I used to believe that men are generally free of any deeper emotions (apart from anger, feeling hungry and the need for sex). Men, in my mind, were almost incapable of connecting with their emotions, if they had any. No, men were rational beings, driving by the wish to win, to dominate, to be adventurous and to satisfy their sexual needs. Everything ‘emotional’ a man did, like buying his wife flowers, was behavior that he had to learn, to remember, not something he would do because he wanted to express emotions. That’s what I saw all around me. Men who just don’t have that many emotions. That’s also why women were so weak, ruled by their hearts and feelings.
As I said, for the longest time I believed that this was a natural thing. God made men this way and it wasn’t their fault. And if you weren’t this way, you were probably gay. Gay, abused and perverted. Mind you, you were gay BECAUSE you were sexually abused as a child. Because we all know that anal sex makes men feel feminine, and that these feelings of femininity are what causes men to ‘be gay’. But don’t worry, there are programs to cure your gay (or pray it away).
You see, I’m in a relationship with a man who has no issues expressing his emotions. More shocking, he HAS emotions beyond eat – sex – sleep to begin with. He can tell me when I say things that hurt his feelings. He can tell me when he doubts himself. He can tell me when he’s happy. He can tell me when I did something for him that makes him feel loved. By my fundamentalist definition, he’s not a real man. Actually, I’d worry that he’s gay (and sexually abused) right about now. But he is neither fully homosexual nor has he ever been abused. His parents didn’t even spank him apart from two occasions which he remembers, and which his parents apologized for. In fact, when I heard these two occasions, I was not surprised they lost it (not going into details but trust me, all of us would have a hard time not freaking out).
Going back to it – where do the men get the idea from that emotions and th expression thereof are off-limits?
I found a gem on No Greater Joy ministries, written by King Michael the Patriarch himself. Let me first quote the letter Michael is referring to:
She has absolutely no respect for me, is very rebellious toward me, and outwardly refuses to obey me in nearly every manner possible. She does not acknowledge that I have any authority over her. I have told her that she needs to obey me and leave it up to God to deal with me if I am wrong. I am heartbroken. I have been unable to make her happy in nearly everything for years. I feel that she needs a serious trial to bring her to her senses. I want God to do this, but… We have been married nearly 30 years. I don’t want a divorce, but I do want her to be my true Help Meet.
Now, I do not want to get into the question how spiteful this man is towards his wife by wishing trial would hit her. He is obviously torn between the idea of being a leader while at the same time genuinely wanting a happy relationship with his wife.
Here’s a part of Michael’s answer:
You sound like a 13-year-old boy, whining because his six-year-old sister won’t treat him with respect.
I bet that hit home. There’s nothing worse for a good ol’ Patriarch than being called a boy. But it gets better:
You said, “I am heartbroken.” Excuse me for not being sensitive like a psychologist, but my response to your broken heart is, “How pathetic.” Where is the man in you? As they say, “Get a life.” What woman respects or is attracted to a brokenheart? As I think about it, there are a few, but they pick up stray cats and sick dogs who don’t need them as badly as they need to be needed. They are also attracted to men who are whining losers. It gives them a sense of purpose to have the weak and broken depend upon them.
Well, I suppose I am one of these catwomen… Anyway, Michael clearly makes fun of a man who has emotions. A man who expresses emotions. He’s a pathetic wimp for being as weak as having his heart-broken by his wife. How dare he! Besides obviously aiming to put down a man who has emotions and shows them, he additionally manages to put down women who like emotional men by referring to them as catladies.
This basically sums up two ideas: If you’re an emotional man, you’re not right. And if you’re a woman who likes these men, you’re also not quite right in the head.
But what can a man do who is a pathetic, over-emotional wimp? Well, Michael has a solution – THE solution:
Become exuberant with creativity and adventure. Share the gospel with others. Minister in a rescue mission or homeless shelter. Get a speed boat or go wind surfing. Do some gardening or build a chopper (motorcycle) in your garage. Take up sky diving, or go on mission trips to the Kurds in Turkey or Iraq. Do all of it. Cram your life full of service to others and of daring adventure. In doing so, you will become attractive to everyone, including your wife.
Totally. Do something life threatening like going into a war area all by yourself. Get a speed boat without quite knowing how it works and risk getting eaten by sharks. Get one of the most dangerous vehicles known to mankind (motorcycle). Don’t be a wimp – instead, by a person who is so obviously tired of his own life that he just might risk being kidnapped by other religious fundamentalists. Because the people who actually work there as humanitary helpers, who KNOW the risks of getting kidnapped and have a training for such situations will be ecstatic to see a man messing things up because he want to be a “real man”. This post by Michael Pearl dates back to August 2007, just on a side note.
I am not surprised that men neither show their emotions nor fancy any “normal” hobbies. If this is what the elders teach men, it should not surprise anybody that fundamentalist men are raised to be utterly unable to develop a healthy psyche.