Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Trojan Man

with 10 comments

Sometimes there are people who come into our lives, and it’s clear their purpose is to annoy, challenge, or teach you something – sometimes all three. More often than not, they get under your skin quickly, merrily choo-chooing their way through your internal organs like a terminally-diseased freight train. They push all of your buttons – ones you didn’t even know existed – and then they get inside your frontal lobe for an uninvited looky-loo, giving you no other choice but to kill them while they sleep.

Maybe you don’t know who these people are in your life yet; maybe you’re unwilling to admit it. But usually, the people who tax you the most, the ones who Take but never Give – the folks who drive you insane, or bring chaos to your life, the ones who are so self-driven that YOU seem to exist solely for THEM – that jerk at the bank, your mother-in-law, those bitchy PTA moms, a condescending boss: those are your teachers. They’re the kind of teachers you can and will reluctantly learn from whether you want to or not. And believe me, they’re everywhere. Most notably if you have partners, children, friends, family, neighbors, exes, pets, or co-workers. If there’s no one like that in your life, maybe check your pulse – are you still breathing?

I know who my teachers are, and I hate every one of them; I’m also terribly grateful. Without them, I wouldn’t be aware of 1) which buttons are getting pushed, 2) what I want or deserve from the people around me, or 3) how to see my own part in things. If you’re one of those ‘nothing is ever my fault’ people, stay the hell away from me; there’s nothing to learn in life if all you do is point the finger. Same goes for the folks who would rather be right than happy: conflict is not a thumbs-up in my book, and if all you see is your side of the story looming larger on the horizon, there’s no point interacting. Voices will raise, I’ll probably cry. Or maybe you’ll talk down to me. Or maybe I’ll shank you in the face. Point being, it’s an unhealthy imbalance.

Of course, I just said all of that knowing these are the EXACT people I attract into my life because I’m like them, too: a blame-free, self-righteous, condescending, argumentative crybaby. I reserve the right to be that way, but pay for it when I actually start believing my own bullshit. I laugh when I see this behavior in other people; no matter how different we are, we all have the same human afflictions. Most people are just mirrors for us so that we can see our shiny, fucked-up selves.

Take Sally here. Sally met Mr. Everyone On Planet Earth Knows He’s Wrong For Her, starting an ill-fated relationship with a nefarious butthole, much to the dismay of her friends and family; even Sally knew he was a stinky rat’s ass. But he was cute, he was there, he romped like a rock star, and he needed her; girls, Yours Truly included, have dated for worse reasons. All the while, Sally and Mr. MeMeMe break up and get back together more times than Van Halen, and her friends don’t know what to do – they hate him, but love her. Sally’s a grown-up, they say to each other, and she’s capable of making her own decisions. BUT THAT ASSHOLE MOTHERFUCKER! shrieks the rest of her friends. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE HEARD, BUT HE HAS A BLACK BELT IN RETARD AND A PH.D IN MEATHEAD!! Everyone agrees, but no one has the answer. They don’t want to lose Sally’s friendship – but also know they wouldn’t appreciate a boyfriend intervention, either.

Regardless, she dates Mr. Bastard Assclown anyway – that’s her right. But after he inevitably dumps her/cheats on her/lies to her/mistreats her (or any variant of all four options), there are three ways it usually goes:

1. Well, that sucked. Maybe I should work on myself or spend some time alone figuring out why I attract the worst men on Earth. Why do I choose these assholes? What is it about me that screams YES when everyone else can see he’s a HELL FUCKING NO?


3. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Ice cream.

Interesting observation:  while I was writing about Sally, I thought of six friends who could have taken that paragraph personally, as though I were writing about their current situation – so let me assure you, Sally’s story was mostly my own. Any resemblance to your relationship or an experience you’re currently having is entirely coincidental… but don’t you think it’s curious that you took it so personally? It may be something to think about. Dig deep, girls – Oprah would be proud.

For obvious reasons, I prefer Answer #1. It’s got some honesty, accountability, self-reflection, and a plan. Answer #2 is a cop-out, every time, because guess what? You played a part in being with this asshole who [insert something he did to you here] because you chose him. How quickly we forget the times we defended that guy, or lied to make him look better, or kept his name out of conversation to avoid conflict. It seems so much easier to point the finger and go, BUT HE SLEPT WITH A GIRL FROM HOOTERS! Yep, he did – which makes him a shmuck. Which makes you the gal who chose to date a guy who turned out to be a shmuck. But you don’t want to be someone who is defined by your personal tragedies; you don’t want to be someone forever marred by something that happens to an alarming amount of people; you don’t want to be known for Only This.

It’s not about fault or blame. A man who cheats on a woman is to blame for his part in the relationship’s demise, and of course, vice versa; I’m just advocating a little accountability on everyone’s part. It’s more about seeing your part in things so you can make different choices later. Sally, in the end, chose a hybrid of Answers #1 and #3. She realized what a disservice she was doing to herself by feeling victimized by everything, and holding on to The Hamster Wheel of Bitter Resentment.  She knew she’d picked lemon after lemon, asshole after asshole, but couldn’t figure out why – so she went crazy, thought about it, had some more crazy, talked it over with her besties, wrote page after page in her journal, signed up for therapy, and swore off men.

Two days later, she met the Esq. Hey, these things take time.

There’s a new teacher in Snottytown, and his name is Trojan P. Horse.  I don’t know Trojan very well, and yet it’s like I know him exclusively: he is my ex-husband, my crazy ex-boyfriend, my son at five years old, and the worst parts of myself. Being around him is maddening, confusing, and painful; the psychotic needy chaos train that lives within me knows this man was made for me. I know if I was single, he would be a dangerous road to walk down, but I’d walk it anyway because the crazy, destructive parts of me are drawn to people like him:  loud men who are weak, abusive men who mean well, smart men with bad luck, small men carrying big egos. He is everything I don’t want in my life, from the whiny baby bullshit to the way he treats people – like cattle, or servants, or his own personal punching bags. The P in his name stands for Penis or Poopy, depending on his mood on any given day, and he pushes every! single! button! without even trying. Around him, I go inward fast – my brain and body are on red alert – and while I make the effort to be polite, I’m also very terse. I’ve been ineffectively trying to protect myself from His Kind my entire life, and by ‘His Kind’ I mean giant know-it-all man-babies who lead you to trouble and nothing else. Penis with a capital P, Trouble with a capital T – this guy has my number. I don’t like that, and I don’t like him.

Trojan is stingy, rude, arrogant, egotistic, self-centered, lecherous, greedy, insecure, unhappy, negative, unaware, and mean. He’s also smart, witty, liberal, generous, open-minded, fun, interesting, and loyal, amongst what I assume are other good qualities he has yet to unveil.  I’m all of these things, too; humans tend to be All of the Above when it comes to Ways of Being. I just can’t get behind his particular brand of crazy; it’s too close to home, and brings up bad memories. However, despite his deplorable behavior and self-serving choice of words – hard to watch, harder to hear – there’s a learning opportunity in there. Why is he pushing my buttons? How is he a mirror for me? Why am I passively handing him the remote control to my emotions? If his friends put up with him, does that mean I have to? What do we have in common? Ah, that’s the kicker, because the answer to that is:  everything. Learning sucks.

My mom would say this is a lesson in compassion. BUT MOM, I’d cry, HE IS A TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLE LOSERFACE MEANIE AND I LOOOOOATHE HIM. Can’t I be compassionate with just the people who deserve it? Why does compassion feel like I’m losing and he’s winning? I don’t want to show him compassion, I want to show him my boot in his ass while I’m shoving him off a bridge. I would rather crawl over broken glass – naked! Again, with the learning.

I have a lot of options here, and one of them is ‘go crazy mad over this insipid bitch and get super weird every time he’s around.’ No way. I’ve seen people take their issues with assholes to ridiculous heights – with their ex, their parents, the jerk their friend married, someone they had a falling out with – and they lose every time. They become so much like the people they’re hating, it’s simultaneously ironic and inexcusable. I don’t want to be like this guy, I just want to live in motherfucking harmony, okay? I’d rather see this Trojan Horse as a gift – the gift of self-awareness! acceptance! compassion! plus other positive-sounding words that I can’t fucking stand! – and deal with the crap inside that aims to kill me in the dead of night. That way, Trojan P. Horse and I can be on the same page – and I can accept his douchebaggery with a shrug, or a laugh – even when he’s being a Penis with a capital Poopy.

I liked it better when we just hit each other with clubs.


10 Responses

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  1. I think I love you. Seriously. It’s hard to articulate this kind of thing, and I’ve tried many times. Man, we HAVE to go have drinks some time soon!


    October 21, 2009 at 2:11 PM

  2. @posiegirl WE WILL MAKE IT SO, AMEN.


    October 21, 2009 at 2:19 PM

  3. Beautiful. Usually I check in over at “” for this sort of thing. You just did it better. I appreciate your writing, as always.


    October 21, 2009 at 3:27 PM

  4. @Jenny I need some daily Om, I’ll check that site out. Thanks, Jenny!


    October 21, 2009 at 3:43 PM

  5. I am one of those six friends who took that totally personally. You should write about my life more often. I heart you.


    October 24, 2009 at 11:39 AM

  6. @Sangster Glad to be of service. How about I write your biography? 🙂


    October 25, 2009 at 12:21 PM

  7. So, two days ago I forgot to pick up my girlfriend for a date ’cause I was bangin’ her Mom on her Dad’s boyfriend’s boat near the restaurant where I got herpes having sex in the bathroom with the waitress during my anniversary dinner with my then wife. Does that make me one of those Penis Horse Guys?


    October 25, 2009 at 2:58 PM

  8. @Arthur Sounds like a normal Tuesday to ME.


    October 25, 2009 at 3:16 PM

  9. @mkhblink I know what you mean.


    October 29, 2009 at 10:45 AM

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