Women's insensitivity

SubtleStuff

Registrant
Hi Y'all,

I was up at 3am this morning writing a post related to a major hurt from my mother to which I exposed myself.

I've been pondering it. I think it is difficult for her to understand how a boy can get hurt when he is celebrated profusely for being a boy. Perhaps many women wonder "What's their (men's) problem? If I had got that kind of praise in my youth I'd be in heaven!". It mirrors the perception I've heard from #MeToo enthusiasts that "It's a man's world". "Men have it made". Given that feminine traits have been routinely undervalued for a long time, I can see how they would come to that conclusion. Their deepest wounds are emotional. Perhaps infant boys are hurt differently. In an effort to toughen us up we are starved of physical affection and told that feeling hurt, crying, being vulnerable, sensitive and emotional (with anger as the one exception) are all taboo. This leaves us deeply hurt and without access to the nurturing qualities and social connection skills that are essential to recovering from wounds.

As I work on transforming my shame of my maleness (I'm backwards to many men this way. It was a way to gain access to some positive support through my mother in infancy) I decided I would have to reframe the male identity. Culturally we've historically been Protectors, Providers, and Pursuers (of sexual partners). These are all highly competitive and require a man to avoid weakness at all cost. As a military officer, my father was an extreme example of this pattern. I think we need to embrace an identity that centers on the ability to initiate efforts to create or support harmonious relations in complex systems (body/heart/mind/spirit, social groups, & ecosystems). I can celebrate that and be proud of it.

I have to be careful of with whom I share it. Some women, (my mother is one) seem to think a man who has a strong sense of positive self worth is a good target for her anger at men. My mother has had a habit of calling me "crazy" in the past, more recently she stopped calling me "hypersensitive" when I exposed it and asked her to stop. The most recent event is related to trying to share the connection between Adverse Childhood Experiences and illness. At one point she exclaimed, "but you were so highly celebrated!" effectively silencing any argument I might have (despite strong scientific evidence by a medical doctor that the conditions of my youth might be connected to poor health).

I've given up on trying to create a healthy relationship with her. I don't think she's capable of it. She's helpful financially and I'll have to be satisfied with that. I'll have to create a close healthy sense of "family" with other people. My sister is similar. I'll probably make attempts to connect with my brother when he's around. He's fun, but there's little depth to our connection. Sigh! So much for family!

Cheers,

Garth
 
Interesting post. A couple of thoughts:
Perhaps infant boys are hurt differently. In an effort to toughen us up we are starved of physical affection and told that feeling hurt, crying, being vulnerable, sensitive and emotional (with anger as the one exception) are all taboo.
It's well known that it is infant boys, not girls, who are more emotional, and more in tune to their mothers' emotional states. Society works hard to stunt boys' emotional development. This means mothers as much as, or more than, fathers. Of course, this fact is usually ignored. Men are consistently blamed for their own lack of emotional development, even though this is what we've learned and how we are socialized. Few or none of us chose to be this way.
I think we need to embrace an identity that centers on the ability to initiate efforts to create or support harmonious relations in complex systems (body/heart/mind/spirit, social groups, & ecosystems).
I completely agree, as far as it goes. What I personally want to do is to tie that up into my own sense of masculinity, instead of to say "oh, I'm just not a masculine person." I believe compassion is a mandatory element of masculinity, along with hard work and protectiveness. And I can understand my emotions, instead of refusing to feel them.
 

MACH123

Registrant
The bitches are heartless monsters or, put another way, since they have to have babies, they can't feel it as sharply (just a theory.)

This allows my wife to flay me with impunity. From the time the kids were little I told her she had no feelings. I let her tell me I was crazy but over time, others saw it and eventually, the kids told me they knew it too.

What can you do? I'm feminine btw and identify as a girl whatever that means and my wife is the dom in our thing if you couldn't tell.
 

SubtleStuff

Registrant
Thanks Strangeways and Mach123,
For your posts. Good stuff. Very interesting and insightful. Thanks for sharing them.

Today my mother said she wanted to drop by and talk with me. I said "sure". When she arrived, she tried to turn me into the problem, grilling me on whether I kept track of my emotions and wanting me to look into if one of my supplements was causing them. She was particularly concerned about the anger and "depression" that I showed on Friday as I drove her to the store. Depression is an exaggeration in my opinion. Sadness would be a better description. Depression generally lasts longer than an afternoon.

It's a pattern I've seen in her alot. When she's upset (worried about my emotional and physical health as it were) she attempts to take charge and control me rather than seeing her worry/ anxiety as her problem and dealing with it there. When she saw me today, it was abundantly clear that I wasn't angry or depressed. It took me a while to put the brakes on her control tactics and clear some space so that I could share with her my understanding of what was going on. In brief, I explained that I had gone through a traumatic reenactment dating from Developmental Trauma that likely started very early in my life. The way I resolved it in myself was to see that my hopes that my mother would be able to support my healing process at the psychological and emotional levels were unrealistic (I had been getting hopeful because of her apparent interest in the childhood trauma-illness connection studies I was finding. I've know for a while that she's useless when it comes to healing touch.)

She tried to minimize the damage done to me in my youth by saying that my siblings were brought up the same and they turned out fine. I countered with no, the timing of traumatic events was different for them. Birth order was different too. When we got into my less than mainstream approach to healing (hers is to put any past trauma history aside and suppress symptoms. Mine is to heal deeply), she said "We all make our choices in life". I countered that minimizing statement with "I didn't choose to get ill!" I wish I had added, " I didn't choose to be traumatized in my youth either". Unfortunately, I only thought of that last one later.

I think I did a pretty good job of setting healthy boundaries with her today. I'm proud of that and am feeling stronger. It's such subtle stuff and the roots go so deep. The effect on my mood and body is quite intense. My work now is to continue to build a family of choice who are more supportive of my healing path and let go of any fantasies that anyone in my birth family could serve that role.

Cheers,

Garth
 

dark empathy

Registrant
One thing which society always seems to forget, is that the victorian paradigm always places greater emphasis on female suffering than male suffering, I know, I was at the worst end of this as a teenager for a long while, most of my abusers were quite free to talk of their emotions loudly and continually and how terrible their problems were, even as I was just a punching bag to be played with.

its something that the me too movement has massively got behind, women's pain, women's suffering, listen to women, without actually considering that its founded on many of the very ideas that true feminism intrinsically tried to reject.

After all, its obvious that women should be strong and independent and do what they want with their lives, but if a woman gets hurt, no!

So many discussions of gender differences are always framed by this sort of thinking, for example I recently saw an article which claimed that women's sense of compassion needed stories with character relationships, that women desired complexity in fiction, that women wanted a context to action, that effectively anything relating to human emotions or connection was a "female only" province.
Maybe there was a time that you got society "celibrating masculinity" but these days, it seems "masculinity" means a very narrow set of negative traits, aggression, competition, anger, indeed I've heard far more these days about "toxic masculinity" than "celibrating masculinity."

And that's before we get into the even more thorny area of female power in sexuality and appearance, (My lady still hasn't managed to convince me that I am not ugly).

This is why I spent so many years wanting to be a woman myself, since it seemed the social position of women, the value women have, the the encouragement of compassion, the admiration women get, the power women have in relationships were all things I lacked in my life and in myself.
What I'm slowly coming to realise, is that just as feminism had to reject a lot of society's inherent notions of femae weakness and dependence that went with the Victorian paradigm, so we need to recognise that not all masculinity is toxic, or revolves around beating people up, and that there is some sense in which someone can be "A good man" distinct from "A good person"

I'm hoping to put a bit of this into my fiction if I gever get a chance to be published, and I have encountered a few people (often women), who actually get it.
As I've said before, my lady's definition of what it it means that I'm "a man" is probably the best I've ever heard:

"Your strong, your gentle and you love me."

That's not a lot when set against society's expectations, but its something to work from I suppose.

Luke.
 
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SubtleStuff

Registrant
Hi Luke,
"Your strong, your gentle and you love me."
This is great! Congratulations! I'm happy for you. What a fantastic description of you as a man! :) I'm working on the strong and finding someone to love pieces, but I think I've taken a pretty strong stance against the toxicity of the Cold War military stuff in which I was raised and embraced something better.

Great hearing from you :)

Cheers,

Garth
 

rileyk86

Registrant
Boys are taught from a young age that we have to be tough, never cry or show any emotion or be vulnerable. But boys also have to always be nice to girls. As already said it is known male infants are more emotional than female infants and I think this even goes into being a toddler. Until about age 5 when boys can understand the "tough boy" agenda that society has. Then as men, feminists complain that men aren't emotionally their for women.

I recently saw and article that was titled "Ten Things Men Should Do To Make Life Better For Women". It focused on feminists created jargon like "mansplaning" or "manspreading", "catcalling" (all which I have never seen or heard).. And otherwise making women feel bad. They didn't care that not all men, in fact very few, are like that. They acted like pointing that out was sexist.

It just irritates me all this support and care for women, while men's health is completely ignored. Men are supposed to do everything we can for women, but women are allowed to treat us like crap. At the last golden globe awards the female host said "Ladies and Remaining Gentlemen. I mean, really? Insulting men, and boys even, treating us like crap is socially accepted. And then the #metoo movement demonized men even more. I guess I'll stop complaining now..
 
I'm reading a book right now at the request of my former wife with the title Intimate Deception - Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal. You see I'm a trauma survivor and I wasn't faithful to my wife and it caused her a great deal of pain that I couldn't acknowledge. I wanted her understanding of how challenging my life was but wasn't able to honestly listen to her. I've gone far enough in my healing journey that it doesn't shame me that she shares her hurt with me. I can read the book now and see how what I did hurt her.

To be honest, discussions like this make me uncomfortable for the simple reason I've been an asshole much of my life and the people who've paid the price have been the women who fell in love with me. There is pain all over the place created by women and by men that is spread around like a cold. So yes, there are insensitive women and asshole men. It seems to me we all have some healing to do, some amends to make. But, alas, it is easier to point a finger at someone else than to do one's own healing work. I say that as a man whose first perpetrator was a woman, my mother. The second was a man, my neighbor. It would be easy to hate both genders if that were the only yardstick I had to use. Now I'm more inclined to accept that most of us are wounded puppies trying to find our way through life... running into other wounded puppies and only rarely able to bring kindness into our encounters. I want more compassion and kindness for myself AND for the women in my life.
 

Timawarrior

Registrant
Boys are taught from a young age that we have to be tough, never cry or show any emotion or be vulnerable. But boys also have to always be nice to girls. As already said it is known male infants are more emotional than female infants and I think this even goes into being a toddler. Until about age 5 when boys can understand the "tough boy" agenda that society has. Then as men, feminists complain that men aren't emotionally their for women.

I recently saw and article that was titled "Ten Things Men Should Do To Make Life Better For Women". It focused on feminists created jargon like "mansplaning" or "manspreading", "catcalling" (all which I have never seen or heard).. And otherwise making women feel bad. They didn't care that not all men, in fact very few, are like that. They acted like pointing that out was sexist.

It just irritates me all this support and care for women, while men's health is completely ignored. Men are supposed to do everything we can for women, but women are allowed to treat us like crap. At the last golden globe awards the female host said "Ladies and Remaining Gentlemen. I mean, really? Insulting men, and boys even, treating us like crap is socially accepted. And then the #metoo movement demonized men even more. I guess I'll stop complaining now..
You're absolutely correct. I've seen a lot of articles that abuse men and it sickens me.
 

Jacob S

Registrant
To be honest, discussions like this make me uncomfortable for the simple reason I've been an asshole much of my life and the people who've paid the price have been the women who fell in love with me. There is pain all over the place created by women and by men that is spread around like a cold. So yes, there are insensitive women and asshole men. It seems to me we all have some healing to do, some amends to make. But, alas, it is easier to point a finger at someone else than to do one's own healing work. I say that as a man whose first perpetrator was a woman, my mother. The second was a man, my neighbor. It would be easy to hate both genders if that were the only yardstick I had to use. Now I'm more inclined to accept that most of us are wounded puppies trying to find our way through life... running into other wounded puppies and only rarely able to bring kindness into our encounters. I want more compassion and kindness for myself AND for the women in my life.
Well said. As much as it is hard to accept, it's no one else's job to heal us. And we don't know who is in just as much pain as us.
 

dark empathy

Registrant
The problem here is one of generalities.
Yes, it is perfectly true that on any individual level, anyone irrespective of demographics can be good, bad or uggly, most people have baggage of one sort or another and dealing with it helps.


The problem however, is that this on an individual level is very different from this on a group level.

I have no problem with any given woman. Most of my friends are women, including my best friend who I am married to who i literally would be lost without.

The problem however, is that then you have "women", the plural, the "they", the mob, the team the sisterhood, that is the thing I have an issue with, since increasingly I'm shown that it has an issue with me.

that is the thing I find triggering, since yee gods I learned as a teenager just what being hated by "women", in crowd and plaural terms meant.
Luke.b
 

Jacob S

Registrant
The problem however, is that then you have "women", the plural, the "they", the mob, the team the sisterhood, that is the thing I have an issue with, since increasingly I'm shown that it has an issue with me.

that is the thing I find triggering, since yee gods I learned as a teenager just what being hated by "women", in crowd and plaural terms meant.
Luke.b
I know this feeling because I have it with men. An individual man I'm fine with and I have male friends. But a group of guys is debilitatingly frightening to me due to group attacks and bullying when I was a child.

But it just becomes like a richochet when everyone who is hurt by a group claims the right to generalize. We can't control if someone else calls our entire gender evil. We can control our own response. There are things in toxic masculinity that led directly to how fellow boys treated me. Body shaming, emasculating behavior, humiliation. Things that I've found to be common in men. Even so, I resist the urge to generalize. Why? For one simple reason: because I wouldn't want it done to me. If I am mad, I want people to see why I am mad and not just write me off. So when someone is mad at a group I am in (like males), I want to understand and not just write them off. They got hurt at some point. They have good reason to feel what they feel, just as we do. What's hard is to recognize the difference between emotion and reality. I have every right to say "I feel like they are being unfair." I don't have the right to claim I actually know their hearts, and I have to understand that from their perspective, they probably feel written off and ignored too. If we always say "I'm not going to empathize until they empathize" then no one ever empathizes.

That's not saying we can't be mad. But lets be mad at the abusers, and give other people who might very well be fellow survivors their own permission to be angry. And we can't control if their angry spills over onto us, that's an area where they need to grow. But we can control how we express our anger. I'm not saying there isn't a lack of support for male survivors. There definitely is. There are plenty of people who want to make this about hating men or hating women. It needs to be about hating predators. There are issues in this culture that minimize and blame both men and women for their own rape. But would you like it if people talked about "the almighty penis that can do no wrong?" Given the amount of men who get away with rape, there's clearly a problem. But it would not be fair to cast the problems in terms of accusations like "men never take responsibility" or "they are heartless monsters." They are heartless men and there are heartless women, and it is the sympathetic against the heartless, not the penises against the vaginas. And if we let ourselves write off another gender because we were hurt by them, then we can't blame them for doing the same. Instead, we need to focus our anger on the perps.

And I'm not saying this because I am trying to play therapist. I'm saying this because misdirected anger can never be resolved and I like this place but I CANNOT afford to be in a place where anger festers into resentment against entire groups. That is going to damage my attempts to heal. Because like I said to begin with, the group I struggle not to hate is fellow men and I can't afford to lose that fellowship. So I need to know if this is a place where we embrace generalized negative statements about entire groups (ironic since that is what we are mad at them for doing), or if this is a place where we recognize that even when angry we should talk about other groups the way we wish they would talk about us.


O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen
--from the Prayer of St Francis
 

Ceremony

Moderator
Staff member
I CANNOT afford to be in a place where anger festers into resentment against entire groups. That is going to damage my attempts to heal. Because like I said to begin with, the group I struggle not to hate is fellow men and I can't afford to lose that fellowship. So I need to know if this is a place where we embrace generalized negative statements about entire groups (ironic since that is what we are mad at them for doing), or if this is a place where we recognize that even when angry we should talk about other groups the way we wish they would talk about us.

You are heard JacobS and the way discussion can be is as you recognize. The divisiveness that is brought, silences voices who have deep wounds from women in their lives. There are many who have been deeply harmed by boys and men in their lives and along with that, there are women who have done some of the same to the same person. It's very difficult to bring one's experience to discussion if it's asserted in sweeping generalizations that my share must fold into someone's reaction about all women do what I share, and therefore women are bad.

My therapist knows I've a fear in public of judgmental men who may direct their attention upon my shortcomings. I've too many such shortcomings to avoid being a target. I have worked very hard to accept myself and I would appreciate engaging men who have or are currently suffering because of a woman or certain women in their lives. I can't find the peace of space to share my pain about being abused by women when I'm told that there's only one kind of abuse by women encouraged and therefore is exclusionary to my own.
 
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