Man Comforting Man

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I’ve been holding on this quote for a while. Lawrence Barriner, who is part of the Better Men Project (and will soon be co-hosting 2020 Vision), shared it in his newsletter.

Something odd happens when you Google “man comforting a woman.” Many of the top hits are about women comforting men. (Try it.) The suggested search terms, too: “How to comfort a guy, how to comfort a man when he’s stressed, how to comfort a guy when he’s upset.” Apparently, lots and lots of people on planet earth are Googling how to comfort men… and fewer are Googling how to comfort women. Strange, isn’t it, since this culture views women as “the emotional ones” and men as the strong ones. Perhaps something is a bit backwards here. — Nora Samaran

Patriarchy stunts our emotional development. And our solution is to offload our emotional labor to the women in our lives.

adrienne talks about this directly:

men, you must learn to be responsible for your own feelings and actions. and it’s difficult for a number of reasons – most of which add up to codependence training. most men expect to be mothered by women they get involved with.

here are some of the reasons why men’s default relational approach is codependency:

– you aren’t encouraged to feel your feelings. in fact, the opposite is the case. you are told it isn’t manly to cry, to need comfort, to feel longing. you are ridiculed for emotions that aren’t weaponized, for gentleness, for what is categorized as feminine behavior.

– you aren’t encouraged to have friends… but at a certain age all humans need mirrors, witnesses, people they can trust to hear their lives, to cut through any victim narrative and help them pivot away from behaviors that harm themselves and others. that’s literally what friends are for. women are actively doing this for each other right now, witnessing each other, reaching for our own lives, holding each other’s hands as we walk towards our power. y’all need to get in right relationship!

We would not be in this process together if we were not already aiming to take responsibility.

A few questions for you:

  • Do you find emotional support among the male friends in your life?

  • How are you nurturing these relationships?

  • Do you have access to structures, like men’s groups, that support this sort of masculine emotional development?

  • Can you gather men who would benefit from such spaces?

  • How can you support men who might fear to cross the threshold into emotional terrain? Women seem to be holding space for such men all the time. Isn’t it time for us to step in?

I look forward to our next call.