Men are generally bigger and stronger than women, and throughout history, men have been responsible for most of the damage done to women. It’s understandable that women have a natural fear of us — especially when we get big, huffy, demanding, or angry. When confronted by a large raging male, most animals avoid being hurt by employing one of the safe strategies: flee, freeze, or fold. When men act like macho jerks, most women shrink back to become invisible.
If you see your woman folding in on herself, collapsing, or withdrawing from conflict when you bark or yell, your narcissism is doing damage. If you see this in your children, you’re doing significant damage to them. (Get some help, now.)
I learned from my partner that when women blame, shame or criticize men, it’s usually because the man won’t listen to them. They then have to escalate the delivery of their message. After a few frustrated attempts at telling you what you did to hurt them, their communication starts to sound and feel like emotional castration.
Beneath their rising anger, women are trying to inform and inspire us to become more kind, loving and virtuous. It’s our own block-headedness that gets them so riled up. It’s as if someone is trying to hand you a gift, and you refuse to accept it, so they start pushing it in your face until you figure out that it’s good for you.
A woman, at her best, is a beacon of the truth. If you hurt her feelings, whether by unconscious mistake or a narcissistic act, she will tell you about it, either verbally, or in non-verbal body language. The truth is often uncomfortable to hear, but when a woman tells you that she’s hurt, or someone else is being impacted by your insensitivity, it’s time to button up, quiet down your narcissistic ego, and be humble. In other words, shut up and listen. And if you’ve hurt someone, don’t expect them to be elegant in how they deliver the message.
Love is caring. This isn’t just an adage — it’s a description of a specific set of behaviors that demonstrate real love. When you care about the other person, you care about her (or his) needs, and about the impact of your behavior on them. If you want to be a good man, a loving man, and be initiated into your full masculinity, start caring more about your impact on others. Anything less is an ego protection racket.
Listen carefully to your woman’s truth, even if it comes in the form of anger or upset. She’s trying to communicate something important. Be genuinely curious. Ask, “What are you feeling upset about? I want to know because I care how you feel.” If you don’t ask, you won’t get the information you need to improve yourself or to love her more deeply.