(Note: this is a companion piece to my recent article How To Stop Hating Men. I also write the following article primarily directed at heterosexual men, since that demographic makes up a near-majority of my readership.)
One of the most challenging, and often invisible, themes that keep people from progressing in their relationships (and their lives) is their unprocessed anger with the opposite sex.
It can actually be quite common for men to have repressed anger towards women and to only be in touch with a small percentage of it.
This disowned anger can show up in any number of ways…
– Subtly undermining their partner/spouse
– Avoiding intimate relationships altogether
– Shaming remarks directed at women that seem to come out of nowhere
– Struggling with female co-workers/authority figures/employees
– Frequently talking about how women are a negative distraction from your life
– Having zero long-term female friendships
– Only engaging in gendered social groups/going to great lengths to avoid women personally and professionally
And listen… I get it.
Your anger is justified.
Anyone who has lived for more than a handful of years likely has many stories of times that women hurt them deeply.
Maybe your female babysitter abused you.
Maybe you had your heart broken many times at the hands of women and at a certain point you just felt completely done with it all.
Maybe you grew up with a single mother whose dependency on the validation of unhealthy romantic partners brought a slew of abusive and unavailable father figures into your life, and you fault her for it.
Maybe every time you deployed the courage it took to show your vulnerable emotions to a woman she shamed and ridiculed you for it. Made you wrong. Called you weak. Called you a pussy. Accused you of not being a real man.
Maybe you have felt ignored, shamed, objectified, dismissed, or taken advantage of by women.
Maybe you married your high school sweetheart and you thought everything was absolutely perfect, and then out of nowhere she cheated on you, told you she wanted a divorce, the court sided with her unfairly, and then she took 50% of everything you owned in the world, and took your children away from you.
Maybe you were a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a woman and when you mustered up the courage to tell someone about it, they doubted you and/or laughed at you.
Maybe you were sexually assaulted by a woman and didn’t get any sympathy for that because your friends told you that ‘Men can’t get raped’.
Maybe you are angry that divorce courts favour women when it comes to custody, monetary settlements, and other facets of family law.
Maybe you have felt chronically neglected by women, and it has hurt you to feel invisible in the minds of someone whose love you crave so deeply.
But here’s the thing…
In life, we only ever have one choice (in every moment). We can either open our hearts to love, or we can close our hearts and suffer.
Now… before I lose you for going too hippy too fast… here’s what I mean by that.
It’s easier to collapse in around our pain, and to project that pain on to something so that we feel safer in the world… than it is to feel the underlying pain and do our own individual healing work so that we can absolve the false monolith in our minds (and set ourselves free in the process).
Our stories, fears, and personal biases feel like they protect us… when in reality, they simply keep us asleep.
It’s like walking through life with a blanket over your entire body that you can only partially see through. Sure, the blanket might be keeping you warm… and maybe it even gives you a sense of safety… but it also obscures your vision and makes your life more limited and contracted than it would be otherwise.
I’m not saying that the things that women have done to you are justified. I’m sure you have felt immense pain, sadness, betrayal, and hurt at the hands of women. And I’m truly sorry for that.
But continuing on in life seeing all women as the enemy is just keeping you stuck in an old trauma response that isn’t serving you any longer.
Ultimately, if you aren’t at a time in your life where you are ready to hear that and let it in, even 5%, then there’s nothing I can do about that. You have to be willing to open your heart and let the pain start to flow through you. And that will only ever be your decision to make. And make no mistake about it, there will be pain to felt.
The exact reason that you have anger or hated towards women is because there is unfelt hurt that still lives in your body. Otherwise there wouldn’t be the anger. Anger is a secondary emotion, and what it is most often hiding is hurt and sadness.
If today is the day that you feel a bit more willing to maybe, possibly start to let go of the anger, hurt, and sadness in your heart that you have towards women, then I really honour you for that. And I have a set of things that you can do that might help you along in your process. You don’t have to do them all in a row… and you can even do them multiple times over the coming years if you feel so inclined (it might even be beneficial to do so).
A heart that is hardened with hatred is like the dry, cracked desert floor. If the desert floor is too dry, when water is applied to it, most of the water simply runs off and isn’t absorbed. But with repeated applications of water, slowly the ground softens and the water begins to be absorbed. So it is with doing the following steps. You are applying love, compassion, and tenderness to these parts of your mind, and in so doing, you get to transition from contraction and anger, to love and compassion, over time.
Without further ado, here are a few things that I would suggest trying out, if you want to stop hating women.
1. Make a list of all of the terrible things that women have ever done to you
The first step in any healing journey is the reversal of denial, followed by ownership. In other words, reversing the denial of the fact that you still have anger/hatred towards women, and then acknowledging all of the reasons that your anger/hatred is being upheld.
Take out several pieces of paper, and physically write down all of the things that women have ever done to hurt you. All of the events, all of the terrible things they have said to you, all of the ways in which you were abused, victimized, or made to feel bad. This is not the time to hold back and/or make excuses for women.
I really encourage you to be as mean as possible during this step. Speak from your pain with full totality. There’s no need to include any softening statements like “But I know that she was doing the best she could with who she was at the time.” None of that. Go full, uncensored, vitriol-spewing jerk with it. “That useless fucking idiot… that manipulative bitch… did XYZ to me.”
Depending on your unique history with women, this process may take some time. Once you are finished, move on to the next step.
2. Feel all of your feelings associated with those events, to the best of your ability
For anger, try smashing a pillow on your bed or couch repeatedly (or scream into said pillow, to move your energy that way). Always make sure you do anger processing away from pets and small children, who don’t have the tools or awareness to know what you are doing. This is work best done by yourself, in a place where people won’t worry about you or the noises you make.
For sadness, try crying. Try throwing a temper tantrum and thrashing about on a bed. Try sobbing from the deepest depths of your pain. There’s energy inside you that wants to move… and you are allowed to let it.
Another important point to name here… is that it is imperative that you stay connected to your body during these emotional release practices.
It’s all too easy to eject out of our bodies and/or get lost in our stories when doing deep emotional work. Instead of staying connected to the movement of the anger/sadness itself, you might start picturing the painful events of your past, and focus too heavily on them. If you get lost in your head during emotional catharsis work, then this doesn’t actually move the energy through you… it just keeps it stuck and the cycle perpetuates.
If you need to, pause if it feels too overwhelming. Above all, you want to stay in the felt, body-level experience of it.
Having given your pain some breathing room, it’s now time to move on to the next step. The following steps are where we start to take ownership of some trickier parts of our mind, and this is where the real work begins (so don’t be surprised if your ego resists some or all of the following four steps). Steps 1 and 2 are likely to be the parts of this process where you have the most practice… and steps 3-6 are the ones where we start to wake up from our pain cycle and move into real healing.
3. Make a list of all of the things that you have ever done to women
Again, this is where the ego can start to kick up and you might experience some heightened resistance. The ego, that wants to maintain separation and be correct about its stories, craves the satisfaction of living behind the perpetually pointed finger. ‘Women are the problem! I have nothing to do with this!’ Alas, nothing will come of this story aside from a life lived behind a wall of projection and fear.
Now, take out several pieces of paper and write down all of the ways in which you have been unkind to women. Victimized them. Taken advantage of them. Knowingly hurt them. Abused your power with them. Said things to make them hurt.
The more thorough, and honest, you can be in this process, the better off you will be for it (and the easier the following steps will become).
If a part of you wants to skip this step and stop reading here, then I promise you that you will always be at the mercy of your mind’s stories. I, personally, had many highly convincing stories as to why I shouldn’t forgive women in my mind (bullying, rape, emotional abuse, manipulation, etc.). But I didn’t let the pain win. I didn’t want the contraction in my heart to define me. And an important step in that process was acknowledging all of the ways that I had begun to do many of the things that I had told myself that women had done to me.
Defences do what they would defend against.
When our pain is left unchecked for too long, we often start to become the monsters that we are doing battle with in our own minds.
So it is an imperative step that you take ownership of all of the things that you have done to women, whether you rationalized it as a justifiable response or not.
4. Write down a list of all of the (difficult) ways that you see yourself as being similar to women
Having taken ownership of the ways in which you have hurt women, it is now time to bring it home and take a deeper level of ownership.
On a separate piece of paper, write down the sentence, “Something that I see in women that I see in myself is…” and then complete that sentence over and over again until you have exhausted your truths.
There is no healing with the enemy until we integrate with the enemy. This is why the most classic stories of all time (Star Wars, The Matrix, etc.) all end with the protagonist seeing himself in the enemy that he has been battling. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Some examples of what you write down could be:
“Something that I see in women that I see in myself is…
– A propensity to abuse my power when I know that I can get away with it
– I have knowingly said vicious things in order to hurt women
– I can be very manipulative
– I have remained dependent on others well past the time that I needed to, because I didn’t want to take responsibility for myself
– I have also shamed and ridiculed men’s emotions and upheld certain limiting gender rules that I myself have suffered as a result of
– I have punished men by weaponizing my words, emotions, and thoughts towards them, which I’m sure has been felt by them on many occasions
– I can be controlling, deceitful, and dismissive”
You finish this sentence stem, over and over, until you feel complete. And, a friendly reminder, this process shouldn’t necessarily feel easy. Sure, you may feel some relief when you take ownership of certain themes, but in general, taking ownership of such difficult psychological content will likely be quite painful and draining at times.
5. Sit with the idea of women’s innocence
Continuing on with the difficult work of dissolving your ego’s deeply held beliefs… it is now time to meditate on the idea of women’s innocence.
You can do this work in layers. It is likely that you have multiple themes when it comes to women that you could hold in your mind. You could hold your abusive mother in your mind for this exercise. Or your ex-partner. Or your rapist. Or just a faceless wall of women. Generally, the strongest emotional charge will come from holding a particular person, or small group of people, in your mind, since it is more tangible and relatable than the concept of women.
Now I want you to set aside a minimum of three minutes, to just meditate on the innocence of this woman/women. See her/them as innocent. Picture her/them when she/they was/were young. Imagine what it must have been like to be raised in a world that told you to be quiet, pretty, and docile. Imagine the ways that she/they had pain and suffering thrust upon her/them.
Simply hold her/them as innocent in your mind. That is the meditation. Just let it be exactly that. There’s no need to rush to false forgiveness, especially if that doesn’t feel true for you in this moment. Just hold her/them in your mind’s eye, and see them as innocent… even if only 1% innocent.
6. Collect evidence to the contrary
Because old habits die hard, after going through this process, your mind will likely go back to its ways of using the cognitive biases (that all humans have) of selective attention and selective memory. In other words, your mind’s filters will continue to collect evidence that women are truly terrible and worthy of disdain en masse, and filter out evidence to the contrary. Here’s where the long-term work begins.
Consistently make a conscious effort to gather evidence to the contrary of what your mind has collected for such a long time. Gather evidence of women being kind, caring, honest, noble, loyal, just, and loving. More specifically, whatever themes your mind has most held on to in the past, gather evidence to the contrary of that theme. For example, if you have long believed that “all women are manipulative users who hate men”, then consciously gather evidence (in real life) of women who you see being kind, tender, honest, and loving towards men. This evidence can be gathered from real life role models, or from people that you see in the media.
Over time, the value from this practice will throw off dividends. It will become easier to see evidence to the contrary of your old beliefs when your mind is more in the habit of seeking it out. Your mind will be less rigid, and your life (internally and externally) will be more filled love, compassion, understanding, and trust.
Finishing With A Dash Of Tough Love
As far as the ego is concerned, it’s far easier to stay angry than it is to forgive. It’s easier to give up, check out, and stay upset with the world than it is to feel into your residual pain.
It takes courage and effort to lean into these wounds and come out with a lighter heart. But what else are you going to do with your remaining years? Let your pain win? Wrap yourself up in your metaphorical armour and close off from the world? Join the extremist ranks of the MGTOW/red pill/MRA/incel movement and hold on to the belief structure that women are inherently evil and hate men? Is that any way to live a life? Sounds like a colossal waste of energy to me.
Again, I’m not invalidating your pain. I fully believe that women have wronged you and hurt you in the past. But don’t let your ego make your pain special. Everyone has wounding from past painful events. This is just a fact of life. Horrible things happen. Unfathomable pain exists. And yet, every day, people make the decision to let go of the stories that they carry about their pain and they find it in their hearts to move forward, by feeling into and releasing some of their emotional residue. I want today to be that day for you. Instead of identifying, for the rest of your life, as a victim of the pain you have felt at the hands of women, I want you to do your fucking work… and be bigger than your pain.
You aren’t justifying their behaviour. You aren’t saying it’s okay. You’re deciding to set down your pain. You’re deciding to say yes to being with all parts of yourself. You’re letting the weight off of your shoulders and forgiving them for yourself, and for everyone you come into contact with from here on out.
And if you’ve made it this far into the article, then I honour you for that. Thank you for at least being this curious about leaning into this process that you would let these words wash over you. I don’t take your effort for granted. And whatever you do with this information from here on out, I honour that too.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
Dedicated to your success, and the expansion of your beautiful heart,
Ps. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like checking out:
– How To Stop Hating Men (the companion piece to this article)