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vunerability and football

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catlover50 posted 11/10/2013 09:41 AM

So, thanks to a recommendation here, I am reading Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly. It's about dealing with shame and vulnerability and how not doing so hinders our lives. I think, in fact, that that issue played a role in landing me here.

My H hid his shame of CSA for years, and society tells men that they can not reveal weakness or vulnerability. Their coping strategies tend to be anger or withdrawing. For my H it was mostly withdrawing, but if I pushed him to open up he would become angry (so I rarely pushed). This led to disconnection, the need for numbing.... I have seen men here, both BS and WS, struggle with vulnerability, and often succeed. But society works against us. Of course an A brings out vulnerability more than most things, also for women. We weren't "woman" enough to satisfy our man, etc. A man who was "cuckolded" is seen as weak. Makes me crazy!

This week all the news around the football players in Miami has really highlighted this. There is a division between people who think that Incognito was a jerk and those who think that Martin was weak. Frankly, I am appalled. That there is a question that a man who is physically strong enough to play football also has to endure hateful and cruel behavior to truly be a "man"? (not to imply that physical strength makes you a man either!) I have a 22 year old son who fights these cultural norms all the time. Society is telling boys and men every day to be strong, never show weakness, hide their fear, not show emotion. And they, and the women who love them, are paying the price. Society as a whole is paying the price.

Even watching tv and seeing all the references to guys acting "girly" for being emotional, etc. I think we need to examine the messages we are sending. I think a lot of people are suffering for this cultural norm.

Okay, end of rant!

purplejacket4 posted 11/10/2013 14:07 PM

I completely agree. Not to mention that other NFL players have certainly turned violent and hurt themselves or others. How was Martin to know Incognito might bring a weapon the next time rather than his fists.

hardtimesinlife posted 11/10/2013 14:09 PM

Interesting read and I agree completely.
I was told that cheating is normal for men
I hate that those messages are still so prevalent.

catlover50 posted 11/10/2013 14:15 PM

Thanks ladies! I'm not sure what to do beyond raising my own children differently. It upsets me that people get put into such limiting boxes. Women too--we are supposed to be pretty, thin, sweet, and always put others needs before our own.

If we could all be open and authentic and truly connect with each other I bet far fewer of us would end up here!

sailorgirl posted 11/10/2013 20:12 PM

Agree, catlover50. Although I know nothing about the football news, our society definitely puts pressure on men to be invulnerable, decisive, alpha.

I even see it in parenting advice (for both genders). You should let babies "cry it out" or they will never be independent. You should be hard on kids because "the real world" is waiting for them. Fierce competition is good for them. Toughen them up, etc.

My H was certainly exposed to the "real world" very early. Abuse, violence, neglect. It made him act like a "lone wolf" who could solve all his problems himself and didn't need anyone. But it was an act.

If you really want kids to grow into healthy, functional, empathetic adults who are capable of successful intimate relationships, then you give them tons of attention, nurturing, and kindness. The parent/child relationship teaches them how to have the honesty and emotional intelligence needed for a good friendship or marriage.

Maybe I am in the minority of American women, but when my H shows true vulnerability, it's one of the sexiest things ever. When a man is confident enough with who he is that he can open a window into his soul for you--that's not weakness. It's strength.

I do think the most effective thing we can do is raise our children differently. Then they can find each other and there will be no emotional damage, expectations or limiting boxes :) .

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