Lover identity is a person’s entire relational ideology and being. It’s a key concept in life and love.
Here are the five toxic, reactionary lover identities I found in my research with Black women:
Main Chick – You are a leader. You run the show. You are an overachiever and accustomed to the finer things in life. Although it’s not your preference, you don’t mind being out in front. You like titles. You want credit for services rendered. You are responsible. You keep up appearances. You keep a man in your life at all times. You can be very judgmental and controlling.
Side Chick – You are in want of attention, affection, and affirmation. You are desirous of time and energy from outside yourself (preferably from a man). You see yourself as deprived of gifts, great sex, and good times. Your desires are heightened and often the center of your attention.
Bonnie – You are a ride-or-die chick. You believe in standing up for your man and standing in for him too. Men take advantage of your work ethic, your grind, your resources, your enterprising energy, your kindness, and your blindness. (Then again, you offer these things freely.) You stomach abuse and see it as a part of the process (toward winning the admiration, and devotion, of your Clyde).
Bitch – You are angry, defensive, brash, and caustic. You yell at people in your head and in your life. You stand up for yourself, even if it means standing on others. You can be profane, argumentative, and fiercely protective. You tell it like it is. You can be very sarcastic. You are hardened, doubtful, negative, and non-believing. You are rolling your eyes at this description.
Victim – You are the trickiest lover. Because of the abuse and trauma you’ve suffered you are both desperate for attachment and also eager to avoid it. You are either meek, mild, timid, and unsure, OR, you are cunning, deceitful, evasive, and slick. You are stuck in survival mode. People have to prove themselves to you, even though there is no way to win your authentic approval. You don’t really approve of anyone. You think everyone is out to get you. You think everyone has left you out. You abandon yourself frequently. You do not know how to set boundaries. You use absolute, negating language and you’re never wrong. You suffer relentlessly. You don’t apologize. You play the martyr. In love you always win and always lose, simultaneously.
If you embody one or more of these lover identities, you need to know. Today.
I believe you must learn your lover identity as well as you know your racial, gender, sexuality, and class identities. Why? Because knowledge of your lover identity communicates how you relate to your Self, Others, and the Community. Lover identities reveal considerable information about the extent to which social, cultural, relational, emotional, and physical terrors are entrenched, and forming effects, within your spirit, soul, and flesh/body.
Your lover identity is enlivened and activated in bedrooms, boardrooms, schools, hospitals, libraries, nightclubs, construction sites, homeless shelters, parks, and any other place you can think of. It’s enacted with anyone you can imagine because your lover identity is your entire relational ideology and being.
Your lover identity reflects how you do love. It presents how you understand love. It reveals how you give love. It also shows the extent to which you believe in and are available to receive love.
As a result, it is crucial to know your lover identity for yourself and grasp fully how your lover identity is affected by, and operationalized in, your world.
That said, lover identity is also a key concept in justice consciousness and justice movements.
Your lover identity can tell you how supremacist patriarchies have done (and are doing) their work in your world (your private, personal space of individual consciousness and lived experiences). Your lover identity can also tell you how supremacist patriarchies have done (and are doing) work in our World (our public, passable space of collective consciousness and lived experiences).
…by pointing to and revealing the psychological, emotional, and somatic rhetoric, tenor, and texture of your Self. It shows you how the voices and stories of each part of your Self (i.e. your fragmented selves) are forming reactionary and complementary bonds with supremacist patriarchal ideologies and enactments.
In other words…
Your lover identity can show you how you are (or are not) agreeing with your oppression.
It shows you how you are being socially, relationally, culturally, and physically neglected, violated, oppressed, abused, maligned, and erased…terrorized.* It also shows you how you do terror to yourself and to other people. Each of us does terror by forming caustic, deleterious belief systems; violent, continual discourse refrains; acquired, heightened survival programs; a complex and entrenched pain body (Tolle); a multifaceted shadow effect (Chopra; Ford); suppressive, alienating avoidant behaviors; crippling co-dependencies; and other restrictive, affiliate, negating structures.
It’s vitally important to make conscious this subconscious undercurrent driving your life because, if you do not know it, it IS driving your life.
When you DO know how, when, and why these things are happening, you can actively decide to take back your lover identity and reconstruct it as supernatural ontological icon (both in Self and as Self).
That’s Supreme Lover Identity.
Yes, you really can do this.
Yes, you really can be this.
You can use your knowledge of terrors to grow your lover identity intentionally and concomitantly. You can do this so that your lover identity gets built in relation to radically loving, inclusive, empowered endarkened, feminist epistemologies.
Believe me. This is the best type of love.
So, by now, you may be asking yourself: What does “taking back” my lover identity depend on? It sounds strange…maybe risky? What might happen if I do this?
Taking back your lover identities depends on a nuanced understanding of the ways supremacist patriarchal ideologies and enactments manifest in your life and society. You’ve got to understand how they show up not only in your social, legal, and educational systems, but also (and, perhaps, more importantly), in your personal and relational systems. Supreme Lover Identity gives access to ranges of consciousness, particularly consciousness in our being Servant.Goddess.Queen. This access includes all the energy and power that comes with that being.
This access is exactly what you want. It’s exactly what you need.
Through Supreme Lover Identity, you can become aware of the elusive, slippery, scope of supremacist patriarchal ideologies and enactments. This happens by outing supremacist patriarchies’ reach and effects within Self, in Others, and in Community/Society. When such terrorizing revelations happen, counter revelations, and actualizations can also take shape. Then, a woman can rule her kingdom, and, by doing that, she can heal the world.
*For the record, lover identity doesn’t only reveal terror. Learning lover identity can also show us how we can be being socially, relationally, culturally, and physically cared for, blessed, appreciated, respected, adored, pleased, titillated, regarded, energized, healed, saved, made safe, and whole.
Be in touch. I can show you how to be a Supreme Lover.
Jeanine Staples is Associate Professor of Literacy and Language & African American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her book, The Revelations of Asher: Toward Supreme Love in Self, is an endarkened, feminist, new literacies event (Peter Lang, spring 2016). In it, she explores Black women’s terror in love. She produces research-based courses and methodologies that enable marginalized girls and women to realize internal revelations that fuel external revolutions.
Dr. Staples’ next book details the evolution of her acclaimed undergraduate course, The Philadelphia Urban Seminar. In it, she explores Supreme Love in schools. She shows how she generates curriculum and methodologies that incite anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist pedagogical stances among teachers interested in urban education and equity for all people in schools and society.