How do you remind yourself that women aren't your enemy?

I'm having a tough time lately with remembering that women, all women, don't automatically hate me and don't want to see me dead. I mean, I know that's not true, but I seem to be forgetting it a lot lately, especially when I fight with my wife.

Two things that I try to keep in mind when I get like this:
  • I posted a poll on another message board and was quite surprised to learn that, on that board at least, none of the women who had been abused by men wanted revenge against all men! It was the exact opposite of what I expected.
  • My daughter, who is almost three years old, doesn't hate boys or men yet. So it's not innate. Somehow knowing that helps a little.
Can anyone else share anything that helps them?
 
Hi Strangeways. My interactions with some female sexual assault survivors has helped me some. There's one woman and some trans women whom I read regularly that have helped me lessen focus I have; that being, I've had less success being comfortable around women, and seeking some jobs, because they're predominantly held by women. The jobs I wanted in the past were working for government in various openings, and being around women, might have included seeking companionship, or other. I've not made it to one interview in any job attempts, nor can I show any past connection with women that became lasting, intimate, nor friendship. Women hold the vast majority of those jobs I applied, and I've likely displayed my vulnerability, being unsure and not confident, so any past woman could ignore me. Why that has been is open to conjecture I've thought about, and usually gets very negative.

The other parts about women's overwhelming predominance regarding research, support, therapies, advocacy and laws outpace mens' when regarding what this body of men have been dealing with. This has shown we men are left out of the broader or local discussions concerning our trauma. There is quite a bit more I would do about that neglect, had I a platform that's as welcoming as MS is toward our needs, but occurred in broader and open society. That men are still working to have more recognition of our trauma, where women have overwhelming support, can bring some dismay.

When I read about the reactions, responses and perceptions of men who've been abused by women, being left out of the broad scope of support resonates more. The double and more hurt and added pain to sense, to know, and perceive compared to women who've had decades of laws, and resources built to support their trauma needs has become unacceptable. Men have wandered in the wasteland, and that hurt shows up here and elsewhere with a passion to be heard, helped, understood and supported. There has to be a lot of pain knowing how long we've waited for help to recognize we're here.

I will not stay with those thoughts for long, it's counter to where I want to go, but I acknowledge how deeply hurt all the above is for men abused by women. That there are women who project a rage toward men, which they'll find ways to justify, can be rightly defined as revenge. The history of the current trend to lash out at men, from radical and band-wagon women's groups, cliches and platforms, has become harder to ignore owing to the internet; this internet gives voice to prejudices, biases, bigotry and so on, like never before.

Knowing these things doesn't help you, and if all that triggers tension or/and anger, I'm sorry. My intention is to convey an understanding of men being left out, and how in particular men who suffer/ed trauma by women, are dealing with this trauma with added obstacles.

We're all glad we Have MS and other online resources to help work on the many issues we face. We're going to have more progress with more of us reaching out here, and in the broader voice we're sharing. That is happening, and there are more male voices who advocate and tell their stories. We will get there, but who knows when? Therapies have improved for us, that I'm very aware. I have worked on my frustration about being left out, having not made progress in past career attempts, and feeling wrong in my own skin for decades. That is all therapy, discussions here, and elsewhere, that have given me some means to explore being kinder to myself, and actually beginning to like and love myself. Those last two are only this year, and looking back, the few times I cared about myself, were minimum windows, and they closed with massive doors, walls and enclosure, to trap me in my despairing mind. I'm sure these last words can be related to, and I'm replying because so much of this trauma and pain has hurt my life, that the beginnings of progress, though perceived as tenuous, can also be embraced by me as real. I seek your and other men here to continue to share like you've done, to help sort and wonder of our progress.

We have a lot to offer each other, and hope is among the parts that resonates with me. I can register some hope in your post, you acknowledge there are some who may have worked to lessen the grip of vigilance concerning women, and what may be done? I've had a lifetime of fear about women, but equally men, and that puts me somewhere I perceive myself an outlier? I've had good interactions with some relationships over the decades, but some of the trauma had created filters about what I am in those. I always felt less than, unworthy, and being a part of others lives was by their grace, not that I'm accepted, but that I'm tolerated. That self loathing perspective, the blinders which I set up, helped keep me less engaged with those whom I interacted. I would be less likely hurt, if I maintained distance. That is, I felt vulnerable, so, I would sabotage my thoughts about myself.

To seek getting past that, was not too important to me not long ago. The threat that being vulnerable held over me, has become less of a threat this year. I accept myself, who I am, and what goes with that, more so this year than ever before. It's been a long time developing, and the decades of self loathing are in my rear-view mirror of awareness. I want it to stay behind me now, but we all know there's work needed to maintain what I've begun to hope.

This response to you, is that therapy and here have begun progress toward working past my vulnerabilities, and perceptions of threat concerning women, and it is slowly happening about men too. I share, hoping this makes sense, and maybe some of this seems to have been on your radar too. Thanks for starting this conversation @Strangeways
 

rileyk86

Registrant
I still don't feel like I can ever trust women again. I was sexually abused as a child by my first step mother and emotionally abused all my life by women, including my mother and my ex-wife. Even today my mother can't get over herself. Everything is always about her. I tried to be nice and go out with her today and she got drunk and started crying about whatever. I can't stand her self-loathing. But anyway, I don't know about women. I guess I know not all of them are like the women in my life. But it's hard to get past it. I don't want revenge against women. I just want society to realize women aren't always the victim. I think I seek out validation from "good" women to try and see not all women are abusive. I mean I guess I know they are not. I don't know if that is any help at all. The best thing for me right now is the few good women I do know. (My grandmother and my aunts). But I don't see them that often. I always go back to my mother. I just want to cut her off, but I can't because she is alone and I'm pretty much all she has. She's leaned on me for support all my life. I don't know if I can do it anymore. But I think if we can find some decent women it may be easier to trust women again.
 
I'm an equal opportunity survivor, having been sexually abused first by my mother and then by neighbor boys and men. Over the years I've tended to be more ill at ease with men than women, though at university I encountered some rather strident feminists who were not my friends. By that time I'd had some good experiences with other men and wanted to start a men's group. I got support from a program director who was a man, but after our first meeting there was a backlash from women in the program. Next thing I knew the program director backed away and the group dissolved. At the moment most of my close friends are women and a few of those were sexually abused as children. I receive a great deal of love from these women.

I think the reality testing you're doing is good. Yes, there are angry women, but there are also angry men. I'm inclined to give them both wide berth. I know very well that when I come to a situation with an open heart, every meeting is easier. Not every woman is my mother and not every man is the neighbor who raped me. Glad you checked in with this.
 
One thing that helps me is to remember that many of the things we have learned and many of the services we are looking for are on our radar because of women survivors. Women fought and are fighting hard to raise awareness of the fact that survivors are not alone, that victims are not to blame and that healing is possible. They have fought for years to change unjust laws and reform the court system. It's true that in the first place it was their own experience of victimization and injustice that led, but I really think that we benefit from a lot of that. I totally get that some of those same women will now minimize my own experience of victimization, but not all. I try to focus on the good that women have done for survivors in general, and focus on the women I've met who are supportive. I would add, finally, that I generally avoid getting into discussion of male victimization in social media because, well, basically, the few times I've done so I've ended up hurt by women's comments. I don't think they are representative, and I hope that some of those women would respond to me differently if it were in in person discussion, but, based on my experience, Facebook discussions can get politicized very quickly and some people (a certain kind of feminist) simply refuse to read what I've actually written and insist on arguing, instead, with what they think I'm saying. So again, I just avoid that kind of thing now, and try to focus on the more helpful interactions I've had.
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Online, especially in the world of pop culture discussion, misandry has almost become an acceptable stance. Where previously the proportion of women who would make "all men are pigs" comments was comparatively miner or limited to a few ultra hard line so called feminists, it seems these days the culture is so all pervading that it becomes difficult to believe there is room for anything but the "women good, men bad" rhetoric and calls for all women to get their metaphorical (and sometimes literal). torch and pitchfork.

Yet, I had two recent experiences that contrasted hugely, both at my actor's workshop.

Two weeks ago, we were put into small groups and asked to improvise a short piece, given a genre, a type of theatre and a current "theme"

Our group got eighties slasher films, physical theatre, and feminism.

What happened was that nobody, including the young woman who was part of the group, took any of this the least bit seriously!
We wound up with a short, very silly piece involving a number of dramatic and overthetop murders with me doing a voice over, followed by me playing a sort of ridiculously sexist cockney police chief, saying how the killer was obviously a man.
When the young woman who was part of the group said "could the killer be a woman?" I yelled, in my best michael cane voice "shut up and get me some coffee woman!"

It then turned out the woman was the killer, she arrived, slashered everyone (with my silly police chief still trying to order her to keep it down and bring him some coffee), and finally finished with her standing at the front of the metaphoric stage, declaring in a bright and uplifting voice "women can bee cerial killers too!"

It got a huge amount of laughs (as did the other pieces people did which were equally silly), and I felt pretty good about the fact that real people, not in the usual mob were comfortable enough to take the issue of "feminism" as a joke.

yet, last week I had a very different experience. We were doing monologues, and one woman had been given a very harrowing monologue to learn from a play, involving a woman who'd clearly been raped trying to decide if it was her fault for wearing a skirt.
The monologue was well acted, her point came across, and yes, was pretty shocking as indeed an account of a sexual assault would be.

All of that was fine, accept that a different woman (certainly not the girl who'd taken the micky out of feminism), then chimed up with:

"well of course, we as women all know what it is like, we've all had dirty looks and cat calls, and so understand the suffering women go through"

Bang! I'm suddenly tense, wanting to scream, feeling under threat, feeling angry! hell I'd have loved cat calls and dirty looks, hell, I used to actually want! verbal insults since if things stayed verbal I could simply ignore it, and if it was verbal it wasn't being physical.

but I clench my fists, clench my teeth, push everyting down, much as part of me is wanting to stand up and scream "women! can be abusers too!"

So, the simple answer seems to be no, I don't trust "women!" as a mob, as a group, as a gang, as a clique which seems bent on heaping retribution on anyone with a y chromosome whether they've done something or not.
My experiences, both during my abuse and later just show me "women!" have already decided to hate me.

On the other hand, I've known some very wonderful ladies, that is, people who are kind, witty, compassionate and often have been good friends in the past and very likely will be again in the future, heckk, my best friend, who I am actually married to is definitely female, (she said that had she been at that actor's workshop, she might well have said something).

So the simple answer is, no I don't trust "women!" but that is because "women!" have already judged and condemned me, I was abused by "women!" and "women!" are generally nothing but a howling vitriolic mob bent on destroying anything outside itself.

If however your a decent person who happens to have two x chromosomes, and are prepared to be decent to me, then I'll gladly treat you the same way, just leave the rest of the mob behind please.

Luke.
 
Hi Strangeways,
Can anyone else share anything that helps them?
I submit all my connections with people through a "will this support my healing process or not?" filter. Women can be challenging but there are a couple of things I use to assess their compatibility with my needs. 1. I check in with my body to see how comfortable it is in her presence. 2. I get a sense of how they react to my reality of being severely hurt by my mother. 3. I look at if what they are offering me has the potential to be supportive of my healing process (so far, the only ones I've found is a practitioner of animal based therapy and a Doctor who has set up a website on the effects of childhood trauma on chronic illness later in life (see: Dr. Veronique Mead )).

If I were to find someone with whom I was considering a closer connection, I look for her interest in helping support the establishment of CuddleParty locally.

Getting stronger in my connection with my own maleness and transforming my shame into a positive sense of self-worth (a very recent development) seems to be helping. Finding a way to stand my ground in the face of memories of an aggressive and potentially volatile father help too. Getting stronger in the face of my mother's trips and openly celebrating my courage and value seems to be helping too (she has some pretty deep rooted anger at men that she has generally refused to address and heal within herself. I was an easy target for it.).

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Garth
 
Appreciate your comment Garth and definitely have to learn more about Cuddle Parties. I remember spending time with a woman living in Albuquerque decades ago who had spent time in a spiritual community in Kentucky. There were quite a few of those folks living in New Mexico and I witnessed their version of a cuddle party. They were eternally seeking out opportunities to cuddle. Who doesn't need a good hug?
 
Thanks Visitor,
Appreciate your comment Garth and definitely have to learn more about Cuddle Parties.
The things I like most about CuddleParty are: 1. that the negotiation of consent piece is very well done. It keeps it safe for me. 2. The emphasis is on consensual affection in the moment not romance or sex or even long term relationship (another safety feature for me. I'm not capable of participating in the normal mating game). 3. The attention to the body is such a relief! I generally feel starved of affection in this world. Pretty much all of the childhood trauma I endured was psycho-emotional. So consensual non-sexual touch can fill a need that was lacking in my youth and avoids the pyscho-emotional stressors that were so normal.

I had recent triggering events with my mother and a female therapist. I'm realizing than when I'm seeking positive warm hearted affection and attention, I open myself to being the target of their internalized trauma. It's hard to disconnect from my mother at this level, but I can see the need. She isn't capable of hearing the childhood trauma stuff and remaining supportive of my healing process. Sigh. It's a common pattern amongst women. I was wondering if she was resisting my urge to embrace and celebrate my maleness in a healthy way.

Cheers,

Garth
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Garth said:
celebrate my maleness
I'm not even sure I know what this means, I struggle enough with people who want to categorise "maleness" as pretty much synonymous with violence and ignorance, even in completely random spheres, for example the review I found the other day which said "women care about character in stories, women need complexity in plot, women are not interested in action sequences" etc, which basically boiled down to "women have brains, men have balls."

I have never really cared about the fact that I'm male, indeed for a very long time in my life I wanted to be female since it seemed to me women had a far easier time being accepted, loved and finding positive reinforcement.

the only person who has come close to actually seeing something positive in me being male (other than my tenor singing voice), is my lady, who once said:

"Your a man, your strong, gentle and you love me"
Which is literally the only time I've seen being "a man" described in a way which is positive to me.
Still, its slightly difficult to hold on to that when increasingly society is forgetting the difference between men and orcs.

Luke.b
 
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