Everyone’s been calling Khloe Kardashian a ride-or-die chick ever since the news broke out that she's still technically married to recuperating former NBA star, Lamar Odom. At a book-signing event in Hollywood Monday night, Kardashian said she was with Odom for reasons other than romance, insisting she is still dating Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden. But a lot of people can't understand how someone can stick by a man's side who not only has a serious addiction to drugs but was found unconscious inside of a brothel.
The same way a lot of folks couldn't understand why Karrueche Tran kept taking Chris Brown back even when he was cheating and leaving her for Rihanna. But the idea of a woman holding it down for their partner no matter what hasn't gone away. The problem though, is standing by your man despite his dysfunctions can you set you on a dangerous path toward abuse.
"The ride-or-die chick mentality is a fantasized idea concocted by men to make it sound appealing," says psychologist Dr. Cristy Lopez. "It is an attempt to present it in a way that covers up what it is actually requiring, which is for women to take abuse."
Young women even take pride in calling themselves a ride-or-die or chick because they believe it suggests loyalty. But the phrase doesn't just mean staying with your partner for better or for worse, through sickness and through health. It means staying by him no matter what he does or what happens, even if it means always having to put yourself second. But that's when things start to get toxic.
And unfortunately, we still see this mentality being praised within the Latino community today because of its machismo roots.
"In the Latino community, there's been this longstanding cultural and religious idea about women being loyal and submissive," says Lopez. “Maybe your grandma or tia stayed and that's the kind of mentality that sets you up for abuse."
Though the woman is the one being glorified and many times even encouraged by others with the same mentality for her loyalty, she's the one who often comes out losing, while the man reaps all the benefits of having a woman who's going to stick it out through thick and thin. Without even knowing it, she molds herself into the woman he wants her to be. We see this a lot with the "cool girl fantasy" as well, that may not appear as abusive. She's the woman who never complains, never nags, never expects her man to change, and always stays by him even if her needs aren't being met.
Lopez stresses on how being sucked into this kind of dynamic can impact a woman's self-esteem and why many times women stay.
"My ex was caught in some legal stuff with drinking and driving and, even though he eventually got himself out of it all, it did really impact us," Dominique Tueré Dodson, a 26-year-old from Nyack, New York says. "I was depressed the four months he was in jail and couldn't get over those feelings of abandonment."
Dodson, who supported her then boyfriend while he was in jail and even after, eventually felt exhausted by it all. She was there for him, his family, but felt like her own needs weren't being met.
"I just felt like I couldn't leave him. I needed to stay loyal but I wound up losing myself in the process," she says. That's when she realized she needed to end things."There's a lot of manipulation that goes on here," says Lopez. “If you're being praised and told you're a tough chick or how cool you are for never leaving them, that impacts what you believe about yourself and who you think you're supposed to be."
And if you're constantly self-sacrificing and putting that person's needs before your own, you can easily get caught up and lose yourself. The ride-or-die mentality applies many times for women who stick by a man struggling with addiction.
Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy and sometimes it takes outside help to really get out.
"It's not easy, especially if you're not getting support from family or friends," says Lopez. This is the time to seek professional help to help you learn how to surround yourself with what's positive and healthy for you versus people that are pulling you down into that toxic victim role."