Advantage Denton

March 1, 2011

Bum Magnets

Filed under: Melissa Denton Posts — Melissa Denton @ 3:51 pm

Melissa DentonA Bum Magnet is a person who finds herself or himself repeatedly in relationships with abusive “user” romantic partners. The Magnet is usually a fine “normal” functioning person who does come to realize the error they made in choosing a partner and they take steps to fix the problem. Steps like hiring me.

Let me hasten to point out that most of my clients are not “Bum Magnets” and most of the opposing parties are not “Bums”. I am talking about only the fairly small percentage of folks who have engaged in repeated relationships where other persons take fairly severe advantage of them.

Bums are usually of the unaware, bumbling, variety. They are clever at starting up relationships with the useful sort of target, but they see themselves as the victim and have greater psychological disfunction than the victim does. A class I went to on perpetrators of domestic violence called these individuals “junk yard dogs” as juxtaposed with psychopath “snakes” who are intentionally evil.

Believe me, if I can tell that you are a Bum Magnet, you smell plenty fine from very far off to the Bums who will next be attracted to you. Part of being a Bum Magnet includes being insecure in some fundamental ways, even though most such folk look and function entirely competently in the bigger world. Another part of being a Bum Magnet relates to having a need to take care of and “fix” other people. Bums instinctively know exactly how to seduce Bum Magnets by acting like an ideal relationship partner for long enough to get a committed relationship.

While it is the main part of my job to extricate people as painlessly and inexpensively as possible from their current set of troubles, I seriously do want to be instrumental in setting my clients up for future success. I try to help people get fixed up so they don’t need me any more. (Just as a good doctor will try to get you all healthy so you don’t need more medicine or appointments.) One thing I do is model how to be strong and assertive with good communication skills. For Bum Magnets, particularly, one of the first things I always encourage is getting help from a good mental health counselor.

It is likely that the mental health professionals have a nicer term to use than “Bum Magnet”, but I doubt that their term is more descriptive. The way I envision the counselor helping the Magnet is to help him or her figure out what behaviors and attitudes cause them to smell so attractive to Bums. I hope that counseling will help my client with role playing and other tools to learn how to quickly get away from Bums and how to repel them before they ever approach. I hope that this help results in benefits for my client’s children so they won’t be Bum Magnets.

I am writing about this concept because I think it is interesting and it seems helpful when I talk with some family law clients about it. Probably, the basic concept of a Bum Magnet can be expanded to any “normal/nice” person who has repeated negative interactions being targeted by Bums, in work, play or other venues. Although it is not good for repeat business to help “cure” Bum Magnets, it sure is the right thing to help them have a better life.

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