Tag Archives: Alison Armstrong

How Women Routinely Castrate Men.

man-couple-people-woman

A few weeks ago I witnessed something that broke my heart.

A watched and listened as a mom emasculated two preschool boys. I was horrified. They looked unaffected by it, but that made me even sadder, because that told me they are accustomed to it.

I watch emasculation of men happening all the time. And it breaks my heart every time. But this was especially horrible to me, because they were so young. Because even when young, males still need the same things from us, as women, as they do when they are older. They need our trust and appreciation. They need us to allow them to make us happy.

Males just want to make us happy.

I used to blindly emasculate men too, gawd help me. I didn’t know anything different. I never questioned my treatment of men and my beliefs about them as I was growing up, as I was having relationships with them – relationships of all kinds.

This mom was subbing for an absent teacher and therefore didn’t know the usual preschool routine. She came in the office with them and said, “These guys are telling me the recycling goes in here, but I think they’re lying to me.” She looked at me in expectation, expecting me to sympathize with her, to join her in emasculating them.

That’s what we are taught to do, isn’t it, ladies? We are socialized into joining together against males, no matter their age. We are expected to roll our eyes too when women express their disappointment with their man, or men in general.

I wonder if I had a horrified look on my face. I tried to keep it neutral as I defended them, “Of course they aren’t lying! This is where the recycling goes.” I looked at them and smiled, trying to let them know that I trusted them even if she didn’t. In their minds, I didn’t want to be lumped into the classification of adults, and adult women, who treat them so horribly.

Normally they deliver the recycling by themselves without an adult escort. They have been bringing the recycling in all year. Of course they know what they’re doing.

I encouraged them to proceed, but she was not done, apparently, because she insisted on following them, saying, “It can’t go in there! Surely not,” as they were walking to the closet that holds the recycle bin. I may have physically cringed at that, I’m not sure. I was trying to remain calm, but inwardly, I was angry and horrified.

“Yes,” I said as I looked pointedly at her, hoping she would back off, “They know what they are doing.” It continued though, because she followed them into the closet and stood over them as they emptied their full recycle bag into the bin and said, “Are you doing it right?” with disdain in her voice.

I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to cry, and was actually finding it difficult not to.

They were finally done, and I thanked them with smiles and words of appreciation at the successful completion of their usual task, trying to convey my confidence and trust in them. They left, and I let myself cry.

So it begins as soon as they are born, I guess, doesn’t it? In our society (does it happen all over the planet too?), as females, we are taught to emasculate males. We are taught they can’t be trusted to do anything the “right” way. We are taught they are fuck-ups most of the time. We are taught that the emasculation of males is not only okay, it is the norm, and it is expected.

We are also taught to look for their “mistakes”—those times that they don’t do something the way we think they should—and we are taught to emasculate them by pointing it out in the most embarrassing, worst way possible—usually in front of other people. Is this supposed to “put them in their place” somehow? Or teach them to do it the “right” way?

More Ways we Emasculate Men

Rolling our eyes at him and/or his behavior

Not accepting help from him (opening doors, etc.)

Expecting him to think like a woman

Not trusting him

Belittling him for doing things the way he does them (instead of the way a woman would do it)

Not listening

Taking over something and doing it ourselves, because he is not doing it “right” or in the time we think he should

Never letting him win – never letting him make us happy

Not appreciating him for being a man and being himself

Interrupting him when he talks

Interrupting him when he is focused and working

Expecting, and even asking, him to think/act/talk/argue like a woman

Not appreciating those things that make him masculine:  being driven, single-focused, competitive, etc.

Not realizing he is a hero and not treating him like the hero he is

Competing with him instead of trusting him

Making passive aggressive “jokes” about him or his behavior—especially when others are present

Tacitly or openly criticizing him in front of others and attempting to get others to join you in the criticism

Treating him like a child

Not showing our appreciation, love, acceptance

Assume criticism motivates a man when only appreciation will do that

Not Following the Trend

If, as a woman, you decide not to participate in the emasculation of men, you are seen as a traitor. And worse, if you decide to actually defend men, you are seen as the enemy—like men—someone who cannot be trusted.

A couple of years ago, when I began studying men, women and relationships, I came across the mother of all relationship books, The Queen’s Code, by Alison Armstrong. This book represents the results of her research of over 25 years into men, women and relationships. It is presented as a novel, a story, but it really is the compilation of her research.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be required reading for everyone—as early as grade school—especially for females.

Those couple of years ago, I took the Queen’s Code vow. I gave up the “right” to emasculate men. Because most women do see it as their right to treat men so horribly, to crush them, to emasculate them. I gave up my right to defend the emasculation of men. I laid down my sarcasm, my distrust, my habits, my self-righteous anger, my sword, my ignorance of men.

I began exploring the idea: What if men actually have a good reason for everything they do and the way they do it? What if the way a woman would do something is not the only fucking way to do something?!?!

The Queen’s Code is a code of honor and a code of conduct. To embrace the code is to embrace men, to embrace their inherent goodness and honesty, to embrace them as teachers, trainers and as the incredible support and providers that they are.

So ladies, I will not join you in emasculating men. I will not roll my eyes at them ever again. I will not tolerate you doing it either. I will leave the conversation. I will defend them. I will treat them with the respect, appreciation and trust they deserve.

And I am angry that those two little men were treated so off-handedly horribly in my office. I am angry that this is the norm. I am angry that no one seems to be offended by this. I am angry that no is paying attention. I am angry that this happens all the time, every day, everywhere. I am angry that that mom has no conscious idea of what she did (and is undoubtedly still doing). I am angry with myself that I spent so much of my life in that same category. I am angry that when I defend men I am treated as a traitor. I am angry at women. I am angry at our society that thinks this is okay. I am angry when I watch a movie or a TV show and see the castration of men by women that passes for humor.

I am angry.

Ladies, let’s give it up. Let’s wise up. Let’s educate ourselves.

Gentlemen, I’m sorry. Please forgive me for being that self-righteous, emasculating, blind, ignorant bitch for so much of my life.

At elephant journal:  Ladies, Let’s Stop Emasculating Men.

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Managing Anxiety and Why Women Worry More than Men.

DTS_Photography_Movie1small“The amygdala, once triggered, sends distress signals to the other key parts of your brain.”

During an argument this week, my frustrated man asked, “Why are you so negative? Why do you always want to talk about what bad things might happen?”

I did not have an answer for him.

And to prove him correct, I immediately mentally checked-out of our conversation and began worrying that I must be flawed somehow. Something must be wrong with me and my way of thinking to make me worry so much. Is it a childhood thing? I wasn’t breastfed, after all.

I’m just naturally pessimistic? Mercury is retrograde? I’m too old? Too young? The moon is full? Maybe it was the recent eclipse! Is it because I didn’t have enough fish oil this week? Too much B12?

Didn’t get enough sleep? Too much sleep, maybe? My chakras are unbalanced? I ate too much starch? My moon is in Taurus? I lost my keys, my cat ran away, the sun got in my eyes, my shoe came untied, and I was really missing my mom that day?

Oh my gawd! What if I have a brain tumor?!

Ladies, sound familiar?

Enter the Amygdala

“The job of the amygdala is to manage the storage of memories according to the strength of the emotional reaction associated with the memory.

The right amygdala, primarily responsible for action, is generally more active in men than in women. The left amygdala, on the other hand, is primarily responsible for storage of the details of traumatic memories and prompts more thought than action. This amygdala is more active than the right in women, and in persons of both genders who have anxiety disorders.

The amygdala, once triggered, sends distress signals to the other key parts of your brain.”

Ahaaaa! Well that certainly sheds some light on the situation, doesn’t it?

With this knowledge, you are already miles ahead of everyone else when it comes to managing anxiety/fear/worry.

Your Personal Toolkit

Anxiety related issues present themselves in nearly all the clients I see. For anyone (not just women) who is experiencing inappropriate anxiety, arm yourself with this amygdala knowledge and come up with your own personal worry/anxiety toolkit.

When the worries/fears begin to get out of control you will want to interrupt the anxiety pattern.

1. Say to yourself, “Stop. This is just the product of my overactive amygdala/brain.”
2. Do some bilateral stimulation—whether physically or audibly. Watch Melissa’s video below to learn how to do it and/or Youtube is full of great music to do this very thing if you listen with earbuds. Listen to it while reading, meditating, checking your emails, etc.
3. Don’t feed the fears by continuing to think in that anxious direction. Distract yourself with other, good, thoughts or activities. Have some ready to go. Make a list so you can have a ready, go-to distraction. Read them. Let yourself relax into the good feelings for a while.
4. Use Brene Brown‘s latest life hack out of her book, Rising Strong: Gently talk about the story you are making up in you own head and get feedback from the other person to clarify and learn what both of you are really feeling/thinking.
5. Consider reprogramming your habits easily with an effective therapy tool like BrainWorking Recursive Therapy (BWRT). It works completely and quickly. It’s my favorite tool—for myself and clients.

For Our Male Counterparts

…women tend to think that whatever bad thing that is happening now will continue forever. While they often think a good thing will disappear in a moment. We lack perspective since the worry part of our brain – the amygdala – is more active than in men. It can make us lose faith. ~The Queen’s Code, by Alison Armstrong

Yes, I can relate to the “make us lose faith” thing—much to the frustration of my sweet, patient man who is always kindly reassuring me. Thank God he is such a good man.

Gentlemen, this is very important!

Just listen. Don’t argue. Don’t try and stop us from getting “out of control.” Don’t take it personally. It is not personal—even when it seems that way.

Well actually, we do think it’s personally about you, and we will present it that way. But really, it is not. Please extend grace to us in these situations.

It’s our bloody amygdala!

Simply let us rant, cry, worry and complain—even if it seems to be directed squarely at you—then take us in your arms, let us cry/yell/sigh/etc. and then resolutely and with supreme confidence, say, “Baby, it’s all going to be alright.”

“One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman’s emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax.” ~ David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

And when we whine (or yell), “No, it won’t be alright,” say it again. Hold us tight so we can feel your strength. Let us unwind in your arms.

An argument will be diverted and our amygdala will thank you.

So whether anxiety is a pattern for you or if you are simply experiencing some stress/anxiety because of a specific, temporary situation, experiment with these tools and let me know how you fare.

A version published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

How to Invite Your Man Back into Love—the Techniques.

DeathtosStockSerenity9Getting your man’s attention, even though he is probably going to initially be irritated, grumpy or impatient with you, takes courage—and practice.

In my last post, I discussed the timing of inviting your man back into love. In the post before that one, I wrote about some differences in men and women’s brains and why it’s important to offer your gift of love, why it’s important to invite your man back into his heart and belly—back into love.

In this post, we look at some specific techniques to get your man out of his head—out of his driven, focused, “work” mode—and into his heart and belly, where he can share in love , where he can get a break from the driven, obsessive energy of masculinity and where he can notice and appreciate your feminine energy.

Not for Sissies

Getting your man’s attention, even though he is probably going to initially be irritated, grumpy or impatient with you, takes courage—and practice.

I had difficulty doing this at first, and I continued to feel like I was failing at it until I mentioned that to my man. He expressed surprise that I would think that and then informed me that he thought I was great at it.

At first it felt foreign and weird, and I was sure he was going to be (and stay!) angry with me for interrupting him. But I approached it, as best I could, with a sense of experimentation just to see what would work and what wouldn’t.

The same way we ask men to be brave and withstand our emotions and just stand strong and firm for us even when we say we don’t want that? Well, be brave for your man and give him your feminine gift of bringing him back into his heart, back into intimacy with you—even when he shows irritation at you for doing so.

“Your feminine force of life is your unique gift to your man, and, deep down, it’s what he wants from you, regardless of his resistance.”
~David Deida

Firstly, Get into the Feminine

Important! To be perceived and received as the woman you really are, you will want to make sure, first, that you are in your soft, strong feminine energy. Otherwise, you risk becoming masculine and domineering in your endeavor, so that your request comes across as a nagging demand instead of an invitation.

“The feminine force is the force of life. Your happiness is the heart of this force. Give him happiness the way you want to. Kiss him, hug him, hold him, tell him you love him, tell him how good it is to see him. Do whatever expresses your happiness. He might scowl and mumble, “I don’t feel like it. I feel horrible.” Don’t absorb his masculine refusal of life and energy. Transform the moment, literally, into a garden of life: music, loving affection, food and light. All of it is just an expression of your radiant happiness.” ~ David Deida

Femininity is about the body and the senses. Focus on your breath, and let it come from deep in your belly; feel yourself fully in your body—warm, soft. Imagine how inviting he will find you when you are soft and feminine and warm—think of how strong and powerful that makes you.

Be kind.

“Be mature. Be kind. Be honorable. You will never regret taking the high road no matter what happens.”
~Steve Horsmon

Speak in man. Keep it brief and to the point and use words that have meaning to him. For example, words like “help” call a man to action and therefore get his attention and get him instantly ready to assist you. Try something like, “Baby, would you be so kind as to help me with something when you get a minute or two?”

My Favorite Method for the Public Interruption

As I approach him, I focus on why I am doing this and what I want to convey.

For example, I might want to give him a break from work (men will continue to work in their minds even if they’re not working physically or at a desk). I love him and want to connect with him. I want him to feel how much I love him. I know he’s stressed, and I want to let him know I’m supporting him, that I’m here for him. I have important information I know he will want to hear, etc.

“The highest form of feminine radiance is love, which can be expressed in many ways. Men feed on this radiance. This love heals their hearts. When they receive it, men feel, Yes! This is the woman I want to be with!” ~David Deida

Get him into his love room/box. And to get him there takes a second or two—or more. Extend to him the respect of knowing that’s just how his brain works and be patient.

Touch him—gently, softly—and with power. Keep your voice soft and low—smile. Look at his eyes and wait for him to make eye contact. Keep smiling genuinely. Think of how much you love him and respect him, how proud you are of him, and let that come through your eyes and voice.

I like to bodily move in front of him and put my palm flat against the middle of his chest and make eye contact. I lean into him a bit. Smile. Wait to get his eyes and attention. Wait past his irritation, the impatience—I don’t take it personally (anymore). I continue to smile.

When he withdraws his attention from everything else and gives it to me, I so appreciate it, so I try to convey that appreciation—sometimes in words or maybe just with my gaze.

Once you have his full attention, tell him what you need to say—whether it’s something important, “Baby, check your zipper,” or something ‘trivial’ like, “You look really hot in that shirt. Wow, you are so handsome,” followed, perhaps, by a quick kiss.

Then back off and go your way. This entire exchange should never take more than ten seconds.

He may smile; he may engage you in conversation and want more of your attention; he may follow you and offer affection. He might give you a kiss in return. He may go back to his work. In any case, you have done your job. You have connected with him.

That was an invitation back into love.

If he paused and made genuine eye contact and acknowledged you—either in words or facial expression, and especially if he offered love back to you in the form of words, a smile and/or physical affection, a kiss, etc., then he accepted your invitation—and you can consider yourself successful.

If I need more of his time and attention, or if more information needs to be exchanged, I do all of the above and then say something like, “Sweetie, when you get a minute, can I get your help with something?” And by “help,” I mean: I need your help getting you this information.

And remember, when you’re in a public setting, there may be lots going on. It could be really difficult for him to shift focus, so be patient and kind.

From a Man’s Perspective

I asked Steve Horsmon, life and relationship coach, to send me his favorites. Here’s his top 10 list.

1. The head scratch and the “I’m so glad you’re my man,” comment in Married Man’s Tears makes men weep with feelings of being loved and accepted. That can be used almost anywhere.

2. Playfulness is key. Giggling at us/because of us. Teasing, poking, wrestling. Mock domination—up against the wall—quick flash of eye contact and a kiss. Nothing feels so great as being pursued and desired.

3. Mystery. “Hey, when you’re done with what you’re doing, meet me on the patio for a surprise.” (have some wine, cheese, crackers, whatever)

4. Playfully grab our belts right in front where the buckle is, letting your fingers slide down behind the belt, against the belly, make eye contact, lean in where only we can hear you with a, “Hey, I missed you today. Want to hook up later—after the kids go to bed?” with a wicked smile and a quick, but suggestive, kiss.

5. Men (and women) both love someone stirring “erotic energy” in the relationship. This includes mystery, adventure, danger, sensual touch, dirty talk, tension, distance, aggression, risk, competition, etc. Men love to be yanked by surprise out of their mind and into their heart with erotic energy. Not necessarily sex—just light, fun, tantalizing erotic energy.

6. Competition. “Hey, I bet I can hit that sign with a rock before you!” or “I bet I can walk on this rail farther than you,” or whatever. Playful, physical competition stirs us into our body and heart.

7. Handling conflict well. “Well sir, I tend to totally disagree with your opinion but I understand where you’re coming from. You’re kind of hot when you’re bullheaded, ya know?”

8. Not talking when we drive…or at most, “Gee, the chrome plating on that bumper looks a little pitted, don’t ya think?” (with a friendly squeeze on the back of the neck)

9. Purposely using the words hard, wet, slippery, slide, pump, pound, mount, kiss, lick, shoot, explode or turgid in totally “innocent” conversation.

10. See #9. 🙂

What are your faves?

Now that you’ve got his attention and focus, how do you communicate with a man most effectively? We’ll cover some of those ideas in my next post.

Also published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life and Relationship Coach and foundesteve horsmon photor of Good Guys 2 Great Men. With a long corporate career in leadership and organizational training and development, Steve is a lifelong student and “passionate pursuer” of the communication and personal development skills required for healthy and satisfying relationships. You can connect with him via Facebook too.

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She gracethanx2013.3sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-bees, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet therapist—yep, they do exist. You can find her creations here. You can also connect with her on Twitter.

Timing is Everything.

DSCF3524If he’s a masculine man, then he is driven to make things happen—that is one way he wants to take care of you.

In the post before this one, I shared some info about how men and women think differently because of the way their brains work, about feminine and masculine energy and about why it is essential to give our gifts of feminine/masculine energy to each other.

In this post, I look at the timing of inviting your man back into love.

When to Interrupt Him

First of all, make good choices about when to interrupt him to extend the invitation back into love. Because yes, it is your job to do this for your man—but he does get to be a man.

I don’t like it when I’m in my masculine mode working on a project and making good progress and in the “zone” and someone interrupts me. I tend to be irritated by the interruption.

And we women can only marginally understand how it must be to a man, who not only has the driven, focused man thing going on but also is working with a man brain that has the luxury of being able to focus on one thing at a time.

When you interrupt him, he will be confused, upset, abrupt, irritated, etc. What he is doing is just removing his focus from what he had it on to focus on you. Men tell me it can be a real effort.

But know that he does need this invitation from you, ladies—at the appropriate time. He needs to be invited back into love, into emotions—back into his heart and belly.

So just expect him to be irritated or impatient with you for interrupting his thought process. But be brave. Give your man this gift anyway, even though it will seem to you like he doesn’t want it.

He needs it.

Just because he shows irritation or annoyance at your invitation, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go along with him not being in his love room/box. Invite him into love.

The same way we ask men to be brave and withstand our emotions and just stand strong and firm for us even when we say we don’t want that? Well, be brave for your man and give him your feminine gift of bringing him back into his heart, back into intimacy with you—even when he shows irritation at you for doing so. Stand your ground—softly and powerfully—and just do it.

Respecting his Time/Work—to a Point

If you know, for example, that he is hard at work on a contract that needs to be completed by the end of the business day and then knowing how his brain works, why would you interrupt him (excepting for an actual emergency of some sort, of course)?

Let him be a man. Give him space to do his man thing. If he’s a masculine man, then he is driven to make things happen—that is one way he wants to take care of you.

Being successful, succeeding at his goals, making money and making things happen are ways he gives you his masculine gifts. He wants to do these things because it makes him feel good, makes him feel like man.

He also does these things to make you proud of him; he wants to make you happy. Let him make you happy. Be proud of him. Let him succeed. Let him do his man stuff and accept it for the gift that it is. Tell him how much you appreciate him.

Why is he Ignoring Me?

Ladies, according to Alison Armstrong, it is impossible for a man to ignore you. He is not ignoring you, so stop taking it personally. Just learn when and how to—kindly, softly—interrupt him and invite him to pay attention to you and to love.

The design of his brain makes it impossible for him to ignore you. He is thinking about and focused on something else, and when he does that, he does it to the exclusion of everything else.

He is just so focused on whatever it is that he is doing or thinking that no other information gets in. He has the luxury of being able to focus on one thing at a time.

So stop taking this personally and stop giving him so much crap about it. He doesn’t deserve it.

When my man doesn’t answer my text right now, I know he is busy. I trust he is taking care of things—no matter what those things may be. I trust him to take care of his business—whatever that is.

In fact, I seldom text or contact him during his workday. I know his mind is on his work.

And if I do contact him while he’s busy, I know he may be blunt, abrupt and/or short with me—because he’s a man and he’s busy. That doesn’t mean he is always abrupt with me when I interrupt him, because we’ve had this conversation.

It just means that I have given myself fair warning that that is the most possible response—at least until I get him into his Grace box, that is.

I love thinking about him doing his masculine thing; I know that is one way he is taking care of our relationship and me.

I am not offended. In fact, it is a turn on for me. I love that he is doing his man thing. I know that when he is able to give me his full attention, he will contact me. I trust him to know when he is able to do that for me.

And I love when I have his full attention. Think about it ladies, he can only focus on one thing at a time. So when he’s focused on you, you are all he is thinking about.

Workaholics

I have heard women complain about their men being married to their jobs or of being workaholics, etc. I think that these women do not realize that they could be playing a very different and important role to help keep this from happening—or to reverse this trend/habit.

I am not saying it is okay for men to behave this way, and to absolve themselves of the responsibility of paying attention to their relationship. And some men are so driven, and are even perhaps using their work to distract them from a dysfunctional, worn out relationship that they don’t want to address, that they don’t realize this has happened.

But believe me, the woman knows when this is happening.

These men could also be so driven that they do not realize there is any other way to be. These are the men who have let themselves become obsessed and rigid because they have been too immersed in masculine energy, not allowing their women to gift them with the feminine.

And while I am also not saying a woman should be held responsible for her man’s behavior (nor should she be manipulating him), a skillful, confident (brave!), woman, educated in the fine art of inviting a man back into love, who is deeply expressing her feminine essence, can be a good remedy for this type of problem.

When not to Interrupt Him

There is one time, however, when it is probably not a good time to interrupt him—when he is in his “nothing box,” as Mark Gungor calls it. Men go to their nothing box/room for various reasons. According to Mark, men retreat to their nothing box when they are stressed and need to unwind and need to just “be.”

This is often, when you are arguing, why he will want to end the conversation as soon as possible. He needs to go to his nothing box to process. He is not dissing you; he is not ignoring you. He is not necessarily trying to run from you or the problem; he is just handling stress the way a man handles stress.

Men, this doesn’t give you permission; however, to run from your woman and the emotions she is gifting you with just to avoid her and the conflict she is bringing you.

Storing Testosterone

John Gray, the author of Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus, explains that for men who work hard—and especially for those who exercise daily, and are using big muscle groups, their down time (nothing box time) is important for building and storing testosterone.

Testosterone is built and stored during sleep too, but according to him, more testosterone is produced and stored during a man’s down time than during sleep.

So when your man has been working hard and is taking time and is sitting in front of the TV, flipping through channels and appears to be doing nothing, he is producing and storing testosterone—and to interrupt him is actually a subtle form of emasculation, according to Alison Armstrong.

When he’s done, when he’s full up on testosterone, he will emerge from the nothing box and be ready to go. When he emerges from the nothing box is the best time to ask him to help you, because he is full of testosterone and ready to expend energy.

Or Not

When I took this theory to Steve Horsmon, who is a relationship coach, he initially disagreed—until we clarified about whom we were talking. He clarified that this theory does not apply to those men who are lazy and use sitting in front of the TV as an excuse to not do what they need to be doing. Those men, he said, need a kick in the ass and need to be held accountable.

He is talking about the man who sits on the couch in a pile of potato chip crumbs and powder sugar fall-out way too long and too often and does not follow through with his commitments.

Look for the next post where we get into the fine art (techniques) of inviting your man back into love.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

How Men and Women Do Relationships Differently.

DeathtoStock_Medium6

Women’s brains connect everything to everything—and we can’t help but throw emotions into the mix at all times too.

In her book, What Women want Men to Know, Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. talks about an analogy that she uses to educate couples about how men and women function in relationships.

She pretty much sums up the difference between men’s and women’s brains and how they function, although that is not specifically how she presents it.

“Imagine a man’s consciousness and a woman’s consciousness are like houses, with different rooms for the different areas our mind focuses on in our life—a “work” room; a “body” room; a “recreation” room; etc. For most women, every room in the house of her consciousness is also a Love Room, even when it is dedicated to other functions. It’s as if all the space in the house of her consciousness is used for love. It’s a Love House!

“For men, however, there is only one Love Room in the house of their mind. Therefore, if the man wants to put his focus on love and the relationship, he consciously has to leave the other rooms and go to the Love Room.”
~Barbara DeAngelis

She says women put love first—not by choice; it just happens. Even though she doesn’t say it directly, she is referring to the way a woman’s brain functions vs. the way a man’s brain functions.

Mark Gungor goes further, explaining the differences between the physiology of men’s and women’s brains. He explains that women, if we borrow Barbara’s analogy, wouldn’t even have rooms in their mind house. It would be one big open floor plan of a house, where the entire thing is permeated by love and emotions.

Women’s brains connect everything to everything—and we can’t help but throw emotions into the mix at all times too—explaining why we women can remember everything (it’s the emotional charge on a memory that makes that memory stand out among others).

This is also why when one thing in our life isn’t going well or is bothering us, our whole world is affected by it. We cannot keep it separate from everything else in our lives.

While men, on the other proverbial hand, have brains that separate everything into boxes/rooms. And, he points out with much humor, none of the boxes are allowed to touch each other—meaning a man has the luxury of being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time.

Barbara goes on to explain the challenges this can present between men and women when she talks about women (who are essentially always in their love room) lovingly and romantically approaching their man, only to find that he is not, at that moment, in his love room.

He can react, therefore, to the woman’s approach, with confusion, irritation, anger, by seeming to pull away, etc.

This is usually when the woman will get hurt. We feel him not acknowledging, and pulling away from, our attempt at love/romance. We feel and see his reaction to our extension of love, and we take it personally.

In a reactive state to his pulling away, we pull away from our man, which he, in turn, does not understand, because in his own way of thinking, he didn’t consciously pull away from us. In this way, a barrier has been created between us and our man.

A very common, vicious cycle gets put into motion that neither really understands and that we usually don’t even know how to begin to talk about to gain clarity, because most folks, unfortunately, don’t know the differences in men’s and women’s brains and how they function.

Barbara coaches couples, at that point, to realize that the man is not in his love room, to acknowledge it out loud, and move on.

And while I can agree with her analysis and explanation, I think there’s more to be done with this knowledge other than just waiting until he gets into his love room.

In fact, I think it is our job, as women, functioning from a feminine perspective, to lovingly lead him—and at the appropriate time—a` la David Deida, into his love box/room.

First of all, ladies, do not take your man’s reaction personally. And even as I say that, if you are in your feminine energy at that time, I know you probably will—because you are a woman and any time your man pulls away or seems distant, you will react with pain and be hurt. That is just what the feminine does.

” A man’s safety is in production. A woman’s safety is in connection.”
~Alison Armstrong

Feminine energy is about love and connection. When we feel our man’s attention shift away from us—when he suddenly leaves his love box/room and enters another one, we feel it. It may hurt.

“If you’re with a woman and you suddenly turn away and begin to work, she feels it in her body. She feels your attention moving away from her. She feels hurt.”
~ David Deida

This is just the dynamics of the feminine/masculine interplay. So as I say “don’t take it personally,” what I really mean is educate yourself as to what may happen when you approach him with love and he is not in his love box/room and know that you may feel hurt when he turns away from you or seems to “ignore” you.

The remedy? Education. Educate your man as to what is going on in this type of exchange. And then educate yourself.

Know the way a man’s brain works, be ready with that knowledge and also be armed with what to say and do to avoid the, above, vicious cycle.

Does this mean you will never take it personally and it will never hurt? No. Sometimes I feel I fail miserably at this—mostly because of it’s newness to me. I usually don’t feel brave enough to do this as fully and confidently as I would like. But I keep trying and hope to one day master it.

He is not necessarily pushing you, your love and romance away from him. He is, rather, so focused on whatever box/room he is in at that time in his mind (remember, men’s brains focus on one thing at a time), that when you touch him or talk to him, he has to come from far away to find you.

He has to close that box in his mind in which he is currently. He has to make himself look at you and then listen to you and probably needs your comment/question repeated, because he was closing the former box while you were speaking.

Then he has to find the box you are trying to get him in and open it and get in that box in his mind.

All of that takes time. All of that takes his focus. And you can imagine how distracting and annoying that would be to him—especially when he’s working and in focused, driven, production mode (which is so very important to the masculine).

It’s no wonder he’s annoyed and angry when we interrupt him.

Some Differences between Masculine and Feminine Energy

What Mark and Barbara don’t talk about is what David Deida and Rachel Jayne Groover do talk about. They write about masculine and feminine gifts that we give each other—both consciously and not.

Masculine energy is focused and driven; it can be restless even, because it wants to be doing something, making things happen, driving toward a goal. Masculine energy is mostly in the head and unemotional; it is mostly predictable and straightforward.

Feminine energy is soft and emotional, allowing, flowing and flexible—full of the senses and the body. It is unpredictable, wild and anything but straightforward. Feminine energy is about creating, maintaining and improving connections and relationships.

Everyone has both energies inside him or her. And the gender of the physical body really does not dictate which energy is dominant in that body. Some folks walk around in a feminine body and operate most of the time from their masculine energy and vice versa. Some readily switch back and forth throughout the day and their lives, depending.

Each needs the other. Just like the yin-yang relationship, one cannot exist without the other. Neither is better or worse than the other. They just both exist.

The feminine needs the groundedness and stability of the masculine, and the masculine needs the flow, emotions and flexibility of the feminine.

The most important thing to remember about them is this: They will always polarize each other. Wherever you are on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, you will always attract the polar opposite.

There are reasons the Masculine and Feminine are constantly balancing, gifting and polarizing each other. Like the poles on a magnet, like repels like and opposite poles attract.

So we could effectively drop gender at this point and just begin talking about masculine and feminine energy, because no matter the body, the rules apply to the energy.

Giving the Gift of Feminine Energy

The exchange of gifts of energy happens automatically on a subconscious level, but it is also important to realize the importance of a conscious, chosen exchange.

Without feminine energy to occasionally extend the invitation back into love, bring him back down into his heart and belly, masculine energy will take over and become obsessive and too focused and driven.

He will become stiff, automated and will always be operating from a mind/head/thoughts perspective.

Without masculine energy to occasionally extend the invitation back to Earth, and bring her back up into her head, feminine energy will take over and become too “out there” and flaky, and she will be too unfocused and be unable to complete tasks and get the business of life completed.

She will become too wishy-washy, unable to make decisions and have difficulty in this very masculine-based world.

Look for the next post where we will explore some tried and true, specific methods for inviting him back into love with your femininity, as well as other details.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Also published at elephant journal.

Not for Men Only: The Anatomy of a Woman’s Complaint.

DeathtoStock_Medium8

Please. Give us this, your gift of masculinity. We so sorely need it.

“The bags under your woman’s eyes and the lines in her face may reveal much about how clearly you are living your highest purpose. Try to do your best to determine which of her “problems” are actually exquisitely sensitive bodily feedback to the way you are living your life. You know the amount of bullshit you are kidding yourself with. So does she. It just hurts her more than it does you.”
~David Deida

Gentlemen, we women can feel it when you are not living your highest purpose and fulfilling your highest good by staying in your integrity. We know these things, can feel them. And when you are not living your highest purpose, not following through and doing what you told us you were going to do, we begin to not trust you.

We start to not trust you because we can see and feel that you do not keep your word, that you don’t do what you say you will do. Even when it’s a seemingly small thing, we see it as a very tell tale sign about your integrity and your masculinity. Even when it doesn’t directly involve us, we are affected by your lack of integrity.

“A man should hear his woman’s complaints like warning bells, and then do his best to align his life with his truth and purpose.”
~David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

We always want the masculine energy to be dominant in you, regardless of our mood or our complaint. We don’t see you as less masculine because you are not cleaning out the car like you promised you would, so much as we see you as less masculine and trustworthy because we feel unsupported and unsafe with a man who does not remain impeccable with his word.

If we see and feel that we can’t trust you with your own life—to do what you tell us you will do—then we certainly can’t trust you with our life and the relationship. It is too scary. We need you to be trustworthy. We need you to be impeccable with your word.

And being impeccable with your word doesn’t mean that you never, ever get to veer from what you said you would do. And it doesn’t mean that you never get to change your mind about something. And it doesn’t mean you have to be rigid and hard and unmoving and unable to be vulnerable.

It means, rather, that you do what you say you are going to do, and you do it in a timely manner. If for some reason you can’t fulfill that promise, goal or end result, we need you to tell us that—with a brief, firm, confident explanation.

When asked if that would work for her, a girlfriend said, “Only if he doesn’t do that all the time. If that is his pattern, if he doesn’t do what he says he will do, doesn’t take care of the difficult decisions in his life, and then expects to always be able to explain that away, and I’m supposed to be okay with that, then no, that won’t work.”

The thing we are complaining about is very seldom what we are really complaining about.

It goes like this.

We begin to feel restless and angry toward you and about something that you said you would do but have not yet done. Sometimes we can’t even pinpoint the problem ourselves. So then we bring this restlessness and anger to you in a complaint, query or accusation.

That is the way women process and figure out what we’re feeling. We don’t know how we feel, what we want, until we talk out loud about it and figure that out. That’s just how our brains work.

Keep in mind that often we do not consciously know what the issue really is. We think we do. We think it’s that thing you promised us you would do several weeks/months ago but haven’t done yet. We really think it’s about you not cleaning the car like you said.

We feel uneasy and scared and this often comes out as anger and/or sadness—a feeling of being let down or disappointed.

We usually feel weird about and hesitant to bring it up, too, because we may not be clear on what the problem actually is. We don’t want to potentially rock the relationship boat about something we’re not clear about, but at the same time, because our brains function as they do (everything’s connected to everything—unlike men’s brains), we are unable to keep this problem/worry/issue from affecting everything in our lives.

If we are aware and start digging, we will unearth the feelings of lack of safety and security, but most of the time, we simply know something is wrong—something doesn’t feel good. If just feels “off.”

Steve Horsmon is spot on when he writes about how we women can sense our man’s intentions. In our complaint/confrontation, we will tell you what we think we’re upset about based on those intentions we feel from you. We will probably name some things about which we are upset/angry/sad/etc.

And when a woman brings you a complaint like this it will be because she is in pain—physically as well as emotionally. Women feel emotional pain as physical pain. When our feelings are hurt, we hurt physically too—our bodies hurt.

We will bring you this pain and it seems to you like we are asking you to fix it, because that’s what men do. Men fix things—and thank God for that—except in this situation. It will feel like we want you to answer us, to fix us, to fix the problem. But in that specific moment, we do not want you to fix anything—even if we say we do.

We want you to listen to us. We want you to stand firm and strong and let us pour our pain out to you. It’s the only way we know to get the pain out, to make the pain stop—and the only way we know how to process and get to the meat of why we are actually upset.

Please don’t argue with us. Please don’t ask us to stop talking, crying or thinking about it. If we did that, we’d be acting like a man—and you wouldn’t be attracted to us. To remain in our own integrity, our femininity, we have to bring these emotions to you.

It feels drastic, immediate and all consuming. If we don’t talk about it, we feel like we’re going to explode. The longer we hold it in, trying not to talk/think about it, the worse it gets, the angrier we get, the sadder, the more depressed, etc.

Just listen to us, please. Hold us—yes, even when we’re angry and even when we’re angry at you. Tell us it’s going to be okay. Reassure us.

Don’t take it personally—yet.

Don’t waver. Be the strong, unmoving cliff against which we can throw these wild, scary (even to us) waves of emotions. Be still and firm and calm. We know it’s confusing to you; it’s confusing to us too in that moment. We need you to be our rock in that moment, the groundedness in the wildness of our emotions—even when we are directly accusing you of something.

Please. Give us this, your gift of masculinity. We so sorely need it right then.

And the ROI for you standing strong for us and just hearing us without arguing or trying to fix us?

We will be our happy selves again; we will be the confident, laughing, woman you know and love; we will want to have sex more often; want to connect with you more; be able to appreciate you more; be better able to give you space when you need/want it; be able to do our lives and the relationship more effectively and efficiently; etc.

We will feel supported, loved, cared for, listened to, heard—the list of good things just goes on and on—simply because you listened, didn’t get defensive, didn’t argue, just stood firm for us. It makes us feel like we can go out and conquer the world when you do this for us, when we know you have our back.

“It is a mistake to believe the content of what she is saying, and then respond to her complaints, point by point.” ~David Deida

Please don’t try and argue with us or try to shame us for our emotions, our wildness. It is this wildness that makes us feminine. The Feminine is wildness, emotions, senses, the physical body, power flowing from us in the form of emotions.

Don’t take apart our complaint and try and fix it and us. Don’t try and address each complaint point by point. Just listen.

Because we are not really complaining about what we’re complaining about. We are feeling like we can’t trust you because you haven’t done what you said you would do.

And from that distrust comes the feeling that we are not safe.

Most women will rate safety/security/certainty very high on Tony Robbins’ list of The 6 Human Needs. If we feel that you are not safe because we can’t trust you, we may not know that’s why we feel so “off,” but we will feel that “off-ness”—probably even more than you feel it—if you even feel it.

After you reassure us, after we have wound down into calm, after this “crisis” is over (and that is exactly how it feels to us—yes, that urgent)—then is the time to take our complaint personally.

“Don’t argue with her about… (what you didn’t do). That’s not what she’s talking about, even though that’s what she’s talking about. Hear her complaint as the universe giving you signs about your life.

Did you purposely lie to your woman about (this)? Or did you just let it slide, like you do with so many commitments you make in your life? Can you really blame your woman for being hurt by the lack of integrity that shows in your life?” ~David Deida

And by “personally,” I mean it is time to see if the complaint is true. Are you telling us you’ll do stuff that you have no intention of doing just to shut us up in that moment and to avoid a confrontation and accountability, because you are confused or scared by our emotions? Or do you mean to do those things but then let them slide?

I’m not saying the woman will be correct every time about your integrity. Rather, see/hear her complaint as the tool it can be—use it as a barometer, use it to check your integrity. This is just one of the feminine gifts available to you if you will see it as the gift it truly is.

Don’t ask your woman not to be emotional, not to bring you her pain. Instead, stand firm, be her rock, reassure her that you got this—and then take a look at yourself, see it as the gift and warning that it is—and receive it in that manner, being thankful that you can use it to your advantage instead of making her feel bad about being a woman with feelings.

Remember, if she brings you her pain (in the form of sadness, anger, depression, etc.), it is a gift to you.

“A man should hear his woman’s complaints like warning bells, and then do his best to align his life with his truth and purpose. Her complaint should be valued as a reminder to “get it together,” and perhaps as an indication of how. But more often than not, the specifics of her complaint do not describe the real, underlying action or tendency that needs to be changed.” ~David Deida

Ladies, stay tuned for the next post on how to avoid the complaint meltdown in the first place, so that your man doesn’t have to try and figure out what it is that you are needing, because according to Alison Armstrong, a complaint is just a cowardly way to avoid asking for what we need…

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

Also published at elephant journal.

Trust and Betrayal.

 DeathtoStock_Medium5Keeping my heart open is essential for allowing trust—but it also allows for possible bruising, and even breakage.

Remember, though, when someone or some situation seems to have betrayed your trust and your heart (and ego?) is limping around, still assessing the damage: You didn’t do anything wrong by trusting.

My first thought is usually, ”Why did I trust her/him?!”

My next thought is that I feel stupid to have somehow “allowed” myself to be betrayed.

Let your heart hurt if it needs to, but let it hurt because of the betrayal itself, not because you trusted them. Trust is not a weakness; it’s a blessing and a gift—to ourselves first, and then also to everyone else. Please don’t add to the heartache by doubting your decision to trust.

“The fact that you are feeling big pain lets you know you are truly living big. When you live a big and openhearted life, the possibility of big pain is also present.” ~ Jo Underwood

I used to feel like a fool if someone betrayed my trust. I would spend large amounts of time beating myself up, looking back at all the signs I should have somehow deciphered differently to somehow have figured out that this person was at some point going to betray me.

I thought I was somehow “guilty” and to blame for not being smart enough to know a betrayer when I saw one. I think those who are betrayed are often seen as naïve, stupid, blind or gullible. At the kindest, they are seen as victims.

“You should have known better,” the betrayed are told.

Silly, right? Yeah, I know. But I think we humans seem to believe some version of that much of the time.

There is no shame in having been betrayed. Indeed, the shame, if there is any to be spread around, might better go to the betrayer. They took trust and misused it.

To trust is to be open to possibilities. It is to let the heart fly and sing and swell. To trust is to be brave and generous. It is to give up trying to control those things outside ourselves.

To trust is offer up one of the most sacred gifts we have to give. To just jump in with enthusiasm and trust with your big, available heart, ready to believe the very best is possible, is like magic.

It’s the opposite of enabling, the opposite of co-dependence. It’s like saying, “I know you can handle this. I’m gonna just let you do it your way, because I know you got this. I’ll be right over here cheering you on, and when you’re done, we can go celebrate that you showed up and did your best.”

It is best served up in times of worry, uncertainty and fear. It can come in many forms, too—big like a formal prayer carefully lifted up to a higher power, or more simply like a quick, small knowing that the right words will somehow spill right out my mouth when I look up and realize a friend in need is walking toward me.

And to be trusted, when someone else gives me that gift—well, it is like being handed the shiny, secret key to his or her tender heart. I want to hold that so carefully, so respectfully.

So trust. Be that brave, that vulnerable, that allowing and open. Just jump into the pool of trust and sink down into it. Be brave enough to become the person that goes first. It feels scary at first, but then good when you realize what a relief it is, how it makes your body relax, your breathing settle low into a soft belly. And it feels good no matter how well it is received—or even if it is received.

Just the act of trusting is enough.

Try it. Imagine someone or something in your mind, face him or her and say, “I trust you. I trust you to do whatever it is that you need to do in whatever way you need to do it.” And then let it go. You’ve given it to them, so that now you can let them take it from there. You don’t have to worry about it anymore.

But what if, in doing it their way, they violate something in us? We must trust that everyone is doing the best they can in each moment with what they have to work with in that moment—including ourselves.

“What if no one is misbehaving?” ~ Alison Armstrong

We forgive. We ask them about their motives. We listen with an open, trusting heart, and discover that they had ample, satisfying reasons for what they’ve done—reasons we couldn’t have imagined, but that prove they were not misbehaving, they were simply trusting themselves too.

We don’t trust for anyone else, my dears, we trust for ourselves—to release ourselves from that small, tight, dark place where we put our hearts originally for protection, but which, some time ago—and without our conscious consent—has actually become a prison.

And in trusting and being open and vulnerable, you will discover different types of people: those you may choose not to be around, those who push your boundaries of trust, those who betray you and also those who maybe don’t betray you exactly, but perhaps try to use your trust to their advantage. The more you practice trust, the easier it is to recognize these.

What to do with those?

Brene Brown, the vulnerability-shame queen, says it best:

“How do you make yourself be vulnerable with somebody you don’t completely trust, like in a relationship?”

“You don’t,” Brene answers.

It is almost like a sacrament when, after I’ve been betrayed and I have finally let the water clear and all the sediment has settled back down to the bottom of the pond, I realize: I didn’t do anything wrong.

I was just showing up, living my life with my own brand of wacky, authentic integrity and balance, doing my best, making mistakes but keeping my heart open, assuming positive intent, allowing vulnerability, not perfect, not right—just trusting.

The fact that that person lied to me, cheated on me, verbally attacked me, tried to shame me or betrayed me says absolutely nothing negative about me. It doesn’t necessarily make me a victim, either.

It just says I know how to trust, I know how to not take on the responsibility for something that is not mine, I know how to live and love big—from an open, vulnerable heart—and that is a glorious thing.

Don’t let past betrayals talk your heart out of showing up! Keep it unlocked and open and ready to be amazed by the (mostly!) goodness all around you.

Don’t be ashamed of being betrayed. Don’t let anyone talk you into thinking you did anything wrong by trusting. More importantly, don’t let you talk yourself into that.

Remember that to trust is to be brave. It empowers you, and those you trust, as well.

First published at elephant journal.