Last week, I sent out a video about men losing power with women. Seems to have struck a nerve. In response to that video, a client, Brian, sent me this email …
“Wow, what timing! I was just telling a friend of mine, “I want my power back!” Just like in your video, we talked about exposing my vulnerable spots and my emotions to her. It’s a scary spot to go with my partner. Feels like if I go there she will use that against me in some way that will hurt me or the relationship. It will get out that I’m really not a man; I’m a wuss that can’t even stand up to his woman!”
Boy, could I relate to that! For the larger part of my life, I did not show a shred of vulnerability to my woman partners, for exactly the reasons Brian stated. I thought it would make me look like a wuss! That I’d lose all my power and be totally humiliated. This was probably the biggest reason I crashed and burned relationship after relationship.
Now, I know you might be thinking … "Isn’t that just because Brian (or me) are old-fashioned and haven’t caught up to the new times of equality? I mean, c’mon, men today know about feelings and being vulnerable and embracing their feminine side!"
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Don't get too vulnerable
Yes, many men are certainly a lot more comfortable with emotions, vulnerability, and sharing openly than our fathers or grandfathers ever were, no question. But I have a working theory – based on work with hundreds of men around these issues – that even though we live in times where men can be sensitive and feminine as well as powerful and strong; that deep in our psyches, there is still a strong voice that says to not get too open, too vulnerable, too feminine, with our partners, or with anyone else, for that matter.
I think we men have a built-in, ancient, protective mechanism that has us either clam up or get pissed when we feel questioned, threatened, unappreciated, or put on the spot in our intimate relationships.
Now, I’m well aware that lots of men are highly conscious and engage in diligent self-discovery, shadow work, relationship work, you name it. I happen to know that Brian is such a man. I’d like to think I am, too. Men like that now find themselves in the historically ironic situation that it’s easier for them to be real and open with other men, for example in their men’s groups, than it is with their woman at home.
Which sounds kinda crazy. According to stereotype, she should be able to be empathetic and understanding of our fears and vulnerabilities, right?
Those same stereotypes would suggest it should be way more risky and difficult to be vulnerable in a group of men than with a woman we’re intimate with. Brian even said as much: “Crazy thinking for sure but then again sometimes I’m not too far from that craziness!:)” In other words, he knows it’s crazy, but finds himself doing it anyway. So back to the question about losing power with women … If you or me or Brian, or any man, is afraid to show his vulnerability and feelings to his woman, and thinks to himself: She will use that against me. It will get out that I’m really not a man; I’m a wuss that can’t even stand up to his woman!” What impact do you think that would have on his relationship with his wife/girlfriend/partner? Well, for one, he would have to protect himself from his own partner. NOT a good situation, to say the least.
And even more importantly, what impact would it have on himself? On his sense of worth? On his ability to be a powerful, whole man? You bet. Detrimental. Self-sabotaging. Painful. Fucking “ouch”, man!
Food for thought, I hope … use the button below if you’re interested in getting coaching support to be a powerful man in relationships.
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