How to Deal with a Psycho Bitch from Hell

If you can’t listen to women with a higher consciousness, what you offer society as a whole is also limited, says Atalwin Pilon.

Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

A little while ago I wrote a post about the Psycho Bitch From Hell phenomenon. It was re-posted, with my permission, on The Good Men Project under a slightly different name and it stirred up a lot of conversation. Where I called my post About Psycho Bitches from Hell they changed it into In Defense of Psycho Bitches From Hell. I agree the second title is catchier, but it caused confusion, too.

For a moment it felt exciting. My post was causing a storm of comments! The notifications were flooding my iPhone. This had never happened on my own website. I rushed back to my Colombian apartment to get my laptop, make myself comfortable and enjoy the wisdom that would surely come. But after reading a few comments I felt disappointed. To me it seemed that everybody was missing the point I was trying to make and quite a few got all worked up about things that I never said. I lost interest quickly, felt no incentive to participate in the discussion.

The phenomenon that I called the Psycho Bitch From Hell is in no way something that is clearly defined. Generally it is about a hot cool chick who turns out to have an unexpected dark side. She comes up in conversations of guys when they are exchanging dating experiences, she lives in anecdotes, she meets contempt and ridiculisation because of her perceived craziness. When a guy makes his buddies laugh because he has a psycho-bitch story, it doesn’t mean that he is telling the truth or that he is including her perspective. Perhaps she really overreacted and perhaps he was a completely insensitive jerk and unaware of the hurtful things that came out of his mouth before she started crying ‘for no reason’.

I spent the whole year of 2012 traveling and giving workshops on warriorship, leadership, courage, integrity, mindfulness and personal growth. I lived (for 1 or 2 months) and worked in Israel, Beirut (Lebanon), Baghdad (Iraq), India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, the US and, currently, in Colombia. Among many things I noticed on my journey was that in guy-talk all over the planet the psycho bitch from hell pops up, that I am treated differently because I am a tall, muscular, blue eyed and—most importantly—white man (all highly valued traits in male dominant cultures) and that women are treated poorly and unjust in most cultures that I have seen. I realized that I am blessed to be born on the Western European side of the world. I also realized that my female friends have easier lives then their Indian, Arab or Chinese counterparts, even if they are going through horrible divorces or devastating diseases (which has happened and is happening). The reason is—I think—that in the western world we at least have agreed on the fact that a woman is a human being and that she therefore has equal human rights.

In my post I stated that I felt that it is hard being a woman, perhaps even harder than being a man. This statement caused all kinds of turmoil, many male commenters felt the need to illustrate how hard and unfair it was to be a guy in this day and age. I agree that an American man who has to pay a suffocating amount of alimony to his ex-wife and can’t see his kids suffers terribly from feelings of injustice but somehow it seems preferable over being beaten, locked up, denied education and raped. But if I am 100% right is not really the point. My statement was based on my observations and experiences; trying to devalue my perspective by arguing how difficult the situation for American men is, is missing an opportunity to broaden your perspective. To understand the other you must not fall for the reflex to start defending your own point of view but try to identify with the point of view of the other. Developing the flexibility to let go of your own perspective and adopt a new perspective will make you grow.

Let me once again try to share my perspective with you.

My previous post was an attempt to explain seemingly irrational female behavior by trying to show how people get caught in a personality structure and how we try to find freedom within our constrictions. I described how being a ‘hot, sexy wild chick’ is just another role, just another cage. But because this particular package of characteristics is sexually attractive and immature men get burnt, the Psycho Bitch From Hell stereotype has a bit of a urban myth like status that I wanted to balance more. This time I will share my insights on ‘how to neutralize craziness’ if you wish to call it like that or—my preference—how to be a mature man in a difficult situation.

If you want to deal with a ‘psycho bitch from hell’ you have to learn to listen. You have to understand what listening is. Listening is much more than hearing something, processing it and then reacting in a way that suits your beliefs and opinions about the world and yourself. That is what we think listening is. It is more than that. Listening is developing your awareness.

In his book ‘The Power of Now’ Eckhart Tolle speak of different levels of consciousness. I think he calls it ‘unconscious’ (the normal, every-day human state), ‘deeply unconscious’ (rage, pain, suffering, deep ignorance, etc) and ‘awake’. Bitch-like behavior is just a form of deeply unconscious behavior. Like all deeply unconscious behavior it tends to provoke deeply unconscious behavior in others who are exposed to it. The art is to stay present amidst of turmoil. ‘Presence’ is something one can only develop by training.

During my mindfulness courses I read a poem to my participants at the end of every session. One of them is about this story: a ferryman is crossing the river with his boat. He sees another boat coming his way and shouts. The boat doesn’t change its direction and the ferryman shouts louder and louder at the other skipper. As the boats are about to collide the ferryman is cursing furiously. Then he sees that the other boat is empty.

The ferryman could have just changed his course at the moment he became aware of the other boat. All the anger, fear, frustration and pride were his own obstacles. If the ferryman had less inner obstacles it would be easier for him to maneuver his boat across the river.

Listening is not feeling sorry for yourself. When you learn to listen you will learn that the sad story you are telling yourself is just a sad story that you keep feeding. When you learn to listen you can transcend your own sad and disempowering story; you don’t have to take yourself so fucking seriously anymore. It is essential to transcend your own story because your story is like a lens: everything that you experience is colored and therefore contaminated by your past experiences. You will never really hear what the other is saying when you are filtering her words and actions through your personal lens. Once you have transcended your story you will make yourself available to others. If you are a heterosexual male this will naturally include the women you date.

Listening is not repeating what the voice in your head tells you to say. Listening is hearing all the voices and sensations until it gets quiet and you can hear what is underneath. When you become a good listener there is no separation between what you hear inside and outside. When you truly listen to a deeply unconscious person you will not feel a bitch or a jerk but only a deeply wounded, caged and desperate person.

Learning to listen will teach you compassion, not just for others but also for yourself. You will become kinder, more empathetic and you are not amazed when somebody starts shouting like the ferryman. You are honest enough to admit that you were the same not that long ago. You will learn to behave naturally instead of self consciously.

When you have learned to listen deeply you will be able to hold the space for others, including psycho bitches from hell. By not fighting her anger, woundedness or confusion you will help her ground. Also you will not feel the need anymore to box and label people the way you used to do before. But you can empathize with those who still do.

The difference between an immature and a mature man is presence. With presence comes selflessness, wisdom and compassion. When you understand your masculinity you want to serve the feminine where the immature man wants to suppress the feminine. A mature man wants to serve the feminine because it makes him complete and because he can. Some samurai master put it like this: when faced with a woman or child in a situation in which they are vulnerable, there are two types of men: those who would offer succor or aid, and those who prey upon them.

Woman is life and man is the servant of life. The male’s job is to protect the women.

—Joseph Campbell

The world desperately needs mature men. Our psycho bitches are good shit tests. If you don’t have enough presence to help her through her turmoil your contribution to mankind will be limited too. You need more practice. But if you can be with her in the midst of suffering and help her find the way back to clarity you will be able to touch many hearts in your life time. And you still practice because you want to practice.

This post, and others in the Psycho Bitch from Hell series, has inspired Atalwin to create 2 Workshops in New York City around the themes of these articles. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

 

This was previously published at Basic Goodness.

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About Atalwin Pilon

Atalwin Pilon is a former bad boy from Amsterdam who had an experience of spiritual awakening at 32. Since that moment he committed to the truth and lives from his heart. Currently he is traveling the world on a quest for meaning, aiming to make a difference. Follow him on his blog Basic Goodness, Facebook and Twitter. You can try him out as your life coach too, if his voice speaks to you. Email him. He will be honored.

Comments

  1. Eagle35…I think you are right in that pardoning these behaviors in women has the added affect of making it harder to idenitfy violence from women in other contexts.This is a strange discussion.If you are a guy who wants to be free of unreasonable anger from your partner,you can’t be.

    • My comment was moderated and deleted, ogwriter, so unless the moderators here do something about it, people aren’t going to know the context behind it.

  2. More empathy for women?? Enough is enough! As a true liberal, I believe in true equality and what’s needed in this day and age is for women to answer to someone and be put in check like men are. Men and boys are the ones that need to be understood. Just look at our failing schools and failing families as perjury is never charged in custody courts and fathers are removed from their children’s lives left and right. What we have today are the new bigots and we need the new liberals to stop drinking the antiquated kool-aide of political “correctedness.”

  3. William…I have had discussions about this emotional immaturity with others and women who behave this way,it has been speculated,use it to control. Allowing anyone to behave this way gives them tremendous control.Additionally,women who behave this way are underdeveloped in the emotional control centers in the brain.Remember,Kat trained herself- her brain- to be,to WORK differently than before.This behavior is not accidental as women who behave this way benefit.

  4. I can’t find a single credible source that deals with anger management in the domestic context- not A.A.R.D.V.A.R.K.,not the Asian American Women’s Health Center and not Pandora, that puts the burden on the victim; not one.

  5. Hot discussion! And it seems that in spite of a wide range of different opinions nobody is wrong) Because everyone has one’s own experience, way of thinking and level of consciousness. And this level is not higher or lower compare to others’, but just different. And for me personaly the main idea of this post is not so much about relationships, or psychology, or philosophy. It has deep fundamental spiritual essence. For those who are acquainted with yoga and tantra, where a man is a manifestation of Consciousness and a woman is a manifestation of Energy, it’s pretty clear. And the approach discribed by Atalwin works because it’s a universal rule: for the energy to flow the consciousness has to be clear. Man is the Sun and woman is the Moon. That’s why when the man manifests his ultimate nature (which is called “presence” in this post) it creates environment for the woman (actually not only for her, but for everybody) to get in tune with her ultimate nature . And when she is in harmony with herself, she is able to create the environment for the man. Thus he gets more energy to expand his presence and consciousness and to be more supportive to the woman. And so on. This way the circle is closed and there is no end to the evolution of both. So, it’s more like a spiral, not a circle. But the man is a staring point of it, what to do)
    It doesn’t mean that the roles cannot be switched, because our nature is dual, both feminine and masculine.
    Of course this perspective is very general, there are no certain formulas, there is a space for creativity, improvisation and growth. And yes, it requires maturity, open mindedness and practice.
    I’m aware that not everybody looks from this point of view. But the fact that this approach comes from 5000 years old knowledge is a good reason to try)))

    • Thanks Mee, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am glad I am not the only one who understands this dynamic. The archetypal realities are very relevant to our daily lives whether we acknowledge it or not.

    • I would like to agree with you, Mee. I definitely understand and appreciate that you are explaining the perspective of where the author is coming from, and the problem I have with this perspective is not that it’s not a mature or even perhaps a “better” perspective to take, but rather that assumption is that whenever you meet a “psycho bitch” you’re just coming up with a woman who’s had a bad experience and is reacting irrationally, so we should take the time “understand how she’s been hurt.”

      The thing is a woman who has been hurt and is upset is drastically different from the archetypal “Psycho bitch.” Yes she may be hurt and yes she may be lashing out at a man because either: 1) he hurt her, 2) her previous guy hurt her and now she’s taking it out on her new man, 3) or some other experience she had in the past, and that doesn’t excuse her behavior and it doesn’t excuse her from being nasty, cruel, abusive, or criminal.

      A “psycho bitch” isn’t just a woman who is a little upset or gets angry and shouts on occasion, that’s reasonable human behavior (which by the way that same behavior when done by a man is when women start saying “stop yelling at me. You’re scaring me” or gets labeled as an “angry black man.”) When this is the case I’d say your approach is valid. The quintessential “psycho bitch” is a woman who takes her emotions over and above and into abusive and criminal territory and uses her fury for justifying her actions.

      If a woman was dating a guy who was going through her phone messages and emails, screaming at her incessantly, demanding to know where she’s been and who she was with, got angry enough to key her car, break in her car’s windows, (all quintessential “Psycho Bitch” stereotypes) you wouldn’t tell her “you need to understand him and what you did to hurt him” you would be saying “Girl get the hell away from the psycho, we need to lock him up for domestic violence.”

    • Beautiful Mee. I am happy that you understood what I have been trying convey and I am impressed how you included and embraced the perspectives of all the other commenters too. Yes, in a covert way I have been trying to explain a tantric mechanism stripped from theory and brought back to its bare essence: developing consciousness by practicing listening in the most fundamental sense of the word. I like to use non-spiritual language so I just call it listening.

      It is nice for me to switch to the (feminine) role of the receiver and feel the calming and grounding effect of being heard. You have proven my point to me in an unforeseen way. Spiraling indeed.

  6. Anyone having problems with a Personality Disordered Person (whether your spouse, girlfriend, a family-member or friend) PLEASE go to Shrink4men.com. It is an invaluable resource for abused men and their families. I believe this is a serious issue for many men, and I know men who have benefitted greatly from the content of this website. By the way, I am in no way affiliated with Dr. Palmatier’s website.

  7. Alison…Thank you so much.Just knowing that a place like this exists is stress reducing.It is good to know that someone is listening.This site is great.

    • Anyone can be an abuser, and the abused needs the support of a strong team in order to get as far away from their abuser as possible. Our society’s gender roles do a disservice to abused men, to the extent that many of them don’t even acknowledge that they are being abused. This is a discussion that needs to be normalized. Dr. Palmatier’s website and articles such as Mr. Pilon’s get people talking, which is essential.

  8. Seems to me that once again women get the short straw with the succinct but potent label…
    Prey tell what is the male equivalent of a ‘psycho bitch’?
    (Anyone can be an asshole, unisex labels do not count)


    • Prey tell what is the male equivalent of a ‘psycho bitch’?

      Abuser, misogynist, jerk, douche, dick, dickhead, etc….

      Yes I said abuser because the language is shaped to the point that the very act of abuse is defined as “something that men do to women”. This casts men as terrible beasts that brutalize women with the goal of controlling them, even in cases where he is the one that is being abused by her. You are right to point out that women seem to have a special term carved out for them when they do that stuff, but that’s because that stuff is associated with being male in the first place.

      If a woman that is controlling, gets out of hand, or gets abusive wasn’t treated like such a special circumstance (even when she is clearly in the wrong) that label might be stick so much.

      This was part of my point of disagreement of the original post about there being some sort of “universal lack of empathy” for women when they do these things. I don’t think it’s so much a lack of empathy (although that can be and is the case sometimes) but rather an overflow of sympathy (that may be getting passed off as emapthy) that leads to guys getting fed up over it.

      To me the problem isn’t that there is a unique lable for such women. The problem is that their behaviors are being treated like an anomoly in the first place, which I think leads to such labels coming about. If women that engage in these behaviors were treated the way men were (and I’m not saying that the treatment of women that do this stuff should be cranked up to where men are, I’m saying that both need to be set to a new, more fair standard) I think the labeling would fade.

      When guys act like that and are called the stuff I list above the question is, “Why does he act like such a _____?” but when women act like that and are called psycho bitches the question becomes, “Why you gotta call her a psycho bitch?”

  9. …My experience with many people who are into yoga-I live near Berkeley,Ca- is that they use it as a short cut to greater spirituality- bypassing the real hardwork of growth and change.Many of these people are disconnected from the kind of real giving and sacrifice that grows a person’s spiritually.

  10. It seems that this article is triggering reactions from people’s sensitive egos, and causing them to miss the point (men and women). This article is not about extreme situations involving abusive relationships, and it is also not suggesting that abuse is okay.

    When I read this article it reminded me of the saying “you only hurt the ones you love” and I believe that both men and women alike are guilty of expressing raw emotion in an unproductive manner – i.e. like a psycho bitch – especially in intimate relationships. There is a sense of safety in this that causes people to express themselves differently than they would with a stranger (like most emotions).

    The theme of this article hinges on the fact that, as a human being with no control over other people, you can only be responsible for your own actions. Additionally, this website in its entirety is predominantly directed towards a male audience. It makes sense then, that an article of this nature would be a discussion of how men can react more productively to a woman who is emotionally out of control, not vice versa. It is not to imply that men are never emotionally out of control, or that men are always responsible. It is a self-help perspective for a simplified version of a very common situation that men face with women. Similarly, on a website or blog that is predominantly directed towards a female audience, I am sure you could find an article titled something along the lines of “How to deal with arrogant assholes from hell” with an article outlining how women can better compose themselves in heated situations with men, to be better listeners, more compassionate, etc. This article would also not be condoning abuse or implying that women are responsible for the mistreatment that they receive. It would be a self-help perspective of a very common situation that women face with men.

    In my experience, male or female, psycho opposition or not, it is imperative as a human being to really remember that you cannot be responsible for anyone’s actions but your own. I think the take-home message here should be that instead of trading blame around like a hot potato, everyone should take a look at themselves and question if their actions and emotions are serving them in a positive way? If faced with a situation like this, is there a way I could react that would better serve my own peace and happiness?

    It’s easy to play the victim. Empower yourself by asking, “What can I do?”

    • This is well said. A voice that believes in equality is quite rare. But as noble men used to support the efforts to remedy injustices towards women and minorities, we would be well served as a people to open our eyes to how the pendulum has swung in the other direction. And this idea of reverse discrimination is still hotly debated. Many will say its impossible for a white male to experience sexism or any discrimination because men, make more money on average than women (a junk science statistic) or whatever “facts” are found.

      I’ve been a democrat my whole life until I experience the filth by dirty girls in custody courts. They say they destroy the father because its best for the kids but its not. Kids are actually safer with a fit father than a mother bringing home strange men, etc. the whole system only thinks of kissing up the woman so she’s free from as much strife as possible for her usually selfish reasons to divorce.

      This is child abuse and it needs to be understood for it to be fixed. It isn’t equal! Women answer to no one in this rotten “politically correct” hypocrisy.

      • I agree Jeremy that the court system for divorce is hypocritical in many ways. Not all mothers are promiscuous, and not all fathers are dead-beats. As parents, no one is perfectly fit. In an ideal world, every divorce case would be judged case-by-case to ensure the best for both parties and the children involved. However, with the soaring rates of divorce in our society, I think it is safe to say that courts and parents alike really don’t have time or money for this. This is not to condone the sometimes poor decisions made in court, but just to acknowledge the unfortunate reality of the situation that probably lead to it being so poorly systematized.

        Perhaps the problem is not with how poorly courts deal with divorce, but that there are too many divorces being carried out in the first place. Personally, I believe mothers and fathers simply don’t try hard enough at marriage. In extenuating circumstances, divorce may be the only answer, but it seems to me that many divorces stem from people’s laziness and selfishness. Too lazy to work on themselves for the sake of the relationship, and selfish enough to think that the grass really must be greener on the other side.

        I enjoyed this article by Atalwin, because he challenges the tendency people have to blame others for their situation (i.e. deeming a woman to be the mythical psycho bitch is easier than questioning your own participation). Every woman is capable of being a psycho bitch, and every man is capable of being an insensitive asshole. When you come to realize this about your partner, the solution is not to condemn them or retaliate. The only way to be successful in marriage is to be compassionate and understanding.

        Men and women alike are caught up in this ridiculous notion that “true love” is rainbows and lollipops and that love should be easy. It’s not, love is hard. My experience has been, that true love forces a person to see the things in his or her SELF that is most despicable, or the most uncomfortable. This is either an opportunity for personal growth, or to bail out (i.e. divorce). Unfortunately, majority of people cower and choose the later.

        Love, life, and families are not perfect, nor are they cut and dry. However, a little more effort on part of mom and dad could go along way, especially when the experiences of their children are at stake.

  11. Jeremy…There is no vast conspiracy against white males.ALL men are suffering(except the feminist prez).Feminists could care less about the average man of color.We saw this in the election.The Huffpost and MSNBC,purposely, buried any issues relative to the interests of men under an avalance of womens issues.- Remember The War on Women. The truth is,from my experience,men caused this because for too long they have,through their silence, aided in their own demise.

  12. Wow Atalwin, I love your message about listening. When we reduce people to mere labels, we know we have failed. We are all complex and multi-dimensional. The human capacity for growing, learning, and change is immense. People don’t get “unhinged” without cause. Those causes are very often ignored when passing judgement. At the end of the day, there is really no way to pass judgement and be compassionate. There is no way for us all to be happy without compassion. The capacity for change in even the most backward people, male or female, starts with compassion. Take it from a former, reformed Psycho Bitch from Hell.

    • Matthew says:

      Nobody — NOBODY — would write an article called “In Defence of Wife Killers” about narcissistic or sociopathic men who batter their wives and children, often to death… and, I must add, with good cause.

      The so-called psycho bitch from hell exists in two places:

      1. The psycho bitch exists solely in the mind of the selfish or abusive partner, parent, spouse, or child. They are the result of projection, exactly what this article deals with.

      2. The psycho bitch from hell exists in reality. They are violent, destructive, brutally abusive, etc. They are just as capable of threatening a person’s life, reputation, and psychology as their male counterparts.

      As a male, a feminist, and an egalitarian — and somebody who has experience with Type 2 — I must say that the amount of apologism for female abusers is shocking. Even after their abuses are discovered, the blame continues to shift to their victims, an act we’d find rightly sickening if it was any other demographic. And their abuses aren’t merely male-directed or partner-directed either. Their children, male or female, suffer. Their parents, both mother and father, frequently suffer their abuses.

      Worse still, I’ve yet to find a single woman who thinks that treating these truly abusive people as wilting lilies as anything other than condescending to women and feminism, or who don’t see these actions as diminishing to their ability to take responsibility for their actions, and to express their emotions and feelings in ways that aren’t abusive or threatening.

      Being “good men” means many things. Foremost it means being responsible and responsive, and directed our selfishness in positive and altruistic ways not only to women, but to our children and society in general as well. But that goes for women as well, and it goes without saying, that they too be responsible and cooperative. That they want, but want healthily, and that we as an entire people turn to destruction only when necessary: Protecting ourselves, or protecting others.

      There is no need to look at the second kind of “psycho bitch from hell” — in reality, simply female abusers — as being “the product of men,” or “not listened to,” or “not loved enough.” More often than not with any abuser, regardless of gender or other demographics, these people are listened to and loved as much (if not more so) than other people, and force their victims through continuous torment.

      To ask “did you listen to him/her?” is nothing more than odious victim-blaming and needs to stop. The victim has already asked themselves that so many times, so often, trying to change to appease the unpleasable, that turning around and blaming them is sickening.

      Abuse, in all its forms, is unacceptable. The only victims of abuse are the victims, not the abuser. The only stigma from abuse belongs to the victims, not the abuser. And only when society shuts off any and all sympathy to abusers will they have no rocks to crawl under when the lights come on.

      Choosing to hurt women because your mom beat you is unacceptable. Choosing to hurt women because your dad beat you is unacceptable. Beating your second wife because your first wife left is unacceptable. Beating your second husband because your first husband left is unacceptable. There is no defence. There is no justification: No matter the identity of the victim, and no matter the identity of the abuser.

      • Matthew says:

        A brief follow-up just to avoid confusion. When I say:

        “Nobody — NOBODY — would write an article called “In Defence of Wife Killers” about narcissistic or sociopathic men who batter their wives and children, often to death… and, I must add, with good cause.”

        I do not mean that these men have good cause to commit violence to others. I mean nobody would defends them, and THAT is a good cause. Apologies for the ambiguity, I am in no way justifying domestic violence or spousal murder.

  13. Your comments about presence and listening are important and well expressed. You bring up many, many other issues – far too many to address in such a short article. Listening and empathy may indeed be very helpful to some people – of both sexes – who are playing a role. But you assume without any apparent evidence that all of these women from hell are looking for counsel and help with their issues. This is a highly sentimental view of humanity that I do not share. Some may fall into that category. Others may enjoy being who and what they are.

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