Do you see yourself in these three archetypes?
This is an extract of the notes for my partially finished book on the search for spiritual healing among men. It is offered as the result of a conversation on the New Civilization Network.
We've done a fantastic job of fixing women's problems. While not all such problems have been repaired, the system is in place to ensure that the remainder will be fixed. That said, we have taken no steps towards fixing men's problems and have made many things much worse for men by the actions we've taken to fix women's problems. This is no one's fault. We didn't know what we were doing: We guessed and often guessed wrong.
One of the primary reasons for guessing wrong is we did not know of two gender-weaknesses which can control human interactions:
a) For males, the more power a man has the greater the odds he will ignore male issues. This is why a male Minister of Health will usually vote against more funding for Prostate Cancer, even if he himself has Prostate Cancer.
b) For females, the more damaged the woman, the greater the odds she will see herself as at the bottom of society, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This gives rise to women demanding that Prostate Cancer "obviously" receives more funding than Breast Cancer in the face of accountants saying that Breast Cancer receives 3 to 7 times more funding.
The result is we have growing groups of men who are quite unhealthy, they are damaged in real and predictable ways. To fix these problems we must see the groups as they are: We must look through no filter and see what is. We must learn not see what we want to see.
Damaged Men I have known
First, let me explain exactly what I mean by a damaged man. The damaged man shows up when a man is hurt and then denied help and told he is at fault for being hurt in the first place. He enters what a computer programmer would call a feedback loop. One good (and sadly all too real and common) example is as follows:
Bert's wife Shelly, a difficult woman who yelled and threw things, ran off with a man from down the street. Bert was left with three daughters, ages 5, 7 & 10. A few months after leaving Shelly decided she wanted the girls. She charged Bert with molesting them, which she thought would be a good tool to separate the girls and Bert. After two years of fighting, Bert with the aid of six neighbours and several relatives proved that not only had no molestation taken place, but there had been physical child abuse from Shelly. The girls were in a bad state by the time Bert got them back from Children's Aid. That is the first step, the violence.
Bert was told that since no crime had happened there could be no government provided therapy for himself or the girls, (such help is woman only): That creates the second step towards a damaged man, the refusal.
Shelly's next move was to sue for spousal support and for child support when the girls where visiting her: Shelly had never paid any child support; (paying is rare in non-custodial mothers). By the time this issue was thrown out of court Bert was bankrupt. He and the girls had lost their home and Bert had lost the store his grand-father had started. That's more of the violence part of creating a damaged man.
The final damage comes from Bert being told in the media and in signs and in posters and on TV and on Radio and on the internet, almost every day, that women are not violent and never lie about violence: Men, the ads go, always lie and are often violent. It takes that third part to create the damage we see in what I call a damaged man.
A damaged man is created in three parts:
a) the violence
b) the refusal of help
c) the violent lies about all males
These three archetypes of the damaged man show up repeatedly. Obviously, no one archetype is shown completely in any one man. Yet, one archetype rules so clearly that they are worth discussing. These three forms of men are all men harmed by some form of violence, refused help and then re-harmed by society's effort to aid women.
The Junk Yard Dog: So badly damaged is this man that in his mind no difference exists between friend, foe and bystander: All are enemies. He is in hell on earth lashing out forever in all directions. In many ways these men are insane: They have lost all connection with a world which includes joy, peace and happiness. The Junk Yard Dog infests the men's movement: The prevalence of Junk Yard Dogs forever holds the men's movement in a state of not-together. The Junk Yard Dog is by far the fastest growing form of damaged man: Our efforts to aid women and children create ever more Junk Yard Dogs, soon they will be the most common form of damaged man and maybe the most common form of man period. Bert from above, is a Junk Yard Dog. Our help system seeks to cure these men through anger-management programs, which is the worst thing which can be done to them, for it feeds their definition of the world as enemy. The Junk Yard Dog must be reached where he is; by hearing the pain, completely, totally and without the bigotry we have all been force fed. Then, and only then, can he be led through the spirt to the beginnings of healing. In many ways these are the easiest to reach of the damaged men.
The Denier: This man denies all externally caused personal pain and problems: To him they do not exist and therefore cannot hurt him. This is the man whose wife tried to kill him who calls into a talk-radio shows on Family Violence and loudly demands that battered men do not need service: To him if there were services for battered men, then he would have a problem that the service could handle, but he in his own mind cannot have a problem, so he must stop, at all costs, any effort to create service for men. Likewise, he will interrupt a conversation on male bashing with "Men are pigs! Sexism against men is impossible." He must, always and in all ways, deny that pain could exist, for if he stops, he might feel his pain. The Denier is found scattered throughout all conservative, leftist and feminist areas of society: At about one in fourteen men this is still the most common form of damaged man. The Denier, is the most dangerous form of damaged man, for he feeds the urge to see all males as biological cash machines. No part of our help system touches these men, for they will allow no help. However, a woman who has worked through her own pain can reach him as can sidestepping the pain to come at him through the spiritual approach. These men are deadly poison to men searching for healing.
The Patient: This man is a version of the "Poor Me" woman. He can only see his life as pain. For him, there is no life but pain. Therefore, for him, any effort to stop the pain, is a threat to his life. The Patient is quite hard to find, but he is there for anyone to find who makes the effort to look; they are a case of hiding in plain sight. I was once a Patient. The Patient is found quietly supporting the Denier: He too, in his mind, loses if they treat his pain, for he forever feeds on his pain. A careful and considerate listener can help these men to see their own pain for what it is and through that, a path to healing. The worst thing a person can do with a Patient is give him examples of other men who have been similarly harmed: He will see that as mocking him.
Psychologists and therapists, too many of which are themselves Deniers, cannot, will not or do not reach these men: All too often it is "will not" for reasons which are too complex for this short article. However, the path to reaching this damaged man went through spirituality and so, that is where I start my hunt for a way to touch his fractured soul, from which I hope to reach his mind.
Say what you mean: Mean what you say.
Whatever you say: Say it with love.
The Moody Blues: Keys to the Kingdom