Seven Attitude Adjustments for Finding a Loving Man

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9780743406017: Seven Attitude Adjustments for Finding a Loving Man

You know you're fine. Plus, you have a decent job, a nice place to live. You're smart and ambitious. So, where's your man?
Because you're so well pulled together and without a partner, you may have developed an attitude toward men. Believe it or not, men can sense what you think of them. For instance, when you meet a man do you evaluate him as a possible partner or do you think of him as a potential friend? If you become open to him as a friend you may learn something from him that will forever enrich your life. Or he may ultimately become your lifelong partner or introduce you to him. The key is openness, and you can't be receptive to love when an attitude creates a barrier around you.
Renowned relationship therapist Audrey B. Chapman identifies the subtle attitudes Black women harbor that prevent us from finding love and happiness. Without even knowing it we can be controlling, materialistic, cynical, desperate, and even hostile. Chapman shows us how to take time for ourselves -- to figure out the exact traits we're looking for in a man to enable relationships to become learning experiences, not jumping-off points for developing resentment. She tells us how to evaluate potential partners so that we don't repeat the same mistakes. She also offers insightful and refreshing tips on how to meet and marry the man of our dreams.

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About the Author:

Audrey B. Chapman, a nationally recognized expert in male-female relationships, has appeared on Oprah, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Tavis Smiley. The host of the Audrey Chapman Show on WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C., she is also a therapist in private practice in Washington and the author of Getting Good Loving.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One: What Makes Sisters Want To Shout?

One Saturday afternoon a month, I attend my women's book club. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what we're reading, whether it's a novel or a self-help book, the conversation always drifts to the men in our lives.

One afternoon, we'd just finished talking about Yolanda Joe's He Say, She Say, a novel about black relationships that switches back and forth between the male and female characters' points of view. Reading about how differently the men and women viewed their relationships naturally got everyone thinking about their own situations.

"Gloria, that father really reminded me of your doggish boyfriend," said Lenore. "You know, the way he runs the streets and doesn't show up when he's supposed to half the time."

"Why are you being so hard on the brother?" retorted Gloria. "The man's just going through something!"

Sheena jumped right in: "They're always going through something! I'm sick of them! And I'm sick of sisters making excuses for their tired behavior."

"Nobody ever makes excuses for us sisters," Betti agreed. "And I think that's unfair."

"Who ever told you that life would be fair in the first place?" Hazel retorted.

"I've had some fairness in my life from some brothers," said Cassandra. "Problem is, just as I was starting to relax and enjoy it, they would always do something stupid."

"Like what, for instance?" asked Gloria.

"Like tell me that he'd just started working for some pyramid sales company and he'd be hanging out at the meetings, recruiting until about two in the morning," Cassandra explained.

Everyone roared with laughter.

"Girl, don't go for that," said Enid. "That's a highly unlikely story. Sounds to me like brotherman is just handing you a big, big lie."

"But I remember when one of our ex-club members, Jackie, was coming every month, complaining about being stood up," said Tess. "None of you ever pointed out to her that her misery was really because she chose to see a married man. No one except me ever told her that she was responsible for her own misery because she was dealing with a man who she knew was already committed."

"Why do you girls always have to talk about these men?" said Barbara. "We all know that they're hopeless. They're only good for three things: sex, carrying heavy loads, and good times. When are you all going to get smart and start taking care of yours?"

"All right, girls, I think we've gone beyond what we're here for," I cut in. "We're getting into deep water, and if we don't get back to this book, we're all going to leave here today with attitudes."

When black women share with me the stories of their frustrating love lives, they usually believe that they're telling me something new. Unfortunately, I hear similar tales of woe from virtually every new client. Over the years, I've observed that the defensive behaviors we adopt in order to live with our pain shape themselves around seven "attitudes."

Attitude One -- Rage:

"Don't even try to mess with me." "I'm angry and everybody's gonna get it!" The need to let off anger and sarcasm on any available target.

Attitude Two -- Control:

"Man, where were you last night?" The drive to control one's environment and the people in it.

Attitude Three -- Desperation:

"I'm gonna make you love me." The overwhelming need to be rescued and loved, at any cost.

Attitude Four -- Materialism:

"Ain't nothing going on but the rent." Filling an emotional void with the pursuit of platinum, BMWs, and Versace.

Attitude Five -- Mothering:

"Come to Momma, baby." The drive to nurture that masks a hidden demand to be nurtured oneself.

Attitude Six -- Shame:

"Without a man, I'm nothing." The humiliation of being single, alone in a world where everyone else seems to come in couples.

Attitude Seven -- Cynicism:

"All men are sorry." "Men ain't nothing but trouble." The insistence that all brothers are dogs and unfit for a loving, trusting, monogamous relationship.

I will explore each of these attitudes in greater detail in chapter 3.

These seven "deadly" attitudes get women through the night, so to speak, but they do not really ease the pain, and they certainly don't correct the fundamental problem. Keep in mind that whatever you put out into the world, you are certain to get back.

Once you are willing to confront the behaviors and attitudes that get you in trouble -- often without your even knowing it -- you won't need to be angry and you will no longer suffer that terrible pain. If your thinking is bound up in attitudes of fear, resentment, or cynicism, it is difficult to take a good, long, hard look at yourself. You're too busy blaming everyone else for your own mess. If you continue refusing to look within so you can examine how your own issues and decisions may be getting you into trouble, you won't change your beliefs or your patterns of behavior. In other words, you won't adjust your attitude so that when the right man does come along, you recognize him and choose to share with him a positive, loving relationship.

You may be shaking your head right now, wondering, what's the point? Is there any hope, any way out between the rock of black women's bad attitudes and the hard place of black men's bad behaviors? "Why bother to adjust my attitude?" you could be asking yourself. "A man won't change by wanting to love me anyway. What's the payoff?"

Let me assure you that the payoff for adjusting your attitude is well worth the trouble of taking a good, hard look within. Here are three good reasons you should make that adjustment:

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  • Personal self-understanding. One, if you are overwhelmed by bitterness and hostility, it doesn't matter how attractive you are, how educated, how religious, how beautifully dressed, how much money you have, or how exquisite your home. None of those externals will get you what you want -- even if one hundred Mr. Rights were to turn up on your doorstep -- if all those blessings are tainted by a sour, angry, desperate, or fearful attitude. Men are equipped with built-in radar for a bad attitude, and they will take any action to avoid it. More important, attitude is everything in life. It influences all aspects of your experience and plays a huge role in your choices and what happens to you. It's pretty miserable lugging around a crusty, hard attitude that colors every aspect of your day. That bad day becomes a week, then a month, a year, a decade, until, finally, your attitude has cast a pall over your entire life.
  • Living a happy life. Two, maintaining a negative attitude saps a lot of the energy you could be using to be more creative, productive, and even have more fun in your life.
  • Personal growth. Three, hanging on to a self-protective but self-defeating attitude suggests that just because you can't find the man you want, life is over, a done deal.


"It's Saturday Night and I Ain't Got Nobody"

As the host of The Audrey Chapman Show -- a weekly Saturday-morning radio program broadcast in Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; and Maryland -- I tackle virtually all the issues that come up between black women and men. About two years ago, we aired a show entitled "It's Saturday Night and I Ain't Got Nobody," after Wilson Pickett's classic tune. We didn't think much about it, except in terms of people being home alone on Saturday night, but as soon as we announced the morning's topic, the switchboard was flooded with calls. Most of my callers are usually women, but this time, the brothers were burning up the wires, eager to express shock and dismay that so many ladies were home alone on Saturday night. In fact, we received so many calls that we had to repeat the show the following week.

The women who called my show about Saturday-night dates expressed hurt, sadness, confusion, and anger, because they didn't have a clue about how to fill their long, empty, solitary weekends. Some of those women had dropped out of the social scene because they'd never been able to get past their confusion. They gave up because they couldn't grasp why they had kept on selecting certain types of men who never worked out for them, and they'd never taken time to consider what kind of man would actually have suited them better.

I wondered how many women actually had a clear idea of what kind of man they wanted to be with on Saturday or any other night of the week. Have you taken time to think about what traits you really want in a man? Good listener, honest, reliable, etc. Sometimes, a good place to begin getting clear about what you want in a man is to make a list of ten or more traits you know you definitely do not want. List those traits here:

Traits I Don't Want in a Man

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Now, you are ready to make up a list of ten or more traits you do want in a man:

Traits I Do Want in a Man

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

If your lists are too long for these pages, write them on a separate sheet of paper. Make sure to keep them handy. After you finish reading this book, check your lists again to see if you want to make any changes. Notice those changes. These lists will help provide you with a new awareness so that you can distinguish between what you think you want in a man and what traits are really best for you.

Making these lists will also help you to become more selective during the dating process. Immediately, you will recognize a man who seems to have the qualities that you desire.

It seems that more sisters than ever are singing the lonely-lady blues. Studies confirm that the numbers of unmarried black adults -- males and females -- is at an all-time high. A 1999 report put out by the Morehouse Research Institute, Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America, found that 70 percent of black children are now born to single black mothers. Linked to that dismal statistic is a divorce rate that is currently nearly twice as high in the black community as the white. According to Professor Larry Davis of the Research Institute, two out of every three black marriages end in divorce, compared to one in every two white marriages. In 1970, the U.S. Census Bureau found one unmarried couple living together for every one hundred households with married couples. Today, the Census Bureau reports that the figure has soared to eight unmarried partners for every one hundred who are married. Based on surveys conducted in 1997, the bureau states that "nearly 35 percent of Americans aged twenty-five to thirty-four have never been married. Among African-Americans, the figure is 54 percent." Other studies find that black women who divorce are unlikely to marry again.

So, Daddy's not at home. He's having children without getting married, or he's getting divorced twice as frequently as three decades ago, and the pool of single black women who will never marry is larger than ever before in American history. In other words, we now have the perfect situation to ignite widespread panic and desperation in black women of all ages. Even if a sister married at twenty years old or so and later divorced, by the time she hits her midforties, she's been "out there" for about two decades. By then, the pickings look mighty slim. Many men are in committed relationships, and some men are gay and don't relate to women romantically. Others relate only to women of other ethnic and racial groups. Yet another group has an addiction problem or is incarcerated, under- or unemployed, or has deep-seated issues about women that make them poor candidates for permanency.

All this sparks a second rush of desperation. "I'm getting older," a woman thinks. "Now there's even less to choose from!" No wonder so many black women are weighted down by a deep sense of hopelessness, frustration, and depression that's so often masked by the outward facade of an angry attitude. More often the anger is a protective defense to cover up sadness and deep longing.

Black women feel cheated. They want to build and sustain romantic relationships with black men, yet it looks to them as if the relatively few brothers who are "marriage material" resist this prospect in every way that they can. Some black women even believe that black men just don't like them. At the very least, they sense that many black men don't want to relate to them in a serious way and that brothers have virtually opted out of marriage and commitment.

The Sisters' Blues Ain't Like Everyone Else's

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), women are more susceptible to depression than men because they are less likely to feel in control of their lives and more likely to dwell on their problems. Unfortunately, more sisters are depressed than in other groups of women.

The National Mental Health Association states that almost 50 percent more black women experience depression than do women of other races. Studies also find that black women are more often subject to the many stress factors that lead to depression: poverty, sexual or physical abuse, discrimination, loss of employment, crime, violence, and the death of a loved one. Those findings are backed up by the March 6, 1999, issue of Advance Data, a publication put out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In his Washington Post column published January 19, 1999, titled "The Happiness Study," African-American writer Courtland Milloy cites the CDC's conclusion that black women experience "bad feelings" at a rate three times as high as white men. In fact, according to the CDC, black women are the least happy people in America.

Milloy writes that he was so shocked by these conclusions that he took to the streets to conduct his own informal survey to match his own data to the CDC's findings. After presenting the scientific findings to random sisters and receiving universal "So, what else is new?" reactions, one woman finally laid it out for Milloy: "Of course we are the most unhappy. We are women and we are black." Another woman worked with a team of black men at BET TV. She stated that the male workers there often dragged their heels, forcing the women to shoulder most of the workload. This made those sisters not only unhappy in love but also miserable throughout each day of the work week.

"Could it be that black women actually are being treated worse than any other group?" Milloy speculates. He then paraphrases an anon...

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Book Description Gallery Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 288 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.6in. x 0.8in.You know youre fine. Plus, you have a decent job, a nice place to live. Youre smart and ambitious. So, wheres your man Because youre so well pulled together and without a partner, you may have developed an attitude toward men. Believe it or not, men can sense what you think of them. For instance, when you meet a man do you evaluate him as a possible partner or do you think of him as a potential friend If you become open to him as a friend you may learn something from him that will forever enrich your life. Or he may ultimately become your lifelong partner or introduce you to him. The key is openness, and you cant be receptive to love when an attitude creates a barrier around you. Renowned relationship therapist Audrey B. Chapman identifies the subtle attitudes Black women harbor that prevent us from finding love and happiness. Without even knowing it we can be controlling, materialistic, cynical, desperate, and even hostile. Chapman shows us how to take time for ourselves -- to figure out the exact traits were looking for in a man to enable relationships to become learning experiences, not jumping-off points for developing resentment. She tells us how to evaluate potential partners so that we dont repeat the same mistakes. She also offers insightful and refreshing tips on how to meet and marry the man of our dreams. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780743406017

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