How the Oedipus Complex Destroys Men

Disclaimer: The following is for informational and entertainment purposes only.  This is not medical advice, I am not a medical doctor or psychotherapist.  Always first consult with your doctor. 

“The Oedipus Complex”

It sounds weird and obscene.  It’s taboo, so much so that we try not to talk about it, or at best, marginalize it as “just another weird theory that Freud had.”

What comes to your mind when the term comes up?

“Oedipus Complex?  Doesn’t that have something to do with fucking your own mother?  I don’t want to fuck my mother.  That is so weird and disgusting.”

The Myth of Oedipus is exactly that, A MYTH, and therein lies its incredible power (read: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell).  Myths are templates of human experience, they serve to guide us through the mysteries of life.  Unraveling the intricacies of family dynamics and human psycho-sexual development was Sigmund Freud’s calling in life.  By a turn of Fate, Freud was invited to watch a presentation of Oedipus Rex, a Greek tragedy about a man who unknowingly beds his own mother.  Freud had an epiphany, and gave “The Oedipus Complex” the name that it so aptly deserves.

Ok, so you haven’t literally fucked or married your mom.  But, if you are one of us “lost men,” that is – one of us men that struggles to define our own masculinity in a world of collapsing values, then chances are – you have fucked, dated and perhaps married a template of your mother.  Ergo, you have an Oedipus Complex.

The Oedipus Complex does not mean that a man is fucking his biological mother, but rather The Mythological Mother.  The Mythological Mother is the template of a female-caretaker that we all have, and it serves us well – when we’re infants.

The Pathology of the Latent Oedipus Complex

So, do you struggle with women?  Do the women in your life look for ways to boss you around or control you?  Do they tell you how to look, how to dress, how to drive, and how you should or shouldn’t make money?  Are you her emotional caretaker?  Is she your emotional caretaker, or do you take turns playing that role?  Have you ever dated a “basket-case,” or a “diamond in the rough?”  Have you played the role of rescuer?  Do you explode in a furious rage when the woman you have rescued fails to return the laurels of appreciation, loyalty and respect you thought you deserved?

If any of the above rings true for YOU – read on, dear traveler!

So WHY do these issues come up, and what does it have to do with the Toxic Oedipus Complex, and (most importantly), how do I heal from it?  How do I get rid of it?

Let’s clear the air on a few things: first, the Oedipus Complex isn’t a bad thing for infant boys.  Mother is the giver of protection and nourishment, she is “emotional home-base.”  Mom is safety, and a really amazing person.  To boys up to four years of age, there is no difference between attachment, emotional dependency, physical dependency, and infatuation.  “Mom is amazing, I love Mom, I am in love with mom, I might even want to marry Mom.”

If you are lucky enough to have had a present father-figure in your life (which is becoming a rarer and rarer occurrence by the day),  then you would have seen this strange “man creature” as a competitive threat to the possessive attachment that you had toward your mother.

If you need hard evidence of this, check out the following video.  Here, the infant boy sees his father kiss his mother, which he instantly attempts to emulate.

No, it is NOT the Same for Girls!

For males, the steps in development are intensely more critical than it is for girls.  By this, I mean that for males, the developmental stages are much more sensitive to change: if one element is missing, the whole house of cards collapses – leaving us to a life prone to dysfunction, addiction, melancholy and misery.  With girls it seems that their nature is more fluid.  A girl can be a tomboy or a girly-girl, no problem.

“But girls have a version of this called the Electra Complex and it is the same!”

Well, not really.  Women might have an Electra Complex, but it isn’t necessarily toxic.  If their father was a strong man and a good provider, and she grows up looking for “Dad” in the role of a strong man and a good provider, then there is no dysfunction here.

BUT us men, if we are adults and we have an Oedipus Complex, then that IS and ALWAYS IS dysfunctional.

Dad’s Job is to Break the Oedipus Complex

So again, back to DAD.  What’s his job?  Dad appears to be a hostile takeover force to your infantile fantasy-attachment to mom, and that’s his first job, which is to be a role model of manhood to you and put you in your place a little bit.

He is mysterious and his relationship to your mom is mysterious.

This is true because the sex and sex-chemistry between Mom and Dad is (and should be) a complete mystery to a little boy.  Mom and Dad have some sort of attachment via some unknown channel, and there is an unknown power in there that I, as a boy-child, do not understand or possess.

So, Dad is a mysterious ape who threatens my perfect emotional-womb-like enmeshment with Mom, but he also possesses strange and special powers, powers that I might like to have.

Dad comes home with a box from the furniture store.

You: What’s that Dad?

Him: It’s an end-table, want to help me put it together?

You pause for a minute, unsure.

You:  What’s an end-table?

Him:  It’s for there next to the couch.

You: YOU’RE going to put it together from all the pieces in that BOX?!

Him:  Yeah, wanna help me?

You:  Yes!

It is important that we not dismiss this activity as mundane.  This is Ritual Manhood, and provided that you have a GOOD DAD (also fucking rare these days), he will understand the gravity of these rituals and exercise patience.  The goal is not only to build the end-table, but also to foster his young boy’s growth.

To a boy, mom represents dependence.  Dad offers independence.  Independence is earned through competency, and competency is earned through trial-and-error.

The Pathological Mother

Per Dr. Jordan Peterson, “The standard pathology of mom is that she did everything for you… there’s nothing outside of mother instead of a nurturer of infants, you just keep them [her children] infants.”

As Dr. Peterson says, it is indeed “an ugly thing” for a mother to keep her children infants forever.  Peterson also distinguishes between “infants” and “children,” rightfully so, because children can develop independence and competency far beyond that of a helpless infant.

Dad’s job is to break the infant-bonds by encouraging his son to embrace competency, strength and independence.  A good mother who is both emotionally secure and, shall we say, NOT FUCKING CRAZY (is that a technical term?), will encourage the male bonding experiences as well, and know to back off and let go when necessary.

The tragedy of the Toxic Oedipus complex occurs when the boy fails to receive these initiatory steps appropriately so that he can grow into “his own skin” as a young man.
This happens when:

Dad is absent physically (the boy never had a present father figure).
Dad is absent emotionally (Dad is there physically but doesn’t seem to care, is distracted, wrapped up in his own nonsense or otherwise is not involved).
Dad is there but is mentally-emotionally diseased himself, is a “feminist man,” lets his wife wear the pants or otherwise neglects his role as leader in his son’s upbringing.
Mom is overbearing, controlling and obsessively nurturing beyond the child’s appropriate age-range.
Mom takes it upon herself to rewrite biology to serve her own ideological or political affirmations, such as “I’m going to raise him to be a Perfect Little Man,” or “I am going to raise a non-gender-conforming son,” or “I am not going to let my kid play with toy swords, toy guns or other symbols of violence and patriarchy.”
Either parent is shaming, which is a death-blow to the child’s autonomy and development.

The Oedipus Complex is dysfunctional because Toxic Shame is the inevitable result.

Toxic Shame

When a boy grows into a man with an overprotective, overbearing mother, he does become the perfect and virtuous “Anti-patriarchal, feminist white-knight” that the Social Justice crowd would like him to be.  Instead, the only thing that a man with such a mother internalizes is Toxic Shame in the form of unconscious messages, “I am no good, I am incompetent  I need a woman to take care of me because I am sick and weak.  I am just a little infant on the inside.”

The Oedipus man doesn’t want a woman, he needs one, because he needs to be taken care of emotionally.  In the extreme cases, he may live with his mother until he is thirty years old (or older), the rest of us will simply move out and date woman after woman who severs “as mom” in some such capacity.

I remember having male friends who were complete slobs: their lives were a mess literally, financially and emotionally.  I had one friend who would throw his dirty clothes on the floor instead of putting them away in the hamper.  On the weekends his girlfriend would come over, nag him about his sloppy habits and pick up his clothes and wash them for him.

Is this not the adulthood re-enactment of “shitting all over oneself?”  As an infant, my friend shit on himself and looked to his mommy to clean up his diaper-shit.  As an adult, he finds adult-level symbols for the same things.  His literal “shit” becomes ritualized talismans for “shit,” such that he can partake in the infant-ritual: he plays the infant and his girlfriend plays the caretaking mom!

Toxic Fathers can do their fair share in damaging a boy.  Instead of asking you to help him put the side-table together, he tells you to fuck off and that you’ll “Just mess it up again!”  Nice.  Fathers like this are shaming because they use their sons as means of resolving their own feelings of incompetency and inadequacy.

My father used to tease and belittle me ruthlessly.  When I was around eight years old I developed a weight issue.  A father who cares would look at this issue and say, “Let’s see what we need to do to get Devin healthy, should we adjust his diet or hire a nutritional counselor?”  No, I didn’t get that, instead what I got from my father was, “You’re too FAT and I don’t want to raise a FAT KID, I’m going to hide the cookies from you so that you can’t find them.  I’m sick of you being FAT.”

An abusive father is a guaranteed recipe for disaster, if the boy learns that “Dad is no good.”  Because Dad represents the mythological template for manood, the boy will ultimately believe that “men are no good,” but because he is also a male, this inevitably be internalized as, “I am no good.”

The shamed-man has one hell of dilemma.  On the one hand he is hiding from every aspect that represents maleness: dominance, leadership, participation in patriarchy, strength, all those good things that women are attracted to.  He hates maleness but must wrestle with the fact that is IS a male.  Pathology is the only outcome.

The Oedipus Complex Destroys a Man’s Success with Women
Quality women (that is, the good-looking, intelligent and desirable ones), will always reject a man who has a Latent Oedipus Complex.  They can “smell it on you,” meaning that women can see the signs.  What is it that she’s noticing?

Superficially most of you already know what women really look for (outside of what the politically-correct-thought-police SAY women want).  Women like a guy with attitude, a guy who stands up to them, a guy who represents strength qualities, a guy who is a leader.

These are all indicators of Male Ego Development.  Ego is simply an individuals adult sense of self.  In the case of those suffering from Oedipal Complexes, the sense of self is stunted and underdeveloped.   Many dating coaches advocate feigning confidence and attitude, with advice such as “act more confidently,” or “don’t call her for a week to look like you’re not desperate.”  Such advice like this is ultimately pointless.  What good is it to pretend not to be needy if you still feel needy?!  What good is it to not act desperate if you still feel desperate?  I dare to say that, unless the Oedipus complex is fully resolved, these feelings of low self-worth and inadequacy will continue to surface and wreck havoc with your relationships.

The Resolution to the Oedipus Complex

Resolving the Oedipus Complex involves challenging your emotional development, which will always involve a certain sense of discomfort.  A dysfunctional and abusive childhood results in stunting primary Ego development.  The only way to resolve this is to invest in and develop your Ego.  Notice that the more an individual is suffering from the Oedipus Complex, or Nice-guy Syndrome (read: No More Mr. Nice Guy), the more amoral and upsetting the idea of having an Ego will be.  “I’m not supposed to have an Ego, that’s bad and unenlightened!  Only assholes have Egos!”

While it is true that Ego, when overdeveloped and maligned, produces narcissism and an unrealistic sense of self-importance, the opposite extreme is just as toxic.  Oedipus-sufferers use fear of developing an inflated Ego as an excuse to run from Ego development in any capacity.  “I don’t want to be like one of those jerks!” It is every man’s right and responsibility to develop his own Ego.

Ego Development, Plain & Simple

By “Ego,” I mean it exactly as you have come to understand it in our popular culture, as simply “attitude.”  Having an Ego means that you have internalized and are aware of your own self-worth.

Develop an attitude!  Believe it!  Run over the reasons in your mind that make you believe that you are an amazing person!   Show it off a little!  Do it!

One cannot feel ashamed and proud at the same time.  Pride, therefore, is the only antidote to the toxic shame that comes inevitably with a neglectful father and/or an overbearing, consuming mother.

Ego is nothing short of emotional independence.  Most of us men who struggle with emotional difficulties wear the “mask” of adulthood: we go to work, we brush our teeth and we pay our bills on time.  However, when it comes to our emotional independence from women, we’re lost in that department.

Attitude and Ego come hand-in-hand, because Attitude is your personality’s expression of it’s right-to-exist.

 

See also: A Three-Part Treatise on Healing the Oedipus Complex

 

Author: Devin Stone

11 thoughts on “How the Oedipus Complex Destroys Men”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I have often wondered why I always feel like a child in a man’s body. Compared to peers my age, it is apparent that I have some sort of arrested development. I can’t seem to treat other adults as equals.

    To top that off, I just came to realize that I am highly unnatural when it comes to interaction and reactivity with women. In fact, I remember choosing to be gay at some point during my adolescence to avoid ‘soiling’ the pure and innocent image of the Mother. I have grown with the belief that women are clean and I as a man am dirty and shameful. Although I cannot rule out genetics’ role in my sexuality, I can sift through past memories of my childhood when I had crushes on girls who were in some way similar to my mother.

    Recently I’ve been trying to find ways I can recover my masculinity that has been shamed into submission, and make total love with the feminine that I have allowed to control me. I’m sick and tired of feeling like a child in the world, and I’m sick and tired of being unable to assert my existence and being. I want to be able to look a girl in the eye and not feel like I have to prevent them from becoming interested in me sexually by putting on a childlike facade. I want to be able to walk shirtless on the beach or by the pool without feeling dirty and ashamed about the eyes of women on me. I want to be able to relate to women and men as equals and not superiors who I have to impress.

    This problem has been impacting all areas of my life. Though to be fair I have to say that things are beginning to look up for me in some ways. I look forward to the day when I can effortlessly be. I trust that God, or That Which Is, is showing me the way.

    I would like to pose to you a question if I may, Devin: having read my dilemma, would you have any sound advice for me to undertake in order to accelerate my process of development?

    Thank you for this article and your time. God bless you, whatever that may mean to you!

  2. This is an excellent article and I appreciate you writing it. I am a depth (Jungian) psychotherapist and am anxious to turn some of my male clients onto this article.

    All males suffer the “mother wound” and struggle their whole life to mitigate the negative impact of that wounding. A present father is the solution toward much less suffering. Most mothers will tend toward holding their sons too close if father is not there, as you say, to help usher the boy into manhood.

    This isn’t to say that single mothers cannot raise boys into good men…but she has to be more conscious than is typical to do so.

  3. Hello. I am training to become a therapist. And I love a man who I think sees a lot of his mother in me. In fact, his mother is dear to me. He is twice divorced and moved back home only months before he and I started dating. We were both healing from our divorces and I saw in him a tenderness that I needed after an emotionally abusive marriage. When we first met, his masculinity was apparent and my thoughts were that is his true nature. But his traumas from his divorce where he was caretaker just emasculated him. He moved home with his mother. And although when he told me he was living with her, my ego surely said, “Uh, oh, is this the “red flag” thing I should try and avoid?” There was just too much substance to him. Not to mention how attracted I was to him subconsciously and immediately. I am a mother and he never had children with either of his wives but expressed to me that he had always wanted children. Fast forward three years, and what was only mean to be months has turned out to be three years at his mother’s house. I love him deeply, and I know his mother is overprotective and she and everyone around him have made his father to be “inane” and “drunk.” He has mourned the “loss” of his father his whole life because in a way, his mother seems to have always had contempt for him and castrated his father a long time ago. When he first told me after four months of dating (and I was already besotted with him), that he suffered from depression (I mean, I shouldn’t have been surprised), I knew I couldn’t just abandon someone I cared about. And the first 18 months of dating became excruciating. I became caretaker as a single mom struggling herself!!! I realized what was happening and stopped care taking because it was literally making me sick. As I stopped care taking and expressed anger and resentment and expressed to him I’d been a fool, I started asking him (in kind ways) to help me in ways he can. Now that I have healed and am 2/3 the way through my Master’s degree–hoping to be a therapist and to get some additional Jungian certification, I have realized what I did to myself, and what I was doing to add to the dynamic instead of trying to heal it. First, healing myself, and trying to understand why I would caretake to burn out. Then, stepping back and asking for more from him emotionally so he could step up and reciprocate and offer more of himself. Which he did beautifully! This is his true nature! I have had to pull way back. I tell him when he’s been insensitive to my needs and he calls me right away. I hope to heal this relationship in a way that even if we don’t end up together, he is much more healthy. I am seeing my own therapist trained in a Jungian theoretical approach. How do I befriend him, love him, support him without being his mother? I let him see his own shit? I am a definite feminist and know that I will carve out a lifetime of fatigue and burn out for myself if I don’t have a partner that meets me half way. Where we sometimes dip into each other’s 55/45 when one calls on the other for support etc. I am not interested in a romantic relationship that is not egalitarian, because I came from the other side of the coin–my husband left me when I was pregnant with my last child. And I’ve had to claw my way out of being financially supported by a man..I felt I allowed myself to be financially supported by a “masculine” man and then the pied piper asked for payment at my most vulnerable time. It terrifies me to “rely” on the “masculine man” that “provides” because it is itself so unsteady and a mask of strength. I would be interested to know your thoughts from your perspective. I want him to move out of his mom’s. But I don’t want to give him ultimatums. Or shame him. Or embarrass him. Or remind him it is a “pit of emasculation” to be living at his mom’s. I did tell him one time a few months ago, and I was sobbing for him. It didn’t work. I have let go knowing he has to heal and do this in his own time. And I’m just sitting back as he’s learned to meet me half way. I just want to know from a male perspective, what I could do. I’ve tried to really coax out his masculinity and praise it. But I don’t know if that’s the best way either. Any advice or perspective would be welcome.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Please keep in mind that I am not a therapist and that I speak only as a friend and a philosopher – please consult with your therapist/health care professional regarding this issue.

      With that said, I see a lot of emotional enmeshment here… I am not sure what you mean when you say that you don’t like to “rely” on “masculine men” because he left you while pregnant.. it looks like you were with a (perhaps) masculine man who lacked character and now you are with an UN-masculine man who also lacks character, just in an different way. NEITHER of these guys are providers, so I don’t see how you can condemn AND seek masculinity in the same paragraph.

      There’s a lot going on here, so by the numbers:

      1. May I ask how old you both are?

      2. You seem surprised that when you put demands on the relationship more he called you, I am not.. this is the kind of heavy-emotional content that I would expect to see from a man in an Oedipal situation.

      3. You don’t want to shame or further degrade his masculinity, which is noble of you, but any forcing on your part will do exactly that, because that’s what happens when a woman takes it upon her self to try to teach a man how to BE a man.. this can’t be done. At best maybe forward him my articles on the subject?

      4. May I ask, what is so wrong with ultimatums? I personally see ultimatums are ones you give yourself, not the other person.. as in, if he doesn’t move out of his mommy’s house in, let’s say, 6 months, you’re gone, and then you’re committed to doing it if he doesn’t do it. That’s for your own wellbeing, not his.

      5. What is your attraction to a man who lives with his mom? Why isn’t his motivation level there to move out?

      6. Now to the meaty part, you’re concerned that you are playing the Oedipal role of replacement-mother? Yes, in my humble opinion, you definitely are. You’re not both independent, looking at each other to come together as adults because you want to, instead it looks like you “need” to. You’re trying to cajole him into being a man, teach him things, get him to step-up and accept responsibilities, and also you seem to be looking for an emotional caretaker in him because (perhaps) you’re depressed yourself. His mom is most likely the same way. So why on earth an independent woman would be attracted to such a man is a question that you should ask yourself.

      1. I don’t condemn masculinity at all–when I have seen it displayed in healthy ways. I just don’t know if I’ve met anyone like that in all honesty that I’ve come to know on a deep level that I feel is good and kind and doesn’t step all over me. Except for my father. My older brothers are all “very masculine” and are all very successful. Like next level successful. But they lack kindness in my opinion. I have one memory where my older brothers stepped in to help me after I had an appendectomy and was trying to cross the road and felt faint. They carried me across the road. Other than that, they were gruff and mean, and frankly, super intense. Very talented, very gifted. And have buckets of integrity. So I would say that they are the “penultimate” examples of “good masculinity.”

        So when I met my ex-husband, I was attracted to his masculinity. And at the time, I was very attracted to him. He was an “ethical” person for most of our marriage but struggled with fidelity. And sometimes left business partners in the lurch. And has since astounded me with his lack of integrity. So, I gave him an ultimatum after his first cheat and said, “If you do this again, I am gone. No questions asked.” So after months of him lying, I called his bluff and he was so distraught with himself that he “wanted to put a bullet in his head.” I was six weeks post-partum by that time.
        I know I have since been running away from “masculinity” because I have seen the dark side of it.
        I am in my thirties, and the fella I’ve been seeing is in his early fourties (trust me I “get” the level of social stigma a man his age is dealing with–he even told me that he was watching Jordan B Peterson say, “If you’re a man, and you live at your mom’s and you’re forty, you’ve basically failed at life.”
        And he said, “Everyone keeps saying it’s ok. These are social constructs..you won’t be here forever. But I feel fucked.”
        And I said, “Ok, so you’re fucked. The music industry is fucked right now. Things are changing. If you live to be eighty and you lived at your mom’s after your divorce for say, four years while you got financially stable, then that’s like 5% of your lifetime.”
        ..He obviously hasn’t always lived with his mom. He was married at 25 to an emotionally and physically abusive wife and he owned a home with her. He left that marriage after nine months because of how terrible she was and he gave her his truck in the “annulment.”
        He got married again by 30, and by 35, left her with her cheating ways.

        He moved home after his career took a big hit and paid off his truck and has been investing in his business by saving money. He also has property–land, that he hasn’t done anything with. He is very gifted musically and works as a commercial musician and has previously had a lot of great success with international accounts and (don’t want to give too much away here). But the music industry has changed and his “streams” don’t earn as much revenue as they used to for the royalities.
        And he and I are intellectually a good match. Our “sense of humor” is similar. We had similar experiences growing up in the same religion. Have a lot of mutual friends.
        I know that he sees in me qualities that are in his mother. And I definitely have been dealing with depression and anxiety since my divorce–which was something that was foreign to me.
        But like I said, I am trying to transcend my situation and am now an editor-in-chief at a company with 100 employees and am getting my master’s degree. At this point, I have a deep emotional bond with this man. So I understand why you are confused with my attraction. It’s kind of like if I were to come out of the closet as an attractive woman who was a lesbian, and I’m trying to reconcile why I’m attracted to women. I don’t know. I just am. Am I trying to build him up with the masculine qualities I see in him, yes. Do I have compassion for his being emasculated? Yes. I see it very clearly. There is toxic masculinity that is a clear reality. No one should have to feel like they need to align themselves with the values of toxic masculinity, but sometimes those lines seem to be gray. I know he struggles with being ‘assertive’ with male figures who are his seniors. He has said so himself and acknowledges his inability to be assertive and “engage” with the patriarchy (healthy patriarchy). His male friends also wonder why I stick around and have told him he needs to “shit or get off the pot with Liz.”
        I know it is enmeshment. And I know I get something out of this relationship or I would have left. It isn’t as if I am unattractive or other “masculine” men find me unattractive or overbearing. I have been described by many men as very attractive (and all the nice compliments etc).
        I know you say you are not a therapist, but a writer obviously and a thinker, and male, and I’m interested in this subject. And I have been searching for either a transpersonal or jungian therapist to help me process my divorce etc.
        And help me find my way through this relationship. I feel as a friend I have an ethical responsibility to not leave him in this place. My gut says that even if we don’t “work out,” I want to be the friend that helps him “get somewhere else” that is NOT his mom’s.
        I just don’t know where the romantic and sexual components should be. I don’t know why I have a deeper sexual connection to him than any other man I’ve met. That’s what I can’t figure out.
        I was also sexually abused as a little girl by my oldest brother’s best friend. That person personified “toxic masculinity.” So, I attest to the fact that in every other aspect, I am “succeeding” at life. In my profession, with my children, with my master’s degree. And freely admit my romantic relationship sounds a bit fucked up.
        I just have a hard time with blanket statements and have had a hard time finding a therapist that can see an objective and nuanced perspective of all these complexities and know how, ultimately, I can help my friend. Because I simply love him. And help myself.
        Maybe I cannot “blend” with the “masculine males” in healthy ways. Obviously a little lost here.

        1. You’re not dating a “masculine male,” which in of itself is obviously causing a problem, hence why you were drawn to this article… I can’t take these definitions at face-value, for example the majority of SJW-culture uses the term “toxic masculinity” to mean “masculinity is toxic,” but it seems that in the way you’re using it, it simply means “abuse,” which is fine by me to call THAT toxic. Your fellow has a lot going on, but to save money, or use it to “invest” in things, etc etc is neither “smart” nor responsible. Again, I’m not knocking the fact that he’s going through a crisis, only the willingness and motivation to move out of his mother’s house, which is paramount – where’s the action and where’s the plan? Yes you are being a caretaker which is what an Oedipal-mother is, and you are rationalizing it by telling me (in essence) “yes but I struggle with the masculine males so maybe he’s as good as I’m going to get!” Living with your mother as an adult is not simply a social taboo, it’s every bit as “toxic” as this “toxic masculinity” word you’re fond of using as well as what you loosely refer to as “masculine.” I do apologize for the tough love. There’s so much emotional damage on both sides here that I can see, and I personally don’t see a healthy relationship in it at all.. just a lot of emotional enmeshment and dysfunctional crap. If he’s not making money with music, that means he needs to do something else SO THAT he can move out of his mommy’s basement and live on his own. I have a podcast being released today, that should clarify my perspective on this. Thanks much, again for your thoughtful post.

          1. Thank you for the tough love. I really actually appreciate it. My older brother told me almost two years ago that I am “too good” for the man I’ve been dating. And I was shrill with him and told him to stay out of my life (he represents mean tough love). I have read through some of your other posts. And I accept that what you said regarding “masculinity” and “abuse” as entirely separate. And that the far left has demonized “masculinity” period. I like that you made that distinction, I think it is helpful. Thank you.

            I don’t see “masculinity” as inherently errant at all. Any woman with any sense of self-awareness will understand that “masculinity” is an engine that pushes our society forward. It is what the “feminine” is attracted to. I hope not to skew it.

            In fact, I really like Jordan B Peterson and what he is offering to men. This has been my journey to healing my own wounds. Researching the archetypes of the collective unconscious.
            As a woman who is often tied to her biology (more often than I would like to admit), I do see that your posts regarding our different (male/female) mating strategies ie, your post about the ‘hen-pecking house,’ is very interesting. I would be interested to know what positive qualities you see in “femininity?”

            I would say that I know as a single mother that it is now completely irrational of me to ask a man to enmesh his life with mine since I have had my children (their father is in the picture and is doing a great job coparenting) and know that since I do live in the modern era where I can “take care” of my own material needs, I do not “need a man” and shouldn’t even expect one.

            I grew up however in a Mormon household where men are still “primarily responsible for providing the necessities of life for their wives and children.” And where infidelity is scorned with excommunication. And when my ex was cheating he was a member of the pastorship. I see now that the very sexually repressed environment myself and my ex husband adhered to eventually undermined our relationship subconsciously for years. Then came to a boil with his infidelity. Your “henpecking” analogy really resonated with me. Some really weird shit goes on in the Mormon church regarding the policing of male and female sexual behaviors.
            This is the faith I left.
            Do you see masculinity/femininity as very strict dichotomies? Where do you see them merging? Do you adhere to Jung’s theories regarding becoming “individuated” where we as “masculines” and “feminines” are to strive for individuation where with wisdom and age, we begin to inhabit more of the “opposite’s traits?” And to seek for egalitarian relationships?
            Are you a proponent then of polyamory and if so, do you believe there is an ethical way of exploring it? (Forgive me, I haven’t read through your entire website, so I don’t know).
            As a woman, I do make strides to have empathy for the male experience. It is possible for us as women to strive to understand our inherited differences (I have studied feminist and queer theory and I am also in a master’s where I’m studying the differences of the male and female brains and how they differ structurally). For instance, it is having compassion and empathy to understand that testosterone (found in higher levels in males, obviously) can block oxytocin. And as such, a woman who knows this, can actually have empathy for the different ways most males view the world.
            I will look for the link on your podcast.
            thanks.

  4. You’re definitely not the only one who has contacted me about the ‘man living with mom’ issue, here’s the podcast episode: http://devinstone.net/blog/2018/11/07/to-men-living-with-their-mom/

    Great questions!

    Do you see masculinity/femininity as very strict dichotomies?
    – Yes, absolutely – how else could we discuss them? Since you’re getting in to Jordan Peterson please listen to what he has to say regarding Postmodernism. Postmodernism is related to Nihilism in that it deposits that nothing has a true, inherent value other than we give it, so we can “redefine” masculinity however we want. If that’s the case, then your dysfunctional boyfriend is living just as “masculine” a life as any other, which of course is not true.

    Where do you see them merging? Do you adhere to Jung’s theories regarding becoming “individuated” where we as “masculines” and “feminines” are to strive for individuation where with wisdom and age, we begin to inhabit more of the “opposite’s traits?”

    – They “merge” when a man has sex with a woman and they make babies. They don’t merge within the same person, I don’t see this as “progress” at all, only repression.

    …to seek for egalitarian relationships?
    – No, and you’ll see the result of this in how dysfunctional men and women are today and how difficult it is to even have a relationship. Egalitarianism we could better call “Equalism” (credit: Rollo Tomassi), meaning that it is an ‘ism’ or ideology. The quest of the ideology is to make everyone the same, thus ‘equality between the sexes’ could also be called ‘the quest to make both genders the same.’ It’s nonsense and destructive because it is antithetical to the truth.

    Men and women are different and we like it that way. Women like strong men who can do it without being abusive or a jerk. Men like women who are traditionally feminine, that’s what attracts the genders to each other.

    Are you a proponent then of polyamory and if so, do you believe there is an ethical way of exploring it?
    – I’m not big on polyamory because of the tendency towards jealousy, strictly along sexual lines I’ll give that a maybe, it is not something that I have personally tried so I can’t comment on it.

    1. I definitely know a lot about the Post-Modernists–presented at my state’s conference of undergraduate research in feminist theory. So I understand both the arguments for and against deconstructionism.
      I also have a deep understanding of the existential crises that nihilism brings along with it, and the fact that in this meaninglessness, where most men (and women), and relationships from a more traditional model have eroded. To deconstruct a part is to deconstruct the whole.
      Thank you for your time. 🙂
      I appreciate it.
      Now back to work and to figure out what to do with it all.

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