I am working with really brave men. Men who have endured the most emotionally excruciating episodes of their lives. Many have been brought to their knees by an unrelenting Fate who stands with her sharpened heel on their windpipe long after they have surrendered.
These men, covered in sorrow and exhaustion, crawl onto the couch where we begin to explore the sequence of events that has driven them to the yawning abyss of Self.
I personified Fate as a woman earlier, the reason for this is that many of these men have been taught fierce heart lessons at the hands of those they love.
Some of these men are ‘mind-blind’, living in a very concrete world, unable to fathom the intentions behind people’s actions. A man who is ‘mind blind’, may also struggle to distinguish between what is in his own mind, and what might be going on from another persons point of view. The inability to hold the mind of another within ones own occurs as result of multiple frustrating interactions with the minds of others, from infancy to adulthood. Many men are taught to repress their emotions as children, or are humiliated for ‘feeling’, the impact of this is that men learn to doubt and fear what is happening within them. Their emotional worlds become dangerous and unpredictable.
Others have a good capacity for reflective functioning, this means that they have the following elements intact.
A capacity for empathy: the ability to see things from multiple points of view, to stand in another’s shoes (note: some people have a remarkable capacity to stand in other people’s shoes, by vacating their own entirely! This is not empathy, rather this can be viewed as a form of ‘pathological accommodation’ where our selves are betrayed in service to the other in order to buy proximity).
They have a time perspective: “I understand that I feel like this now, but it will pass, I have evidence of this from my history, I have endured and survived…”
They have the ability to join with the therapist to explore patterns and feelings and are not hypnotized by a doer-done to dynamic that only serves to accentuate polarities.
They can own their shit: they understand that they carry injuries, that they have defenses that no longer serve them and are willing to explore ways of upgrading their “operating systems”.
I am not for one minute advocating the view that men are solely responsible for the breakdown of communication between the sexes, but…in a society plagued by gender based confusion, we men have a duty to own our part. It is time for us to accept that we ARE flawed, AND…we have an enormous capacity to heal.
The longer we choose to deny our emotional injuries and to project them mindlessly onto those we claim to love, the more we are doomed to repeat and remain trapped by our wounded selves.
Acknowledge that you’re suffering, begin to understand…and with that, heal.Read more