I am a male.
I am not a Nazi, but I reflect some of their characteristics.
I practice and teach meditation, have a science degree, see clients for one-on-one therapy, have explored myself through various psychedelics, traveled to Asia and read at least 67 self-help books (that’s a bit of dry humor, but also pretty accurate).
Since my father took his own life 5 years ago, I have been dedicated to healing myself and others. I prodded and explored myself as deeply as possible. All in hopes to unravel who I am so that I can become the best that I can be, for myself and the world. Despite this fact, I am constantly baffled at how blind I am to my toxic masculinity.
I’ve connected with my feminine side many times (you can click here to read about that). The first time was deeply emotional: “Fuck… I fucked up SO BAD. I neglected you, and straight up abused you, SO much! How could I be SO stupid? How did I not realize I was doing this at all? How could I be so blind?” That was me recognizing the other half to myself, my feminine side, and realizing how disconnected I had been from it. That inward disconnection also reflected itself in my outward relationships (as within so without, duh!), especially with my intimate partner.
After having that realization for the first time I thought that my life would change forever, and it did! But how many fucking times have I fallen backwards? LIKE A BILLION!
POOR ME! Right? Do you feel bad for me yet? (more dry humor, reflecting the dramatic patheticness of the hurt, male ego).
My (yeah, I gotta own that shit!) hidden toxic masculinity is most evident, as I said, with my partner. When we are arguing or fighting, I often result to blaming her or becoming EXTREMELY defensive when I think she is accusing me of something. Or thinking she is demanding too much from me when she is just asking for love and connection. When I am in tune with my feminine side, all of this is clear and obvious: “Shit! You are hurt! I am so sorry I have caused that! Are you okay? I love you very much.” Pull her into my arms and hold her close. Simple, right? But when not in tune with that: “What? That’s not my fault! I was feeling really tired that day and it’s not fair, you’re asking way too much of me! This that and the other thing!” (insert whatever random and shitty excuses you want).
I have realized (many times) that when I think my partner is accusing me, most often she is simply expressing that she is hurt. Even if it comes out in a shitty way, even if she is being sharp with her words, she is just expressing hurt. And when I am able to just chill out for a second and show her love, all usually goes well. Don’t get me wrong, she has her own self-healing to do too. But I can help with that by coming from a place of love and empathy instead of force and defensiveness.
When in hurt, male ego mode, empathy and understanding ACTUALLY feels like a weakness. It feels like I have to somehow swallow some part of myself, lower myself down and become less of a man and take the accusations in order to not cause a fight.
I am not aware of the research, but I am going to assume the male ego was at one point a great evolutionary advantage. Back in the day when we had to deal with wild animals who were willing to kill us, or hostile tribes and whatnot, it probably helped our survival chances to not sit and talk about our needs and emotions. “Hey tiger, sup? I understand that you’re very hungry and have a young family to support. But you see, right now would not be a good time to eat me. I, too, am trying to support my family. Little Jeffery – he’s so cute – is just starting to crawl and…” EATEN! DEAD! GAME OVER!
We can see how that would not be a great survival tactic!
This is also evident on a much subtler scale: The tendency of the masculine to focus on work instead of emotions likely helped us survive harsh winters and kept us alive when we were hunter gatherers. Even most females had to take on these qualities – to work hard and put their emotions aside – to ensure group survival.
I think we can all admit that these tendencies no longer serve us, at least not as the primary mode of living. But masculine dominated actions are still the go to for pretty much every negotiation in the world: USA does not like other country. USA invades other country and bombs them and kills children and innocent people. USA can’t understand why so many people in other countries hate them. USA gets mad and kills MORE people in other countries. More people are now mad at the USA. USA can’t understand why terrorists exist. USA kills more… you see the pattern.
It’s literally the same, hurt, male ego pattern. “Oh what?! You didn’t get my point, let me hit you even harder with it! Let me say it even LOUDER this time! I have a penis, I SWEAR TO GOD I HAVE A PENIS!” That was a little stab at traditional stereotypes. To clarify, we are currently witnessing the most beautiful blossoming of gender. Females can embody strong masculine qualities, even toxic ones, and vice versa.
How this is no longer working is also reflected in relationships. How many times have men tried to make up for their mistakes by working harder? “Yes, thank you for mowing the lawn and fixing the deck, Clifford. But Jesus Christ, I just wanted a hug!” For a moment it seems as if he gets it. Clifford seems to momentarily recognize the request of his wife and that he needs to return affection. However, something seems amiss! Clifford stammers and stutters like a broken robot, unable to overcome his programming. He turns 30 degrees to the left and stares blankly at the wall: “Ahh, yeah… ahhh… the sink… the sink needs fixing!”
I’m not shaming Clifford (because we all know a Clifford and likely act like him sometimes). He is doing a good job, he is being a really stand up boy: But can’t you see that Clifford’s actions are actually the exact same as the USA’s military tactics, just on a smaller scale? The Earth is BEGGING for peace and support, but the USA (and other “powers”) keeps enforcing control and war. Just like Clifford’s wife is BEGGING for love and connection, Clifford keeps doing more work. I can resonate with Clifford because I, too, am EXTREMELY slow to catch on. I am still deep in the learning phase as I write this article, just ask my partner!
The point is that the male perspective, even the toxic one, has dominated our world paradigm – from religions to schools, businesses, politics, medicine, relationships and more – for a very long time. It worked and has done what it was meant to do, but it has gone way too far and is hurting all of us. It’s a big problem! People are literally dying because of it. I repeat: PEOPLE ARE DYING! Real people. People that wake up, eat food, kiss their children on the head and say goodnight. You know? Fucking PEOPLE!
That’s not cool…
Yet we have such a hard time relating to people outside of our own cultural backgrounds. We are more aware and more connected than ever before, but the level of our disconnection is still a universal problem. Don’t believe me? See white supremacist Nazis in Charlottesville! When I first saw the videos of what happened I had a hard time believing they were real. “How could someone be so blind? How could someone not recognize the blatant ignorance of their hate and actions? How could anyone not realize their connection with others? How could someone not realize they are causing so much hurt and suffering?”
Then that’s when I clued in: “Shit… wait… that sounds familiar.”
It’s the same fucking pattern I keep falling into with my partner. Mine is a much subtler version – I am not willing to beat my partner over the head with a stick (although I know she feels like that’s what I do sometimes), I do not want to cleanse her from the gene pool, or do any of other awful things to her like we saw this week in Carlottesville – but my reactions ARE hurting her none the less.
Still hard to grasp the connection? Imagine this: My partner expressing hurt can be likened to those who express hurt over the statue of General Lee in Charlottesville. Just like my partner might get very upset and might not express her hurt perfectly, those upset about the presence of the statue may also express their hurt in extreme ways. But they are hurt, it’s expected! Now, me getting defensive and feeling threatened when my partner expresses her hurt can be likened to the reactions of the white supremacists feeling that their way of life is being threatened by those who want to take down the statue. Again, their version is much more extreme than mine, but just like my actions and feelings are totally ungrounded and bogus, so are theirs.
Another example for perspective: imagine it is the year 2517, five hundred years from now. Racism has ACTUALLY ended (fingers crossed). Looking back on racism then would be like us looking back on trephination now. What is trephination, you ask? It’s the act of drilling holes in someone’s skull, without an anesthetic, to help cure migraines and things. Yeah, we used to do that: drill holes in the skill to help a headache! Barbaric, right? Well that’s how we will view racism in the future. Many of us already see it that way, but obviously some are slow to catch on. Therefore, since in 500 more years our society has shifted so dramatically, erased racism, shifted its consciousness to higher levels, problems that are less obvious today will become more obvious then. Therefore, we could imagine that someone acting from the hurt male ego could be viewed in the same way that we currently view modern day neo-Nazis. In 500 years, we’ve come so far in our society that regular “assholes” are the ones looking like insane maniacs. Hey, we could call them neo-assholes! They don’t seem so bad in 2017, though, because we have actual neo-Nazis stealing the headlines, but the problem at the core of both issues is the same.
That’s the big take away here: the core problem of toxic masculinity is the main issue, although one is obviously much more extreme than the other.
Now, for goodness sake, I AM NOT making excuses for myself (although I have many times before) and I am DEFINITELY not making excuses for racial hatred. What the neo-Nazis have done is completely insane and completely unacceptable. We have to be extremely careful and we must defend ourselves at all costs. But it is important to understand the deeper issues at hand here. I know, and we all know, that violence and aggression will not solve this problem (that is the masculine answer!).
So what can we actually do about this? How do we actually stop it? This is a real question I’ve been asking myself. What the fuck can I do about Nazis (seems crazy I even have to ask myself that question)?
Step 1 is being done very well: Call out the racist bullshit for what it is! Many people are marching and many people are pointing out this insanity. Statues are coming down left and right. Some white supremacists have lost their jobs because their pictures have been plastered all over the internet. Amazing!
But what about the deeper, underlying issues I mentioned above? I know this seems simplistic (and you might hate me for it) but we can fix this on a global scale if we all (all people, all sexes and genders, especially traditionally masculine ones) take a real hard look at ourselves. Some of the things I’ve done to my partner have been completely shitty and I have to own that. I have to heal that. I have to fix that. I have to do all I can to call myself out on my own shit. I have to stop judging. I have to stop expecting results without effort. I have to heal myself. I have to heal my own hurt. I have to break down my guards, face my insecurities and become vulnerable and open myself up to love. When I actually do that, when I am fully coming from a place of love in my heart, you WON’T believe how fucking magical it is! Instant amazingness!
It might seem like a jump, but the healing at the individual level WILL reflect in the healing of the whole world (as within so without, duh!). And it’s the thing that we have the most control over and the thing we can only truly be responsible for: ourselves! Activists do amazing work, don’t get me wrong, but how many activists have we met who are completely blind to their own shit? They are so focused on the problems outside of themselves that they are totally unaware of the shit they keep perpetuating in their personal lives. Even the fact that I am writing this article is contradictory because I HAVE to work on myself!
I have to do the work too, we all do!
Before we can fully heal, all of the shit has to come out. ALL OF IT! And that’s really scary on all levels. It’s scary on the personal level because we have to face our deepest darkest things. It’s scary on the world level, because people like the fucking neo-Nazis come crawling out and react in radical ways and actually kill people.
We have to stand up for what is right, but the big answer remains the same: WE ALL have to truly face ourselves, each and every one of us. We, both men and women and all genders, need to start going to therapy and getting help (or some equivalent), there is no shame in that at all. I am currently seeing a therapist and it’s amazing! It can be expensive, I know, but there are options for it to be nearly cost free. Eastern and Western medicine work best together!
We also need to embrace our emotions. We need to stop shaming emotions. We need to focus on mental health. And most importantly, we need to focus on our intrinsic needs that make us humans: the need for connection and love. We need this because we are all very sick. Neo-Nazis are one thing, but depression, anxiety, and suicide are at ALL TIME HIGHS! These things are not THE problem, they are the symptoms. They are the symptoms of our sickness. We are sick and we need what heals us: love and connection.
It has always been that and it always will be.
Toxic masculinity blocks this, though. It has no time or room for love. But once we do this work, once we expose toxic masculinity for what it is and heal and empower the divine feminine, the point is not to erase masculinity. Masculinity is extremely important, just like femininity is. The point is to bring it into eternal balance with the feminine so that they can work together as the united whole that they are meant to be. And that balance resides in each and every one of us.
When we find that balance we will find peace, inside and out.
Love you all,