09 October 2008

The Man-child

Title: Help! I'm living with a Man Boy
Author: Betty McLellan

"When I was young, I was such a romantic. I was convinced I was going to meet a wonderful man. We would both fall madly in love, get married, have three beautiful children and 'live happily ever after'. Now, after fourteen years of marriage, the reality is I'm on my own with four children. One of them is my husband."

And so the author has made her point. Here's what I've gotten my hands on this week. I have a few words for it: humorous, serious, and full of worst-case-scenarios. Call it dramatic and drastic if you like, but I can't deny that it was an entertaining yet important read. It got the most of my attention this week.
I'm glad I'm pulling through quite well.

The title may have made it obvious but there are many realistic scenarios pointed out in this book when it comes to living a life with the husband/boyfriend/fiancé. This book, if I may say, has no mercy on men, haha, and I love it. After hearing a lot about how women are always convinced to believe that they should take the blame for the problems in their relationships, this book settles the score. It takes it all in and throws it right back.

It touches upon the typical differences between the two sexes, however these differences leave little to no room to be used as excuses for bad attitude and bad behaviour in a relationship. It touches upon the men who express childish behaviour such as sulking, withdrawing, or violence when they don't get what they want. To them it is like losing their power. And I acknowledge that the hunger for authority and control is one thing that keeps them doing what they do. The comparison of a man to a child is surprisingly accurate (and if you watch Super Nanny, it's easy to see how those little defiant brats right there actually exist in bigger adult male bodies, except that then they are capable of causing even more damage).
Don't most men feel jealous when the baby arrives because he doesn't get that much attention the baby is getting? Children are like that too when little brother or little sister arrives. Then welcome the rebel. They start blaming anyone but themselves for their own decision(s) to kick and scream and sulk and cheat, and why? Because she did this, because she did that, because she didn't do this, she didn't do that. If she hadn't then I wouldn't be this way.

God help us.

I liked how the book also pointed out the weaknesses in women that allowed men to take advantage of them. To name a few, we women tend to be like mothers to our partners (which is not quite right because they are supposed to be the ones we chose as our partners - adult partner, not another child), we forgive too easily, always finding excuses to let men get away with their behaviour, blaming ourselves for their outbursts or betrayal, and allowing our husbands or boyfriends to tap into our self-esteem and destroying it by means of emotional or physical abuse - however mild.

We often believe when we are told that we are too emotional, we talk too much, we complain too much, and we are not logical. When trying to have meaningful conversations, some women get pushed away especially if the conversation touches upon sad/angry/disappointing matters that we all know helps a whole lot when shared with someone else. Some men would rather talk about this or that in a 'logical' or 'rational' way, in absence of emotion. But it's nearly nonhuman to talk about something sad without being sad, or to talk about something that makes you angry without being angry. Emotions are emotions. Unless we are all machines.

But it was made very clear what men mean by being 'logical'. And instead of it meaning "legitimate and reasonable", it bears the meaning of "lack of emotions" instead.

From the desire to be right all the time, to breaking vows, this book has got it all covered. Time and time again it encourages women to stop being too quick to blame themselves for a problem that arises because of her man's immaturity and insecurity.

In many ways this book encourages communication. In many of its suggested ways to deal with a certain issue, "Tell your partner how you feel" is the first thing on the list, always. That is a good way to start. And when bad comes to worse "Leave him" is often the last and final option when all else fails.

I also enjoyed the little comics or illustrations in this book that emphasizes certain points. There was one that cheered me up a little (the first time in a long time).

"Where's my dinner?" (Jacky Fleming)

The bottom line is, women make sense, if not more sense than men. We are sane, and most of us are intelligent, articulate, and intuitive, not to mention smart. We are strong(er) and we tolerate pain like no other. And even though we complain and cry and nag and go crazy, we make it very clear how we feel. Even though we get most of the degrading, we still give in like the sister having to accept the fact that her brother just tore off her doll's head laughing away at such 'fun'. And even though we worry too much, we feel too much or we do too much, we do so sincerely. Still most women have to face such common frustrating situations with the person they really, honestly, truly want to spend the rest of their lives with. We don't feel nor think that it is logical to sulk, whine, withdraw, demand attention, demand power, or label our partners all sorts of names. I'm not going to step down so easily when another you-women-are-the-problem excuse is pulled over me.

We were always convinced that we expect a fairytale ending to our lives, and because of that we have to face such tough reality. I can't deny that there are women out there who set their expectations a little too high, so of course, there are women who are out of their minds and damaging too. But for me, that typical 'happily ever after' stuff never crossed my mind. It had been assumed so, but I've always expected otherwise. Let's just say that half the things written in this book had crossed my mind at some point or the other.

Well... I'll live and I'll learn.


  1. It's an interesting book, no doubt. But I do hope it won't make you categorise all men as the same.

  2. Unfortunately that would be the least that I could do. Considering how all women are categorized as the same by non other than men.
    Yes. It is a very interesting book.