Misunderstanding David Deida

I often work with men (who are afraid of conflict) who misinterpret David Deida’s teaching, from his book Way of the Superior Man, about standing there in the face of your woman’s wrath.

Some men really think they are supposed to simply stand there like a mountain while their woman rages on them. Not exactly.

I doubt Deida means “take abusive behavior.” His teaching doesn’t mean you abandon yourself and look big and accepting, when just under the surface you are afraid. It doesn’t mean you act “zen,” allowing her to dominate you when she’s acting out from her wound. Set a fucking boundary. Don’t tolerate that shit. If she keeps doing it, leave.

But don’t leave before you practice stepping up, holding your ground, pushing back, and honoring yourself.  Set boundaries with her and make your own self-love/self-respect a higher priority than pleasing her (It doesn’t have to be masculine or feminine, just be yourself). Through you standing up for yourself, it’s possible she might stop treating you like a punching bag and face her own shit.

The bottom line is that your woman wants to feel your strength and self-respect. Sometimes she’s unconsciously testing you. You meet the challenge not by “acting masculine” but by respecting and honoring yourself.

 

You might also want to read The Straigtjacket of David Deida.

Conflict Avoidance

photo by j. gaddis

How long will you keep not telling someone something because you are afraid of their reaction?

If you dig deeper here, you’ll find that you are really afraid to feel whatever you’ll have to feel seeing their reaction.

So, if you are willing to get more honest, you begin to see that you are protecting them on one level, and at deeper level, you are protecting yourself.

By withholding your truth, you also rob them of their opportunity to grow having heard or experienced your truth telling. This is you not trusting they can handle their own journey, which is disempowering to them.

Since most of us grew up with no great role models around how to do conflict, it’s understandable why we hold back. It probably didn’t go well in our homes. All the more reason to treat ‘sharing my withholds’ as a new practice.

If we treat ‘telling the truth’ with those we are close to as a practice, we give ourselves room and permission to make mistakes and not be perfect. Then we can practice not protecting ourselves or them. We practice (more…)

How Much Intimacy Can You Tolerate?

photo by j. gaddisI used to have my life set up for how much intimacy I could tolerate. For example, I would distract, avoid, and medicate myself, isolate and numb out most of the day. Yet underneath, I longed to connect and have greater intimacy. I just didn’t know how.

When I was in my 20’s, alcohol, extreme sports, and weed were my greatest friends. When I was triggered, I climbed, biked, skied, drank, got high, or I took a nap. Yet, the next day when I sobered up, I never felt any better. I would return to my baseline funk/depression. The underlying issue never got dealt with. I did this for years.  To ask me to stop using drugs or alcohol would have been very threatening for me. It wasn’t until I gained new awareness, tools, and support that I could begin to let go of self-medicating.

The primary healing factor in all of it? Relationship. And, it was all directly proportional to how much intimacy I could tolerate. As I learned to tolerate more emotional connection with myself and others, my friendships changed and deepened over time. I attracted a different kind of woman into my life and I attracted different friends into my life.

For example, if you work a lot in a job that is void of intimacy and deep connection, then come home and watch TV or get on your laptop for the rest of the night, chances are you can’t tolerate much intimacy. This isn’t your fault of course, because our intimacy template was laid down in childhood and we didn’t have a choice about that. The good news is, now you do.

Look around in your life and notice how you’ve got it set up. Is it conducive to relationship and intimacy? Specifically, is there space to really “drop in” with yourself or others? Or have you made it so full, that you “have no time?”

The question is this:

Do you desire more intimacy, community, and connection? Do you want real friends that share about what is really going on under the surface? And, if so, what are you going to do about it, starting now?

Eventually the question changes from “how much intimacy can you tolerate?” to “how much intimacy do you want to sustain and grow?”

Why Your Teenage Son Needs His Ass Kicked

photo by j. gaddisThis post is for unconventional parents who are inspired to give their sons a real rite-of-passage into manhood. This post is directed at parents who are parenting sons that don’t fit into the mold.

Our son’s need more than they are getting. We’ve somehow made it so that a hand held gadget is more appealing than we are. When we don’t provide them with solid rituals, they make up their own.

I’ve worked with men and teens boys since 1995 and have come to one vast conclusion–Teenage boys need a rite-of-passage.

Why?

When boys don’t get “initiated” into adulthood, they waffle around in Guyland, not knowing who they are or where they are going until they reach a quarter-life crisis of some kind. If boys succeed at staying numb through their twenties, they will get another shot during a mid-life crisis. The entire reason we have such a thing as a quarter life crisis, and later a mid-life crisis, is because men are unbelievably disconnected from their own essence.

When I look around at teenage boys today, I see a confused, depressed, lost, pissed off, lazy, checked out kid who refuses (more…)