Why men can’t say no. A historical perspective

A note to readers: These are opinion pieces. While there may be empirical support for elements of what I am saying, it won’t be presented here. It’s not an academic paper, just a take it or leave it bit of my opinion. PE

Men are only as mentally and emotionally healthy as their ability to say no to a woman. Actually, that bears repeating. Men are only as mentally and emotionally healthy as their ability to say no to a woman.

Obviously, this does not apply in some areas. Mental health problems won’t be solved by simply finding a woman and uttering the word “no.” Gay men may have a somewhat different perspective about this but they are raised with the same life expectations as straight men so there is no real pass for them either. Quite the contrary.

Still, I will hold to this proposition and do my best to explain it. I can tell a great deal about a man, his boundaries, his values and ultimately his integrity and character with a simple measurement of his obsequiousness with and deference to women.

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To understand all this requires a bit of a history lesson, dating back to the twelfth century and the cultural movement driven by Romantic Chivalry.

At precisely that moment in history the warrior code was harnessed to the emerging culture of courtly love, an aristocratic invention that saw the military principles of honor, gallantry and service placed in the service of a new Commanders in Chief – courtly ladies.

As historian Jennifer G. Wollock summarizes, “The idea that love is ennobling and necessary for the education of a knight comes out of the lyrics of this period but also in the romances of knighthood. Here the truest lovers are now the best knights.”[1]

While there is arguable evidence that protection of women and children is a basic male instinct, tied to reproductive access, this is likely the first known time in history where that mandate was codified.

Over a period of a few hundred years, Romantic Chivalry spread to all the principle courts of Europe and found its way more broadly to lives of everyday men and women who coveted the lifestyle of the upper class. It also fostered a great deal of female privilege and the inescapable neoteny that came with it.

So went the first known institutionalization of pressuring men into a tradition of male servitude – or obsequiousness – toward women that continues unchecked today.  Yet it was only the first of three foundational events that would become the prevailing model of gender relations; one that negatively impacts men’s lives and mental health.

Industrial Factory Depression

The next developmental watershed in men’s deference to women was the Industrial Revolution. While thrusting humanity into modern civilization, it was the next giant step toward normalizing a standard of mental illness in men where it concerned their relationships with women.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, men largely worked in or near their homes. They worked as artisans, farmers, producers of livestock, tradesman or some other profession that they passed down to their sons through apprenticeship and mentoring. While still driven by the force of Romantic Chivalry, they were as involved in the raising of children as mothers were. Those mothers, by the way, also had laborious duties that were a regular part of their role in the family. With the combined work of both parents and participation of the children, families operated more like business concerns than what you most commonly see today.

Both discipline and nurturing from both parents were immediately present; both male and female influence in the lives of children.

The Industrial Revolution, combined with Romantic Chivalry, accelerated the problem. The mass migration to cities began. Fathers were removed from the home (and the daily lives of their children) to go into factories and work. And of course one of the first products of that revolution was advanced technology in the home, making the lives of women much safer and less arduous. It also created a lot more free time for women, arguably time for them to become fixated on their emotional needs.

The impact of that on family dynamics hit like a tsunami. Women were left to the increasingly softening work of home and children alone, and left in want of adult company. Husbands returning from long, grueling days of labor returned home to be fed and to rest, without the luxury of making up time they had missed with their families.

In this familial void, women quickly turned to their children, particularly male children, to fill their emotional needs. And fathers, consumed by work and duty, largely just enforced the wishes of the mother on the children. This triggered the second wave of privilege and psychological neoteny in western women and where men, due to resentment over their absence, began to be demonized.

All of this greatly increased the likelihood that mothers would form inappropriate bonds with their male children in order to fill the holes in their lives. In other words, we took a step toward a society of emotional incest.

This is difficult to overstate. What I am defining here is a culture of emotionally incestuous bonding between mothers and sons. The implications of that are tremendous, and in fact they seem to have been verified by the following 150 years of technological advancement and cultural malaise.

Perhaps it is not coincidental that the onset of the industrial revolution also saw the first formations of what were known to be “Henpecked Husbands” clubs; groups of men who gathered to use peer pressure to induce each other into tolerating more demands and abuse from their wives.

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The Industrial Revolution gave birth to a new age in civilization. It also ultimately resulted in the breakdown of the family unit as it was once known. The late nineteenth century rang in the Tender Years Doctrine, and with it the first legal presumption that younger children were better off in the care of mothers than fathers. The steamroller did not stop from there, it accelerated. The same glut of time and resources that spawned women to create an emotionally incestuous culture also produced gender feminism, the last and final of a monumentally powerful triad of events that left the majority of men in seemingly helpless servitude to women.

Barely one and a half centuries from the first American factory being built and our culture is all but dominated by a woman-first mentality. So rote and mindless have men become that they allow single mothers to effortlessly continue the spread of emotional incest and other forms of child abuse.

Our boys enter an education system completely dominated by female teachers, all of whom are a product of the same forces that created the new paradigm.

Society, especially the female dominated realms of home and early education, produces males that are highly, often terminally dependent on female approval. By the time boys get more substantial exposure to males, the pattern is set. Not to mention the fact that the males they are exposed to are as dependent on female approval as those who might otherwise provide mentoring. They too, as beta enforcers, put pressure on boys to participate in the incestuous bond as expressed in the schools.

This puts us squarely in an age of crippled masculine identity and the consequential impotence. We have legions of men who have stood by silently while their families have been destroyed in corrupt courts, where our young men are being driven out of education and into fields of combat and where men are more likely to support and enable these travesties than to object to them.

Their silence is the mental health issue of our time and you can see it reflected most clearly in men’s interpersonal relationships with women.

When I co wrote “Say Goodbye to Crazy,” a book aimed at women who were dealing with the devastation wrought in their relationships by mentally unstable and abusive ex-wives, a substantial part of the focus was directed at husbands who lacked the ability to stand up to their former partners.

That problem is not contained to the second marriages of a handful of men. It is a sweeping societal problem that affects all men.

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If you read my last article about male space, you will know that when I gave men in a treatment setting the task of focusing on themselves vs focusing on the women in that community, the immediate reaction was fear. That fear was proven justified when the men and women, both staff and clients of that facility, reacted in anger to the men putting themselves first for a single weekend.

What was also proven was the dire need for men to overcome overwhelming programming and pressure.

With a catastrophic gender suicide gap and a plethora of other problems affecting men, at the root of it is men’s programming to sacrifice their interests, well-being and their boundaries in order to take care of and please women.

They have lost the ability to say no. Indeed they have never had it. They are terrified of the loss implied by the very thought of it. The fact that we have done away with all of our rituals to transition boys into manhood does not help but that will be a topic for a future essay.

Correcting this, reversing the trend, is easier said than done. In fact, it is damned hard work for most, and simply undoable for the many who lack the strength to face and walk through fear on such a primal level. It can, however, be accomplished in stages for the dedicated.

The first stage is Simple Awareness and is by far the easiest. It is just education and can be had as easily as grasping the contents of this writing. When men understand the forces that compel them to please women at any cost, they create the opportunity and motivation to imagine it can be corrected. With that, they can rewrite their future, largely by rewriting their history. More to come on that as well.

The second stage is brutal. There is no other way to put it. It requires men to face the fear of ripping the emotionally incestuous bond; the foundational fear of all men, the fear that most resembles the fear of death. It means putting themselves in the jaws of the beast from which they have to scratch and claw their way out.

Once they have emerged they reach the final and unending stage of walking in the footsteps that were determined by a newly shaped history, sans the Romantic Chivalry, sans the emotional incest and sans the gynocentrism.

I realize that the definitions of these stages are cursory and incomplete. There is much more to them. A more thorough examination is next in this series of essays intended to help men free themselves and their sons from the clutches of a path that was chosen for them in favor of a path that they carve out for themselves.

[1] Jennifer G. Wollock, Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love, (Published by Praeger, 2011)

Why Romantic Love is a Farce

A lot of the material I present here is geared toward a values-centered approach with women. In other words, instead of letting your dick or your heart make any decisions about women, slow down and let your values speak, particularly your self-respect. And let that self-respect have the final word.

And by self-respect I mean self-respect on a level that you would, without batting an eye, let Penelope Cruz hit the road before you would tolerate an ounce of her bullshit.

The point here is that between your values, your heart, and your dick, your values are the only thing that will cover your ass. Strangely enough, your values, especially self-respect, happens to be the biggest obstacle to getting approval and acceptance from most modern women.

I reckon that makes it worth some conversation.

I’ve seen a lot of good commentary and feedback on that very subject. Some of it provides material that is perfect for penning my own responses. I got one such comment recently on the YouTube channel. This particular gent had the following to say about sticking to your values with women:

The message is simple. Stay away from long term relationships with women unless you want to jump through hoops and walk on eggshells every single day and for what?

If you follow Paul’s advice and be assertive she’ll dump you and find someone who’ll grovel and submit, and there is plenty of emasculated idiots out there who’ll do everything that you won’t do for her.

MGTOW is the only way you don’t lose.

Fair enough. Every man is entitled to his opinion. I know guys personally who think this way. And it makes sense for them.

I know a lot more guys who hell or high water will seek long-term relationships. This includes men who identify as red pill. Like me, they won’t get married, and they won’t do anything else that puts them at risk of state control and abuse when it comes to a relationship, but they still seek to pair bond.

So, with all respect to the cocoon that some men can tolerate where it concerns females, I am going to interpret the comment with the much larger, pair-bonding population in mind. Let’s start at the beginning.

“The message is simple,” he says, “Stay away from long-term relationships…”

So far so good. I agree, he is putting things simply. No LTRs means avoiding the complications that come with them. I wouldn’t argue with that at all.

My message is also simple, doing the bitch-ditch as soon as you see serious red flags it is another valid approach, even when seeking a long term relationship. After all, red pill men are not stupid. They are more on top of things like female privilege, entitlement whores and personality disorders than the average hombre.

While the commenter and I are not in lockstep there is not really a significant difference between us, so far. Well, maybe there is. Let’s finish that last sentence.

Stay away from long term relationships with women unless you want to jump through hoops and walk on eggshells every single day and for what?

What…the…ever…loving…? Now just hold on a minute here. Bear with me, because I think that line reveals more than the writer intended.

So, men in long-term relationships have to jump through hoops? They must walk on eggshells? What? They don’t have a choice? Their free will is gone?

What I see in this statement is clear. He is reflecting the often unspoken beliefs of most blue pill men. That is, you have to jump through hoops and walk on eggshells if you are afraid she will leave you.

And he confirms that in the very next statement.

If you follow Paul’s advice and be assertive she’ll dump you and find someone who’ll grovel and submit, and there is plenty of emasculated idiots out there who’ll do everything that you won’t do for her.

So, what we have here is not a guy making a MGTOW argument against the legal and social dangers of marriage, or even long term relationships.

What we have is just a man who has raised a white flag and accepted that his values don’t stand a chance around a woman. He is saying that he isn’t emotionally equipped to let go of a woman who doesn’t respect him.

Now, I’m well aware of the fact that there are enough women who expect you to jump through hoops to elect Hillary Clinton ten times over. Entitled, arrogant women are the gold standard for the western world, and exceptions are just that, exceptions. But remember, these are not legal issues. We are not even talking about marriage, common law or otherwise. We are not talking about legal vulnerabilities.  The comment I am responding to is about emotional vulnerability and nothing else.

But remember, these are not legal issues. We are not even talking about marriage, common law or otherwise. We are not talking about legal vulnerabilities.  The comment I am responding to is about emotional vulnerability and nothing else.

With all respect to the commenter I have to say that in the realm of emotions men have choices. Building a wall around yourself is perfectly acceptable one if that is what a man wants to do, but I don’t advise projecting that fear-based decision as sound advice for every man around you.

“Oh my God, she’ll leave you if you don’t kiss her ass,” doesn’t exactly reek of a confident man.

For pity’s sake, let her leave. It may cause some grief, but unless you have a ton of serious issues, it won’t destroy you. There are many men who can enjoy relationships, even long term ones, and survive the emotional fallout if the woman turns out to be a loser deep into the game. There is no reason you can’t be one of them.

For any man who chooses, who is leading with his values, hoops and eggshells can be the deal breakers that show up early on. They can be instant rule outs for the conscious, non-gynocentric man. And they can be an opportunity to determine if she is teachable.

No doubt that good values will send a lot of women packing. If your self-respect is genuine, that is a lot more like letting yourself flick a booger out of the car window than being torn apart by loss.

Seriously speaking, what is it that men are afraid of losing? A hypergamy-addled, manipulative and controlling bitch? Getting rid of that is losing? How did so many men get to the totally insane and powerless point that eighty-sixing a loser with a vagina is anyone’s loss but hers?

I don’t have a red pill handbook but if I wrote one that scenario would be in the chapter on how you win. Getting a loserectomy whenever it’s indicated is only a loss when you have an attachment to losers or an attachment to women that is so bloody gynocentric that it will have you gobbling a shit sandwich and asking for some chips to go with it.

You can do better than that.

When I wheel my trash to the curb for pickup I don’t take Kleenex with me to wipe tears away. When something in my house breaks and I replace it, I feel good about the replacement. I don’t have a sense of nostalgia or grief about the defective part. It just goes in the can with the rest of the trash.

There is only one force on earth that can make someone see cutting a female tumor out as that big of a loss. Gynocentrism. Not just gynocentrism but the equally anti-male institution of romantic love.

We have covered this before in Chasing the Dragon, what I consider to be the most important article on this website. It gives you the lowdown.

Romantic love isn’t even a basic human instinct. It is a social construct put together by a couple of high falutin’ women in the aristocracy 900 years ago. It spread like herpes in a whorehouse because men are so easily manipulated by attractive damsels.

Well, most men. That is what created the need for the red pill. But just my opinion, part of the red pill is disabusing you of the notion that you are at the mercy of any of this. You do have free will, and you have choices to make about what you won’t put up with. You also have the responsibility for making those choices.

One of those choices that may be better for most men than life as a monk is to refuse to follow the psychotic path of infatuation and to refuse to confuse it with anything that might be called love.

That is a big deal. Men sometimes kill themselves over relationship losses. They submerge in booze and drugs and other forms of slow death and destructive behavior, too. Their depression in the midst of loss can be crippling.

A lot of that is because they invest the wrong things emotionally and psychologically in women and because they lack a counter-narrative to the romantic model – one that gets them through loss and lessens its intensity.

The message here is that the path to surviving loss is simple, and admittedly difficult, but doable.

Lead with your values. Finish with them too. Realize that infatuation is insanity. Seek to cure it, not follow it. Romantic love and chivalry destroy your honor, your values and leave you vulnerable to great pain and abuse. There is one place that has every answer you ever needed to remain whole and healthy with women and with anyone else.

It is called a mirror. Use it often and with courage.

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Male space is an inside job

Spanning throughout the network of modern men’s media you will find a substantial amount of perspective on the concept of “male space.”  You’ll see a lot of harsh commentary from men who feel male space has been encroached upon by gender ideologues who believe that male occupied space is inherently dangerous to women.

This certainly would appear to be the case when you consider many traditionally male institutions that have been forced through legal channels or bad publicity to relent and include women in whatever they are doing. This even includes what some might consider privacy violations, such as female reporters being allowed into the locker rooms of professional athletes while they are in various stages of undress.

Some men point, and rightfully so, to the hypocrisy of this happening in a society which has had an explosion in women’s organizations that routinely exclude men. Needless to say, male reporters won’t be finding their way into the dressing rooms of female athletes unless they want to be arrested.

Sadly, this is usually where the conversation stops. There is little explanation to be found of what male space actually is, or why it is so important. With all respect to those writing on this subject, it too often falls short and lends itself to victim mentality. It’s understandable. The hypocrisy is real, as is the dearth of male space. Still, I want to attempt to take a deeper look at what is happening. As always, you will stand as judge and jury on this particular take.

In the mid-1990s I worked at a residential treatment facility for men, women and young adults with alcohol and substance abuse problems. The campus was nestled in a locally iconic pre-midcentury residential area surrounded by sprawling oaks that were planted when the homes were built.

In addition to a nursing station and an administration building there were three homes, two for men and women respectively and one for young adults.

The men’s home had a covered back porch with ample seating. During good weather (and sometimes bad) the men occupied that area, working on written assignments, reading or just talking with each other.

It was probably no coincidence that they chose this particular area to congregate. Just outside the porch railing was an outside stairway that led up to where the women were quartered, on the second story of the house next door. Every woman coming or going from there had to pass by within just a few feet of the men’s porch. That often resulted in the women stopping to chat with the men. Sometimes briefly, sometimes longer.

I spent time observing their interactions. When women were not present, the men remained focused on what they were doing. They were generally loose and comfortable. Most importantly, they appeared comfortable in each other’s company.

When female clients came by, particular the attractive ones, everything changed. Reading and writing ceased. The men’s posture immediately improved. Occasionally chests puffed out, and some men stood upright, as if to take a more visible position among their peers.

What was really remarkable is that in most cases the men who were sitting and talking with each other disengaged and put their focus on the woman in their proximity. In more fundamental terms, when the women showed up, the men stopped whatever they were doing and focused their attention on them.

The competition was evident.

The more sexually attractive the woman was, the more the impact on the group of men; the more competition. Those occasions were sometimes marked by conflict and arguing among the men.

This was not an invasion of male space. The men were, instinctively perhaps, competing with each other, even undermining each other and betraying friendships in order to take the lead in drawing those women into that space.

It happened over and over again.

I decided to use this as an opportunity for an experiential exercise for the men, starting in the weekly men’s group I facilitated. In that group I recited some of my observations to the men about what I saw.  The anxiety level in the room immediately went up. Clients fidgeted, shifted their weight around in their chairs and stared at the floor.

We were already in uncharted territory for most in the group.

I gave them an assignment to carry out until the following week’s group. I told them that when on the porch the objective was to remain focused on whatever they were doing and not interact with the women who came by; to be polite but explain to the women that they were busy at the moment and did not have time to socialize, and then to go back with whatever they were doing.

The anxiety level in the group spiked again.

I inquired about that and the responses I got were mostly an acknowledgment that the men feared their actions would be interpreted as rude and the women would be angry. I interpreted this, and still do, as meaning what the men actually feared was being rejected; that it was not about offending the women so much as losing their attention and approval. That fear is a topic for another article, by the way, in due course.

I sent the men off, some of them looking sheepish, to tackle this assignment. I was not convinced that they could or would go through with it.

I came to work the following Monday and the first thing I was greeted with was another staff member telling me that the women were complaining that the men had been rude to them over the weekend. I regarded that with some suspicion. That suspicion was later confirmed by talking to the men in the community. To a man they maintained that everyone had been polite but had followed through with the assignment.

They also confirmed that the women had become angry. In fact, a couple of them had tested the limits by dressing suggestively and lingering near the men’s porch. Interestingly, and to my surprise, the men reacted to this by firming their resolve. Eventually they moved back into the house, where the women were not allowed.

The exercise yielded some interesting results. One, I did not anticipate the women’s anger, though in hindsight I probably should have. The other is that not only did the men follow the instructions, they became determined not to be defeated. They grew closer to each other and for at least that weekend the arguments and conflict that typically happen between men in those settings dropped to near zero. They had congealed as a group and were working together, arguably on the problems that brought them to treatment to begin with.

Young man focusing on playing snooker

Instead of surrendering their space, they created it, and built a fence around it as brothers.

Another interesting effect was the one this experiment had on the clinical and administrative staff. Some of the women who worked there were offended. They thought that the exercise I gave the men had nothing to do with their treatment for addiction and that it was hurtful to female clients. As I recall the word “abusive” even came up. Some of the male staff felt the same way, though male and female staff alike were unable to articulate any form of reasoning about it that made sense.

Their inability to do that was understandable. They were trying to express emotionally driven objections; an irrational rationale. The attitude was the same brand of obtuse that we find in people who think it was women’s oppression that kept female reporters out of men’s locker rooms and that men banding together, focusing on their own needs and the needs of their male peers was harmful to women.

Frankly, at that point, the staff was lagging behind the male clients on emotional health and insight alike. The men, with few exceptions, gained from it. Several of them described the experience as “empowering,” an interesting word from the mouths of men.

I could see it in their demeanor as well. I found it intriguing that it expressed itself in some of the same ways that I saw in the men when they were posturing to draw feminine attention. Their posture was better. They walked more upright with an air of confidence atypical to men in that setting. They exchanged knowing glances and smiles with me for quite some time.

They felt better about themselves, something pretty important for people who have wrecked their self-respect with alcohol and drugs. They learned about themselves and about men.

Men change when you bring a woman into the picture. They change in very drastic ways. You can have a group of happily married, committed men in a group; men with no intention at all of infidelity, and when you introduce an attractive woman in the picture they change. They lose focus on whatever they are doing. They compete. It is instinctive, it is nature. And it affects all men. At least one of the men in that particular group was gay and he reported the same benefit as the others, plus he felt more included as a fellow man than he had before.

Is this a suggestion that men should avoid women? Hardly. Human beings pair bond. It is not nearly always for life but they still overwhelmingly tend not to fly solo in life. Their healthy, normal needs include intimate connection.

For men, just as it does for women, it also means a time and place for space of their own.

We may not be able to control whether women are allowed entrance to a men’s country club, or into men’s locker rooms or any number of other places. Each man and each group of men can, however, take the space they need to connect to themselves and to each other. Those who are offended by that are just those who want irrational, exploitive control.

That is what the majority of staff at a treatment facility found offensive. Men turning inward and doing the very work they were there to do; connecting to each other supportively in the process. They were concerned that men doing this was an affront to women. For them, the men’s actions on that porch was a problem to be fixed rather than what it was, men in trouble supporting each other and restoring some of their dignity. They were isolated, disaffected men finding connection and a sense of community.

Men’s challenge is not to defend male space, but to create it. Male space, the kind that matters, is not on golf courses or locker rooms. It is within the sanctity of their own minds and hearts. It is in the ability to tend to their own needs rather than blindly surrender to reproductive instinct, laying waste to their dignity and leaving their brothers under the bus along the way.

It cannot be taken. It cannot be encroached upon. It can only be surrendered.

Bemoaning the lack of male space is not an act of dissent. It is not activism. It is simply an acknowledgment of personal and collective failure.

When men value themselves and brotherhood more than an approving smile from a pretty face, they will have all the space they need.

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What Men Fear the Most

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We make heroes of men who conspicuously face and overcome fear for a good cause. But there is one fear that we not only want men to run from; we punish them if they show any bravery at all.

There is one fear, above all others, that unites men in what we have come to regard as modern masculinity. It’s a fear that affects almost all men, whether they are meek and timid by nature or the kind men who walk into burning buildings to save people’s lives.

It includes professional boxers, commercial fishermen, inner city police officers, government whistleblowers and law enforcement agents who infiltrate organized crime.

It is not a fear of death that cripples them, nor of torture or personal ruin. But it is a fear so great their refusal to face it has driven them at worst to kill themselves and others, at best to trade in personal dignity and self-respect for life as a servant and court jester.

The set up for this is both complicated and almost indescribably powerful. There is a solution to it for many men that requires an understanding of how we get set up for this fatal weakness. That understanding itself requires courage to face. So much so that most men never will.

That fear is the fear of losing a woman’s love and approval. It is a fear so deep and so pernicious that men will go to insane lengths to preserve it, even when being bitch slapped with the fact that the love and approval aren’t there and never were.

Let’s look at some anecdotes that form a rather uncomfortable picture.

Why it is that so many soldiers who lay dying on the field of battle call for their mothers, or whose last words when fallen are “tell my wife I love her?” Why do so many men work so hard on salvaging relationships with women who are beyond salvage; women who have proven not only that they don’t love those men but in many cases that they feel deep hatred for them?

Why do so many men never develop the skills to defend themselves from abusive women, men who volunteer to become financial marks, throwing their hard earned cash away to impress women who could not be less interested in them? Why do men continue to volunteer labor and personal resources to women, even after they have been wiped out by them in a divorce? Speaking of divorce, why is the tendency toward suicide so overwhelmingly dominated by men during a divorce or breakup?

Why do men seem so incapable of change when it comes to how they approach getting involved with women? In short, most men’s criteria for taking an emotionally, psychologically and financially invested leap with a woman hinges solely on whether she returns his physical attraction.

Why don’t we, as a rule, ever talk to our son’s about this? Why do we conspire, men and women together, to keep them in the dark and to keep them so vulnerable to women?

We are pummeled with the answers to these questions every day of our lives. They slap us in the face and scream in our ears. They grab us by the lapels and shake us violently, trying to get our attention, and yet most men, nearly all of them, invest everything they have in not seeing, not hearing and not feeling any of it. That too goes back to the fear of loss.

I talked to a young man once who came to me for advice. He had saved up to buy his girlfriend a birthday present. It wasn’t something expensive. He was 21 and just starting out in work life. His girlfriend scoffed at the present and told him she had hoped for something a little nicer.

My advice, of course, was to get a better girlfriend or to do without till he learned to land one who was a bit less of a whore, but he was unable to hear any of that. He just kept circling back to his dilemma that he wanted to please her but could not afford to do so. He even asked questions about career paths, with the inference being that he did not ever want to feel so inadequate again.

When I tried to pin him down on what terrified him so about her rejection, he opted to seek advice elsewhere. He exited the conversation in a bit of a huff, telling me that he wasn’t, by God, afraid of anything.

It is easy to write this off to the naivety of youth, but it is now about 15 years later and from what I hear he still lives the same way, in an endless cycle of trying and failing to make a woman happy enough to keep him around. Even though he is now married and with a child, he still allows her to keep him running on the performance treadmill, constantly sweating and pushing for crumbs of occasional, transient approval.

I am pretty sure he has no idea what is about to come, now that there is a child, and he has pretty much maxed out on his income potential. When the other shoe drops, and it will, he will be devastated. When and if he recovers, he will set about finding a woman much in the same way he found his wife, by overextending his means and offering it up on a silver platter to anything pretty, hoping for another crumb of approval.

How did this level of irrational, destructive fear ever become the default setting for men? Well, I think my theory on it has some weight.

The critical, formative years of every child’s existence is dominated by the female presence and the female will, which is often self-serving, unhealthy and for boys, emotionally incestuous. Fathers, whether absent or present, contribute to the problem.

Where there is no male influence, the mother often runs amok. She teaches her boys that they better please her or she will punish them with rejection, physical pain and often psychological humiliation. For boys that have already lost one parent, this is a soul-killing, developmental nightmare and you can bet that their minds adjust with compliance.

Where the father is still present, he is often the enforcer of the same sick agenda. The term “you just wait till your father gets home,” is the young male child’s first experience with proxy violence, instigated by the woman who will shape his view of all women for life, enforced by the man will shape his view of himself and all men.

At some point, he enters the female dominated primary education system, where his coercion into satisfying the will of women is institutionalized. By the time he reaches middle school, his preparation for how to handle his budding attraction to girls is fixed in cement.

And there is yet another key factor that puts the icing on this misandric cake. Romantic chivalry.

For every man’s entire life he is inundated with the message of sacrificial, unconditional male love and dedication in exchange for the appearance of approval. In fact, his willingness to place himself on the altar of female acceptance is tied directly to his ability to feel worthy as a man.

As we know, an unworthy man is just about the lowest thing you can be in this culture.

The mantras of “Happy wife, happy life,” and “When mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” or their sentimental equivalents have been drilled into his consciousness from the time he is old enough to understand what “big boys don’t cry” means.

Once you sweep away all the false pieties of “good man” and “a man who knows how to treat a woman,” what you have left is the groveling servant produced by romantic chivalry.

You see, and it is very important to get this, Chivalry was once a military ethic. It was a code that demanded sacrifice for the unprotected. It was an honorable warrior’s code. It was embraced as a romantic model in the 12th century by the aristocracy, then later emulated by the masses.

The mindless, servile action of men with women was just a social trend that stuck around for a long time. Men weren’t born fools and puppets; it was social pressure that caused it. The human being’s innate tendency for gynocentrism made it all the easier.  And it continues to this day.

I recall another event from decades ago, but it will be something very familiar to you, right now. I lived in a duplex. The man who lived above me was a huge sports fan, especially baseball. I could often hear the games through the thin floor of the building. One day his girlfriend was there. They were arguing because he was, according to her, watching too much baseball. I heard her clearly say, “You care more about baseball than me!”

The next thing I heard was the door slamming and her footsteps going down the stairs. A few seconds later he was coming down the stairs, screaming “Stephanie! Please wait!”

At that moment, his baseball game was still coming through the TV in his living room, unwatched. He was on the street at this point. I could see him through the window, pleading with her to stay. Just a few moments later they left together — after he went back into his flat and turned off the game.

And that is how they get you, guys. Doesn’t everyone know that her threat to abandon him was her ace in the hole? Don’t most or all women know this? Don’t they play that card like a boss?

Stephanie’s threatening to leave wasn’t just a minor manipulation. She was triggering every ingrained fear he ever had, from the time he was old enough to talk. Her rejection was his mother’s rejection, his teacher’s disapproval and somewhere in his mind there unconsciously lurked a proxy agent to punish him for his failure at romantic chivalry.

Of course, he wasn’t consciously aware of any of this. All he knew is the thought of her abandoning him left a hole in his gut big enough to swallow him up.

She may not have been totally conscious of her actions, but you can bet she knew enough to know that in walking away she was ripping him to pieces.

When she left, she was taking his manhood with him. Just as the young woman who sneered at a less expensive present from a lovelorn young man had turned his masculinity into a cruel punchline. The only way either of these men could redeem themselves was to lose themselves. Their only path to love was self-hatred.

And that is the moral lesson of today’s talk. Romantic chivalry isn’t love. Often, it is the opposite. It makes narcissists and children of women, and hapless pawns of men, who on close inspection do not resemble anything of what we have ever really honored about men.

In my way of thinking, the only way men can overcome this is by walking into the heart of their fears and rebuilding their self-image on their values instead of on their willingness to sacrifice them. In a way, it requires rewriting the narrative of your life. It is harder to do that for most men than to face a hail of bullets or to walk into a burning building when everyone else is walking out.

The good news is that you can start doing this anytime you make the choice.

The Real History of MGTOW

Fedora tip to Peter Wright of gynocentrism.com.

Recently, Brad Wilcox of PragerU did a video trying to sell the idea that a man is better off yoked to a woman he has to take care of versus life as a bachelor pursuing his own interests and leisure activities.

The reaction from the group of men who identify as Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, was swift, critical and on point.

Now, you might think that the divide between MGTOW and pro-marriage advocates is a relatively new one, born in the internet by a collection of men who made a choice to rebel against the institution of marriage and opened a real-time, public dialogue about it.

In modern times we can trace the kerfuffle back to the early 2000’s, when a group of Men’s Rights Activists created the first internet forum dedicated to men going their own way. An archived conversation with one of the founders was recorded by Rocking Mr. E.

Part of the problem those men encountered was also, in their minds, the solution. Men of this type were fiercely independent. Or, more bluntly put, MGTOW tend not to play well with others. Rather than cooperate with each other, they often went their own way.

That is not a criticism. Quite the contrary, it was MGTOW steadfastness and out-of-the-box thinking that led them to re-popularize the idea of men checking out and taking care of themselves.

Their ideas were subject to quick evolution. For instance, early in the first known internet version of a MGTOW manifesto, they claim to hold the objective of, and I quote, “instilling masculinity in men,” a clear “man up” mandate that would most likely be scoffed at by contemporary men going their own way.

Thus, as far as we know, is when the modern use of the term emerged. Many have assumed that this is a first for western culture, and have even struggled to claim ownership over what “going your own way” means.

There has been a fair amount of infighting over that, from which I have not been exempt. Yet, if we look at history we find that the bickering is like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog. The idea of men going their own way is bigger and older than anyone talking about it today.

Going one’s own sweet way and other variants have been in popular discourse for centuries – including but not limited to men’s freedoms and the right to a bachelor life.

There is a record of men avoiding marriage — the dictates of gynocentrism, and the attempts by those who would shame men from that path that stretches back nearly into antiquity.

One good source to gather more information on this is The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture by Howard P. Chudacoff, a 1999 book that chronicles a good bit of the history of misogamy and debunks completely the idea that it is a new phenomenon.

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Looking back as recently as 1950 we have evidence of the shaming backlash against men who reject marriage and gynocentrism in the form of a book, “Why Are You Single?” a collection of essays compiled by Hilda Holland.

The thrust of the text throws a shadow on the mental and emotional fitness of confirmed bachelors, raising doubt about the quality of their parents, suggesting unresolved Oedipal issues, a lack of maturity and insufficient moral bearing. Such characteristics echo what later came to be referred to as Peter Pan Syndrome.

One of the contributors, Dr. Bernard Glueck, wrote that bachelorhood represented “primitive and infantile thinking.”

He also characterized bachelors as “impulse ridden,” “excessively narcissistic” and even “sadistic.”

It’s the mid-twentieth century version of Brad Wilcox, only with less finesse and undoubtedly less backlash from a population of men more tolerant of being shamed.

Reaching back a bit further in time, to 1896, Ernest Belfort Bax neatly summarized the obvious driving force behind the resistance. In his essay titled “The Matrimonial Privileges of Women,” Bax outlines 12 key areas that put men at unjust, egregious disadvantage, vulnerable to fraud, deception, violence and incarceration at the hands of wives.

Also, in the same year, according to Peter Wright of gynocentrism.com, “Mrs. Charlotte Smith, feminist activist and President of the Women’s Rescue League, spearheaded an anti-bachelor campaign based on her concerns about the increasing numbers of women who could not find husbands — a surprising development considering men outnumbered women in the United States then by 1.5 million. Her solution to the “problem” was to denigrate, malign, and ultimately punish bachelors in order to pressure them into marrying any women unlucky enough to remain unwed.

Part of her remedy was to have bachelors excluded from employment in prominent public sector positions. Her second punishment proposed a universal bachelor tax of $10 per year be applied, amounting to between 1-4 weeks of the average wage, with the proceeds to provide living standards for ‘unmarried maidens’ orphans and the poor.”

It seems Mr. Wilcox is standing on a lot of shoulders, and it does not stop there.

In 1707 a conversation about a bachelor tax between two young women was published. Eliza kicks off her conversation with Mariana with the following:

Amongst all the female grievances we have hitherto debated there still remains one we have not yet touch’d upon. There are an abundance of bachelors who, thro’ a cowardly apprehension of the cares and troubles of the marry’d state, are so fearful of entering into it, that they would rather run the hazard of damning their souls with the repeated sin of fornication, than they will honestly engage in Wedlock to procreate within those reasonable bounds which the united laws of both God and man have both religiously appointed: Therefore methinks it would well become the care of a Parliament to redress this grievance, so very hurtful to the Kingdom in general, as well as to our sex in particular, by some compulsory law that should enforce Marriage upon all single sinners who otherwise will never keep a cow of their own whilst a quart of milk is to be brought for a penny.”

The full conversation goes on to ensure that even celibate men are granted no reprieve. The two women imagine all sorts of evils befalling society from the minority of men who eschew married life as well as sexual relations.

In this we get a glimpse of the true source of hostility toward gay men. The hatred is not a fear of them, but a resentment of their freedom and their lack of utility to women.

To Eliza and Mariana, as it is to the Bradford Wilcox’s of today, men must marry, and they must do so within the confines of the law and the church. If they refuse, they are inferior, defective threats to society. They are to be punished and burdened for their refusal to indulge gynocentric culture.

Yet still, men resisted.

In 1898, two years after Charlotte Smith started advocacy to shame and punish men who refused to marry, a group was formed by the name, “Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band.” Their mandate was clear.

As was reported in the New York World, then one of New York City’s two top newspapers, ‘The motto of the club is Solomon’s proverb: “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” The objects of the club are to oppose matrimony, to fight for the liberty of man, to encourage the manufacture of all such devices as bachelor buttons and to check the movement inaugurated by Mrs. Charlotte Smith “and other disgruntled females” to require bachelors to wed.’

In one declaration, it is a statement supportive of both men’s rights and men going their own way.

Eventually, of course, these voices of dissent on behalf of men would be pushed out of the mainstream media and shunned, as the media became more and more feminized. We can see the eventual result of that now plastered across the pages of most mainstream publications and places like PragerU, mocking and demonizing MGTOW and the MHRM, generally speaking.

The point of this is to make clear that misogamy, which covers the lion’s share of MGTOW, isn’t new. And MGTOW itself, has risen and fallen throughout the ages under many different names.

Even literal reference to the subject predates all of us with a feminist writing about and somewhat encouraging men to go their own way in 1897.

The Copper Country Evening News, October 09, 1897.
The Copper Country Evening News, October 09, 1897.

The difference now, and actually the only difference, is the internet. With the new technology, silencing men who reject the slavish dictates of legally sanctioned marriage is no longer possible. As an instrument of support and education, the World Wide Web now affords the opportunity to reject marriage, and to reject the inevitable shaming by feminists and gynocentrists like Brad Wilcox.

Marching to your own drum still comes with a price, but the internet has made it affordable. That isn’t good for marriage as it stands. Since white feathers and the empty allegation of being less than manly no longer work, the only solution left will be what has heretofore been unspeakable.

If society wants to encourage young men to marry, it will require an overhaul of the law and an overhaul of the female psyche. Biased laws have to go. The outrageous privilege and entitlement of women have to go.

It is hard to tell which will be harder. The legal change or the social change. Both are daunting. Most MGTOW won’t care to worry about it, though. They will be too busy living their lives. They have already gotten the message, even if most don’t know how old that message is.

We have already explored the roots of romantic love and chivalry that led us to life under the branches of this twisted old gynocentric tree.

We’ve taken it back 900 years to the work of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne, who commissioned many a troubadour to spread propaganda glorifying male sacrifice for the sake of women.

But even then there was a chink in the armor. In their seminal commissioned work, The Art of Courtly Love, by Andreas Capellanus, he makes a surprise conclusion after penning chapters on the noble dictates of romantic chivalry.

He says, and I quote: “Therefore if you will examine carefully all the things that go to make up love, you will see clearly that there are conclusive reasons why a man is bound to avoid it with all his might and to trample under foot all its rules.”

One has to wonder if the courtly Marie ever read the whole work, and Capellanus may count himself lucky if she did not read the above addenda to the work – she might have had him beheaded.

Incidentally, the tendency to claim absolute ownership of the meaning of bachelorhood is also nothing new. Over a hundred years ago, in The Bachelor Book, a magazine dedicated to confirmed bachelors, we read the following:

Bachelorhood

Bachelorhood is surely one of the fine arts. No man becomes a bachelor other than by selection. A mere failure to connect on the matrimonial timetable does not constitute a bachelor! By no means. As well you might call a man a Frenchman who missed his steamer, thereby finding himself in France.”

Today, many MGTOW will tell you that they had it backwards, that all it takes to be MGTOW, or a “real” bachelor if you will, is to miss that steamer. Perhaps there would even be a war of words between Bachelor Book subscribers and some modern MGTOW.

If there were, though, it would hardly matter. With time, and with embracing an understanding of our shared history, a larger revolution is unavoidable.

What constitutes a real bachelor or a real MGTOW? I am not going to pretend to know. I am just thankful that the age of shame is over for any man who chooses, and that the advocates of male subservience to hypergamy and gynocentrism no longer have the pulpit to themselves.

They can kiss those days goodbye, forever. We know this as we see them on the receiving end of some of the shame they are dishing out.

Ellen Hendriksen Named Sicko-Therapist of the Month for August 2019

Ellen Hendriksen bills herself as the Savvy Psychologist. She even uses the moniker in her byline; a gauche attempt at branding better suited on a cereal box than on a shingle promoting mental health expertise.

But of course, gauche works in the social justice milieu, and thus has resulted in her being published of all places in the Scientific American. Her work now stains a once gripping and credible publication with the ideological hatred of feminist orthodoxy.

Her offering there, “How to Fight Toxic Masculinity,” is a title that in and of itself insults scientific rigor by promoting a concept with no evidentiary backing whatsoever. Toxic masculinity.

Like most feminist ideologues who spread misleading propaganda from behind a façade of good intent, she takes a kernel of truth and veers off into a realm of ignorance comprised of conjecture and non sequiturs. For instance, she offers a somewhat even-handed critique of men and traditional masculinity.

“To fit in the man box of toxic masculinity,” she says, “a man must live by a particular set of beliefs and behaviors:”

She provides a list of those things as follows:

  • Suffer pain in silence
  • Have no needs
  • Never lose
  • Show no emotions other than bravado or rage
  • Don’t depend on anyone
  • Don’t do anything that could be construed as weakness
  • Never snitch

So far this is a sample of the typical feminist diatribe about men. And she does nothing to surprise us in the rest of the article, as she wanders into bemoaning an alleged wage gap (what she thought that had to do with toxic masculinity I don’t know) and pointing out that men are less likely than women to seek medical help because of the beliefs she identifies in the list. The list, she loosely asserts, stems from the male hierarchy. That seems to be her demon of choice.

Not very savvy of her.

Again, what Hendriksen offers is the typical feminist spiel, including the fact that she never explains, or even attempts to explain, where that list and the male hierarchy come from.  She seems to run on the standard feminist claptrap that males form hierarchies in the pursuit of power and dominance.

But here’s the rub. Hendriksen, like all her sisters, fails totally to understand the impetus that drives male hierarchy and that confounded list of self-diminishing beliefs and behaviors. The answer to that is simple and obvious. You’d think it would be child’s play for a savvy psychologist.

Let’s take item number 1. Suffer pain in silence. Now, what would cause a man to do that? Is that what men do in the pursuit of power? Or is the inability to openly articulate pain something men don’t do because women will reject them?

Of course, it’s the latter. And this is the gist of the problem here. You can run down the entirety of that list and what you will find is a code that men must live by to have any sort of chance of not being rejected by women. It’s not a factor so much a male hierarchy, but in the male-female hierarchy which always puts men at the bottom.

Weak men, or if you prefer, men who treat themselves with value, are condemned to sexual rejection and isolation. Men adopt those characteristics (that Hendriksen listed without understanding) because not doing so results in reproductive death. Women, as a rule, do not want men to acknowledge their own pain, to have needs/demands of their own, to be dependent or emotional. Indeed, they loathe these things when they see them in men.  

Only a blind ideologue could overlook that in favor of a narrative that attributes men’s greatest vulnerability to a macho quest for power and control. And a blind ideologue is precisely what we find in the likes of Ellen Hendriksen.

Imagine the level of chosen ignorance and indifference it takes from anyone, let alone a mental health professional, to present themselves as an expert while not seeing so much that is directly under their upturned nose.

There is much more in the article to criticize, but there’s little point in it. It’s a shopworn screed of garden variety feminist hate. Indeed, most remarkable about her piece is the fact that it found its way into the Scientific American, to that publication’s great shame.

Still, it is more than sufficient to award Hendriksen, who peddles herself like she’s one plaid jacket and a cigar away from being a used car salesman, Regarding Men’s Sick-o-Therapist of the Month Award.

The times they are a changing

It’s been said that if you want to understand a society, ignore the anthropologists. Ditto for psychologists. Scratch sociologists off your list, too. They’re all useless. None of these disciplines can help us understand a society’s people or their core values and beliefs.

As strange as it may seem, if we want to plumb the depths of a society’s consciousness, into the well spring of its collective thinking, the thing to watch is the advertising.

This is no revelation to the red pill community. From the tried and true ploys, selling beer, cars and a host of other products with raw sexual imagery, to peddling laundry soap so easy to use that even a man can do it, we’ve seen it all.  We’ve witnessed and commented on the tropes for years, particularly the misandric ones, portraying men precisely as society sees them. Menacing. Inept. Useless. Unnecessary. We’ve been taken aback, astounded, as companies like Gillette parrot the modern mindset about men as default perpetrators and agents of evil.

Yep, a few hours in front of your average television and you will get a real clear picture of the society that’s watching it. The worst of it is sometimes ugly, and, sadly, hateful.

So, it was with both pleasure and surprise that I heard about a company called Egard Watches, who made potent, profoundly touching response to Gillette’s full-frontal assault on men. It was even more pleasing that the ad they created was met with such overwhelming public approval.

Something, in this society, must be changing.

That change is consistent with other matters of public discourse, like the recent reporting that antifeminism is now more popular than feminism. Who would have thought that possible 5 years ago?

Back to the advertising, though, a look at top of the home page of avoiceformen.com reveals a banner ad for Coyote Gear, an Arizona based company that sells brass and steel fittings, among other things. Brass and steel. The changing times. Both are a pretty good fit with the men’s movement, I’d say. And it can be revealed that this advertising was secured because of the advocacy for men and boys, not in spite of it.

Yep. Something in this society is changing.

I have also heard through the grapevine that the CEO of Egard Watches, Ilan Srulovicz, may be attending ICMI in Chicago next month. Did I say that things are changing?

Trust me, I understand that a couple of unexpected moves from comparatively small companies won’t exactly change the tilt of the Earth’s axis. But I submit to you that none of this was even possible a short time ago. We are changing the narrative.

You are changing the narrative.

I can even point out that the venue for the next ICMI is anything but a small company. They are a very big name and they know about the history of ICMI, yet they are backing the Honey Badger Brigade’s efforts to host the conference there. If that is not change, I don’t know what is.

So, what can you do? Well, you can get your ticket and attend the conference. In the absence of that (or in addition to it) you can visit Egard Watches and Coyote Gear and give them well some deserved business.

We are a growing demographic, but we won’t be that way for long if we don’t reward companies who take risks by covering our backs.

Men. Women. Relationships. an excerpt

INTRODUCTION

First, some words about Perseus and The Medusa on the cover of this book. I’m sure it could be a bit of a head scratcher; a book on relationships presented with the image of a man holding up the head of a woman that he has just severed from her body. I can almost hear the screeching of feminist harpies as I write this into the book’s introduction. O.K., so that much is good.

Still, there will be people other than feminists; rational, thinking people, who may take issue with the imagery. I respectfully remind them that Perseus was a god and The Medusa was a monster. Mythical characters, both of them. Neither are accurately representative of men or women respectively. The intent of drawing from the story of Perseus and Medusa the Gorgon is to punctuate the idea that solving relationship problems requires the slaying of some demons. In each other and in ourselves. It does not mean, for the hopelessly literal among us, that we cut each other’s heads off.

The point of all this comes into focus when we consider the deteriorating state of modern relationships, especially given our collective inability to discuss those relationships honestly. This is particularly relevant where men are concerned. What men want and expect from relationships most often turns out to be vastly different from what they end up getting. I know this because I’ve spent most of my adult life watching men pursue relationships into a brick wall; witnessing the damage that happens when fantasy collides with reality. The only way for men to make that train wreck worse is to talk about it honestly, openly and without apology.

So, what the hell, let’s do it anyway.

This book is dedicated to an examination of how men enter relationships wanting and expecting love, companionship and regular sex in a trusting partnership. It’s also dedicated to how men end up running themselves to exhaustion on a loveless, sexless hamster wheel, trying to satisfy women who are constitutionally incapable of being satisfied. More importantly, it is dedicated to jumping off that hamster wheel; to rejecting the yes‑man their relationship demands and becoming the man they were intended to be.

***End Excerpt***

To read the entire book you can find it here.

A Narrative Therapy for Men

by Paul Elam and Peter Wright

As men, we are born into the storybook world of brave knights saving damsels, stoic acts in the face of pain and suffering, and glorious deeds of male heroics. All these things constitute the psychological diet on which boys are raised.

Whether Sir Lancelot, Superman, a great athlete or firefighter, these archetypes silently shape our identity and direct our behaviors, often for the better and often at great cost. They are the living templates men use to map their world, to construct their sense of self, and to direct their behaviors in relationships with others.

Therapy with men, then, must involve a significant and compassionate understanding of the narratives that guide them, and must work within those narratives to carve out a path toward meaningful change.

To that end we will tentatively title a male-friendly approach to working with men, a Narrative Therapy With Men.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of narrative therapy, we need first to examine the place where therapy, coaching and counseling happens, which is more often than not an environment tailored to suit female sensibilities.

The Therapeutic Setting

Many therapy rooms have pretty decor, flowers, artwork, an essential-oil diffuser, and of course face-to-face seating positioned to honor the typical female preference for eye-to-eye contact and sharing.

You will find tissues placed conveniently on a side table in a decorative box, conveying the silent expectation of tears, shared feelings, and emotional catharsis.

In a way the therapy office mimics an hour at the cafe sipping lattes, for which women might prepare by thinking about what clothing to wear and what juicy bits of personal drama they might like to share. Then to round it off with all the sincerity of here’s your bill and have-a-nice-day.

So much for the male friendly therapy environment.

Imagine instead a therapy office in the boiler room of a ship, in a workshop, a park, a building site, mechanics shed or a sports locker room, with seating arrangements that allowed men to sit at 45 degree angles or side by side — engaged in some kind of task if they wished.

Imagine too if we were to engage in some kind of typical male play or industry – not just Jungian sandplay or water-color art therapies as suits the more effeminate sensibilities of women, but hands on therapy – while driving a truck, fixing the engine of a car or building a piece of furniture.

Or, if you prefer, something recreational. Standing on a pier fishing, hiking up the side of a hill or sitting beside a campfire.

When it comes to communication, men like a medium, something through which to channel their energy.

Lea Winerman, a staff writer for the American Psychological Association asks us to “imagine the Marlboro man in therapy.”

“The image just doesn’t compute, does it?” she half-asks, half-declares. Then she adds with obligatory condescension, “The Marlboro man wouldn’t admit to needing help.”

We can agree with Winerman that it is impractical to expect the Marlboro Man to sit in a feminized office, with a feminist-trained female counselor and gush his emotions on demand. But perhaps he would be more open to discussing his issues while riding a horse, stacking bales of hay or enjoying a beer?

As with boys, who are more engaged when kinetic learning is applied to the school curriculum, men too are generally more inclined to thrive outside of the prettified and sedentary counselor’s office — in the world where real life takes place.

For most men the average counseling office is not only in poor taste, it is at once anesthetizing and pressurized. It is an environment where the senses are dulled and that urges male participants to do something that is already likely a problem in their lives – the expectation to perform for the benefit of a woman.

This is a critical point to make. As we examine the narratives of men, as we look at their stories, what we find with great redundancy is the expectation for them to perform for women. From the mandate to please mothers, to protection and provision for women, to heroic sacrifice and even down to the basic assumed responsibility for the female orgasm, we see men in a role to satisfy through performance.

What then can possibly be happening in the minds of men sitting in female dominated space, box of tissue at their side, with a woman saying “tell me how you feel” about this or that? Even worse, asking such probing questions with the implication that he is an empty emotional vessel in need of her redemption.

There is little there for most men. Indeed, if we honestly and compassionately examine the narrative of men’s lives, we have to agree with Ms. Winerman again. There is no reason to imagine why the Marlboro man, or any other man, would have much to say to her at all, and the ones who do are likely just caving to the pressure to perform.

Without some kind of activity or medium to engage in other than naked personal drama and emoting, men tend to disengage. Feminist inspired therapy would have us believe that this is because men are emotionally stunted and ill-equipped to articulate feelings.

In reality, the only thing men are ill-equipped at is being women, which is why standard talk-therapy is such a poor option for most of them.

Like boys, men are more likely to connect with the therapist and be willing to table his issues (vs share his feelings) when they are engaged in something meaningful.

Rather than shaming men as recalcitrant therapy clients, we must take a different approach and offer them a greater variety of places in which to speak to their issues. Therapy can still take place in the traditional face to face manner in an office, but it can also take place in any of the environments mentioned before, providing the therapist is willing to step out of his or her chair and begin walking, literally, while the therapy takes place.

Alternatively, if the logistics of getting together with the therapist are restrictive, digital mediums like Skype can provide the platform, again with special consideration to sitting postures: men might prefer to sit at an angle to the camera and have the therapist do the same, or he might prefer the vision switched to off altogether. For the tech-savvy therapist male-friendly backgrounds for his digital office might be employed on request – a bar, a mechanics shed, a kitchen… you name it.

And yes, unless a client has issues with alcohol, a beer during the session may not be out of the question.

That proposition will seem scandalous to some practitioners. However, we estimate the knee-jerk hostility to such ideas is rooted firmly in an academically acquired ignorance of men and their needs. It is consistent with trying to put them into the female emotional mold.

Finally, the language of the therapeutic session might need to undergo a similar revolution, depending on the client’s imagination, with less emphasis on unquantifiable metaphors like personal growth and empowerment, or on feelings, and more on metaphors of manual-activity to describe emotional processes; men speak in terms of wrestling with challenges, hammering problems out, trying to understand the mechanics of depression, and when considering objectives, they might hope to score a goal: to nail it, as it were.

To summarize, a new therapy for men might consider utilizing new settings for conducting consultations, including the use of a wider range of manual activities – occupations and crafts – as therapeutic mediums.

Having briefly sketched out the ‘where’ of therapy, we can now move onto the ‘what’ of the therapy.

The Practice of Therapy

Narrative Therapy with Men assumes the following principles as axiomatic:

  • Rejects misguided concepts like patriarchy theory and toxic masculinity.
  • By definition it is tailored exclusively to men’s experiences, men’s ways of thinking and behaving.
  • Does not hinge on demonizing or problematizing men
  • Sees learned detachment as essential to problem solving
  • Recognizes the unique emotional and psychological acumen of men
  • Sees the therapist as more of a coach or mentor than an emotional conduit.
  • Seeks to use men’s kinetic inclination as an asset, rather than treat it as an impediment to progress
  • Narratives, the building-blocks of our worldview become the focal point around which the therapy hinges, and include the following objectives:
  1. Identifying the current narrative

The way we tell our story is the way we form our therapy,1 so the first task for each man is to narrate his story about himself and his world. These initial narratives form the primary datum which sets the future direction of the therapy, a direction completely unknown until the stories are verbalized.

As stories are shared, likenesses between them and popular cultural stories can be discussed – such as classical myths, fairy tales, biographies of the famous or from movies, to bring the material alive. The comparison stories act as bass chords that animate the material under discussion, and to help depersonalize the content so that it no longer seems unique and isolating – ie. such stories belong to our collective cultural history and are thus very far from personal.

  1. Externalizing the narrative

Carl Jung was famed for saying “We don’t have complexes, the complexes have us.” The same can be said of narratives, including our personal ones. The stories and archetypes that drive our lives underscore the importance of gaining cognitive and emotional distance from them if we no longer wish to be held under their spell.

This is a radical departure from where most therapies in the modern mold take men. In standard practice the agenda of the therapist is usually to drive the client toward reliving trauma or loss and articulating the feelings that surround those things.

While practitioners with men need to have the skills to comfortably handle emotional upheaval when it happens, the objective is to help the client gain more distance from the inner turmoil, affording them an opportunity for practical, rational solutions.

How else, for instance, can a man stop acting sacrificially with women, until he rejects the sacrificial role? And to reject that role, he must be able to see it from a more objective distance, in practical terms. Men rarely need assistance to realize they are in emotional hell with a woman. They often stay silently immersed in it, entangled hopelessly in trying to find solutions that are not forthcoming.

While an exploration of childhood trauma, abusive parenting and unresolved grief may provide more insight into current life troubles, it will not provide what the client needs most. A path out.

Externalizing a narrative, depersonalizing it, helps us to see it as separate from our own self-image, perhaps for the first time. By abstracting the story and dissociating from it we can more easily edit its details and gain mastery: the narrative no longer has us – we have it.

The therapeutic practice of externalizing narratives has a long history beginning with Freud’s talking cure, Carl Jung’s ‘active imagination‘ to James Hillman’s practice of ‘seeing through narratives‘, and on to newer practices such as Narrative psychology and Narrative therapy.

None of the aforementioned, however, have actively applied the technique to the stories men live by – a shameful oversight for therapies claiming to plumb the depths of human experience.

The life of men has heretofore been shrouded in a cloud of repression, amnesia and denial, ironically aided and abetted by the very psychologists called to lift the lid on that repression.

While some have claimed to help men raise consciousness, what in most instances has happened is therapists adding yet more layers of faulty text to an already burdensome set of male narratives. Narrative Therapy with Men aims to reverse the tradition of neglect.

  1. Problematizing the narrative

A core tenet of Narrative Therapy with Men is that Men are not the problem, the narrative is the problem.

We view this approach to be corrective on its face. Men are universally saddled with the artifacts of a faulty narrative. Whether that is driven by a failure to be heroic or successful enough to fulfill historic male expectations, or whether it is the more modernized narrative of toxic masculinity, or both, men typically see themselves as the source of the problem.

Continually failing to fix themselves, which their narrative does not allow them to do, aggravates the situation all the more.

Portions of a given narrative may be destructive and other parts may not, which a joint, detached exploration can discover. It can lead to a discarding of the dysfunctional parts and a retention of those parts retaining value and importance to individual men.

It is as simple as keeping what works and tossing out what doesn’t, which is easier said than done. We view the main obstacle to that, though, as a lack of detachment.

For instance, shame can be a huge impediment. A man can see a problem, but without detachment, his experience of shame can drive him to deny, minimize and avoid the problem. Until, of course, the problem rears its head, causes pain, and the cycle starts all over again.

The only way, we argue, to interrupt that, is through healthy detachment.

An Ear for Men has detailed numerous examples of destructive narratives for men, such as the belief that men are inherently flawed, that they belong to and benefit from Patriarchy, that they must ignore their health to be worthy of relationships, or that their role in life is to serve women in one capacity or another while denying their own needs and value.

To these the new therapy for men applies the razor, surgically removing criticisms of men and replacing them with narratives of self-worth. And, importantly, it allows men the use of their logic and reason to guide the surgery, not their emotional reaction to the problem.

  1. Exploring potential new narratives

Life does not tolerate a void. That is why isolating problem narratives and the work of deleting them runs concurrent with a process of re-narration. In this a therapist and client can be imagined as co-authors working on a novel, where therapist co-writes or ghost-writes a new narrative, running a red pen though all the toxic text.

The new text can be literally anything the client dreams up. The practitioner consults with the client, offers observations, but otherwise gets out of the way and allows the client to have the lead role in the creative aspects of the process.

Narratives men adopt to break free from limiting expectations need not be reduced to reactions against the original problem-riddled narrative, which places the response into a narrow formula of thesis and antithesis. An example of that approach is seen in the tendency of some men to replace misandric narratives with misogynistic narratives. Or, perhaps, men who have been sexually rejected who seek to correct with sexual conquests.

An example of narratives structured along the lines of antithetical reactions vs. more liberating and proactive possibilities was elaborated in an earlier article at An Ear for Men, titled Values-based approach to gynocentrism for men. There we are given the example of three narratives:1. A gynocentric narrative in need of deletion
2. An anti-gynocentric reactive narrative, and
3. A proactive narrative which transcends the for-and-against-gynocentrism binary

  1. Nailing down a narrative

The goal of the new narrative is to serve as a values-centered approach to dealing with self and world.

This part can be somewhat tricky. Values, or what we consider good and bad, right and wrong, purposeful or meaningless, are by necessity a product of our narrative. And they can be as destructive as the narrative itself.

For instance, you can ask a man to tell you about his values. He might tell you that among them are honesty and integrity. So far, so good. But he may also follow that up by saying his values drive him to sacrifice for the benefit of a woman, that a real man takes care of women and shields them from hardship.

The problem with that, as may be apparent, is that millions of men have led themselves to misery, ruin, and even to death, with precisely these values. It is not that their intent is flawed but that they have allowed values for which they have no conscious etiology to put them behind the wheel with a blindfold on, mindless of any values that might have addressed their self-preservation.

Again, a detached review of values, and how they stem from personal narrative is a necessity.

values-centered ideology is established and articulated by the client at some time during the process of consultations. He may already have his core values clarified and will want to proceed with a narrative that honors them. Alternatively, he may feel his values have been implanted from without or inherited without consent, foreign objects that have brought harm to his health and wellbeing and so seeks to construct a new set of values and an accompanying life script that will do them justice. This can all be done with a practitioner, or simply on a man’s own volition, or with a trusted friend.

______________

That, then is a brief outline of Narrative Therapy with Men. It is not intended to be complete, and is indeed still a nascent approach to working with men. The psychological disciplines, as mentioned earlier, have hinted at this approach, have skirted the ideas contained here but without breaching the sacred wall of feminized psychology.

Now we set about the work of expanding on these ideas and calling on others to do the same.

References:

[1] “The way we tell our story is the way we form our therapy” is a quote from Patricia Berry’s essay ‘An Approach To The Dream,’ Spring Journal of Archetype and Culture (1974).

Laura Brown, Ph.D., Sick-o-Therapist of the Month

Dr. Laura Brown is a Ph.D. psychologist with impressive credentials and a CV that could easily earn her a seat on a United Nations panel on mental health. And, like many similar feminists, she is practicing a virulent, ideological hatred behind the pretense of mental health treatment.

Even a cursory glance at her online presence confirms all of this. On her web page, titled “Feminist Therapy” she, without compunction, defines and describes a brand of psychotherapy rooted in a political ideology that is hostile to men and boys and blind to anything but victimhood in women.

In one clunky, run-on sentence, clearly designed to impress the indoctrinated, she lays down the foundation.

“I define feminist therapy as the practice of therapy informed by feminist political philosophies and analysis, grounded in multicultural feminist scholarship on the psychology of women, men and gender, which leads both therapist and client toward strategies and solutions advancing feminist resistance, transformation and social change in daily personal life, and in relationships with the social, emotional and political environments.”

A decent editor could have chopped this down to a more sensible and honest version of the statement.

Laura Brown, Sick-o-therapist

‘I teach women to go to war against men, and men to go to war against themselves.’

“[F]eminist resistance,” is the alarming tell in this patently unhealthy, destructive approach to human interaction. Rather than promoting sexual harmony, effective communication and well-boundaried cooperation between men and women, she focuses instead on manufacturing a brand of hostility that feeds on the assumption that men are nefarious actors in the lives of women.

Nowhere in her lengthy definition of feminist therapy is the client even recognized as an individual, but rather is identified clearly as a pawn to be maneuvered by the therapist to further a political agenda. “Feminist practice,” she asserts, “derived from the realities that lie outside, beneath, and at variance from the visions of the dominant patriarchal mainstream.”

Perhaps one of the most abusive aspects to Brown’s approach is the stunning dismissal of the client’s needs regarding marriage and the family. Or, as she says of feminist therapy, “It is a theory that not only listens to, but privileges, the voices and experiences of those who have been defined as “other” by dominant cultures.”

In other words, all marriage and family therapy must be biased toward the view of the woman involved, privileging one voice (the woman’s) over the issues and concerns of others. Imagine the impact this brand of “therapy” has on the spouses and children of already abusive, personality disordered women. How much, do you imagine, does this kind of treatment assist women who direly need to face their own dysfunctional behavior?

There is another term in the field of psychology that describes this kind of therapy. Pathogenic, or, more literally, therapy that makes you sick.

It is for this reason that Regarding Men names Dr. Laura Brown as the Sick-o-Therapist of the Month for July of 2019. She is our first designee and will be joined in the days ahead by many other mental health “professionals” who have corrupted the honest, scholarly investigation of the human condition and replaced the effort to help people with the effort to indoctrinate and exploit them.

Shame on you, Dr. Brown.