Profile of a Man Hater

October 28, 2010

Karen had vague memories of being molested by an uncle when she was 3 yrs-old. She was either too young to remember, or her mind simply blocked it out. This horrific memory would taint the way she would relate to men for the rest of her life. As with many survivors of sexual assault, she would go on to be victimized by other men, victimize other men in return and even victimize herself.

Later in her college years, Karen was raped by an acquaintance at a party. Once a woman has been assaulted/abused as a child, they become easy prey for other predators… Predators who pick up on the scent of emotionally-damaged people. Sadly, these were not her only experiences with assault. It’s not hard to imagine why Karen hated men.

Though she would deny it, Karen was a bona fide man-hater. She hated men so much, she could only have relationships with women years after her rape. For a while, gay men were the only men she could trust. When she finally worked up the nerve to date men again, she ended up using and abusing them. If she didn’t use them for sex, she used them for goods and services or as an emotional security blanket. 

But even in her most committed relationships, her disdain for men would reveal itself in the way she mistreated them. Once she had lured them in, she would begin the emotional abuse little by little.  If she felt too attached or dependent, she would find a way to withdraw both sexually and emotionally (relationship sabotage). She would even emasculate her partners with verbal jabs and emotional cheating. Her break ups were always nasty and would end with Karen badmouthing her ex. Whether she was conscious of it or not, this was her way of getting back at the men who had assaulted her.

Unfortunately, the men she was abusing were the rare ones who treated her with kindness… Men who foolishly thought they could help her get better. Though she adored such treatment, in the back of her mind, she felt like she didn’t deserve such kindness. Towards the end of each relationship, she would resent such help. It made her feel weak. Which is why she always ran back to emotionally unavailable/damaged men. Ironically, damaged men made her feel like she was the healthy one.

Though she loved the trappings of love (the cuddling, the hugs and the kisses), this was all part of an act to fool herself (and her partners) into believing that she was capable of love. But the reality was she was far too emotionally damaged to love. Because she had been violated by men she thought she could trust, intimacy became a trigger for pain.

The shallowness of her “love” could be demonstrated by the callous manner in which she would discard her lovers. Those men and women never knew what hit them. One minute Karen made them feel like the love of her life. The next, Karen would act as if she were repulsed by them. Whenever Karen realized she was actually in love, she would feel smothered and run away. These were the kind of mind games she would play over and over again… Games that gave her a sense of power and control. This is how survivors of assault react to intimacy.

Karen would run away from one lover and jump into the arms of another unsuspecting victim. She was, after all, human. And even the most damaged human being yearns to feel loved. Karen feared intimacy but was addicted to the high one can only get during a honeymoon period. But as soon as that honeymoon period was over, she would find herself getting “bored” again and her eyes would wander. Karen was a notorious flirt. This was how she kept intimacy at bay. This is how she hurt men.  Onto her lovers, she passed on her fear of intimacy. They would become as jaded as the one who hurt them. Karen went from being a victim to becoming the abuser.

It should come as no surprise that Karen was a staunch feminist. In feminism, she found a way to legitimize her hatred of men (aka the Patriarchy). Now she could fight her emotional demons on the political stage. Feminist theory would validate her hatred, by presenting a history of men systematically victimizing women. With feminists standing behind her, she felt empowered. But in many ways, it made her feel like more of a victim. As a feminist, she saw sexism and oppression everywhere. Even where it didn’t exist. The fact was feminism didn’t heal her wounds or make it easier to find true love. If anything it added fuel to the fire.

Her hatred of men, was part of  the reason why she avoided therapy (a male-dominated institution). She feared they would slap a label on her and make her feel more shame than she already did. And so Karen went on hating men (and herself). Ultimately, Karen would victimize herself by not seeking help.

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