Slow death on two legs.

Sure, there may be a male variety, but the female variety is the course of study in today's class. We're not misogynists here. We're students of the game of life.

There is a broader definition of the black widow which makes her out to be the kind of villain that kills her mate, mimicking the behavior of the spider of the same name. The true black widow is a more dangerous creature. A wounded image of beauty that needs to feel love and caring and yet rejects it when it becomes too close to bear.

All You Need Is Love?

Most of us will admit, at least to ourselves, that we need to be loved and to feel wanted. The world is otherwise a very cold place. The black widow has those needs as well, but the wounds cause her to react differently. Usually there are men from the past who caused her great pain and trauma. Many black widows were molested or raped as children. Others were in abusive relationships in their younger days. The causes come from a wide array of painful and emotionally devastating sources.

Why then won't she allow herself to be loved? Not all women with such pasts become black widows. The emotional make-up of the individual impacts their development and how they handle these traumas. The black widow develops defense mechanisms to keep her from being hurt again. It is the emotional pain she seeks to avoid at all costs. She will allow herself to be loved. She will allowed herself to be cared for. She will only strike when she begins to find herself emotionally attached to the man in question.

The Panic of Attachment

Emotional attachment and the stirrings of love cause the black widow to panic. It is all too dangerous, even if she is certain the man in question would never harm her in the ways she has been hurt in the past. The loss of emotional control is dangerous. The potential pain that could come with losing this person once the attachment forms is too much to consider. The walls go up. The barricades are erected. The defenses take whatever form necessary to wound and drive away what has now become a threat to internal security.

You are suddenly left holding the bag and you don't know why. Yesterday everything was so beautiful. The calm before the storm presents itself in confessions and her heart opens like a flower. If you have penetrated the fortress she will tell you everything, opening herself and letting you see how much she needs you, but she masks the deeper pain. She might even ask you to promise you will never give up on her. The next day you will find yourself outside a strengthened fortress with fully armed weapons of mass destruction. There is now a bullseye on your chest and you must be eliminated at all costs. The fear makes her feel very small and so she must make you smaller to defend herself. The inner dragon drives her now. You got too close and now you must pay the price.

The Anticipation of Regret

The black widow regrets everything she does before it happens. Yet she convinces herself it must be done. This is not a twisted, evil creature. This is a woman who cannot reconcile her pain with feelings of love for another human being. She loved those who hurt her in the past. She trusted them. She will clutch the memories of the time you had and escape out the back door. It is possible she might just disappear, but more likely she will drive you off instead. Harsh words will come. Threats and accusations will be thrown in your direction. Your very essence will bear the full brunt of the hurricane she has become. She knows your weak points and attacks them with impunity. "Leave me alone!" And yet you will likely have no idea why she is acting this way. You try to apologize and understand. In doing so you become weaker and thus an easier target for her rage. She will attack you with the anger she feels towards all men and especially those who wounded her in the past. She surrenders herself to the defenses. They have convinced her they know what is best.

Respect Yourself

What you must understand to survive is that none of this is meant for you. There is only one recourse. You must walk away first. In doing so you may validate her belief that no one would ever be willing to stay. However, in most cases, you lose her respect by standing in the line of fire and taking her barrage of psychotic insults and humiliations.

Then you must decide if you are truly willing to stand by her and help her. She is not emotionally healthy and you must realize this. There is a path you can follow, either out of her life or parallel to it. The only way to help her is to keep step. You must reassure her without knowing where to start. You must prove that you respect yourself and that you are confident enough to handle the possibility of losing her forever. "I love you and I care about you, but I will not take your shit. Good-bye." Practice those words in front of the mirror. You'll need them.

Identification and Certification

The operational methods of black widows vary with the subject. Some will utilize liquor or drugs to accentuate the pain and enable them to act freely with fewer reservations. Their behavior is often self-destructive with little or no consideration for the future. They may be focused on future goals with tunnel vision. There are things that are important to them. Identify those things and you will know what brings them peace as well as what intensifies their suffering. The alcoholic black widow only finds peace at the bottom of a bottle. Some varieties may find peace in more productive ways. Others have taken to enjoying their special power to consume and destroy men in quantity. "It is so much fun to watch them cry when I tell them to get the fuck out."

The Danger of Commitment

If you are truly in this for the long haul you will need your own arsenal, but you cannot use it to hurt her, only to defend yourself. At the onset she will appear very needy and fragile. That will change outwardly, but her sudden ambivalence comes from greater fragility. She doesn't usually realize it and neither do you, but she is testing you. She is waiting for you to prove to her a series of things that she herself cannot define. Believe in yourself and once again, always be willing to walk away. Never let another person abuse you, either physically or emotionally. Prepare yourself for the day the dam finally bursts because if and when it does, you will be caught in a flood of emotions. When the last line of defense falls there will be a lot of healing to be done. The wounds run deep and they never stop bleeding.

Obligatory Lyrics Section

(she claims)
Blood in the streets,
on the river of sadness.
(she claims)
Blood in the streets,
it's up to my thigh.
(she claims)
Yeah the river runs red,
down the length of the city,
(she claims)
The women all cry and the river is weeping.

She came to town and then she drove away
Sunlight in her hair

Lyrics from "Peace Frog" by The Doors
Written by Jim Morrison
(Who knows your deepest secret fear)