Are Men Emotionally Handicapped?
Do bears shit in the woods?
Handicapped: having a condition that restricts one’s ability to function physically, mentally or emotionally.
Obviously, men are emotionally handicapped.
Or… if you prefer, challenged.
Everything I needed to know about this issue, I learned in kindergarten.
The girls played with each other, interacting mostly in pairs. They would get to know each other intimately, tell each other their deepest secrets and play house.
Meanwhile, the boys waged holy war on each other. They made weapons out of anything and everything, as they reproduced a scene from Lord of the Flies, when boys on an island without adults battled to the death.
I grew up pre-internet, and most of my time was spent outdoors playing–and competing; or, inside playing video games… and competing.
It was all about the competition. The kids down the culdesac and I had daily football, baseball, capture-the-flag, soccer, basketball–you name it–games. Whatever game it was, I was in! The phone call came, and I was on my bike five minutes later, ready to battle for glory.
Relating was the hi-5’s my teammates gave me after I scored a touchdown, knocked in the RBI, etc. It certainly wasn’t sharing secrets (unless by “secrets” one means discovering their dad’s hidden Penthouse collection).
Of course, women play video games and compete, as well. But there seems to be some gender differences that were quite noticeable at a very early age.
As those children grow older, these gender differences are just reinforced over and over; until, by the time men and women are ready for adult relationships, there is a gap the size of Texas between us. Women have been practicing, by that point, deep engagement for thousands of hours longer than men.
It’s not that men don’t have the capacity for deep relationships and connections, vulnerability, truth-telling, emotional sharing, etc. Obviously, we do. But it’s not a skill that we really require-or acquire–until we desire to be in an actual relationship with an actual woman.
And to expect us to be “on the level” is just plain lunacy. There’s a philosophy of communication that if someone is at a 4 on the emotional scale, you come to them a level up or down from where they are. You don’t come at them with the energy of an 8 or 9! It’s called mirroring. But commonly, women–who are virtual ju jitsu black belts at connecting–come at men, who are training for their white belts–and try to spar with them. And they wonder why the men either disappear, lie or ultimately continually disappoint them.
If you were a white belt, would you want to get in the ring with a black belt? Hell no. You’d run for your life! And that’s essentially what men do when confronted with black-belted women on emotional levels. We do like Cypher suggested in the Matrix:
When you see an agent, you do what we do. You run. You run like hell.
It’s not a fair fight. Fight or flight–so we shake-n-bake.
I think it’s easy to forget that the water fish swim in is the same water that horses drown in. Water is emotions, connecting, deep relating.
Men are not handicapped. They are simply under-developed. And I can only imagine how frustrating this experience must be for the women dealing with emotionally under-developed men.
But I believe that if women can come into situations with men remembering they are black belts sparring with white belts, that men will have a fighting chance. We just need a little understanding for our lacking in this department. Help foster an environment with men that isn’t fight-or-flight, but that leaves space for our humanity and makes it easier for us to share the truth–and our truth–with you.