We hear a lot of talk about oppressed women, but do we hear much about repressed men? Quite frankly, I never have. At least not in the way I’m about to explain.
As a life coach and hairstylist for 28 years, I have had my share of personal conversations with men. I have also had countless conversations with women. I’ve always been fascinated with relationships and human nature and have compiled a large amount of organic data through both my careers and personal relationships.
The one thing I have seen repeatedly is what I call “The Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome.” This syndrome is comprised of women thinking a man is going to fill all the gaps in her heart. He will ride into her life atop his steed, emotionally healthy and always doing the right thing. He will be complete and whole in his emotional body and deliver her from all the evils of the world.
It’s about time someone advocates for the men out there because quite frankly, this has gotten way out of control.
Somehow through the passage of time and in addition to television, movies and fairy tale stories, a “good” man has been stigmatized to have to be darn near close to perfection. Women have gotten the insane notion that this God-like human is going to sweep into their lives and rescue them from all the bad men who came before them and heal their insecurities.
He’ll know just what to say and just how to do it. He will build me a beautiful house, buy me pretty gifts, let me cry on his shoulder, put his jacket over rain puddles, brush my hair and always, always make me feel special.
What a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a person. No wonder so many men are afraid of commitment. I would be too.
Today I am going to bat for the repressed man — the human who’s not allowed to feel. The boys behind the brawn.
The boys who had their heart broken by a parent or were bullied through school. The boys who weren’t allowed to share their emotional pain or given tools to heal their hearts. The boys who repressed their feelings not to feel ashamed, unmasculine, weak or unworthy.
I know men who have gone through all types of painful backgrounds and dysfunctional relationships and here’s the whopper…
Are you ready for it?
Men feel deeply.
They just don’t show it.
We do our men a grave disservice when we attach a persona to them they cannot possibly live up to and then feel let down when OMG he’s not perfect!
Today I’d like to give our men a fighting chance to heal their hearts and their stories. My deep desire is to see men get the emotional support they’ve always deserved. I’d like to see women everywhere treating their men like they wish themselves to be treated. By giving their man the same love and support they desire when they’re afraid, betrayed, confused or in pain.
You see, our men are not given the opportunity to be human. They are not allowed to cry, fail or be weak. I heard a man say to an author at a speaker’s conference, “My wife and daughters would rather see me die than fall off my white horse.” That broke my heart in more ways than I can say.
In that moment, I decided it’s time for a world view shift. A radical change in perspective regarding the males in our lives
Men suffer painful stories as equally as women; however, they are taught to repress their emotion by the repressed men before them. And the pathology continues. To the men reading this (because I know you are) I ask if you can recall a time you were told to:
Suck it up!
Stop being a pansy!
Quit being a baby!
Men don’t cry!
I bet the farm you have. In fact, I imagine it’s a high percentage of you. You are in good company.
If men were “allowed” to openly discuss their pain, the shame attached to feeling emotion would decrease immensely!
Ladies, it is time for us to stop this madness not only for our partners and the state of our relationships, but for the children we’re raising. It’s time for us to shift the outdated perception of:
Man = Invincible
Man = Human Being
Unhealed wounds is the number one cause of divorce. Behind any disempowered behavior is an unhealed wound. This is not a gender specific issue; this is a human being issue. As the sacred feminine, we have the power to help our men heal their wounds and teach our sons a new way of being in the world.
Your man’s heart is as big as yours. He loves as deeply as anyone else and he is hurt just as easily by the words and actions. Just because he isn’t openly displaying it does not mean it’s not there. Bring me any man’s unsavory behavior and I will find the unhealed wound behind it.
I was recently read this quote on a yoga studio wall:
“The role of every woman is to birth the God in every man”. Sigh…
That quote was my inspiration to write this article.
What I hear in these words is that a loving, good woman has the capacity to serve as the gateway to a man’s healing if she chooses to see him as imperfect and fallible, but lovable nonetheless. We must understand that men are not put into our lives to save us. As a couple, we are put into one another’s lives to save each other!
A Course in Miracles speaks of the difference between a Holy Relationship and a special relationship. The Holy Relationship is one where both parties equally show up to help one another heal their fears and pain while supporting their growth opportunities and potential. A special relationship is based on ego: what we can “get” from our partner. The special relationship says, “What can I get from you?” not “What can I give to you?”
It has been said, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This does not mean a man cannot achieve success by himself. What is does mean is men (and women) achieve far greater success and achievement when they are supported by a loving, compassionate partner.
Like any human being on this planet, we all need a soft place to fall. As depicted in movies like Braveheart and 300, the “hero” had a strong, loving woman supporting him who allowed him to break down and cry on her breast. She didn’t judge him, she supported him. She stepped up to meet his heart and offered her love.
Ladies, the truth is this, men are not going to say, “Hold me” Or “I just need a good cry.” They need us to read between the lines and have compassion for their situation or story. They need us to offer the security of our unconditional love. Your man does not need more negativity, shame or stigmas attached to him. He needs your kindness, love, security and tenderness.
Love heals all wounds. Ego, fear, control and manipulation perpetuates them.
The next time you feel compelled to attach a perceived persona to your man and then feel disappointed when he falls short, ask yourself this: How can I better support him right now?
Don’t be discouraged if your new course of action doesn’t work right away. If you have a backstory of non-support, he most likely won’t trust your motive. Instead learn to see the soul inside your man. Learn to understand his hidden emotions and act from this new perspective. Teach him that you are trustworthy of holding his innermost feelings and fears sacred. Provide a solid place for him to open his heart.
He may try to push you away, tell you he’s fine or he doesn’t need your help, but I implore you to keep on. After all you are dealing with an ingrained societal norm that won’t be dispelled easily.
This doesn’t mean become pushy or smothering. It means teach him over time that you have his back. That he can trust you like no other person on this planet. That you see both his strengths and his weaknesses and love him just the same.