Iwas unable to watch in entirety the “Hurt Bae” interview circulating on social media last week. In case you missed it, the video featured a young couple who’d broken up talking candidly in an attempt to teach viewers a thing or two about closure. Not surprisingly, it backfired. For the purposes of the interview they both tossed questions back and forth. Almost immediately, the focus shifted to the woman’s ex, a serial cheater. She put to him questions ranging from the women he’d cheated with, what he’d done with them, and why. Unashamedly, he told her he did “everything” with countless females, even going so far as asking her why she’d stayed in the first place!
I sat open-mouthed waiting in anticipation for this woman either to walk out of the interview room or punch him in the face. She did neither. Instead she sat there in tears, listening to his hurtful words, up until the end of the interview when he said casually that he hoped to be given the opportunity to see her grow into the wonderful woman he knew she would be. Like he deserved that!
In the days after the interview was released numerous memes and parody videos popped up all over Facebook. The more humorous of those focused on what most people agreed would have been the appropriate response of a Caribbean woman to a blatantly cheating man. Let’s just say the man in the spoof video didn’t exactly get up from that drop kick to the chest!
I am in no way condoning violence, particularly in scenarios that involve infidelity. But I do think we are living in times when people have become selfish beyond their own comprehension. I see it first-hand in the stories I hear all the time from my friends and from people I don’t know. Too often women are the ones hurt as society continues to encourage a damn near gluttonous mentality, for men in particular. Women, either because we’re stupid or because of some faulty wiring that makes us believe we can make everything better, including men, continue to put ourselves out there for the ones we love with super human resolve. No matter what.
An article in Vanity Fair this week featuring Rihanna deepened my perspective. She reflected on her relationship with Chris Brown. It’s no secret what happened there, and Rihanna admitted theirs hadn’t been a bed of roses. Yet she’d always been “very protective” of him.
“I felt that people didn’t understand him,” she told VF, “even after . . . but you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy . . . If you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you – because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.”
If that wasn’t enough I read another article about a woman with a narcissistic husband who had an affair and blamed her! “It took a while for it to sink in,” she wrote in a published letter to her husband. “It wasn’t me who was messed up. It was you. All these years, I had been bending to your will, to keep you happy . . . I moulded myself around you to protect you because you had seemed such a sensitive soul. Looking back, I can’t believe how blind I was.”
Maternal instincts? Is that what it is? The thing that leaves so many women blind and bound to unhealthy situations? I found myself comparing the two articles because they reflected what women, including myself, do over and over again. We see a weakness and we’re right there trying to compensate for that, and some men will admit to being weak, but then we think with our help they can be made strong, and supported into their best selves. But more often than not we’re the ones who pay the price. In Rihanna’s words, we’re the ones “trying to be someone’s guardian angel”.
I have no doubts “Hurt Bae” had her own suspicions about her beau, but loved him anyway, hoping he’d change. She has since responded to comments on the video saying the interview happened a long time ago, that she has since moved on. Nevertheless, maternal instincts or not, we can always save ourselves the heartache by believing people the first time they demonstrate to us who they really are!