with tastes and couthness
plus dark urges for cleanliness and order
not to mention concern for appearances, clothing styles,
matching colors, plus what others may think, and
the possibility of company coming
should never have to live with a man
who has none of the above,
and all too often could care less
is it vice versa?
Bottom line on
top: This collection of speculations is primarily
But after 38 years
as a professional preacher, the "to others" mode of thinking/speaking/writing
comes easily and almost naturally for me. Consequently, apparently "objective"
or "to you" statements which follow can more properly be seen as "projected
subjectivity"-that is, actually "to me" as though to any reader.
sometimes written as "rules," should first of all be understood as
"rules-of-thumb"-that is, general recommendations, not infallible commandments.
Secondly, they reflect some of the things I have gradually learned, mostly the
hard way, about how my life and female relationships are better when I can
sometimes follow them myself.
So, reader be
reminded: all relationships, like us who are in them, are unique; hence, what
works in one relationship may be dysfunctional in another. These observations
and guidelines have proven helpful for me, but may not fit or work for others.
So, read each with several grains of salt; pick and choose, using your own
better judgment; and finally discard any notion which doesn't make sense to you
(which sounds "preacherly" to me, since one would do that anyway!)
Much earlier I grew
up with a mother and 3 sisters, during which time (and later) I fell in love
with and received a liberal education from a forgotten number of girl friends,
to be followed by a marriage to one of them who mothered our 4 daughters, and 30
more years of continuing education, to be followed by another marriage (now 27
years and counting), including 2 step-daughters.
Between times I
spent 1000's of hours in counseling with scores of females, some for over 20
continuous years, and accumulated 9 grand-daughters who have, while delighting
my later years, greatly expanded my education in female functioning before
typical repressions set in. And, as I suppose to be fairly common with males in
general, I have also attended graduate school in Sophia's Wisdom with
other excellent female teachers who, for reasons of discretion, shall remain
unnamed (but not forgotten).
All this to say
that if reason had anything to do with it, I should have earned an advanced
degree in something other than Psychology and Counseling, say,
Female Knowledge. But, truth be known (as so rarely it is), I now confess
that the main thing I have learned is how little I yet know about the dark
mysteries of femininity.
Looking for company
in my relative ignorance, I can well identify with Freud's (and mankind's?)
proverbial question,"What does a woman really want?," as well as Professor
Higgins' pondering (in My Fair Lady), "Why can't a woman be more like a
Although I still
don't know the answers to these common male questions, I have, as is essential
for survival midst a wealth of female ways and wiles (many of which are
apparently unconscious), et al, learned a few guidelines for improved coping
along the way. Also, in typical male fashion, I may be putting my foot in my
mouth as I attempt here to spell out in words some of the things I have learned
So, to clear my
record before I begin, I note these limiting parameters:
-- I write mainly
for myself as a way of trying to clarify dark knowledge acquired in my private
School Of Hard Knocks--that is, to become more conscious about
information which has appeared along my circuitous path toward now. I am, that
is, still trying to know what I know but often live-as-though I don't.
-- I finally
realized after years of preaching "in general" that all practical knowledge is
personal--that is, what is true and relevant for one person may be untrue, even
destructive, for another who has grown up in different circumstances, e.g., had
a mother not like mine, plus other types of female encounters. Consequently, I
realize that what I have learned may or may not correlate with what other males
either already know--or need to in order to escalate happiness while living with
-- After many years
as a professional minister (and learning something about what the apostle Paul
might have meant in his biblical quote about the "foolishness of preaching"), I
still find that the old saw yet cuts cleanly, namely, "Old habits are hard to
break." Which translates here into the observation that even though I know I am
writing for myself, I yet find myself thinking in a preacher's mode--that is,
authoritatively, as though I actually know what I am talking about.
So, if a reader
also picks up on my ancient habit--either to "take my advice" (or rebel against
it), I hope I may be forgiven for occasionally sounding omniscient. Actually, I
know I may be wrong and that none of what I say may be right for any other male
still trying to learn how to live well with women.
-- Finally, trying
to spell out my dark knowledge has already helped me see myself more clearly,
including some of the coping mechanisms I assume I probably began to learn first
with my mother, only to be blindly repeated with females who have followed her
in my merry-go-round turns of life so far. Hopefully I will now be better able
to translate this "head knowledge" into silent actions in daily living--and even
to learn more by tomorrow.
My wish for any
male reader is that my confessions here might be a useful mirror for reflecting
his own experience, perhaps paving the way in our shared pilgrimage of learning
to live well with women......
Some of the
uncommon, controversial, or perhaps heretical notions which underlie and
sometimes appear in my writings on this subject include the following:
male unconsciousness. Primal maleness, as I have come to understand our
genetic structuring and acquired modes of functioning in society, is still
largely "in the dark," both in society and in average men on the streets. My
speculated content of natural male unconsciousness--that which can be expected
to appear when any man is analyzed or dares to face his "darker side," includes
these commonly denied elements. If an average male "gets honest with himself,"
these are my predictions about what he will discover about "who I am":
a. Female idolatry;
primal experience of god as goddess.
desires--that is, sexuality in family settings.
attractions; same-sex interests which originate pre-puberty.
d. Projections of
male power; masculine generated powers recognized only as mirrored in females,
as in, "turn on" abilities.
e. Extent of
dominance/submission--abuse and worship, of women as a way of surviving and
coping with denied powers of femininity.
f. Lost sense of
true male selfing which inevitably occurs when men identify ourselves
with social memes, either for "good" or "bad" images of ourselves.
g. Lost awareness
of the "female shadow" in every male--that is, capacities emerging from an X
chromosome in each of our cells, the "female part" of who all we males also are.
h. Lost capacity
for self-caring, which is largely projected onto women, beginning with mother
and continuing on to spouses and femininity in general.
shake in society. With good pragmatic reasoning, natural maleness is
primarily judged negatively in social circumstances. Only in war times, in the
"jungle," and in carefully ruled athletics, do male genes get invited into human
circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to social acceptance of female
genetics, which is inherently supported by most social structures.
imbalance. Femininity, I conclude, is basically, inherently more
power-packed than masculinity. This power imbalance, weighted in favor of primal
femininity over genetic masculinity, begins with the biological fact of two
powerful XX chromosomes in each cell, contrasted with only one X in males, plus
a weaselly Y, and is further supported by social structures ("memes") which have
existed from the beginning of recorded history-operative in religions, laws,
mores, and group rules recognized in etiquette, "polite behavior," and other
subtle guidelines for socially acceptable behavior.
Mother/son experience. All parent/child encounters are significant, as
are sibling relationships--mother/son, father/daughter, brother/sister; but
mother/son experience is, I conclude, vastly more determinative of childhood
shaping and future behavior. It is, I believe, harder for a boy to reach
relative maturity than for a girl, given the greater power of mother/son
experience over father/daughter learning.
taboo. The proverbial "incest taboo"--which I understand to be about
conscious and overt sexuality in a family setting (where genes are shared),
applies to all family members; but I think it is more consequential for males
because of the differing nature of male and female sexuality.
major male modes of coping. Although feminine modes of survival and
succeeding in family settings are quite diverse, common male modes are far more
limited; in fact, they can be summarized in two main categories, with only
slight variations on these major themes. Boys, to survive and cope, are largely
limited to being "good" or "bad." The "good boy" mode (the one I took), involves
"minding your mother," that is, accepting her memes and becoming compliant (at
least outwardly) with them. This commonly leads to "loving your mother"--putting
her on a pedestal, "behaving yourself," and constantly trying to "please women."
The corollary mode of "being bad" is simply the opposite side of the same
coin--acting rebellious rather than compliant, condemning rather than adoring,
putting down on females rather than elevating them, and trying to displease
(even unconsciously) rather than please.
Unrecognized spiritual abuse. Historical and still prevalent male
physical abuse of females, as in, religion, the work place, home, and in bed, is
finally coming to public recognition; still commonly hidden to social
consciousness is all-too-common spiritual abuse of males by "well meaning"
females. Physical abuse is certainly bad, but the consequences of spiritual
abuse are often deeper, more far reaching, and worse in time. Cuts and bruises
of the body tend to heal much faster than metaphored "cutting" and "battering"
of the heart--including, female abuse of masculinity which is completely legal
and even socially supported under the name of "love."
Religious and legal structures. On the surface, religious commandments
and social laws are theoretically not gender-biased. In practice, and below the
level of common social recognition, I think that popular religions and
prevailing legal structures unwittingly undermine masculinity and support
femininity--all this while appearing to do the opposite. I think that masculine
unconsciousness (Number 1, above) is unwittingly projected into both religion
and politics in subtle ways which may protect both ourselves and vulnerable
females outwardly, but with potentially devastating inward consequences.
cockiness/compliance. Macho males and hen-pecked husbands, brutes and
wimps, cloak, mostly to ourselves, unseen capacities for individual
independence, sans salvation via femininity.
HARD FACTS TO SWALLOW
I have several
uncommon insights which seem to me to be facts, which I find
hard to swallow, yet useful, even essential in applying what I have learned so
Natural superiority of women
speaking, bearers of two huge X chromosomes are naturally superior to us with
only one X and a "weaselly" Y in each of our 50 billion cells. When only
biological, inherited capacities are considered, women begin and continue to
exist with significant genetic advantages.
Social favor of feminine values
For good and
pragmatic reasons society as now established is primarily structured on natural
female values, such as, peaceful cooperation rather than warring competition and
many spin-offs of each. This means in practice that while females may easily
accept their natural selves and find affirmation in society, males exist without
these social advantages. Psychological guilt is predictable for males who choose
the accepted mode of repression-for-survival in society, and especially among
Genetic servant status of males
Insofar as primal
genetics are concerned, maleness is mostly an anomaly--a quirk, if you please,
of evolution in its blind quest for successful creaturely replication. Initially
all embryos are basically female unless the presence of a Y chromosome kicks
some of us over into the male category--with external rather than internal
I conclude, in
broadest perspective, that lesser endowed males have evolved primarily as
servants of greater endowed females in our most primal agendas of
self-replication. All social and personal values aside, men exist first to
"service" in the animal sense of supplying sperm for initiating pregnancy, and
then to serve females in the laborious and extended process of bearing and
rearing offspring essential to the reproduction of us both.
The more popular
and established ideas of genetic equality--men and women as equals, and/or other
notions of males as superior (as in most religions and history as recorded by
males) are, I reluctantly conclude, largely male illusions, not supported by
facts and older, unrecorded history.
Personhood past primary genetics
But older evolution
is topped off with younger genes which allow options of personhood
beyond primal, pre-conscious directives. Although we are all blindly geared to
survive and make babies--with differing-but-complementary roles for mutual
success in this un-thinking process, later evolution has also gifted us with
potential for consciousness, and with it the possibility of becoming "selves"
who are more than "animal" only.
with their contrasting roles in replication, are "hard-wired"--that is,
ingrained in ancient genes operative and perfected long before the evolution of
larger brains with expanded "thinking" capacities. But later-to-evolve and still
"soft-wired" genes bring added options to us human beings.
We have little
choice in basic gender orientations--that is, being male or female; but
consciousness opens a door to far wider (and more challenging) options for also
becoming "persons" past gender alone. "Personhood" or expanded "selfhood" is
always rooted in biological gender; we cannot change facts about XX or XY
chromosome differences. But through embraced consciousness we may become "more
whole" as persons or selves beyond the directives of older genes alone.
Obviously we do not
automatically become "persons" in this expanded sense of the term. Many never
"get over" being "just a man" or "only a women"--that is, embrace consciousness
and the challenges of selfhood beyond gender only. Still, as best I can tell,
seeing and acknowledging this fact is critical in living well with our
opposite genders in present society.
Power of emotional identification
tend to identify themselves with their "emotional" capacities--that is,
inherited, pre-conscious genetic directives rooted in more primal areas of the
brain. But males, in contrast, more commonly identify ourselves with our
"thinking" capacities emerging from later-to-evolve possibilities for
consciousness, and learn early to repress awareness of older "feeling"
differing self-identifications are often pragmatic in established social roles
(e.g., cooperating females and competing males), they contain an inherent
disadvantage for males, especially in relationships with females--namely, in
regard to power differentials. Although many of the so-called "advances" of
civilization are based on our "thinking" capacities--that is, reason, logic,
etc., powers inherent in "reasoning" are yet to evolve the forcefulness of those
long established in "feelings."
Relevant here is
the fact that women self-identified with older "emotions" have more powers
naturally available for use in relationships with men who are identified with
our later-to-evolve "thinking" abilities. When "feelings" confront "reasons" in
arenas of conflict, the former, as most males know well, predictably win every
Unless and until a
male confronts and deals with this "hard" fact, he remains at another
distinct disadvantage in all cross-gender relationships. Emotionally identified
females, naturally free from the constraint of word definitions as well as the
limitations of logic (e.g., if not this, then that) and rules of reason (e.g.,
one and one must make two), and moved by long evolved, pre-conscious
forces (the literal meaning of e-motions) will predictably "always win"
in any conflict with "thinking" identified males.
challenges predictably to be confronted in living well with females include the
the above noted facts of life.
secondary genetic status, without self-deprecation.
3. Seeing female
advantages, e.g., genetic and social, without falling into pessimism
(poor-little-me), wimpism, or chauvinism--that is, female "superiority" as only
a genetic fact, without falling into male "inferiority" with any of its various
deference with integrity, that is, how to "give in without giving up"; overt
submission without loss of face; how to say, "Yes" to her without "No" to
oneself; how to win-by-losing (an art most females know well); how to bend
without breaking; how to affirm female desires without getting pussy-whipped in
the process; flexibility without wimpism.
females; decoding shadows of one's birth mother, repressed from awareness and
blindly projected onto other females; seeing, e.g., wife as woman
without mirror of mother, as in, looking to her for "being taken care
of," "permission-to-be," "understanding," self-affirmation (especially of
masculinity), and/or other magical powers which once seemed to exist in the
5. Chosen romance
beyond biological dictations--that is, how to see with mind eyes instead of gene
eyes only, and relate to females with more understanding than genetics can give.
6. Facing "Viagra"
temptations and dangers--that is, remaining genetically motivated rather than
becoming dependent on modern medicine for success in sexual encounters.
7. Seeing and
respecting value differences without self-depreciation; getting over paranoia in
gender relationships--that is, "taking personally" things which females "just do
naturally"--for example, focus on appearances versus function,
as in, bed making, closing drawers and cabinet doors, degrees of required
cleanliness, getting "down and dirty," etc.
8. Learning to see
house and home as ours versus yours. Ideally, perhaps,
separate houses (as well as incomes) with periodic visiting between each might
ease challenges inherent in "living together." But since this is rarely possible
or feasible, males who grew up with mothers, as we all do more or less,
regularly face the temptation to simply see "home" as woman's domain, with
perhaps "yard," "shop," and "hunting camp" as man's only personal space.
dangerous defenses more likely to backfire than succeed in the long run--such
as, physical dominance (chauvinism) and/or personal abuse; emotional withdrawal;
or personal deprecation.
PREDICTABLE CHALLENGES IN LIVING WITH WOMEN
These are some of
the challenges I face and/or have seen in others who attempt to live well with
women, as in, successful marriages. Each noted adventure involves two parts: 1)
A To Do, and 2) A Not To Do, a positive move or stance, with a
negative alternative. The pattern is:
At first glance the
lines between each opposing pair may be invisible, seemingly non-existent; but
with closer attention, differences may become apparent. Finally, the oppositions
I intend to note may become distinct, even with existential chasms between them.
Some involve plays on similar words or colloquial expressions intended to point
toward vastly different personal experiences.
This list of
challenges is given as I think of each, that is, in no particular order of
significance. At any given time any one may be the immediately most relevant as
a relationship unfolds in time. Also, as will be obvious, several may overlap in
actual practice, as similar challenges come in single events.
I have faced most
of these challenges with varying degrees of success, usually on the low side at
the time. Even so, in mind's eye, when I am most conscious and alert, I see each
as extremely significant for us who try to live well with women.
real gender differences without judging one as better than the other.
- Accepting such
differences without avoiding, trying to change, or to erase them.
- Giving in without
- Servicing without
becoming a servant.
female superiority without becoming inferior ourselves.
personal attacks without taking them personally or counter-attacking.
female abuse, physical and/or emotional, without becoming a victim.
selfingness without judging selfishness.
female wiles without resentment and/or being manipulated by them.
- Deceiving when
appropriate without becoming dishonest.
- Embracing male
sexuality without becoming Chauvinistic or unfaithful.
negative projections, as in, blame, without taking them on.
- Striving to
please without becoming a wimp.
- Playing fun games
without getting serious about playing.
without resurrecting motherly idolatry.
- Accepting care
without becoming dependent on being cared for.
- Learning to
distinguish woman-as-wife without making her a mother-in-disguise.
- Keeping a woman
as wife without dark images of one's mother.
- Elevating a wife
with appreciation without falling into adoration of her.
- Putting a wife
up, even on a pedestal, without worshiping at her throne.
- Honoring a woman
as a person without idolizing her as a goddess.
- Coping with
cleanliness expectations without rebellion or unreasonable compliance.
- Being good, e.g.,
helpful around the house, without expecting compliments.
- Sharing chores
without looking for rewards.
- Hearing criticism
or compliments without falling for either, that is, being put down or set up.
- Seeing what you
see without requiring female confirmation.
personal cognition without expecting re-cognition.
- Playing "Do You
See What I See" without seriously expecting shared vision.
- Falling out of
love without falling into regret, resentment, or leaving.
- Trading moonlight
and roses for daylight and dishes without bitterness.
- Romancing by
choice without dark, psychological motivations.
misunderstanding without having to explain oneself.
- Abandoning the
quest for unqualified acceptance (erroneously called love) without
hating or leaving one who cannot give it.
- Recognizing that
no real woman can understand a man without being one, without blaming her for
- Balancing power
without lording-it-over or caving-in.
- Learning to lead
without lording, to take initiatives without becoming Chauvinistic.
- Going first often
without expecting support.
inter-dependence without independence, dependence, or co-dependency.
- Being with
without leaning on, standing over, or getting
- Living closely
without getting into another person.
togetherness without self loss.
companionship without getting lost when she is gone.
- Accepting a woman
as she is without understanding her.
- Learning to cope
well without understanding what is happening, that is, to live well with
woman-as-she-reveals herself without requiring reason or trying to change her.
- Affirming a woman
without catering to dependency.
- Allowing leaning
and giving needed support without erasing separate existence.
- Being sometimes
sexual without becoming sexually dependent or "putting all one's sexual eggs" in
any one female basket, that is, giving a wife control for masculine sexuality.
limitations and current degrees of female repression without playing Don Quixote
or only relating to an ideal image.
MY TOP TEN GUIDELINES
1. Accept the facts
See and accept
gender facts and differences as clearly and fully as possible. See through and
avoid popular illusions related to men and women.
2. Seek personhood
Place and keep
gender issues (all male/female drives and relationships) in proper perspective
in relation to larger human concerns--that is, give most attention to
personhood (90%?) and far less to male/female matters (10%). Instincts for
self-survival and self-satisfactions are far stronger and more pervasive than
lesser drives for self-replication (male/female business). Live your life
3. Become yourself
Even while engaged
in gender-related activities, both their challenges and delights, give most
attention to fuller becoming of your unique male self, rather than to
male/female relationships (e.g., friendships, marriage, affairs, etc.).
As a sign I once
saw in a donut shop read: "As you wander on through life, bud/whatever be your
goal/keep you eye upon the donut/and not upon the hole."
In practice this
"donut" is: seek to become your larger self in-the-midst of
relationships, but never through any of them. For example, never look
to a woman to "make a man of you"--or even to give you permission to be your
honest self. By all means, avoid the all-too-common male "holy grail" type quest
of trying to find, or even hoping for, a woman to "make you happy."
4. Keep power balanced
Keep power balanced
in every cross-gender relationship, especially those with legal contracts, such
as, marriage, and/or with those for whom you care most. Carefully avoid both
dominance or submission by either partner. Stated negatively, as did King
Solomon who was said to have 700 wives and 300 concubines, "Give not your power
to women." (Proverbs 31:3)
Also avoid the
Samson lesson of submitting your signs of male power--in his case, long hair, to
the symbolic scissors of modern-day Delilahs.
5. Cope with wiles
Learn to recognize
and cope wisely with female wiles, especially when they are unconsciously
wielded by a woman you care for, rather than being "done in" by any.
6. Accept projections
projections, including unconscious efforts to dominate, control, or possess you.
Learn to cope carefully, rather than being moved from your "green spot" by them.
For example, listen to bitching and nagging without becoming defensive or
reactive. Almost never argue with a woman. You will predictably lose 99% of the
time, later if not sooner.
7. Practice compromise
Develop skills and
often practice artful compromises in which shared goals are advanced without
loss of integrity or power by either person.
8. Be sexually responsible
Be responsible for
your masculine sexuality and supportive of female passions which are more
related to sensuality than to sexuality. Never give full control of your male
passions either to one woman or to females in general.
Even though this
latter stance is often socially approved and religiously affirmed, destructive
consequences are predictable, both for yourself and for any extended positive
relationship. For yourself, frustration, if not emasculation, is likely, along
with loss of male powers inherent in activation of this aspect of yourself. For
your partner, immediate benefits of possession and control of your sexuality
will fade in time with the inevitable loss of a "good man" to stand with her on
the path toward full personhood and a quality relationship.
9. Share responsibilities
in sharing responsibilities for common elements in a relationship, such as,
house keeping, child care, food preparation, bill paying, "chores," etc.
Carefully avoid using a mate as a slave, or becoming one yourself.
10. Dare to love
in accord with degrees of success in becoming your individual self and finding
courage to expand the circle of your care, move beyond using a woman for
satisfying personal needs, desires, and dreams. Instead, dare to accept and
affirm her as she presently is, and, as faith allows, free her to the fuller
becoming of her larger self--that is, love her, as best you can.
COMMON MALE ILLUSIONS
THAN LIVED WITH:
an honest woman
can ever get enough shoes
or a house clean enough
or a man civilized enough
or be pretty enough
or secure enough
or loved enough
or for that matter
have enough in her vocabulary
inevitably involves confronting illusions which conceal them.
three popular illusions:
1. Superior males/
2. Gender equality
3. Woman as goddess
three difficult realities:
3. Female humanity
2. Accept hard
applying new perspectives
Superior males/inferior females
The most familiar,
if not consequential, of prevailing male illusions is a belief in male
superiority and, consequently, female inferiority--at least in comparison with
males. Popular religions, such as, Christianity and Islam, both idealize and
support the practice of this belief. And, although the tide is shifting today as
glass ceilings are gradually being broken by females, many typical John Does
today still deeply believe in male superiority (as established in the Bible),
even if their marriages (or bachelorhood) and work situations are failing to
support this primal premise.
observation aimed at improved "living well with women" is that this belief, no
matter how widespread and religiously supported, is in fact an illusion. I
conclude that no man who continues in its belief will be able to maintain for
long a positive relationship with a women, even if she too believes in female
first advice (to myself) is: See through this yet popular view of males as
superior and females as the "weaker sex." Not only must wiser males recognize
and own their actual male limitations, as well as real female strengths, but
also come to see the darker side of femininity, including: buried
kill-abilities, as well as unconscious wiliness cloaked with innocent "love" but
boiling down to managerial ownership of her man, literally.
We must also banish
chauvinism, a phoney stance of self-righteousness, reflected in beliefs that men
are better and smarter than females; an abuse of limited male powers (e.g., left
brain thinking and bigger muscles) in outwardly dominating (lording it over)
females who quietly manage and manipulate our fragile egos. We need to escape
the ultimately destructive and futile nature of this ancient male attempt to
cope with female powers by overt domination, and to avoid falling for the
temptation to evade relational responsibility by being chauvinistic, as
typically evidenced in macho male behavior.
Even though the notion of gender equality is an advance over egotistical male
chauvinism, it yet holds dangerous illusions likely to undercut truly effective
relationships. Facts are: men and women are hardly equal in any arena except
inherent rights to be ourselves and equal necessity in conceiving babies. We are
unequal in genetic directives, size, muscular strength, longevity, adaptability,
relational abilities, mental capacities, social acceptability, personal
interests, and much much more.
Ideas of equality
easily seduce us away from clearly seeing actual differences and wisely coping
with them in the best interests of us both as well as society at large.
3. Woman as goddess
#1 and #2 are usually conscious, #3 is commonly unseen. Because this third
illusion is typically unconscious, recognizing its reality and scope is
relatively impossible--except to the degree of a man's unrepression. The more
repressed one is, the less visible this belief. But, paradoxically, the less
aware a male is, the more likely he is to blindly participate in this ancient
idolatry. With increasing self-awareness, males typically may begin to see our
involvement in this commonly repressed illusion--that is, living as though
woman truly has goddess-like powers.
All babies begin
life with a mother who, for all practical purposes, exists as a functional
goddess with a relatively impotent infant. Insofar as operative powers are
concerned, a mother is, from an infant's perspective, essentially
omnipotent--that is, she not only creates life but in early days she (or any
surrogate mother) holds power of life and death with her baby, in that she
controls the food supply, protection, and sustaining nurture.
Although the theory
of "womb memory" is yet unproven, I suspect these first nine months of internal
creation, in which all elements of embryo survival are mediated from a Creatrix
later to be called "Mother," are in some way imbedded in the beginnings of
bodily, if not mental, awareness. Perhaps we all bear remnants of primal
knowledge about early existence when She, like a real Goddess, was, as though by
magic, bringing the gift of life itself.
But womb memories
or not, when mind is first enlarging outside of uterus in the earliest days and
weeks of life, long before conscious thinking and hence language is possible,
the universal, existential situation could be accurately be described in terms
of "infant" and "goddess"--that is, a relatively impotent one in the care of a
relatively omnipotent She.
I speculate that in
some as-yet-un-pinpointed-way, long before language makes conscious memory
possible, all infants retain an "imprint" of existence in the presence of a
functional, if not named as such, Goddess. By the time consciousness
has evolved enough to allow learning language and thus attaching symbols to
perceptions (2-3 years?), such primal "imprinting" may be lost to emerging
"thinking for one's self."
Even so, I
speculate, somehow we all hold deep images of beginning times when, had language
then been possible, we might have called our primary care giver "Goddess" long
before we later called her "Mother."
however, is perception of power, not simply language to name it. I theorize that
every child experiences what must indeed seem like magical powers inherent in
our goddess-like mothers long before we have words to symbolize the experience.
Then, as consciousness expands along with our own emerging powers, including
self-perception, we begin to see "mother" more realistically in the light of
what we can do ourselves.
But, and this is my
point here: Even though we "forget" in the sense of not having retrievable
memory and names, such as, Goddess, for this One who first wields
immense, magic-like powers over our very existence, I speculate that dawning
perceptions of Her as such somehow remain in dark shadows of emerging
I further speculate
that these pre-conscious "memories" or "impressions" of all infants are stronger
in males than in females because whereas girls may soon begin to identify their
emerging sense-of-self with their mothers' femininity and thus share her
feminine powers, boys are socially moved in opposite directions (beginning with
blue rather than pink--and all attached associations), that
is, to, in effect, dis-identify self (as male) from mother (as
Girls, in effect,
soon begin to join ranks with their mother in shared genetic as well as social
connections, while at the same time boys are guided away from feminine
associations. Also, as soon as genetic masculine traits begin to become more
evident (e.g., interest in guns versus dolls, etc.), mothers commonly begin to
attempt control over such "anti-social" inclinations, while at the same time
favorably supporting girls' "interest in babies," etc. These differences become
even more pronounced as boys begin to evidence signs of masculine rather than
In summary, as girl
babies are being guided and supported by their mothers into mysterious realms of
femininity, with which they also identify themselves, boy babies are
gradually being curtailed in embracing traits associated with genetic
masculinity by mothers who yet hold extensive powers over our daily existence.
are tangentially available in most homes for boy guidance and identification;
but in early life, when power images are being formed, "mother" typically
remains the most immediately powerful figure ("Go ask your mother"). She can
naturally nurture and guide girls-like-her into their larger shared feminine
world, but, comparatively speaking, boys have far less support in masculine
insofar as gender powers are concerned, boys are not only typically less
supported in embracing genetic propensities and associated powers by
close-at-hand "male models," they are commonly under the influence and stronger
direction of mothers with more legitimate concerns about "making us behave" so
as to fit into family and social structures than with becoming natural boys.
Point here: Whereas
girls may move with relative ease from early living with an external
Goddess into more
realistic relationships with her as mother and woman, boys during that same
period of early development may easily continue to maintain, even to exaggerate,
our sense of magical female powers, as we face her continued control over daily
of seemingly magical powers (e.g., to hold in arms and make fear go away, and
later to kiss bo-bos and reduce pain, etc.) are phased into extended periods
when she continues to exercise near complete control both of emerging
masculinity as well as "permission" to "go out and play" or otherwise be
a boy's emerging male self.
Whether or not my
speculative analysis of how goddess-images first become "imprinted" on an
infant's mind, later to become more exaggerated in boys than in girls, is
correct, there is abundant evidence that males are far more likely to repress
magical-images-of-mother and later resurrect and project them onto other females
bearing signs of her likeness, than are females to do the same.
Before I leave
speculating to focus more directly on evident consequences, I theorize that
world history, beginning before recorded times, is also a reflection of these
same family situations--that is, that in earliest, pre-recorded human history
times, when matriarchies apparently prevailed, only pointed toward in existing
mythology, all males, boys and adults, lived openly with, in effect, female
"goddesses" who they outwardly served and, in effect, "worshiped."
But as times
changed and males somehow got the upper hand over "reigning" females,
patriarchies came to dominate matriarchies, that is, "kings" came to replace
"queens" in existing social structures. Then--I continue to speculate, male
religions evolved in which earlier female goddesses were replaced by male gods,
in keeping with emerging male dominance over females in daily living.
for example, begin here with Genesis accounts of God as male and men (Adam)
coming before and being the source of women (Eve from Adam's rib), over whom
they, being first and "better," appropriately "reigned" in accord with "God's
But again, even if
this brief analysis of gender in world history is incorrect, present social
conditions, including popular religions, can reasonably be explained
accordingly. I postulate, for example, that just as males have historically
suppressed goddess images literally (e.g., Apollo over Gaia, etc., in mythology
and in Greece) in favor of self-established gods, so boys today in effect repeat
world history as we repress early goddess-images (seen in response to magic-like
mothers) in favor of attempted male independence in adult life (often with
support of popular male religions).
Now back to the
present subject. I have digressed to consider a speculative explanation for
typical present day male/female situations with far more tangible evidence,
namely, many observable relationships, such as, affairs and monogamous
marriages, in which repressed males blindly look to lovers and/or spouses for
magical rewards--like individual wholeness and personal happiness.
I conclude that
these all-too-familiar fantasy-like relationships are rooted in boys' early
repressions of goddess-like images of birth mothers (when such views were
relatively realistic) but then denied while growing up and leaving home, only
later to be blindly resurrected and, in effect, projected onto other females
unwittingly chosen to represent her in adult life.
Often, as is
equally common both in male-dominated religions, such as, Christianity and
Islam, and local male/female relationships, "macho" type males cloak these
deeper projections (along with hidden expectations) with attempted dominance
over lovers and/or wives, as in trying to be "Lord and Master" or "King of the
I have noted this
phenomenon as the third common male illusion and considered it last because it
is also the least readily observable in typical male awareness today. Whereas
ideas of male superiority (illusion #1) are relatively abundant, even in popular
religions as well as existing social structures, and notions of gender equality
(illusion #2) are only slightly less common, that goddess images still existing
in the deeper minds of males (illusion #3) is yet commonly repressed.
repressed males may see evidences of the phenomenon in their own relationships,
even if they reject my graphic terminology ("goddess images"), more typical John
Does, yet caught up in living out childhood patterns, are likely to take this
notion as pure bunk.
Even so, in support
of my purposes in these observations on "living well with women," I suggest that
a measure of curiosity, before immediately dismissing this last observation, may
be in order. Stated positively: I conclude that a man's success in truly living
well with any woman, let alone many in society, will be dependent on his
recognition of this illusion, plus learning to cope wisely with its
ramifications in present relationships.
See three difficult realities:
1. Female superiority/male servant-hood
The illusion of
gender equality is a nice idea, and certainly a step above older errors like
male superiority, but yet a long way from the often cloaked but observable (at
least to me) fact of female superiority.
superiority, as I mean here, is not about betterness, greater moral worth,
or higher status in the eyes of gods. Nor is it meant to imply that man is
inferior to woman in any judgmental sense. Rather I refer to greater
genetic capacities, social advantages, and personal wisdom, especially about
gender and relationships in the world.
As Harry Belefonte
sang, The woman is smarter, the woman is smarter; she's smarter than the man
in every way--not only in head sense but also in creaturely capacities.
A man needs, I
think, to recognize this primary difference, including his gender and social
limitations, so as to make wiser use of limited advantages in achieving best
possible living conditions under existing social circumstances (including our
natural servant role in genetic replication). Although unsubstantiated cockiness
backed by illusions of male superiority or obsequious submission may each
temporarily bring certain male rewards among superior females, basically, for
realistic, long term well being, careful use of available-but-limited male
advantages is a wiser option.
2. Female/male advantages
Learn to compensate
for the first and mediate the second.
a.) Left brain,
logical thinking versus right brain wholistic thinking and access to genetic
wisdom (intuition, ESP, etc.).
b.) Negative social
acceptability of natural traits versus positive for females. Males are typically
curtailed, if not disciplined for "being ourselves," while females are rewarded
for similar self expressions.
c.) Power losses
due to emotional repressions.
disadvantages due to projections onto females, e.g., looking to women for
emotional acceptance, sexual permission, personal wholeness, happiness and
disadvantages include limitations of the best of logical thinking when
confronted with the least of emotional forces, such as, female tears and
to a host of female wiles.
If a man does not
see and accept that he is predictably vulnerable to being "done in" by these and
other limitations, as well as over-kill by inattention to female advantages, he
lives, I conclude, in constant spiritual danger.
In regard to # 2 (Gender
equality), men might wisely recognize the width of the gender gap.
Males and females
share two basic similarities: urges to survive as individuals and to replicate
ourselves (our personal genes). After that, the gap between genders in most all
arenas of daily life widens into essentially opposite camps--that is,
diametrically different traits.
Specific areas of
difference commonly include the following, plus many more:
3. Female Humanity
A. Get women in a realistic perspective.
Learn to see women
as they are, rather than with jaundiced eyes. Take off your rose colored
glasses. Examine yourself for sub-conscious projections you may have made onto
females in general (reflective of un-faced repressions of your own). Most men I
have known seem to have misguided ways of viewing women in general, and
especially those they care more for or are personally involved with. Typically,
I think, these erroneous images are easily learned with one's first mother and
from prevailing social mis-messages.
A proper male
agenda is learning to see even our favorite woman as "just a woman"--that is, as
a human being like all the rest of us, rather than secretly adoring her as
though she were a goddess. Perhaps catching on to the irony of an
observation by Mark Twain: "A woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a
smoke," may shed light on this commonly dark arena in male/female
relationships--if we can do so without falling into the opposite error of
blindly degrading and/or refusing to see their real powers, or into despair or
disillusionment over the insight.
Ideally, a wiser
man sees what a woman can and can't do/be in reality, beyond his private
beliefs, hopes, and unrealistic expectations of her--either exaggerated up or
down, positively or negatively.
Realistic views of
woman, past typically jaundiced male eyes in either direction, include these: a
mother for mutual children (during child-bearing years); a companion in daily
life; a sometimes sexual partner; a co-worker for sharing responsibilities for
successful life in society.
On the negative
side, even the best of female partners may be a financial liability (e.g., "high
maintenance" women); limited in sharing sexual interests; carry unacknowledged
emotional baggage, often hidden and commonly unrecognized during courtship or
early years of a relationship.
B. See, accept, and embrace differences.
accept, and learn to cope wisely; rather than:
1) Trying not to
see, while falling into illusions of equality or male superiority (with
favorable judgments that male ways are real, right, and good, while female ways
are "all in their heads," wrong, and bad).
against female values, trying to avoid confronting them, and refusing to
acknowledge their legitimacy in the overall living.
3) Trying to change
women who reveal, exercise and embody female values--that is, siding with the
professor in My Fair Lady, who lamented, "Why can't a woman be more
like a man?," and then trying to make one so.
= Consciously look for gender differences, rather than avoiding these realities
and necessarily reacting blindly when confronted with them. Every boy learns
certain ways of coping with females early in life, beginning with his mother.
But unless he consciously examines these patterns later, ingrained habits simply
become reactive thereafter, whether or not they are effective with others not
like his mother.
Stop judging what you see and allow observed differences to exist openly and
respectfully in awareness. Acknowledge that, though different--and often even
opposite from yours, both sets of traits and values are real, useful in certain
circumstances, and that's okay.
= Inevitably men confront female differences in any cross-gender relationship.
About this you have no choice. However, whether you cope blindly, based on
nursery-learned habits, or learn to "use your head" and "act smart" rather than
"be dumb," you do have a choice. Opt for taking it.
Begins with recognizing and using your lesser numbered natural advantages to
their best advantage, rather than being blind-sided by female advantages.
-- Size and
physical strength -- Genetic
capabilities (XX strengths)
-- Focused thinking
-- Emotional strength
-- Intuitive capacities
-- Pussy power
-- Power of submission
-- Word freedom
-- Don't have to win
-- Comprehensive thinking
-- Mystery tolerance
-- Social support
-- Longevity (can wait)
-- Goddess Mirror
DOUBLE X'S VERSUS WEASELLY Y BIOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES
differences rooted in chromosomes underlie other more obvious psychological and
Evolved roles in
genetic replication, namely, males as sperm-suppliers and females as
baby-makers, probably account for other major biological advantages for women.
Obviously both gender roles are essential for self replication, but supplying a
necessary sperm to impregnate an ovum is a relatively small offering in
comparison with immense responsibilities for creating a baby and raising a child
to adulthood. A father-to-be's five minutes of fun is certainly minor in
comparison to a mother's 9 months of creation, labored delivery, and up to 18
plus years of nurturing their shared offspring.
fathers continue to participate in child rearing and "providing for the family,"
but all too often, major if not all responsibilities for guiding children to
adulthood fall into female hands.
From an overall
biological perspective, where genetic replication is the primary goal, males
have evolved and continue to exist primarily as "servants" or suppliers of
female needs as essential in baby-making and child-rearing. Just as animals,
such as, bulls, "service" cows in initiating pregnancy, so human males,
"service" females by supplying sperm to start the long process of self and
involvement in family life--that is, social structures existing primarily for
creating and nurturing the growth of future gene-bearers, remains primarily
"serving" other female and family needs, such as, providing security, supplies,
and limited help in raising children.
Even when we
egotistically like to see ourselves as "Lord and Master" or "Head of Household,"
on analysis our functional male role is more clearly seen as "serving"
responsibilities which remain primarily in female hands.
biological advantages enhanced by psychological and social elements include:
adaptability, tolerance for pain, sensitivity, and longevity. On average,
females prove themselves to be more adaptable to assorted circumstances and
changes related to most social situations apart from physical survival in the
Perhaps as evolved
in service of enduring pangs of childbirth, females, in spite of psychological
appearances to the contrary, also have greater tolerance for physical pain than
typical males who
try to "act tough." Also, as is obviously useful in the many challenges of
child-rearing, females are typically more sensitive to immediate surrounding
than are males who tend to be more focused on distant goals than on what is
before our eyes.
easily confirm that females on average live longer than males. After divorce or
death of spouse, for example, husbands rarely survive as long (or well) as
In summary: for
these and other reasons, females with two X chromosomes in every cell are in
fact better equipped and therefore more capable creatures than are males with
only one X and a weaselly Y chromosome in our own 50 billion cells.
Unfortunately the adjective superior has, over the course of time,
acquired a baggage of positive judgments, while comparable inferior is
typically seen as "bad." Therefore, using these terms in regard to gender
differences easily results in familiar misunderstandings.
Were it not so,
apart from judging either as better or worse than the other, we might correctly
think of females as "superior creatures" with massively greater biological
responsibilities in comparison with "inferior males" evolved primarily to serve
them in our shared biological goals of genetic replication.
Now back to female
advantages. Typical, unconscious male projections of early repressed goddess
images form the basis for this last major female advantage over those of males.
Commonly, the assumed male mode of acquiring these illusionary powers is the
same as first learned with the original goddess. Most often this is through the
medium of pleasing--that is, trying to secure female favors by doing
that she desires, with the secret agenda of therefore acquiring her services--as
may have first worked with one's mother.
Whether or not a
female consciously recognizes these typical projections as such, she can hardly
avoid trafficking in them--that is, taking advantage of powers unwittingly
granted to her via the path of male projection. And since grown boys are rarely
aware of what we do in this regard, the extent of this female advantage is
This is probably
the least conscious and most powerful of all female advantages, both with women
who possess it and men who are blindly moved by it. In reality, women in effect
inherit this advantage along with their female bodies and female traits which
cannot but in some ways mirror or be reminiscent of a boy's mother.
something must happen in every boy's beginning (as best I can tell) at the time
when mental development is first allowing the formation of images representative
of outward experience. In these early months and years, "mother" both embodies
and mediates most external forces impacting a boy's existence, namely, the
source of food, comfort, protection, and love, along with permission to openly
activate inherited instincts. Or not to.
In this position
and role "mother," as she will later be called after language becomes possible,
is, in practice, like an omnipotent being into whose hands (and arms) lie the
essential forces of life and death insofar as a relatively impotent boy is
As his mental
capacities develop, allowing for forming images (some studies indicate even in
the first few days of life outside the womb), he perhaps first images ("learns
to recognize") the physical face of this wonderful provider of milk and comfort.
But soon he must begin to also form images of the unseen powers she wields over
him, as in her presence and/or absence, plus the giving or withholding of her
milk and other services.
Although we as yet
have no way of knowing just what these first images of power may be like, I
speculate that they may best be summarized as what might later be called a
goddess--that is, a seemingly all powerful creature who not only mediates
bodily comfort and discomfort, but also personal happiness or its opposite.
Names, of course,
are irrelevant to this perhaps universal small boy experience. Call the image
what you will; but the phenomenon itself becomes crucially important in a boy's
days and years beyond the nursery and presence of this functional collection of
forces I choose to call goddess.
At first, before a
boy's capacity for individuality (including language and naming) develops, a
goddess image (or whatever else the phenomenon may be called) is experientially
accurate. From the perspective of a boy child's relative impotence She, even
unnamed, is truly goddess-like insofar as her powers impinge on his daily
This, we might say,
is reality for every small boy. Of course, a father figure and other
impersonal forces, such as, light and dark, heat and cold, are tangentially
present; but in the beginning a boy's primary encounters with external power
come with and through his Creatrix who continues to mediate most personal as
well as impersonal forces effecting his life.
But what happens
next, as mental development brings expanded possibilities for consciousness, is
the crucial determining factor which will later become the basis for this female
advantage being noted here. Ideally, as personal capacities for self-tending
naturally evolve, along with consciousness itself, early goddess images will
rapidly be down-graded as self-images naturally expand. The stronger (more
personally capable) a boy becomes, the weaker (less powerful) his mother is
correctly seen to be. Previously accurate images of omnipotent goddess-hood
rapidly change to less powerful images of limited personhood, as a boy's own
But I say
ideally, because a different scenario seems to almost universally occur in
boys' pilgrimages from infancy to manhood. Instead of allowing consciousness,
and its assorted images to evolve in accord with actual changes in mother/son
relationships, somehow a stoppage seems to occur. Consciousness is, in effect,
turned in on itself instead of continuing in a linear, ever-expanding process.
Rather than openly
and honestly facing gradual shrinking of mother-powers (goddess images) in
accord with increasing son-powers, it seems that expanding natural consciousness
somehow gets frozen at the goddess image level. In psychological terms, boys opt
for repression over expression as a favored mode of coping
with mother-power in post-nursery days.
consciously acknowledging our own expanding powers and self-responsibilities,
and hence the diminishing of mother's (as the previously accurate goddess
images phase into an illusion as such), sons commonly repress such
knowledge out of conscious awareness in favor of keeping goddess images
But the second part
of inward repression is outward projection. Goddess images
repressed from a boy's conscious mind do not in reality "go away"; instead, they
reappear "out there," most commonly mirrored in other females who bear
similarities to our actual mothers (e.g., bodies with breasts, etc.). But just
as repression is an unconscious move, that is, done "without thinking,"
so projection occurs unawarely.
"Blindly," we might
say, boys unconsciously resurrect goddess images formed in early days (when they
were realistic) and unwittingly project them onto females in later days. Were
this a mental matter only, perhaps danger would be less; but along with
resurrected goddess images, grown boys typically resurrect as present
expectations the same forces we originally either experienced (or wanted
to) with our first goddess.
without realizing we do so, we come to expect these latter day "mirrors" to
function like the first goddess--that is, to "take care of us," "provide for our
needs (e.g., emotional and sexual, if not physical)," "understand us," "give us
permission to go out and play (be ourselves)," and even "to make us happy."
In almost all of
these easily observable differences, females hold the edge in advantages, both
privately and in society.
long term male limitations turn out to be a short term advantages, namely, left
brain thinking and emotional repression.
Left brain type
thinking reflects in better focus-ability, as in, aiming at game in
hunter/gatherer eras of evolution, and greater skills in prioritizing accepted
values. Emotional repression allows for greater ease in remaining attentive to
conscious considerations without distractions which emotions may bring (e.g.,
killing game for food without "getting emotional" about "poor little Bambi,"
In the larger
picture, female whole-brain thinking (right as well as left hemisphere) allows
for wider perceptions and hence greater awareness of immediate details, plus the
input of emotional (right brain) wisdom (instinctive and sub-consciously
acquired knowledge). This greater wealth of data allows for wider considerations
in decision making, but has the disadvantage of consequently making it harder to
decide quickly (as males are more apt at doing). Females, then are more skilled
at making better long range decisions, but often have difficulty in making up
their minds immediately.
Relevant here is
the male edge in being able to focus more clearly on an immediate goal (e.g.,
aiming at "game" and/or winning) with less emotional distractions, and hence be
better able to prioritize personal values.
means making value judgments quickly without being distracted by non-related or
possibly irrelevant data, such as, distant facts and/or feelings. In this arena,
males typically have immediate advantages over many females. For example, in
purchasing shoes, males may go quickly to the kind we want, try on for fit and
comfort, check the price, and, if affordable, make a quick decision to buy.
Females, with their considerations due to whole brain thinking plus emotional
awareness, may have a much harder time deciding.
First they must
shop around to consider all available shoes, since "there may be a better pair
at another store." They must also consider style, home wardrobe (matching colors
with clothing), etc., etc. After trying on several pairs they must think about
which they "like the best." Actual afford-ability (monetary value) may be
relatively ignored, especially if the shoes are "on sale."
abilities and female limitations in making quick decisions become far more
significant in many immediate relational arenas, such as, budgeting money, house
cleaning and decorating, child management, and especially in choices related to
male/female encounters (what is said and done with each other).
Probably the most
significant element in living well with a woman-or women in general,
is gaining a
proper perspective on femininity itself, as related to masculinity. How
we view women, including both consciously and unconsciously-that is, our
attitude toward femininity, will inevitably color, if not determine,
every aspect of personal relating, all the way from initial encounters to
One of the most
common errors I note in erroneous perspectives, both in myself and other men, is
repressed idolatry, cloaked with chauvinism and/or adoration. Infantile
viewing of mother as goddess, as indeed she is as creator and monarch reigning
over early infancy, is all too often repressed in awareness, only to be
resurrected in unconscious idolatry. What begins as reality in every boy's
experience, easily phases into an unrecognized illusion as personal capacities
rapidly expand following exodus from the womb.
Then, blinded to
what is happening inside ourselves, we growing boys easily develop unrealistic
attitudes toward females which we unwittingly continue to exercise as
we move toward marriage and/or other intimate relationships with women.
feels bad; so naturally we tend to avoid the process of letting go of illusions,
especially those commonly accepted by society and friends. But if you think
about it-that is, add "thinking" to "feeling," wouldn't it be more sensible to
face reality with its potentially greater rewards than to seek happiness among
In either case, my
observation is that marriage, perhaps more so than any other aspect of modern
life, is surrounded and supported by a wealth of illusions. Even though they may
be deeply appealing and strongly tempting to buy into and blindly continue to
live with ("Better to keep the ills you have, than fly to those you know not
of"), I have found that marriage rooted in these popular illusions, though
initially wonderful, is predictably destined to fail in time. In spite of best
efforts to the contrary, disillusionment is apt to force itself into the
realities of every marriage, beginning soon after the honeymoon (if not before).
My premise is that
it's better to "head them off at the pass," to "beat impending reality to the
punch"-that is, to risk confronting illusions before "reality rears" its
proverbially "ugly head," and disillusionment is forced upon us.
Reason supports the
idea that daring to face illusions and consciously participate in the process of
letting them go, in favor of identifying with reality, is wiser than trying to
blindly maintain them. At least I have found this to be so.
therefore, that in order to "be happy though married," disillusionment, no
matter how disturbing it may seem at the time, is an essential pre-requisite to
finding real happiness within this age-old institution. I go so far as to
predict that no marriage can be successful in time beyond the extent that we
dare face and survive the challenging process of personal disillusionment.
Husbands who blindly insist on maintaining popular illusions unwittingly set the
opposite stage for "being miserable while married."
My goal for myself
is to look as clearly as I can at "facts of life" about marriage, that is, to
"look the gift horse in the mouth," to ferret out illusions I have unconsciously
embraced, and risk the threats of disillusionment.
Illusions I have
seen so far include these:
Marriage is magical.
Many of the fairy
tales of my childhood ended with the statement: "They got married and lived
happily ever afterward," implying that marriage can magically make one happy,
not only now, but forever.
This, I observe, is
perhaps the grandest of all illusions about marriage. If you have swallowed this
one, regurgitate it; marriage is definitely not magical. No other successful
human relationship-so far as I can tell, is more demanding, takes more real
work, than male/female union in monogamy.
- Woman can
Close behind the
illusion of magical marriage is that of goddess woman. Even if
the institution itself is not seen as powerful enough to "make you happy"-that
is, automatically bring personal fulfillment, perhaps the woman you fell in love
with can, once you say, "I do" and make her your own (you her own?).
While this popular
illusion is intact, probably no man ever consciously sees his wife as "a
goddess"-one literally empowered to make him whole and happy. But in practice,
probably no other male illusion is more alive and well than this dark notion of
woman as earthly goddess, much like a heavenly God.
No marriage can, I
hold, be truly successful beyond the degree that a man lets go of this near
universal illusion, and comes to see his wife as "just a woman"-that is, another
human being with no more power to "save him," than can he her.
Which leads to a
third, often even deeper illusion:
- A man can
make a woman happy.
The flip side of
Illusion #2 is that one man can ever be enough to make a woman happy-at least
for long, that is, that a man can be good enough, compliant enough, wealthy
enough, please enough, behave and be clean enough, etc., etc., to keep her "in
love" with him as she may have seemed to be before the ceremony.
- Love is
Love, obviously, is
wonderful. Beginning with the early magic of romance, the kind of love we
commonly fall into, and continuing on to even grander wonders of "mature
love"-including friendly love, benevolent love, and motherly love, along the
way. Still, in reality, all love is finally limited in inherent capacity to save
another person, for example, to heal mental illness or to make a depressed
No matter how much,
how completely, how faithfully, how thoroughly, how devotedly, a man loves a
women (or vice versa) his love can never finally be enough to erase the primal
fact that, as my father often reminded me, "every tub's got to set on its own
In practice, one
spin-off of this illusion is the reverse counterpart of the female illusion that
a woman can marry a man as he is and change him to better suit her desires
afterward. The male illusion is that a man can marry a woman and she will remain
the same as before he married her, that is, as loving, attentive, responsive,
etc., not to mention as young.
slopes in a successful marriage include:
1. Letting go
of illusions without falling into disillusionment.
Perhaps the most
common illusion about marriage is implied in the familiar fairy tale phrase,
"getting married and living happily ever after." The illusion is the unstated
implication that "marriage will make you happy," or that simply by entering this
institution, "getting married," happiness can be expected to automatically
follow. Even when the notion of inherent happiness is dropped, married folk
often continue to believe that "it" can bring happiness "if we are willing to
work at it."
I call this an
illusion because the nature of human happiness, that is, living well and
satisfied in the here and now, is much more profound and personally challenging
than any external institution, marriage included, can possibly provide. In spite
of widespread beliefs in this assumption, I conclude that neither marriage, or
"working at it," or even having a "perfect spouse" can, in the final analysis,
bring personal happiness.
recognizing these magical notions is relatively easy to do in the predictable
changes occurring between the "moonlight and roses" of a honeymoon and
proverbial "daylight and dishes" following soon afterward. Spouses who are
honest with themselves may soon realize that "its just not working out like I
But the challenge I
note here is less about confronting this predictable fact, which may even force
itself on one as "reality creeps in," than about how one responds to the
realization. Many, apparently, are able to delay such a confrontation, even for
years after the ceremony; but eventually, barring considerable personal
repression, the limitations of this popular magical belief predictably reveal
Then, with equal
predictability, painful disillusionment is apt to follow. Who can measure the
inherent hurt of such an enormous broken dream?
measure of such emotional trauma is inevitable with facing any illusion; but the
challenge I explore here is: what next? Once such disillusionment has come, what
is one to do with/in marriage itself?
all-too-familiar reactions include:
1) Remaining, even
"wallowing in" the emotionally destructive waters of any broken dream, e.g.,
"for sake of the children," etc. The deep bitterness of spouses who opt for this
solution is often easy to see by others, if not themselves.
2) Blaming a spouse
for "making me unhappy," that is, for being the cause of the dream
failing. Even when notions of magical marriage remain intact, one may easily
imagine the source of personal unhappiness to lie in a less-than-perfect spouse.
"He/she is making me unhappy."
3) When so, looking
for another partner, that is, someone else with better qualifications, becomes a
quasi-sensible justification from turning away from an unsatisfactory marriage.
These avoidances typically occur in assorted affairs, either emotional and/or
sexual in nature.
divorce, legally "getting out of" a marriage which failed to live up to magical
expectations, becomes another familiar choice.
I can easily
enumerate these 4 options because I have tried them all over the course of time.
In hindsight I can now acknowledge the limitations of each, and look more
clearly at what I visualize as a wiser response (versus reaction) to confronting
illusions of any marriage "making me happy."
slope" I recognize is letting go of this familiar illusion without falling into,
or at least remaining in, the "slough of despond" of extended disillusionment.
When I am able to recognize my dark devotions and participation in illusions of
such a magical relationship, I face the challenges of moving from temporary
disappointment into wider realms of personal unrepression.
continuing to look "out there," as in marriage, for someone, e.g., a perfect
person, to "make me happy," or blaming anyone else when I feel unhappy, I may,
when I dare, turn instead to further self-examination in quest of unrecognized
aspects of myself only seen in what bothers me in others. Then, when faith is
sufficient, I may risk re-embracing previously repressed capacities of my own,
long denied in quest of self-affirmation from others, most notably, a spouse.
Then, to whatever
degree I am successful in such self-becoming, I find myself graced with
happiness inherent in "being oneself," and the wonderful possibility of loving
others "as they are," once freed from hidden expectations-that is, illusions of
finding happiness outside myself.
slippery slope is, I conclude, well worth facing the challenges inherent in
Choices for a man's
actions in marriage are limited to the extent of his personal repressions. The
more repressed one is, the fewer options he has. He will, to the degree of his
repressions, mainly be limited to reactive patterns, probably first learned with
his mother and destined to be repeated with other females, unless or until he
succeeds in un-repressing awareness of early experience and re-learning more
appropriate ways of living in present circumstances.
increased personal honesty, overall options for action may also expand. When so,
chosen ways of responding based on reasoning at the time become open. Five major
choices include these:
Submit. When differences of opinion occur, "give in" to a woman.
Try to please her first. Speak/act in accord with her desires. Try to comply
with her wishes whenever possible. For example, say, even non-verbally: "Yes,
dear; whatever you say." Or, act as though "Your slightest wish is my
Co-operate. Treating your relationship as a union of two with
equal rights, neither one or the other partner being over or under. When you
come to places of difference (as you inevitably will), try to compromise
whenever you find yourself at odds with each other.
Resist. Rebel against giving in. Stand up to a woman;
rather than trying to please, be, in effect, displeasing. For instance, do the
opposite of what she wants. Practice active or passive resistance to each of a
woman's revealed desires. Even if you eventually give in, resist as
long as possible.
Dominate. Exert your will and strength in overt efforts to
suppress her, to place and keep yourself and your desires over
her--that is, the proverbial "little woman in her place." This is the opposite
of #1, submitting. Instead of giving in to her, lord it over her. Be
active in aggressive efforts to put her down and yourself up in the
relationship. Assert your rights, as you understand them, e.g., in sexual
to change her. Instead of accepting who she reveals
herself as being, engage in an overall process of trying to change her into
forms more desirable to you. For example, try to be reasonable with her about
other ways of functioning. Try to explain and convince her that she needs to
change "for her own good," if not to please you. Argue with her, trying to prove
your points related to changing her behavior or ways of relating to you.
Leave. In effect, "run away from home," emotionally if
not physically. Create spiritual space between you and a woman. Instead of
"letting her get close to you," keep her at arm's length--emotionally speaking.
Cope with "heel dust,"--that is, create a protective smoke screen as you "run
away" from intimacy. At more difficult junctures, leave the scene, either
temporarily or permanently.
This last major mode of relating is obviously the most difficult of all,
and only becomes an option as a man's degrees of un-repression are increased.
There are, in all
male/female relationships I have known, times and places for each of these
options--that is, circumstances and situations where one or the other is more
appropriate, makes more sense, and is called for in personal survival as well as
in an effective, positive, long term relationship.
Only the last,
love, is potentially relevant all the time; but, as noted, such a choice is
only possible to the degree of a man's personal maturity, and at times when he
can avoid regressing to older learned patterns of relating.
repression is greater, a man's moves are limited to reactive patterns of
action--usually being one of the first four outlined above, no man can, I
conclude, live well with a woman when he is, in effect, a Johnny One Note
in his basic mode of reacting. Success over time will likely require a shifting
use of one or another choice as circumstances and situations--including a
woman's nature, change.
There are, of
course, complementary types of male-female relationships based on unions of
opposite personality patterns and consequently learned modes of behavior. For
example, often a consistently dominant male will be attracted to--and often
marry, a mostly submissive female who usually gives in to his desires. Or, an
overtly aggressive female may be attracted to a compliant male who, in effect,
complements her own personality pattern.
all-too-familiar unions of opposites which create an illusion of personal
wholeness so long as each mate remains within their older pattern, there is
often a temporary feeling of happiness so long as neither one changes or acts
out of pattern. However, since the nature of humanity commonly involves degrees
of personal change in the course of time, the euphoria of such initially
blissful unions is predictably short lived, indeed, often disastrous in time as
one or the other partner becomes increasingly honest.
co-operating through negotiated compromises seems to be the second most
useful mode of coping when differences arise. Such compromises-with-integrity
do, however, require more consciousness and rationality than is often possible
at particular times of stress.
When so, choice #3
may be more appropriate, namely, passively resisting overt
submission, rather than quickly or routinely giving in, especially when one
cannot do so without self-negation. Even when temporary compliance seems more
immediately feasible (e.g., until a woman calms down), continued silent
resistance to extended submission may turn out to be functional.
circumstances and encounters between a man and woman are unique, I obviously
don't know and therefore can't say which mode is best for any particular
situation. When sense prevails (as is only possible to a man's degree of
un-repression), each choice may be the best for one time or another.
However, at least
for myself, I have found that prioritizing in my value system outside of
conflict times makes most sense. In general, which choice is apt to be more
effective most of the time? And which option is generally to be avoided apart
from disastrous circumstances?
My conclusions so
far prioritize the above noted options in the order I have listed them, with the
exception that the last, namely, love, is most universally applicable
whenever I can muster the faith to exercise this choice.
Most commonly, I
find that a man's best choice--when he wants to live well with a women,
is generally #1, that is, to submit to her desires, try to please her
whenever possible without sacrifice of personal integrity.
Of course giving in
at cost of one's own integrity is never worth the price, and is predictably
destructive in the long run. But otherwise, most of the time, in ordinary events
of everyday life, "trying to please" a woman seems to offer greater odds of long
term success than any other option I have found.
Next, there are
pragmatic times when overt domination is the best of all immediate
choices, at least until circumstances are less emotionally charged. For example,
if a woman gets completely out of self-control, becoming physically or
emotionally destructive to a mate, her children, or herself, physical constraint
may be reasonably called for.
Or, if a woman
becomes totally irrational in making obviously destructive decisions which
effect both partners (e.g., unaffordable spending, excessive drinking, or making
unrealistic demands for behavior changes), a man may wisely "put his foot down"
in some feasible way of taking charge of an unacceptable situation.
Next, in my value
system or priorities, trying to change a woman, at least some aspect of
seemingly blind but unacceptable behavior, may be feasible in the long run, at
least when I cannot find the nerve to love her as she is, and before
opting to leave a relationship, emotionally if not physically.
However, in other
than relatively mundane types of behavior, this option turns out to be extremely
limited, given the imbalance in inherent gender powers. Real changes, even with
the most diligent efforts by another person--especially by a man to a woman,
are, in my experience, exceptionally rare. Mostly I have found all such male
efforts to be wasted time in the long run. Even sincere efforts to "help"
another make obviously needed changes are more apt to backfire than to work for
ACQUIESCENCE WITHOUT GIVING IN
"...this above all else; to thine own self be true."
integrity is a key issue in following any or all of the guidelines suggested
here. One might keep all the "rules (of thumb)" and present appearances of a
perfect relationship; but if self-integrity is lost in the process, there can be
no "living well" with any woman, no matter how good she may be.
If a man loses his
sense of his male self, his integrity as an individual person entirely separate
and apart from any woman, then the essential basis for a healthy relationship is
undermined in the process.
Many of the
guidelines enumerated here require a great deal of acquiescence in the
process of living well with a "superior creature"; but acquiescence is
always to be sharply distinguished from "giving in"-whereby personal integrity
is diminished in the process.
rebel-with-integrity, than to give in and lose one's sense-of-self in the
Better to be seen
as an "ass hole" than to become a "pussy," or a chauvinistic male than an
obedient wimp; but better still, to acquire arts of appropriate acquiescence
without "giving in" in the process.
For example, two of
my observations, "Thinking Like a Woman" and "Doing Dumb Things," will be far
easier to follow if a man simply caves in and blindly succumbs to a woman's
wants and ways (which many men will see as being "pussy whipped"); but as I
intend these and other guidelines to successful living with women, they only
apply when a man can consciously acquiesce or defer-in-an-event
without loss of personal integrity in the process.
Shakespeare, "Above all else, keep your male self intact while bending for
practical reasons aimed at living well with a woman."
Genes plus a bit of practice
and of course sacrificed balls
and swallowed pride
are all that is required for biological satisfaction
in the inherited male role of servicing females
with an occasional sperm and lots of security
otherwise known as:
"keeping the little woman happy"
for greater happiness
faith is required for moving on
to personhood past gender alone
to owning, that is, the other 44 chromosomes
in each and every cell
otherwise known as becoming whole
and meeting God in this potential
Garden Of Pleasure here
Give 90% or your
attention to growing up yourself, and 10% to improving your relationships--that
is, trying to initiate changes. "Growing up" typically involves un-repressing
natural male capacities and learning to integrate them functionally in society
and your relationships with women. Other terms for the same process include:
"becoming your fuller self," "working out your own salvation," "confronting your
own problems," and "accepting responsibility for your own well being."
This guideline is
contrary to common male attention which is more like this:
of energy given to bemoaning present status of a relationship--that is, regret,
disappointment, complaining (mostly to other men), and/or feeling sorry for
oneself while doing nothing about the facts.
to blaming a woman, trying to change her (or hoping she will on her own), or
wishing it were so.
to seeking satisfaction outside the relationship, e.g., in outside activities,
such as, business, sports, hunting, male friendships, or other female
relationships, including affairs (emotional if not physical).
to growing up oneself (self improvement).
Probably the most
difficult part of learning to live well with a woman is reversing these overall
priorities--that is, changing the last common 5% (or variations on the numbers)
to the recommended guideline of 90% of attention to growing up oneself, and 10%
to "working on" the relationship. When I am sometimes able to follow my own
rules, I find positive results to be roughly in the same proportions.
Quit blaming your "problems (dissatisfactions)" on women and learn to take
responsibility for your own happiness, both in and out of your relationships.
Energy given to blaming--as revealed in complaining about a woman, trying to
change her, or running away from her, cannot but be drawn from the limited
reservoir of resources otherwise available for saving yourself and perhaps
learning to love a woman as she is.
capacity for self-becoming as the only true path to personal happiness
with a woman, rather than blindly looking to a lover for
permission to become honest, or for magical powers to make you whole and happy.
Keep focused on
self-becoming versus trying to "keep a woman happy." Self-becoming
is rooted in un-repression of blindly denied male attributes suppressed in
process of socialization, that is, survival and well being, beginning in one's
personal family and extending to outside society. Therefore, self-becoming
has two major elements: un-repressing missing male qualities and activating
natural masculinity in relationships with women.
females" is a prime male responsibility, both biologically and socially; but
even in fulfilling this established male role a man is well advised to keep his
primary private focus on "selfing" rather than "spousing" and/or "fathering."
energies toward growing up yourself rather than using a woman as a "missing
half," trying to get something from her, or trying to change her to be more in
line with your private desires--for example, to be more reasonable, sexual, or
Point: 1) Such
efforts will likely be wasted energy, and 2) Energies devoted to probably futile
endeavors cannot but be drawn from those otherwise available for actually
possible goals, such as, growing up yourself.
In practice: 1)
Think more about your negative reactions to female traits you dislike, than to
her attributes themselves; 2) Focus on improving your coping skills with her
rather than simply having emotional reactions, falling into old thoughtless
habits, or hoping for change.
Realize that very
little change occurs in anyone without devoted attention to un-repression and
self-becoming. And, whereas, many do "wish they were different, or "better,"
most folks, women included, simply opt for living-out old modes of coping
learned in childhood.
undesirable attributes may be concealed during courtship and early encounters,
but they don't go away and will predictably resurrect as a relationship
continues. Probably she won't change much, even if you both wish it so.
diligence, you can.
If a woman's
efforts to find herself as a person through relating to a man are misguided, as
many disillusioned wives have discovered, a man's blind attempts to find his
"missing half" (his heart and/or own right brain) in a woman are far more likely
wholeness inherent in "falling in love," especially with a beautiful woman, are
predictably destined for a short life, often ending soon after the honeymoon is
over, because in reality personal wholeness (and inherent happiness) is an
individual matter-like individuation itself.
Time cannot but
contribute to eventual disillusioning of a man who, like Prince Arthur, fell in
love and tried to rescue a Princess, blind to the fact of an external quest for
a missing internal "half."
Bottom line: I
conclude that the odds of salvation from an otherworldly God, though highly
speculative, are better than those with an earthly woman, though more often
temptations there is the psychological trap which is perhaps even more dangerous
than these first two. I refer to "complementary-ness"--that is, the quest for
personal wholeness through ownership of a "missing half" in the form of an
opposite-gender person, the stuff of romantic love, the kind we "fall into."
Because this path
is commonly taken by unconscious direction, "without a thought in the world"
(let alone any reason), it becomes even more insidious than the gene/meme paths.
Who has a clue to why we fall in love? At least at the time of such a fall. We
just do so. Delightfully, at the time.
In hindsight, with
diligent attention we may be able to filter through some of the awesome powers
of moonlight and roses, et al. Some of my discoveries include: the hidden
shadows of Mother's Smile, the wish for a local Goddess, a fantasy of returning
to the Womb cloaked in illusions of "unqualified love," escapes from the nerve
to make up my mind as well as from the faith essential for affirming my own
existence. I have long looked to woman, especially cloaked in romantic love, for
permission--not only to do, but even to be. This, I think
looking back, must be the ultimate idolatry as well as the grandest of all
is, female wiles either inherited and/or learned early in a girl's life, are
obviously more expansive than Apollo's Ploys, male type means of coping
in cross-gender relationships. Girls, for whatever reason, somehow seem to know
far more about how to out-maneuver boys than vice versa. In most typical
male-female encounters, beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout
life, women are, I observe, more successful in "getting what they want" than are
genders have differing modes of trying to succeed with each other in achieving
private goals, clever female "wiles," as best I can tell, are typically more
successful than rather brutish male "ploys" available for confronting them.
Study, learn to
recognize and identify specific wiles in the repertoire of a woman. All women
have and use them, even if unconsciously (which makes them better at it), but
each woman has her own favorites. If you don't recognize each, you will
predictably fall for them and be manipulated without even realizing what is
Instead of falling
for, getting mad about, trying to change her, or at least to stop using a
particular wile, give all attention to improving your skills in confronting each
effectively--that is, achieving a functional compromise between conflicting
desires at the time, one which maximizes your success without damaging her sense
of herself in the process.
number and nature of available female wiles is almost limitless (See my essay,
Sophia's Wisdom, for enumeration of some 54 of them). Consequently,
each woman tends to find her own list and use them as long as they work. The
challenge is to catch on to those most used by your particular woman.
There are, however,
a few major, widely used female wiles you may begin looking for: Among them are:
trading sex for power; deceptive beautifying and dressing (displaying so as to
make you think she is prettier than actually so); playing on latent male guilt
("Be ashamed of yourself." "You aren't going out looking like that, are you?");
artful intimidation or "putting down" on you ("Is that the best you can do?" "Is
that as big as it gets?").
pragmatic necessity of artful deception for success in any extended
requires confronting powerful social and religious forces which see
honesty-with-others as virtuous and any deception as "being dishonest"--that is,
wrong and/or sinful. Because these public values are so thoroughly ingrained in
most people, even before times of consideration, many men have to deal with
predictable "false guilt" about even considering conscious deception.
In spite of this
public perception of honesty-with-others as virtuous (and deception as bad),
careful analysis may reveal that these memes are primarily directed at males.
Females have long been so practiced at artful deception with males that such
skills are now either ingrained or learned so early in life as to escape
conscious awareness in those most successful in its practice.
So, men, if you
"feel guilty" about possible deceptions with females you care for, realize that
they are probably far ahead of you in practicing these arts. They have used them
for eons, so long as to have the skills down pat, even unconscious if not
engened. Furthermore, female use of deception (e.g., in makeup, dress, and
courting skills) is also socially acceptable and quietly affirmed by other
If men are to ever
catch up in balancing skills in mutual deceptions, many of us will first have to
develop skill in appropriately fooling a woman without fooling ourselves at the
same time--that is, consciously choosing to deceive and be responsible for same,
so as to avoid unconsciously "trying to get caught."
hair in the Bible. Be very cautious in revealing your weaknesses to a woman. As
in courts of law, "anything you say can be used against you," and often may,
especially in emergencies and at times of deeper needs of either of you.
Use and perfect
your lesser advantages and useful ploys; but be careful not to naively reveal
them to her, especially when she digs. For example, playfully deny: "Would I try
to fool you?"
projections as inevitable, without taking them personally, getting defensive,
and/or trying to explain yourself--as though you are the true subject.
Accept a woman's
blind projections onto you without falling for or being done in by any. For
example, projected illusions of your grandeur; savior from her family, poverty,
or herself; blame/cause of her shortcomings; reason she is unhappy ("making
her angry," "disappointing her," "letting her down.").
The point of
accepting projections without confronting them is to perhaps tease them further
into her awareness, so that in time she may be able to see and withdraw them and
their associated powers back into herself. Also, by standing with her and
keeping integrity intact, you exercise and strengthen your own powers.
Respect female unconsciousness
You may be more
conscious than the woman you love--that is, more aware of instinctive drives,
present goals, and immediate reasons, than are females more directed by emotions
than conscious sense.
typically different gender stances, men are often inclined to "try to make women
see," if not to "make sense," plus to understand us at the same time (while, to
be fair, corresponding females often wish, if not try, to make males be more
emotional and less dedicated to focused thinking)--which is generally a
Wiser men respect a
woman's greater comfort, e.g., for making love in the dark (with no mirrors on
the ceiling, etc.), as well as keeping her expansive thoughts to herself,
shielded, as it were, from the glaring lights of consciousness as well as the
scrutiny of curious men "trying to understand women" (even while avoiding trying
to make them understand us).
In practice, this
means respecting her right to move more fully into consciousness at her own
pace, if at all, and to love her anyway if she never does.
Finally, you may
safely ask a woman "how she feels" about almost anything, anytime; but rarely is
it reasonable to ask a right brained female "what she thinks."
love a woman
hold her warmly
nourishing the roots of her security
love a man
touch him sexily
affirming the fires of his passion
Then, paradoxically, in time
her security may evolve into passion
and his passion into commitment
may become a vixen in bed
while he learns to keep his bed roll
stashed behind her couch, permanently
both abandon the quest for love
in favor of the delights
of loving each other
in our quests for genetic immortality
all we male's must have
is a warm passage toward a lurking ovum
while our gender counterparts
need much more than a stiff prick
guiding hoards of willing sperm,
such as, a man with a slow hand
if not a soft but firm tongue
unhindered by shame and unhurried
by fear of lack of love
I have concluded
that relative independence in two major arenas of human capacity is a
pre-requisite for successful living well with females--that is, for responding
creatively to woman's wiles. Only to the degree that such independence is
achieved by a man can he hope to move beyond female determination in other than
outward ways. Both selfing and sexual independence are
critical in exercising male ploys--or, since all is relative, the extent of each
will pre-determine the degree to which a man may come to live well in female
But just what does
independence mean? First, the opposite of dependence is
implied. To be selfing/sexually independent means, negatively, to not be
dependent on woman (either specific females or femininity-in-general) for
"mothering" or sexual affirmation.
It means to be
firmly rooted on one's own symbolic "green spot" insofar as "taking care of
oneself (selfing independence)" and existing sexually as a natural male is
concerned. This is in contrast with "needing woman" to complete a man personally
(as in, "better half" in marriage), or to give him permission and occasion to
embrace and activate masculine sexual drives.
It may also be seen
as "emotional," "spiritual," or "psychological" independence. To be independent,
as I view this pre-requisite for effecting male ploys, means to be emotionally
intact--that is, comfortably contained as an emotional being, without requiring
female support. It means to be spiritually whole without the necessity of woman
to "make me whole." Or, in mental terms, it means to be psychologically "mature"
in the sense of fully capable of healthy living apart from female
"companionship" and/or support.
But these windows
on independence are only contrasting sides of dependence and
say little about the actual state itself, especially the practical issues of
living in proximity with women. In practice, since we do in fact always exist in
the presence of females--some closer, others farther away, but always in a
society populated by females, understanding independence requires more.
Insofar as mutual
togetherness is concerned, the type of independence I am affirming here
is more like "inter-dependence" than literal separateness. The separateness of
independence is better seen as inward rather than outward, that is, more related
to emotions, spirit and psychological matters, than to daily contacts and mutual
inevitably we "live together"--either in society, marriage, or a host of other
male/female relationships. This means that we share many concerns (especially,
children) and hence have innumerable contacts and outward connections with each
But the essential
distinction I seek to clarify here is the difference between outward
"inter-dependence" and inward separation (independence). One
can be intimately related to females, both closely at hand and in many other
"working" relationships, yet at the same time spiritually independent of them.
This latter stance is what I am trying to understand better. It may also be seen
as being with without "leaning on" or otherwise needing woman's
affirmation or approval to exist as a fully conscious masculine creature.
Summary: To live
well with women, to successfully exercise male ploys, requires, I think,
spiritual independence from them in two overlapping human arenas:
selfingness and sexuality. I must first "be myself"--including my
masculinity, apart or separate from females, and then be able to function
emotionally independent while in their presence, that is, "not needing woman's
approval" in order to fully be who I am.
PRAGMATICS OF INDEPENDENCE
I begin with
selfing independence. The best general description of selfing
dependence, the opposite of what I am trying to see more clearly, is "in
need of mothering," either consciously or unconsciously. To be
independent as oneself means to have cut the emotional cord to "mother" and all
those other females who later come to symbolically represent her, just as
completely as was the umbilical cord cut at birth. In practice this means to be
able to live well on one's own, without "needing to be taken care of" in any
regards--such as, food preparation, bodily tending, house/home provision and
management, clothing needs, social relationships, decision making, and personal
happiness in general.
independence is also to be distinguished from "rebelling against women"
which may appear as true independence, yet remains defined and
determined by female values, even if in direct opposition to them. An
independent selfing male neither "has to have a woman to take care of him and
make him happy" nor does he fear/hate women and exist in constant need of
rebelling against or fighting them.
He can, that is,
live with or live without women in his life and yet do quite well independently
of them. If they (or one) are present he takes care of himself with them; if
there are no females at hand, he takes care of himself equally well without
them--without longing, wishing for, or denial of repressed dependencies.
sexual independence is more difficult both to understand and to practice
because of fierce social restraints against so many aspects of natural
masculinity. Whereas male "growing up," "cutting the apron strings," and
learning to "take care of ourselves"--that is, becoming independent individuals,
is viewed as socially favorable, and at least consciously desired by females, no
such corresponding sexual independence is socially fostered. Indeed, sexual
dependence on one legal mate is deeply at the heart of major social structures
as well as the basis of many "stable" monogamous marriages.
independence may be socially affirmed, but corresponding sexual
independence is far from becoming a social virtue, and is, in fact, suppressed
even as an idea, let alone as a practice. "Good husbands" are expected to be
sexually dependent on their wives for any activation of their sexual selves.
Even if sexual independence were espoused as a theoretical virtue, strong legal
and social structures exist to hinder any effective practice of such a spiritual
I first amplify the principle of sexual independence; then, its practice. In
principle, sexual independence is the same as selfing independence--that is,
existing as a self-contained and self-responsible person in each regard. Just as
selfing independence means "not needing mothering" in order to live well as
one's individual self, so sexual independence means "not needing a woman (wife
or lover)" in order to live well as one's masculine self (with all natural
sexual drives accepted, embraced, and activated).
To be sexually
independent means to be sexually unrepressed--that is, to exist with natural
instincts related to replication consciously accepted,
entertained-without-judgment, contained in awareness, and activated
responsibly--either expressed or concealed, in harmony with social
In this ideal male
state, masculine sexuality, being unrepressed, is hence not projected onto
females who then become responsible for its blessing, permission, and/or
activation. Instead, it is recognized as existing and arising within one's own
self, not as caused or brought into being by females who "turn us on"--and/or
"off," and are then "in charge of" and finally responsible for our sexual
Surely females may
attract and we may respond; but, and this is the critical issue here,
our sexual powers are not determined either by our attractions or by their
responses--at least to the degree that we are sexually independent. We are as
passionate or cold as our own genetic structures incline us, often in the
presence of females with genetically attractive attributes; but the force of
these drives is generated within and remains both from and of our male selves.
To the degree that
a male is thusly independent, his sexuality is as surely his own as is his
selfingness. It may be activated (expressed or concealed) with a woman,
but it is never of or from a female. Such independent
masculine sexuality does not need female blessing, and/or approval for its
fulfilled existence as a male attribute; nor is its responsible activation
dependent on female permission (even presence) for its translation into forms of
behavior in the world.
(understood in principle), what does it mean in practice? How is being
sexually independent translated into forms of action in the world? What are
the "shapes" of this existential state described above?
sexuality may be seen in two parts: 1) Internal passions recognized as outward
attractions, and 2) External actions which express (or conceal) inward urges.
Because masculine sexuality, after unrepression and re-achieving degrees of
sexual independence, is recognized and accepted as a part of oneself, it may be
carefully separated from any outside actions.
Indeed, it must be,
before a male can be sexually responsible in society. Passions are one
thing; actions are another. Sexual urges are given; they arise
naturally within, without choice, in accord with genetic wisdom. But sexual
behavior is, when a male is independent, always chosen--that is, carefully
considered in consciousness before any revelation is made, and certainly before
any action is taken with another person.
The ideal is:
be as naturally sexual as you are--that is, consciously "feel" all
passions which arise within; but at the same time, act as responsibly
as social knowledge allows. Just as all "feelings" are responsibly entertained
without judgment, so all behaviors are effected with sharp discernment. "Be
as sexy as you are; but act as smart as you are," may be a good
passions arise spontaneously along with testicular sperm production, and become
most readily conscious in "gene eye" attractions--which are themselves signs of
conceive-ability, summarized as "female beauty." Unfortunately, many--indeed
most, of these natural urges are socially unacceptable, legally punishable, and
out"--that is, translated into their most direct forms of behavior, they may be
socially seen as: incest, masturbation, "scoping girls," pornography, "feeling
up" females, bestiality, homosexuality, molestation, pedophilia, perversions,
sexual harassment, prostitution, fornication, adultery, marital sex, and affairs
("unfaithfulness"). Obviously, all but marital sex--which, I think, only
represents a minor element in natural masculine sexuality, are carefully and
diligently suppressed in society.
Society, as we all
know, only supports hetero--not homo or bi--sexuality,
and only this under the confines of legal marriage. But natural masculinity, as
best I can tell, might better be recognized as omni-sexual--that is,
including, but certainly not limited by these three recognized forms of
Since most of these
forms of sexual activity are socially condemned and come with varying degrees of
social and/or legal punishment, reason requires unrepressed males to choose
carefully among them. Even though all may be genetically acceptable, obviously
many of them pose extreme memetic dangers (witness, pedophilia in the priesthood
just now). Safest choices begin with marital sex and masturbation (if kept
completely private), then, with increasing risks: fornication, affairs, sex with
prostitutes, adultery, etc.
Given these dangers
in society, I conclude that only marriage, masturbation, and affairs offer any
reasonable options for male sexual expression. The latter, though common, also
include escalated dangers, especially to marital relationships which are safest
of all. Of course some of the noted forms of male sexual expression, such as,
scoping girls and pornography, are, since not overtly sexual, socially allowed
if discretely exercised. When so, they may be forms of
expression alongside the others.
aside, now I consider the three most common forms of male sexual practice:
marriage, masturbation, and affairs.
principle: sexual independence, as amplified before, requires that a husband's
sexuality be carefully kept as his own passion and responsibility--never
projected into his wife's control. Certainly a wife should be equally
responsible for her own sexuality, including its exercise with her husband. I
dismiss older modes of "wifely duty" to relics of the past. I do not think that
a wife "owes" sex to her husband or that a husband "has the right" to sex on
demand. Independence, as a pre-requisite for successful ploys, is a two way
street. Until spouses move past older theories of "rights" and "dues," a healthy
marriage is, I conclude, impossible.
But to the degree
that spouses move into stances of mutual independence together, each becomes
responsible for the giving and receiving of sex out of other considerations
(hopefully love, along with replication), rather than rights and duties.
In regard to
principle, the major male issue in marital sex is: being (and
remaining) one's natural sexual self without repressing and projecting
instinctive forces onto a wife, thereby empowering her most effective of all
wiles. The wifely pussy power wile, I conclude, is about 95% fueled by husbandly
The principle of
sexual independence (essential for a spiritually healthy marriage) is a reversal
of this common situation. When a husband is being himself sexually, his
sexual eggs, as it were, are in his own basket--not in his wife's. He is not
dependent on his wife for experiencing natural passions-for "feeling" his
masculine instincts whenever and however they arise within himself, for
being "turned on (sexually excited)."
He is, of course,
responsible for reasonable expression or concealment of his passions--that is,
"what he does" about "how he feels." But, and this is the
crucial issued of principle: he is independent of need for her blessing or
permission to be his inherited masculine self. When its activation
involves or effects her, certainly her own feelings, interests, and values are
crucially important and carefully taken into account.
Yet the moving
power and choices about expression remain firmly within himself. She may or may
not be involved in acting sexual with him, but she remains relatively
incidental to his being his sexual self. Her seemingly inherent "turn
on" and "turn off" capacities are near zero. Certainly she may be perceived as
attractive, even sexually tempting (or not), but still the primary powers for
his being passionate remain firmly rooted within himself. Sexually
independent, he abides on his sexual green spot, even as with other aspects of
his non-sexual personhood.
PRACTICE OF SEXUAL INDEPENDENCE
How is this stance
of masculine independence in which a husband's being sexual in some 95%
operative in his own gender inheritance, rather than projected into his wife's
keeping--that is, when his sexual eggs (sperm) are in his own basket (testicles)
rather than in his wife's basket (womb and mind), to be wisely effected?
How, that is, is
masculine sexuality to be smartly expressed in a monogamous marriage in which a
husband loves his wife--desires to respect and affirm her as a female person
rather than use her as a sexual and mothering slave?
The situation is
complicated by the additional facts that: a) Masculine sexuality (pure fucking
interests) may be 90% greater than female sexual interests. Natural males, I
estimate, "want to have sex" vastly more often than equally natural females
whose primary concerns are related to her own pregnancy only; and b) Marriage
vows commit males to sexual fidelity to a wife--in practical terms, to placing
all his sexual sperm, if placed at all, in his wife's vagina, or not at all.
When these two
facts are combined, the typical result is a husband with: a) Far more natural
interests in being overtly sexual ("doing it") than his wife, and, b) Once she
is impregnated, continual natural interests in having sex with other potentially
conceive-able females (fucking many others), which, unfortunately for him, he is
both legally and personally committed not to do so.
If love is added to
a pragmatic relationship--as ideally is so, complications increase. Since love
both accepts, respects, and affirms another as-she-is, rather than simply as a
man might wish-she-were, husbands who love face the additional challenge of
being true to our own genetic sexuality while at the same time honoring a wife
who has truly different sexual concerns, including our faithfulness to her.
gene-directed husband who marries only for "getting a woman" to use (both
biologically and psychologically) is freed to "demand sex" as his "right," and
to otherwise seek sex elsewhere, a caring husband is without these options. His
sexual activities with his wife will always regard her honest presence as a
person, never just "her pussy" alone.
Also, his personal
commitments to her (as voiced in the marriage ceremony)--that is, his word as
true and dependable, will be honored in love, along with his careful attention
to legal contracts and the consequences of breaking them.
predictable consequences of many other forms of extra-marital sexual activity
which may be genetically natural and personally desirable (e.g., adultery,
fornication, sex-with-minors, homosexuality, etc.) will also be reasonably
considered. Among these dangers are: risks of AIDS, venereal diseases, personal
guilt, criminal punishments, logistical challenges (like keeping a lover secret,
or pulling off a charade of only loving one woman).
In an ideal society
(which is, of course, a present fantasy) perhaps prostitution would be legalized
and become a respectable profession which allowed husbands to express natural
masculine sexuality without threat to legal marriages and/or a loving
relationship. But so much for fantasy.
In the real and
present world these or other possible sexual arrangements which might more
nearly correlate natural male desires with available opportunities, simply so
not yet exist. "Meanwhile, back here at the ranch" where all males presently
live, the noted dilemmas must be resolved in the context of socially and
religiously sacred marriage--where at least limited male replication may safely
occur, or else outside these established relational barriers where no such
protections are assured.
The end result of
these and other factors is that the only reasonable options I have found for a
caring husband include: a) Making love (literally) with his wife (as contrasted
with periodic fucking only); b) Artful sensuality and masturbation; and c)
Extremely discrete affairs. In actual practice, only the first two make much
reasonable sense to me, since the odds of truly successful affairs during a
healthy marriage must be immensely slim.
Not that they are
inherently wrong or evil in genetic perspectives (only in terms of memes), but
that pragmatic challenges are apt to far outweigh potential sexual rewards. In
other words, they are apt "to be more trouble than they are worth"--at least
past immediate thrills of successfully meeting the inherent social challenges
("pulling off" an affair while remaining in a healthy marriage--or truly loving
more than one woman at a time).
LOVE AND SEX
Love and sex are
intimately connected for woman but basically at odds for man.
Sex without love is
naturally unthinkable for woman, except as a means of wielding power in quest of
love, which means far more to her than sexual intercourse itself. "Making
love" and "being loving" go hand in hand for woman; indeed the two
expressions are almost synonymous. A woman may or may not choose to have
sex with a man she doesn't love, but her true sexual passions are unlikely
unless she does love a man. The more she loves a man, the more likely she is to
feel personally sexual with him.
In sharp contrast,
for males love is more of a liability than an asset to good sex. A man may often
find it far easier to be his natural sexual self with a women he does not love
than with one he does love. The threats of entanglement which love evokes,
including unconscious resurrection of negative, anti-sexual, psychic forces of
the ancient, universal incest taboo, may easily undercut a male's personal
may come closer to embracing their full sexual potential, to being as sexually
passionate as they naturally are, including enjoying sex more, with prostitutes
or females they don't care for, than with those they love deeply.
Conversely, a man
is more likely to feel loving with a women he is not sexual with than with one
who is freely sexual with him. "Sex," we might say, "is a turn on to
man," while "love is a turn off." But the exact opposite is more likely
to be true for a woman --that is, "Love is a turn on for a woman," but
sex, especially without obvious evidences of love, or at least its promise, is
typically "a turn off."
In summary, whereas
a man is naturally more sexual with an attractive woman he does not love, a
woman is unlikely to feel naturally sexual with a man she does not also love.
Consequently, a woman may use sex to get love, while a man more
predictably tries to use love to get sex. A man may honestly think (and
sometimes say), "If you really loved me, you would have sex with me," while a
woman's more natural response (either silently or verbal) is, "If you really
loved me, you wouldn't ask (at least until we are married)."
I surmise that
these diametrically opposite gender views of the relationship between sex and
love are genetically rooted. While both genders are, I conclude, biologically
geared below levels of conscious thought to seek maximum replication of personal
genes through the medium of sex, male odds of success escalate by having sex
with as many different females as possible, as often as possible.
But in sharp
contrast, female odds of self-replication success are far greater with the
potential security to be found with a male who loves her (and only her) than
with a man who is only interested in sex and will predictably be unfaithful to
her--that is, "want to have sex" without also loving her exclusively at the same
ramifications of these genetic differences in cross-gender relationships (if I
am correct in my speculations) are immense, perhaps impossible to over-estimate.
Predictably problematic and all too common conflicts are often evident in these
drives toward monogamous marriage, resulting in contrasting views of "marriage
as sacred" in female eyes, and "marriage as bondage" in male
thinking--that is, girls who dream of and can't wait to get married, and boys
who resist marriage and "giving up their freedom."
conflicts between spouses in which wives strive to keep husbands faithful to
them only, and husbands who strive to get wives to be sexual with them--since
with marriage vows each promise to restrict themselves accordingly.
-- Females feeling
morally virtuous when they are only being true to their genetic heritage, while
males may feel equally guilty if they risk being true to their own corresponding
but contrasting biological bents.
Seek to become
sexually independent, to be sexual with a woman, but not to be
sexually dependent on her--that is, to be limited to her desires and
permissions for your own sexuality.
faithful to a woman you love, but remain mentally honest about natural male
desires in deference to social mores (as voiced in traditional wedding vows) and
female needs for security. Respect powerful memes for sexual faithfulness and
even more powerful genes for maximizing replication ("fooling around"). A man
must deal with negative social, religious, and feminine views, but he need not
fall for them or take them as his own directives.
genetics for pervasive lusting (See my essay, Jocasta Complex) while
fully respecting memes and female desires for "only having eyes for you." This
will often call for skills in artful deception (fooling her), while remaining
scrupulously honest with yourself about your own passions (never fooling you).
Greatest source of male power is inherent in lust-ability (urge to replicate our
own genes); 2) A man can't become his fuller self if he negates (represses) this
essential part of who he is as a male-type person.
GIANT OR PIGMY
If I am correct in
identifying a significant part of male fear in regard to our own sexuality with
its unknown nature, with the facts that we project so early and never learn to
identify with and become responsible for this aspect of ourselves, how can I see
into this unknown? What are its parameters? What is the content of the dark
space which we may "live on top of"?
I begin with size;
for openers, we (I project and theorize) may not know the true size and hence
power of our own sexuality. We know that we often feel sexual; this is
hard to deny. But how sexual are we? What is the extent of our sexual
potency? How strong/weak are these instincts which erect our penises but leave
them without conscience?
Is this dark,
pervasive inner force a Sleeping Giant or a Noisy Pigmy? Is
"it" more like a time bomb waiting to go off, or a tiny firecracker with only a
"pop"? A Roman Candle or a Sparkler? Is it "all blow" with "little show," or a
concealed monster just waiting for an inopportune time to do us in? Sexually
speaking, are we nearer to omnipotence or impotence?
This unknown is
compounded by the fact (as I surmise) that we males often dis-identify our
selves from our sexuality. In order to cope with these unknown
powers we may learn early to split ourselves into "I" and "it"; "I" who "have
(or often feel)" this force "within me"--but "it" is not the same as
We may thereafter
see ourselves as, for example, "having" erections (wet dreams,
attractions, urges, etc.) but not as being sexual. Erections then seem
to "happen to us," or "come on us," but they are no longer
perceived as us. Since they consequently seem to occur "in spite of ourselves,"
then "something" must be causing them--that is, the initiating power for
uncontrollable erections (or desires) must logically be elsewhere, "out there,"
for example, in the girls who always seem to be around, or in our dreams, when
these strange desires and sensations "arise." Or else, perhaps "the devil makes
us do it (or want to)."
Though the psychic
phenomenon called projection is only recognized in hindsight, it serves
to further darken already clouded sexuality. Projection is, of course, pragmatic
at the time; it helps us cope in difficult circumstances. But the utility of
projecting does not diminish the darkness which inevitably accompanies it.
We may feel
temporarily safer when the cause of these strange forces is imagined to be
external, after we have concluded, for instance, that girls "turn us on," but
the fact remains: we are thereafter even more separated and hence out of control
of innate sexuality. The power is partially manageable "out there" (we can avoid
girls, not look, or only touch them by choice, which, of course, they severely
restrict), yet the darkness born of projection is only amplified thereby.
Illusions of external control only cloak heightened degrees of internal loss of
The unknown extent
of dis-associated-from-self sexuality is thus magnified by the very
psychic procedure we commonly use to find safety and relief from "it." If we
were "living on top" of a Casper-like ghost before, after the internal split and
the external projection we are left with a dangerous ogre "down there" later.
circumstances which always threaten us with real and serious consequences for
any breach of its powerful memes--rules of acceptable/polite/legal sexual
behavior, are constantly present whenever we are around females or otherwise
reveal our natural instincts. Just, for instance, the urge to look--to see
female bodies, can, if not kept carefully secret, lead to social rejection if
not legal consequences. Saying sexually implicit words is always impolite and
usually obscene; and any "unwanted advances" can, as presidents and all other
males know, be horrendously dangerous.
The point: internal
dis-association of self from sexuality with inevitable
projection of cause "out there," would be sufficient for a scary-enough unknown;
but add the unknown dangers of extended social consequences for any breach of
sexual etiquette (which boils down to almost complete denial) to a male's fear
of any unknown, and the scope of this particular fear may begin to appear.
One further primal
fear, which may actually be greater than these noted, is the possible
resurrection of what I have surmised to be the oldest and deepest of all
childhood terrors symbolized by the meme of Mother's Frown. In the earliest days
of an infant's post-natal life, when ultimate powers of life/death and all
measures of existence in between are posited in the Goddess who cares for us,
then nothing in reality matters more than forces best recognized in Mother's
Smile, or its potentially disastrous counterpart, Her Frown.
real situation becomes relevant to a male's fear of the unknown extent of his
own masculinity because of the way mothers commonly relate to a boy's emerging
sexuality. A mother may unconsciously affirm a son's sexuality, since it is in
fact her own best avenue to genetic-replication; but such deep affirmations, if
they do exist, are more commonly shrouded with consistent messages of denial.
"affectionate" behavior in a boy may bring Her Smile, but when a son becomes
overtly sexual Her Frown is seldom far behind. What son has ever experienced
conscious affirmation for this innate aspect of himself from the most powerful
force in his earliest life? Mothers discernable "messages" about sons' sexuality
must, I surmise in this scientifically dark space, be universally negative.
And when boys "grow
up" without resolving this possibly most powerful of all memes, it always
remains in the wings of every adult stage. No matter how far we move away, or
how long we are removed, the "shadow of Her Smile"--or more often, of Her Frown,
lurks menacingly around all later sexual experiences. Present unknowns, which
are more than enough in themselves, may be immeasurably darkened by primal
memories never quite forgotten.
SENSUAL AND SEXY
administering a Rorschach test found that a man gave a sexy interpretation to
every ink blot. Finally he asked: "Why do you see sex in every symbol I show
you?" The man replied: "Why do you keep showing me all those sexy pictures?"
unhindered by personal repression, easily move between sensual delights and
sexual passions as appropriate with circumstances at the time. Males,
biologically aimed at genetic immortality via our evolved role of
sperm-spreading, naturally focus on sexual passions which culminate in orgasm
and dispersing sperm, while females with the same goal but with their radically
different role of baby-making, focus on sensual awareness as critical in
discerning hidden times of conception as well as the immense responsibilities of
But with the advent
of repression, as is so often feasible in essential family and social acceptance
long before times of possible replication, males traditionally split ourselves,
severing the natural tie between sensual presence and sexual desires, leaving
ourselves sensually dull and blindly dictated by innate sexual drives. Easily
then, we draw lines between these two aspects of natural capacities, often
becoming determined by the second while ignoring the first.
with their own repressions in service of the same goals, often form wide chasms
between their ingrained focus on sensual awareness and less essential concern
with overt sexuality. All too easily sex-hungry males will be more than
attentive to the essential but relatively minor matter of initiating conception.
Then the common
consequence, so familiar today, becomes: males blindly compulsive and determined
by sexual passions severed from sensuality, and females caught up in lesser
delights of sense satisfaction, but deeply fearful of repressed capacities for
and the potential happiness of becoming and being our fuller selves, males must
un-repress ourselves, erasing illusionary lines drawn between sensual
and sexy, with . total dedication to the second and relative ignorance
of the first. Females, likewise, may need to undo their own repressions which
often leave them with a wide chasm between sensual and sexy,
and embrace expansive capacities for the second along with the first.
Then, ideally, when faith allows, we will learn to responsibly activate both
intertwined capacities and wisely express and/or conceal each as is appropriate
to time and circumstances.
either of these subjects, the critical issue is pragmatics, not virtue. In spite
of social and religious judgments of each (more of the 2nd than the 1st),
neither, I think, is inherently wrong or sinful. The relevant issue is
practicality rather than sin.
The main thing is
honest consciousness ("being aware")--that is, embracing rather than repressing
natural desires. Within your own skin, recognize passion (lust) as it naturally
arises, and seek pragmatic resolutions.
sexual encounters outside an established relationship
I consider affairs
first because this is probably the most common attempt at resolving the noted
conflict between sexual desires and sexual dissatisfaction or limitations in an
First, move past
prevailing negative judgments. There is nothing inherently wrong with having sex
with more than one person; but, given existing memes and female needs, affairs
are probably the most dangerous and self-defeating of possible resolutions to
this common conflict.
CONFLICTING GENDER VALUES
There is an
inherent conflict between male and female values related to our differing roles
in self-replication, namely, between males-as-sperm-spreaders and
females-as-baby-makers. Whereas odds of male replication are maximized by having
sex as often as possible with as many females as possible, multiple female sex
events do little to increase a female's own replication. Indeed, from a genetic
standpoint, in a lifetime a female actually only needs to have sex a relatively
few times in order to preserve her genetic heritage.
facts are respected, I speculate, in the nature of memes evolved to support what
is probably best for both genders in the long run, namely, "family values
(affirming fidelity)," religious sins curtailing male freedoms, and perhaps
strongest of all, female desires for male possession as their best odds for
continued security as needed for successful child rearing.
masturbation is probably the most feasible male resolution for coping with the
disparity in drives for "doing it" between each gender. But this means of sexual
satisfaction often requires considerable logistical skills, given powerful
negative memes opposing overt sex in any arena--that is, arranging circumstances
to maximize personal freedom without jeopardizing "family values (e.g., female
value systems, children's knowledge of sex, and other risks in "getting
caught"). Specifically, these skills may include hiding pornography, such as,
Playboy magazines or internet connections with stimulating images, plus, of
course, arranging times for these temporary satisfactions apart from mate and/or
impersonal sex with prostitutes, with recognized and accepted compensation for
each partner (usually, money for sex) is another potential resolution for the
natural gender imbalance in desires to "do it." In such win/win sexual
situations, both parties may be equally respected as individuals--that is, no
emotional abuse is inherent in such transactions.
prevailing memes strongly mitigate against this potentially feasible means of
confronting the sexual imbalance in a pragmatic way. Obviously, open
prostitution is illegal, as well as strongly condemned by most females who are
far more concerned with enforcing a mate's fidelity than in supporting his
sexual satisfactions with anyone except herself.
all but the most unusual and protected of circumstances, such as, trips to a
foreign country where prostitution is permitted and dangers of "being caught"
are minimized, this avenue of sexual satisfaction is extremely risky (witness,
Jimmy Swaggart and Senator Vitter).
Be sexual with a
woman, concealed/revealed in harmony with her embraced ability for overt
sexuality; but never look to her for permission or affirmation of your own
Assume and expect
that in all genetic likelihood your own male sexual desires will be far greater
than her natural female desires, especially for overt sex as distinguished from
covert sensuality (e.g., cuddling, being close, etc.).
Unless you are
significantly repressed yourself and hence do not satisfy her lesser sexual
desires, and she appears to be "more interested in sex" than you are (e.g.,
blatantly seductive), then suspect that she may be using, even unconsciously,
sex for psychological reasons, such as, controlling or dominating you. If so,
beware lest you blindly participate in undermining prospects for true sexuality
REPRESSION AND TURN
and in all immediate situations men seem to believe that females, or various of
their body parts (e.g., tits and ass), "turn us on"--or worse, "off." I conclude
that this popular belief is about 90% rooted in male repression of natural
sexuality. Were it not, or to the degree that a man unrepresses this part of
himself, the sexual appeal of females will be limited to real signs of
baby-making potential, especially, clues to estrus--that is, present-tense
And even when these
evidences are present, an unrepressed male will consciously realize that
manifest sexual powers, specifically, erectile forces and urges to copulate are
operative within himself--not "caused by" an attractive female herself. He will
know, that is, that indeed he is "on," but as a result of self-activation innate
in male capacities, not "made so" by illusions of a female's "turn on"
conscious, rather than repressed, he will be easily able to look openly at
female bodies, even a naked lady, to lust naturally, and yet remain sensibly
present and act responsibly--that is, to not blindly fall into irresponsible
control by what he sees.
A past radio and TV
series named What Do You Say To A Naked Lady?" portrayed scenes in
which males were unexpectedly confronted by a nude woman. The amusing element,
past obvious titillation, was how consistently males became tongue-tied in the
presence of female nudity--that is, lost the ability to think clearly and speak
reasonably at the time.
I think the program
was a demonstration of the near universal fact of fragile male reasoning powers
in the presence of female bodies--that is, how consistently we males are
unwittingly controlled by such visual stimuli. And furthermore, I conclude that
this is only possible following significant male repression of masculine
sexuality, with corresponding projection of sexual powers onto females (or their
continue to theorize, an unrepressed male would remain sensibly alert, carefully
and consciously scoping for signs of estrus, while lusting delightfully, but at
the same time attentive to social circumstances. All this rather than getting
goo goo eyed, tongue-tied, losing presence of mind, saying something stupid,
and/or acting irresponsibly in the encounter.
He would be more
like a power-full bull carefully examining a cow for signs of readiness to
conceive, than like an out-of-control boy suddenly finding himself in a female
Summary: By nature
of itself, one aspect of repression is loss of conscious reasoning powers--that
is, existing dictated by mindless, primal genetic urges, as evidenced in the
above depiction of males in the presence of female nudity. My conclusion is that
this situation only exists to the degree of male sexual repression with
corresponding projection of inherent powers onto females thereafter assumed to
possess irresistible "turn on" powers by simply being present and embodied.
Earlier I estimated
that seeming "turn on" powers of females may be about 90% rooted in male
repression/projection. The remaining 10% can, I theorize, be properly attributed
to stimulus/response type male reactions at least partially engened after eons
of replication by sexual means. Just as Pavlov's dogs automatically salivated at
the sight of food, or humans have knee-jerk, non-thinking reactions to pain
(e.g., being burned), or to possible dangers associated with sudden noises in
the night--all of which probably evolved before and are thus deeper than
conscious thinking, so, I conclude, have limited male reactions to any prospects
of replication (such as, seeing a female) no matter how small or inaccurate they
But--and this is my
observation here: Such automatic male reactions to female nudity can probably
account for no more than 10% of apparent "turn ons" today. The remaining 90%, I
conclude, results from typical degrees of existing male sexual repression today.
Symptoms of this
situation include: uncontrollable erections; generalized "fear of women" cloaked
by illusions of male superiority, attempted domination, rape, and abuse of
females; male "performance anxiety"; psychological "fear of impotence"; and many
instances of "erectile dysfunction" occasioning the popularity of Viagra and
WHAT'S A MAN TO DO WHEN A WOMAN GETS BITCHY?
Sooner or later,
often when you least expect it, many women will get bitchy, mostly sooner than
later. Mild complaining may escalate in time into full fledged bitchiness. A
woman who is otherwise agreeable, accepting, understanding, and loving may
suddenly turn into an outright shrew.
What's a man to do
if he wishes to live well with women when they make this common and predictable
First, I note that
few men ever seem to learn how to survive well with female bitching, let alone
to handle it positively. I, obviously, am still learning--and more often screw
up than respond wisely. These, however, are some of the things I have learned so
far, even if I yet find them difficult to follow, given my deep-seated habits of
blind, unreasonable reactions to any signs of female displeasure.
When men are rarely
able to hear female bitching without taking it personally or trying to do
something about is, they may explain it to themselves (or try to excuse it) with
such speculations as: "She must be on the rag (having her menstrual period),"
or, "Her hormones are out of balance," or, "She probably forgot to take her
But even if these
or other explanations are correct (and often they are not), female bitching is
far more likely to be based in psychology than biology--that is, reflective of
mental rather than physical issues. Monthly periods or hormonal imbalances may
occasion or be a female excuse for bitchiness, but "escalated honesty" may often
be closer to the truth.
But before delving
further into possible meanings of female bitchiness, I jump to summarize what I
have learned so far about "what to do" if you or I wish to live well with women.
-- Stay cool.
emotionally present with a complaining woman.
-- Listen to her;
try to hear through her words for something she may be saying
about herself, no matter what her subject may be.
-- Remain on your
own "green spot"--that is, "in your own skin," thinking/feeling normally, as
though what you are hearing is on TV or in a movie.
-- Don't turn (or
run) away or make an emotional exit, even if you stay in the room with her.
-- Don't turn a
deaf ear to what she is saying.
-- Don't take it
personally, even if you are the stated subject.
-- Don't react
blindly, dictated by old habits. Chances are, your learned way is less than
positive and perhaps even destructive.
-- Don't rush to
trying to fix things to remove the cause of her complaining (the stated
Even if the issue
is legitimate and deserves your changing or "doing something different," don't
move immediately. Stay present, listening, for the moment, and take appropriate
If you react
quickly--trying to handle the problem, you will only "support her habit"--that
is, invite and train her to make this a regular mode of communication with you.
-- Don't try to
calm her down, as though you are incapable of standing present with the full
force of her negative feelings.
defensive or try to explain yourself in hopes of getting her to drop the subject
and return to normal. Remember "getting defensive" is like "raising ass,"
unwittingly inviting being kicked, even to possibly escalate her bitching.
counter-attack, as though her bitching is only an attack on you (not about
herself), even if you are the subject.
-- Don't plan
Tit-For-Tat--that is, take the occasion to register your complaints about her,
perhaps saved up for just such an occasion. Don't try to win by putting her down
and yourself up, thereby turning bitching into battling for personal supremacy.
No matter who wins a Mine's Worse Than Yours contest, you will both
lose in the relationship.
-- Don't make fun
of her--as though this were a joke, or try to play down, be-little, or otherwise
make light of her complaining.
If or when you are
able to follow these rules, if you have any mental energy left, give some
attention to gaining a better understanding of the whole phenomenon of female
bitching. What is truly going on for her, behind or beneath a stated subject, or
even this mode of communicating itself?
Here are some of my
observations so far: First, bitching is primarily a female mode of
communication. Obviously we males have our own complaints about women, including
this mode, and may even get bitchy ourselves on occasion. But by and large,
females seem to do it more and better than most males.
Why? First, the
mode itself is far more socially acceptable for females than for males. Whereas
we males are socially trained to "suck it up"--that is, not to complain, to
"take it on the chin," "keep a stiff upper lip," not to blame others, etc.,
females grow up with different messages. In general, complaining is acceptable
in the female world, both privately and with other females.
becomes the main mode of communicating with other females who hear and respond
openly, rather than putting down on "complainers" as males are more inclined to
instead of, "Now don't go getting emotional or excusing yourself"--a typical
male response, females are more likely to hear, "Tell us more; how do you really
feel?," or, "I know just what you mean; my husband.....," etc. In which case the
whole session may turn to sharing complaints about different subjects.
Next, I find that
complaining itself has different meanings to each gender. Strangely to me, the
same subject ("bitching") seems to mean something different to men and to women.
To men, noting dislikes ("problems") is more a matter of bringing up and
examining a subject with an eye to making improvements, rather than simply a
mode of communicating.
Obviously, at least
among ourselves, we men often bitch about women we feel helpless to change; but
by and large, noted dislikes are a call for personal action, the first move in
"doing something about it" or "fixing the problem," not an acceptable way of
thinking or conversing with other men.
however, "bitching (as men hear it)," is often quite different. First, the name
itself is mostly a male term, and derogatory at that. Females, as best I can
tell, rarely see what they do as "bitching" or even as "complaining" in many
to male perspectives about ourselves as well as females, what we call "bitching"
is more like one of many ways of thinking/feeling/talking, rather than a demand
for action, either for themselves or those who hear them. Women, I observe, are
far more openly emotional than men. They are more sensitive/responsive to
immediate circumstances and stimuli than men who try to remain focused on longer
range goals, often ignoring present limitations.
Women, we might
say, "feel more (and think less?) than most men who think more (and feel less)."
Consequently, in most situations they actually have more immediate perceptions
(emotions and observations) than do men. This greater amount of sensory data
gives them a wealthier reservoir of undigested information--that is, perceptions
and emotions yet to be de-coded into conceptions (Stages 3 and 4 of the Creative
What men commonly
see as female "bitching" is, I conclude, more often but woman's mode of moving
along in the normal process of expanding perceptions into feelings and images on
the longer path to de-coding them into mental concepts--that is, of becoming
more conscious and clear about what she sees and feels, than "complaining," as
men tend to think.
females are typically more verbal than males, even from early age, saying
(speaking) tends to become their mode of thinking. Whereas males tend
to see and silently reflect on what we perceive privately (in our own minds),
females more naturally use talking to evolve their thoughts. Men tend
to think first, speak later (if at all), while women more often talk, I
suspect, "to find out what they are thinking"--that is, they may speak first,
think later, in contrast with the typical male mode.
In summary: What
men may see as a call for action, a "problem" to be solved or corrected, women
are more likely to see as noting or clarifying an observation. What men see as
"bitching" may be, for women, more like "thinking aloud" than a calling for
change--either by themselves or those who hear them.
men hear, may be more like "please listen to where I am" than "you do something
about it (a demand for action)." Even when the subject of a woman's complaint is
a man's behavior, her deeper needs are more likely for "being heard" than for
"you to do something."
difference in male/female perspectives about "problems" may be crucial in
improving a man's response to what he sees as female "bitching." In general,
this means learning to "really listen" for the heart of a woman being brought to
light in the cloaked form of negative observations, rather than rushing to
personal action, as in, defending or explaining oneself, trying to solve a
problem or resolve a misunderstanding, or in any way to "do something about"
what one hears.
If you would live
well with a woman, as her self-honesty with you (in the form of bitching)
increases (later if not sooner), give most of your attention to improving your
hear-ability--that is, standing openly and acceptingly with whatever she is
Let her know by
your staying emotionally present, "standing tall," as it were, without being
negatively moved by what she says, that you are strong enough to love her even
when she "feels negative" and dares reveal herself honestly with you.
A woman is far more
likely to move beyond "being bitchy (as men are apt to see it)" when she has
been "well heard," than when a man reacts in either of the above noted typical
male ways. "Good listening," it turns out, is more powerful than anything a man
can do to move past a woman's "bitching."
As noted before,
even when legitimate actions are appropriate (her complaints justified), making
changes later and silently is more likely to be effective than stopping
listening falling into any of the "Don'ts" listed above.
Rule: Stay present,
listening well, and keep on loving her while cloaked in negativity at the
understanding bitching will not make it go away; but as a song says, "Things get
a little easier, once you understand." And so I have found it to be with my
understanding of this familiar phenomenon so far.
Two things I have
recognized beneath the surface of female bitching:
Bitching is self-expressive. No matter how objective it sounds,
99% of bitching is, I think, cloaked confession--that is, an expression of a
woman about herself, only hidden in language about circumstances, others, or
Bitching is projection. Allowing 10% for legitimate observations
about negative external circumstances (or yourself, etc.), probably the
remaining 90% of female complaining is unconscious self-repression being
projected onto outside mirrors, often a man.
A man can, as many
do (and I, when I forget what I know, often still do), take it personally and
fall for it. But energy given to, e.g., trying to make a woman stop bitching,
cannot but be drawn from resources otherwise available for practicing standing
with her complaining and learning to improve skills for coping, where odds of
success are far greater than mostly wasted efforts given to trying to change a
woman in this regard.
Better, I conclude,
to learn to live well with a woman and love her as she is than to try to change
her--which, paradoxically, is far more likely to result in real change than are
a man's best efforts to do so directly.
1) BITCHING IS
sounds objective, that is, to be about something other than the woman who
is doing it--either circumstances, other people, or, often, about the man who
hears it. On analysis, however, I figure that almost all bitching (99%?) is,
beneath its stated subject matter, self-expressive. Even if you are the
chosen subject (as is often the case), when able to get past taking it
personally and falling into efforts to correct the bad situation or change
yourself so as to relieve the practice, you may hear a cloaked message or
revelation about the speaker.
A bitching woman
is, in all likelihood, truly bothered, upset, or in some way off her own "green
spot"--that is, dissatisfied at the time. But instead of consciously confronting
or trying to figure out herself at the time, she takes the path of blaming
others (or circumstances) for "making her" unhappy.
Obviously it takes
emotional strength to stand unmoved, and "good ears" to listen through
the stated subject for a cloaked personal message; but the often missed
point here is the fact (if my analysis is correct) that even so, bitching is
self-expressive most of the time.
2) BITCHING IS PROJECTION
Which leads me to
this deeper part of the analysis, namely, that most all bitching is rooted in
repression, that is, some element of personal denial. The cloaked
self-expression, noted above, has been pushed out of personal awareness, so
that a bitching woman is in all likelihood unconscious of what she is avoiding
within herself. She truly thinks, e.g., that you are causing her
But the second part
of repression is projection--that is, what is "pushed down"
within, inevitably appears to be mirrored without--that is, only seen as
unwittingly projected onto some external source which does indeed then
seem to be the cause of discomfort.
repression (inward denial), a woman is out of conscious contact with some
aspect of herself. She is unaware, for example, of her compulsion for
cleanliness, and only sees it as projected or mirrored in, say, crumbs
on the counter. If a man happens to have left the crumbs, then his action,
evidenced in the crumbs, seems to be the true source of her discomfort.
Consciously then, she "blames him" for "making her upset," since she is unaware
of her own repression.
In like manner, I
analyze, some 90% of a woman's bitching is in fact a projection of some
repressed element in herself. Certainly it may be well hidden
(unconscious) to herself, and hence in need of a "mirror" to project it
onto. In which case, bitching may then become a functional form for
dimly recognizing a dark part of herself as, e.g., reflected in some male action
Learn to listen rather than
"I feel like you
don't.... (help, support, do such and such, make up the bed, pick up, etc.)"
such statements, rather then falling for them (e.g., getting defensive as though
attacked). Instead, hear the self revelation: "I feel.... like =
metaphor. She is using your actions or non-actions to describe her feelings.
Don't take it personally; Don't get defensive.
Even if no "I
feel...." begins the sentence, that is, if she starts with "You never help me,
(don't love me, etc.)," still, listen through rather than simply
Better to listen to a woman's questioning
than to try to give her answers
Better to acknowledge a woman's problems
than to try to fix them
Better to hear bitching and stay present
than to take it personally and run away
Better to stand your ground pleasantly
than to give in resentfully
Better to grin and bear a woman's jabs
than to fight back or get defensive
WHAT TO DO WITH BOTHERS
Romantic love, as
most everyone knows, is blind. "When," as Hoagy Carmichael sang, "a lovely flame
dies, smoke gets in your eyes." Wiser, he might have noted that smoke was also
present when such a flame begins; or, in my case, perhaps soot would be
an even better metaphor. Certainly smoke can obscure vision, but
soot, I speculate, more nearly blinds a man.
Looking back I can
see that whenever I have fallen in love with a female, I have also gone
relatively blind to her faults, limitations, and traits which only later begin
to bother me. At the time of falling, however, I was, as hindsight would later
reveal, wearing--to mix my metaphors--rose colored glasses, even if there was no
real smoke or soot in my eyes.
All this confession
to note that even in the most ideal of male/female relationships, no matter how
blind a man may be while he scales the peaks of passion, no matter how perfect a
female may appear while elevated to goddess status in the jaundiced eyes of a
stricken male, in time the "moonlight and roses" phase of romantic love will
eventually turn, as another wag has said, into "daylight and dishes" after the
proverbial if not real honeymoon is over.
missed in the blindness of love predictably begin to appear as the smoke clears
(or, as in my case, as time dissolves the soot).
Point: Later is not
sooner, even with the most perfect of females, psychic if not physical warts
inevitably become evident. Bothers appear in time. Negative traits, for
example, either cloaked by eye-filled smoke or hidden by expensive makeup and/or
Sophia's Wisdom, start to show up. Attributes, perhaps easily seen by
those not in love, all too soon rear their ugly heads before adoring but
a man dislikes, may include: physical attributes (real warts and other blemishes
hidden during courtship); offensive personal habits (e.g., picky picky
cleanliness); emotional quirks (such as, irrational fears, angry outbursts,
etc.); unreasonable beliefs (like evil dirt, angels, cleanliness next to
godliness, etc.); and even psychic disturbances (emotional immaturity and/or
assorted degrees of mental illness).
The question raised
here: What's a man to do about bothersome attributes of a woman he
I have found and
tried at least four major options:
Try to continue
overlooking faults, to extend the honeymoon indefinitely, to ignore whatever
bothers you. Look the other way; try to not see. Keep wearing rose colored
glasses. Gloss over any undesirable traits. Repress awareness in quest of
As a song advises:
"You gotta' accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don't mess with
Mr. In-between." And since elimination is probably not possible,
perhaps you can blind yourself to the negative.
I, for example,
have much experience with this option.
Act nice and harbor resentment
Stay on "good
behavior" while you stew in the emotional juices of bothers. Quietly
endure ill effects of whatever you dislike about a lover. Suffer in silence;
grin and bear it, etc., etc. Perhaps you can find a bit of comfort by bitching
to other understanding men with similar bothers, or confess to a
priest, or get honest with a therapist.
But this option is
to behave with your lover as though nothing bothers you. Consciously act out
stances of love, hide your anger, pretend that nothing is wrong--that is, keep
your predictable resentment to yourself.
I have considerable
practice here also.
Try to change her
After getting the
smoke (or soot) out of your eyes and acknowledging to yourself what bothers you,
get busy trying to change her to more nearly fit your desires. Confront her with
your dissatisfactions; tell her what bothers you and push her to do a better job
of pleasing you by not doing things you dislike and doing more of what you do
If, for example,
she nags you, try to get her to stop her bitching. If she ignores you, tell her
to pay more attention. If she rejects your advances, try to get her to be more
accepting and passionate with you. Etc., Etc.
what you dislike and try to change her to fit your ideals.
Ways of trying to
change a woman include:
Direct, overt pressure
and/or push for change. Means may vary from verbal requests to critical
critiques to emotional pressures to browbeating or even to physical abuse if she
refuses to change.
Subtle, covert initiatives
confronting her, seek changes by indirect means, such as: trying to please her,
to do what she likes, to conform to her standards and wishes on the premise that
she is more likely to try to please you if you please her first. Good, you may
hope, will eventually be rewarded. Be a "good boy" and perhaps she will want to
be a "good girl" by changing herself for you.
Play an adult
version of Pleased Or Displeased? What will it take to please you? If
you do whatever she wants you too, if you're lucky she will do the same for
you--that is, change on her own initiate without you pressuring her.
Use psychological tricks
Various male ploys
are available for using psychology as a tool for female manipulation. Common
such psychic tricks include: compliments and constant affirmation ("You look
"Whatever you say,
dear."); giving gifts (free meals may work briefly; but since "diamonds are a
girl's best friend" escalate to more expensive items.); making promises ("I'll
love you forever." "I promise you this if you'll do that," etc.); pout and try
to get her to ask what is wrong; act out in ways which get her attention; talk
about her faults in the presence of company; provoke jealousy by displaying
attention to other females more fitting to your desires (careful; this may
backfire!); threaten to leave if she doesn't change.
Variations on the themes
combinations of these and any other male-type devices to see what works best
with a particular lover. Mix and match. If one ploy loses its power, try
another. Escalate your intensity with one or more of these psychological tricks.
Do whatever it takes to try to change her.
Use bothers for personal growth
psychological studies are yet to confirm these statistics, I conclude that
perhaps 90-95% of what bothers men about women is rooted in male
repressions yet to be consciously faced. It somehow seems easier to try to
change a woman to fit how a man finds himself to be, than to face the probably
source of personal dissatisfactions.
further, I note that maybe 5-10% of male bothers about females are
truly legitimate--that is, result from objective facts about females which are
offensive to males, based on genetic differences rather than psychological
dissatisfactions. Coping with, if not changing this small percentage of real
bothers, is obviously a proper male agenda in any relationship with a
But, and this is my
point here: Most of the things I have been bothered by, and as I see in other
males, are, I reluctantly conclude, the result of un-faced personal problems
brought into a relationship, rather than real faults in those I have loved. My
loves haven't, that is, truly bothered me (caused my troubles with them), as
much as they have somehow mirrored denied ("repressed") parts of myself.
This is not the
place for an extended explanation of the psychic devices of repression
and projection, but in summary, I now think that most of what has
bothered me about women can more properly be analyzed as unpleasant and/or
threatening reflections of un-faced repressions in myself. I have commonly
judged female "mirrors" negatively, rather than daring to face darker elements
yet hidden within me.
Presuming I don't
have a corner on the market of typical male bothers, I also assume the
same to be true for many others of my gender. In this light I amplify a fourth
option--a "road less traveled," which I find to be far more productive than
either of the first.
Based on theories
of repression/projection, and excluding the 5-10% of realistic
irritations, this choice involves a major shift in typical male perspectives,
away from blaming women to using our bothers for catching
clearer glimpses of our darker selves--that is, treating them as mirrors
rather than causes, reflections rather than irritations.
The larger shift in
this approach is from blaming our troubles on females to accepting fuller
responsibility for our own happiness and personal well being. Typically, and I
have been no exception, male lovers with repressed memories and fantasies about
being made happy by a goddess-like mother, blindly resurrect such dark images
and wishes, and unconsciously project them onto later lovers, along with equally
secret hopes and expectations of present-tense fulfillment (especially if our
first mothers were less than successful in making us whole and happy).
about her bothers you, e.g., apparent selfishness, instead of focusing attention
on her and possibly getting angry at her ("for only thinking
about herself and ignoring you"), shift your thoughts from her to yourself.
Think about, e.g., the extent of your emotional reactions. Why are you
so upset by her action? Does it truly cause what you feel? Or could you be
resurrecting an old habit? What memories arise if you think of your past rather
than her current action?
The point of this
line of thought is to look for dark elements in yourself which may be triggered
by her actions. Consider the principles of repression/projection. Could it be
that what you see in her mirrors something repressed in yourself? In this
example, might it be that her obvious "selfishness (looking after her own
interests)" reflects your denial of the same capacity within yourself? Are you
more self-sacrificing than you like to admit? Might you be jealous of her
embracing a natural capacity you have repressed within yourself? Are you
accusing her of being like you fear being yourself?
WAYS TO GO
when the light of reality
begins to dawn on illusions
of romantic love:
may then set about
to try to change a lover
to fit more in keeping
with private desires
or, when faith is sufficient,
dare to begin accepting
another as revealed
on the longer way to love
Although it may
well be genetically proper for a woman to continually try to change a man,
after, but not before marriage, to make him fit more acceptably into serving her
genetic needs, I do not think the same holds true for men and our wives.
A male's wiser
option lies, I think, in trying to love a woman as she is-in the agape
sense of the term. Over time I have come to see real love as comprised of three
major attributes: acceptance, affirmation, and freedom. To
truly love a woman, in this understanding, is, first of all, to openly
accept her as she presently presents herself-that is, to openly acknowledge
without negative judgment her manifest traits.
This does not mean,
of course, that you actually like everything about her, or even that you might
not delight in significant changes; but it does mean that in daily living, in
the moments of your encounters with her, your energies are devoted to openly
taking her as she now is, carefully avoiding diverting attention to trying to
change her in any way.
Instead, I find it
better to give energies to developing one's own skills and artistry in
maximizing satisfactions to be found in meeting her in presently positive ways.
Paradoxically, real changes in a mate are far more likely to occur based on a
foundation of current acceptance than on even the most devoted and
diligent efforts to trying to change her.
Obviously there are
certain changes one may reasonably seek to bring about in a spouse, such as,
gross irresponsibility in matters which effect both partners (e.g., money making
and/or spending); household chores, physical health; paying bills; illegal
activities; unhealthy addictions to drugs or alcohol; sexual acting out;
physical abuse; self-destructive behavior; snoring, etc.
This, however is
not about such wide-ranging attributes or behaviors which do seriously effect
the success of any relationship. Rather it is about an often wider range of
lesser traits or habits better seen as: irritations, disappointments, "bothers,"
"needed improvements," offensive attributes, things I wish she would do or ways
I wish she would be; absence of traits admired in others (e.g., one's mother
and/or other lovers).
specific relationships might include: matters of personal hygiene; degrees of
cleanliness; lack of, or excessive shows of affection; avoidance of being
sexual; puritanical sexual attitudes; judgmental habits; being critical or
unappreciative; high social expectations; dislike of personal friends, hobbies,
or expectations of personal changes before approval is given; bitchiness
I interrupt this
train of thought to note my prior conclusion that the first of 3 major
attributes of agape ("real love") is acceptance of a loved one
as they now are rather than as I wish they were or think they might be.
This comes before #2, affirmation and #3, freedom.
Relevant here is my
opinion that accepting versus trying to change a person is but
the first step in truly loving another person. At issue here is distinguishing
traits which seriously effect oneself in a community property marriage
relationship from simply offensive attributes which do not truly undermine the
marriage or have actual destructive consequences on oneself.
means standing consciously present with an offensive trait fully in awareness
without trying to do anything about it-that is, trying to change it in
any way. Such acceptance doesn't mean that you like the trait, or that
you would not be delighted if it changed more to your liking; but it does mean
that these private feelings are held as your own, without being spoken or
allowed to influence your open acceptance of such a trait.
is expressed well, a wife may not even recognize a trait's offensive nature; or,
if so, she feels "it's still alright with my husband."
speaking, acceptance means without any negative judgment. Even if, for
example, a wife knows that her husband doesn't like a certain attribute of hers,
she doesn't feel "put down" about it, or that she must hide, pretend to be
different, or try to change it herself. She may think: "I am aware that he
wishes I were different, but I also know I'm still okay with him as I am."
But if a husband
does openly accept a trait he wishes were different-in accord with this first
phase of agape, what is he to do with the personal energy generated in
perceiving the trait itself?
The nature of
natural perceptions includes creation of energy in the process of perceiving.
These energies are typically dissipated in negative judgments, criticism,
smoldering resentment, rejection, and/or devoted efforts to change them in a
spouse. But with acceptance, when these typically familiar reactions
are stopped, the same associated energies are left, as it were, "free floating."
What then is a husband to do with them?
PARADOX OF PECCADILLOES
Past any major
attributes of behavior which seriously undermine the stability of a relationship
and do indeed call for artistry in efforts to change (e.g., those enumerated
before), most of the lesser or personally offensive traits which I suggest to be
best dealt with by acceptance, may be summarized as peccadilloes-that
is, individual attributes or modes of behavior ("personality traits") likely to
have long existed long before in the life of a wife.
Most of them have
little if anything to do with a husband himself, except that they "bother him"
and he wishes they were different. Mostly, from a wife's perspective, they are
just a part of "the way she is."
Now to the
paradox part. As strange as it may seem to the eyes of logic, smaller
peccadilloes are often but the tip of an iceberg of vastly larger,
concealed (repressed), aspects of oneself. Even though they may reasonably seem
like small things ("Why am I so bothered by such an insignificant attribute?"),
in reality offensive traits-either things done or not done, may be keys (or
clues) to un-faced or unresolved problems within oneself.
rule of thumb is: Most traits in others which bother me are a reflection of some
repressed aspect of myself. In other words: we are commonly offended by traits
in others which in some-as-yet-unrecognized way reflect un-faced parts of
ourselves. Easier to be bothered "out there" than to deal with matters "in
here." "Putting down" on others, in this case, one's wife, is temporarily easier
than "letting up" denied aspects of oneself.
It is as though the
bothersome traits of others some-psychologically-how reflect or mirror deeply
hidden and often consciously denied, traits in myself.
ACCEPTANCE AS IS
clarification of acceptance as contrasted with trying to change,
which I so easily forget is this: To accept a wife is to accept her as
she perceives herself to be, rather than some imagined potential one may see in
her, some way she might be, versus now is in her own deeper mind. Even
if your images of her are closer to actual reality than those she holds of
herself, still true acceptance involves suspending your opinions in favor of
accepting the way she views herself, e.g., smart/dumb; pretty/ugly; strong/weak,
becomes particularly hard when a wife's view of herself is very different from
her husband's perspective, e.g., when she sees herself as dumb, while
he thinks she is smart; or when she thinks she is unattractive
in contrast with his "thinking she's pretty."
a wife as-she-sees-herself does not mean agreeing with her when you
don't-that is, lying about a different perspective; but, and this is
the critical point: It does mean standing openly present with her self-view even
when you think it is wrong, without trying to change it, e.g., to convince her
of her error ("You're not really dumb," or, "You're certainly not
The Don Quixote/Dulcinea
stance, in which a man devotes himself to a woman's potential self rather than
her current view of who she is, is, though idolized, contrary to the stance
The woman is smarter...she's smarter than the man in every way.
Harry Belefonte song.
Well, not in
every way; but insofar as overall mental usage is concerned, woman's type
of whole brain thinking easily overwhelms man's limited type or left brain,
train-track, logic. Women may not "make much sense" to typical male-type
reasoning; but when the two modes of mind use are pitted against each other,
woman's circular way of thinking commonly proves superior to man's linear
"logic" in most arenas of daily living outside of science, philosophy, and
with a woman, but rarely try to use reasons to convince her of anything.
If you resurrect
this mental device, at which men typically excel, you may indeed achieve
temporary success--that is, win an immediate point; but predictably you will
lose in the long run, because in final analysis women value heart more than
mind, their "feelings" more than your "reasons."
Even when women ask
for reasons, as: "Why did you do that?" "Why does such and such happen?," etc.,
they are more likely using such questions to voice personal curiosity, not to
get whatever explanations you may have.
Also, given their
circular, wholistic mode of thinking, as distinguished from typically male
linear, focused, "train track" type of thinking, females are vastly better at
creating plausible reasons for whatever they "feel like" they want to do.
Technically, this is rationalizing as males understand logic; but this
is of small consequence to most females.
conversation with males who value "reasons" more than "feelings," women are
quick to translate personal desires into sensible ideas when they recognize this
typical male limitation. They are often skillful in making what they want (their
"point") sound sensible--that is, in speedily creating quasi-plausible
explanations for their even their most irrational tastes.
logic works, fine; but just as women may be able to quickly create sensible
reasons (actually, excuses) to justify cloaked desires, as long as they prove
effective, they can, often with even greater speed, totally abandon all attempts
at sense-making when this male mode seems to be failing. They can, that is,
quickly switch from sense to emotions when the greater powers of the latter seem
called for--an option rarely available to men.
A further female
advantage in such encounters with men is rooted in their freedom from the
typical male necessity of "having to win," or losing "face" along with losing a
point. Whereas males, as sperm-bearers, are instinctively driven to compete, to
try to win, to come out on top, to best all opposition, and typically "fear
losing" as though any loss is self-destructive, females, ova-bearers, are
commonly better at waiting and cooperating--that is, not "having to win."
can easily leave a conflict or disagreement at any time, without loss of "face"
or self--an option rarely embraced by males. Obviously any form of "well have it
your way," or, "It's okay if you want to think that," that allows a woman to
thwart a man's point-making by easily withdrawing at any time she finds herself
losing at logic (or for any other reason), is an ever-present threat to
win-or-lose type males.
Point: Even though
there are rare times when "trying to be reasonable," or, "trying to explain
yourself" to a woman is feasible, mostly, staying reasonable oneself--which
involves remaining fully conscious of one's own "sense," while at the same time
aware of the limited value (and even less power) inherent in using reasons to
sway a woman, a wiser man opts instead for standing quietly with his own
conclusions (not trying to prove his point with words) and thoughtfully charting
another course of action.
This is especially
true as female "irrationality" or expanding emotionality escalates. Few male
activities are as irrational as "trying to be reasonable" with an emotional
woman. When so, as is all too commonly the case, the more reasonable a may tries
to be, the more emotional a woman will predictably become. And, since emotions
are inherently more powerful than even the best of reasons, a man who continues
in such a fruitless endeavor will predictably be a loser.
And all this
"logical thinking" yet ignores a woman's trump card of withholding sex--if not
herself, whenever a dependent male is in any way displeasing to her--as in
trying to be right based on logic alone.
against her heart
is yet of the mind
she was at the start
A wiser man remains
reasonable himself in the presence of an emotional woman who may listen to
logic, even try to sound reasonable herself, but who, in final analysis, will go
by feelings rather than sense.
husband may understandably wish
that a wife were one tenth as concerned
with their relationship in the house
not to mention happiness in the bed
as she is with crumbs on the floor
or dishes in the sink
wiser ones dream on
and keep their mouths shut
in the meantime between now
and when hell freezes over
Along with many
advantages of wholistic thinking, as typical women naturally do, one major
limitation is difficulty with prioritizing values. Deeply moved by feelings,
giving sensible attention to one's values--that is, reasonably prioritizing what
one says and does, is often ignored.
geared for genetic concerns only, are notoriously ignorant about relational and
personal values in complex societies (they evolved too soon for this), such as
the feelings of others as well as private goals. Whereas emotions may be astute
in discerning threats to personal safety, and feelings are good at resurrecting
acquired habits, neither genetics nor learned patterns of reacting are wise in
the ways of love. For that, consciously prioritizing responses is critically
females who are deeply responsive to emotional directions often have great
difficulty in making reasonable choices more in accord with present personal
values than with ancient knowledge. Males, more limited to left brain logic and
prioritizing information, plus ignoring distracting feelings as well is
seemingly irrelevant data, are often better at moderating actions in accord with
self-chosen values--if, that is, we are able to resist a prevailing male
temptation to use reasoning as a tool for trying to manipulate women,
rather than remaining reasonable ourselves while in the presence of those more
determined by feelings than by sense.
sensibly weighing non-emotional factors, such as, cost, afford-ability, actual
need (more shoes?), immediate effect on others, long range costs to self, and
most all elements of mature love--that is, agape, including acceptance,
affirmation, and freeing of loved ones.
CONNECTIONS AND INDEPENDENCE
COMPANY AND JUST US
reflection of the genetic fact that a released ovum dies within a day if not
connected to an available sperm, ovum bearers also seem blindly driven to
establish and maintain social connections in the people world;
meanwhile sperm bearers seem to be equally driven toward independence,
even as the sperm we bear are death-destined if they do not arrive and be singly
selected for potential immortality.
And perhaps in
reflection of these biological facts, women are commonly moved to prepare for,
seek, and enjoy company of others, while living with men who may be
happier with just us independently together.
Whatever the basis
for these apparent gender differences, when the two contradictory modes are
brought together in marriage, with two spouses living in one house, conflicts
inevitable arise when one spouse or the other tries to practice their own
mode-for instance, when a wife delights in preparing for and having company
or a husband resists "entertaining others" and tries to keep just us
challenge is inherent with spouses who do indeed care for one another, but at
the same time want to enjoy their own natural mode of personal living-she to
make and keep connections with others, and he to carefully maintain his
independence, both with her as well as any company with
type of pragmatic comprise is essential for living well together.
WHEN A MATE'S BAGGAGE IS UNPACKED
WHEN GHOSTS FROM THE PAST SHOW UP
WHEN YOU BECOME THE DEVIL
WHEN A SPOUSE GETS CRAZY
a wife is not in therapy
a husband is often the safest place
to project shadows of inward stress
yet to be recognized as rooted within
as long as he takes them personally
as though her criticisms are actually about him
she is set up to continue in denial
and he to fall victim of bitching
however, he comes to see her problems
as hers, not his, and to appreciate
her blind confidence in his stand-ability
then silently he may be affirmed
by her cloaked compliments
Be alert for the
worse side of your spouse.
Later if not sooner
a spouse's resident pathology may predictably appear in the midst of marriage,
often to be projected onto you. Unless alert, you will, with equal
predictability, take it personally rather than recognizing it as cloaked
confession, deeper level revelation of a loved one's actual self, which may
actually be a back-handed compliment to security and safety you have provided in
your relationship. What you do, how you respond, is critically important for the
future of the marriage.
all know that "nobody's perfect." And in psychological language, this means that
we all have degrees of resident pathology ("emotional immaturity")--some, of
course, more than others. But we commonly forget-or don't want to believe, that
our spouse is also one of "them," let alone that the label probably fits
ourselves to some extent also.
in courtship before marriage, we would all bring our "best self" to our spouse,
the one we love the most. And in the beginning of a relationship, this seems to
commonly be the case. But, paradoxically, the deeper nature of a love
relationship, especially one surrounded by structures of a legal marriage, is
that in time, inherent security of "love and marriage (which, we are
told, 'go together like a horse and carriage...')" naturally invites deeper
revelations of parts of ourselves commonly hidden, even unconsciously, during
understanding my terms will be relevant. By pathology I refer to what
in familiar terminology may be seen as "having problems," "being upset," "having
a fit," "feeling bad," being "emotionally disturbed," "having a difficult time,"
or, in immediate situations, "being mad at you," or, "hateful" and "unloving."
It may also be seen, borrowing medical terms, as an "illness" or "sickness." Or,
in religious terms, as "being possessed" by a "demon."
- Everyone has a
bit of personal pathology, some more, others less, but "nobody's perfect."
- We all carry a
load of baggage from the past, subject to being unpacked in varying degrees
during the course of an extended relationship.
- No matter how
sophisticated one's intellectual thinking may be, resident ghosts from past
fears may predictably re-appear in the course of an extended marriage.
- No matter now
sane a spouse may often be, we all have varying degrees of resident craziness
apt to be encountered at stressful times in a relationship-if not our spouse's,
then predictably our own.
- If religious, no
matter how "saved" one may often appear, deep un-faced and/or unforgiven sin is
likely to remain, subject to resurrection in the presence of a spouse.
- No matter how
adored, loved, or even worshiped a husband may be in the conscious thinking of a
wife, at one time or another he may be transformed in her eyes into a Devil who
is seen as the major cause of her unhappiness (or current craziness).
- In everyday
language, synonyms for these times include: When a spouse reveals "Troubles,"
"Blues," "Problems," "Unhappiness," "Depression," or "Mental Disturbances."
lamented in song: Another love before my time made
your heart sad and blue; and now my heart is paying for things I didn't do...Why
can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart?
At some critical
times in every extended relationship, one or more versions of these various ways
of recognizing limitations (pathology) of a loved one is highly likely to
The question I
raise here is: What is the best way to act when a spouse's demons appear? What
should a man do when a woman gets crazy? What to do when ghosts from the past
appear in the present? Or, personally, what have I learned so far about the best
way to respond to a woman's pathology.
First of all,
expect to be demonized at one time or another, that is, seen as the
Fall Guy, the one at fault, the source and cause of a wife's unhappiness.
Total projection of debilitating powers onto a husband is highly predictable,
especially in the early phases of long term problems emerging into
reverse compliment may be hidden in a wife's overt demonizing of her husband.
She may even remain outwardly "nice" and civil with others, while privately
degrading the husband she "loves." As a once popular song voiced it: You
always hurt the one you love, the one you wouldn't hurt at all. Perhaps
this paradox was being confronted in song.
compliment may lie in the experienced safety a wife sometimes feels with her
husband, more than with all others, allowing her to risk bringing out her deeper
troubles. Because it is also the nature of beginning stages of unrepression to
see projections first-that is, to look at images or mirrors which may reflect
denied aspects of oneself, and, in effect, to blame "them," to imagine them to
be the source and cause of one's personal problems (much like a child blames a
ghost for "scaring me").
In time, if healing
continues, such a projecting wife may eventually stop projecting onto her
husband (or other outside "mirrors") as she comes to accept personal
responsibility. But in the meantime, a husband is better advised to look for a
hidden compliment in the implied trust she may deeply feel in her relationship
with him before she risks "trotting out her demons" before him, than to take her
projections at face value.
Just because she
"blames you" for her emotional ills, you are not obligated to either fall for
her projections or to take blame yourself.
The nature of
beginning phases of any unrepression includes a tendency to exaggerate personal
denials and indulge in consequent projections-that is, to resist seeing
pathology as one's own and hence to look for, even to create, an outside cause.
In broadest perspectives, this is the psychic phenomenon of demonizing
or "devil making," imagining an outside evil source (in this case, you) to be
causing discomfort she feels when her "problems" are nearing awareness.
responsibility for one's difficulties is notably difficult to do. It is always
easier, and perhaps even natural, to view oneself as innocent (not at fault) and
to seek some outside cause bearing the guilt for "making me feel this way." In
religions, this is commonly seen as the Devil. In marriage, the guilty
party is typically a spouse.
phenomenon is an exaggeration of typical repression/projection which commonly
lies at the source of pathology. When one begins to un-repress ("face oneself"),
for whatever reasons, the first step is usually an escalation of initial psychic
events, namely, increasingly personal denials ("not my fault"), and magnifying
the size of the projection object (in this case, you).
may be staunchly maintained as the projected guilt cause is increased
proportionally to keep balance. The deeper the pathology, the greater the degree
of exaggeration of both personal innocence and guilt of whatever source one has
chosen to blame the problem on.
In practice, a wife
at this initial phase of potential unrepression will typically focus on the
"faults"-either real or imagined, of her husband on which to place blame for her
"problems," e.g., something he has said or done, or failed to, or even "just the
way he is."
A second reason for
ease of projected cause of a wife's un-faced pathology is a husband's need to
maintain illusions of her perfection, as first imagined in the blinded eyes of
romantic love-that is, her magical powers (as though she were a goddess) to
"make me happy (if only she will)."
To see a wife's
difficulties (her pathology) as actually her own, requires also facing her
limitations in previously imagined powers to "take care of" her husband's
psychic needs (to "save him" or "make him whole" by supplying his "missing
When she is
"upset"-that is, appearing to "not love me" at the time, then any threat I feel
outside the circle of her "love (good graces)" will be predictably resurrected.
Rather than facing her limitations ("problems") as her own, and consequently her
inability to "make me happy," a husband may be tempted to accept her projections
onto him as cause of her difficulties. This is easier than confronting one's own
irresponsibility in the relationship, as reflected in secret adoration of her.
Which leads to a
third reason for not seeing personal denials and projections onto oneself. If I
"take the blame," that is, accept the notion that I am causing her to be upset,
then, irrationally, I may also maintain deeper illusions of my own powers to
possibly "make her okay," that is, to personally change the situation by
something I can say and/or do, to, in effect, "heal her sickness."
If I am the cause
of her problems, then theoretically I have the power to somehow correct them
("heal" her) and return her to goddess status again-that is, with magical powers
to "make me happy." This illusion commonly begins, I surmise, with boys and our
mothers in early life.
Unless a husband
remains carefully conscious at times when a wife's pathology is resurrected, for
these and many other possible reasons, he will "fall for" her typical
projections onto him-or even to imagine them to be so when they are not. It will
be far easier to simply not see her difficulties as her own-that is, as caused
by him (as she may indeed state to be the case), than to confront the real
If he simply
reacts emotionally rather than remaining conscious and reasonable, that is,
responding based on facts rather than feelings, then an inherently
difficult situation will predictably be exaggerated, later if not sooner.
In practice, this
involves resisting irrational temptations, such as: to counter attack, as though
she is truly attacking you when she "confesses" her discomforts in your
presence, often blaming her problems on you; to play Tit For Tat, that
is, counter with a recitation of her faults which likewise "bother" you; to
defend yourself by justifying or explaining your "good motives" and/or other
reasons for "not meaning to hurt" her; to run away in mind if not body, as in,
"tuning her out" or simply "not listening"; to judge her as being bad or mean,
or belittle the situation by labeling it as "just bitching," "having her
period," or "being like a woman."
positive responses to times when a wife "gets crazy," here are a few
WHAT NOT TO DO
- DON'T RUN
AWAY: First, and most important of all, don't exit the premises or
otherwise try to hide and avoid confrontation at the time.
- DON'T FREEZE
UP: That is. don't "run away" emotionally or otherwise brace yourself as
though preparing for a fight.
- DON'T TAKE IT
ON: Avoid any temptation to blame yourself, as though her discomfort is
your fault and as if you have the power to heal her-that is, "make everything
all right" by something you might do.
- DON'T GET
DEFENSIVE: Avoid instinctive urges to "fight back" as though her problems
are an attack on you rather than a revelation of herself, calling for either
defense or counter-attack. Face and resist resurrecting demons of your own, even
though they may be sorely tempted to emerge for countering hers. Don't borrow
the occasion of her negative revelations to trot out your own dissatisfactions.
- AVOID ARGUING:
This warning is generally applicable throughout a marriage, but is especially
relevant when a wife "gets crazy" with her husband.
between males and females are generally non-productive for boys and men, as
reflected in the convention male wisdom: "You can never win an argument with a
woman...." But if this is true under ordinary circumstances, it is 1000 times
more so when a woman's pathology is becoming conscious.
- DON'T TRY TO
BE REASONABLE: Never try to "be logical," to "make sense," or resort to
using reason at such a time. By definition, or at least by the nature of itself,
pathology ("craziness") exists and functions in one's deeper, unconscious mind,
which operates below or outside the lofty realms of conscious reasoning.
Therefore, it is not sensible to try to use reason for confronting what is
No matter how
sincere or well intended attempts to deal with a spouse's ghosts via "being
reasonable," all such efforts will be relatively impotent; in fact, more likely
to backfire or make matters worse rather than better.
For example, left
brain thinking, commonly revealed in such verbal expressions as: "Don't worry;
it will be alright," "Things will get better," or attempts to help by saying "I
love you," are all likely to fall on deaf ears, even if they are true.
- DON'T PLAY
TIT FOR TAT: This advice is almost always valid in a marriage, but is
especially relevant when a wife is getting honest about dissatisfactions in the
presence of her husband. For example, trying to match her criticism of you with
yours for her, is predictably counter-productive.
Even if you can
match, or exceed, her stated troubles-that is, have even greater problems of our
own, or find more faults in her than she points out in you, now is not a
functional time to do so. If you wish to confess your own troubles to her, this
will be the worst of all possible times to do so. Just then, in the presence of
her projections onto you (her blaming or criticisms), far better to simply
remain silently present, hearing her out without taking on what she says, as
though it were truly about you.
- DON'T TRY TO
"TALK IT OUT": Forget "talking it out." The healing values of communication
in a troubled marriage are, I think, vastly overrated at all levels; but nowhere
is this more true than when a spouse's demons begin to surface in the
therapy" may be beneficial with a professional counselor, the same "in-house"
procedures in a marriage are predictably ineffective, more likely to backfire
than to help. Stated negatively: If "doing business with family members" is
dangerous, as often proves to be so, "doing therapy" with a spouse is far more
No matter how
skillful one may be in "playing doctor (counselor)" with friends and relatives,
I find the same attempts to be notably non-productive within a marriage. Not
that many useful therapeutic techniques, such as, non-judgmental listening,
aren't also functional with a spouse; but "becoming a mate's counselor"
dangerously risks removing oneself as a loving mate, which, especially during
troubling times, may be even more needed than quasi-professional counseling.
- DON'T EXPLAIN
YOURSELF: Certainly there are significant times for sincere apologies,
including revealed reasons for disturbing actions, as when one has truly been
offensive or irresponsible in a relationship; but such events of properly
assuming responsibility for real shortcomings are to be carefully distinguished
from the dangerous habit of "raising ass" via automatically "explaining
yourself" or living apologetically, always assuming blame for causing a spouse's
Learning to wisely
say, "Yes, Dear," in a variety of ever-changing words, to many of a wife's
requested services is no doubt feasible; but crossing the line into becoming an
automatic "Yes Man"-one who habitually says, in effect, "Yes, you are right,"
and blindly blames himself, rushing to take responsibility for all a wife's
irritations, is quite another thing.
WHAT TO DO
- TRY TO
UNDERSTAND PATHOLOGY: Even before it erupts in your presence and any
responses are made in an immediate situation, try to get a mental handle on the
phenomenon of emotional disturbances, in this case, a wife's "craziness."
In a nutshell:
Self-repression typically lies at the source of negative outward
expressions. And repression commonly reflects in projection,
often onto others, in this case, you. What sounds and may "feel like" it is
about you, may in fact be a cloaked personal revelation, that it, literally
"about her" or "her problems," projected onto you. Even when a wife
consciously believes that her husband is "driving me crazy,"-that is, my
unhappiness is his fault, a man may do well to understand the phenomenon of
repression/projection ahead of time.
- STAY PRESENT:
Most importantly of all, as noted before, avoid "running away" in any form;
stay present, in the company of a wife who is acting crazy at the time,
both physically and emotionally. Literally, be or remain yourself
with her when she is revealing her dissatisfactions, especially when she is
CONSCIOUS: "Remember, Wart, to think....." (Merlin's advice to young Prince
Arthur's puzzlement about females, as related in Lerner and Lowe's version of
I know of no other
time in a marriage when remaining conscious is more important or difficult than
when a spouse begins to become conscious of resident pathology. The temptation
to simply react emotionally rather than responding reasonably
may be hard to resist.
On the feeling
level, a spouse's "problems"-when she encounters her pathology in her spouse's
presence, may always seems-as-though they are about him rather than her. When he
doesn't remain carefully conscious, he will predictably take them personally, as
though "I am at fault," that is, the cause of her discomfort, one who has made
her "feel bad," and hence the one to blame for her current state.
This is so easy to
do, I think, for several reasons. First, when a spouse is beginning to become
conscious of her pathology, when she begins to un-repress, she is indeed likely
to project it onto her spouse, seeing and sometimes saying, in effect, if not
literally, "It's your fault," that you-something you have done (or not done),
said (or not said), or even "the way you are," is the cause of her "feeling this
- LISTEN WITH A
THIRD EAR: That is, listen through rather than to what
she says at times of greater disturbance. Use your proverbial "third ear" to
detect cloaked emotional (personal) messages concealed in the content of her
expressions-all of which may be directed at you at the time.
For example, listen
for possible fear behind angry words about you (or any other life
circumstances); or, listen for anger behind verbal criticism of you or
Negative: Don't fall for a wife's
problems, even when she openly projects them onto you, that is, "take them on"
or "blame yourself" for causing them. Chances are, the underlying basis and true
cause of her problems lies in deeper, un-faced pathology which she brought into
the relationship and you failed to recognize at the time.
Rather, try to see
the current revelation of her "problems" in your presence as being with
you, rather than at or to you. Even if she is blind to the
fact, as is commonly the case, that she is, in effect, confessing her
troubles to you, as though you were a priest, try to recognize them as such,
instead of "taking them on" or "blaming yourself."
Try to see her as
being upset or troubled with you instead of at you-that is,
daring, for whatever reason, to take the chance of revealing her deeper self to
you as invited by securities inherent in her relationship with you (the marriage
and/or your love for her).
If you can remain
truly conscious and reasonable at such critical times, you may even see the
"reverse compliment" inherent in her "confession" to you. Chances are, she will
diligently hide her problems while with others, "acting like nothing is wrong,"
pretending that "everything is fine"; but the very fact that she takes the
chance of revealing her troubled self to you is a compliment to deeper security
which she feels, even if unconsciously, in your presence.
Certainly you may
prefer open and "direct compliments"; but with reason, you may be able to decode
what is more easily taken as criticism, and see the darker affirmation inherent
in revelations of her problems with you.
Positive: Instead of falling for or
taking on a wife's projected troubles, better to stay with her while
they are revealed in your presence, even when they are consciously
being blamed on you. Instead of running away or, in effect "closing your ears,"
try to remain consciously present with her during these troubled times. Openly
accept her negativism without trying to "do something about it," or "make her
feel better." Allow her emotional space to even escalate her revelations with
you without taking them on.
Nor is it smart to
try to "make up" too speedily, that is, to heal or erase an apparent rift or
emotional distance between you while she is "confessing" her problems with you.
Stay on your "Green Spot," that is, within your centered self, all the while
openly present with her, accepting-as a good priest might, her present condition
without condemnation or apparent effect on yourself. "Don't," as a wise saying
puts it, "just do something; stand there," lovingly, as she continues to reveal
her deeper self in your presence.
WHAT TO DO WHEN CRAZINESS APPEARS
non-verbally. Keep words to a bare minimum. The most
powerful "messages" you can send and those less likely to be misunderstood, are
more physical and emotional than mental and reasonable. Appropriate non-verbal
"messages," conveyed via bodily stance, appearance, and actions, rather than
"I can see/hear
your distress, and can stand present with you being honest with me (revealing
your unhappiness) without being done in myself or otherwise hurting you."
"I recognize your
pain (discomfort, anger, fear, resentment, or whatever), and believe it to be
bearable, even if it seems overwhelming just now."
"I accept you as a
person in your current state, without judgment, condemnation, or rejection." (As
Jesus said to one being condemned by others, "Neither do I condemn thee.")
"I believe you have
whatever it takes to endure this difficult time and eventually become whole and
"I recognize that
right now you may believe the source of your discomfort to be outside yourself,
properly blamed on some external cause, even me; but I also believe that you are
inherently capable of "working out your own salvation"-that is, becoming
completely responsible for your own well being."
These and other
relevant "messages" are best "said" and become more "hearable" with a minimum
number of words and a maximum amount of appropriate physical responses.
Even a minimum use
of words will rarely be intended to be literal, as in, an attempt to convey some
reasonable and/or relevant information. Instead, they only aim at conveying
"emotional" messages, as outlined before.
For example, even
if a husband says, "I understand," he will be attempting to convey his
presence-with-her, as in, "I'm standing-under your troubles with you," rather
than implying an intellectual grasp of her personal experience at the time-while
she is apt to believe, "No one could possibly understand how I feel now (since I
use of minimal verbal language is more about avoiding possibly negative messages
being read into silent presence, e.g., "You're not listening to me," or, "You're
being condescending," or, "You're putting down on me."
Such word's summary
use is only to let a suffering person know you are closely present, but not
"trying to tell her something." Because even the most carefully chosen words may
be taken negatively, a "good listening" husband only speaks to his wife as
necessary to let her know he is acceptingly present with her. When she seems to
"know he is there" accepting her as revealed, no words are better than even the
For example, a
simple warm hug may "say" more than a dozen "I love you's." Or an empathetic
face may "say" "I'm with you" far better than a host of re-assuring words, such
as, "Don't worry; things will be alright." Finally, staying physically present
without judgment is perhaps the clearest of all non-verbal messages.
un-moved bodily presence confirmed by open, non-judgmental facial expressions
and an occasional rare but carefully voiced, "I see," or, "I hear you," may be
the most functional form of non-verbal communication when a wife is "acting
crazy." And even these brief verbal "I'm still here's" may best be conveyed with
pre-verbal sounds, such as, timely grunts, sympathetic sighs, and warm hugs.
In general, telling
a wife anything about herself, such as, what you think about her actions,
feelings, ideas, or motives is apt to be unwise. Except for periodic affirming
compliments, e.g., about her looks and deeds, opinions about herself
are best kept to yourself, for two main reasons:
First, you invite
personal dependency on yourself for supplying insights best recognized by
herself. In principle, insights into dark aspects of oneself are only productive
when one sees them for herself, rather than being told about who-she-is
by someone else. If a husband, in effect, "does her thinking for her" and she
accepts what he says about her, an unstable dependency relationship may be
Secondly, and more
commonly, there is a serious risk of backfiring-that is, a husband's
observations being taken negatively. Dangers are twofold. First, a
self-protective wife may take any statements about her as being
against her-that is, as an attack, put down, or a devious attempt to change
her. Consequently, her negative reaction may be to become defensive and move
toward even deeper denial of what is said, especially when a husband's
observation is more accurate.
feeling attacked or put-down-on, she may react with a counter-attack, that is,
begin criticizing, threatening, or otherwise rebelling against what is said.
Even if a husband is able to hear-through such denials and projections of cause,
he may still be excluded from a warm relationship with her at the time.
attempted, even well intended, observations about a wife concerning traits or
habits she does not recognize herself may easily backfire, leaving any personal
"dark side" traits even more repressed, and occasioning a break in the
relationship at the time.
Also, of course,
there is always the possibility (likelihood?) that you may be wrong, that a
husband's observations are inaccurate, that other factors you have not seen or
considered may be at work in what you see.
Even so, there are
rare times for appropriate feedback-that is, for conveying a husband's
observations about his wife, especially when the subject affects the marital
relationship and/or her personal well being elsewhere. Key word, however, is
appropriate, meaning "fitting" when all known facts are taken into
consideration, including, timing, a wife's hear-ability, and relevance to
is intended literally, that is, feed being given back to a
hearer. Feed is a food metaphor, implying nutrient for positive growth,
in distinction from something said as a psychic device, such as, a criticism or
The principle in
appropriate feedback is about higher degrees of love, an attempt to
affirm a wife on deeper levels, below, for example, her current view of herself
or her attention to her effects on others. It is not about expressing anger,
getting even, or "trying to change her." Appropriate feedback is more
like a gift than a weapon, like pointing out an unseen
approaching car at a street crossing, or offering a prescription aimed at
these guidelines for such rare telling will be applicable:
- Choose a
comfortable time for "bringing up the subject" when things are going well
between you. Never, for example, speak of some potentially threatening or
divisive subject in the heat of an argument, or when a wife is "feeling down" or
negative about herself.
distinguish between "what I see" and "facts about you," that is, "This is my
observation which may or may not be true," not an attempt to define or even say
- Don't try to
"make her see" anything not already visible to her or acceptable to consider
without personal threat.
- Back off at first
signs of defensiveness, resistance, rebellion, or any negative reaction. Unless
what you have to say is obviously being received without personal threat, stop
immediately. Any further comments, such as, an attempt to explain yourself or
justify your observation, may only make matters worse.
if not sooner, latent insecurities of each partner will predictably appear under
illusions of safety created by any extended relationship. The issue confronted
here is: what is one to do, how best might one react, when deeper darknesses of
another emerge into the light of an encounter, especially a verbal conversation.
conversation with repressed, unrecognized, and hence unconscious parts of
another person is relatively impossible, especially so when what-they-don't see
(their unconscious attributes) is clearly visible to oneself ,e.g., repressed
anger, disappointment, and/or aggression.
Attempting to talk
over the line of embraced awareness in another person (what they consciously
recognize about themselves) will inevitably backfire in time, even if it is not
immediately disastrous. Dangers are twofold at best:
1) Invitation to
even deeper repression in reaction to uninvited information, especially when the
data is correct. The greater the uninvited light (more truthful an observation)
the more deeply into darkness a repression is apt to become.
2) Invitation to
personal self-righteousness, as in, "See how smart I am." This doesn't mean that
talk must cease in the presence of unconscious boundaries, indeed the more
relevant conversation may become; but it must be done carefully, respecting the
darkness of another, versus trying to force light ("to make them see"), and
skirting confrontation without appearing to run away or "be avoiding the
accepting projected insecurities cloaked with overt hostility and/or verbal
abuse (blaming you) rather than falling for and/or engaging in retaliation, such
as, playing serious Tit For Tat. This is especially important when a
woman is emotionally disturbed.
Never look for self
support, or ask, "How'd I do (e.g., after sex)?" Don't "fish for compliments."
Reason: acting like a little boy who invites a wife to play mother, unwittingly
belittles himself by avoiding challenges of self-affirmation, that is, examining
and acknowledging his own experience.
your work in light of your own values. Certainly look, pay attention to
non-verbal responses of another, for instance, how a female responds physically,
for information to be considered in possible later changes; see how you
did, but don't ask how you did, except when clarifying information may
be useful in future endeavors.
Artful deception is
pragmatic for success in any extended relationship.
requires confronting powerful social and religious forces which see
honesty-with-others as virtuous and any deception as "being dishonest"--that is,
wrong and/or sinful. Because these public values are so thoroughly ingrained in
most people, even before times of consideration, many men have to deal with
predictable "false guilt" about even considering conscious deception.
In spite of this
public perception of honesty-with-others as virtuous (and deception as bad),
careful analysis may reveal that these memes are primarily directed at males.
Females have long been so practiced at artful deception with males that such
skills are now either ingrained or learned so early in life as to apparently
escape conscious awareness in those most successful in its practice.
So, men, if you
"feel guilty" about possible deceptions with females you care for, realize that
they are far ahead of you in practicing these arts. They have used them for
eons, long enough to have skills down pat, even unconscious if not engened.
Furthermore, female use of deception (e.g., in makeup, dress, courting skills
and male-management) is also socially acceptable and quietly affirmed by other
If men are to ever
catch up in balancing skills in mutual deceptions, many of us will first have to
develop skill in appropriately fooling a woman without fooling ourselves at the
same time--that is, consciously choosing to deceive and be responsible for same,
so as to avoid unconsciously "trying to get caught."
DOING DUMB THINGS-WITHOUT JUDGMENT
= Things a woman does (or wants to) which don't make sense to a man; activities
which defy male understanding. They may or may not be literally dumb or
even "unreasonable" in the larger picture; but at the time they seem
dumb from a male point of view.
different, and especially when our own femininity is un-embraced, we men
predictably find that many things about women "just don't make sense" to us. We
can't understand much that they do-or at least want to.
Specifics vary, of
course, from one woman to the next, but typical differences may include such
- Degrees of
cleanliness. Many women are far more concerned with "keeping things clean"
than most of us men are on our own. Men living alone are rarely as concerned
with "a little dirt" or, for example, "a crumb or two on the floor," as are
those we often try to live with. Easily we see-and judge, female diligence in
trying to remove all signs of dirt and dust as "compulsive," that is, bordering
on emotional illness, if not already there.
- Concern with
appearances. We males are typically concerned with functionality-what
works and serves our various projects, including things being useful and
comfortable in our own homes. "If it works well, and does what we want, never
mind how it looks" might even be a male mantra.
But alas, female
values are often in reverse. "Utility is nice," but "how it looks" commonly
takes precedence over "how it works" in a woman's world. Men rarely seem to
grasp, let alone make sense of the massive amount of attention women commonly
devote to "keeping up appearances."
furniture. With men, once furniture is functionally and comfortably
arranged, "that's it." We see no need to keep changing the way objects in our
houses are placed. For example, we prefer that our comfortable chair be directly
in front of the television, regardless of other furniture or possible placements
in a room. Also, we typically see no need to hide the TV in some sort of
But is there a
woman alive who does not feel a need to periodically re-arrange living spaces,
including where we sit and do our in-house projects?
I suspect not.
one's self. Unless females are around, we males typically could care less
about how we dress and look to others. If our clothes are comfortable, we are
generally ready for whatever events face us. We don't need hours of time, tons
of expensive make-up, and a closet full of ever-changing clothes to select from
before we can comfortably be seen by others. And how many pairs of shoes are
"enough" for any woman?
But I need not note
how different we are from any typical female in regards to personal appearances;
everyone already knows this "full well."
- Making up the
bed. Men do want the beds we sleep in to be comfortable; but past "making
for a good night's sleep," we have little interest in how a bed looks during the
day. Left alone, we may pull up the covers when we get up (or we might not), but
rarely would we diligently try to remove every wrinkle, nor have any great
concern for what potential company might think if we didn't. On the same
subject, just one comfortable pillow is enough for most men.
about company. Other than a few buddies for, say, an occasional poker party
or an outdoor barbecue with a keg of beer, most husbands are fairly content to
spend time at home with our wives alone. Never mind "having company" as a
regular event. But even if occasional "visiting" is in order, as in, seeing
friends and/or relatives, or entertaining business prospects, men rarely worry
about "how the house looks," the table is set, or "what company may think about
All of which is
rarely true for a woman "expecting company."
- Modesty about
body. "Being caught with our pants down," or, "closing the bathroom door,"
is relatively irrelevant for men in comparison with "being seen with your slip
showing" or "spied on while dressing" is for women. "Being seen naked" is no big
deal for most men, certainly not cause for alarm, especially within the confines
of one's own home. A man may be seen unclothed; but a woman is more
likely to feel caught if viewed by a man beyond any degree of
The extent of
typical female "modesty" about body is a mystery few males ever seem to solve.
- Safety versus
thrill. "Playing it safe" is as common to women as "taking chances" is to
men. Female concern with safety, as in, keeping doors locked, driving carefully,
avoiding "dangerous" equipment, staying away from strangers, etc., etc., is
commonly paralleled in men by "forgetting to lock doors," speeding on the road,
competing with other drivers, "not being careful" with equipment, and generally
valuing excitement over avoiding risks.
Any given man will
likely think of many other "problems" inherent in living with a woman with these
or other habits which, try as we may, we cannot understand. The issue I confront
here is this:
How shall we live
with and relate to the many "dumb things" most women
do--as viewed, of
course, from a male perspective?
sense" is as important to us males as "feeling right" is to females we live
with. Consequently, when we "can't make sense" of female behaviors, when they
seem to us to be "doing dumb things," what are we to do? Other than trying to
ignore them, complaining, raising a fuss, arguing about cost, trying to be
reasonable, or dumber still, trying to change a woman we love, what are we to
sensibly do with acts and patterns of behavior which don't make sense to us and
are therefore "dumb things"-as we dimly perceive them?
whenever possible without loss of personal integrity, when you have time and
energy, when you can afford possible costs, go ahead and do dumb things
(as they seem to you, not her)-without judgment.
In practice, the
last phrase, without judgment, may turn out to be the hardest; but I
begin with explaining the first parts of this "rule."
loss of personal integrity. Since individual integrity-that is, a
comfortably accepted sense of oneself as an individual apart from others, is
crucial to any successful encounter or relationship, a man will sensibly avoid
any move which threatens or costs his self-identity.
If, for example, a
man has difficulty in "being told what to do" or in "taking orders" without
losing awareness of himself as a person-with-the-right-to-be-here ("getting bent
all out of shape"), then of course doing dumb things to please a woman
is certainly ill advised. Better to ignore or rebel than to "give in" when the
price is loss of self-esteem. Or, as Shakespeare wrote: "This above all else; to
thine own self be true...." Only do dumb things for or with a woman
when you can at the same time remain "true to yourself."
- ...when you
have time and energy. Although women are likely to have more projects or
things they consider "needing to be done" around the house, men too commonly
have personal agendas at home as well as at work-for examples, doing our own
accepted chores; projects in the shop or yard, often in preparation for other
outside ventures, such as, hunting or fishing trips; resting, reading, or "just
Even so, most men
"have time" in relationships with women when we are not "too tired," and putting
aside personal interests is easily possible apart from "doing our own things."
When so, doing dumb things which please females is both sensible and
- ...when you
can afford to. Many of the dumb things (again, to us males) which
women strongly desire can be done without cost or excessive energy, such as,
participating in their degrees of cleanliness and household order-for examples,
picking up after oneself, putting dishes in the dishwasher ("the way she
likes"), making up the bed ("without wrinkles"), and periodically re-arranging
However, as is well
known, many women are indeed "high maintenance"-that is, expensive to maintain
in pleasing moods. Many of the dumb things they want, such as, diamonds
and "enough" clothes and shoes, not to mention costly make-up and house
decorations, may, as we say, "put a strain on a man's pocketbook."
Even so, within the
limits of actual afford-ability, many of a woman's desires can be safely
"indulged (male perspective) in without breaking the bank." When so, smarter men
quietly spend money on women they care for, without begrudging them for wanting
With these "ifs and
whens" in the background, I can now go ahead clarifying the "rule."
In summary: Try to
discern a woman's desires, especially when they are unstated, and attempt to
quietly (without being asked), quickly, and without fanfare. "Just go ahead and
do dumb things" without making a big deal of it. Act as if
they make perfect sense to you, as if you want to do them.
such secret agendas as, looking for compliments, rewards, pay back, or other
forms of personal affirmation; that is, do dumb things because you
chose to on your own, for reasons of your own, and not as a cloaked con job.
After you participate in a dumb-to-you deed, move quickly on, as if you
simply did what you wanted to and it had nothing to do with her.
If she appears to
ignore what you have done, for instance, does not acknowledge or show
appreciation, then move along as though it were nothing. Don't call
attention to your "good deed," as though you were a little boy looking
for mother's approval. If you do, you invite her to see you as such, rather than
as a man who cares for her.
If, on the other
hand, she makes a big deal over your act, as with compliments and thanksgiving,
accept graciously, but carefully avoid "falling for them," that is, being "set
up" by a female's ego-boosting wile, even if it is unconsciously wielded.
Or, as may
sometimes be the case, if she belittles what you have done, as in criticizing
the way you did it, finding faults in your efforts, or blaming you for not doing
so more often, be especially attentive to remaining on your own Green Spot ("in
your own skin," with personal integrity). Hear her, that is, "without falling
for it," as in, "taking it personally" and being "put down" by her words.
In reference to
compliments and criticism, follow Kipling's advice in his poem If,
"treat these two imposters just the same," that is, see them as expressions of
others which do not move you in either direction, up or down, spiritually
speaking. As he concluded, if you do, "you'll be a man someday," really!
sentences I used the verb act and the metaphors as if (as
though) in pointing toward effective use of this "rule." This, of course,
raises the larger issue of honesty in relationships. Obviously acting
seems to be in contrast with "being honest," which is commonly viewed as a
virtue in good relationships.
I, for instance,
grew up hearing a love song with these words: "Be honest with me, dear, whatever
you do; remember you're mine, and always be true. Wherever you wander, o'er land
or o'er sea, whatever you do, dear, be honest with me." And as late as last
night I read a marriage counselor's article entitled, "Even Little Lies Can Hurt
a Marriage," in a popular self-help publication, including this advice about
"....sharing everything. It is the premise of a good partnership."
But, I observe,
this long time popular ideal may often be more disastrous than practical and/or
loving in any extended relationship, especially between males and females.
HONESTY IN MARRIAGE
my point, I give credit where credit seems due. When honesty is
understood on the existential level, as in, literally being honest-as
contrasted with irresponsible verbal honesty or "telling all" regardless of
consequences, then the popular ideal appears valid to me. But being
honest is an existential condition which includes far more than what one says or
does not say, such as, what one silently knows about possible consequences of
any verbal declaration. To ignore potential results of what one says is to be
less than honest (at least in an existential sense).
may be a part of being honest; but often they are a small part.
Silence, sometimes, is more honest-in this deeper sense of the term, than
"sharing everything," "telling all you know," or, "saying how you feel," without
regard to consequences, such as, how words (your truth) may be received by
another. A responsible lie, for instance, may sometimes be more loving than a
verbal truth (an honest statement) which ignores possible effects of words.
My point: although
verbal honesty is traditionally touted in songs, religions, legal courts,
parental advice, and social ideals, when separated from existential honesty it
may be more destructive, even disastrous, than a positive force in an extended
relationship. Better, I conclude, to be wisely deceptive, always taking all one
knows into present account, than blindly honest in verbal declarations.
honesty," "sharing everything," "keeping no secrets," "having everything out in
the open," "telling all," etc., is taken as an ideal and worked for in practice,
such a relationship is, I conclude, on dangerous ground at best, and headed for
breakup at worst.
This ideal only
holds true and workable to the extent that each partner is self-repressed,
"living on top of things," has no "ghosts in their closet," no cloaked
self-images, no need to project un-embraced feelings, desires, or hopes.
The more repressed
one is, the more possible, and even feasible, "total honesty" or full disclosure
may be; but conversely, the less repressed either partner is, the more
destructive "sharing everything" may become.
The more honest you
are with yourself (less repressed), the less verbally honest you may reasonably
be with others. The more clearly you know yourself, the more deceptive (as in,
appearing to believe what you don't) you may pragmatically become. Or,
conversely, the less honest one is with himself, the more honest he can safely
and functionally be with another.
But the point here
is the opposite, namely, as self honesty escalates, other-deception (acting
as though) becomes increasingly pragmatic in healthy relationships. Blind,
automatic, irresponsible "telling all" (like confessing to a priest or revealing
oneself in therapy), is replaced by discretionary verbal honesty which takes
context into account along with stated words-that is, how what one says is apt
to be heard and with what effects it may have, as my previously described
being honest implied.
Creative Process perspectives: Those who live at early phases of the
natural process, namely, Perception, Emoting, and Imaging
Stages, and are yet to de-code their images into Concepts or
absorb them into themselves, may successfully "share everything," especially
with others who share their same images (as in religions); but the more
either partner moves in the Creative Process (or unless both progress
at equal speed) the less feasible un-thinking verbal honesty becomes; that is,
the more functional acting and relating as though (e.g., "dumb
things make sense") becomes.
Bottom line: Unless
both partners in any male/female relationship are equally repressed (or to the
degree that this is so) "total honesty" is apt to be more destructive than
virtuous. When otherwise, which is more often, artful acting, e.g.,
living as though certain things are truly believed in or agreed with,
"respectful pretending" is often the wiser course of action, the more loving
learning to artfully pretend, to act as though, for instance, certain
"dumb things" a partner either does or believes in, truly make sense may become
an essential part of "living well with women (or anyone else)."
Which leads me to
the last, and often more difficult part of the "rule," namely, without
DISCERNMENT WITHOUT JUDGMENT
approaching life through the door of reason rather than feeling,
seems to come naturally for most males; but doing so without crossing the line
into judgment can be a grand challenge. Easier to fall into self
righteousness about "being reasonable," with resulting judgments of "nonsense"
about "feelings," than to remain sensible, yet non-judgmental.
The principle is:
Always discern sharply, but never judge what you discern. Make
as much sense as you can, but never put down on non-sense. Be as reasonable as
possible, without idolizing logic or looking down on emotions.
without judging it negatively, while honoring reasonableness without making a
god of sense (e.g., "thinking it's better than feelings"). Consider all
available data, weigh all information on the scales of reason; but finally stand
openly at the door of mystery, the existential fact that we have no certain
answers, no final truths, no unquestionably right or wrong knowledge.
For example, we men
typically value reasons over feelings, and give less credence
to emotions than to sense, often in sharp contrast with our
female counterparts. But if we are to avoid judgment, we must also acknowledge
that this typical gender difference is only a difference, that is, that "being
reasonable" is not necessarily "right" or even "best," and "being emotional" is
inherently "wrong" or "bad." We must, that is, if we follow this part of the
rule, acknowledge such typical gender differences without assuming, e.g., "men
are smarter," or judging that "women are dumb."
We must muster the
nerve to stand at the open door of mystery, not-knowing-for-sure, while yet
discerning diligently but avoiding judgment of what we see as irrational, not
making sense to us. Obviously, "being reasonable" seems to be more practical and
productive, at least to us males, than "just being emotional," as females often
appear to us; even so, the latter way is not, in larger reality, "wrong" or
"bad," only different from our male-preferred mode of coping with life.
principle requires recognizing and remaining aware of dark mystery always
surrounding our most lighted truths, our best answers so far, our most logical
conclusions-that is, the limitations of all human knowledge, ours included. And
doing so without resorting to the opposite way, namely, of putting down on
reason, devaluing sensible thinking (weighing all available data on the scales
of logic), and ceasing to discern carefully-that is, escaping the challenges of
sense-making by falling into accepted ignorance.
Bottom line: If we
men are to live well with women, one challenge involves "doing dumb things"
without judgment, that is, without putting down on women for "being
unreasonable," elevating ourselves for "being sensible," or blindly concluding
that our way is "right" and their ways are "wrong."
practicing this "rule" will obviously vary from one male/female relationship to
another. But typical examples may include:
- Seeing and
accepting apparently irrational desires for cleanliness and going along with
their applications without judging them, for example, to "be stupid."
This may involve such seemingly mundane (to us males) practices as: washing
dishes before putting them in the dishwasher; changing clothes before they get
dirty; picking up crumbs from the floor; bathing "too often."
- Confronting needs
for excessive (to us) order in such areas as: silverware in drawers, clothes in
the closet, dishes in the dishwater, furniture in the room, pictures on the
wall, making up the bed without any wrinkles.
- Having new and/or
stylish clothing when currently owned clothes are more than adequate for
comfort, for example, an unlimited number of shoes and/or blouses of every
- Buying expensive
and name brand products when ordinary goods are equally functional-for example,
shopping at Ann Taylor rather than Walmart.
unlimited desires for expensive jewelry and other adornments.
beliefs and self-images nor supported by available data, such as: "Sex is
dirty," "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," "I'm too fat (or ugly, dumb,
frivolous, etc.)," "You don't love me anymore," "You don't do anything to help
around the house," "Men are only interested in sex," "You can't go to bed with
dishes in the sink (or make love with lights on)," etc.
principle may be easier to see when a woman's ways ("dumb things") phase into
what may be called "emotional disturbances," such as: obsessive/compulsive
behavior (e.g., rechecking for locked doors, repeated washing), or irrational
beliefs, such as, "Ivory soap causes cancer," or "People are out to get you").
believe in ghosts, invisible monsters, or, e.g., "tigers under the bed," are
another arena for practicing this "rule."
In either case,
application of the principle involves seeing emotional disturbance and
irrational beliefs, even obviously imaginary "realities (e.g., mirages in the
desert or ghosts in the closet)," without judgment-that is, staying
present with women or children who are "talking and/or acting crazy," while
carefully concealing contrary discernments (e.g., that Ivory soap is harmless;
everyone is not out to get you; you are not really "too fat" or "dumb"; and the
closet is free from spooks), and appearing to accept such "crazy" or
"dumb things" as presented.
In practice this
involves my previously amplified phrase, acting as if. In order to stay
present with unreasonable behavior, beliefs, and/or actions ("dumb things")
without judgment, one may often have to act as if he does in fact
accept, believe in, and/or approve of what is, to him, actually irrational,
unrealistic, and unnecessary-that is, "dumb" or even "crazy."
When so, such
acting will require deception and pretense, that is, keeping personal
opinions to oneself, controlling non-verbal expressions which may reveal
disagreement, and often "going along with" or participating in "dumb things,"
such as: not buying Ivory soap, making up the bed "right," removing all stains
from kitchen counters, putting dishes in the dishwasher "like she wants them,"
washing clothes "whether dirty or not," "turning lights off before having sex,"
and even, especially with fearful children, pretending to look for ghosts in a
will be practical limits to such acting and/or temporary pretending to
believe what in fact one does not, when, for example, consequences are
destructive (or, as previously noted, when a man does not have time and energy
and cannot afford "going along with" without loss of personal integrity). But
much of the time in ordinary daily living, a female's unreasonable-to-males
desires, beliefs, and habits, can be easily and safely accepted, indulged, and
participated in without unacceptable results.
qualifications are met, a man may wisely do many "dumb things" in quest of
living well with women.
HEARING DUMB THINGS WITHOUT JUDGMENT
From a man's
perspective, women often say, as well as do, "dumb things,"
that is, they make statements which don't make sense to a man, aren't
reasonable, don't add up, aren't logical, are inaccurate, or just plain wrong.
What then is a man
to do when he hears such? How might he wisely respond?
reactions include: attempts to correct, explain otherwise, require "being
logical," supply contrary information; get angry and/or frustrated "that women
won't be reasonable"; quit listening; remain quiet; or otherwise leave the
spoken may include:
statements, such as, something being both right and wrong, in and out, up and
down, true and false, etc., at the same time.
- Unexamined ideas,
such as, "read in a magazine," heard on Oprah, somebody said, heard on TV (e.g.,
that burnt toast causes cancer).
- Hyperbole talk;
"worst food I've ever had", "best...."
- Inaccurate facts.
subjects and modes of female talk which are often problematic to males:
- Talking about
feelings rather than facts; "what I feel" or speculate about emotions of others.
- Basing ideas on
feelings; "emotional talk," e.g., "I feel like...you think I'm fat
(don't like what I said, did, want, etc.)".
- When an idea is
presented as a feeling rather than a fact.
- Sentences as
questions, e.g., "Why is so and so," = "I'm wondering" versus an actual request
for information. Or, "What do you think about....?" = "I'm unsure of what I
think" versus "Tell me."
non-focused circular talk; saying whatever comes to mind, with no obvious
- Changing any
subject at anytime, even in the midst of a sentence.
- Pretending to
listen to what is being said, acting attentive while ignoring what is being said
(as mothers may do with small children).
- Finishing a man's
sentences before he can.
- Probing male
motives; asking or telling a man what he feels; "You're mad at me, aren't you,"
or, "You don't like what I said, do you?"
the middle of a man's sentence.
complaining ("bitching") versus trying to improve or change; a female mode of
voicing discomfort, typically unacceptable in male talk.
- Suspend judgment;
forget "being reasonable"; listen carefully without speaking; give non-verbal
signs of accepting the speaker (nods, smiles, etc.) even if what is said seems
dumb to you; reserve contradictory opinions, information, or explanations for
truly relevant and consequential ideas, not any casual subject.
A friend of mine's
father advised him when he was getting married: "Remember Son, 'For better or
for worse...' but not for lunch.'"
I take this sage
advice to be about appropriate distance, about a man unwisely trying to enter
too far into a woman's world.
Gibran, in his
essay on children, advised parents: "Your children live in a world you cannot
enter, even in your dreams...." I paraphrase to note that the same is even more
true about wives than children, namely, that "Women live in a world a man cannot
enter, even in his dreams."
A popular but
dangerous ideal, rooted, I think in the equally prevalent-but-impossible
illusion about two half persons becoming whole together, is that spouses should
so meld their separate worlds into one that they do everything together, even
In this familiar
ideal, a man, in effect, abandons much of his masculine world, as he lived
before marriage, in favor of immersing himself in the new relationship-not only
living together but also eating, sleeping, playing, watching TV, and, apart from
work which is necessarily separate, trying to do everything else together,
literally merging himself into a shared world with a woman. Community
property, as established in Louisiana law, is, in this ideal, expanded into
everything in community.
Obviously, in large
measure, monogamous marriage does indeed inherently involve merging many aspects
of a man and woman's separate lives into a functional union where many
previously personal acts are now done together, such as, sleeping, dressing, and
eating many meals in shared spaces.
sharing, including conceiving and rearing children, is, of course, the purpose
and substance of this ancient institution. But this bit of advice focuses on
proper limits-and exclusions-of what spouses attempt to share together, that is,
how far a man may wisely go in fitting himself into harmony with a woman's
world. The "for better or for worse" commitment is, of course, proper; but this
advice focuses on the "but not for lunch" part of my friend's early
I term it:
appropriate distance. By this I mean a functional parameter on idealized
closeness. Obviously, many intimacies are both inherent and desirable.
When we marry we are socially granted and personally choose many new dimensions
of closeness; but what are the proper limits on such intimacy? Just how close
should a man try to come to the woman he marries? How close can closeness be,
without crossing a hidden line into dangerous degrees of self-negating intimacy?
To begin, I can see
now that I have often crossed over this invisible line. I have abandoned much
basic masculinity as I unwisely tried to venture further into woman's world than
a man can reasonably go without significant loss of essential male elements.
Long ago I
recognized in mind's eye that becoming a whole person begins with embracing
inherent gender differences (traits initiated by 2 of 46 chromosomes -XY- in
every male cell), but proceeds, at the same time, to becoming many other
non-gender related capacities rooted in the remaining 44 chromosomes-that is,
that whole person = gender-based "personhood," mainly being "somebody" who just
happens, by accident of having one Y chromosome, to be of the male rather than
But in practice,
outside my intellectual theory, I have unwittingly repressed elements of
masculinity while exaggerating attention to my smaller degree of femininity as
initiated by the X chromosome paralleling the Y in each of my cells. Then, to
compound my error, in marriage I have tried to (at least wanted to) enter
completely into woman's world-that is, to be totally close, fully intimate, with
every aspect of femininity. I have wanted and tried to "share everything"-all of
myself with every aspect, every feminine part of females I love.
On an even deeper
level, only now beginning to appear clearly in consciousness, I have also
brought a hidden-to-me agenda even more unrealistic than the first, namely, I
have blindly "looked" to my wives (and women in general, beginning, I think,
with my mother) for permission, support, and even blessing, for masculine
aspects of myself. Dumbly, as well as blindly, I have, in effect, looked to
woman to "make a man," even a "person," out of me.
How foolish, even
irrational, can a man be!
But enough of
confession; back to generalizing what I have learned about myself, and here to
project into "advice" to other men.
In summary, I
believe that I, and I suspect many other males, have erred in trying to venture
further into a woman's world than is, in reality, possible-certainly than is
feasible. In so doing, I observe that they too may have unwisely repressed
masculine elements of themselves while trying to get "too close" to a woman they
Blindly, such men
as I, have, as made graphic in myths of Attis and Cybele, in effect given our
balls to our wives. While often blaming it on them, we may willingly participate
in our own emasculation, leaving ourselves as wimps in marriage, "hen-pecked,"
as it were, by our personal denials.
wisdom prevail, a man will be careful about trying too hard to enter into ("get
too close to") many elements of a woman's world which we males are literally, by
virtue of inherent masculinity, unable to enter.
There are aspects
of the feminine world which females may easily and delightfully share with each
other, but which are also beyond realms a male may enter without loss of
significant elements of himself.
The same, of
course, is also true of wives trying too hard to enter the masculine world of
their husbands-but this is not my subject here.
Elsewhere I focused
on the greater error of any man's secret hope that any woman-even a "perfect
one," could/would "make a happy man" out of a yet repressed boy/man. But here I
am only trying to clarify proper limits of closeness between a husband and
wife-that is, the hidden line which realistic intimacy will not try to cross.
obviously cannot shine mental light on an invisible line, especially one which
varies in location from one marriage to another, and even from time to time in
all marriages, I can at least point toward some of the arenas in which it may be
sought; or, to mix my metaphors, some of the "lunches" best avoided between "for
better or for worse."
arenas beyond which a male may wisely avoid trying to cross include:
hygiene; bitching (commiserating); significance of "appearances"; female psychic
problems; complaints about men; realms of cleanliness; typical female
repressions, e.g., sexuality and killerness; monthly periods; irrational
outbursts ("must be on the rag?").
Point: rather than
trying to understand before accepting, a wiser man would, I conclude, be open to
accepting what he doesn't understand-without probing too far.
Except for fun,
never play games in a relationship which matters, especially with those you
Emphasis here is on
the word fun, because while seeking pleasure only, any game may be a
delightful medium of encounter. Conversely, when any game is "played" seriously,
that is, for psychological reasons unrelated to pure pleasure, relational damage
is the predictable result of the game.
may be either physical--like tennis, or on a board--like Monopoly, or
psychological, such as, Tit For Tat, One-ups-man, or Poor Little
Me. In either case, the significant issue here is that with loved ones,
especially females, and doubly so in marriage, wise persons only play for fun.
The principle is
easy enough to express and understand; but practice can be a grand challenge.
Problems arise because the line between a playful and a serious
game is often difficult to determine at the time. Playing-for-pleasure,
for example, may easily turn into having-to-win, with no conscious
motivations for all games may undermine "playing for fun" before seeking
pleasure ever arises in awareness. Furthermore, because many people only "play"
for deadly serious psychological reasons, one can never play for pleasure only
with such persons.
motivations for playing games, totally apart from potential fun, are many and
varied from person to person. Some of those I have discovered in myself and/or
observed in others include:
- Playing for
power, that is, blindly seeking to dominate another person, to "get the
best" of him or her.
- Playing for
control. Games may be used to control oneself and/or others who choose to
"play" with you. Paradoxically, unconscious fear of fun may be controlled by
compulsive game "playing," that is, "staying busy" with a wide variety of games,
both physical and psychological, in order to avoid facing oneself honestly.
Also, demanding or cajoling others to play one's personal games may be rooted in
un-faced needs to control their behavior.
- Playing for
escape. When the challenges of honest living, including facing personal
problems, seem too great, one may temporarily escape into any of many available
- Playing for
structure. Freedom, in spite of its conscious desirability, includes
challenges of "thinking for oneself," that is, deciding what to do at any given
time. On vacation, for example, or after work, what is one to do when life
demands are eased? Available time, with nothing to "have to do," may invite
threatening degrees of self-facing. Game-playing may then become a readily
available option for structuring one's "free" time.
These and many
other psychological motivations may undermine, even prevent, the possibility of
pure personal pleasure in game-playing. And, because such reasons-for-playing
are typically unconscious, one may find it difficult if not impossible escape
their control. They are, for may of us, so habitual and automatic that not being
caught up in unrecognized, serious "playing" becomes a grand challenge.
RECOGNIZING PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVATIONS
Obviously I cannot
evade dictation by deeper non-fun motivations unless or until I bring them into
awareness. Otherwise, I am pre-destined to blindly act them out "without
thinking," and, regrettably, to pay psychological prices inherent in dictation
by my repressions. So, clues to such unconscious motivations are important to
Some of those I
have discovered so far include:
serious rather than remaining playful and enjoying the game. This,
of course, is a play on words; one can "seriously" play for fun, that is, be
diligent in trying to win any game. But the line between negative
seriousness and playful pleasure can be easily crossed over when I
am not carefully attentive to "having fun" only.
- Having to win.
In truly playful games, pleasure lies in the process of playing, using one's
mind and resources in pursuing the theoretical end; but psychological
motivations of power, for example, may easily supplant pleasure-motivations when
I am not carefully alert.
This seems to be
especially true for men who commonly take all games as "deadly serious," that
is, as though winning is crucially important in order to avoid loss of personal
integrity. When I fall into this typically male mode of "playing," I cannot but
lose contact, not only with pleasure motivations, but also with native skills
which are only activated when I am relaxed and present as a contained person.
Many females, in
sharp contrast, seem to inherently know that "it's just a game," and can
consequently "lose" without loss of personal integrity. They can even stop in
the middle of a game when they recognize that an opponent is "getting serious"
or "becoming emotional (as in, getting angry)" about the game.
differences, in which males may indeed, with genetic drives related to
sperm-bearing, be more inclined to "win," and females, as ova-bearers, must
"lose" in order to "win" impregnation, I conclude that "having to win" is one
serious detriment to any creative game-playing.
In trying to heed
this present advice-to-myself, whenever I realize I am blindly slipping into
"having to win," rather than enjoying a game-in-progress, I do my best to
curtail this blind motivation. "Stop," I say to myself, "You know about the cost
of such psychological games in any healthy relationship." So, "get a grip on
dark projections and return to awareness in your own skin."
Of course it
doesn't always work, in that many of my darker motivations yet remain dictative;
but sometimes becoming aware of such blind directives allows me to catch myself
in the process and at least avoid some of the otherwise high prices to
inevitably be paid when serious games replace playful encounters in
relationships which matter to me.
A common erroneous
notion identifies power with dominance and views submission as powerless.
Understanding power (as I mean it here) requires going beyond this error.
Power, like hope
and faith, is invisible, but is often expressed or exercised in such stances as
dominance or submission, "standing up to," or "giving in to." Consequently,
power is difficult to express or see literally. Often it is better revealed or
grasped in colloquial language, in phrases such as: "having the last word,"
"can-do-ness," or "move-ability." Or in feelings, like: confidence,
stand-ability, well-being, "okay alone." These in contrast with: fearful,
threatened, anxious, or stressed.
Power is inherent
in "being yourself," in embraced capacity to "stand up for yourself," "not be
run over by others," to represent your own values and desires in present tense
Power may be better
recognized in its absence, as when one is "overwhelmed," "done in," in despair,
Although power is
more visible to others in stances of dominance, distinguishing power from any
such stances is critical to understanding its nature.
Dominance = overtly
"having your own way," "lording it over others," "running over others." But much
dominance is but a show, a cloak for fear.
overtly "giving in," "lying down before others," "getting run over." Even so,
much submission involves "standing up inside."
Power itself is a
consequence of embraced capacities, of "being yourself," not a matter of
conscious choice. Mode of expression, for example, dominance or submission, is a
choice, but power itself is only acquired indirectly, as through focus on
un-repression or self-activation.
Real power results
in "feeling good." Exercising power is inherently exciting, self-authenticating.
Power is more
evident in "letting" than in "doing"--that is, in which person is "letting" the
other act (choose, speak, or do). A wife, for example, who quietly "lets her
husband decide" where to go on vacation (or, what to eat, which movie to see,
which TV station to watch, etc.) is exercising more power than the man who is
overtly deciding. He may, in fact, be entirely fooled in "thinking he is in
charge" when he is actually being quietly manipulated by the "little woman" who
lets him "think he is boss."
Long ago Solomon
wisely advised: Give not your power to women... (Proverbs 31:3).
Unfortunately many of us have been extremely slow learners; me in particular.
women is functioning or relating to them in ways
which give powers (can-do abilities) they would not otherwise have. Forces which
actually exist, if at all, in males are seen as though reflected in females. I
say "if at all" because often such powers are entirely imagined by males--that
is, only exist as magical or supernatural, not truly real, either in males who
repress and project, or in females assumed to possess them.
as personal powers (not externally given) are concerned, the balance is with
femininity to begin with--all em-powering aside--due to a genetic edge,
biased legal structures and social mores, and generally greater degrees of
embraced natural capacities.
Men, for any real
equality to exist, need all the power we can get just to reach a level playing
field; certainly we do not need to give any away, especially to those who are
already at an advantage.
females is apt to backfire in time, further undermining an already unstable
situation. This is likely because of genetic reasons, even when forces are
socially as well as personally useful to those so empowered. From the standpoint
of genes, women need strong and virile males they can count on for good sperm
and long term protection and support--not wimps who need the strength of women
to exist with power ourselves.
when females work to make males stronger (as in, ego-boosting or letting us
think we are), feel temporarily good about their gifted forces, and use them for
pragmatic purposes (e.g., supporting family and structuring home arrangements),
on deeper levels they may resent such males, even unconsciously reject both the
men and their granted powers, because of these genetic facts.
All the advantages
associated with male empowering, though socially functional and personally
useful, may finally run counter-current to biological female needs related to
conception and successful child rearing.
women need a man "with balls"--both literally and figuratively, for increased
odds of success in their inherited mothering agendas. When a man is otherwise
(is weak, hen-pecked, wimpy, a pushover, or ball-less), he may be useful (better
than none at all), and even loved as such; but--and this is the point here, a
woman's genetic heritage is apt to cry out negatively, no matter what she
consciously thinks/feels as an individual person.
I speculate that
widespread, though often denied, female resentment, private disappointment, even
anger and outward put downs of men, may be a reflection of this familiar
situation today. On deep levels, I think, women are silently--if not verbally,
crying out for "men to be men," not wimps they can easily manage, but who do not
live up to what their genes call for, that is, so "women can be women."
Now to the
practical question: How do we males often empower women beyond those
forces they naturally and socially possess?
Among those I now
see are these:
1.Falling in love
clearly and completely than in any other way, I see in hindsight that we males
typically empower females when we fall in love with them. On analysis this
immensely popular and socially acceptable event turns out to be more clearly and
accurately seen as but a cloaked form of worship.
In spite of its
seemingly unconscious beginnings ("it just happens"), social acceptability,
female promotion, and temporarily exciting nature, finally falling in love
with a female boils down to blind worship, unrealistic devotion with hidden
expectations rooted in male repression and projected magical wishes--in other
words, a psychic event with predictably disastrous consequences in time.
language, falling in love is one form of secular idolatry--that
is, "having a god (in this case a goddess) before God." Socially acceptable,
personally enjoyed, and oft exploited, male "adoration" and "faithful devotion"
are but reflections of thinly veiled worship, which, in Christian theology is
supposed to be reserved for God alone. According to the bible, any such idolatry
is breaking the first commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me")
and is done so with dire spiritual consequences--which also soon become evident
in the secular world, even as the bible predicts.
however, are only the elements of false empowering of local women (which, though
similar in effect, is, according to popular religion, supposed to be reserved
for a universal male God only). Bottom line: falling in love ("limerance")
with a female is perhaps the most common and greatest form of female empowerment
operative in present society.
Spin-offs from this
familiar psychic event include:
2. Automatic deference
deference is blind, "unthinking (and often
unreasonable)" obsequiousness, systematic "giving in" regardless of the
situation or consequences. Although "pleasing females" does indeed have healthy
genetic roots (in quest of acceptance essential for male replication), this
familiar "whatever you say, dear" male stance goes far beyond any genetic
realities and grandly empowers a female with unreal-but-operative forces not
inherent either in her genes or herself as a person.
This male mode of
relating to females in general, lovers in particular, and wives as well, is like
self-castration, handing a woman a man's balls on a silver platter.
3. Systematic agreement
agreement (A spin-off from #2)--that is, accepting a
female's thoughts or opinions (ideas, beliefs, etc.) as though they are
inherently true, as if spoken by an infallible God. Systematic agreement
is a stance of mental and verbal acceptance which takes whatever a woman says
and/or thinks as "gospel truth." Even if a man inwardly disagrees completely, in
this mode he functions or acts like the woman is "always right."
consciously aimed at pleasing or "avoiding an argument" or "just trying to keep
the little woman happy," such a mode of relating unrealistically empowers a
women's mind. When treated as though she is omniscient (mentally infallible) she
is left with no legitimate, and often needed, feedback, especially so when her
own "thinking function" is not her main suit in comparison with a powerful
"feeling function." If, for example, she is not confident in her own reasoning
abilities and actually needs/wants sensible feedback, then a male's automatic
agreement may be more threatening than pleasing.
4. Looking for help
help refers to slightly cloaked desires to "be taken
care of," that is, supported, "mothered," or "babied," e.g., to be fed, clothed,
comforted, seduced, blessed, and given permission to be, especially his
This common male
situation is especially dangerous when cloaked with machoism (false
independence, "I don't need you or anybody else") or phony "love." Females, I
suspect, easily see through male egotism and/or false "love," and recognize
hidden expectations rooted therein. Even when they accept and use the associated
empowerment, the temptation to resent obvious male weakness, however cloaked,
must be great.
5. Running from anger
Although a man may
have good and solid reasons for avoiding female anger (e.g., keeping her
favors), any refusal to stand up to it easily gives the appearance of male
weakness (thereby, empowering the female) and makes female anger seem even more
powerful than it actually is.
If a woman is
already fearful of her own emotional powers, especially those seen as negative
(of "exploding" or "acting out" in unloving ways), a man's "running away from
her anger" cannot but amplify its inherent threat. Unwittingly, whatever his
intentions, when a man runs from (does not stand up to or with) a woman's
negative emotions, he falsely empowers her unrealistically.
6. Excessive compliments
When a man is
automatically complimentary of everything a woman says, does, or how she
appears, he unwittingly empowers her.
7. Looking for affirmation
This is another
spin-off from #4. No matter how much self-affirmation is truly needed by a male,
or how sincere his attempts to "get complimented" by a woman, all such efforts
unwittingly empower a female so approached. Even when she chooses to act
affirmingly, as in, giving desired compliments, she is further empowered beyond
reality because at the same time she is handed the power to refuse them. Placed
by such a male in a position to be freely able to give or withhold something he
deeply desires, she obviously holds powers not inherent within herself.
8. Hiding masculinity
a male cloaks his masculinity from a female, even when she seems to wish it so,
he unwittingly empowers her by placing options in her hands which do not truly
exist there. While he is hiding signs of masculinity, she, in effect, has the
power to allow or disallow these elements of himself into the open with her.
Consequently, she is unrealistically in charge of his gender revelations in her
unfortunate side effect of this male stance granting power to a female is that
she too is required to be conscious of her own desires before she can signal his
masculine response. So long as his masculinity is hidden (with revelation power
in her hands), she cannot simply become female (get "turned-on") in response to
his "going first," since he is, in effect, waiting on her to give permission to
begin the whole gender-encounter process.
9. Explaining oneself
justification of behavior, emotions, ideas, is another way in which males may
falsely empower females. Regardless of intent, this stance sets a woman up as
having authority over a man's thinking. This is most dangerous in regard to his
motives, reasons for what he does as well as feels.
Living thusly, as
though she must understand him before he (his actions, motives, etc.) are
acceptable and legitimate, unwittingly grants unrealistic powers to her. Imagine
having the tacit authority to judge another as right or wrong, okay or not! This
is what blindly happens whenever a man falls into the habit of automatically
explaining himself to a woman.
10. Magical good graces
When a man
lives-as-though a female's revealed favor--her smiles, approval, etc., as
contrasted with her frowns, disapproval, negative judgment, are essential to his
well being, his remaining openly himself in her presence, then he has placed
extra-ordinary power in her hands.
At the same time,
he has, paradoxically, invited severe restraint on her personal freedom to be
honestly present with him. Once she realizes the magical power he has assigned
to her good graces, she cannot but also see the effects of her frowns
or other signs of disapproval. Even though she may enjoy and benefit from her
granted powers on the positive side, once she also sees that all her negative
feelings, regardless of how personal they may be, are inevitably taken as
"against him (what did I do wrong?)," she must restrict her honest negative
feelings with him, lest he take them personally when in fact her feelings have
nothing to do with him.
11. Falling for female wiles
Although they are
often unconscious (as best I can tell), and perhaps even genetic (inherited as
Sophia's Wisdom), every female seems to have a number of personal
"wiles (male managerial skills)." Perhaps, e.g., she has learned that "being
apologetic" or verbally blaming herself for whatever goes wrong ("I know it's my
fault"), works in bringing automatic forgiveness plus changed behavior on a
male's part. Whenever a man reacts automatically to this or any other form of
female behavior ("wile"), then he has unwittingly empowered and invited her to
use it repeatedly.
12. Raising ass
metaphor for inviting being kicked in the butt portrays another common way in
which males may empower females. By automatically taking the blame for any of
her displeasure, such as, being immediately defensive or apologetic for any
apparent offense (regardless of any part she may have played), a man unwittingly
projects power for her to use with him. "Raising ass" in any of countless
available ways, a man, unfortunately for him, invites and empowers female
domination, even emotional if not physical abuse.
13. Catering to every whim
With full respect
for potentially positive values in choosing to go to great lengths to please a
female (as in, romantic endeavors), when this male mode becomes a habit of
automatically catering to every whim--complaint or wish, revealed by a female,
then he has passed reason and gone on to grant unrealistic powers, even if under
cover of "love."
14. Looking for heart
Perhaps deeper than
in any other way, males often empower females by "giving them our hearts"--that
is, placing our symbolic hearts in their hands, giving them the
responsibility (and magical power) for making us hearted or whole as individual
remaining openly responsible for our own spiritual ("emotional") development and
well-being--as is the nature of human reality ("every tub has to sit on its own
bottom"), males all too commonly cop out on this natural human quest, in favor
of projecting magical wishes onto females--that is, living-as-though females, at
least one of them, can actually "give me heart (make me feel hearted and whole)"
if only she will.
happens, I analyze in retrospect, is that we males begin early to repress
elements of our own human capacity for becoming/being whole ("hearted") within
ourselves, especially parts of our inherited masculinity and other capacities
falsely identified with femininity only (e.g., being emotional or "sissy").
split ourselves through these partial denials and repressions. We, in effect,
"divide our hearts." Then, in the second phase of repression, namely,
projection, we come to "see"--or so we imagine, powers denied within ourselves
reflected in female "eyes (and bodies, etc.)." Caught up in this illusion, we
begin to seek the other half of our "heart (the rest of ourselves)" from those
in whom we glimpse its reflections.
Bottom line: In
this, perhaps greatest, form of male empowerment of females, we erroneously
"look for our hearts (potential wholeness)" from females who in reality don't
have them to give. But once this familiar male mode is put in operation, such
empowered female "lovers" are granted immense forces for managing us projecting
males in countless other real ways, often more useful to them than to us.
I have noted these
ways of empowering women in a semi-objective form as my mode of backing in, as
it were, to difficult insights about myself--that is, to seeing more clearly
some of the forms of my own repressions. Whether or not other males "give their
powers to women" by these modes, certainly I have at one time or another
participated, even blindly at the time, in all of them.
Power balance is
one of the least acknowledged but most significant issues in functional
relationships at all levels of encounter-from countries to couples. Whenever one
party holds more operational power over the other, whether it be nation over
nation or husband over wife (or vice versa), primal genetics evolved for self
survival at any cost cannot but be operative, even if unconsciously, on the part
of a down party.
On the other hand,
temptations to self-righteousness and phony benevolence to the "under
privileged" (lesser powered or weaker ones) cloaked by false humility, are so
great that those on top seem incapable of not falling into
self-righteousness-that is, hiding power advantages with token charities.
drives for selfing, no healthy relationship is possible as long as either party
is dis-empowered. Of course, alliances based on pathological conditions and/or
complementary limitations-where need (lacks) of one are met by opposite needs of
the other, may exist over extended time, as in, many long marriages. But clock
time and personal health are not synonymous characteristics; often longest
marriages, e.g., are actually the "sickest," with peaceful conditions cloaking
deep unhappiness and/or psychological illness.
functional balances may be achieved between overt and covert forms of power,
when outward submission is balanced by behind-the-scenes dominance, as in
marriages where a husband "rules" an overtly passive wife, who quietly controls
him "behind the scene."
His overt power may
be balanced by her covert power. He may appear as "head of the household," even
"king on his throne," while she actually "runs the house (including the
bedroom)," and exercises queenly power "behind the throne."
Or, in more extreme
cases, even overtly abusive physical power may be balanced by covertly abusive
emotional powers. Pathological alliances may last over time where threats of
bodily pain are balanced by others of heart pain.
Such a passive wife
may endure degrees of physical pain, even non-life-threatening bodily injuries,
so long as she can inflict balancing degrees of emotional pain which maintain
her covert control over other aspects of their relationship.
may exist between slaves and masters, where established outward dominance of
masters is balanced by inward "rebellion" or passive resistance of slaves.
Slaves may maintain personal integrity by cloaking inward independence with
outward acts of servitude.
A Dennis The
Minis cartoon portrayed this stance with a small boy sitting in the corner
of a school room wearing a dunce cap, while mumbling: "I'm sitting down on the
outside, but I'm standing up inside."
Or, in less
dramatic and more socially acceptable forms, power balances are often
established between complementary personality patterns, e.g., a dominant one
with a submissive other, and couples with complementary psychological needs and
supplies. For example, romantic love, as firmly established, accepted, and
approved in many current societies, even as a proper basis for monogamous
marriage, is typically rooted in repressed drives for individual integrity in
which wholeness is unconsciously sought through attributes of another person, or
is blithely and openly acknowledged when, for example, men find our "missing
halves" in a woman. As voiced in song, "first we were half" (before marriage),
"now we are whole."
But I note these
various forms of achieving degrees of functional power balance only to try to
confront the limitations and temporary nature of such alliances, especially as
related to fullness of life in the here and now, that is, heaven here.
When any such power
balance is achieved with loss of personal integrity (as in pussy-whipped
husbands with emotionally abusive wives, or brow-beaten wives with physically
harmful husbands), or when repressed parts of oneself are temporarily captured
in the form of projections onto another person (as in typical romantic
relationships), then personal salvation is inevitably undermined, if not
includes different forms of power, often with one type more in the hands (or
control) of one than another (as in, nuclear power between nations, or financial
and/or sexual powers between men and women); but functional cooperation between
different forms of power, such as may be exercised in conscious bartering, is
not the same as unconscious wielding of power over another.
While the latter
types of relationships may sustain in time, such imbalances in operational
powers cannot but be inherently unstable and personally destructive to each
party in differing ways.
Balancing power is keeping the embraced power of each person at a relatively
equal level, without either one or the other being overwhelmed or done in. If
power were visible, like mercury in a thermometer, balanced power would be like
a U tube with each side representing a person, and equal levels of "mercury
(power)" in each side of the tube.
Balanced power is
not necessarily revealed in who-is-deciding or who-is-going-along; in fact, such
stances may be entirely deceptive, with more actual power operative in the
Balancing power is
literally a "balancing act," like standing straight on a tight wire-- except in
this event one is, in effect, balancing for two persons, that is, trying to keep
both persons erect together.
persons are consciously involved in an effort to keep power balanced, to avoid
situations in which one literally "runs over" or is "done in" by the other. But
in practice, "meanwhile back at the ranch" where couples live, this rarely seems
to be so. Almost always one partner is more conscious than the other, who is
more repressed or moved by unconscious forces. When so, responsibility for
balancing power is left up to the more conscious partner.
who are less conscious (more reactive or "on automatic pilot") wield their
embraced power blindly, willy nilly, without regard to its effect on others, or
even on relationships with those they love. Unwittingly, they often "run over"
or emotionally dominate "without meaning to" or even recognizing that they do
so. The mode of such rampant power operation is incidental to its emotionally
unrecognized emotional abuse may be effected by overt dominance, as in an
overwhelming mother, or by passive submission, as in a self-sacrificing wife. In
either case, the "overprotective mother" or the "always giving-in wife" may
consciously love their children or spouse, and yet be totally unaware of their
destructive mode of relating. Even so, the resulting imbalance of power is still
power "feels good," even if done unconsciously, those who are less aware of how
they relate, naturally tend to exercise as much power as they possibly can in
blind quest of greater self-satisfaction. Unmindful of effects they are having
on others, they are typically "overbearing" or "running over others," as they
blindly luxuriate, as it were, in the emotional benefits of exercising power by
any means. Whether exercised by obvious-to-others dominance, as in a dictatorial
father, or by outward submission cloaking passive manipulation, as in a
self-sacrificing mother, the power-wielding effect on others is still the same,
namely, emotional abuse.
examples of more socially acceptable forms of unconscious power-wielding include
"do-gooders," such as, religious evangelists who cloak their manipulation as
"just trying to help (or save) you," or, "for your own good." Often abusive
activities are enhanced by greater degrees of self-repression which allow one to
be "totally sincere"--that is, to make emotional kills while feeling "humbly"
In all such
encounters or relationships where one person blindly wields embraced power,
whether by outward dominance or self-righteous submission, any balancing of
power is left up to the more conscious person.
The challenge then
becomes to seek balance: 1) without allowing oneself to be done in or
manipulated, while at the same time, 2) not reversing the situation by "over
kill"--that is, "doing in" the other person. The situation is further
complicated by the degree of unconsciousness of one who blindly exercises
power--that is, "doesn't know what he or she is doing," and consequently, may be
"completely sincere" in their efforts.
When so, one who is
consciously seeking a power balance is, in effect, responsible for the
unconsciousness of the other; not, of course, for causing it, but for dealing
with consequences of their self-repression. He must, that is, deal both with
what the other person "thinks she is doing (e.g., "trying to help or save") as
well as their blind attempts at manipulation.
This situation is
further complicated by the fact that by definition, unconsciousness is
unrecognized by self-repressed persons. They literally "don't know what they are
doing." Consequently, one seeking power balance must deal with their repression
indirectly--that is, non-verbally. You can't wisely talk to or about what
another is unaware of.
confront repression directly, as in, telling an unconscious person "what they
are doing" or "how angry they are," will often backfire--that is, result in
denial and further repression, or else in more overt efforts to overpower one
trying to point out what is not seen by the other.
This doesn't mean
that language can't be used in attempting power balance with such a person, but
that words can rarely be directed toward unconscious efforts of the other
(without the above noted undesirable results). Instead, language, if used at
all, must be formed in ways which privately acknowledge what the other is
blindly doing (while at the same time not falling for it), but does not focus
attention on manipulative efforts themselves--such as: 1) changing the subject
of the conversation. In the midst of an unconscious effort to wield power over
you, one seeking balance might simply avoid picking up on a tricky subject and
carefully raise another less dangerous topic (e.g., "that reminds me of.....").
Or, 2) one might
pick up on some less dangerous aspect of what is being said, something he can
agree on without supporting the manipulative effort, and note his agreement
(without supporting the unrecognized attempt at manipulation by the other).
Reclaiming power is
a first priority if one wishes to live well with women. Without required powers
to exercise them, even the best of male efforts will prove unworkable. Next
comes defensive maneuvers--learning to protect oneself against abuses of woman's
wiles. Finally, developing offensive ploys on ones own is the crowning art.
reclaiming powers. I estimate that about 90% of the force behind female
wiles comes from male projections--these being the inevitably result of
self-repressions. Until projections which result in "giving away" masculine
powers are stopped, and projected forces reclaimed and activated within a male's
own skin, we are in no position to either defend ourselves and certainly unable
to mount an offense.
are in typically in two major arenas: selfing and sexuality, or mothering and
fucking. Until a male can move past deep, un-faced "needs" for mothering ("being
taken care of") and for permission to be sexual, we are inherently stymied, both
in defending ourselves from vulnerabilities created by repression, as well as
creatively developing ploys of our own.
maneuvers are essentially ways of protecting
ourselves from continued vulnerability to wiles. Even if we reclaim powers which
fuel wiles, still habits of reaction are apt to remain. This second phase of
male homework involves looking clearly at woman's wiles, seeing how they work,
how one has personally learned to react (without thinking) to them, and then
finding ways to creatively counter their forces.
art is the third essential for living well with wily women. Even if there
were no women's wiles (which are, in effect, mainly de-fused in steps one and
two), still men would need ploys of our own to confront the "natural
superiorities" of females. Learning ploys involves several steps of its own:
first, learning to recognize female needs and vulnerabilities; then, figuring
out ways (called ploys here) to relate positively to them; finally,
developing artistry in using our ploys creatively.
In terms of
numbers, I figure that about 70% of an average male's attention should go to
part one, reclaiming power; 20% to learning defensive maneuvers,
how to protect oneself from wiles or let go of defensive habits now become
reactive; and 10% for developing skills at ploy art.
Summary: In largest
perspective, I view typical male homework in learning to live well with women
(which I explore here as though it were advice to other males) as this:
70% attention to unrepressing oneself and reclaiming powers rooted in masculine
capacities for selfing and sexuality (for taking care of ourselves and seeking
maximum replication); 20% work at facing and de-fusing woman's wiles as I have
long been manipulated by--that is, learning to protect oneself from real female
forces and break long habits of habitual reaction to wiles which have actually
been outgrown already; 10% schooling in learning ploys--male versions
of wiles, which may work in achieving personal satisfactions while
living among women.
Stand with a woman, but never be had or get owned. Be hearted with, but never
give your heart to her or try to find your own in her. In biblical metaphors,
don't "sell your soul for a mess of potage."
Stand with a women,
but do not lean on or lord it over her. Aim for mutual inter-dependence rather
than either independence or dependence--either you on her or vice versa. Be
individuals together rather than leaning on each other in other than pragmatic
ways (not "emotionally"); be loving with, but don't try to get love from.
over/under; dominant/submissive; boss/slave, or many other variations on these
Certainly there are
emergency times for temporary use of many of these roles, but never fall into
either for extended times or as prevailing stances together.
Keep power balanced
Carefully avoid all
degrees of dominance/submission in which one partner lords it over the other who
consistently gives in. For example, avoid: macho man with submissive wife;
hen-pecked husband with bossy wife; pussy-whipped man and ball-busting woman.
are between equally empowered partners.
hen-pecked or macho; don't be a Casper Milquetoast or a Lord and Master.
Avoid head to head
conflicts whenever possible. Never try to win a verbal argument because you will
most often lose in the moment; and even if you win initially, you will
predictably lose in the long run because of beating her down (making her
submissive) or in loss of favors (both sexual and emotional).
If you lord it over
her, you invite dependency which may be temporarily satisfying but is
destructive to the relationship in the long run. If you give in too often or
consistently you set her up for illusions of unrealistic power, which she may
blindly seek and temporarily delight in; but, on deeper genetic levels, a woman
needs a strong man even more than a subservient slave. So, setting her up with
too much power predictably leads to eventual resentment and acted-out abuse.
Use Your Head
Use your head, not
your body, as your major power for maintaining a power balance and relational
harmony. Your single greatest advantage and least dangerous force lies in
embraced ability to truly be reasonable--that is, to think beyond feelings and
to prioritize accepted values in the face of a woman's constant temptation to
rely on blind emotional powers only.
sense is innately less powerful than bodily emotions, and head to head, feelings
will predictably win every time over reason alone. But still, as a commercial
reminds: "A brain is a terrible thing to waste." Even if inherently weaker, male
powers for remaining cool, for keeping-on-thinking, for holding emotions in
check, can, when embraced, prove successful in confronting the greater forces of
Even when a measure
of physical restraint is called for--either in containing personal urges to hit
of inflict bodily pain, or to hold a woman to prevent harm to oneself,
continuing to use your head remains the wisest choice.
"Using your head"
is to be carefully distinguished from trying to make a point by being reasonable
or to win an argument by the lessor powers of logical sense. "Out thinking" a
woman is not to be confused with "making more verbal sense" or "being more
making" is involved in "using your head," but the larger issue is far beyond
rational logic. When a man tries to "out argue" a woman--that is, win by rules
of reason, he will lose every time due to inherent advantages, namely, whole
brain thinking and freedom to drop sense making at any time when emotions will
work better than trying to be reasonable.
SACRIFICE AND POWER
I explored the
relationship and relative strengths of overt versus covert power-that is, of
outward force, as more typical of males, and passive aggression, more common in
females. I have noted that whereas male-type overt dominance tends to prevail at
first and in outward ways, female-type submission, which appears to lose
immediately, may more often prevail in the long run. But power potentially
inherent in self-sacrifice is often even more dangerous.
Relevant here is
the genetic fact observed in the beginning, namely, that self-sacrifice, as
operative in mothering, is as natural for females, as is forceful "selfishness"
in males equally devoted to contrasting fathering agendas. In practice, this
means that whereas unselfishness-putting others first, is naturally easier for
females, the same mode of operation is equally anti-genetic for males. Females,
we might say, "easily give in" (at least at first and on the surface) while
males typically find "not standing up for ourselves" (appearing to be selfish)
to be threatening as well as difficult to do.
As social and
religious ideals now stand-where the first ("turning the other cheek"--is viewed
as virtuous, and selfishly "putting oneself first" is frowned on, if not
religiously condemned, men are at an obvious disadvantage. It is, that is,
easier for females to "be good" in this regard than for males.
Genetically as well
as socially, females consequently find self-sacrifice easier to do as well as
powerfully effective-both in immediate situations with most males (especially
typically repressed males), and often in the long run with even the most
outwardly selfish other males.
In these same
regards, selfishly-inclined males find themselves socially judged and at a
genetic disadvantage when self-sacrifice is the path to virtue and/or success
with gaining female approval--all the way from sexual permissions to major
family, home, and daily living decisions.
Conclusion: I have
previously erred in only viewing the phenomenon of self-sacrifice as a human
issue, regardless of gender. But I now see that genetic gender values are often
at play when this socio/religious ideal is operative and taken as virtuous.
"Giving in" or
"putting others first" is not the same for men and women. What is both
genetically functional and hence natural for females, is at the same time
typically counter-productive in most male ventures, even when aimed at the same
goal of genetic immortality.
It is not only more
difficult for males to be self-sacrificial; it is also self-defeating in most
arenas where genetic values are at stake.
When one is unalert
to these gender differences in regard to self-sacrifice, a common error in
understanding occurs via projection. A man, for instance (often I), blindly
projects his own male feelings about sacrificing onto women and erroneously
assumes they feel the same as he, that is, that self-sacrifice looms as large
and negatively to them as it does to him.
Naturally, as a
male, being instinctively moved to be Number One, to put himself before others,
to avoid losing at all costs, he consequently feels negative about
self-sacrifice. Then, when he blindly projects his own feelings onto females he
assumes they too feel the same.
Unlike him, many females, possessed of mothering instincts and genetically
geared to make major sacrifices for their offspring, find it relatively easy to
make minor sacrifices for men also, especially those they love and/or wish to
In fact, small
sacrifices, such as, putting others first to eat or in a line, come easier for
most women than being out front, Number One, ahead of others themselves. Unlike
men who delight in being first, and feel self-affirmed in having others honor
us, as in, sacrificing for their benefit, natural women, gene-moved, probably
feel just the opposite.
This may be one
reason why women resist accepting compliments, which men thrive on. A compliment
is an overt affirmation, placing one, as it were, "in the limelight"-that is,
out front. Since males are genetically moved to strive for being Number One, we
seek and easily bask in the favorable light of even the smallest compliment. In
fact, as all females seem to intuitively know (and often take advantage of), we
are commonly vulnerable to being powerfully moved by even phony compliments.
Of course females
too may take inward delight in affirmation of others, especially from those they
love; but unlike men, they apparently prefer receiving such knowledge in ways
which do not put the focus of attention on them-as vocal praise does.
Consequently, such females respond more easily to gifts (e.g., the proverbial
dozen roses) or deeds which indirectly affirm, without forcing them to be out
front, in the open.
therefore, those who do not project self-knowledge onto their complementary
gender, are careful about obvious, verbal compliments to women, and more freely
affirm those they care for with gifts and deeds.
speaking, men hear words better than actions, while women "hear" actions better
than words. "If you're in love, show me......").
But back to my
subject: Errors of Projection. Blindly projecting our own male genetic
mode onto females, we commonly make one or more of the following errors:
1. Try to affirm a
woman, e.g., an admired and/or loved one, in the same ways we ourselves feel
affirmed, for example, by overt verbal compliments which seem to place her in a
Number One position as we are genetically moved to be.
Sans such common
projections, we would more smartly be short on "embarrassing" compliments and
long on affirming actions (gifts, supporting deeds, etc.)
(The same reverse
error is commonly made by females who project their own native mode onto men,
consequently withholding verbal affirmation--which embarrasses them, in favor of
"being long on" deeds to communicate what they feel. For example, taking good
care of children as a way of saying, "I love you," their father. )
2. Over-valuing a
woman's small sacrifices for him, erroneously assuming they are as difficult for
her as they would be for him. Not realizing that "putting others first" is
easier for her than "going first" herself-the opposite of what is true for him,
a man may easily mis-read "putting him first" (as in, serving food or "letting
him" go ahead of her) as being more complimentary than it actually is.
In this same arena,
trying to affirm a woman by thrusting her into first place, e.g., forcing her to
go first when she feels safer "putting others first," is apt to backfire.
3. Misreading a
woman's failure to be impressed by his own sacrificial actions. Mistakenly
assuming that making sacrifices (as in, putting himself last) is as difficult
for her as it is for him, and consequently that his efforts to please her by
this means will mean as much to her as they would to him, he sets himself up for
his own mode, and thus seeing that since small sacrifices are relatively easy
for her to make, and that she may also assume the same to be true for him, he
may then view her limited responses with more understanding.
4. Feeling overly
affirmed by a woman's small sacrifices, as though they mean the same for her as
they would for you. Failing to see that "putting you first" may be more about
her, as in, acting in her natural female mode, than "caring about you" as you
might like to think.
I do not know of a
couple who has achieved an exact balance of power in their relationship. Even
so, I think that best relationships come as close as possible. I observe that
least satisfactory relationships have a greater imbalance of power--that is, one
partner truly lords it over the other. Consequently, even if exact equality of
power is relatively impossible, I conclude that striving for this goal is an
attribute of best relationships.
according to the bible,
was made for man
and not the other way around
which may or may not be true
since I have often found it otherwise
more surely, in the bible or not,
was made for woman
rather than man
and wiser men accept
and learn to live well
with this earthy fact
Theoretically, in a
relationship where each partner is equally respected all decisions might be
equally made--that is, with equal input from both persons. But gender
differences and pragmatics of compromise (e.g., time and energy it takes) often
make such equality unreasonable and impractical.
Better, I have
found, to separate arenas for decision-making into different categories and
leave most choices in each group largely up to the assigned partner. Such
categories are reasonably made on bases such as: areas of talents, expertise,
and interests, considering overall personality traits.
females are often better with matters relating to decorating and appearances,
while males are typically better at prioritizing and managing finances. When so,
major decisions in each category may be largely left up to one who is better
qualified to make them. Room colors, and furniture arrangements, e.g., might be
mainly made by the female, while decisions about budgeting, major purchases, and
borrowing money are made by the male.
Or, vice versa.
Obviously such categorizing is dependent on embraced capacities of each partner.
Sometimes males are in fact better at decorating, and females at managing money.
The point, however, is that certain divisions or arenas for major decisions may
be wisely separated rather than requiring every choice have personal agreement
gender-based arenas where accepted responsibilities may be left up to one
partner or the other include: house versus yard; grocery shopping versus tool
purchases; cooking versus car maintenance; buying clothes for children versus a
new family car. Again, however, given unique qualities of all individuals, in
either instance the deciding partner may be reversed based on capacities and
In practice then,
when a decision is to be made, e.g., about buying a new couch for the den,
making the choice is largely left to the partner with decorating
responsibilities. Certainly, tastes of the non-deciding partner will be
reasonably considered (they may go shopping together); but finally, when
purchase time comes, the ultimate choice may be made according to prior
divisions of categories.
category assignments are ideally made consciously through open discussion
between both partners. However, factors such as personality traits, degrees of
repression, etc., may make mutual decisions about categories impractical. When
so, the concerned partner (here I focus on males) should think openly about the
choices and consciously decide for himself, so that unnecessary conflicts and/or
personal resentment do not follow when daily decisions in any arena are to be
For example, if a
man decides that decorating decisions are generally in a woman's category, he
can consciously opt for her choices without loss of integrity or need to rebel
or criticize later. Also, if family finances are largely his responsibility, he
can then reasonably set sensible limits about costs and times of purchase,
rather than getting caught up in unnecessary squabbles or passively permitting
decisions which are financially unfeasible.
categories and decisions are seldom as clear-cut as I illustrate here. Often
there is considerable over-lapping and there are arenas where each partner has
vested personal interests. In these arenas, conscious compromise is the ideal
resolution, lest unconscious resentment over unfair domination follow. Arts of
compromise are another subject; but here I only commend that a man strive to be
reasonable and make his decisions awarely, lest the essential balance in power
be systematically and seriously tilted in one direction or the other.
issue is differences in embraced ability for decision-making itself. Some
persons easily decide quickly while others have extreme difficulty in making up
their minds about anything. When so (or with degrees of difference between these
extremes), the more conscious partner (e.g., a male reading this) will wisely
take these differences into account and seek appropriate balances anyway. For
example, if his mate is indecisive, he may encourage and support her in making
choices where her expertise and/or interests are obviously greater than his.
Be as conscious as
possible--that is, think as openly and reasonably as you can about all choices
effecting both partners in a relationship. Then:
-- Don't fall for
total dominance or submission in the decision-making arena--that is, don't
become the one who "always decides" or who "always gives in." Instead, strive
for balance in decision making, as in overall powers. Avoid becoming either a
macho-male asshole or a Casper Milquetoast insofar as relational decisions are
-- Don't run from
standing up responsibly for your own position where truly significant
differences of choice arise--as they inevitably will in time.
-- Don't let old
habits or personality traits (e.g., natural dominance of either partner) take
the place of "using your head"--that is, facing all choices as consciously and
reasonably as possible.
-- Don't "give in"
quickly or "lord it over" a partner when personal values are threatened.
Instead, strive for sensible compromise.
-- Above all, "to
thine own self be true"--that is, continually respect your own integrity as an
individual person. Without integrity, no relationship is worth continuing.
Strangely, to men
who'd rather be left alone
than put upon
many women prefer
being put upon
than left alone
wouldn't be right to think
they like being put upon
but one would have to be blind
not to see how quickly women often opt
for the former
over than the latter
is a colloquial expression for a variety of specific actions and stances, such
as, looking for things to complain about; making a show of struggle and/or
sacrifice in doing small deeds which would, at least for a man, not call for
attention; exaggerating the difficulty of routine tasks; going out of one's way
to make ordinary jobs more difficult than they would naturally be; taking extra
responsibilities on oneself which could easily be handled by others; being
super-sensitive to actions or comments of others, reading put downs, slights, or
even insults where none were intended; looking, as it were, for hard ways to do
tasks which would naturally be simple or easy to accomplish; perfectionist
requirements or relatively impossible ideals projected onto everyday tasks
(e.g., degrees of cleanliness and order); playing Ain't It Awful or
Poor Little Me or Won't You Please Help Me (Princess and pea
If a man doesn't
understand these basic gender differences, and, in typical male fashion, simply
projects his views onto his wife-that is, assumes that she, like himself, hates
being put upon and prefers to be left alone, then he may make significant errors
For instance, he
may lean over backward to avoid her Poor Little Me type complaints,
falsely assuming that her bitching is a demand for his change, rather than an
easier way (appearing to be "put upon" or self-sacrificial) of coping with a
situation. Or, he may become unduly apologetic for "causing" her discomforts,
even turning into a Wimp, if he does not see her "put upon" mode as simply an
opposite of his "left alone" way.
In practice, simply
standing present listening to, that is, consciously acknowledging a
wife's stated discomforts, her "put upon" mode of reveling herself, without
doing anything, such as, tip-toeing around, trying to avoid a complaint,
apologizing as though "its all my fault," or making a great effort to change
oneself "so she won't have anything to bitch about," may often be the most
effective way of long range coping.
Many a man has
discovered, to his own dismay, that removing one source of a wife's complaints
may be followed by two or more to take its place-that is, that what was
happening was less about his own offenses than activation of her "put upon" mode
of functioning in life.
On the surface, at
casual glance, it appears that men are basically selfish and women more
naturally selfless. Men consistently compete while women typically cooperate.
Men help ourselves while women help others, including their selfish men.
however, and a contrary picture may emerge, namely, one in which woman's
apparent selflessness with others is underlain by a deeper selfishness which by
far exceeds the upper level self-centeredness of typical males.
Also, below obvious
male selfishness, one may find slightly cloaked degrees of self-sacrifice which
reach even deeper than surface "niceness" of females.
perspectives, past initial appearances, I find that, e.g., females are far
better at taking care of themselves than are males who at first appear to "only
care about themselves." This difference is easily visible in matters of personal
safety, both physical and emotional.
risk-taking itself may be a masculine rather than feminine trait, reflecting
different gender values of sperm and ova (and we who are born to bear them),
most women are also more careful in taking care of bodily needs and pleasures
far beyond genetic levels related to ovum rarity in comparison to sperm
expend-ability, than are typical males.
The same is true in
regard to mental and emotional encounters with men. Even if females outwardly
"go along" or appear to be "giving in" (sacrificing self) in matters of lessor
concern to them, when push comes to shove, or when their own personal ideas of
right and wrong, or even their "feelings" (emotional sense of self) are at
stake, seemingly unselfish women typically prevail in most encounters with
In common events of
everyday life, apart from wars and assorted male competitions, when male values
are confronted with female values, e.g., between husband and wife, as in, home
living, where money is spent, whose opinions matter most with children, how beds
are made and rooms decorated, when and how sex is engaged in and carried out,
what food is eaten, what language and dress is acceptable, etc., etc., by far,
it seems to me that in typical families, mother has the last word in accord with
her own values.
And even though
males, especially "good husbands," may selfishly compete in the work world,
regularly trying to assert ourselves and our values over others in the
workplace, most of these money-making efforts are unselfishly aimed at family
support and making purchases, e.g., clothing, jewelry, etc., in an effort to
"keep the little woman happy"-that is, to support her personal desires.
Even in unusual
situations, other than when their own children are threatened, females are
rarely as self-sacrificial as males engaged in any team endeavor, all the way
from football to war. Women may make limited sacrifices, e.g., for a war effort,
but rarely do they risk life and limb as freely as most males do for any "cause
they believe in."
In this latter
regard, namely, external "causes," such as, impersonal principles, religious
beliefs, political affiliations, winning games, or even in acquiring wealth,
rare is the woman who will sacrifice her own interests as freely as any typical
man can never be good enough
for a woman with a private belief
that he could make her secure
if only he lived up to her wishes
more than any woman
can ever make a man happy
who doesn't yet know she is not
a goddess like he once thought
his mother was before he gave up
on growing up himself
GOOD HUSBAND DANGERS
Beware of becoming
a "good husband" in the popular sense of this term, especially as oft intended
by wives with unconscious tongue-in-cheek. Such "good husbands" may indeed
succeed in reducing verbal controversies and open confrontations, but at cost of
deeper long range divisions, including cloaked or unconscious disrespect by one
they are trying hard to please. Such marriages may look good to others, but
"behind closed doors" deeper problems can be festering.
The error is, of
course, by implication rather than definition. Certainly a husband may wisely
aspire to be "good" literally-that is, to live up to his best knowledge of a
man's role in this honored social institution. But all too often, "good" male
knowledge about masculinity is repressed in favor of female definitions based in
conscious thinking rather than instinctive femininity.
When so, what males
know "in our bones" is denied in awareness in favor of what females "say they
want," namely, compliant, obedient, supportive, "nice," "polite," "well
behaved," "well dressed," men who are also clean and "helpful around the house."
All this, of course, without "getting under foot" or otherwise interfering with
a wife's freedoms.
The problem lies
below levels of common female consciousness where the above noted definitions of
"good" are correctly applicable. At issue is the ancient male conundrum, "What
does a woman really want?" Easily a husband may know what a wife says
and/or implies she wants from him. Many of these are even stated in marriage
vows; but, unfortunately for us word-oriented guys, expressed "wants" may
conceal deeper desires, including real, cross-gender needs.
Well recognizing my
presumptions in speculating about what any woman "really wants," I
chance to state what I have deducted so far, namely, a "real man," not a boy in
a grown up suit who is still trying to please his mother unconsciously cloaked
in a wife's body. When such a well intentioned husband tries his hardest to live
up to a wife's, for instance, cleanliness standards, et al, he may eventually
realize that even his best efforts tend to backfire in time. In terms of an old
saying, "the harder he tries, the behinder he gets."
Not that wives with
"good husbands" consciously "mean to have" these predictable reactions, such as,
deep resentments about wimpy, "pussy whipped," underfoot, "nice boy" husbands,
who they can easily manage, even run over; but rather, as I analyze, their own
deeper feminine needs, not yet consciously embraced, are disturbingly reflected
in the "mirrors" of such compliant males.
understanding, a "good woman" needs and deeply desires a "good man"
for a truly successful relationship-to be sharply distinguished from one
characterized by tenure alone. Certainly there are many surface advantages to
"staying married at all costs," for example, "for sake of the kids," or long
term financial security; but these "reasons" may be small compensation for
missing primal satisfactions needed for a healthy cross-gender relationship-such
woman and man in the above paragraph to imply something more than
anatomical differences, especially as may be cloaked by "nice," good boy males
and often resentful females.
The ancient drama
of replication, where instincts and equipment essential for species survival are
complementary, namely, for reception and penetration ("being soft" and "getting
hard"), may be a good mirror for glimpsing later-to-evolve psychological needs
in cross-gender relationships far removed from baby-making alone-that is, in
typical marriages where issues other than child-rearing are concerned.
In either case, my
presumptuous conclusions about what women really want, often in
contrast to what they say (and may even believe), are threefold: sex, safety,
primally, rarely, and less consciously, a good woman needs a man for good
sex-that is, strong sperm and a firm "hard" for a few impregnations, plus
possible-but-biologically-unnecessary occasional personal pleasures (where a
"slow hand" may be ever more necessary than a "fast hard").
Next, she needs his
strength for protection and safety in this dangerous world, given her
lesser physical powers and greater involvement in vulnerable child-rearing
Then and overall,
she needs security-comfortable circumstances for rearing offspring to
maturity, and herself beyond child bearing years. In practice, security
needs include "enough" money (wealth), housing, and, ideally, male dependability
for the long haul.
When either or all
of these primal needs go unmet, as with a "good-but-weak husband," a wife may
predictably react, often unconsciously, with covert resistance, deep resentment,
and even overt rejection. She may, for example, with unconscious wisdom, "play
hard to get, to get it hard (to get)" in quest of good sex.
Then, well beyond
the bedroom, she may criticize, complain, and otherwise "put down" on her
compliant "good husband" in an unconscious attempt to force him to "stand up"
like a really good man would-that is, to respond to her deeper needs
(as noted above) rather than continually currying her favors like a son might do
with his mother.
may try hard and do their best to "be good," only to discover in time that their
best is "not good enough," perhaps because they had missed the deeper point of a
wife's "put downs."
term and often more hidden resentments may arise when a wife's primal
security needs seem threatened, as when a husband is undependable ("can't
be counted on") or otherwise acts irresponsibly (e.g., not "bringing home enough
bacon" or giving threatening attentions to other females).
Even deeper than
these noted physical needs for a healthy cross-gender relationship-at least as I
have learned so far, is a psychological situation which plays out in each of
them, namely, a balance of powers, especially on emotional/spiritual
levels. Nothing, it seems to me, is more primally crucial to a successful
male/female relationship than "keeping the power balanced," with neither partner
able to "get the best" of the other-that is, to physically and/or emotionally
overwhelm the other, to "do the other in" insofar is personal integrity is
When either partner
is easily able to overcome the other, to literally "put them down" spiritually,
then a primary basis for any successful male/female relationship is gone (or
never existed). I focus here on the male side of this requirement, but the same
is true with females who cannot "stand up" to chauvinistic males without "being
psychological success in a male/female relationship is predicated on the
embraced ability of each partner to maintain personal integrity in the presence
of the other-that is, to keep power relatively balanced in all situations.
Certainly there are specific events when gender-specific powers of one are more
needed and operative than those of the other partner; but even then, acceding to
pragmatic powers of the other is wisely done with personal integrity.
"taking directions" in such instances is done without "giving in"-as occurs when
integrity is sacrificed.
Bottom line: For
living well with a woman, a man may wisely beware of becoming a "good husband"
who negates his own manhood in the process, leaving a woman married to a
wimp rather than a "good man" who is capable and willing to
respond to her deeper needs as a truly good woman.
without fostering dependence; act kingly, but be careful about "doing too much
for," or unwittingly catering to female fantasies of being a "Rescuing Prince"
for all her needs.
Give the appearance
of "unqualified acceptance"--everyone's infantile dream, but always with
recognized private limitations. Don't tell your limits and thereby invite
rebellion or give power away. Instead, know your limits without showing them.
"Take care of" a
woman when feasible and as best you can, but be careful of undermining her
individuality with illusions of more security than you can in truth ever
guarantee. Don't promise, even by implication, more than you can actually give
(e.g., the moon or everlasting love, etc.).
BEING NICE BACKFIRES
LET 'EM BITCH
Initially, and soon
after falling in love, "being nice" to/for a woman works; later, however, if not
sooner, such well-intended, self-denying efforts predictably backfire, defeating
their desired purposes.
Reason: Past a
woman's real need for a few sperm and limited security for baby making and
raising kids, her deeper desires for individuation and openly using her own left
brain, may be delayed, if not thwarted by a man's obsequious attempts to please
her by "being nice."
His "help," for
instance "around the house," beyond a few strength-requiring deeds, such as,
openings stuck jar lids and taking out the trash, may be appreciated on the
surface, but evoke deeper frustrations, because men seldom know and rarely learn
"how to do it right." Often a woman, if respectful, will have to come along
behind such a man, and, for instance, fix the bed or load the dishwasher
"right"--to her higher levels of discrimination.
Or, as related to
security, even though she may pragmatically need a man's money and protection,
especially while busy keeping house and raising children, her deeper needs for
individuation ("supporting herself"), along with personal freedoms inherent in
economic independence, may reflect in resentment about "needing him," or "having
to be taken care of."
relevantly, using her good left brain for creative thinking, rather than
rationalizing and making up reasons to explain herself to him, may go
undeveloped as she "gives in" to his limited thinking "for sake of peace" and
"not making him mad."
So long as a man
"does her thinking for her"-as in, making critical decisions about spending
money, jobs, and long range plans, or she relies on his limited logic, she is
failing to develop her own left brain reasoning capacities (e.g., for
prioritizing values). And, I think, brains, like selves, "cry out," as it were,
for wholeness, that is, full activation and usage.
supporting and unwittingly undermining a female's deeper desires to be a whole
person instead of "just a housewife" or "the little woman (man's 'helpmate')" by
well-intended niceness-and thereby delaying if not preventing her natural
individuation into personhood, a wiser man (should there ever be one) might opt
for "letting her bitch" rather than continually trying to placate her by "being
nice" after the honeymoon is over.
registering her dissatisfactions in words-or "bitching" as we left brainers may
hear it, a woman may quickly move on to developing aspects of herself suppressed
when she tries to "be nice" in return.
All this, of
course, if a man stays present, listening to predictable complaints, without
falling for them ("taking them personally").
The deeper and even
less recognized issue in "being nice" is "loss of balls"-that is, embraced
masculinity in the relationship. Unwittingly, while "trying to be nice" to
women, men may, in effect, blindly sacrifice our symbolic balls, becoming "Yes
men ('pussy whipped')," and thereby losing much of what attracts females to
No matter how hard
a woman may try, usually unconsciously, I think, to dominate a man ("castrate
him")--and such efforts are often gargantuan and consistent, something
significant to every successful cross gender relationship is lost, to whatever
degree she succeeds. A woman cannot help, I conclude, but deeply resent a man
she can reduce to a wimp.
relationships remain as men with women, not wimps
secret, if there is one,
to living well with woman
is to pay more attention
to what she does
that to what she says,
to go more by your eyes
than your ears
in choosing what to do
especially when pleasure
is the goal
listening through them
for earthy wisdom
but never try to force a female
through the narrow sieve of sense
especially of the male variety
WHEN CONFLICTS ARISE
Think in circles,
not straight lines, and forget about "your word."
In Lerner and
Lowe's version of Camelot, when young King Arthur is confounded trying
to understand Princess Guinevere's thinking, he goes to Merlin the Magician
asking for answers. Merlin advises him, in effect, not to worry about how women
think, because "they don't do it often."
Merlin may have
been wise in many regards, but I think he was wrong if Arthur heard him
literally and concluded that "women don't think much." More clearly Merlin might
have added: "as we do," that is, metaphorically speaking, as on a railroad track
rather than a Merry-go-round or a Farris wheel.
He might have
said-at least I do: "Indeed females don't often think as we do." But
for clarity he might have added, "Rather they think wholistically, in
circles which encompass all, rather than in lines which exclude seemingly
irrelevant data while moving toward a logical conclusion." Or so I observe and
hence imagine wise Merlin would also have seen.
My summary point
is: Typically, women think in circles, while men think in straight lines (like
riding on a Merry-go-round rather moving down a train track). Correctly women
may see men as "having one track minds" because we do tend to think of one thing
at the time, and to follow a line of thought toward some logical end. Also, we
may be easily distracted when a woman tries to change the subject before we
reach one shared conclusion.
Small wonder that
young Arthur, nicknamed Wart, was having a hard time understanding
beautiful Guinevere. If a woman had written the tale, she might have noted
Guinevere's difficulty in "sticking to a point" devoid of emotions.
speculations aside, back to my point (small pun intended).
This suggestion is
not that we men give up what seems to be our more natural mode of thinking, but
rather that we add another mental capacity, namely, to also "think like
a woman" in times of relationship conflicts. We need not negate our "one track,"
logic based mode, but if we are to converse productively with females we do well
to learn their "language (to mix my metaphors)" also-that is, to think in
circles as well as we already do in lines.
In fact, for
success in talking with a woman we will be wiser if we use our left brain
capacities to think in larger circles rather than straighter lines, that is, to,
in effect, encircle their circles instead of trying to force them to "be
reasonable" or "think like we do."
We can seldom, if
ever, succeed with our lines when confronted with circular thinking which always
and easily outwits linear logic. Better, if we can, to out circle her often
limited circles with even larger circles, than waste energy trying to win a
disagreement with our fragile (though reasonable) lines.
PRINCIPLE IN PRACTICE
Don't try to use
reason to resolve a conflict. Logical thinking, in which one makes points with
discrete bits of provable data, may work well with other males who also think
logically; but this mode of conflict resolution is predictably unsuccessful with
females who think wholistically and value feelings more than reasons.
example, of presenting facts aimed at proving your case (as a lawyer might do in
court), abandon this adversarial mode in favor of encircling a woman's revealed
feelings. Encompass her emotions rather than trying to prove your point.
Instead of "trying
to be right" yourself, or to "prove her wrong," or even to defend yourself with
logical explanations, try to embrace (encircle) her feelings, both verbally
and/or non-verbally. If her emotions are not clearly stated, as in, "You don't
do anything to help around the house," try to read between the lines looking for
a cloaked emotion. Perhaps she is feeling overwhelmed by housework, or angry at
you for watching TV while she cooks.
You might, in
typical male fashion, counter with a fact, such as, "You don't ever mow the yard
either," or defend yourself in some way (assuming, blindly, that she is
attacking you), as in, "Well, I've had a hard day at work."
But if so,
predictably the occasion will only deteriorate because, either way, you will
have missed her emotional expression ("how she feels") slightly concealed in
words about you.
I pause here to
amplify a gender difference commonly operative in such conflicts, namely, left
brain "thinking" males and right brain "feeling" females. While we males
commonly identify ourselves with "what we think," females rarely do; instead
they more often identify with "how they feel."
To us males, things
are mostly okay when we can "make sense" of what we perceive; but for females,
"feeling comfortable" is more often the primary goal in whatever is happening.
From these different perspectives, emotions are as irrelevant to point-making
males, as are facts to feeling-oriented females.
differences may be ignored or avoided when things are going well in a
relationship; but at points of conflict they typically become problematic, even
divisive. When disagreements arise, we males tend to resurrect, or escape into,
our sense-making mode, while females do the same with their self-identified
feelings. Men get more reasonable while women get more emotional, and, barring a
minor miracle, disruption is predictable.
long-standing, are typically brought into the open, if at all, in the verbal
arena where males have an unfair advantage. Whereas reasons and facts are easily
expressed in words, emotions are notably hard to translate into verbal language.
We may "know how we feel," but putting an emotion into words can be difficult,
if not impossible to do.
problem here is that what "comes naturally" for men, namely, expressing reasons
in words, is often very difficult for women who are much better at non-verbal
emotional expression, but must in this arena of conflict, translate their
feelings into words.
Their difficulty is
compounded by the fact that sense-oriented men are typically focusing on facts
("what is said") rather than feelings ("what she means"). What women are most
wanting to communicate is what we men are often trying to ignore.
How is this
principle and metaphor of encircling circles, that is, embracing
woman's circular mode of thinking with even larger circles, exercised in
practice? How can a man possibly "out think" a female in times of conflict?
The first step is
temporarily abandoning our familiar mode of thinking in straight lines (as on a
train track), that is, presenting points aimed at "making sense" and reaching a
reasonable verbal conclusion. In order to move into woman's mode (circular
thinking) a man must first let go of his own way and begin to engage in
wholistic thinking in which all data is included, whether it seems relevant or
For instance, in
the female mode of circular or wholistic thinking, as contrasted with the male
mode of "sticking to the point," any perception is acceptable at any time. Any
observation, idea, recollection, feeling, or sense experience (a sight, sound,
smell, etc.) is in order at any point in circular thinking. There is no such
thing as "changing the subject," since there is no single subject in
woman's way of thinking (regardless of what a man may think). "Anything goes,"
insofar as current conversation is concerned, when the mode is circular rather
Even though there
is a real point of difference in any relational conflict, a subject, a
man might think, in circular thinking this is but one of a multitude of possible
bits of data acceptable in a current conversation. What a man may take as
"trying to change the subject," may be, in woman's mode, simply including one
more piece of information.
For example, in the
middle a typical male attempt "prove his point," a circular-thinking woman may
observe and state, "It looks like rain today." Geared to exclude data not deemed
relevant, a man is likely to be "de-railed" in his train-track mode, thinking
that "she is trying to change the subject," or, "she is not listening to me."
Both may be wrong since in woman's way of wholistic thinking most all
perceptions are acceptable in any conversation.
If a man is to "out
think" a woman in such an encounter, he must first be willing to abandon his
linear mode, to move into circular thinking, and then to, in effect, draw an
even larger circle. To, for example, her seemingly irrelevant observation about
rain, he might switch quickly himself and add, "It does at that; I must remember
to take my umbrella to work today."
In so doing, he
evidences acceptance of her way of thinking, and openly joins in, as though his
"train of thought" has been completely abandoned. In reality, however, he is
temporarily shifting to circular thinking while remaining open to either
pursuing his point later, or perhaps, waiting for her to return on her own. In
either case, he has preserved a comfortable setting rather than escalating the
conflict by pressuring her to see things his way.
Often, when a man
succeeds in such "encircling the circle," switching from linear to a circular
mode, he may discover that a female was not, as he may have concluded, "trying
to change the subject." Instead she may simply have been taking her time in
hearing him, while her own feelings became clearer in her conscious thinking.
Beware of female
ego-boosting, that is, being set up by false compliments aimed more at
manipulation than self affirmation. The proverbial "fragile male ego" is well
known by most females, but commonly hidden to many males who easily confuse ego
Point: Best to look
the gift horse of female compliments in the mouth, lest one be set up unawarely,
that is, blindly controlled by flattering statements from unconsciously wiley
"ego-boosting" is, of course, to be distinguished from sincere affirmation from
another. Manipulative compliments are not the same as honest observations of
favorable acts or attributes. But the presence of a "fragile male ego" can be a
grand temptation to a discerning female to exercise unreal powers, especially
when a man is unconsciously looking for female support. The personal danger is
unwittingly putting oneself down and thereby exaggerating female power at
expense of male integrity.
You can never win an argument with a woman.
Not that reasons
are irrelevant, but men who are given to comfort-through-understanding, may take
note of these observations:
understanding of this conventional wisdom lies in what we may call (among
ourselves, of course) "pussy power"-that is, a woman's ability to withhold her
sexual favors whenever she is displeased, as, for instance, when she loses a
verbal argument. Then because we most commonly hate losing sex even more than
losing arguments, we may deeply feel personally defeated, even if we think we
win an argument.
But there are, I
think, many other deeper reasons why women consistently win arguments with men,
even sooner rather than later-that is, in the heat of an encounter, even before
the cold of a bedroom. Among them are:
WORDS AND HEART
identify ourselves with our words ("A man's word is
his bond"), which females do the same with their heart (feelings,
emotions, or non-verbal selves). In practice, each gender then comes to a verbal
argument with significant differences in how we value and respond to words,
the vehicles of communication. Females, heart identified, always have
the advantage of freedoms with words, which word-identified males
are her forte, the source of her deeper self-identification and thus her
personal powers, a woman may use words (and reasons) as long as they are working
to her advantage; but at any point in an argument when she seems to be losing a
war-of-words, she may freely drop language and switch to feelings as her mode of
exchange-a freedom males seldom acquire.
Then, when powerful
emotions are pitted against relatively weak reasons (words formed into "sense"),
the outcome is predictably slanted in woman's favor. A man's words, for example,
as every man must know, are never a match for a woman's tears. And so with her
anger, passion, and every other emotions in her arsenal of powers.
Also, not being
self-identified with verbal success, as we males typically are, a woman always
has the additional freedom of being able to drop or stop an argument at any time
without-and this is the critical point, personally losing. With a show
of niceness she can, for instance, at any point, especially when she is losing a
verbal battle, politely withdraw, saying, e.g., "Well, have it your way," or, "I
can see you're getting angry; let's just drop the subject."
No matter how
fiercely a verbal game becomes, she always holds this trump card, which rarely
appears in a man's hand.
Expansive versus focused thinking
advantage is inherent in the different ways men and women typically "think"-that
is, identify with and thus use our inherited mental capacities.
In an overall
perspective, men typically are "left-brain" thinkers in contrast with women who
tend to be "whole brain" thinkers. Men typically major on using and identifying
our sense-of-self with a small portion of left hemisphere functions (Broca's
Area) which enables speech, that is, symbolism, words, concepts, ideas, reasons,
and "sense making."
At the same time we
begin early to suppress right hemisphere functions, such as, mediator of deep
brain genetic emotions ("feeling capacities"), because they easily interfere,
even undermine, "logical thinking."
End result of this
complicated process leaves us males good at "focused thinking" (as in, aiming at
game for food or any other of our multiple goals), much like a train on one
track headed toward a single destination. Females may properly see us as having
"one track minds," and at the same time limited in "getting the big picture."
females begin early to embrace, develop, and utilize both hemispheres of the
brain. Commonly, for example, they "learn to talk" earlier than boys, and
continue to develop this aspect of verbal skills (rooted in left brain), and at
the same time to develop the "emotional" half of the brain also. Consequently,
they are better at "using their whole minds (both brain hemispheres) in coping
with worldly matters.
In addition they
have, over the long haul of evolution, developed larger connective tissues
(Corpus callosums) between each half of the brain.
Typically, females can think quicker, compute more data in shorter time, as well
as view the larger picture with less distraction by less relevant details, than
can left-brain-oriented men. What they lose in focused, emotion-less ability to
"remain on a subject (one track)" they gain in advantages of comprehensive
analysis and decision making based on a wider range of variables.
unfortunately, and to our chagrin once we recognize the fact, easily "think
circles around" our "one track" minds.
As related to cross
gender arguments, these facts reflect female ability to quickly "out-reason"
males limited to sense-making only, by bringing in a wealth of data from outside
the limited domains of logic. Not stuck with train track thinking only, they can
freely bring seemingly unrelated subjects into an argument-or even change the
subject completely if they seem to be losing, or simply tire of this male type
Word freedoms for
females, much to the consternation of males, include not only freedom from
strict rules of verbal logic (e.g., either/or), but even extend to freedom to
change (or ignore) male-accepted, dictionary definitions of words. For example,
females are typically able to say, "I'll meet you at 8 o'clock (meaning a
definite time to males)," when they actually mean, "...if I happen to be ready
at that time." Or, a woman may say, "Turn right" to a male driver, when
she actually means left (by dictionary definitions) without even
feeling wrong in what she said ("Oh, you should know what I mean!).
For these and other
reasons men who venture into arguments with women do so at their own risk.
Statistically speaking, odds of winning, even of coming out without damaging the
relationship, let alone, helping at the moment, are, I conclude, infinitesimally
options are always open.
verbal arguments which one is more likely to lose than win (and to pay for
eventually, even if a man wins at the time) is not to be confused with "giving
in," "being run over," "losing face," "raising ass," "being a coward", or in any
way tilting the power balance in woman's favor. Indeed it aims at least toward
preventing loss of personal power, and at best with maintaining a workable
balance at a time when male loss is often predictable.
If not to
argue, what to do?
literally. At many other points in a successful relationship the best advice is:
"Don't just stand there; do something." But here the reverse is often the wiser
option: "Don't just do something; stand there."
means, first of all: stay present; don't run away, either physically or
emotionally. Remain fully alert, present in the fullest sense of the
word, in the company of a spouse who is openly disagreeable at the time. While
avoiding slipping into an argument, also avoid slipping away
as a person in the immediate vicinity of a spouse who is presently "standing
up," even, perhaps, "losing it."
Bite your tongue;
seal your lips; remain silent; but, and this is the crucial point: stay
spiritually as well as physically present, on your own Green Spot, with your
mouth shut but your heart open. Don't even look away, let alone run away or
non-verbally. "Keeping your mouth shut" doesn't mean "stop communicating";
in fact, real co-munication is perhaps more important at these critical
junctures than at other peaceful times in a relationship. Only now, the focus
shifts from verbal to non-verbal, from mouth to body.
to be conveyed without words include these:
"I love you anyway." "Sure, you have emerging disagreements, even, perhaps,
demons, but they can't drive me away." "I'm still here, with you, even while
you're upset with me or having a hard time."
"I realize that you
may....feel overwhelmed, not know what to do, need to blame me, wish you had
never married me, would like to run away, even die..." or whatever; but I'm
strong enough to stand here with you as you hurt."
"You are free to
project on me, believe I am causing your difficulty, think I can help by
changing my ways (if only I would), and that's okay. I'm still here."
"No, I won't fall
for your projections; I won't take it on, as though your problems are truly
mine; nor will I blame myself for 'making you unhappy.'"
All these "sayings"
are best communicated with your eyes, looks, and expressions, perhaps your hands
and arms (if touch seems possible without inviting rejection), the warmth and
openness of your body, and maybe certain actions on rare occasions. For example,
if she is crying, without words a husband might move toward her with an
empathetic hug or soft hand grasp. If she has retreated into a silent funk, an
understanding husband might quietly lie beside here for a time.
chosen words may be added in support of mainly non-verbal communication, but
always with sharp attention to their effects. For example, as icing on the cake
of "standing present," one might softly say, "I hear you," or, "I'm still here."
Or, "I love you anyway." Or, "I hurt too, seeing you so overwhelmed."
But with words, be
careful not to "turn professional," existing as an empathetic husband, with such
stock responses as, "I can tell you're upset," or, "This must be hard for you,"
etc., unwittingly placing an emotional gulf between you.
become verbally and/or physically abusive when their repressed demons arise.
When so, it becomes even more relevant for an accepting male to carefully remain
present without "fighting back," playing Tit For Tat, or otherwise
compounding the revelations with violence of his own.
protecting himself from actual physical harm (e.g., refusing to be battered by
moving away or placing his arms around a flailing wife to prevent personal
harm), he might continue so silently "say" by his presence: "I'm with you."
Never engage in
verbal arguments with women. You are predestined to lose in time if not
immediately, due to your own limitation to left brain logic (sequential
reasoning) and woman's freedom to abandon logic at any point, e.g., where her
skillful rationalizing begins to fail, or for any other reason she tires of
limiting her input to verbal sense apart from innately more powerful emotional
Even when a man
temporarily wins or makes a point which defeats a woman's argument, he faces
ultimate loss when/if she opts to play her trump cards of personal and/or sexual
withdrawal in the relationship.
with a woman, plus up to when necessary to keep power balanced,
but carefully avoid arguments and/or "raising ass." In either case you lose in
the long run, even if you win at the time.
With arguing by
rules of male-type logic, you may temporarily win a battle, but you will
predictably lose the war, because females hold innate advantages of freedom from
the dictates of making sense, plus the capacity for giving in without
losing--options seldom embraced by men.
When you become
defensive and unwittingly "raise ass," you present an almost irresistible
temptation to resurrection of repressed female urges for destruction of all
opposition to whatever of whomever stands in the way of getting what they want.
While yet unblessed with the gift of conscious reasoning, they may all too
easily "bite the hand that feeds them" and kick at ones they love when presented
with temptingly raised posteriors--as defensiveness unwittingly does.
Above all, avoid
playing any of your only three trump cards, namely, physical strength, threat of
abandonment, and logical thinking. Certainly, either may work in a moment of
conflict. Your larger muscles make bodily abuse possible; ever-present natural
urges for living without fences may easily tempt you to threaten her security by
running away from home (or even pretending to); and forced reasonableness is a
brief challenge to emerging emotions.
she may cow-tow to you in the face of immediate dangers to her personal well
being; but her own dark powers of greater tolerance for physical pain, sleeping
alone at night and/or holding cold shoulders (not to mention an elephant-like
capacity for never forgetting a prior offense), and overcoming even the best of
reasoning with the least of emotions, will likely out-do you in time, forcing
you to apologize and come creeping back on hands and knees, if not done in as a
In emergencies you
may use your strength to briefly contain physical outbursts, as by holding her
arms and body to prevent harm to yourself; but even then, carefully avoid
hurting her, as the long range consequences to the relationship are apt to be
avoid getting defensive, as this invites defeat, as in "raising ass," implying
weakness just when strength is most needed.
TAKING IT PERSONALLY
Two common psychic
tricks which predictably undermine a healthy relationship if not recognized and
avoided are: Kicking the Dog and Taking it
Kicking the Dog
is transferring emotional reactions from one arena where expression is
threatening, to another seemingly safer place. For example, a man might get
angry at his boss who can fire him, bite his tongue at the time, then come home
and take it out on a non-threatening pet; hence the name. Or, unfortunately, on
a spouse or child if no dog is available.
This psychic trick,
usually done unconsciously, tends to be used when one's natural emotional
expressions, either in word and/or deed, seem threatening at the time and are
temporarily suppressed (often for very practical reasons); but in other
circumstances, where one feels safer, previously denied feelings may be
resurrected (brought to the surface) and transferred to (projected onto) other
innocent "objects"-such as, pets, people, or even walls (as in cases of
displaced male aggression).
The psychic device
is a modern version of ancient scape-goating, where innocent goats were made
bearers of human sins; or later punishing, even killing the messenger who brings
bad news. Now this old use of projection, before psychology was
invented, may be moved from goats in the wilderness and runners in the kingdom
to spouses in the house.
Personally is erroneously assuming ill will of
another to be about yourself, rather than a revelation of another person in your
presence. Often we may in fact believe our feelings are caused by others and may
consequently project blame externally, as in saying, "You make me angry
(etc.)." But this psychic trick involves falling for such a projection, "taking
it on," as it were, rather than standing present, seeing and/or hearing someone
else exposes their emotional self.
When, for example,
a husband takes a wife's projected emotions personally, he unwittingly
volunteers to be the proverbial innocent dog getting kicked.
In advanced forms
of Kicking the Dog, deeper personal pathology, well past simple
emotional expressions, may also be repressed within and predictably projected
onto loved ones with whom a disturbed person feels safer.
In such instances,
for instance, a wife may be nicer, kinder, more accepting of everyone else, even
anonymous clerks at the supermarket, than to those she consciously loves. Or, of
course, a husband likewise.
Just as a man who
contains his hostility at work may come home and kick the proverbial dog, so a
woman who is submissive to others "out there" may come home and "take it out" on
her husband. Forced by constraints of female niceness to hold her tongue and
defer to friends, and even strangers, the security she feels at home may give
silent permission to un-repress otherwise denied aggression and covert
If such a verbally
abused ("misunderstood") husband "takes it personally," as though her revealed
hostility is about him, as it indeed is outwardly directed, relational conflict
is predictable. Blindly, resurrecting his own repressed marital disappointments,
he may react irrationally, as in, becoming defensive, trying to explain himself,
or counter-attacking-erroneously believing her revealed disturbance is about
him-that he, in effect, is the cause of her upsetness.
contrast with what commonly happens (at least for me), a man might: 1)
understand the phenomenon of repression/projection; 2) avoid "getting hooked" by
a woman's revealed ("acted out") aggression (or obviously disturbed state at the
time); 3) keep on thinking reasonably (remain self-contained, on his own Green
Spot), weighing all available date, including knowledge about
repression/projection (as described above), and predictable consequences of each
typical reaction of his own (defensiveness, explanations, counter-attack, or
otherwise "trying to calm her down"); 4) choose a saner response based on other
knowledge about specific, immediate circumstances and his wife's particular
traits (e.g., times of emotional entrapment, as well as individualized patterns
of projecting aggression, plus, of course, some form of self protection if her
mental abuse is accompanied by physical abuse also).
While men are
typically excited about leaving home and taking trips, women may feel extra
distress at such times. An attentive husband may wisely expect predictable
wifely stress and tension, commonly projected externally, especially on himself,
whenever couples are leaving together. Such typically unconscious stress may
also be expressed in: delaying leaving, dilly dallying, last minute house
cleaning (making bed, washing dishes, etc.), double checking packing, plus
control of exodus time.
anticipate female stress whenever connections with a secure home are threatened
by leaving, and to accept with understanding, than to escalate tension by
"trying to rush" her.
masculine integrity on the longer way to personhood; keeping balls (or
getting them back) rather than becoming a pussy-whipped, ball-less, wimp;
consciously allowing, accepting, and embracing all natural male capacities and
embraced masculinity in society primarily structured around female values;
learning and living-out artful discretion in all expressions of masculinity in
the outside world, especially in the company of females.
Only in war, the
woods, small segments of male sports, and in the exclusive company of other
males, can natural masculinity be openly and safely revealed and activated.
elsewhere in the midst of all social structures from home to school to city, in
both politics, business, and religion, most masculine instincts are best kept
consciously contained and carefully mediated in society with artful discretion.
In summary, a wise
man, concerned with personal wholeness and living well in current society,
especially with women, is well advised to most often appear and act more like a
"good woman" than a "real man"-that is, one who embraces and lives-out
socio/religious female values as though they were his own, without at
the same time denying and repressing his genetic heritage within himself.
analyzed, the familiar compliment, "He's a real gentle-man," may point
toward this universal male challenge. First, real means existentially
natural, not phony; gentle may summarize the essence of female values;
and man stands for instinctive masculinity.
A true gentleman
is to be distinguished from a wimp in male clothes, a pussy-whipped wuss who
only acts like a man. Together, as one word, gentle-man
implies a manly man, strong and powerful, who can also be as gentle as a lamb
when appropriate to any current circumstance; but such female-like gentleness in
a true "gentleman" is never an escape from or substitute for ever-ready,
aggressive hardness when needed.
Trying to get something from women
all the way from pussy
to our own right brains
to permission to be ourselves
is a cloak for threats
inherent in re-embracing male powers
once repressed in quest of a mother's mysterious resources
truly needed back then before instincts for individuation
were, as it were, short circuited
by magical beliefs in awesome Goddesses
forerunners of more manageable girls
and delightful possibilities of giving something back
even the rare wonders of love
Men typically see
women as "more emotional"; but this cloaks, I think, the deeper fact that women
more consciously embrace our shared emotional capacities, and are quicker to
activate natural feelings-for instance, "crying at the drop of a hat."
They are, I
conclude, less emotionally repressed than men, and consequently more alert to
feelings, both their own as well as those of others, including fear and anger,
sympathy and concern.
But relevant here
is the observation that women typically "get mad" quicker than emotionally
repressed men. Paradoxically, however, women are also more in control of their
feelings in the sense of being better able to reveal or conceal what they feel
"appropriately," that is, in light of their goals at the time, e.g., to act
nice when feasible, even while hating another person, or, to care for children
even when deeply upset about them.
more emotionally contained, they become more skillful in expressing, even
acting-out emotions in service of personal goals-a skill men rarely acquire.
They can, that is, use emotions judicially, far better than most men
ever learn to do.
Women are also
capable of immense angry outbursts and exercising huge powers generated by this
emotion in certain conditions. Even though commonly kept under control, these
vast forces may be activated, e.g., when their children or their marriage is
threatened, or finally, when personally threatened with being totally out of
control. This ability is recognized in such conventional wisdom as: "Hell hath
no fury like a woman scorned," that is, when her security in marriage is
threatened, or in unusual bursts of power in emergency situations.
observation: Because females typically identify themselves with being nice and
caring, rather than deeply angry, they tend to repress such awareness and
project their un-embraced feelings onto others, especially men and/or
circumstances-that is, to blame their hostile emotions on outside "causes."
again, just as women may more quickly feel anger, they are also quicker to move
on afterward when it has become openly embraced. After a "tantrum," for example,
they may "get over it" rapidly, soon acting as though it never happened.
powerful anger is strongly repressed rather than expressed and "acted-out,"
women are also capable of "keeping a grudge" for years, even a life time, that
is, of "remembering" an offense (assumed cause of anger) "forever," like
speculate that female anger may be the most repressed of all natural feelings
except sexual passions.
Now to typical male
Men are commonly
vulnerable to all female emotions, exaggerated by our personal repressions, but
especially to female anger. We may be blindly moved by it, first because being
more emotionally repressed ourselves, and consequently less attuned to our own
feelings, we are more likely to project and "see" anger "reflected" as it were,
But mostly this is
because we commonly learn as small boys to read and react to mother's anger when
it is crucially important for our own survival and satisfaction in early life,
e.g., first in availability and quality of milk, and later for permission to do
what we want to. Then, typically, this early "wisdom" is repressed and
unconsciously projected onto other females, especially those we "fall in love
with" and/or marry. Thereafter we tend to resurrect the same patterns we learned
with our mothers for trying to get and keep her "good graces" which are critical
for well being in early stages of life.
Blindly we tend to
resurrect and project early learning onto all females, especially those we care
for. We become, as it were, super-sensitive to signs of displeasure in a mate's
eyes (reminiscent of "Mother's Frown"). Commonly we are unconsciously moved by
and immediately, without thinking, resurrect survival modes learned early in
life, for example, by quickly changing to "being nice," stopping whatever we
were doing at the time, going into a "what will it take to please you?" mode,
assuming blame and/or "trying to fix" whatever the problem seems to be.
Normally sensible men are apt to have irrational reactions to any signs of
female displeasure, especially overt anger-or so I confess about myself and
project onto "men in general."
I analyze that some
10% of these motivations may be natural and realistic, born from gene-driven
attention to sexual availability; but that leaves 90% to be based on blind
psychological reactions rooted in early repressions and learned habits, mostly
dysfunctional in present life.
WISER RESPONSES TO WOMAN'S ANGER
- Don't rush to
blame yourself and/or to try to fix what seems to be the cause of female anger.
- Expect projection
from females who typically repress angry feelings in favor of blaming them on
- Avoid reacting
with learned patterns while you collect your senses, that is, try to remain
-Stay present, on
your Green Spot, in your emotional skin, as though, unmoved by her
anger, in order to convey stand-ability, especially when she apparently can't.
- Analyze sharply,
that is, "look for (think about)" possible personal causes of her own, e.g.,
feeling overwhelmed at the time, out of control, rather than assuming you are
- Major on:
staying present with rather than doing something about her anger,
especially "taking the blame for" it.
- If actions seem
reasonably called for, as in changing circumstances, including yourself, delay
doing anything immediately, lest you unwittingly be "raisin' ass" in the
process, inviting further blame and encouraging irresponsibility for her own
- But best in the
long run: Learn to acknowledge, become conscious of your own emotions,
especially anger, so as to contain it as a gift of Mother Nature, almost as
essential for survival as the urge to breathe, rather than denying/projecting
externally-as females are inclined to do. Then, the more aware you become of
your own emotions, and consequently more emotionally contained, the more easily
you will be able to accept, stand with, and act responsibly with a woman's
- Beware of
attempting to appease a woman's wrath; it can become an escalating, lifetime
job, with no chance of other than temporary success.
Anger is a
psychological reaction to the natural emotion of fear, evolved into our
genes as a source of power for effecting survival instincts, that is, mobilizing
us for quick action ("fight/flight") aimed at staying alive. Typically,
fear/anger is expressed in aggression aimed at destroying (or running from) a
perceived threat to existence.
Anger is rooted in
fear naturally arising at any perception associated with threat to survival.
Literally, fear is deep brain, amygdala-based learning aimed at staying alive.
Anger/aggression is a re-action to the real emotion of fear; that is, less of a
literal "feeling" than a learned reaction to a bodily emotion.
when fear is evoked for whatever reason, we turn quickly to look for external
causes in order to speedily eliminate threats to life, as by aggressively
destroying a threatening force, or quickly getting away from it. Many such
reactions have become genetically ingrained also, as in, withdrawing from pain
(e.g., a hand in fire), or other "knee-jerk" reactions to perceived danger.
But as soon as time
for "thinking" becomes possible-that is, a small gap appears between bodily
reactions and mental attention, it seems that the psychic process of
repression/projection also tends to become operative. We not only react
physically, aimed at survival, but we also begin quickly to project sources of
power-that is, to conceive "causes" and place "blame" for our own internal
reactions. We psychically move from: "I am afraid" to "You (or it)
made me angry," that is, from embraced fear/anger/aggression to some
projected outside "cause" for this natural feeling.
Consequently, I see
anger as a psychological reaction, rather than a literal emotion,
because I think that experience and "learning"-even deep-brain, limbic system,
amygdala based knowledge ("thinking") enter into the shapes and content of anger
itself. We naturally (genetically) "feel" fear whenever life seems threatened,
and power for action is generated thereby; but we, in effect, "learn" our
personal ways of reacting with what we later learn to call
fear is, I conclude, natural-that is, a genetically ingrained capacity
aimed at personal survival, even as are urges to breathe and eat; but anger,
even though typically seen as a "feeling," is more literally a personal, learned
reaction to the true emotion of fear. Given that fear inherently
generates power to move, and that such actions may properly be seen as
aggressive (either active, as in "fighting," or passive, as in "fleeing"),
we may note that fear and aggression are inherently connected
and therefore inevitable when personal threat is perceived.
and aggression are not synonymous. One may feel anger without
acting aggressively, or, be aggressive without anger.
Animals, I speculate from how they appear, are often aggressive in
protecting themselves from danger, or in quest of food/resources for survival;
but, as best I can tell, they are not angry at their enemies and/or
victims. After events of defense or attack in service of self-survival are over,
they quickly return to "being themselves," apparently without projecting "cause"
and/or "blame" for whatever has occurred.
I conclude then,
that fear/aggression (either active or passive) is entirely natural,
but anger (including blame and revenge) is learned, that is, acquired
as a mode of coping/expressing real emotions of fear. Consequently,
typical results of anger, such as, blaming outside-of-self causes
(other persons and/or circumstances), making enemies of assumed causes, creating
internal stress by repressed awareness, and/or seeking revenge against those
blamed (trying to "get even"), are all psychological phenomena not inherent in
They all result, I
conclude, from personal repression of one of our most natural human emotions, a
grand gift of Mother Nature elegantly aimed at survival and enhanced
satisfactions in this inherently dangerous world we are graced to be born into
as "higher" animals.
Were it not for, or
in absence of, psychic repression, we humans would properly and consciously
acknowledge, accept, affirm, and sensibly activate inherited capacities for
feeling fear whenever personal threat is perceived; but we would not,
as "lower" creatures apparently don't, engage in blaming what we feel on outside
causes, especially other people; or creating enemies to bear the weight of
projected emotions; or perverting natural aggression into psychic
anger; or wasting precious, limited, life-energies in fruitless attempts at
revenge against those we assume to be the cause of what we naturally feel.
acknowledging and accepting natural fear as a gift needed for successful
survival, even as feeling pain, we would use powers generated thereby, our
aggressive urges, along with added gifts of potential consciousness, for
wisely confronting real dangers, avoiding repression/projection, and constantly
striving to create evermore satisfactory circumstances for pleasurable living,
including improving relationships with those we care for.
In terms of
grammar, these challenges may be "seen" as: moving from "getting mad at"
to "being angry with," while acting sensibly without projection onto
others-that is, wisely moving in response to perceived threat (whether real,
like wild animals, or imagined, like ghosts), rather than assuming impotence and
being dictated by outside causes.
correcting the commonly missed error of at versus with-that
is, accepting the wisdom and embraced power of genetic drives for personal
survival, as operative in fear whenever threat is perceived, owning, as
it were, the gift and embracing powers initiated by fear, rather than denying
and giving away personal forces generated by one's own natural emotions. Or,
stated negatively, reversing the typical move from with to at,
by withdrawing projected blame/cause and embracing this internal gift.
more completely one comes to acknowledge/embrace natural fear, the more capable
he becomes for standing present with projected anger of others, without "taking
it personally," thereby facilitating the same possibility in others, by
"saying," in effect, "See, I can stand anger and yet act responsibly; perhaps
you can too."
Acknowledged and embraced anger is naturally short-lived, passing quickly,
allowing one to profit wisely from its emotional base; but, contrarily,
denied/repressed anger can be extended for years, even a lifetime, as in,
remaining unconsciously mad at one's mother for not actually being the goddess
one imagined in the beginning.
Get angry with not at a woman
means in her presence, rather than blindly projecting onto her as the actual
cause of your emotions. Perhaps your projection is based in a dark dream of her
as a goddess capable of making you happy and/or whole. You may well be mad about
the death of such an illusion; but better to be responsible for your own broken
dream than to project on a woman as the actual cause.
Mad at is
generally a cover for mad with, that is, a blind projection of anger.
But the projection of cause is accompanied by loss of personal power. Thus one
de-powers himself when he comes to believe that another causes or
"makes me" mad.
smarter man may "get mad" with a woman, but, owing his own anger,
he carefully avoids projecting what he feels onto or at her.
And, if smart phases into wise, he recognizes similar female
temptations, de-codes them in mind's eye, avoids falling for a woman's anger
projections, and continues to stand with her at such a time.
Women seem to
commonly have an unconscious urge to keep men waiting (or so it appears to us)
as, I suspect, a way of managing a degree of desired control over a
Full credit is due
for female needs for elaborate preparations before going out, a trait not shared
with men, including not going out until "ready," a state of presence which few
men can ever understand.
for instance, means a specific clock time to a male; but to a female it has
little to do with numbers on a clock, and rather translates into "when I'm
ready"-no matter how long that may take.
A wiser man is well
behooved to simply accept this gender difference without having to understand;
otherwise he must confront a challenging mystery. I, however, have been unable
to avoid trying to figure it out, and have so far concluded that past realistic
feminine urges for "looking good" before going out, they do commonly harbor deep
inclinations to keep men waiting, for reasons of power rather than pure
I further speculate
that such unconscious drives-if indeed they exist, may also reflect genetic
wisdom related to escalating male attraction, as in, playing hard to get, to get
it hard to get.
But even if I am
totally wrong, such speculations relive me of confronting my own impatience.
AND OFTEN DON'T KNOW IT
OR IF THEY DO
DON'T KNOW WHY
SPECULATIONS ON FEMALE REPRESSIONS
Of course some
don't, and others who do may also know why; but by and large, as best I can
tell, typical female repressions blindly reflect in resentment of men in general
and those they love in particular, such as, lovers and husbands.
unrecognized resentment flares into overt anger, but more often it hovers just
below the surface of awareness, showing up or slipping out in bitching,
criticism (often justified), cold shoulders, and, of course, "Not tonight,
Henry's," as well as opinions that "men are assholes," "no damn good," and/or
"only interested in one thing."
If my observations
are correct, what might be the possible causes of this unfortunate road block on
the way to relational intimacy? My speculations include these:
of two major natural facts, two genetic truths: 1) Female superiority, and 2)
Servant status of males.
The first fact is,
obviously, also repressed in society and cloaked by overt male dominance in
religion, business, and politics for several thousand years now. Public
awareness, especially in ego-identified males, includes a reversal of these
biological facts, and is, unfortunately, all too often, accepted by females
Fact two is the
genetic truth that maleness has evolved over eons of life history primarily for
providing sperm to fertilize female ova-ever since sex was "invented" to replace
cloning as a means of species replication some 600 million (?) years ago.
I speculate that as
Homo sapiens expanded past pair bonding (small pre-families) into clans, male
"servicing females" for pregnancy also expanded to providing other services as
well, e.g., food, especially wild game, and protection from the elements,
animals, and other marauding males.
As clans evolved
into tribes, communities, and societies, the content of male services also
expanded into realms of business and politics, outgrowths of hunting and
protecting, but still basically aimed at serving primal female needs, especially
as related to shared instincts for replication.
evolved, I also speculate, from various forms of male-only Kiva clubs as men
sought to free themselves from servant roles by establishing gender support and
left brain justification expanded into overt dominance in business and politics,
supported by irrational religions.
Once females lost
conscious awareness of 1) their creaturely superiority, falling, in varying
degrees, for male illusions of fact reversal, as testified to in religions and
acted out in society, namely, being the secondary, weaker sex, created only as
"help metes" for males, and 2) that genetically speaking, males "should be"
serving them rather than vice versa, the psychic stage was set for the
post-natural drama regularly re-created today with extended relational
conflicts, including female resentment, now commonly unconscious.
deeply aware of their religiously and socially denied superiority, while
typically existing in contrary contexts in religion, business, politics and
often in marriage as well, are understandably resentful of this unnatural
situation, especially of missing opportunities for exercising and openly
experiencing their oft-demeaned capacities.
injustices are further compounded by the second unnatural fact, namely, men,
both in society as well as home, acting-ever since Eden-like "the little woman"
exists to serve us, rather than vice versa as evolution indicates.
repression of biological facts, females would naturally know and utilize their
inherent creature advantages in wisely expressing themselves-living well in the
world-as-we-find-it, including awareness of present day social and family
Also aware, except
for repression, of the natural servant role of males, now cloaked by social
reversals and ego-identified males, females would artfully use their inherited
roles, along with greater capacities, for effecting their biological as well as
personal agendas aimed at replication and self satisfactions.
But all this is
ideal, and, as noted, might be operational, were-it-not for typical female
repressions which understandably often reflect in resentment of men in present
day contrary circumstances.
2. A second
possible source of female resentment of males lies in sexual repression.
females, current social conditions, along with biological facts, favor male
consciousness about sex, along with socially tolerated affirmation, while
supporting female repression.
needs for female intercourse are relatively small in comparison with male drives
for maximum self-replication, female capacities for sexual pleasures are, I
think, vastly greater than those of "wham-bam, thank-you-ma'am," males.
It is in this later
regard where female resentments may understandably be based. Evolved capable of
huge amounts of sex-related satisfactions, including expansive sensual delights
along with multiple orgasm possibilities, yet existing with un-faced socially
supported suppressions, and often living with sex-demanding males, female sexual
repressions are easily predictable.
understandable repressions, females may exist on top of vast,
unexplored-but-naturally-possible sexual satisfactions, that is, capacities for
delightful passions left largely untapped in current circumstances. Unlike males
who are naturally driven, as it were, to seek sex in service of
self-replication, female urges for pregnancy are minuscule in comparison; but
perhaps to balance biological books, potential female pleasures related to
sexuality itself are, I reluctantly observe, vastly greater than male instincts
for fucking only.
It is in these
latter regards, I think, where female resentments may be based. Given the noted
biological and social situations, female sexual repressions become highly
predictable. Lesser needs for pregnancy-inducing sperm are easily met with
hardly any sexual consciousness required-indeed, overly so, most of the time.
But in regard to
pleasure possibilities the situation is largely reversed. Whereas sperm needs
are easy to satisfy, a "good man" with proverbial "slow hands" may indeed be, as
voiced in song, "hard to find."
Point: In the
presence of understandable female repressions of inherited sexual capacities,
with reproductive needs easily satisfied but passion possibilities largely
untapped, wives may become dependent on husbandly initiatives, as well as
techniques, for whatever limited sexual pleasures they experience.
speculate, the stage is set for predictable resentments toward often
inefficient, inadequate, overly-demanding or unduly-assertive males, so often
focused on our own orgasms alone.
repressed females-in consciousness only, not in natural pleasure capacities,
become dependent of males for "flying them to the moon," and their men don't (or
no longer do), deep resentments become highly predictable. This relational
challenge becomes even greater after child-rearing responsibilities diminish and
female sexuality is yet in its prime.
ambivalence is another possible source of female resentment commonly
directed toward men. Ideally, a queen-like female both needs and desires a
king-like male-that is, one who is independently capable of "servicing" all her
external needs, namely, for strong sperm and effective, extended security (food,
shelter, resources, and protection, etc.).
But in quest of
finding and keeping such an effective "servant" who is both strong and
continually available, females must also be blindly driven to possess
any male they select for these essential services-that is, to, as it were, "own
him" for their exclusive use.
Here, however, is
where the psychic "rub" may come in: Independence and possession
are, in psychic fact, mutually exclusive. To be truly independent (and
hence capable of needed services) a man cannot be spiritually ("emotionally")
"ownership," by definition, undermines actual independence. A man can
either be independent or possessed; but not both. In colloquial
language, if a woman "has her man," he is no longer truly an
independent person. Or, in terms of degrees (as real processes always occur), to
the extent that a man is had by a woman, to that same degree he ceases
to be a "real man."
I suspect that
deep, unconscious male knowledge of this spiritual dilemma may be one source of
typical male resistance against "bonds of matrimony"-that is, "getting married"
and, as bride grooms may remind a reluctant groom before the commitment
ceremony, "Don't forget, you're giving up your independence."
But the female side
of this familiar dilemma may be even more hidden and dangerous in the long run,
namely, in being caught between inherent needs for a strong "king" who is
independently capable of "servicing the queen" with best available sperm as well
as best odds of long range security, and equally strong urges to possess such a
powerful male for her exclusive use.
for both men and women, the more completely a man is possessed by a
woman-thereby increasing her odds of extended "services," the less capable he
becomes as an independent male with king-like powers for supplying these needs,
especially on sexual and spiritual levels (in bed and in the business world).
I suspect that this
psychic dilemma must inevitably be resurrected in the unconscious mind of every
successful bride. On the surface (at the altar) she "gets her man," along with
female accolades, social approval, and a legal contract for perpetual, exclusive
rights. But beneath all that is visible and operative in society, the above
noted psychic fact is also set in motion.
Before marriage he
may be strong and independent, apparently capable-else she would not have
selected him, of meeting her immediate and long range needs; but as the cords of
marital possession become evident, even on the long anticipated honeymoon, the
costs of diminished-if-not yet fully gone independence begin to be paid.
"prince," due to become a powerful "king," who courted the lovely "princess
(queen-in-waiting)" may rapidly be turned into an obedient servant, consciously
intent on pleasing his bride, but at the same time unconsciously leaving
"kingliness" in favor of becoming a "good husband"-that is, a "pussy-whipped"
wimp disguised as a strong, independent husband.
To the degree that
a woman succeeds in an understandable attempt to "get her man," that
is, to possess an otherwise independent male for her exclusive service,
I conclude that hidden (if not conscious) resentment cannot but be lurking in
the marital wings, predictably to appear in time, if not on the honeymoon.
In the presence of
possible female repressions-consciousness of superiority, male servant-hood,
passion possibilities, possession ambivalence, and any resulting male
resentments, these practical results may follow:
and counter-productive spiritual abuse of males-as in, over-kill in unwise
activation of superior capacities.
shifts in desired services. After real female needs for "servicing" by
males are met, namely, for a few sperm and much security, and yet a woman feels
unfulfilled due to unexpressed capacities in the outside world, plus un-embraced
passions in bed, a woman's focus of attention, rooted in un-faced resentments,
may be shifted to less essential arenas, such as, house cleaning and other forms
of servitude reflective of primal roles now gone awry.
repressed awareness and attention to real male services may be projected onto
("shifted to") unrealistic obedience more related to overt female dominance than
to legitimate service.
In practice these
shifts may reflect in bitching, complaining, male "put downs ('you never help me
with the house,' etc.)," emotional and/or sexual withdrawals, if not overt
harder a man tries to live up to such displaced female desires, the "behinder"
he may predictably get, because underlying agendas of female fulfillment remain
untouched by even a man's best efforts and greatest acquiescence.
escalating male obedience to conscious and stated female desires may be taken as
weakness rather than strength she unconsciously believes will "make her happy."
Father Images are another possible source of later male resentment. Often a
girl's image of her father, acquired in childhood, is unrealistic in one of two
major ways: 1) Exaggeratedly positive, or 2) Distortedly negative.
In the first
instance, an early father figure is adored and seen as almost god-like, that is,
without faults and capable of making a daughter abundantly happy, far larger in
her idolized eyes than her more present and involved mother.
factors may influence such an unrealistic perspective of the first man in her
life. First, his relative absence in comparison to her mother, often associated
with treats and special favors when he does appear; and secondly his masculine
attributes which instinctively invite her emerging, pubescent sexuality into
partial awareness. Incest taboos which are stronger with mothers and sons are
often more lax with fathers and daughters, even while pragmatically cloaked as
In contrasting, but
often more unrealistic father images, especially when a mother is the dominant
parent, a girl may identify with her mother and share her mother's resentment
toward an apparently weak, inadequate, or less supportive father. She may, for
instance, perhaps reflecting her mother's negative feelings or hidden
resentment, come to look down on her father, seeing him as "irresponsible and no
In either case,
whether a father is seen as a "Sugar Daddy" who treats his "Little Princess" as
though she is perfect and can do no wrong, or a "no good asshole" who doesn't
take good care of her mother or herself, the stage is set for future unrealistic
expectations and/or judgments of later men in her life.
Male images formed
in early childhood may be projected, even unconsciously, onto men who enter a
girl's life after she leaves her first home. These early-formed images, whether
unrealistically positive or negative, may become like rose-colored glasses
blocking clear vision of any later male to enter her life.
If her deeply
ingrained male image is unrealistically positive, as acquired with a "Sugar
Daddy" who did indeed make her world happier in childhood, she may later look
favorably on all men, unconsciously elevating, even idolizing them as she did
her father. Resurrecting childhood patterns of behavior, she may consequently
cater to male whims and constantly try to please, like a "good little girl"
adoring her long gone father, now unconsciously "seen in," for instance, a
chosen boy friend or husband.
catering behavior can be highly pleasing to such a lucky man, it may come with a
dangerous hidden agenda, namely, a deep, un-faced expectation that this new man
can also "take care of her," and "make her happy" as she remembered her father
from childhood. Her always-striving-to-please attitude and behavior may be like
a ticking time bomb waiting to explode later when her obsequious mode of acting
fails to meet her hidden expectations.
If, on the other
hand, a girl's early ingrained male image is negative, as formed with a weak,
absent, irresponsible, or even abusive father figure, these too may be
unconsciously projected onto later men in her life. Often, in trying to survive
and enhance minimal advantages with such a father, a girl may learn to cloak her
deep contempt and hidden resentment with a stance of phoney admiration in which
she blindly tries to "be totally good," even to appear and act perfect with men.
With her father,
such a perfectionist stance may have served in two ways; first, to hopefully
gain small favors from the only man in her life, "if only she can somehow please
him." Or, on the other hand, if she "is perfect," perhaps she can at least not
evoke his ill will and/or overt wrath. This stance becomes more predictable, and
understandable, when another sibling seems to be more favored in their father's
eyes. Suppressed jealousy may further feed and support seemingly unsuccessful
efforts to secure his favors for herself.
In either case, or
for whatever other causes, whether a father figure is viewed as unrealistically
positive or negative, a girl is likely to project these same images onto later
men in her life, including resurrected patterns of behavior first learned in
early days of childhood.
Relevant here as
possible sources of later male resentment are these:
- In both cases,
with either unrealistically positive or negative male images, a woman may
unconsciously carry exaggerated illusions of male capacity for "making her
happy," that is, for bringing personal fulfillment to her life as a separate
fact that, as my own father used to say, "Every tub's gotta set on its own
bottom," which I interpret to mean: we are all individual, separate persons,
inherently responsible for our own well being, including happiness in life, may
be easily ignored (if indeed it is ever recognized) and cloaked with either type
of female projection.
With a "good daddy"
a girl may come to deeply believe that another "good man" can make her equally
happy with relatively little self responsibility-that is, "just by being
herself" as seemed to be so in childhood. When this "love me for what I am"
attitude and stance is enhanced by small efforts to "be a good girl" with, for
instance, a husband, then the stage is set for grand disappointments when the
noted fact of individual responsibility inevitably appears later in life.
When, for example,
the hidden illusion that marriage (to a "good man") will make me happy is
finally shattered on rocks of human reality, then resentment (or worse) is
Or, with a "bad
daddy," especially when perfectionism was chosen as a means of coping in early
childhood, cloaked with a thin veneer of outward obsequiousness, the stage is
even more predictably set for shattering disillusionment later in life. Early
efforts to be "a perfect wife," make a "perfect home," become a "perfect
mother," etc., all with the unconscious belief that somehow such perfectionism
will eventually cause her husband to become the "good man" her father never was,
will predictably prove not to work in time.
The problem is
often escalated by the fact that a girl with an absent or "bad daddy" may have
learned her mother's role of coping with him, that is, being the responsible
member in the family setting. In later coping with her "new father," she may
unwittingly devote herself to "mothering" him, as it appeared her own mother was
to her father.
Although a husband
may briefly thrive with the services of a mothering wife, eventually both will
predictably become disillusioned with this unworkable form of marriage
(mother/son versus wife/husband). He will often turn outside the marriage in
quest of a woman who relates to him more like a man than a son.
deeply realizing that mothering is not working, but now entrenched in this role,
may escalate her perfectionism, trying harder at first, to be a better mother to
him (e.g., housekeeper, cook, obsequious pleaser, etc.), while retreating even
further from greater challenges of being a woman with him.
If he, for any
reason, remains outwardly "faithful to her," fulfilling his "duties as a
husband" rather than divorcing or having serial affairs with other females, her
deep resentments may escalate. First, because her "best efforts" at mothering
are not working, and secondly because her deeper illusions of finding a "better
daddy" to "make her happy," since her first father failed, are even more
The harsh fact of
self-responsibility for self-fulfillment, so easily avoided in dreams of a
magical marriage and motherhood, may finally crash on the unsympathetic rocks of
proverbial axe falls in such all-too-common marriages, there may be extended
periods of unconscious resentment, expressed in endless wifely nagging,
criticism, put downs, plus various forms of emotional abuse and spirit-distance.
If some functional resolution, such as, accepted failure and
live-together-divorce, is not found, otherwise long repressed personal pathology
is apt to erupt in the context of such a disappointing marriage.
All told now,
counting both, I've been married for 57 years-71% of my life so far. Experience
is not always the best teacher, but who cannot learn some things with 499,320
hours of practice? Probably repeated mistakes have taught me most-at least when
I've been willing to admit them later.
-Arguing with a
-Playing Tit For
-Trying too hard to
being told what to do
identities (wife for mother)
understanding from a woman
GENDER EQUALITY AND ME
as amplified before, is, I think, a popular illusion fostered by both genders
with predictably dangerous consequences for either. Men advocating equality may
piously ignore illusions of male superiority conceived long ago to protect us
from difficult facts of life. Women with the same opinions may properly seek to
redress historical imbalances in economic and political powers, but risk
self-righteousness inherent in assuming victim-hood while ignoring dangers of
their own powers running rampant.
perspectives the greatest dangers of repressing awareness of natural gender
inequalities are: male vulnerability exaggerated when weaknesses are cloaked by
illusions of superiority, and female overkill when their own natural advantages
are ignored. Macho/cocky males neither carefully protect themselves from rampant
female powers nor do they typically use their slim advantages wisely.
On the other hand,
meek/mild females who deny their own natural superiority risk outward abuse by
threatened males while at the same time blindly damaging those they want to love
through excessive use of blindly held inherent powers.
Facts of gender
life as I see them: XX chromosome advantages reflect in an overall power
imbalance between males and females in almost all regards except brute physical
strength and the ironic temporary advantages of male focus-ability, which is
itself rooted in limited capacities for feeling and thinking in the broad senses
of these words.
Males do hold the
edge over females in capacities for immediate outward dominance, especially in
physical ways; but overall female powers remain operative even then in
emotional/spiritual ways. Even when men lord it over women outwardly, having the
first and loudest word, in relevant inward arenas females generally "have the
When men do not
consciously acknowledge these facts, our options are largely limited to playing
macho or becoming wimps--usually an unhealthy combination of both. Only when we
recognize the basic power imbalance and move past traditional escapes into
cockiness or wimpiness, can we possibly learn to use our limited advantages
wisely while otherwise protecting our spiritual selves as best we can.
When women avoid
seeing these same facts of life, their common options are to get caught up in
survival by playing weak and dumb, all-too-often falling for their own acts, and
then unwittingly and unintentionally hurting the ones they otherwise love.
Meaning well, they risk blindly damaging, even killing, the spirits of males who
are most significant to them, namely, lovers, husbands, and sons.
perspectives, femininity is the primary gender; maleness only evolved as sex
entered the scene of reproductive innovations. It was and is the secondary
gender, existing mainly for "service" reasons--fertilization and support of
femininity which continues to hold major responsibilities and hence powers for
continuing the species.
observations as facts which are quite in contrast to those I "learned" from my
culture has been long and difficult. Still I resist seeing them, commonly ignore
"knowing what I know," and often live as though they are not
true--always, I note in hindsight, to my long term loss, if not immediate
When or if I am
wiser, I acknowledge, even if reluctantly, historical male errors of trading in
reason for the slim advantages of outward dominance; machoism, even when I
succeed in carrying out the act, is never worth its cost in the long run.
Better, I have/am learning, to face and accept what I see when I am not blinding
myself--namely, natural female superiority in many of the arenas which count
most for good living in the here and now, and then to appropriate these facts as
best I can in daily life.
In practice, these
applications include: remaining continually alert to the female edge, lest I
blindly react in learned ways which I know to be unproductive; choosing times
and means of confrontations sensibly rather than by instinct only; accepting
female blindness to these facts rather than "trying to make them see" or looking
for female affirmation for what I see.
Females, I now see,
are often even more in denial of gender inequalities than are males. Perhaps
this is because they have for so long been outwardly dominated and have so
artfully ingrained playing submissive roles for long range success, that they do
presently live better when operating on automatic pilot rather than by conscious
Also I am learning
to waste less and less time and energy in judging these facts--that is, in
either bemoaning my fate, resenting female advantages, putting down on myself
for failures in encounters, or falling into my ancient mode of female idolatry
This latter trap
(sin?) only became visible to me after I finally worked myself out of the more
familiar male mode of substituting gods (or one God) for goddesses. Male gods
were created, I came to see, as a logical way of coping with the female facts of
life; but the temporary advantages of sky gods over earth goddesses are, I now
think, not worth their price.
In summary, the
traditional notion of male superiority, reflected in male religions as well as
male dominated politics and economics, is, I think, an understandable but costly
mode of coping with contrary facts about gender differences. I find that I live
better when I let go of these traditional views which are yet held by most males
I know and are also generally supported by females who have long-learned to cope
through playing weak.
When I recognize
and accept, even if reluctantly, that in most all immediate circumstances
(outside of business, sports, war, and the jungle) natural female powers, backed
by operative memes in nearly all social situations, exceed the limited utility
of brute strength even when backed by the advantages of one-track thinking, then
I am better off.
Seeing thusly, I
can sometimes remain alert to my temptations to self-righteousness, as in,
rushing to machoism, or to self-negation, as in, falling back into female
idolatry ("adoration"). I can also more quickly catch escapes into sins of
judgment, either of females or myself or the facts of the power imbalance
itself. These attentions then free up my conscious mind for thinking more
clearly about how to use my limited advantages, my hard-acquired insights, and
to discern more sharply among various "wiles of women" which I have long ignored
or been ignorant of.
Some rare times,
when I stay accordingly alert and can muster enough nerve to remain a separate
attentive person, I even manage to act wisely. Thank God (or Goddess)!
MIGHT AND RIGHT
I think, represents gene power--innate capacities for "move-ability," for
"making things happen" by forces existent in one's own body/mind. Right,
I am coming to see, emerges from meme power--social forces operative "out there"
in the ethos of culture. Right is never existent in nature, but only
comes to be through various formulations made by social groups out of their own
evolutionary successes. After a group finds something to work, they come to see
it as right. Meme powers are effected through rules/laws/principles.
Gene powers are accompanied by pleasure.
represented my first awareness of a shift in history from "Might is
right" to "Might for right." I am now exploring what I understand this
shift to involve. I see it as a move from honoring personal power as genetically
endowed to honoring social power, as locally recognized. The power of genes has
been, I observe, subverted to become a servant of the power of memes. In nature
the situation seems to be reversed.
I have previously
seen this move as totally positive, as a great advance in historical
progression; now I am not so sure. I can now see how I have made this shift in
my own life, how I have come to project powers which are truly genetic into
social dimensions where memes determine my actions. This shift has certainly
served me well in many regards and probably been beneficial to social groups in
which I have lived; but was it personally healthy? Was it best for me and/or
society in the long run?
speculation: I think that women live much more by the principle, albeit
unwittingly, that "Might is right," that is, that while they use
rules/principles to effect personal goals, they mainly function by the might
they embody. They use rules, but they do not worship them, as men often
come to unconsciously do. They regularly live-by might rather than
right. Men, however, tend to establish rules as right and then bow
before them (under cover of such vague principles as "my word," "my honor," and
other abstractions which are far removed from personal might).
I now suspect that
male elevation of abstract principles--written laws which can be empowered
outside any particular male's might, may have signaled the end of
ancient eras when I believe that women guided society by their own might,
without resorting to infallible rules. Perhaps males cleverly, with their
left-brain evolution, evolved rules and eventually the notion of "Might for
right" as a way of confronting and finally defeating ancient feminine powers.
Rules may have
evolved/allowed men to eventually dominate women. The invention of laws may have
signaled the downfall of women from goddesses to servants, from prime movers to
Back to me: maybe I
simply personify what has happened historically for men and women, only now with
me and my mother first, then continuing with other females who represent her for
me. I have long recognized the goddess nature of any mother to a child. She
truly is might personified, insofar as a child is concerned.
Maybe I simply kept
this primal awareness intact and learned to live it out by the above noted
habits which are now "amazing" to me. Maybe I, as though I were primal man,
"invented" rules for right (as a way of being "good" to my mother), as
a way of coping with her excessive might--as was true in my early
relationship with her.
historical man, I never went on to "get on top" and overtly dominate females, as
men have traditionally done; I simply remained "in awe" of woman's power,
keeping the habit operative by failing to recognize the extent of my own
I, in effect,
"sacrificed my balls" as an appeasement to the powers of might, and
came to honor right (her rules) as a way of coping with what I believe
to be superior female powers. "Might for right" for me meant subverting
my actual genetic might into service of right which
represented the shape of female powers (as in, the "right thing to
Now I am in the
process of trying to return to conscious awareness of my inherent powers, to, in
effect, reclaim by sacrificed balls. Seeing my projections, indeed, being
continually amazed at them, is but one step in the longer process of absorbing
forces I have long given away in the pragmatic events of trying to live well in
the presence of women.
Wonder if I'll live
long enough...or find sufficient faith to re-become myself?
These, I think, are
ideal choices in regard to gender. They, at least, are the ones I am now trying
1. See and
acknowledge the natural power imbalance between genders, rather than blindly
reacting as dictated either by genes or memes. The genes-alone reaction is, I
surmise, to react by the fight/flight reflex--that is, to either challenge and
try to defeat or to run away from the threat.
The fight option
is, I think, that which has been taken in the long course of history and seems
to be the most common one still taken today by individual men. We still react,
most commonly, to the female threat by trying to fight/dominate/get-the-best-of.
Or, as has been my common path, by running away from it--that is, by avoiding
recognition in awareness and by submitting in practice (blindly).
This later mode,
the one I have taken, involves trading in our balls at the altar of mothers
first, and then all females later, approval. Instead of fighting female power
outright, as in trying to dominate, as has been primarily done in history, I
took the opposite route of trying to appease/please females, rather than
standing up to them.
This is best
accomplished, or so I have tried, by offering the best we have, namely, our
masculinity ("balls"). We may try to appease female wrath by removing what I
think must be the ultimate threat to femininity, namely, masculinity. The one
thing females can't acquire for themselves, given their favor on the power
balance, is what males are born with, namely, the results of a Y chromosome in
each cell--symbolized by our balls.
The good news is
that it works, temporarily. When we first begin the sacrifice by becoming "good
boys," balls don't matter that much anyway. If we were thinking just then, they
must seem like a small price to pay for Mother's Good Graces, which are
so supremely important at the time.
But the bad news is
that what we gain from Her Smile is taken away from what is required
for success: a) with other males, namely, fight/win abilities (without balls we
cannot compete well), and b) for final success with females. No matter how
diligently and successfully females may be with feminizing males, the immediate
delight in a "good boy" or "soft man" is in time undercut by genetic needs for a
strong male--and this takes balls.
Result, what we win
at first by sacrificing out balls we pay for in the long run by losing out both
in successful competition with males and eventually with good female relations
We have no choice
but to cope with the power imbalance; but we do have options about seeing. Now
that I am beginning to see what I have done, first by studying the long course
of male history, and finally by decoding my projections onto Gaia, I realize
some of my choices.
temptation I face, whenever I dare seeing rather than continuing to react
blindly as my habits' dictate, is to fall into the trap (sin) of judging--that
is of playing God and judging the situation as bad/good, or playing games like "Ain't
It Awful," "Poor Little Me," "Bad Mother," etc. The same trap is present for,
plus rather than, negative judgments. Even if one becomes egotistical and
succumbs to pride rather than shame, still reality is evaded by judgment.
A significant part
of my regular homework is to avoid this trap. I want instead to simply see the
power imbalance as clearly as I can, whenever I confront it, without wasting
energy in judging it to be good or bad, or me as good or bad because of how I
have learned to react to it. Then my energies become available for more
The next challenge,
past judgment, is to evade the above noted reaction of fight/flight, that is,
the genetic reflex to any threat. Attempting to defeat females, or to run away
from them, is almost always counter-productive. This powerful gene-directive is
in the social context of an equally powerful meme dictation to submit to female
authority. I am just beginning to see this meme with some clarity. Its basic
thrust, beginning with mothers' moves, ostensibly to civilize sons, and
continuing with all social norms related to basic masculine traits
(compete/fight/win vs. cooperate/make peace/give in), is: sacrifice balls and
Thus the temptation
is to either be dictated by genes which say fight or flee, or by memes which say
sacrifice your balls and submit. But whether a man fights women, runs away from
them, or gives in to them, either way, both lose in the long run. I, of course,
know much more about the latter than the first two.
I have never
physically fought with women, and have rarely run away from them (except
temporarily in the heat of a conflict), but I have a long history--for as long
as I can remember, of deference (submitting, trying to please, seeking their
approval, and in effect bartering my balls for their smiles).
I can see from
watching others that fighting doesn't work doe long; as all men know "you can
never win an argument with a woman"--or, I think, anything else except a brute
strength battle. Nor does running away, since we need them for sex and much much
more. And I have well learned myself that submission if finally defeating also.
In summary, whether
we cope with the power imbalance (woman's natural superiority) by either
dominance (gene direction) or submission (meme dictation), whether we try to
win, get the best of, stay on top, or whether we choose to give in, try to
please, get approval, and seek permission-to-be/do (as I have)--either way we
lose in the long run.
commonly cloaked by diligent efforts
to put down on women or
to put them up; to dominate,
that is, or to idolize, and thereby
escape from their threats and
at the same time con them into
wielding their powers in our favor include:
of the gaping vagina into which
we may fall, losing ourselves, or fail
in its breadth to find sufficient stimulation
for ejaculation and self-replication
of our own natural sexuality
projected onto females for reasons
of irresponsibility and lack of nerve;
responsibility, that is, for wielding
its forces wisely, and nerve for daring
to become who we are
outside the good graces
of Mother's Smile now reflected
in a Lover's Affirmation
of openly confronting
the natural superiority of woman,
the limitations inherent in having
a Y chromosome in every cell,
and thus having to leave the security
of a fragile male ego in favor of
learning artistry for survival in
the ever-present Enchanted Forest
where woman's magic remains the
fear, most of all, of threats inherent
in becoming persons in our own rights,
thereby facing the awesome possibility
of the wonders of love
Yesterday I wrote
this poem; today I want to try to see more clearly what I was glimpsing then. I
am trying to confront three major fears which I recognize as my own, and suspect
are fairly common to other males also. Certainly they have been a significant
part of my life so far.
First, the "gaping
vagina." This metaphor represents the deepest fear I have been able to glimpse.
The physical picture portrays a primal fear of losing myself--who-I-am,
my very being as an individual. Somehow my known sense-of-myself, quite
apart or below ego, stands in threat of this ancient symbol. It is as though my
very existence as a separate individual, one who is apart from my mother, stands
in danger of the huge vagina from which I came.
male image--a "teethed vagina," may also represents this same fear. It is as
though vagina represents a huge teethed mouth which is capable of biting and
consuming. Together these metaphors may be merged into the obscene image of "cunt."
I think that the
primary human agenda, of both males and females, insofar as "growing up" is
concerned, is achieving individuality (called "individuation"), that is,
becoming one who is truly separate and apart from "mother" and the womb from
which we all emerge physically if not spiritually.
But I think the
male version of this common fear must be greater, given the facts of sexual
functioning. Or perhaps the "gaping vagina" simply becomes a better male
metaphor for our shared challenges in achieving individuality. In either case, I
can see that for me, both on thinking and feeling levels, "cunt" or "gaping
vagina" is a truly apt symbol for a very primal fear.
The sense I make of
this irrational representation is this: first, I suspect that primal memories of
the womb, of the vast cavern in which infantile life is first generated, easily
become a literal representation of the true human quest for individuation. We do
find ourselves, if at all, as pulled or exited from the womb via a "gaping
vagina." Is this memory of struggle primally etched in the cells of
brain-being-formed? Its strength to me could well make it so.
Then as womb
becomes vagina on the way to becoming mother on the way to
becoming cunt or pussy after puberty when sex becomes real,
perhaps the awesome cavern remains a reasonable symbol for many
emotional/spiritual challenges inherent in our individuation quest.
The threats and
dangers of "growing up," maturing as separate individuals, from but no
longer of our mothers, may well be projected back on to this physical
passageway from which we first struggled to become separate. Emotional
challenges which in reality have no connection with physical facts of birth or
later threats related to sexual intercourse, may understandably become mirrored
in what was in fact once real.
predictable fear of becoming a separated, "cut-off," individual, on my own in
the world, is perhaps most clearly and deeply recognized in dark images
associated with a "gaping vagina." Forever, perhaps, it may graphically reflect
remnants of unresolved fears of becoming myself. Until I completely, if this
should ever become so, become my separate self, probably this ancient
memory/danger will aptly hold my projected fears.
A second or higher
level of fear of becoming myself, seen in the mirror of cunt, is
perhaps rooted in what I suspect to be a common male fear of impotence,
again projected onto woman and most easily recognized in images associated with
images may focus on a "tight pussy," rather than a "gaping vagina." I suspect
that the fears are inter-related, perhaps even the same; but at an upper level I
think that fears of, or during, intercourse which may also be labeled "of
getting and keeping it up (maintaining an erection)," probably emerge from
deeper self-becoming threats. But what we may more clearly differentiate are
common male desires for a "tight pussy," perhaps cloaking threats of a "gaping
about male need for tactile stimulation of the penis, whether in masturbation or
intercourse, are no doubt involved in conscious preference for a "tight" vagina.
In masturbation we may choose an appropriate degree of hand pressure to provide
"just right" stimulation; but in intercourse we must rely on pressure from
vagina walls for an appropriate amount of tactile contact. If the vagina is
"gaping" rather than close-fitting, thereby limiting the amount of physical
contact and hence stimulation, then reaching an orgasm becomes increasingly
difficult. Easier then to project and blame impotence threats or
"erectile difficulties" on a female than to face and own our own fears.
As long projected,
"The woman..., she..." (Genesis 3:12)
There may also be a
real factor involved which is totally apart from fears of either self and/or
impotence. A "tight pussy" is no doubt a better sign of virginity or youth than
perhaps any other clue. It may be that male "gene eyes" in their age-evolved
vision for best baby-makers have come to recognize that replication odds are
increased with signs of virgin, young females, euphemistically recognized by
"tight pussies." But even if this is so, still I suspect that most powers
encountered in desires for highly stimulating vaginas, and comparable fears of
their counterparts, are psychologically rather than biologically based--that is,
we fear the "gaping vagina" more out of projected denials than out of wise
My first fear, in
summary, projected onto cunt, emerges, I speculate, from challenges of
becoming my separate self, cut-off from mother as surely as my umbilical cord
was cut in my beginning citizenship in the world. For these challenges,
vagina is simply an appropriately apt symbol for the spiritual counterpart
of a real physical process.
The second element
of this same fear involves sexual components of my masculine self, namely,
becoming my male-self along with my human-being-self. Here the "gaping vagina"
becomes even more graphic; well past any realistic dangers of not-enough tactile
stimulation to elicit ejaculation, fears of un-embraced (or possible
non-existent, not present, or severely limited) libido forces are easily
projected onto a vagina which I may then blame for inadequate "help" in getting
and maintaining an erection or "bringing me" to reach orgasm.
I also suspect that
many male fantasies about, or desire for, anal intercourse are more deeply
rooted in un-faced needs/wishes for "more stimulation." Rectums, being
anatomically smaller, may easily be imagined as "tight pussies" during dark,
private moments of intercourse.
A second major male
fear, easily projected onto females, is of the socially dangerous power inherent
in masculine sexuality--in particular, instinctual forces rooted in reproductive
urges which are so elemental (related to Y chromosomes in every cell) as to be
completely below levels of consciousness.
instincts for survival--ingrained urges to stay-alive above all else, drives for
self-replication are, I think, the deepest and most powerful. And because genes
for life ("staying alive") are older, they are hence more primally
ingrained--that is, evolved longer before consciousness appeared on the human
scene. Sex genes (X and Y chromosomes), being younger, are consequently nearer
to consciousness which is even younger than sex.
The point: even
though sexual urges are younger and weaker than life instincts, they tend to be
closer to awareness. We think, that is, more about sex than about breathing, not
because it is "more important," but because it is "easier to think about." Plus,
logistical challenges require more conscious attention.
of energy, normally generated by genes evolved for reproductive purposes long
before consciousness ever entered the human scene are enormous, second only, I
think, to those for survival. Energies associated with massive production of
male sperm cells (there is nothing remotely comparable in the minimal female
ovum production system), plus in strategies evolved for dispensing this vast
reservoir of potential re-creations, are mind-boggling (literally) to
Studies show that
an average male "thinks about sex" every 5-7 minutes. But if these forces rise
into consciousness that frequently, imagine how pervasive and powerful they must
be below the level of possible awareness. All statistics and speculations aside,
I note, when I am honest with myself, that I know of no other constellation of
forces/motivations/drives/instincts which so consistently move me as those which
I may summarize as "about sex." Even motivations which seem far more benevolent
and noble at the time often boil down, on analysis (when I dare), to emerge from
primal drives more clearly seen as sexual in nature.
Point: males are, I
think, natural generators of immense amounts of latent power which can best be
conceived in sexual categories. We, like all creatures, are "driven" to stay
alive; but past survival alone, we are, I conclude, "possessed" of vast amounts
of energy which, left in its natural state (not "sublimated"), would seek
expression in various activities associated with "baby-making"--most focused in
"doing it," especially with young virgins. Given air and food, filled lungs and
stomach, more than all else, I think, we are moved to fuck.
But the problem is:
what are we to do with such extensive "drives" outside the jungle where Mother
Nature provides functional boundaries. Animals, I surmise, "don't have to worry"
about "being too sexy"; natural constraints and opportunities provide workable
limits. Male animals are free (bounded by circumstances) to "be as sexy" as they
actually are (or so it seems to me).
changes all that. Surviving social structures have evolved with severe
constraints on animal-like sexual behavior. We guys are in a far different
sexual arena than "them lions (and bulls and studs, etc.)." Probably we are born
with similar sexual instincts, yet we find ourselves in distinctly different
circumstances. Moves which result in success in the animal kingdom are more
likely to lead to incarceration in human society.
Human males, though
genetically like our animal ancestors, have necessarily evolved different
strategies for managing similar sexual "drives." The fears which I am now trying
to face are a part, I believe, of the ways we have evolved to cope with these
natural forces which are problematic in current social structures. These
"strategies (coping devices) are what I wish to explore now.
First and foremost,
I think that conscious denial, suppression, and eventual repression, are the
most common of our male coping devices. We may "try not to think about it." We
may "take" proverbial, if not actual, "cold showers." We may come to
disassociate our selves from natural forces which, in reality, are part
and parcel of who we literally are.
completely "rule out" or consciously deny powerful ingrained urges, we may come
to imagine ourselves as separate from them, as "having" them--or, more
particularly, "having to cope with" forces which are eventually conceived as
apart from "me."
Once "out there (in
our imaginations)," we may then place (project) internally generated powers onto
various objects (persons, places, or things) which we thereafter take to be
"moving us" in sexual ways. Commonly these objects-for-projection include
females (She "turns me on."), or, if one is religious, then a Devil may be
imagined to "make me do it (or want to)."
Then, rather than
being sexual, as in reality we are, we come to exist as
though our sexual powers are "out there" somewhere, as external forces to
be indulged, denied, suppressed, or otherwise reckoned with. In either case, we
then live cut-off-in-awareness from one of the two most powerful genetic forces
which in fact, though not in our fancy, continue to "move us."
It is this
immensely vulnerable condition in which we are consciously separated from powers
that unconsciously impel us that, I think, the fears I am beginning to face must
arise. Like children waking up fearful in the night, we must look for various
"ghosts" to bear the weight of denied natural powers. Women may "turn us on" in
the daylight, I now believe, just like ghosts once "scared us to death" in the
night. But when it is happening, if I am correct, we never know about our
projections at the time. We truly believe they "do it to (or for) us."
The condition is,
of course, not complete; all men know a bit--some more than others, about our
own sexual drives. We seldom if ever succeed in complete repression (as
testified by monastic monks and celibate priests). Some of us even claim to be
"totally aware" of our sexual natures; but such men, I speculate, are often
fooling themselves--or else are extremely rare. I don't think I have ever known
such a man. Such "bragging" seems to me to be more ego than self, and more
likely verbal compensation for un-faced, non-verbal fears. "Me thinks" such
macho males "doth protest too much."
In summary I
believe that most males, certainly this one, are in large measure cut-off in
awareness from the true extent of our natural sexual instincts. Even when we
protest to the contrary, or secretly suspect ourselves to be latent Don Juans, I
think that men-in-general are grandly (consciously) disconnected from large
proportions of our nature-given sexual powers.
Even when we "talk
big," or unconsciously fear sexual omnipotence (or its cloaked side, impotence),
I suspect that most males today live at an existential distance from the true
generative powers initiated by Y chromosomes. We often exist in illusionary egos
("fragile" as recognized by most females) which are an escape from self, created
to protect us from real dangers "out there."
We then live out
our lives trying to protect, promote, or enhance fragile mental constructs which
are other than our existential selves (who we truly are). In these
familiar male quests, we may never even get around to challenges inherent in
being our sexual selves.
males are not nearly as "sexy"
as we sometimes think we are
or fear we are not
but we are, I observe,
far more sexual than we deeply
believe ourselves to be
Fear of our own
sexuality may be first of all rooted in fear of the unknown; just as we commonly
fear any dark space, so we (especially males) may naturally be afraid of the
unknown nature of our sexual powers. Certainly we know sex is present and
operative--blind urges tell us that, at night in wet dreams, if not in day time
fantasies and irrepressible impulses arising when females are around (or when
knowing the reality of sexuality is not the same as knowing its full and true
nature, for example, whether or not we can contain, express, and mediate its
powers wisely in the social world. Because male repression and hence projection
typically begins so early in life, who among us has time to learn personal
responsibility before society allows, indeed, encourages, us to thrust that
requirement onto females?
We are like
children who have the benefit of recognizing a ghost in the dark, bringing the
temporary relief of naming terror of unnamed fears; but because our projections,
especially onto females, remain so complete, we are left with the continual
anxiety of living with still scary ghosts--eerie shadows and reflections of our
own unrecognized and hence un-embraced sexuality. (Wow, what a sentence! Not to
mention the state-of-being.)
The current social
situation which allows boys' limited degrees of openness about sexual urges,
while supporting girls' suppression and requiring female responsibility, easily
gives males an unrealistic sense of our own sexuality.
On the one hand,
males can be somewhat conscious of our impulses without incurring social wrath;
but because girls are traditionally charged with responsibility for "how far we
can go," we gain relatively little experience in personal, sexual
responsibility. We learn a bit about how to lust, but not much about how to
"handle" desires wisely in society, which is largely repressive of any overt
We are rather like
"nice boys (sometimes)" who are aware of a "tiger in the tank," but are ignorant
of its actual powers and especially of our unknown capacity for its wise
management--somewhat like sitting on a time bomb which we know is there, but
have no idea of when it may "go off."
But we do have much
direct knowledge about dangers to be encountered if and when it does. This
information is acquired early in life with mother, and is continually reinforced
in social situations beyond her presence. By the time boys are old enough to get
away from her searching eyes, this powerful memory may already be ingrained.
"What if she should see or find out?," may remain present in
conscience, if not in every place.
this arena--a boy's emerging sexuality with his mother, is relatively skimpy.
First, it begins so early in life, indeed, at life's very beginning before
speech is even possible; it proceeds in almost total silence, yet with evident
powers operative; and hardly anyone ever talks about it later. Boys may try, but
mothers, so far as I know, never do. The end result is a huge dark space where
immensely powerful and long-lasting forces are loosed but seldom acknowledged
and never examined.
"scientific data" is lacking, I can only rely on personal experience, very
limited data from other males, almost none from mothers, and hence, considerable
speculation. So, what do I think? First, I am convinced that male sexuality
(probably female also) begins in the womb (erections are evident in sonograms)
and continues to develop actively from birth onward. Sons are "sexy" first with
our mothers. We don't wait till puberty to have urges and attractions as well as
erections. And mother, naturally, is the first "object of our affections."
Secondly, I believe
that all mothers participate, mostly unconsciously and more likely
unintentionally, in the process of a child's emerging sexuality. Holding,
touching, kissing, cooing, and regularly "cleaning" genitals and anus cannot but
invite sensations which will later be recognized as "sexual."
and conscious thinking about sexuality, still its powers must be present and
operative. Even when mothers consciously think and sincerely believe that
"nothing sexual is going on," and infants have no language for naming erotic
perceptions, still, I surmise, sexuality is inevitably being experienced in the
silence of body.
But while I think
that mothers cannot but provide what boys cannot but take as sexual stimulation
(e.g., by touching, nursing, cleaning, and their own bodily exposure), I am
equally convinced that mothers must universally deny that they are "being
sexual," and with almost the same degree of consistency, respond negatively to
overt signs of a boy's sexuality. The whole operation is, as it were, carried
out in strict secrecy--which probably exaggerates rather than diminishes its
It is like living
in a room with an elephant which certainly influences movement, but which no one
acknowledges being present. "What sexuality?" I have read that in some primitive
cultures mothers use sexual stimulation to soothe infants. Perhaps modern
mothers may unwittingly do the same; but even if so, I surmise that it must be
done unconsciously and never "admitted" with a child.
And by the time a
boy has language and may overtly pursue his sexual interests--as in, saying
sex-related words, trying to "touch girls," "look at nudity," "show off" an
erection, or openly "play with himself," surely negation from the goddess, by
silent judgment if not verbal condemnation or physical punishment, is
predictable. While the second most powerful of male instincts is emerging openly
in the world, accompanied by mother's active stimulation (admitted or not), this
critical developmental stage takes place in virtual silence (like a non-subject)
and general denial, if not negative judgment and/or punishment.
Small wonder that
boys have so much trouble in warmly embracing this essential aspect of our male
selves. We must do so almost totally alone, yet in the presence of powerful,
unacknowledged stimuli and almost certain rejection if the process ever becomes
overt. We may no longer "get our mouths washed out with soap" for "talking
dirty," but judgments and/or punishments for "acting dirty" must still be as
widespread as ever.
conditions are still far from conducive for positive affirmation and parental
reinforcement of emerging male sexuality. If we boys ever grow up sexually,
rather than remaining trapped in small-boy modes, we must do so largely on our
own (even peer talk is often more threatening than helpful), in the presence of
the goddess's judgmental eyes (risking the powerful meme of Mother's Frown),
often accompanied by punishments and/or rejection at the time. I, for one, am
yet to out grow powerful repressive habits I learned so early in life at Saline.
I am beginning to see my way through patterns I acquired for survival,
but absorbing what I know is yet a significant part of my daily agenda.
win-driven men blindly focused on being #1
and appropriately fearful of ties
which hinder independent pursuits
need to see and accept connection-driven women
equally concerned with peaceful togetherness
and cooperative harmony
as women who thrive on closeness
must learn to grant space for freedom loving men
without taking their need or distance personally
this before functional compromises can be made by both
on the longer path toward loving acceptance of each as we are
devoid of regret or hidden hopes for change
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