stop me from putting her on a pedestal
March 19, 2013 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I've realized that I put my ex-girlfriend on a pedestal. I didn't realize it because I thought it was best to think of someone before yourself, to think of their needs/wants first, to see the good in them, negotiate on the things that don't work but as i read more about this pedestal, I'm certain i do this and getting confused on where/how to draw lines. I'm not sure how to approach this issue in a healthy way. And now that she is on that do i get her off or avoid this with the next girl. I'm looking for real strategies, interventions and hacks that i can practice. Specific examples are also very helpful (like he said this, I said that). Cds, books, videos that can change my perception also helpful. thanks.
posted by PeaPod to Human Relations (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are two books that my therapist recommended to me:

Are You the One for Me?: Knowing Who's Right & Who's Wrong by Barbara De Angelis Ph.D.
Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

The second one is primarily about abuse but, at least in my situation, the reason I was putting the other person so far before myself had to do with mental abuse in a certain sense. I disagree with Lundy that the woman can't be abusive, so just ignore where he says he doesn't see women abuse men.

The first one is wonderful and helps you to see why you keep picking the same kind of people and reacting the same way in relationships.

My therapist is also working on my self-esteem, but that's mainly been a lot of worksheets and writing assignments.

I hope this helps at least at little.
posted by fr0zen at 11:18 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

You really just have to start thinking of your girlfriends the way you think of literally every other human being in your entire life. That is to say, as humans.

Do you put your friends on a pedestal? Probably not, you most likely enjoy their good traits, recognize their flaws (and love them in spite of the flaws), and deal with them as people just like you.

Women you are in a relationship with aren't any different from you, or your friends. They are friends with whom you have sex. Deal with them as normal human beings--well, normal human beings that you care very much about.

Now, if you have a tendency to put MANY different people on a pedestal (parents, siblings, friends...) then you might want to look into therapy, because it can help you relate to people on a more equal footing. But if you mostly feel at ease and equal with the people in your world, you really just need to get your feminism on a bit and start seeing women the same way.
posted by like_a_friend at 1:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

It might be worth checking out No More Mr. Nice Guy, by Robert Glover. It sometimes leans too heavily on some gender stereotypes, but if you can overlook that it has some good messages that helped me counter this type of thinking and set healthier boundaries with people. Good luck!
posted by sapere aude at 2:37 PM on March 19, 2013

More info/ examples might be helpful, OP.

I sorta used to to this when I was younger. I also, oddly enough, had it done to me a couple of times when I got older. I found it weird and unflattering and uncomfortable and didn't really know how to react to it, although it took me longer to figure out exactly why.

The thing is, when you put someone on a pedestal, you're not really relating to them as a real person. You're not connecting with who they really are, i.e. a human being with faults and blind spots and everything else. You're not really liking them - you're liking this fantasy idealised version of them. And that's actually kind of a crappy way to treat someone, especially someone you're supposed to care about.

Next time you find yourself wanting to do this, I suggest you remind yourself that not only are you disrespecting yourself, you are also, in your own way, disrespecting the person you're doing it to. If you really like them, you owe to them to treat them like a human being.
posted by Broseph at 4:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind that there's a two-way street involved here; you're dealing not only with how you treat someone, but also how they want to be treated. Some people prefer to be on a pedestal, and will resist if you try to treat them otherwise, while others may be very unhappy with any pedestal-type treatment.

At the end of the day, what matters is that you behave in ways that make you happy, and spend time with people who behave in ways that make you happy. Not always, and not perfectly -- who ever gets that? -- but generally.

And if you find that putting a woman on a pedestal makes you and her happy, genuinely happy, is that bad? Actually, arguably, it might be, because it involves unrealistic perspectives and expectations. Still, remember that your (un)happiness is the most important thing for you to pay attention to.

So yes, read the books, give this a lot of deep thought, but also: take a deep breath, steel your nerve, and start treating people like you want to instead of how you feel you're supposed to, and see what happens. Some folks may not like it, but that's okay, because you're not on this earth to make other people happy. Better to deal with other people honestly and openly.
posted by davejay at 4:49 PM on March 19, 2013

I used to (and still do) put the women in my life on a pedestal. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with thinking about others before yourself - if everyone lived by this rule, imagine how wonderful this world would be!

I think the world needs more people who are considerate of others, so don't go changing that - we need you to be the way you are (well, mostly - see below).

What you need to do is put yourself on a pedestal as well - that is, be good to yourself. It is possible to be good to yourself and to the next woman in your life.

I think you can start by having internal conversations with yourself where you say "I deserve good things to happen to me", "Be kind to others, but be kind to me first", "I deserve to be loved by me in the way that I love others".

It takes practice and time, and the pedestal on which you place the next woman in your life will be slightly shorter, but now, you'll be standing on a pedestal yourself and you'll no longer be beneath her.

Remember what they tell you on airplanes - put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others with their masks!
posted by bitteroldman at 6:07 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

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