Almost every thing we do, every action we do in relationship to another person is pre-defined by a role.. the part we choose to play, the part we think we ought to play, the part we are told we should play, the part we want to play. The roles that we assume for other people are largely colored by our cultural upbringing.
This is true when thinking about the polarity between masculine and feminine and the roles we play in our gender (all genders included: even being transgendered or a-gendered comes with a set of expectations that turns into a role you end up playing in life, good, bad, or indifferent). When I talk about what is true for men, I mean what is true for any person identifying as male. When I talk about the masculine, I am talking about an energy that is a part of and available to every human being.
We often hear women ask for an advocate for their safety. Getting to a place of healing includes finding safety. When they are uncomfortable with their partners it is likely a safety issue. Safety has become a woman’s crusade in current healing dynamics, and because of that I think we’re missing out on the fact that men crave safety also.
Women crave safety out of a lack of physical safety in our bodies in our societies. We are not autonomous in our decision making for our own bodies and our physical safety is often compromised. We also crave emotional safety but believe that to be within our control.
Men crave safety out of the lack of emotional safety in their felt and subtle bodies in our society. They are not autonomous in how they are expected to feel and act, and their emotional safety is often completely disregarded.
I would even go as far to say that men’s emotional safety is exploited. Especially in contrast with a women’s emotional safety. Men’s emotional safety takes the backseat, and is ridiculed and held to a double standard, not always, but often.
Both genders, all genders, all people, have experienced emotional turbulence, and have been exposed to traumatic events. All people, regardless of gender, have survival patterns, action sets that we have developed in the past to survive our experiences. All people have limiting beliefs about themselves based on messages from the circumstances and experience of their life.
We are all taught, not explicitly but subtly, how to deal with these things. Women are subtly educated on emotions, and men generally are not. Women are taught to advocate for their emotional safety. Men are taught to be less emotional or perfectly emotional, regardless of their felt sense of safety.
A man’s craving for emotional safety can feel like a betrayal to the role they are meant to play in life. It can feel confusing and painful to confront the lack of emotional safety they feel. Women who feel a lack of emotional safety believe it to be a problem with their environment while men who feel a lack of emotional safety believe it to be a problem with themselves. The fundamental difference between the two is that a problem with the environment creates guilt and hope, a problem within yourself creates shame and hopelessness.
When you operate out of a sense of guilt and hope, you can look for ways to solve problems. When you operate out of a sense of shame and hopelessness, you must hide that away and become a different person completely. Men who are confronting their lack of emotional safety can seem avoidant, erratic, inconsistent, untrustworthy, chaotic.
The most difficult part of this realization for men is that in order to advocate for their own emotional safety, they must embody softness and vulnerability; two qualities not afford to them in their traditional masculine role. Until a person can begin to advocate for themselves for their own emotional safety, it’s difficult to support them in this.
I don’t have an answer for what the best ways to support a man towards emotional safety is. I don’t have a recommendation for a person who is in a relationship with a man who may be experiencing a lack of emotional safety. I don’t think we can say that every man who is. Avoidant, erratic, inconsistent, and untrustworthy just needs an extra dose of emotional safety. What I am saying here is that it’s important to realize that men crave safety also.
My company Pivot (www.lovetopivot.com) supports men through emotional safety in intensive Men’s retreats. These retreats are incredibly powerful! The results are next level. The container of support through emotional expression is essential to healing the felt sense of safety. If you know someone who needs this, send them some resources. Send them this blog, or the associated YouTube Video on my Chanel @Dr.Brea, or better yet, send them info on the Pivot Men’s retreats coming up.