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Better understand your attraction to the bad boy

Bad boys are men who behave in a selfish impulsive and persecutory manner. The attraction of bad boys is that they offer the prospect for spontaneity, excitement and an adrenaline rush at the thought of being with them. Life can appear super-charged and like a roller coaster. The problems come when you feel let down, abandoned, or when your values get compromised from being with them.

Bad boys are a cultural archetype. An iconic bad boy archetype in the movies is James Dean’s 17-year-old character Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause. A modern version could be Jason Statham’s character Detective Brant in Blitz. In Jungian terms an archetype is a primitive mental image inherited from our earliest human ancestors, and is present in the collective unconscious. An archetype is the best example of a specific category. So, Superman is the archetype of a superhero.

The reasons why you are attracted to the bad boy can be varied and complex. There might potentially be greater emotional vulnerability with a more suitable partner than with someone who you unconsciously suspect might not work out. So, might bad boys form an emotional security blanket to avoid looking at your fears of abandonment? You might also be re-enacting a role developed from your family life. The dynamic between you and your father may be reflected in the way you are attracted to them. Your unconscious attachment to your father could be explored in order for greater insight, growth and development. Or, earlier, perhaps inappropriate, relationships could have set the tone for who you seek out to find that rush of excitement. Having your boundaries violated as a child can heavily influence your choice of mate in later life.

You deserve respect and loving commitment. However, great relationships don’t just arrive by accident. They mostly follow a strenuous inner transformation by each person. When we work on our own personal material and transform our inner world we tend to end up manifesting more healthy relationships in the outer world. Healthy relationships are when two relatively independent people come together to run a better show together. There is an absence of need, so prevalent in co-dependent relationships.

Counselling and psychotherapy can offer the opportunity to review the history of your relationships. It can also offer the private and confidential space to explore your family background in order to break free from past formative events and current dramas. It can be a useful exercise to define your bottom line behaviours for relationships. This could include deciding your deal-breakers and red flags within the context of healthy boundaries. Red flags are when you get a sense that something might not be right and deal-breakers are when you walk away from a potential relationship when you first discover that something is seriously wrong. You learn to trust your intuition and develop your inner wisdom.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Noel Bell MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP

Noel Bell is a UKCP accredited clinical psychotherapist in London who has spent over 20 years exploring and studying personal growth, recovery from addictions and inner transformation. Noel is an integrative therapist and draws upon the most effective tools and techniques from the psychodynamic, CBT, humanist, existential and transpersonal schools.… Read more

Written by Noel Bell MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP

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