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As a writer, I became interested in understanding the plight of men back in the nineties when Robert Bly, Sam Keen and other men who pioneered the Men’s Movement began to write and speak up. I was curious and it fascinated me to read books like Fire in the Belly and Iron John. It also helped me to begin to have a better feel for how men suffer in this culture.
I had already been studying the mythology of the goddess and women’s spirituality trying to piece together why everything has gone so wrong. I began to do research and read many of the early women archaeologists and scholars like Maria Gimbutas, and Riane Eisler, looking for answers as to what had happened to cause our culture to become so different from the way it had started out so many thousands of years ago. I remember after doing the research how upset I felt about these hordes of invaders who rode over the Russian Steppes and conquered whole civilizations that had been peaceful and prosperous for a millennium and which in essence turned the world upside down and on its head.
Then many years later, when I began to study more about men, to listen to what they had to say I began to feel more compassionate. I discovered that when the world was turned on its head it not only affected the status of women but it created a culture that was based on the dominator model and that model caused men to also feel trapped and powerless to change the current status quo.
I realized that if I wanted to have beautiful relationships with men, bring healing to men, and guide men to be better men, I needed to understand their suffering and their world view. It is not about men or women suffering more or being the bigger victim. It is understanding, that the Dominator Model of Culture causes both genders to suffer. The Dominator Model Culture I speak of is where a small group of men or women dictate to the larger group of men and women how it will be. It is living by hierarchy where the powerful rule over the less powerful regardless of gender and where everybody suffers. In our case it has been for the most part men who have conquered the world and built the power structures that it takes to rule.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago when I became a teacher training other professionals on the trauma of men, that I really began to understand what it was like to be a man living in our society today. Tony Porter’s Ted Talk, A Call to Men was one of the first things that I listened to. His definition of the Man Box said it all and explained in detail why men have found it so difficult to break out of that man box and become a complete and full person.
The second thing that affected my perception of what it meant to be a man was a documentary called,The Mask You Live In, produced by The Representation Project. (You can also see this film on Netflix.) This film will strip away any illusions that you may have about the world of men and boys. It ripped my heart open as I watched boys acculturated into the “Man Box” and their sadness and not being allowed to live more authentically.
So what are some of the wounds of the masculine that I am alluding to?The following is from an article, The Wounds of the Masculine by Francesca Gentille.
- Men feel powerless when it comes to sex. They see women as having all the power. The power to say no, the power to deny sex, the power to make them work for or pay for sex.
- They are taught that they must have sex to be considered a Real Man, but not taught how to inspire a woman in a healthy collaborative manner.
- They see us as so beautiful and delicious. They do not know that we do not see ourselves that way.
- They know that women will not pay them for sex. They feel sad, hurt, confused and rejected about this. It feels unfair.
- Men feel violated when it comes to their emotions and their finances. They can feel forced or expected to dig deep and give from either of these or fear our wrath and displeasure.
- Men protect their emotions just like we protect our sexuality. They are slower to go into the emotional realm.
- Women pressure, shame and push men to go faster emotionally. We also shame them when they are “too” emotional.
- We also expect them to pay for us, woo us, win us repeatedly. This can feel exhausting and confusing. They feel unseen and unappreciated for who they are objectified as a protector/provider.
- Men feel they have to take the lead, be stronger, tougher and have all the answers even when they do not.
10.Men often feel like they cannot ask for help or they will look weak.
Note: The male brain has emotional synapses in only one part (versus the female brain which has emotional synapses across the entire brain). When we ask him to express his emotions, he must stop whatever else he is doing and thinking. It will take him a while to get there, and he will stay there longer. His brain lacks emotional fluidity.
TO HEAL, WE HEAL TOGETHER
Compassion is the way through, compassion with compassionate boundaries. We must express our limits and boundaries with grace. We need to speak on behalf of our desires with joy, vision, and without attachment or blame.
When a man is acting immature there are past wounds there. See the best in him. Let him know what he wins/gets when he acts from maturity his adult self. Remove yourself without rancor when he is not able to be mature with you and let him know you will be happy to speak with him when he is.
Men have their own stages of life that they go through (Understanding Men by Allison Armstrong). Don’t blame him for not fulfilling your idea of the ideal man or for acting just like a man. Learn how to communicate more effectively, love and accept him for who he is and celebrate him for being a man.
Our role is to collaborate with men and help bring them into their greatness.
To bring out the best in your man so that he will then be able to bring out the best in you.
It is time to work together in partnership, to support each other in becoming whole and integrated adults where men and women are living in harmony, peace, and equanimity with each other. It is no longer feasible for us to live by the Dominator Model so we must step into a new model called the Partnership Model. I believe that this is still possible in fact, I believe that it is inevitable and I invite you to open your woman’s compassionate heart and begin to support the man and men in your life to be all that they can be.
Tony Porter’s TEDTalk
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