The false beliefs that have been taught to men about who they should be in relationships are secretly sabotaging the love lives of really great men.
In my work with men, I have found no matter what men do in relationships they always feel like the bad guy. They feel frustrated, trapped and shamed because someone is always disapproving.
They want to give their all in relationships, but when they do they are often walked over by women and labeled as “whipped” by other men.
If they stop giving so much, then women label them “unloving and uncaring” while other men praise them for being so masculine.
The beliefs that men have about who they have to be in relationships have been passed on to them by their family, society and culture. Many of these beliefs are ruining relationships for really great men.
The contradicting values and expectations placed on men create internal and emotional havoc that they have become masters at hiding.
But you guys aren’t fooling me. I can see you from a mile away. Because I know your pain.
As a woman, I was taught to believe a man should be responsible for my emotions. He should be my everything and complete me (thanks a lot, Jerry Maguire). This has left me and millions of other women feeling disappointed, disillusioned and believing true love doesn’t exist when a man can’t fulfill our every emotional need.
These false beliefs and expectations create a nasty dynamic that leave both men and women feeling unfulfilled, scarred and an immense amount of pressure to behave a certain way to be accepted and loved.
I know thousands of women, including myself, who are doing the work to eliminate these beliefs that men are responsible for our emotions and happiness, so we can have the healthy relationships we have always wanted.
When I tell you we are starving for, inspired and excited by men who are doing the work too, I’m not exaggerating. We find it extremely sexy.
Because, in reality, without the work being done on both sides, the issues don’t change.
Here are a few truths you guys need to know:
It’s impossible to be responsible for someone else’s emotions.
It’s impossible to be someone else’s hero.
Be your own hero. I’ll be mine. Then let’s get together and make super hero babies.
The Root Of The Giver/Taker Dynamic
Underneath feeling responsible for a woman’s emotions lies a deeper issue. Somewhere along the way you learned your self-worth was directly tied to fulfilling these expectations in relationships. Because it’s impossible to fulfill these expectations, you constantly feel you are not worthy of real love.
The feelings of unworthiness are shown through your actions as a giver or a taker in relationships.
If you are a giver, you often feel guilty for doing something for yourself or saying “no” in relationships, especially when it causes a negative emotional reaction from the women around you. You constantly put yourself last, have trouble expressing your true feelings and begin to feel resentment towards the other person because you didn’t speak up for yourself.
If you are a taker, you often shut down, withdraw or try to control the situation when things get emotional. You may have been labeled as cold, distant or lacking empathy. You also have trouble expressing your true feelings.
Men who are caught in between the giver/taker dynamic, do so because on a deep level they are afraid they will lose love or be rejected in relationships. Usually the fear of rejection stems from having love withdrawn by a parent as a child.
Two common examples of withdrawal of love are being punished or quieted for trying to express yourself and being emotionally manipulated to illicit certain actions or reactions from you by a parent.
Instead of the parent having the skills to rely on themselves to get their own emotional needs filled, they look to their partner to fill them. When they realize their partner can’t fill their needs, they then looked to you as a child to do this for them.
As a child, who is still gathering your understanding and identity around relationships, this teaches you to that you are responsible for others emotions and passes on the patterns of looking to others to fill your emotional needs.
The secret to releasing yourself from the giver/taker dynamic is to implement a third option. The third option is to really get to know yourself and why you do what you do.
When you know yourself, you can face the fears that keep sabotaging you. Your decisions will no longer come from fear but from a place of deep connection to your true self. Once you connect deeply with your true self you will naturally know and be able to make the best decision for you in the circumstance.
Falling into the habit of the giver or taker role, worked great to protect your safety and connection to your source of love as a child, but in adult relationships they leave you unfulfilled, distant and unable to create honest, lasting relationships.
When habits like these, repeatedly sabotage your relationships, there comes a point when you know it’s time to make some necessary changes. Ultimately, your happiness is in your hands: you have the power to create a healthy, lasting relationship if you so choose.
Photo: Flickr/matthew Hunt