I see it often on social media, in circles where women gather - the mocking of men, women frustrated by their ‘incapabilities’, laughing at their mistakes in using the wrong cleaning product, men collectively being blamed for women’s oppression… the list goes on. What many of these women are not realising is that this shaming and mocking of men pushes them to internalise these emotions. These emotions sit and swim in their hearts, gradually rotting away. Bitterness, anger, resentment… that in one form or another gradually gets projected out. This projection isn’t necessarily in forms of violence or aggression, it can be subtle micro aggressions.
We can think that men are very different to us. That somehow they are able to take it on the chin when they are ‘the butt of the joke’. That somehow they are immune to passive aggressive comment - they aren’t. They feel exactly the same as you do when they receive it. They are more similar to you that what you realise, it’s just their conditioning that is different. Instead of having the space to cry. They go quiet. Withdraw. But the feeling is there. The hurt. The pain. And it builds up in resentment.
The problem is this internalised shame and self-hatred, of not feeling good enough, of not being enough, it sends them to places where they feel understood and listened to. And if it’s not in the arms of women. It’s into the groups of men who also have this internalised self-hatred which they project outward. And you know who they project that hatred out towards and blame? Women. They make their way over to the manosphere, to INCEL groups and other dark places where they share the same emotions. In their despair and need to feel loved and accepted somewhere they end up in dark places on the web.
So I’ll repeat what I’ve already said, that men feel and internalise behaviours from others in exactly the same way as women. How they project it out can be different, but it still damages.
In our quest for equality have we possibly lost respect for men who have also been a victim of the system? Yes of course they experience privilege and that is undeniable. However, we need to acknowledge that the system has damaged them at an individual level. Conditioning prevents them from accessing their emotions, prevents them from being vulnerable, they are frightened of intimacy, fearful of connection. From this conditioning which is part of our system, one to which many women also subscribe to, is a system that prevents men from accessing themselves at a deep core level. Their authentic expression of who they are. It prevents them from learning and integrating all of their many parts and instead bury them into the shadows where they fester and occasionally project out from a place of fear.
Calling men to ‘rise up’ is not enough when we are continuously blaming and pointing the finger. We are sending them two completely different messages, ‘men, stand up for women’s rights’, but ‘men, we don’t need you, we can do it all ourselves’. ‘Men show up for the women, it’s you who will make a difference to women’s rights’, ‘men you are the ones who cause all the pain and suffering of women.’ These messages are contradictory and confusing. For anyone to stand up in their own power they need to feel empowered. They need to work through their own conditioning and wounds. They need to have space to express themselves. Because a healed person, is a person who will feel empowered to speak out and protect. A person confused and experiencing shame will not.
Women, my invitation now is to ask yourself how can I respond differently to the men in my life? How can I change my relationship to men? So first we need to explore what our behaviours are.
Where does our behaviour come from? In some cases it’s from a place of hatred and resentment.
I remember in my late teens and early 20s aligning with anti-men feminism. Blaming men for my suffering. My problems. My oppression. Failing to see that there were also women in the system who were also part of it. Women who kept other women down. Women who projected their own fears and insecurities and competed. Women who to feel more superior would treat other women as inferior. So it wasn’t and still isn’t a gender thing. It’s a pain thing. People who are hurt, hurt people. And I’m not just referring to physically, but also emotionally.
And this is where we come to explore the father wound. Women who don’t trust men, women who blame men, women who are harsh with men, anti-men, who don’t hold space for men, who criticise, etc maybe you resonate with all of these, maybe one or two, maybe you’re in denial and are continuing to read this and still looking at the failings of men without exploring yourself first.
The father wound is where during our childhood in some way we felt let down by a father figure. Note here it could be a caregiver who wasn’t a biological father but a man in your life who was akin to a figure of a father. Maybe it was something horrific you experienced like sexual assault. Maybe they had an affair and left the family home. Maybe he was violent towards your mother. Maybe one day they just left and never returned and still to this day you don’t know where he is or why. Maybe it was nothing as big as these. Maybe he didn’t listen to you when you were being bullied and didn’t know how to handle it. Maybe he didn’t give you the attention you needed and frequently blew hot and cold with his affection leaving you confused whether you were loved or not. Whatever it was that you internalised as a child and maybe teenager, if you don’t discover what the story is you have about men and work through it, you will unconsciously continue to create the same situations with men in your life.
You will constantly find men who let you down. You will constantly find men who leave you for other women. You will constantly find men who are ‘incapable’ and who you end up mothering. You will constantly find men who abuse you. You will constantly find men who are unavailable and avoidant.
Until you begin to work through the wounds that the father figure left and change the narrative of what a man is, you will continue to bring those same type of men into your life and push away the really great ones.
In my own journey of healing the father wound I have gone through my 20s of attracting men who put me down, who through their actions told me I wasn’t good enough, who couldn’t show me intimacy… When I look back I can see there were men during that time who were ready to treat me like the queen I was. I just didn’t see them. My own wounds, the father wound and anxious attachment kept me in the same patterns. Completely oblivious to the fact that there were men out there who saw me for who I was and wanted to treat me with the utmost respect.
Now on my non-monogamy journey and in my life in general I am surrounded by some of the most amazing and supportive men I have ever met. Grounded men who say they feel safe with me. Men who want to support me. Men who want to see me become successful because they believe in what I do. Men who let me into their hearts. Men who are willing to be vulnerable because they tell me they trust me.
This is the situation I created for myself by the work I have done to heal those wounds.
Do I still find myself sometimes defaulting into the exclamation and eye roll of ‘men’. Yes. On occasion I do. I’m not perfect and habits of a lifetime can sometimes make a slip. And that can come from the fact that I see the potential of men. I can see that when we fully see men, when we give them space to make mistakes, when we allow them to be vulnerable without judgement you see them rise. You see them begin to explore their own internal world. And this is what we need from men. This is what we want to see.
We women have the capacity to change the world and we can do this with healing our wounds. Showing love and compassion for ourselves. And then transferring that onto everyone else around us. Including and especially the men. Because when we do our own healing work, how we speak to and treat other people changes. And how they respond to us adapts to our new behaviour. And like that it ripples out. Changing our behaviours and healing our wounds is the first step in doing it for the world too. And if we want men on board, we need to heal those wounds that we project onto men.
We need to heal our father wounds so that we can allow the men on the same healing path to enter our lives.
We need to heal our father wounds so that we can keep our hearts open to the men who are struggling.
We are more similar than we are different.
Esteem, love, safety and belonging.
It’s what we all want for ourselves.
So how can we give it to each other?
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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