In last week’s post, I discussed maternal instincts and how this very instinct can work to psychologically torture a woman in Family Court. This week, I want to take you back to basic relationship dynamics before a woman finds herself in the nightmare of Family Court. While many women are fortunate enough to never end up in Family Court, that doesn’t mean they have escaped the torturous experience of being with a deadbeat man. For every deadbeat man, there is a deadbeat enabler. Possibly one of the harshest realities I had to face in my journey of recovery was the fact that, for a time, I was a deadbeat enabler.
Let me begin by defining what I mean by a deadbeat. Deadbeats come in all races, ages, socio-economic statuses, and even genders. For this post, however, I am going to focus on deadbeat men (because, frankly, I am a woman and can only speak from the perspective of a woman who was a deadbeat man enabler). I recognize that there are tons of wonderful men out there who are amazing sons, husbands, ex-husbands, fathers, and friends. This week I am not talking about them – those men don’t fall into any of the below categories.
Deadbeat Dad: This is the type of deadbeat that society usually associates with the word deadbeat. You might see versions of this man on popular daytime talk shows denying that the child is theirs (even though the baby looks just like them), and calling the mother of their child all sorts of terrible names. Other forms of deadbeats are those who walk away from their children, abuse their children, or refuse to financially, physically, or emotionally support their children. If you know a man who is paying an attorney thousands of dollars in an attempt to evade providing financial support to their child, then you know a deadbeat. While sometimes it’s easier to spot a deadbeat once they have children, I assure you that this deadbeat Dad was a deadbeat even before he became a father.
The Financial Leech: This common type of deadbeat could be your son, husband, brother, boyfriend, or father. While it is reasonable that hard working people sometimes find themselves in unfortunate financial circumstances, this man would like you to believe that he is always down and out with his financial luck. He will talk about how hard it is to find a job, but spend his entire day playing video games, watching television, or sleeping. He is perfectly happy watching his mother, girlfriend, baby Mama, or wife support him financially…forever. When his financial support system (the enabler) questions his apparent lack of desire to financially support himself, he immediately attempts to make this person feel insensitive and mean. A good man would never feel comfortable doing this to a woman.
The Abuser: We often associate deadbeats with the financially irresponsible, however, the abusing deadbeat is possibly one of the most dangerous types. This person might be completely financially responsible, yet I would still consider him a deadbeat. This is the man who treats women poorly by either emotionally or physically abusing them. A man who treats his mother, ex-wife, baby Mama, or any important woman in his life poorly is a deadbeat. He could be as wealthy as Donald Trump and buy you Prada shoes and a nice house, but if he beats you up or abuses your children – he is still a deadbeat. Before you have a child with a man, pay close attention to how he treats the women in his life. (Unfortunately, Luc’s mother had already died from suffocation before I met him so I was unable to enact this particular test) Even if you think his mother is weird and annoying, if he doesn’t treat her well – there is something wrong and you could be looking at your future relationship with him.
My ex (Lucifer as I call him) had a little bit of all three of the above deadbeat qualities, and unfortunately, I was once his enabler. Anyone who has known me for long enough would never imagine me to be the type of woman to be a deadbeat enabler; however, I now realize that I was one myself. Initially in the relationship, I was a strong woman who asked questions and demanded reasonable answers – and initially he had those answers.
Over time, as I grew to love the imaginary man he had created through his insidious lies, the reality began to show its ugly face. When I would question why Luc wasn’t getting out of bed, and why he was no longer contributing to the household financially, he would claim that he was depressed. He even once claimed that he had suffered a mild stroke due to the extreme financial and emotional stress he was under. This is when my basic female instincts turned on me. I would see him looking pale, sick, and hideous (most likely because he wasn’t showering or leaving the house), and I would immediately want to protect and take care of him.
It is natural as a woman to want to protect and care for those you love; however, you must be able to recognize the difference between someone who deserves to be loved and someone who is using your instincts against you while literally sucking the life out of you. I, too, have been in a position where I was scared to leave the deadbeat. I worried that things would be worse for me if I walked away from the father of my child. I wondered if I was being unreasonable or whether my expectations were too high. While the deadbeat in my life was an extreme case (as he is now awaiting trial for the murder of my son), many of the things I made excuses for and ignored are the same things many women continue to ignore every day.
Help for the deadbeat enabler:
One of my readers recently asked me what she should do to help her friend realize that she is enabling a deadbeat. My answer is simple: You can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot force it to take a drink. Friends and family should tread carefully when raising these issues with deadbeat enablers. The last thing you want is for the deadbeat to catch wind that you are raising these issues and effectively terminate your relationship with the enabler. The best thing you can do for this person is point out the obvious in a non-aggressive manner, and let them know that you will be there to support them if and when they choose to free themselves from this situation. While it can be maddening to watch someone you love get used and abused by a deadbeat, there is often not much you can do if the person is unwilling to accept the painful reality.
Finally, to all of the strong women out there who realize that they are in the vicious cycle of deadbeat enabling – you deserve to be treated better than what you are currently accepting. Deadbeats will always exist, but it is your choice as to whether or not you will allow them to exist in your life.