Why Did Kat Von D and Jesse James Break Up? A Look At the Psychology of the Bad Boy and How Women Get Sucked In

I came across this headline the other day “Why Did Kat Von D Tattoo Jesse James’ Face on Her Body?” Wow, good question! You would think that someone who makes their living as a tattoo artist would know that tattooing someone’s name or face on your body is considered bad luck. Tattooing someone’s PII on your person is never a good idea. As a child, I couldn’t help but wonder why my uncle had “Nancy” tattooed across his arm when he was married to my Aunt Helen…

After I was done rolling my eyes at the headline, I was compelled to read the article, why would a talented and well-known tattoo artist like Kat Von D walk right into this well-known curse?

Apparently, her tattoo of James is an image of him as a child. Of the tattoo, Von D explains,

He had a rough childhood, so to see what he’s become from there, it’s amazing. That’s why I wanted the picture of him as a child, to capture that certain innocence. It was good having him beside me while we finished. The tattoo is a way of him recognizing somebody loves him.” Uh huh…

Let’s pick that apart, shall we? So, she sees the innocence in him. Many an unlucky lady have been lured in by the glimmer of goodness that bad boys exhibit from time to time. So what did she see in him? Let’s see multiple divorces, a porn star ex-wife who’s in prison, cheated on his last wife with a white supremacist, has no respect for the environment (he was caught selling bikes that emitted 10 times more than the legal limit of carbon emissions in the state of California), what’s not to love? For Von D to “capture that certain innocence,” she had to go as far back as this guy’s childhood to find it…that’s never a good sign.

I believe Von D when she says he had a bad childhood. Part of the bad boy’s appeal is their wounded soul. Bad boys aren’t usually born, but made. Their back stories are often tragic and full of incidents that took place in households laced with drugs, abuse, and neglect. They are not bad all the time. They are like fireflies, showing a glimmer of light, for only a moment before fading back into the darkness. When they show a woman their wounds, even if only for a moment, it peeks her curiosity. Now that she has seen into his soul, she thinks she has him all figured out. The fact that he has shared his pain with her makes her feel special; he let her see past his tough facade and shared with her a fleeting and painful diatribe.

Now, she thinks that he likes her, that he has been keeping this pain inside all these years and has finally decided to talk about it with her of all people! She thinks she’s hit the jackpot! In her mind this honesty is all a sign that his bad boy ways are on their way out. All this causes her to go on a mission; surely there is a kind and loving person behind this notoriously unfaithful man? She has seen him!

Von D then goes as far to say “The tattoo is a way of him recognizing somebody loves him.” Ah, another bad boy tactic. With a bad boy it is always “poor me, nobody loves me and that lack of affection has clearly driven me to the destructive behavior I’ve been exhibiting…for the past three decades…” You see, even when a bad boy cheats on you, he will find a way to feel sorry for himself and make himself the victim of the situation (because you’re the one who left him after you found out, right?). His biggest fault among many may be that he is a card carrying Victim of Victim Mentality.

It is easy for a woman to fall for a bad boy, we’re nurturing, he’s hurting, and if he’s cute, forget it, we’re sunk.

I don’t know if it’s the bad boy’s fault for playing the victim or the woman’s fault for putting up her blinders and seeing only what she wants to see. You might’ve already guessed this, but I’ve dated a few of these bad boys and think that perhaps it is a little bit of both, throw physical attraction and chemistry in the mix and the combination can be lethal.    

The reason Von D and James broke up is the same reason they should never have gotten together in the first place; Jesse James is a bad boy. He even drives a motorcycle (a classic symbol of rebelliousness dating far back into the last century -remember James Dean?). Jesse James never hid who he was; if anything, he banked on this bad ass persona and the name he shares with the infamous American outlaw. This is who he is and it is likely that they broke up because Von D was hoping that he would treat her differently than the countless girlfriends and three wives before her. That of course didn’t happen because he is who is and that person is of course, a bad boy and an even more troubled man. 

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Filed under Life Lessons, News, relationships

9 Responses to Why Did Kat Von D and Jesse James Break Up? A Look At the Psychology of the Bad Boy and How Women Get Sucked In

  1. It’s true, bad boys may not even be necissarily “bad people” but just repeat certain patterns of behavior that they have learned since childhood. I am such a huge fan of Kat Von D. and I’m really sad watching this season, because she seems so happy

  2. Paul Roese

    this is a wonder to the “nice guys’ who often have to watch the “bad boys” or married guys get the girls then later have to hear them bitch about what a loser the fellow was! yeah, but he didn’t put a gun to your head and you went with the jerk for a period of time but never gave a “Nice” guy a chance! like with Tiger Woods. he got raked over the coals rightfully for his behavior but almost nothing was said about the women who dated him knowing he was married with children. women are responsible for their bad choices as well as men are.

  3. monica

    I’ve watched her show. She is a very talented artist, but also very young (mentally) and naive. She is inarticulate, and a drama queen just like all the others on the show. She is just plain dumb and immature.

  4. kabrey

    i was just watching the new season of L.A. ink and got all excited when i found out kat and jesse were getting married along with being a little weary. A few episodes later a clip announced the break up…how heart breaking! it doesn’t matter who the guy is…nice or “bad boy” or even a girl. we all get sucked into the bad boy or bad girl routine and that doesnt mean that they cant change or even have to change and really love someone truely. everyone has their hardships, past present, and future but it doesnt make excuses acceptable…afterall they are just excuses. she even said she was a hopeless romantic and she was let down. she is not stupid..she was just in love..with the wrong person. it can happen to anyone and personally i hink she is handling it very well especially in the celebrity environment she is always in.

  5. Haley, You got it right. And it doesn’t help that the media romanticizes bad boys.

  6. cathyc

    I have mixed feelings about Kat….when the show first came out, I thought she was super-cool and supported her endeavors. But over time, her true colors and flaws became evident and it seemed she was getting sucked into the limelight and fame and basically getting too big for her britches! I felt the spirit, soul and genuinous that sucked me in was being cast aside for the fame and money. And as far as her love life is concerned….she is hopelessly naive and operating on pure emotion to satisfy a void in her life and latches on to whatever comes down the pike to fulfill that need. Case in point: if you go back in time and review her comments and feelings for Orbie, Nikki Sixx and now Jesse, there is a recurring theme: he (they) are the love of my life, my soul mate, the best thing that ever happened to me and I’m so happy and he’s THE ONE and I could never love anyone else nor want anyone else and all is right in the world. Yet EVERY single relationship ended in disaster and quite suddenly! I think it’s because of her insecurities and then just being clingy and suffocating and expecting so much and too soon and not being able to look at it rationally and see the forest for the trees! She comes on too strong too soon and that freaks guys out! And everything is all “babe this” and “we that” and just pushing herself onto these guys – focused only on HER agenda and HER feelings and perspective, without truly finding out how the guy feels about her and what he may want in the relationship and what the deal breakers might be. She just assumes that they are on the same page and perhaps the guys lead her on a little bit cuz they don’t want to hurt her and it may be good for their careers, but in the end, guys will ultimately do what THEY want to do and what benefits them – all else be damned and too bad that they had to hurt and use someone to get what they want! And I can speak to this because similar experiences have happened in my adult dating life…..20-30 years ago and sometimes in the present. That is why I am VERY careful about what men I will allow in my life and to what extent.. Unfortunately, at my age, there are not that many opportunities and probably will end up alone…..but that’s OK! I would rather be on my own than deal with stupid games and BS from guys that can’t be honest and real! It’s just not worth it. So Kat, my advice to you is to sit down and write down what you want from a man and a relationship and what are the deal breakers. Then as you meet and date guys, run that mental checklist and see how they rate. Don’t waste time on dudes that don’t meet your most important criteria! No matter how hot they are or how they SEEM to fulfill your needs initially (let’s face it: guys will be on their best behavior and tell you anything to get in your pants) – don’t fall for it! Great sex is da bomb, but it does not make a relationship (neither do “rebound” guys)! And I have succumbed to the bad boy thing and the rock star thing and the charm and guile and promise of something more, and I have been screwed over and disappointed time and again! And here’s an important lesson I learned from a lover that passed 10 years ago and came to me from beyond the grave through a dream. When he was alive I was completely infatuated by him, willing to do ANYTHING for him, loved him like no other- but I was always and only his “mistress” and/or “sex slave” and while I wanted more, I had to accept the situation; But the thing that kept m going and forged a strong, unique, loving bond that was solely shared by just us two, made me feel special and I knew deep inside me that he loved me and cared for me unconditionally and TOTALLY “got me” in a way that no one else before or since could ever comprehend! And while he never expressed his feelings verbally when he was alive, he showed it in his actions over the years in a variety of ways. I always remained an “outsider” to the public, but when we were alone, it was like we were in our own special universe or plane of existence and it was SO fucking real and honest! And at some point (and I don’t know why, but I think it had something to do with his liver cancer) sex was no longer an option, but it didn’t matter cuz we concentrated on getting to know each other more and cultivating our friendship and connecting on a much deeper, honest level that we couldn’t get to when we were fucking around. This was SO much better than our old relationship and I felt a kindred spirit with him that transcended the usual bullshit! But alas, 6 months later he was dead from liver cancer and i was devastated! However, he would pop into my dreams on a semi-regular basis and i would feel so warm and loved and secure and happy when I woke from them. This probably lasted for 6-12 months since his passing and then suddenly I had a dream where he told me this was the last time I would hear from him. It was time for him to move on to the next phase/plane and he would come into my dreams anymore. But he assured me that I didn’t need him anymore anyway and that I was strong enough and in a good place that I could cope on my own. Of course I was sad and mad about this, but I had to accept it and I thought of him no more. And then recently….just a couple of months ago, I was re-evaluating my life and while I felt I was on track for the most part, I still had an empty spot that yearned for a man to be a part of my life. And not just any man and not any guys from my (sordid) past…..which happened to be contacting me through facebook and they (incorrectly) assumed that they could pick up where we left off 25 years ago and ASSUMED I was the same fucked up, slutty, anything-goes chick, and obviously wanted only ONE THING from me! This is pissing me off to NO END cuz they never understood me back in the day or ever tried to find out why I was the way I was, and basically thought of me as a joke, a piece of trash, someone they could look down on to make themselves feel superior and treated me like an OBJECT! And that perception was partly my fault cuz I had a fucked up childhood and used drugs, alcohol and sex as a way to escape, but I had a fucking brain! But people only saw me as one dimensional and as entertainment. And now over 2 decades later (and after I have been through therapy, rehabs, psychiatrists, medications, etc.) I have completely changed my life around and I have made amends and cleared my financial and legal troubles, own a house, car, am making a good living and have been with my company for over 11 years, and am a productive and positive member of society. I give back where I can through volunteering and other deeds. I make a conscious effort to continually improve myself and do the right thing! But I am missing one component: and that is a man to share my life with. But I am picky and very wary of the guys out there. I re-built this life mostly on my own and it was difficult and a very long process. I am the master of my destiny, yet ruled by my emotions and I am scared to let someone into my life whereby we may live together and join funds and potentially give up my independence and get into a situation that could end and I would be left holding the bag and my finances would be in ruin and I may not be able to fix it on my own….not to mention the emotional investment and trusting my heart to someone that could just be using me and betray me, leaving me devastated! I have had these things happen before EXACTLY BECAUSE I got caught up in the flood of emotion and excitement of it all, but I never really KNEW these guys and did not realize I was being taken for a ride until it was far too late! So for me, being on my own is far more palatable than the alternative. Kat: I am not telling you what to do or judging you, but I have a lot of experience and I want to spare you pain. I hope you think about all this. And also get back to the “real you”. I truly admired the Kat that was portrayed during the first season. That’s the truth you should stick to, no matter how much fame and fortune you acquire. I wish you the best!

    • Hayleyrose

      Cathy! Thanks for sharing your intense story and interesting perspective on Kat’s situation! Please come back anytime! I would love to hear more!

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