more vulnerable emotions in front of a woman. The power of her emotions shuts us down. Yet what women are craving is the courage to stand strong, while open, in the wave of their emotions. If their wave knocks you down, you get back up.
Along with emotions are needs. Bad Boys model in their over self-reliance the essence of not being needy. A needy man is a turn-off for women. Strong, healthy men need their partners; unhealthy men are needy with their partners.. They want to hear and feel we need them, but they don’t want to be our surrogate mothers.
I know with myself, and hundreds of men I’ve worked with, that we all have a hidden place of unmet femine love and support. For whatever reason, often benign reasons, our mothers weren’t there for us when we needed them… so we go out looking for women to fill that void. Any healthy woman will run from that offer. (But like us, many women are unlearning what was taught them, so they may give you a shot.)
I know you’re thinking I just gave you a double bind: either you are an arrogant Bad Boy in emotional denial or you are a needy, clinging wimp wanting a woman to take care of you. As with any double bind, the solution is not within the double bind. Don’t buy the cultural door A or door B choice.
Door C is being independent while being vulnerable – the best of the other two choices. You get there by allowing yourself to first accept what you are feeling. The more you accept your experience, the less you will need a woman to fill that void This is more than accepting yourself. As you start to have difficult feelings, such as loneliness, let those feeling run their course. At first they may be overwhelming as you drain a swamp of old emotions and needs. Eventually they will be felt as the passing pain of the moment.
As simple as this act of awareness is, it’s powerful; it’s just difficult for us men to do on our own. In my years of being in the micro-communities of men’s groups, I’ve seen the neediest men get their balls. With the support, challenge and guidance of their brothers, men who would emotionally cower before learn to stand up to both men and women.
Emotional power – don’t run from your emotions, dive in
As independent as a Bad Boy is, he can’t handle others’ emotions either. His methods of dealing with the power of another emotional expression are to run… or shut it down. With a man, the Bad Boy can shame another man to can get him to perform per the man code, which tells us not to be emotional. For a woman he can overpower her just with his charm, emotional dominance and, in rare cases, physically.
When a man can step into the Bad Boy’s appreciation for thrill, he can see another’s emotions as riding a wave that he doesn’t control. Giving up control for the mystery of the unknown and uncontrollable can be scary. It can also be exhilarating. This might also mean that your partner is not your sole confidant. She has her friends for much of her emotional support—and you need your male friends for some of that. In other words, don’t run to her for all your revelations, support and comfort. You will burn her out. She’s not your mother. You will decrease the male/female polarity, which is critical for a successful relationship.
Your partner isn’t your therapist either. Don’t tell her every little detail of your life. Leave room for mystery, the kind of mystery women love about a Bad Boy.
Masculine Emotional Intelligence™ (MEI) shows us that emotional power for a man in part is the courage to experience others’ emotions. You don’t run, shut down or wimp out; stay present, standing in the middle of what’s occurring. If the emotional attack is strong and about you, know that it’s more than about you. The person is upset about something that upset them in the past. This doesn’t mean you just stand there and take it; it just means you don’t need to react. Feel their emotions as the water of a strong stream; you are standing in that stream with is the water running past you. Enjoy the realness.
To match your newfound emotional power, you want what every man dreams of: a “Bad Girl.” Being emotionally strong and intelligent, you are safe for a woman. Indirectly you are inviting her uncontrollable side out. You are inviting the unexpected… are you ready for it?
As you take your emotional risk, proving the space is safe, she will take emotional risks, too.. And there’s another upside: emotional expression and risk- taking often precede sexual expression and risk- taking.
You may need to risk speaking unspoken truths for the relationship to grow. Speak to the elephant(s) in the room. Talking about what both of you know, but won’t speak about, says that the relationship’s success is more important than the apparent safety of not speaking. Break the collusion to avoid the difficult areas. Speak from the love you have for her and what you are creating.
Boundaries – take a stand
A Bad Boy is not attached to being liked. If he pisses you off, he doesn’t care. And there is a good chance you may be jealous of his freedom of being fully expressed. Unlike a Bad Boy who just walks away if it’s tough, you have ongoing relationships with people. These relationships do make it harder to take difficult stands. Your stance is not just about asserting yourself but also about deepening the relationship and creating boundaries for it and yourself.
Your emotional power can be an aid in filling your space with yourself. As men we often start our relationships with others—and most particularly with women—feeling emotional deficient. In this emotional void we are lacking any emotional awareness or expression. We don’t have an emotional backbone. When we connect to our emotions and needs, then express them, the weak void is filled. What was once hollow is now strong. In that newfound strength, we have the power to say no.
A Bad Boy takes pleasure in his no’s in part because he knows with women they will want him more. For a mature man his no’s aren’t a game. They are you setting boundaries to your emotional space and what you will do. Women may push you, but you now know what you want and can express it.
If she projects inappropriately onto you, you can stop it. At the same time, you can hold the boundary for the relationship. You can defend your mutual space, even from an emotional over-expression. Any unconscious testing of you shows her that you have your back, her back and the back of the relationship – something no Bad Boy would do.
Passion – for more than her
One thing a Bad Boy has is passion. The fact that it’s often not controlled makes it only more exciting. What a Bad Boy doesn’t have, and you can, is purpose. When purpose drives your life you are passionate about your life. It’s not passion for the next experience. It’s passion for making a difference, being yourself fully expressed. And it’s passion for how all this relates to others.
We like Bad Boys because they are expressive. We trust and are inspired by men with a purpose. The mercurial passion of a Bad Boy is fleeting. The deep passion of a man with a purpose makes things happen. This deeper passion doesn’t drain you; it sustains you to relate to others in a substantial manner.
A woman may want a fling with a Bad Boy. A mature woman wants a relationship with a man with purpose. Feeling the depth of your commitment to something bigger than yourself is a turn-on that no Bad Boy can provide. It much easier for anyone to believe this man will be there when times get tough where the Bad Boy will be the first to leave.
This man doesn’t whine. He has a life that he’s creating that is not dependent on another’s acceptance. Like a Bad Boy, he’s his own man, but his focus is not hedonistic pleasures, it’s his purpose.