Courtney Gets the Rose. Ben Gets the Headaches for Years to Come!

March 16, 2012

This week was the season finale on The Bachelor where a single guy dates over 20 women at the same time and finally ends up rejecting all but one in the final rose ceremony where he gets down on bended knee and asks the one to marry him.  The blogs are all atwitter about the girl that was chosen as Bachelor Ben’s the one this week. The public hated her because she was mean to the other women, charming beyond belief to Ben, sexually manipulative, and we all just wanted Ben to “get” it like we were “getting” it.  Come on Ben! Wake up! We wanted to reach through our TV screens to shake him out of his denial.

One particular blog I read this week was written by a female writer who uses the same excuse I do to watch reality TV. An opportunity to watch human behavior, one of my favorite things to do.  This blogger compared her own behaviors in her younger dating life to Courtney’s manipulative ways to get Ben. She suggests that Courtney has deep emotional wounds. Probably true. And that after seeing herself on television, she reflected on her behavior and actually felt remorse. Arghhhhhhhhh! She’s not like you! You’re missing the point.

“ I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I watched “After the Final Rose,” and I think she is actually feeling remorse about her behavior. I get the feeling she has recognized, after seeing herself on film, that she may have some issues to deal with and needs to make some major changes in her life … And I hope she does. Usually, the only way we CAN change is through painful experiences and mistakes (which oftentimes, we don’t realize are mistakes until way down the road). But again, most of us don’t make our mistakes on national television.”

I, too, believe that Courtney has deep emotional wounds but I disagree that she self-reflected after seeing herself on tv. Her behavior pattern throughout the show displayed the characteristics of a high-conflict personality.  In It’s All Your Fault!  12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything, Bill Eddy lists the characteristics of four types of high-conflict personalities. Regardless of the type, all four display a pattern of behavior that should let us know that we are dealing with something different from the norm. We saw those patterns and particularly the pattern of a con-artist. Lack of true remorse. Always the victim. Charming to some and mean to others.

Courtney portrayed herself as a victim in every single episode. The women were out to get here. Her old flames had wronged her. Always the victim. As Bill points out in the Fault book, some HCPs want something from you and will say whatever it takes to get it. We naturally want to believe someone who has been victimized but we need to remain skeptical when everyone else is being painted as an evil monster.

Courtney wanted to dominate the women in the show and I believe it’s because she is driven by a fear of being dominated. She had a high disregard for the women and the basic social rules that most of us live by. Because of her fear of being dominated, her brain tells her to connive and deceive to get what she wants, and we did see plenty of that from her.  These are all hallmarks of a high-conflict personality. Read Chapter 6 of the Fault book if you want my take on the personality characteristics she exhibits.

The million dollar question is why would a man pick her in the first place? And why, after watching all episodes of the show himself, did Ben choose to ignore her behaviors and give her the engagement ring anyway? It’s because he’s been deceived by her charm, her looks, her sexuality, but more importantly, and pay close attention to this, his expectations from the beginning were skewed. We don’t expect someone to lie to get what they want. We do expect that people start from a place of “normal”. Unfortunately, HCPs do not. They have a different operating system. You could say that their operating system is a Mac and a “normal” person’s system is a PC (or vise versa) . Get my point?

Ben, if he sticks with her, will defend her to his family and friends as his life goes into the high-conflict cycle. He will eventually find that most of his energy is spent trying to understand her and out-think her. She lies more persuasively than he can tell the truth. Trying to figure her out will exhaust him.  He will continue trying to believe that she was remorseful for her past behavior, but his mind and gut will give him conflicting messages. Eventually, he will feel trapped to a higher degree than other people feel trapped in their relationships and he won’t have an easy way out.

I hope I’m wrong. Years of studying high-conflict personalities and training people all over the world about them tells me I’m probably not wrong. I’ve been on the other end of the phone call from people trapped in a relationship with this personality type. Their lives are hell. Although I have empathy for Courtney and believe to my core that she does not even know she’s this way, the likelihood that she will be able to self-reflect and change is very small.

Back to the blogger. Unfortunately, her expectations about people are like Ben. Her baseline is that all people have the ability to self-reflect and have remorse. In Courtney’s case, her self-reflection and remorse were more than likely a manufactured attempt to keep Ben “hooked”. Sad, but probably true.

About Unhooked Books
unHooked Books is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. We’re not just an online bookstore. I opened unHooked Books after seeing a need for one place for people to find the best and most current information available on personality disorders and borderline personality disorder in particular, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. After 15 years in divorce and child support law in a county prosecutor’s office and the Arizona Supreme Court, I co-founded High Conflict Institute which helps people in high-conflict disputes of any kind. This bookstore stemmed from the needs of the people who contacted us out of desperation. Our books are written by people who are experts in their fields. I’ve personally met and worked with most of them, and those who I haven’t met, come highly recommended by those whom I have met. Enjoy perusing our bookstore and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by!Megan Hunter
unHooked Books

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