Pissed Off Pontification: If You Can’t Handle Me At My Worst Then Get The Hell Out Of Here

I remember seeing this quote on a lot of women’s Facebook pages as I went through college and not thinking much of it.  I figured, “They want to be appreciated as they are.  How nice.”  But over the years, I’ve kept quiet about this famous quote and now want to unleash the beast onto this calamity that’s out of control.  What quote could have me this up in arms?

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
— Marilyn Monroe

I’d be willing to bet that this quote is on roughly 500,000 different Facebook pages at the very least and likely used in a truncated version on another 250,000 Twitter accounts.  Monroe, who by all accounts is one of history’s great thinkers, has some serious staying power with this blurb.  What’s the big problem,  you ask?  This sentiment is way too dangerous when folks think they can get loose and if their man can’t handle it, he doesn’t deserve her at her best.

I get what the great Monroe was thinking.  She will make errors and would appreciate it if her significant other wouldn’t hold those mistakes against her or lord them over her head.  But she was also Marilyn Monroe.  Y’all ain’t Marilyn Monroe.  If you get out of control and loose as some sort of test to see if your man CAN handle you and use this quote as your rationale, you are messing up.  Moreover, if you think that a true partner can act wild and that his/her significant other should stick by, then perhaps your idea of a healthy relationship needs to change.

But I’m missing the main point right now, which is that if Monroe the Great gets to put this idea out, let’s see what happens in this scenario:

A young man has a great relationship with his girlfriend normally.  He’s loving, caring, attentive, and responsive.  He anticipates her needs because he knows her so well.  They share in each others activities, she is caring and responsive to his needs and they generally have fun together.  The problem is sometimes he gets a little mad and has punched walls and doors and couches.  She gets scared during these moments and tries to get out of his path, in case he’s seeing red and “accidentally” treats her like one of the walls.

We’d tell the woman to either try to get him help for his anger management issues or to get out of there before he starts beating on her.  I’d suggest that’s the right way to go, given a situation such as this.  The problem?  When the guy gets mad and violent, it’s him at his worse.  He’s making mistakes, he’s out of control, and he’s certainly hard to handle. The girlfriend is struggling to deal with him at his worst, and the argument from Monroe is if you can’t handle the person at their worst then you don’t deserve the person at their best.  When he’s at his best, he’s one of the best boyfriends in the world.  Given what Monroe has argued, what do we make of the situation?

How about this one: he does begin hitting the woman, getting to a new low and a worst of the worst.  He’s still exhibiting all of the trademark signs that Monroe said – out of control, hard to handle, certainly insecure and selfish.  He’s still amazing at his best, however.  The poor woman can’t handle him at his worst, so she doesn’t deserve him at his best, right?  What does she deserve from him – more beatings?  This is where the quotation gets dangerous – if you can’t handle me at my worst (and my worst can be potentially vicious), then apparently you don’t deserve the full power of love I can give.  What exactly do you deserve then?  More than that, what does this mean for the person who has to go through my vicious worst so that I know that person deserves my best?

When misinterpreted, this quotation gives people unnecessary leeway to test their partners to see if they can stand up to the heat.  “If they can’t stand my heat,” the proud misinterpreter says, “then they can get the hell out of my kitchen because they don’t deserve the dinner.”  Already the relationship is starting from an unhealthy spot, wherein there’s an exam being proctored that the partner likely doesn’t know about.  Sure, one might say that partners are always testing each other’s limits to see how far they can push each other.  I did that with my parents to see how much I could do without getting into trouble (because parents are near omnipresent and omniscient when you’re a kid), but it makes no sense to test one’s partner to see if they can handle your bullshit.  Monroe the Great wasn’t advocating for testing one’s partner, just for acceptance of one’s humanity.  If you can’t handle that I will not be perfect, then no, you don’t deserve my best.  But if you think this means you get to test somebody’s patience as a means of gauging how “strong” they are and if they deserve your goodness because they endured your badness, then you need to get out of your own damn kitchen.

21 thoughts on “Pissed Off Pontification: If You Can’t Handle Me At My Worst Then Get The Hell Out Of Here

  1. Johna63 says:

    I got what you intend, thankyou for putting up.Woh I am lucky to find this website through google. Being intelligent is not a felony, but most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor. by Lazarus Long. fdcggfeekaae

  2. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend a while learning more or figuring out more. Thanks for great information I was searching for this information for my mission.

  3. Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

  4. Everyone has baggage true, but how much are you worth putting up with? I contend there is a saturation point of love. At some people of being loved, you can;t be loved any more and excess love is irrelevant. Baggage on the other hand has a much higher saturation point

    frankly my real issue with this quote is how many idiotic girls post it that lack much in the way of redeeming qualities and think a goofy quote qill validate them

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well put and I agree with you. The first person that replied does have it slightly twisted. A good number of people are unaware of what it means but thinks it sounds cool. The others don’t think of it as a truly, bonafide confession of being imperfect. They think they can act as they want at will and expect someone to put up with it.

  6. Jordan says:

    Agreed that the quote is often misinterpreted, mainly by you on this one though. Its about bipolar disorder, which I personally have. Most people aren’t interested in the downs but absolutely love you on the highs. Tears of a clown , blah blah.

  7. Lena says:

    So, I get what you are saying which is to take the quote to what extent its worth. Im just guessing here that most women may be like me, where im “damaged” from a previous relationship and struggle with the new one.. So my guess/translation to this is that if your significant other cant stick by and help you through the issues you may have then they dont deserve the best you.

    • Everybody carries baggage from the past – one question I have is how much is it on your partner to support you through your issues and how much is it on the person with issues to actively confront them and heal? Healing takes support, no doubt, but healing (like quitting a substance) starts with the damaged person confronting their pain and acknowledging their damage. On a slippery slope, the damaged people could always use this as a test still for support – if you aren’t there for me like I expect you to be, then you don’t deserve the best me. I suppose another question could be why don’t we just lead with the best us possible and lower it as needed (like everybody starts with an A and it drops throughout the year or they maintain the average) as opposed to everybody starts with a F and has to build it up?

  8. twintigress says:

    you know what, i have seen this quote from a friend and i was thinking the same way as you do. of course, all of us has his own flaws and hang-ups in life. we all fall short to that word “perfection” and we long to be accepted and loved by the people we care about. it could be some rough edges on the persons character, or something to do with the past that he/she is not happy about. but to what extent does this quote apply to. i totally agree with you when you said that it is dangerous to have this kind of rationale in our mind when a persons worst equates to his/her being a liar, cheater, emotionally/physically abuser, manipulator etc… it also can be an excuse to justify an unhealthy behavior towards a relationship. there is a certain degree you can handle a persons worst, but not to the extent that you lose your self/respect just to win his/her “best”.

  9. kaesar says:

    i saw a quite a clever play on the quote, which was in reference to body building
    but doubt its relevance to the issue at hand here. il have a go aye,

    “I’m god like, tolerant and a little egotistical. I never make mistakes, im always control and at times hard to believe, due to my greatness. But if you can’t handle me at my best, go cry into a marilyn munroe quote, bitch”

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