6 Ways To Prevent Men From Forcing Emotional Labor On You

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My fellow humans, we live in the Age of the Man-child. A man-child is a man who basically expects women to mommy him. When they’re not picking up after him, he expects women to console him and somehow magically raise his shattered self-esteem. You know the type.

It’s the guy who, when rejected, expects the woman to "owe him at least a consolation hug."

It’s the guy who, after saying something horrible to a woman, rants about how he’s unlucky and expects the girl to console him.

In short, the man-child is a species that’s an emotional black hole. They take, take and take, but they can’t give back for s***. This is because they don’t care. They’re the central character of their story, and everyone else is there for their backup.

Though these men seem to have no emotional intelligence or empathy, they are masters at manipulation.

Did you ever notice how quickly they can foist the responsibility of their emotional regulation onto you? I sure as h*** did. It’s time to make sure they stop that. Here’s how you can avoid being a man-child’s punching bag.

RELATED: 10 Signs Your Boyfriend Is An Immature Man-Child

Here are 6 ways to prevent men from forcing emotional labor on you:

1. Block them, ghost them, dump them, and don’t engage with them

The most effective way to make a man-child go away is to block and delete them from your life.

Don’t talk to them, don’t explain what they did wrong, and don’t engage with them. You owe them nothing, so give them nothing.

If you have discovered that you’re in a relationship with a man-child, make plans to leave the moment you see the warning signs — especially if he says things like "You deserved that because you XYZ."

Personally, I’ve cut off all the man-children in my life and haven’t looked back. Some haven’t even realized I cut them off.

If you refuse to engage, most man-children will back off. Those who don’t can usually get a restraining order.

Trust me when I say you don’t have to entertain or coddle these whiny men.

There are tons of men who don’t whine, have empathy, and can actually look after themselves. I ought to know, I befriended a ton of them and married one.

2. Tell him, "This isn’t my problem and I’m not here to boost your confidence"

I call this the broken record approach.

When guys whine in person, just keep saying, "This is not my problem," and "That’s not my job." If they ask you why you’re so mean, tell them, "I’m not here for you."

Run them in circles until they get bored or leave. A broken record is not as engaging as whiners think it will be.

If this is a public setting, make a point of getting away from him. The faster you leave, the more he’ll realize he can’t manipulate you.

If he pursues you in person or raises his voice, makes a scene. Man-children don’t respond to no, but they do respond to shame.

3. Remind him that he’s an adult and that he needs to fix his own mess

While I generally advise people to dump and ghost anyone who can’t carry their own weight, I understand drawing up divorce papers is not always easy.

If you have a guy who you want to try to work things out with, remind him that emotional labor isn’t women’s work — it’s being an adult.

I realize that emotional labor can also include chores that help maintain a home. This is where this trick comes into play.

If you see laundry on the floor, ask him, "Hey, what’s your problem? You’re an adult, pick up your stuff and stop foisting it on me."

If he tries to pull the "incompetent man" role, simply tell him that he’s not man enough to be an adult. And then leave.

Weaponized incompetence is a sign of disrespect for your time and effort. If he can’t carry himself on his own accord, he’ll never be a true partner to you.

RELATED: 21 Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse In Relationships

4. Say, "I’m not a martyr/your mother/a rehab place for broken men"

Among men in toxic masculinity circles, there’s this pervasive belief that women are there to constantly nurture them, pick up after them, and basically martyr themselves for the men in their lives. This is unfair, unnatural, and untrue.

Honestly, the best way to curb this is to say, "I’m not your mother, I’m not listening to you whine and ask for consolation." (Or something similar. It’s about fitting it to your situation.)

A lot of man-children seem to like to call women names for not putting up with their shit. The most common ones include "b****," "whore," "selfish," and "feminazi."

If they start slinging names, say, "Oh yeah, I’m a real b****. Cry me a river."

The less reward they get for their whining and pushing of chores on women, the less they’ll do it.

They want to see you backpedal. They want to see you fall into line. Don’t do it, and they’ll generally get the hint after you block them.

RELATED: 10 Undeniable Signs Of A Manipulative Man

5. Say, "That’s not attractive, and I’m done listening"

A lot of the time, guys think that the "wounded little bird" trope will make women soften up. They don’t realize that most women tolerate it because they were browbeat and socialized into being nice out of fear of retaliation.

Many man-children will hit the pause button if you cut off the conversation and then tell them that they’re being unattractive.

The less you react, the more likely it is they won’t try again.

RELATED: Where Are All The Grown Men? I'm Sick Of Dating Man-Children

6. You have to be cruel to be kind

Our society often feeds this sick and twisted narrative that the love of a woman (or the love of a human doormat) can fix men who have no emotional regulation to speak of. We say that love can fix any man and make them happy.

This is a bald-faced lie. In fact, I’d say it’s the Big Lie of Relationships.

Contrary to popular belief, love does not fix everything, and being in a relationship/getting laid does not make things feel all better.

The truth is, this lie is promoted by predators who want to take advantage of others’ kind hearts. A man who can’t regulate his emotions, clean after himself, and act like a caring being isn’t going to get fixed by the caring of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

He will emotionally burden, browbeat and consume that girl till there’s nothing left. While we are never supposed to say this part out loud, the truth is that some people are just too mentally ill or too morally bereft to help.

RELATED: 5 Subtle Ways Controlling Partners Disguise Their True Selves

You can’t always love someone into being a decent person, nor should you always try.

It will hurt you more than it helps them. The only way that people who behave this way will ever learn to evolve is to deny them any type of reward for their s***ty behavior. At times, retaliation and punishment can help them realize they’re out of bounds.

But bending to their will? It only rewards them. By being "uncaring" and cold to guys who demand emotional labor from women, you’re actually letting them know it’s time to evolve.

The need for character development is large, and showing them that they need to develop can be the most caring gesture ever in the long term.

So yeah, don’t feel bad about looking out for yourself. Don’t feel bad about cold-shouldering guys who are too weak and broken to fix. That’s something they have to work on themselves. Your job is to work on yourself and help those who are there for you.

RELATED: 7 Subtly Brilliant Ways To Get A Man To Do Anything You Want

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.