Why Most Men Don't Get It
Written By: Mark Smith
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"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - Coach John Wooden
I'm going to write rather unflatteringly this week about my own kind - men, dudes, us guys. Honestly, most of us tend to be unteachable, know it all, arrogant, narrow minded and not good listeners by our very natures. Has that been your experience, ladies? If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the phrase "he doesn't hear me" from a female client of mine I would live in a castle on the beach. Have you ever wondered why men are so bad at humbly hearing what you try to say to them? I know that you have. It is due to a condition that most men have called 'Counterdependency'.
Counterdependents are grandiose. They know it all, just ask them. They think they are always right. Their way is the best way. It is black and white, cut and dried. Forget trying to tell them anything. Their confidence knows no limits. Many times they are very bright, very successful people. They are talented, and they know it. They know where they are going—straight to the top, so don't get in their way. Buried deeply beneath their grandiosity, however, is a great deal of insecurity. They have to win to feel good enough. They have to make the sale, get the promotion, have the nice big house, and have all the trophies of success. They base their self-esteem on performance and rewards; many times they sell their souls for "success". I'm not talking about the ridiculous level of grandiosity and arrogance that we have witnessed this week from the cartoon character named Charlie Sheen.
His sick behavior and attitudes are what happens when Counterdependency goes completely unchecked. Among many other silly things he said this week "I'm tired of pretending like I'm not special" and "I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitching, a total fricking rock star from Mars, and people can't figure me out; they can't process me. I don't expect them to. You can't process me with a normal brain." Charlie is headed for some hard, cold, biter realities. He is a train wreck looking for a place to crash. Counterdependent men are mini Charlie Sheens. I purposely contrasted two very different men in this posting - John Wooden, one of the most humble men in history and Charlie Sheen, one of the most arrogant. Coach Wooden accomplished 100 times what foolish Charlie has, but without all the bluster, arrogance, taunting, addiction, boasting and bitterness.
Counterdependents are extremely independent. They do what they want to do when they want to do it. They aren't in touch with their needs and they don't know they have limitations. They can work until they drop, and then do it again tomorrow. Emotional intimacy through talking is just completely unfathomable and not possible. Intimacy equals sex to counter-dependent men. They aren't in touch with feelings, they don't know how to cry, and they don't know how to use their anger appropriately and non-aggressively. They are tough; they are rocks; they are islands. Many times their wives are extremely lonely. These men didn't receive enough love and nurturing growing up, and now they have a hard time needing or receiving love. However, buried deeply under the calluses is a sad, love-famished needy little boy.
Counter-dependents have thick skins. They are oblivious and self-centered. They interrupt people during conversations without ever noticing that they did so. They don't get subtle hints or body language. Many times they are extremely work-focused. They work 60, 70 or even 80 hours a week, not noticing the loneliness of their wives, or the father-hunger in the eyes of their children. In their marriages they tend to have 75% or more of the power. Of necessity, they tend to marry very other-centered, self-sacrificing women. Counterdependents tend to be intrusive, controlling, and aggressive. They make great military leaders, corporate heads, or football coaches, but they make for pretty lousy husbands and fathers. They did not have enough control growing up so they can't stand the anxiety that comes up when they feel out of control. Their need for control frequently becomes at odds with their teenager's developing needs for autonomy and independence. At times the intrusiveness takes the form of raging and yelling.
The Bible has a example of a world class Counterdependent who just wasn't capable of humility or hearing even from God Himself. Exodus 8:32 says 'And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.' As a result of his stubbornness and arrogance Pharaoh brought about the following consequences for himself and his people... 1. Water Turned Into Blood 2. Frogs 3. Lice and Flies 4. Flies 5. Diseased Livestock 6. Boils 7. Hail 8. Locusts 9. Darkness 10. Death of the Firstborn That is intense! No wonder 'The Ten Commandments' won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Counterdependents are begging for consequences. They need a psychological punch in the mouth! If a man isn't humble and he doesn't listen he usually has a woman who is not strong enough to set boundaries with appropriate consequences. Respect is commanded. If you aren't getting enough that is more about you than it is about anyone else. In todays world God won't be descending from heaven any time soon to put a boil on your husband's butt because he acted an arrogant jerk with you. The arrogance and unaccountability of men does have a way of eventually bringing another form of the 10 plagues upon themselves, their wives and their children..1. Divorce 2. Financial Destruction 3. Alienation From Children 4. Regrets 5. Public Humiliation 6. A Loss of Integrity 7. Severe Loneliness 8. Health Problem 9. Depression 10. Early Death
As I thoroughly enjoyed Seasons 2 and 3 of Mad Men this week I almost screamed out loud "No, don't do it! Stop! Dude!" every time that Don Draper started flirting with a woman. He destroyed the love his wife had for him with his infantile neediness, his lack of boundaries, his arrogance, his lies and his infidelities. He chased a beautiful, adoring woman away. She ended up the wife of another man. It is a pathetic but interesting tale to watch.
You will need to turn the volume up in order to be heard, ladies. Your guy is your therapy. He is as grandiose as you are insecure. As unaccountable and oblivious as you let him be. As self centered as you are selfless. And as controlling as you are too passive. You will need to change before he can. Counterdependents don't want to feel their pain. They want to forget the sad, wounded, needy little boy. They want to be Kings, Icons, Heroes, Sexual Conquers and Legends. It seems more fun. In the long run it is much more satisfying to truly love and be loved, to quietly earn the respect and admiration of others, to be deeply connected to your children and to impact the world with integrity, passion, sincerity and humility. That is what being a real winner is all about!
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