Category:

Mental Health

Part 1

            I’ve been a marriage and family counselor for more than fifty years. It is true, we teach what we want to learn. At my website, MenAlive.com, I greet visitors with a short welcome video, “Confessions of a Twice-Divorced Marriage Counselor.” I talk about what went wrong in my first two marriages and what I learned that helped me have a successful relationship with Carlin, my third wife, that has been growing stronger and more joyful since we got together 42 years ago.

            A friend and colleague that has been on a similar journey is Sven Masterson.

“I’m happily married to Zelda, who I married 28 years ago and with whom I’ve been in a continuous romantic relationship for over 30 years,”

says Sven. But their marriage was not always great.

“I spent about half of our marriage in pain, misery, and frustration before encountering a handful of life-altering perspectives that helped me turn everything around.”

            Looking back Sven says,

“People told me I was a great husband and father, including my wife, on infrequent occasions (and usually in a card). There was just one major problem. Inwardly I was miserable, melancholy, and woefully unhappy, and I had a secret no one knew. My secret? That I spent excessive time fantasizing about my wife dying in her sleep so I could hopefully remarry and live the rest of my life happily ever after.”

“Today, I have a great relationship. One that I often laugh about in sheer surprise, amazement, and gratitude.”

You can learn more about Sven’s healing journey here.

I want to broaden our understanding by taking an evolutionary and historical look at the unconscious reasons so many men learn to fear, hate, and worship women.

Taking an Honest Look at Misogyny: The Male Malady

My professional background is in biology and psychology. I’ve learned that most of the issues we face as humans are multi-dimensional and cross the lines of many professional disciplines. I’ve long believed that if we are going to understand and solve the problems we face, we need to seek out experts in many fields. That’s how I came to meet David Gilmore.

            I was attending an international men’s conference and David was one of the speakers. I liked his topic “Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity” and bought his book of the same title. He had studied cultures all over the world and though he looked like a traditional academic with tweed jacket and short hair, he had exciting new things to say about why men are the way they are.

            I reconnected with him when his book, Misogyny: The Male Malady, was published. I thought if anyone could give me insights into male anger towards women, David was the one. The dictionary defines misogyny as “the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.” Gilmore offers a broader definition in his book:

            He describes misogyny as “an unreasonable fear or hatred of women.” He goes on to say that “this feeling finds social expression in the concrete behavior—in cultural institutions, in writings, in rituals, or in other observable activity.”

            His research is impeccable and his discoveries challenging:

            Gilmore explored cultures from Western Europe to the Middle East, from the jungles of South America to the remote uplands of New Guinea, from preliterate tribal peoples to modern Americans. He looks at ancient and modern cultures and all those in between. He finds that in all places around the world, there has been a tendency for men to fear and hate women.

            A quick summary of his findings, reported in his well-documented book, include the following:

  • One of the last-surviving hunter-gatherer tribes live in the highlands of New Guinea in the South Pacific. “These men believe not only that women are inferior to men, but that women are also polluting to men, sexually dangerous to men’s health. The men declare that women’s monthly menstrual flow in particular is the most powerful and deadly poison on earth; one drop is absolutely lethal to men, boys, and male animals.”
  • The ancient Greeks often displayed a fierce misogyny, putting woman in the category of the God-given ills. Poets charged that women were the original source of kakon, or evil, in the world, which was created by the gods to torture men. The ancients populated their cosmos with she-demons and sorceresses such as Pandora, who brought all trouble into the world, and the sinister island-dwelling Circe, a witch who turned men into pigs.
  • Gentle Yurok Indians of northwestern California, like the Greeks, speak of “a woman’s inside,” the vagina and uterus, as the doorway through which sin and social disorder entered the world.
  • The Christian Bible, the Muslim Qur’an, the Hebrew Torah, and Buddhist and Hindu scriptures condemn woman, not only for her spiritual defects, but also for her body, which they deride in the crudest terms. All these great religions blame woman for the lust, licentiousness, and depravity that men are prone to, and for committing the original sin or its theological equivalent. Weak and gullible, it is Eve, like Pandora, who introduces sin and sorrow into the world.

            Lest we think that misogyny is merely an unfortunate part of our past, we need only listen to the women who have come forward under the banner of the #MeToo movement to recognize that sexual violence continues to pervade the U.S., as well as countries throughout the world.

The Other Side of the Coin: Gynophilia and Men’s Worship of Women

No men I know want to feel that they “hate women.” And most of us don’t. When I wrote my book, Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome, a number of my colleagues in the men’s movement wrote me off. “You’re demeaning men,” they told me. “It’s unfair, reverse sexism.” But I felt that getting at the truth is not demeaning. It can be difficult, but in the long run it helps us all.

            I’ve learned that denying the truth just causes additional pain and suffering. Whether you are male or female reading these words, notice how you are feeling inside. What do the examples of misogyny bring up in you? Do you want to dismiss them or embrace them? Do you want to run away or go deeper?

            Jamie Buckingham said,

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

Gloria Steinem voiced a similar thought when she said,

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

I’ve often said,

“The truth will set you free, but first it will kick your ass.”

             There’s another truth that I think we need to understand and recognize. Just as there are societies, and men within societies, who both fear and denigrate women, there are also groups and individuals who view women in a very positive light. They almost worship women, feeling they are goddesses and can do no wrong. I’ve seen that tendency in many male clients I’ve seen over the years.

            I was surprised to learn that David Gilmore’s research was clear. The same societies that denigrate and put women down also worship and elevate them. Gilmore has a whole chapter in his book describing the opposite of misogyny which he calls Gynophilia. He says,

“Like so much having to do with men and women, misogyny is only one piece of the puzzle. To be sure, many men hate and fear women, but just as many love and revere them. It is obvious that two edges of this mental sword are related in some labile fashion and share origins in the ancient touchstone of the primitive male cerebellum.”

He suggests that both ends of the spectrum, hate & fear/love & reverence drive us up and down, back and forth. They frustrate and confuse us. I would add that they can drive us crazy. Gilmore describes our human dilemma this way:

“Woman has the uncanny power to frustrate man’s noble (but unrealistic) ideals, to subvert his lofty (hollow) ends, and to sully his (deluded) quest for spiritual perfection; but she also, and not coincidentally, provides him with the greatest pleasures of his earthly life. These pleasures are not just sexual release, but also other life-sustaining comforts that only a woman can provide (based on the organization of most societies): food, tenderness, nurturing, and heirs. It is not surprising that the men who most deplore and distrust women are the same ones who most admire, want, and need them; the most histrionic and poignant rituals of woman-adulation occur in the same societies responsible for the most egregious and sordid examples of woman-bashing.”

            He concludes by saying,

“Like misogyny, gynophilia is kind of male neurosis, for it stems from the same unresolved conflicts and it has both a carnal and spiritual manifestation.”

The first step in healing our fears and anger towards women is to recognize and accept that they exist. In the next part of the article, we will look more deeply at the ways these issues manifest in our relationships and how we can heal them.

            Our Moonshot for Mankind and Humanity is launching. We’re bringing together individuals and organizations who have a serious interest in helping men improve their mental, emotional, and relational health and well being so they can be healthy partners with women and good fathers to their children. We invite you to join us here: https://moonshotformankind.com/

            To read more articles and get our free weekly newsletter, please join us here:  https://menalive.com/email-newsletter/

The post Men Who Fear, Hate, and Worship Women and How They Can Find Real Lasting Love appeared first on MenAlive.

When I was five years old I thought I could save my father’s life. I knew he was in a hospital, but I didn’t understand what happened to him. What I did know was that my mother told me I needed to be her “little man” and go with my uncle to visit my father. It turned out the hospital was a mental hospital. Entering Camarillo State Mental Hospital fifty miles north of our home in the San Fernando Valley, was like entering an Alice-in-Wonderland world.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh you can’t help that,” said the Cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

I later learned that the movie, The Snake Pit starring Olivia de Havilland, was filmed at Camarillo. The hospital is also rumored to be the Eagles’ inspiration for the classic rock song “Hotel California.”

After going with my uncle to visit my father every Sunday for a year and later learning that my father escaped, the last lines of the song still chill me:

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax,” said the night man
“We are programmed to receive”
“You can check-out any time you like”
“But you can never leave!”

Welcome to the Hotel California
              Such a lovely place (such a lovely place).

During the twelve months I visited my father, I watched him deteriorate. Shortly after he was admitted, my uncle took him out of the hospital to be treated for stomach ulcers that nearly killed him, but my father was forced to return because he was still under a court-ordered commitment as being “mentally ill” and therefore in need of “long-term treatment.”

I grew up wondering what happened to my father, whether it would happen to me, and what I could do to keep it from happening to other families. I wrote about my own battles with mental illness and my father’s healing journey after he escaped from Camarillo in my book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound.

I have gone on to help thousands of men and their families live healthier, more engaged, and loving lives. I’ve written more than a thousand articles and sixteen books. At this stage of my career, spanning more than fifty years, I want to use the time I still have to make the most positive impact I can so that I can continue to help men and their families.

There are millions of men, like my father, who hunger to be fully alive and well. My colleagues Randolph Nesse, MD and Daniel Kruger, PhD examined premature deaths among men in 20 countries. They found that in every country, men died sooner and lived sicker than women and their shortened health and lifespan harmed the men and their families.

Among their conclusions were these two statements:

  • “Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death.”
  • “Over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the U.S. alone if men’s risk of dying was as low as women’s.”

The primary reason men die sooner and live sicker than women is due to mental, emotional, and relational health problems such as male depression and aggression. Mentally healthy men don’t kill themselves and others. They don’t express their pain through road rage and domestic violence. They aren’t involved with mass shootings.

Google’s [X] is known as their “Moonshot Factory.” Those who work there aim to improve the lives of millions, even billions, of people. Their goal is a 10x impact on the world’s most intractable problems, not just a 10% improvement. We need moonshot mission to revitalize men’s mental health.

Our moonshot mission began in November 2021 when I invited a number of colleagues to join me to share what we were each doing in the broad area of men’s mental and emotional health. A group of us have continued to meet monthly and are working together to make a positive difference in the world of men, their families, and communities. We are a diverse group including:

  • Boysen Hodgson with the Mankind Project.
  • Lisa Hickey with the Good Men Project.
  • Frederick Marx with Warrior Films.
  • Shana James with Shana James Coaching.
  • Joe Conrad with Man Therapy: Men’s Mental Health Resources.
  • MaLe Corona with Male Wholeness.
  • Ed Frauenheim with Reinventing Masculinity.
  • Jed Diamond with MenAlive.

I’ve written a new book, which will be out in November, Long Live Men! The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope to Humanity. Each of my colleagues have written a piece for Chapter 10, “Join Our Moonshot Mission to Heal Men and the Women and Children Who Love Them.” Here’s an excerpt from what Frederick Marx wrote.

“Like Jed and the other members of this accomplished team, I aim to provide some of the tools to enable people everywhere to reach for their own human transformation and to lend a hand in support of men everywhere. My simple, albeit ambitious prayer is that male teens worldwide get initiated and mentored into adulthood. To help get us there, I envision thousands of men’s organizations worldwide partnering with us to sign and promote a simple

5-point Men’s Wellness Vow:

  • I will remain healthy in mind and body.
  • I will nourish and grow my emotional awareness.
  • I will become familiar with my internal darkness and never harm another man, woman or child.
  • I will ask for help and strive to live cooperatively, not competitively, with men.
  • I will become the best man I can be, living with honor and pride in my masculinity.

Our goal?  100 million men signatories!” 

Join Our Moonshot For Mankind Community

            Here’s where you come in. We know that healing men is not only good for the guys, but is good for women, children, families, and the planet we all share. Today we are opening the doors for you to join us. Come visit us at MoonshotForMankind.com. We are inviting individuals and organizations, men, women, and those who identify beyond the binary. We invite people from throughout the U.S. and around the world.

            We ask you to join for $43. I’ve chosen that number because I think it is within the reach of most everyone and you get some significant value for your money including:

  • Diamond Gems of Wisdom. Weekly sayings, reflections, and wisdom about men’s health.
  • “Community Campfires.” Life Zoom calls with me and other expert colleagues to share the latest information on health and healing.
  • Free access to my cutting-edge library of articles (plus a new one every week).
  • Exclusive community offers including special editions of the new book, Long Live Men!

But that’s not all. We are also donating 10% to Ecology Action/Grow Biointensive that for more than fifty years has been working in more than 150 countries worldwide to help people. We want to bring together thousands of organizations and individuals that are doing great work so that together we can change the world for the better.

Come join us. We would like to have 10,000 people join our community so we can continue our goal to help save 375,000 men’s lives in the U.S. and in all the other countries of the world.

The post Join the Moonshot for Mankind and Help Us Save 375,000 Men’s Lives This Year appeared first on MenAlive.

Having written a book about the 5 Stages of Love and an article, “The 5 Love Secrets Your Therapist Never Told You About,” I was excited when a colleague told me about a new book coming out called The Go-Giver Marriage: A Little Story About the 5 Secrets to Lasting Love by John David Mann and Ana Gabriel Mann. They sent me their book and it was like nothing I had ever read. It’s not a marriage manual as much as it is magical mystery tour that took me on a journey that made me say, “Yes, this is really what it’s like to fall in love and then to be given the secrets of what it takes to have a love that lasts and gets better through time.”

            I wanted to talk with them directly for one of my podcasts and had a number of questions I wanted to ask them:

  • The original Go-Giver books were wildly popular particularly among entrepreneurs and small business owners. What made you decide to write The Go-Giver Marriage?
  • What is the foundation of your “5 secrets to lasting love”? Where did they come from? How do you experience them in your own marriage?
  • How do the five secrets change marriages or any relationship for the better?
  • In the book you talk about “throwing out the scorecard” — what does that mean, and why is it so important?
  • Can you each tell us which of the “5 secrets to lasting love” is your favorite, and why?
  • In holding a spirit of generosity, how do you ensure you don’t lose yourself in the process of giving to the marriage?
  • Does the advice in your book apply only to married people, or can it apply to unmarried relationships too?
  • I’ve found that men often resist books on relationships or don’t think they would be for them. What would you say to the men watching this that might speak to their concerns?
  • What’s one simple thing people can get from your book that will make a difference in their relationship? 

Here, for the first time, is the full podcast interview with John and Ana Mann. Please let us know how you like it. If you found it helpful, I’ll plan to post other of our podcast interviews. If you aren’t already subscribed to our free newsletter where you will get notice of the latest article and information on resources you can use to improve your love life, you can subscribe here.

The post The Go-Giver Marriage and the 5 Secrest of Lasting Love appeared first on MenAlive.

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