The Subtle Shaming of Men and Vulnerability

The Subtle Shaming of Men and Vulnerability

            A man I knew rarely if ever shared his emotions with his wife. He would often feel unsure and insecure about their relationship; his coping mechanism would be to go into hyper pleasing mode to try and make her happy. His nice guy pleasing mode was a nasty habit of neediness that he fell into often (and didn’t like). He never felt brave enough to share this issue with her. Another guy I knew went through a long period of money challenges and felt he wasn’t living up to his big ideal of what a “good and powerful man” should look like. The way he dealt with this was by being overly defensive to any criticism or feedback from his wife.  He would get easily offended because he was judging himself as not being enough, not being successful. In both cases the men were clear that there was “no way” they were going to be vulnerable and share these issues with their partners. Not vulnerably sharing is death to emotional intimacy in relationship, which amounts to inauthentic relating. Not only does inauthenticity impair loving connection in relationship, but in sex, friendships, your relationship with yourself, and in all the little moments of time in your life. The conundrum for men in being vulnerable: we want to be vulnerable, share our pain, our fears, even our darkness, but we also know that women (this is a generalization of course) find our confidence attractive. Mistakenly, however, men think of confidence as excluding vulnerability, when in fact, the foundation of true confidence is our ability to...
Be Less Tolerant

Be Less Tolerant

              In my 20’s I hung with this guy that was often critical, judgmental and not really enjoyable to be with. It was challenging being around him, but I chose to hang out with him because I felt his good heart beneath his shitty attitude. When we were hanging out and things didn’t go his way or if I would do something he didn’t like he would lob personal insults; and if I argued back with him, he would verbally attack me immediately. So why did I take his abuse?  For reasons unknown to me at the time, I tolerated his rude, judgmental and unkind behavior. Thinking about it now, it was pretty crazy that I tolerated someone treating me that way. The truth is, the unkind, critical guy was living inside of me, and it was me! When I made a mistake and screwed something up I would slam myself with insults. If I saw someone more successful than I am, I would put myself down to drive the point home of how I was “less than” him. If I felt sad I would judge myself as weak. Anytime there was an opportunity to find something wrong with myself, I would. I know many of you do this as well, you don’t give yourself a break, and you’re relentlessly hard on yourself. You tolerate a harsh inner critic. One reason I tolerated this unfriendly behavior to myself, is the same reason that someone stays in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship; because it’s what we know even if it’s unpleasant. We tolerate...
Vulnerability Better Sex and Intimacy

Vulnerability Better Sex and Intimacy

                      Vulnerably sharing is one of the things that a woman want most from a man, and it can also be one of the most difficult thing for a man. A man being challenged in sharing his feelings is not a new subject or perhaps doesn’t sound that interesting. But, vulnerability is key to creating a healthy loving and juicy relationship. Vulnerability traditionally means a place in which one can be injured. I like the image of the vulnerable places in the Knight’s suit of armor (namely the neck, armpit and even back of the thigh are the vulnerable places). In this example the vulnerabilities can mean being seriously wounded or killed, and for some men, that’s how it sometimes feels to share a hurt, pain or shame.   In my experience, vulnerably sharing a fear or insecurity has often felt like pulling teeth. Sharing anger is often easy, but confiding in what is underneath is not just scary, but also can take some practice in even figuring out those deep-seated emotions. Usually what is locked away is sadness. Rather than “going there”, I have often ignored or hidden the thing that could have been shared. It then becomes this secret internal burden that I must bare alone. And that ultimately will turn into shame or guilt.   There are different methods we employ to avoid our hurt and pain. One of the most common ways is to ‘numb oneself’ with external sources like porn, alcohol or obsessive shopping to name a few. Another way to avoid dealing with...
Man Did I Suffer In My 30’s

Man Did I Suffer In My 30’s

              A short journey into my spiritual life   In my coaching work with people over the years I have seen a majority of people go through their personal growth crisis in their early thirties. I as well found myself at an intense turning point at 30 yrs. old. Here is a snapshot into what I was experiencing: * My marriage of over 10 years had ended. This unhealthy and destructive relationship had taken a huge toll on me. I was suffering greatly. I was confused and unclear about what to do with my life. And I had a son and stepson that I was partially responsible for. * I was stressed out as my two businesses were failing and crashing. * My life as a musician and trying to “make it” was no longer appealing to me.  Playing in bars and clubs had lost the “sexy” appeal. * The beautiful (post-divorce) relationship I was in ended. That was the final push into my unavoidable tailspin. You could say I was a wreck.  Everything that I had cultivated in my life was burning. In my suffering and loneliness I had suicidal thoughts plaguing me often. I would spend hours alone in tears and self-hatred. I did not like my life, nor did I like myself and the ways I acted. As I sit here writing this and feeling into the devastation I felt at that time, I can sense into the darkness that was slowly trying to swallow me whole. I had a choice.  Break down or break wide open.  It is the...
How Men Disempower Women

How Men Disempower Women

I’m changing the title to How Men Can Empower Women (and themselves)               Evan was a mama’s boy growing up; he’ll be the first to admit it. As a kid he felt responsible for his Mother’s happiness because his father was rarely home. With his father busy at work most of the time he took it upon himself to provide the love and companionship that his father should have been giving. When his mother was upset he would distract her, either by entertaining her with his silliness or with his owns needs. Evan shared with me that he would emotionally care for his mother; he was always gauging his mother’s emotional moods. Through pleasing her, he was alleviating the guilt he felt for his absent father. When he did this, he would gain approval from his mom. One mistake he made was in confusing the approval he received from her, as proof that she was happy.  He was diligent to get good grades in school or anything else that might bring more approval. He became addicted to her approval of him and his actions. Why do you think I’m sharing this story with you? Because in my work with men I see a great number of men with these two connected issues. Men that that do not see women as their equals And Secondly men that live with an unhealthy need for approval by women Here is how I see these two things intersecting Evan doesn’t see women as his equals, he sees them as something that needs to be taken care of...
Prison of Porn

Prison of Porn

The Prison of Pornography           If you view porn more than once a month please read this!   Are you a man that is hooked on pornography? Well you’re not alone. The staggering statistics online say that 70% of men use porn (and the number might be higher).  And I myself struggled with this years ago.   Mostly this comes out of habit and ways of coping. It is our human nature to resist any uncomfortable feelings in life, so we check out through trying to feel only what we deem “pleasurable.”   Many of my clients reveal to me, after we begin to build a trusting relationship, that they are addicted to porn. This causes deep shame for them and yet, because it is so secretive, they are unsure what to do.   The truth is…   It isn’t something to be ashamed of. Rather, it can offer us an opportunity for radical growth, if we can shift our frame of reference.   Although there are some upsides to using porn (we’ll discuss this another time) there are an overwhelming amount of downsides.   Here a few reasons to curb or give up your porn habits.   Too many unrealistic ideals and “shoulds” After watching porn, ever notice that you begin to judge how your sex life should be, how your partner should act, how you should act, how your partner should look, how big your cock should be? This sets unrealistic ideals that we can never achieve. Bad education (this follows on the thought of unrealistic ideals) Porn can be a huge reason...