Why Did Nancy Garrido Help Kidnap Jaycee Dugard?

jaycee-dugard-4Jaycee Dugard told Diane Sawyer in an ABC interview that after kidnapping her, Nancy Garrido was intensely jealous. So why did she do it? Beyond the question of how she could commit such an atrocious crime, I’d like to focus on why Nancy Garrido made herself miserable by actively acquiring a sexual rival.

I don’t know the specifics of why. Nancy clearly wanted to please her spouse, even if that entailed personal anguish. But in asking why Garrido assisted in her own torment, we might as well ask why women too often stay in distressing, and even abusive relationships, in some ways imitating her – if on a lesser scale.

Everyday women mimicking Garrido?

In one section of Why Women Have Sex, psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss talk of women reluctantly agreeing to bring other women into their relationships in order to keep their men. As one put it:

Right now, the guy I am with is into swinging. I am not comfortable with that lifestyle… I just pretend he is my master and I am to follow his every command and it makes it easier for me to get through the night… He keeps asking me to have a threesome with my best friend and I keep acting like it is okay, but I am dreading it.

Others tolerate the incest that partners inflict upon their children. Some endure marital or relationship rape and battering.

That’s quite a range. But all of these women are allowing their hearts and souls to be hurt, and sometimes they are letting others be harmed, as well.

Why?

They may feel they love these men. More than they love themselves – or anyone else for that matter. A sick sort of love swimming in injury.

They may think they have no better options. They don’t deserve much and can’t expect better. They aren’t lovable or attractive enough, or they can’t survive on their own. They can’t find a better man. And their partners willingly prop up the downbeat assessments. And so they desperately try to please, and appease, their men in hopes of gaining love.

Poor self-esteem anchors their submission.

But they also hold their own sex in low regard. Women who endure pain to give their men pleasure see men as better-than and more deserving than women. And so they sacrifice so their men may have all.

Some stay in relationships due to “sunk costs.” Having invested so much – emotion, all of the work gone through to create only small changes in partners, resources – they can’t bear to give it all up with nothing to show.

But if we’ve learned something is the cost really sunk? We could take what we’ve learned and move on.

For whatever reason, too many women don’t realize they don’t have to put up with crap.

Too bad Nancy Garrido never figured that out.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 22, 2011, in feminism, gender, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think a big clue is that she met Phillip as an inmate while she was visiting an Uncle in prison. . . It’s a certain kind of woman with low self-esteem who gets married to a convict–in prison for drugs and rape.

  2. It’s a puzzle. There’s also Melissa Huckaby, who raped, with an object, and then killed 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

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