THE FOLLOWING IS REPRINTED FROM THE ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN USA TODAY MAGAZINE 9/2012
EVERYONE has heard the expression, “it is a crazy world.” It is accepted as fact that has no remedy, you just have to grin and bear it. Many Gurus have offered solutions, religions have their take on how to deal with it, and philosophies try to offer understandings and solutions. I do not believe we are defective. So how can this be?
The simple truth is “THE WORLD HAS BEEN TAUGHT TO BE CRAZY.” It is our patriarchal (male as superior) teachings that have taught society to be crazy. These teaching tell us to be something other than who we are. They are a lie, but as children we know no better and our parents only passed on what they had been taught. We are all living a lie.
First, let’s discuss what “crazy” means. Being “crazy” results in behaviors that are not true to a person’s essence or soul. They may seem deranged, senseless, or emotionally over reactive. These behaviors stem from a disconnection from all or part of self, called dissociation. A dissociative disorder is a clinical diagnosis of what is considered a mental condition or disease – we call it ‘crazy.’
Let’s start with men and their version of crazy. Men have been taught, “Big boys don’t cry.” No one denies this. This requires men to disconnect, to dissociate from their feelings or feminine side. The basis of men’s craziness is their being told part of their God-given being is wrong and shameful. REAL MEN DO CRY, but they have the power to choose when. These emotions don’t have to control them as the patriarchy fears. Unfortunately, men’s dissociation from feelings leaves them limited access and therefore control over their feelings. Feelings, as perceived by the patriarchy, might prevent a man from being a ‘man’—whatever that is.
Relegated to intellect, men often get stuck trying to figure out how to be loving feeling beings, while being macho providers and protectors. This primal dichotomy is actually a paradox, both being true at the same time. The problem is actually that there are no models for men to emulate being powerful AND feeling. Women seem to demand both, but clearly respect and desire the macho. It is a difficult dilemma for men. The patriarchy has twisted the experience of masculinity; has entrapped it in its web of the self-delusions of superiority, greed and power, while controlling it with SHAME. Men simply don’t understand, try as they do, what it is to be a man because of the instructions they continually receive.
Women can help guide men or they can twist them with their own demands like, “Please be our knight, savior, provider.” “Oh, and while you are doing this, be completely open, feeling and sensitive.” Now, here is a prime example of the tension between opposing extremes that all men have experienced. What are men to do with these demands placed on them by the ones they love and sometimes hate, women. How can a man be a fearless warrior, savior and protector for his loved ones all the while being selectively caring and sensitive when these concepts seem mutually exclusive? The demands of women are of patriarchal origin too. Women have been taught these thought processes and are as much entrapped by them as men.
Men are fully capable of being strong, caring, empathetic beings, but the present role models preclude such characteristics. Men are being taught to follow the fearless warrior model. No human is fearless. Yet, that is what they are told they should aspire to become. Thus, to achieve this, they disconnect their feelings – just as the patriarchy has taught them.
SHAME is the destroyer of self-worth, love, and feelings. Here are some of the messages men receive:
1) BIG BOYS DON’T CRY! If men do, they are weak; their masculine essence is lessened, which creates shame.
2) Men must be the responsible caretakers, providers and protectors; if men are unsuccessful at this, again, their masculine essence is lessened, which creates shame.
3) Men’s worth is measured by how much men do and have. If they don’t have “enough,” their masculine essence is lessened, which creates shame.
4) Men are measured by their successes and failures. Needless to say, failures or lack of success lessens a man’s self-esteem, which creates shame.
5) Men must be strong and fearless. If they feel weak, their masculine essence is lessened, which creates shame.
Men are, however, allowed two emotions that aren’t considered wrong. The first is anger – no surprise here. The second is sex. Yes, sex, which, for a man, is a substitute emotion. Anger is used to cover feelings of helplessness, fear, insecurity, sadness, weakness, and pain. Next time you feel angry: stop, take a breath, look inward, and ask yourself what your anger is covering up. You may be surprised at what you find. Facing what you’re covering precludes the need to hide it and thus, the need to become angry.
Sex, the substitute emotion replaces a whole array of things like intimacy, communication, sensitivity, need for touch, approval, and love, which men are not allowed to need. In fact, needing anything other than sex, power, and money, or what it can buy, is usually at least suspect and ridiculed, if not prohibited. Men are chastised for showing any signs of sensitivity or feelings. They are told these human needs cause harm and pain or show weakness and inferiority. This is to be avoided at all cost!
Women are just as confused as men about men. Women can’t decide if men are their knights in shining armor, rescuers, saviors, or heartless unfeeling brutes that absolutely can’t be trusted. Ah, is this not the age-old question for women? A feeling man is more powerful, but he is less easily manipulated. Perhaps this a reason why we continue to teach the lie?
Now, let’s look at women and their version of ‘crazy.’ Women get many messages that are a bit more subtle and complex, but these messages tell a woman that she is not the equal of a man in strength and intellect. Women are allowed emotions (except one), but their reason and wisdom are not honored. The one emotion women are not fully allowed is anger. Nice girls don’t get angry, so they learn devious ways to get even, using the intellect they are told they don’t have. What is the driving force, or whip that controls women and creates their dissociative pattern? They are taught fear and an inherent lack of self-worth. How can women be Goddesses of Wisdom, when they are taught they are mentally inferior to men?
Here are some of the dissociating and lessening messages women receive:
1) “Don’t trouble your pretty little head about it,” because you’re not smart enough.
2) “Big girls don’t show their anger, its unlady-like”; they must look pretty and sweet.
3) It’s all about looks.
4) All men want is sex; therefore women’s minds and souls have no inherent value.
5) Women are smaller and weaker than men; therefore they are not as capable.
6) Women and their offspring are dependent upon men to aid and protect them; therefore, they are not as capable and must be submissive in order to survive.
7) Pretty, barefoot, uneducated and pregnant is the role of a “good” woman. Her sexuality is the measure of her worth. Her mind is not so important.
Men are taught all men should be strong, should not show emotions like fear or sadness, and crying is out of the question. “Only women are supposed to do that!” Men conclude that feeling weak equates to being feminine. Therefore, the feminine is wrong, and unworthy. They are told to take care of women because women are weak, fragile, and basically incompetent. Men are taught that these weak ones can’t be trusted, and will manipulate with their “feminine wiles.” The barter system women are taught actually steers women into these types of behaviors.
Women try to do “right” by this behavior model, but face resistance being powerful, respected, intentional beings. This denies the world the greatness of the feminine. Our male dominated society also implies that a woman must experience life vicariously through her man. This perspective is not an uncommon one even in these modern times, though it is changing. Our social structure has warped the experience of femininity, entrapped it in its web of self-delusions, emotionality, dependence, and inequity, using fear and shame as a prod. Lost in confusion and misinformation, femininity becomes unclear and chaotic, thereby denying women wholeness.
Men do not help the situation either by judging women for being what they have been trained to be. In fact, women have been taught to be this way for men; at least this is what they believe. Men can help support women becoming whole, or they can twist them with their own anger, egocentric blindness and demands such as, “Be submissive,” “Be pretty and sexual,” “Be the nurturer, mother and loyal housekeeper.” “Oh, and while you are doing this be completely wise, our trusted friend and advisor.” This will not happen without men allowing women to evolve into their heritage—wisdom embodied.
Relegated to emotions, women’s sense of reason (the “masculine side”) weakens through lack of use. Then, emotions overcome reason and chaotic emotionality results. They respond to situations emotionally, instead of a blend of emotions focused by reason—intentionality.
Women are not taught or encouraged to think independently, yet are berated when they don’t. Women don’t usually make the big decisions and their opinions are overridden as emotionality; yet their wisdom is undeniable. And, yes, there are many men in the world who want or at least have been trained to expect a submissive woman. These expectations encourage and continue the patriarchal system that must come to an end. Men must find their own feelings, so they can release women from being their “feeling surrogates.” Alternatively, women must find their own reason, so they can release men from being their “mental surrogates.”
A man has an inner feeling or feminine side and a woman has an inner mental or masculine side. A man who attempts to communicate with a woman without using his feminine side will be seen as speaking from his head—lecturing. Will a woman feel his sincerity, the truth of what he is saying no matter if it is deeply felt? Not likely. Empathy, compassion, and humanness will be missing. The vital nature of communication will become mechanical data transfer.
Similarly ineffective is a woman who attempts to communicate with a man without her inner masculine. She will be upset that he doesn’t get it and blame him for being clueless. But to him, she has not made clear sense, only spouted-out chaos in the form of feelings and emotions. He needs her inner masculine rational side to clearly translate—so he can understand her.
Both are handicapped in either situation. Women can communicate with disconnected men and men with disconnected women if they know themselves, that is, their inner opposites. If not, then “who can ever understand them anyways” will be all they can utter.
Cloaked in sheep’s clothing, or the guise of guiding us toward a full and correct life, these old patriarchal concepts enslave us. These concepts have taken on a life of their own; they entrap both men and women. How can humankind end their enslavement? Simply, understand and accept your inner opposite inherent within all of us. When men see women as allies and equals and women see the same in men, the patriarchal dictates will become meaningless. The war can end and sanity will rule.