Dear Men and Women, I Won’t Apologize to You

Jayson Gaddis believes there is a better way than blaming or apologizing to the other sex.

Dear Women and Men,

It’s time to get more creative in healing the divide between our genders First things first. I won’t apologize to either gender. Not yet.

Why? I’ve grown tired of apologies.

People apologize too quickly in this culture. Even to the other gender. Recent examples include the Letter of Apology to MenDear Women videoDear Divine Feminine, I’m Sorry, the Hoʻoponopono method, etc. And, while I like the Call to the Sacred Masculine from Lori Ann Lothian, I also felt a bit boxed in and missed (my video response to her here).

I do love the intent; however. I so appreciate the attempts to clean up the rift between us in order to love deeper. I’m a yes to that. Thank you for the effort. And, if it truly worked, we’d be in a different place. We humans are a funny lot, we need more than just an apology to come back into love and openness.

Apologies can work….sometimes. It’s understandable why we want to apologize and make amends. That’s what we all learned as kids. Everyday I see grown ups teach their kids to apologize first and foremost once the children have done something the big folks perceive as “wrong.” Then, the kids go back to playing, but something got missed.

What gets glossed over?

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My own take is that adults expect kids to apologize fast because we are, by and large, an emotionally constipated culture.

Adults and teachers are straight-up afraid (i.e. very uncomfortable) to validate or “stay with” someone’s pain so we want to fast forward the process when people are upset. “Hurry up and get back to your happy place, you are making me uncomfortable.” Apologizing is a “get out of jail free card.” It lets you off the hook. We don’t need to own anything. Somehow, we get to clean our hands of our mistakes because “hey, I apologized.”

Another hidden cost of the rapid-fire apology is that if we have been on the receiving end of pain by another person and they rush to apologize (because they are uncomfortable and want us to be “okay”) and we are not “over it” at that point, we are victims, whiners and weak. It’s a strange trap—we get hurt by their actions, then blamed if we take too long to “get over it.” I certainly have done that one to my partner many times, and even my own children.

Yuck.

I can do better and we can do better.

Earlier in our relationship, when my wife and I fought and I tried to speed up the process of reconnecting because I was uncomfortable with her upset, she felt missed, became irritated and the rift between us increased.

Hmmm.

So, I had to go back to the drawing board and listen to her feedback.

Aha, impact and validation. Right, she loves it when I see, get, and know her experience best I can. She wants me to know that my actions have impacted her in some way.  As I get her experience, she softens, her nervous systems comes out of fight or flight, and she is available for connection again. I’m the same way. Don’t rush me. I’ll get there eventually. When I begin to understand the impact of my behavior, an apology is often not even necessary.

So, we can apologize all we want to women or to men, but without first getting the impact and truly understanding what we did or have done from their perspective, our apology is premature.

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It is my strong opinion that what we need is not apologizing, but instead listening.

Deep listening to each other’s rage, grief, hurt, and pain. In my view we need serious gender healing where we really get the impact male behavior (personal and collective) has on women, and female behavior (personal and collective) has on men.

I know for me that when I feel heard, I relax.

Think about it. We, as a collective, are like one big scared animal—like a giant porcupine with its quills out, on alert, defensive and protecting deep hurt inside. Saying “I’m sorry” has only gotten of few of you to relax your quills. The rest of us need to be known. Our hurt needs to be seen, acknowledged and received by another human being. Then this giant porcupine that is you and me can begin to relax, open and trust.

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So here’s my advice. Yes, this is straight up advice.

1. Stop apologizing. Set it on the shelf until we’ve done the next three steps.

2.  Do whatever inner work we need to do to genuinely listen to the other gender. This will include reconciliation/integration with our own inner man or animus (i.e. introjected father or male figures in our life) and our own inner woman or anima (i.e. mom and introjected key women from our upbringing).

In other words, when I’ve been hurt by, or mad at, “the feminine,” thus carrying a resentment toward “all women,” the path to resolve it was not to ask women to be different, but to heal me by going inward.

If you think “masculine” or feminine” are false constructs, no worries, just focus on the yin and yang inside of you, or pick whatever split is going on in there. Dark/light is very useful for some.

I personally start by accepting I have a polarity existing within me. I want the entire polarity (both sides) to be known and integrated as much as possible as I grow.

3. Be aware of the trap of asking the other gender to be different than they are.

As a man, I can want my wife to be different, but I don’t need her to be. At the end of the day asking the opposing gender to be different is a slippery slope into a familiar dead-end. Accepting my wife as she is is the way out. When I accept her as she is, I’m cast back on myself, and instead of struggling to change a world I can’t control outside of me, I get to change what’s going on inside of me.

4. Listen deeply with unflinching curiosity.

We all know that when we come in angry at the opposite gender with our guns loaded and blame ready in our quiver, it ain’t going to go well, period. Unless he/she is really available to listen without getting defensive, she/he will not hear you. He/she will respond in kind with his/her own shit and your rage will provoke his/hers. You want to fight? Do what you’ve always done and blame him/her. Anyone can play that game and we all know where this leads us—right where we currently are.

Try approaching a scared animal with blame or aggression and the feedback will be instantaneous—it will get more scared and, in turn, aggressive.

Instead, let’s get creative in our commitment to really hear their side. What effective listening tools do we have at our disposal? How about we try some new ones? NVCimago and circling, are some of my favorites. I am willing to do whatever it takes to deeply listen and receive someone’s pain. When someone is upset, whoever they are, let’s attempt to get their experience. Get curious and stay curious.

Will the above suggestions really do anything? In my opinion? Yes. And, I don’t have any illusions to solve all gender challenges. I just want some freakin’ traction here. Our scared animal needs some serious love people!!!

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Gender healing conferences and workshops

Here’s my final suggestion– An experiment called “Healing the Divide” that I have done successfully on a small scale.

In the past, academics and intellectuals have done most of the “gender work” analyzing the problem from 30,000 feet. While incredibly valuable, this does little to heal the wounds between us. I believe we need real, raw, face-to-face interactions with artful facilitation in a “safe” space where we can clear the logjam between us. I know it’s possible because I have seen it happen with real people in real time (More on my proposal here).

In my experience with couples and workshops with men and women, the deal breaker is when one person lays down their sword and gets the other person’s experience. And for some of us, we need to express our hurt or outrage before we’re able to hear someone else’s. It can be very tricky work. But the willing folks come out the other side more connected, less resentful, and move toward more integration and wholeness inside.

So, before I apologize to you women, I need to know what I have done. Keep in mind, some men might not be ready or willing to listen. I’ll speak for myself. I am. I want to hear it. Bring it. How have I personally hurt you, abused you, betrayed you, and caused you undue suffering? I’m here and I’m willing to listen as best I can. One condition: in person, face to face. And, if you don’t know me, and the man who has deeply hurt you is not present, I’m willing to stand in his seat so that you can be seen and heard by a man willing to receive all of you. I know dozens of men like me, ready and willing.

The entire point of an experiment like this is to eliminate projections and get us connected again. Let’s clear the subtle or overt ways we might still be blaming women or men for our own challenges in life.

And for now, I suggest we pause on the apologizing before we really know the impact (and it will be different for every person). If we are going to use “divine” and “sacred” to describe each other, let’s act like it by getting into our human bodies where our pain and hurt live. Only there, in our immediate somatic experience can we release the pain, one step at a time.

That was my take, let’s hear yours.

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About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis — householder, former psychotherapist, teacher, speaker, writer, relationship specialist, & soul guide is using the vehicle of his marriage and his children to become who he truly is, while expanding his capacity to love. He’s on the planet to help people master the soul lesson burning in their heart, through the vehicle of intimacy and relationship. He’s a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two cosmic kids.

Comments

  1. Anthony Deluca says:

    There is really no evidence that listening more actually works. By “works” I mean actually preserves your marriage or relationship. Our culture is full of endorsements for listening but the divorce rate is still high.

  2. Our hurt needs to be seen, acknowledged and received by another human being.
    One thing that has been a burden on my mind/heart/soul/whatever has been a slight twist on this. It’s not that I want my hurt to be seen and acknowledged by another human being. It’s more like:

    …hurt needs to be seen, acknowledged and received by that hurt us.

    Simply put I don’t want acknowledgement from someone that just happens to match characteristics with the ones that hurt me. Well such acknowledgement and apology helps a small bit but it’s like like putting a cotton ball on a gunshot wound. Technically yeah it does some good but it doesn’t really treat it.

    And I think this is how a lot of the fighting manages to go on and why old wounds are so difficult to heal.

    Which is why I think what you say here, while a kind gesture:
    And, if you don’t know me, and the man who has deeply hurt you is not present, I’m willing to stand in his seat so that you can be seen and heard by a man willing to receive all of you. I know dozens of men like me, ready and willing.
    won’t work for everyone.

    Let me flip that around a bit. The women that have hurt me in my days are not present and simply put no other woman can fill that chair. Sure there are countless women that can sit in that chair, receive all of me, and try to work things out. They can even apologize profusely. But it’s not the same.

    (Julie, Heather, Joanna, and Lisa hear me out for a bit. This is a part of the reason why the four of you and others here have such a hard time with some of the folks here. Even for as nice as you are in trying to hear them out it all comes down to one thing. You are NOT the ones that did the damage you see coming out in the form of the angry lashing. So your acknowledgements and apologies ring hollow and sound more like attempts at just getting us to shut up rather than attempts at genuine healing. Oh I’m sure your intent is genuine healing, it just ring hollow.)

    • Danny, I really appreciate you sharing this, and I was wondering if you would be willing to discuss why it is so important that the people who have hurt you acknowledge that they have done so.

      Personally, I have a great deal of trouble understanding this. I have had my share of pain. One particularly bad spell involved a controlling long-term girlfriend who cheated on me. But I have no wish for her to suddenly show up and acknowledge that she hurt me. Nor do I have any desire to rage at her: over time, she simply ceased being a part of my life, and I have no desire for her to return.

      Is there a reason why your pain is still in your life? What makes raging at those responsible so attractive?

      • ….and I was wondering if you would be willing to discuss why it is so important that the people who have hurt you acknowledge that they have done so.
        I’ve had revenge on the mind lately. Thinking about where the desire comes from and the damage that it can do. (Been working on a series called Musings of a Vengeful Spirit the last few months.)

        From that thinking I believe that (in some cases) it’s a matter of validation and somehow putting things back the way they were. Also I believe that sometimes it’s a desire for some sort of payback or revenge. As in you want them to be hurt in some way similar to how they hurt you and the thought of them acknowledging what they did and trying to apologize for it satisfies that.

        Mind you this isn’t some absolute truth. Some folks simply want acknowledgement from wherever they they can find it. Some want it from others like the ones that hurt them. Some may not even care about acknowledgement anymore and simply want to hurt others. I’m just saying that some of them probably want acknowledgement from their offenders.

        As I was saying about putting things back the way they were I think sometimes it’s a matter of thinking that if they acknowledge what they did, apologize for it, and see them struggle with it, it will somehow balance things out. “An eye for an eye if you will.”

        Speaking of that proverb it could be that part of the reason the whole world ends up blind is because while some people may not care whose eye they take in return for theirs, some people want a specific eye, they just don’t care how many other eyes they have to tear through to get it.

        • Oh I know. That’s the conclusion I’m reaching now.

          The reason that conclusion is so hard to embrace (and I bet this is not limited to myself) is that doing so feels like it’s letting them get away with what they did, especially in the face of the fact that ones aggressors seem to not only got off with never answering for what they did but have seemed to prosper afterwards.

          But ultimately you’re right.

        • I spent many years being angry. No point going into all of it, but my parents are crazy. My dad was extremely verbally abusive and left me with deep emotional scars. I raged inside for many years. I had a lot of trouble having relationships with men because of it.

          After a long time and a lot of therapy, I came realize that there are some things that you just have to put in a room in your mind and shut the door. I don’t care any more about getting an apology from my dad or an acknowledgment of my pain. It will never happen. The pain and anger is still there, but the door is shut, most of the time. This mindset has helped me have a decent relationship with my dad now, who has mellowed with age. It helps me see him as a damaged person and not as a cruel tyrant (he never knew his father and his mother was crazy…). I haven’t forgiven but I’ve moved on. i heard someone say once that “you can’t get over it but you can get past it.” that’s what I focus on now.

          • Agreed. One of my biggest problems is that, like most guys, I was left hanging on the emotional upbringing. Even though my parents are good people and did the damn best they could in other areas they came a bit short on the interaction side of things (which is to say they weren’t horrible and abusive but they weren’t actively loving and caring either, just a blank grey area).

            When you never learn the basics you are doomed to have trouble later on. As a result I simply never knew how to handle certain things and situations.

            I’m working on it now and things are getting better, although sometimes I still lash out. I guess to use your example about putting it in a room on the mind and shutting the door I’m at the point where I am cramming it all in and trying to shut the door but the stuff is fighting to get free.

            Funny thing is it’s not like I spent many years being angry. It was more like I was kinda blank and grey and when the anger came I learned the hard way I was not ready to deal with it properly. Like getting dropped into a live fire war zone with zero combat training. That guy that learns how to use the weapons and stay alive but became a complete psychological mess while doing it? That’s me.

            • Oh boy, I know that feeling of cramming stuff in and the door won’t shut! That means you aren’t ready yet to let go. It is a long, tough process but it can be done. Like I said, for me it took a lot of therapy. I also studied Buddhism for awhile, where the concept of letting go is key. You have learn to be aware of your hurt and anger, then set it aside where it doesn’t affect you. It will always be part of who you are but it doesn’t have to be the only part, or even the most important part. It’s just stuff in your head about things that are long past and don’t matter anymore. The other thing I learned from Buddhism is that the antidote to anger is compassion, for yourself and others. I wish you all the best on your journey.

            • “It’s just stuff in your head about things that are long past….”

              So true….I had to get my head readjusted as I prepare to tackle some health issues…part of that was participating in a woman’s support group sponsored by my doctors….my husband also went to the spouse support group where he talked freely with about 5 other husbands with the therapist present….

              What a huge relief! We did and didn’t talk about all kinds of things…it was just reassuring that other people went through the same crazy feelings…I suppose if you hear that other people endured the same process and had the same nutty thoughts, then you don’t feel so alone or so crazy anymore…plus I have let go a lot of anger toward my husband….it was getting redundant talking to him directly, but it was nice to know that other people were showing him how he could be more supportive….(he tends to be self-absorbed and just clueless with what’s going on with me!)…

              My next door neighbor always says that sometimes when her husband does something that pisses her off, it’s not because he is doing it on purpose to just piss her off….he just doesn’t know any better….luckily, she has been patient in teaching him how to relate better to her and their son….

        • ” I believe that (in some cases) it’s a matter of validation and somehow putting things back the way they were. Also I believe that sometimes it’s a desire for some sort of payback or revenge.”

          I can understand the desire for revenge. I do not agree with it, but I can understand it.

          I was wondering if the ideas about validation and “putting things back” are more context specific.

          When I think about pain in my own life, more often than not there is simply no ability to “put things back,” and so I have little desire to try. However, I can conceive of instances where it might be possible, and this makes me wonder if those instances are more conducive to these sorts of emotions.

          I’m equally curious about validation. Danny, you mentioned below that you came to the issue of the “gender wars” after being told your pain was overblown or imaginary, so I can understand that there may not have been a great deal of validation for you. However, I guess I’m still left wondering about why validation matters so much.

          When I broke my leg in high school, all I really wanted was to be able to walk again. People telling me “Wow, that must hurt,” didn’t really help me to walk, so it wasn’t something I really wanted. In my own life, emotional pain has been little different: validation was never as important as finding a solution. Maybe we are just different, but if you’re willing, I was wondering if you could speak to this a little.

          • I was wondering if the ideas about validation and “putting things back” are more context specific.

            When I think about pain in my own life, more often than not there is simply no ability to “put things back,” and so I have little desire to try. However, I can conceive of instances where it might be possible, and this makes me wonder if those instances are more conducive to these sorts of emotions.
            I would imagine that it the feeling of “putting things back” changes or even disappears depending on the context (which is why I’m not trying to make a blanket declaration with my thoughts here, some feel this way and some don’t).

            I’d wager that the majority of painful experiences can ever be put right (or “undone”) but that doesn’t stop someone from thinking they can.

            Danny, you mentioned below that you came to the issue of the “gender wars” after being told your pain was overblown or imaginary, so I can understand that there may not have been a great deal of validation for you. However, I guess I’m still left wondering about why validation matters so much.
            I think may have mispoke. While being told my pain was overblown and imaginary before getting in the gender wars it seemed to get worse after getting into it. The validation is a matter of having those that denied you have to eat the proverbial humble pie and admit that your pain was very much real. For instance for all the feminists out there that declare that there is no such thing as sexism against men I’d like very much to see them fess up to the fact that it is indeed real. But after thinking long and hard about it chances are they are so fucking conceited and high on disregard for men they will never admit it. So it may not be as worth it as much as I once thought it once was.

            When I broke my leg in high school, all I really wanted was to be able to walk again. People telling me “Wow, that must hurt,” didn’t really help me to walk, so it wasn’t something I really wanted.
            How did you break you leg? Imagine if that leg was broken because of someone breaking a rule in school sports (like an illegal tackle), or a drunk that hit you and walked away with no injuries, or someone that played a prank on you that went WAY too far. That’s where such grudges come from. The desire to see them hurt as badly as they hurt you.

            In my own life, emotional pain has been little different: validation was never as important as finding a solution. Maybe we are just different, but if you’re willing, I was wondering if you could speak to this a little.
            I think the reason a desire for validation is different for different people has a bit to do with how they handle being denied validation. Some may not find it important. Some want it more than anything. Some want it only to certain extent.

            Now in the specific realm of gender it can get odd. Bear in mind that when it comes to emotional pain (and despite whatever some folks say) the last thing folks want to do is acknowledge that men can hurt and are hurting. They won’t stand for it. How dare men have the nerve to want to address their emotional pain instead of ignoring it for the sake of being considered a “real man” right? Now think about what happens when that pain is not just denied further but is actually denied with claims that “it’s all about men”. Odd indeed.

            Feel free to ask any and all questions (I’ll try my best to answer). This is stuff that needs to be said.

        • Lil Bit says:

          I think that revenge is really just an act of forced empathy. And if the other is willing to show such empathy, it may very well detract from the need for revenge.

      • Mark Neil says:

        “Danny, I really appreciate you sharing this, and I was wondering if you would be willing to discuss why it is so important that the people who have hurt you acknowledge that they have done so.”

        If I may put my thoughts… Imagine being beaten to a bloody pulp, having someone take a baseball bat to your ribs arms and legs and just letting loose. A short time later your informed sibling of the person who hurt you plead guilty, and will be serving any sentence issued… Would this be acceptable to you? To allow your attacker to go without acknowledging their crime, and for someone else to bear the burden?

        Sure, this is a little more extreme as an example, which is generally why a failure for the offending party to do so can be tolerated, and why, for some, a simple acknowledgment of your pain is enough to move on, but the concept remains the same.

    • I think the point is that you are right. We are NOT the ones that did the damage. And that’s something to consider.
      It’s a cycle. Most of us are not the ones that did the damage to the ones that hurt us. But sure enough they did damage us.

      This is why things get so heated when it comes to trying to talk about negativity in feminism. There are still too many people that would rather think we made it all up or try to pretend such people are only in the dark corners of existence or we hate women or we are afraid of losing male privilege or whatever excuse they can come up with to shift responsibility from feminism and the people that operate under that banner. It’s nice that most of the ones here aren’t like that but Julie, you’re a minority.

      Yes there is some hate in the mix but there is the very valid point that until this practice of trying to prioritize the pain of others stops on all sides, the damage will continue.

      No one is telling you not to speak your pain.
      I hope I’m misunderstanding you when you say this but here goes.

      Are you saying that no one here is telling us not to speak our pain? If so then you have a valid point.

      But if you are trying to apply that beyond the borders of GMP then I very much have to disagree with you. There are a lot of people that would love nothing more than for some walk of life that is not their own to just stay quiet and take the unfair treatment and pain they suffer. That’s why I set up my own shop, that’s why Good Men Project is here, that’s why Toy Soldiers are marching on, that’s why men are starting to speak up. To shout that we are going to speak our pain.

      • And I know that being happy or choosing happiness often feels like letting someone get away with something, but that someone (especially if they aren’t reachable) doesn’t know either way.
        I think what happens with some people is that the payback becomes the happiness. Like I said before the taking of that specific eye, the revenge, is seen as what is needed in order to be happy and move on. And when that happens well the pursuit of happiness gets real interesting.

        Bitterness and pain is so tiring, so exhausting. It leaves no room for other people, or delight, or love.
        True. However as tiring as it may be it can reignite itself VERY easily. And when you have a mad on for someone little things like other people don’t matter, the delight is getting the payback, and what’s love got to do with it?

        And just to let you know I’m not continuing this in order to argue with you. I’m doing this so that the feelings get laid out on the table. Speaking the pain as it were.

        • If the delight is getting payback. If happiness is defined as getting back at others well…I don’t have anything to offer that. Because it looks dark and shadowed to me. My Christian roots are showing (mingled with a lot of pagan and eastern philosophy here) but you are right that an eye for an eye leaves the world blind.
          I can understand you not having anything to offer that. It takes a special kind of something to take delight in hurting others. Well maybe that special something isn’t the addition of something but the absence of something and taking an ultimately wrong path to fill that void?

          Perhaps destroying the desire for vengeance and allowing room for your own joy to recreate itself would be more healing, TO YOU.
          Ultimately true. But I think what happens is that the desire for revenge takes over and all other things that are not related to “make them hurt” get tossed aside. Also as I said “joy” = “make them hurt”. What it is going to take is the vengeful spirit recognizing that “make them hurt” is not only not the only way to achieve “joy” but is the worst way to achieve it (and even question of that equivalency is true).

          And the person you are wreaking havoc on? If they were that evil to begin with to hurt you, you think they care you are angry or upset? They either don’t care or they get off knowing how vengeful you are.
          Which only feeds the vengeful spirit with the anticipation of breaking all of that down and either making them care and/or getting off on how they got off on it instead of trying to do something about it. Twisted hope.

          And if you don’t have access to that person, taking it out on a person who had nothing to do with it? And then maybe they’d figure they needed revenge on someone else…
          This is where the vengeful spirit gets out of control. They become so fixated on hurting someone specific that they no longer care about who gets hurt along the way. When they take it out on a person that had nothing to do with it it’s not that they figured they needed to take it out on someone else. It’s that they no longer care who they take it out on as long as they eventually take it out on the right one(s).

          Also for the hatred to last long enough it needs to feed. This is how you get people who take things in worst faith, assign worst faith on others, misread, take things our of context, etc… To the vengeful spirit these are not active motions, no they just happen to keep running into all this bad stuff (problem is along the way there is still truly bad stuff in there that can’t be explained away as such).

          Like a hurricane that goes over a warm area and gains power, while destroying fishing ship. The fishing ship didn’t do anything to incur the hurricane’s wrath. The ship just had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the hurricane was in need of feeding.

          Well, that’s not my path and it sounds so so painful to be there. Twisted up on itself with justifications and holding on to anger like an energy source to avoid feeling grief. I guess anger feels stronger than grief, but ultimately it weakens one’s ability to live in the world in loving ways. I think, anyway.
          I’m not sure it’s entirely a matter of avoiding grief but taking a horribly wrong and ultimately self destructive path to resolve it.

          You the general you, of course.
          Oh, I know what you mean. But this once, a specific “you” actually fits.

  3. Not being listened to isn’t the only problem. In addition to not being listened to, I’ve never had the opportunity to listen. Let me explain.
    When I have been hurt, it’s primarily been because another party tells me that I’ve hurt them, but is completely unwilling to say anything more about it. Naturally, this leaves me frustrated as I want to try and make up for hurt that I’ve caused and I want to prevent myself from repeating the hurtful action, but when I honestly don’t understand what action they’re talking about or why they found it hurtful, there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do.
    The flip side of this is that I know I can be difficult to talk to. I often have serious difficulties understanding real-world situations, especially when they have to do with socially-based emotions. The only way I’ve found which is likely to get me to a level of understanding is to have a detailed, abstract, searching discussion, which tends to feel to the other party like I’m trying to reason them out of their emotion. So I understand why someone who knows me wouldn’t want to try and explain how I hurt them since they know that it’ll cause them a lot more anguish to get me to understand.
    The problem is that the end result of this is that I feel hurt, guilty, like I’ve abandoned and been abandoned by a friend, unable to place the blame anywhere but on myself, and unable to fix whatever problem I have or prevent it from recurring.

    “We, as a collective, are like one big scared animal”

    “The IQ of a mob is the IQ of its dumbest member divided by the number of mobsters.” – Terry Pratchett

  4. I regularly participate in the “Gender War” but I do not do so out of any sort of personal pain.

    I do it because I have grown tired of hearing, over and over again, that the pain of my friends and brothers’ is somehow their own fault.

    I watch our media destroy male role model after male role model, demonizing male success. We live in a society where academics claim that men have earned none of their current status (apparently we were all “born on third base” and our actual hard work is meaningless), followed by the claim that men are universally “architects of heir own adversity.”

    I have comforted too many male friends through troubles that were most certainly not of their own design, and I have worked as a tutor for too many male students who were failed by their educators to believe any of the current theories of academics and the media.

    I participate in the gender wars for the sake of those I love. I participate because someone needs to speak out against the lies spread by Gender Studies departments everywhere; and if I don’t, who will?

    • I regularly participate in the “Gender War” but I do not do so out of any sort of personal pain.
      Oddly when I first got involved in this “war” it was no out of any sort of personal pain. No the personal pain didn’t kick in until having to deal with repeatedly being told that my personal pain was somehow “less than” someone else’s because I’m male and my pain was only personal while the pain of women was much, much, more.

      You can only have your own pain denied while being expected to take personal responsibility for the pain of others (oddly this usually came in the form of women telling me my pain didn’t matter and that I was responsible for the pain of woman based on nothing more than being male) before you tune out.

      • “You can only have your own pain denied while being expected to take personal responsibility for the pain of others”

        I think that this is probably the biggest problem I see.

        I first began reading up on gender relations when two of my good friends from high school had very bad experiences in college and decided that the only solution was to get really involved in the the “pick up community.” I watched my friends change for the worse in a very short period of time. Their heartache fueled a desire to see women in general as less-than-human, and PUAs offer a worldview where all women are interchangeable, so my friends fell for it very hard and very fast.

        Obviously the PUAs didn’t have any actual answers, just a lot of repackaged cynicism coupled with denial (because step 1 is assuming that anyone who says they find meaning in a committed relationship is lying).

        To help my friends I tried to look for answers, and became ever more distraught. The most common critics of PUAs are people in the gender studies field who, rather than having real answers, just seem to be selling their own brand of snake oil.

        To put it simply: when the problem is that your ex-girlfriend was manipulative, the solution is not a lecture about how you are secretly a slacker with a sense of entitlement. Yet this seems to be all that the gender studies field is currently selling young men.

        It took years(!) for me to get my friends to see women as potential equals again. Something needs to change.

        • To put it simply: when the problem is that your ex-girlfriend was manipulative, the solution is not a lecture about how you are secretly a slacker with a sense of entitlement. Yet this seems to be all that the gender studies field is currently selling young men.
          Pretty much. And about this topic specifically I think there is a bit of a problem where critics of PUAs seems to always come to the conclusion that guys that get involved with PUA communities inherently started off with having no regard for women and see them as interchangeable. Which of of course denies the experiences of the friends in your story.

  5. Alberich says:

    What if we listen patiently to somebodies grievance, but then think that the complaints are ridiculous?

    Is there really a meaningful divide between the genders, which causes grievances? I see feminists talking about the “war on women” and anti-feminists talk about how feminists have launched a war against men, but this to be more about ideology than about gender.

  6. soullite says:

    Some people seem to have difficulty understanding that there are no ‘bad’ emotions. Every emotion you feel – even the so-called ‘negative’ ones – exist for a reason. They evolved for a reason. Just as Love exists to bind social animals incapable of independent survival together, hate exists to drive those that threat that cohesion away. Just as forgiveness exists to allow us to move past temporary slights, vengeance exists to teach others that there is a price to those slights (and without that, such slights would be far more likely to recur). Even jealousy – an emotion people often put down – evolved to force us to leave situations in which we weren’t properly valued. Rage gives us the feeling of power needed to fight back and can sustain us briefly even when all hope is lost. Bravery lets us take chances, but fear is the only thing prevents it from becoming foolishness.

    There are no emotions – not one – that humanity can afford to forget or put behind us. Embrace your emotions. Deal with those emotions and resolve them. Hate who you hate, and make that hatred clear – otherwise, you will come to hate everything, even yourself. If you’re angry, then embrace that anger – otherwise, rage will consume every aspect of your life. If you’ve been wronged, avenge yourself (though remember, proportionality) – if you don’t, the bitterness you feel will cause you to wrong others.

    These emotions aren’t the problem. Trying to deny them, and in the process, letting them fester – that’s the problem.

  7. I think this is valuable. Like it was said, we are told listen listen listen. But when you actually get down to the rawness of it, there’s a method to listening and making the other feel heard. It’s not simply waiting quietly for them to be done. Humans need validation, so that has to be factored into the listening.

  8. This is a good piece. But it’s true of my same sex relationship too. So I’m not sure it’s much to do with gender. It’s just about humans. But thanks.

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