How will men in the 21st century accept their individual and collective role in acknowledging their anger and aggression?
When it isn’t raining, we don’t think about umbrellas.
When we are not swimming, we don’t worry about drowning.
When we are not angry, we do not perceive ourselves as a danger to others.
Anger is raw emotion, a physiological state of being that often controls us and disrupts our normal reasoning and decision-making. An angry person, like an angry dog, is to be approached with caution. Our ability to know when we are angry is greatly diminished by the pure science of emotion. We become stupid when we are angry.
It’s time for men to lead the charge in emotionally regulating their anger. Clearly, women are getting tired of asking us for change.
How do we begin? Let’s imagine three scenarios…
If we forget an umbrella on a rainy day, we experience the discomfort of wet clothes.
If we are incapable of remaining buoyant in deep water, we may drown.
If we are unable to understand the significant changes anger and aggression form in our basic cognitive functions we might, as often happens, destroy our relationship with others and ourselves in the process.
Men Must Take the Lead
We teach our children to swim, in order to negotiate the peril of deep water to preserve their lives. The time has come in society to learn to negotiate anger as the state-of-mind-altering emotion that we all will experience from time to time. Both men and women can use aggression, but it is men, as the physically dominant gender, who must be first in the queue when the time comes to train ourselves to effectively regulate our anger.
How can we promote the role of emotional intelligence and more importantly the role of emotional stupidity in our various communities and family circles?
Since 2007, my wife, author Kim Cooper, has been highlighting the urgent need for society to acknowledge the role of emotions, in particular, emotional intelligence, in our daily lives. Modern psychology has without a doubt advanced our understanding of many aspects of human emotion and behaviour. However, the 20th and 21st centuries across the globe have delivered an increasingly hostile and brutal world.
In many cases, the current public discussions surrounding violence against women and children regularly dismiss emotions as ‘aberrations’ or ‘anomalies’ in an otherwise civilized world. The distressing and unhelpful #notallmen fallacy often put forward on social media interactions is one of the very first obstacles on the path to a peaceful and equitable society.
The hashtag #notallmen is a common counterargument to any mention of men’s violence towards women on social media. Many men claim that violence towards women is not every man’s responsibility as not all men assault women.
All men are responsible. Keep reading, I will add more on this in the conclusion of this article.
All men are capable of aggression and not one of us is immune to the peril of emotional anger as the context for violence; including physical, emotional, mental, and financial abuse.
Without oversimplifying anger and aggression, we can first identify two distinct forms of anger:
- A natural reaction to disrespect or provocation; and
- An intentional and manipulative strategy to entrench a climate of fear among others.
The former, an understandable human mindset equally experienced by both men and women. The latter, a destructive social pattern that is generally associated with men as the primary perpetrators.
There is no excuse for using aggression to create a climate of fear within a household.
Let’s Cancel Freud
Sigmund Freud, as the recognized father of modern psychology, created the template for scientific understanding of innate male aggression. Freud presented a hypothesis that a man’s desire to individuate away from the childhood nurturing of mothering creates a division deep in our psyche that explains our propensity to revert to an uncivilized and brutal approach to negotiating life.
Freud’s theories were presented in an era of male dominion where a woman’s or mother’s status was being challenged by the industrial revolution. Continuing to celebrate Freud’s insights in this regard will not prepare us for the challenges ahead. From what Kim writes here, isn’t it time we cancel Freud?
What it Takes For a Person to Change
Contemporary psychology is developing a better understanding of how to retrain the mind to ease anxiety and conflict. We have learned much since Freud.
The modern world of PR and advertising in western nations has built a comprehensive business model based on behaviour modification, especially in the promotion of consumer products.
News and current affairs have now also become a consumer product and therefore political and economic interests naturally take a great interest in influencing behaviour change in the market. The emotional drivers in advertising that both men and women are vulnerable to being exploited by can also be harnessed for positive change in society, such as the successful ‘Speed Kills’ advertisements by the Victorian State Government in Australia as one example. Fear, guilt and shame were the emotional features of the ads designed to improve driving behaviour.
Behaviour modification programming is a multi-billion dollar industry within the government and corporate level. It’s time we challenge the axiom in relationship psychology that for programmes to be effective individuals must want to change.
To be upfront, aggression and violence have featured regularly in my 28-year relationship with Kim. I was charged with and convicted of common assault in NSW in 2006. The incident was not isolated. On several occasions, I have used physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and mental abuse against my wife—my most trusted friend and mother of our three children.
Ask any of my friends and family if they could believe I would resort to such tactics, they would almost certainly not believe it. Steve, they might say, is a lovely gentle guy. Little do they know.
When I am not swimming in the emotion of anger, I do not display aggression and brutality. By the time I am overcome with anger, it’s generally too late. The past 15 years have been a long road of learning new responses to anger. At times I successfully negotiate the water, other times I drown, and take Kim down with me.
Men like myself carry the burden of creating a more peaceful society. We need to learn how to swim. Yet, without getting in the water, we will never learn.
A New Approach
The urgent need is now upon us to provide men with a setting to directly experience disrespect, insults and provocation in order to truly experience anger. To feel it and smell it. Once men are in a state of emotional anger, in a controlled environment, the opportunity exists for men to feel the cold reality of the destructive mindset in real-time.
A contrasting approach using techniques such as meditation and prayer are useful in the sense that our awareness can be enhanced. The challenge remains however because without being thrown in off the deep end, men are unlikely to be able to access the basic awareness achieved using meditation and prayer. For men to find new cognitive pathways, the therapy must be a full dress rehearsal.
Men and boys can only learn to control and understand their emotions in the heat of the moment. The public failure of Australia’s White Ribbon Foundation highlighted the problem of how tokenistic gestures of awareness do not promote healthy or sustainable accountability among men.
The White Ribbon Foundation, established in 2013 and dissolving 6 years later in 2019 was set out to raise awareness about domestic violence in the community. Media agents were hired to create messages from (mostly male) celebrities from TV, film and sport etc with a simple message that each celebrity ‘vows’ to never commit an act of violence against women.
Such noble pronouncements certainly do no harm, yet the human condition is such that we are all inescapably—men and women—capable of violence. We can be very well-intentioned when everything is going our way, yet men have an obligation to completely understand their internal angry dog and keep him on his leash, or at least be aware of the angry dog’s capabilities.
Unchecked anger flourishes in isolation, and women are left facing the daunting task of taming unbridled aggression within the home.
For a man to have his angry dog brought out into the light of day in clinical and supportive settings, in the company of other men and women, and to expose the dangerous aspects of the triggered behaviour, allowing the full extent of the emotion and physical reaction to take place, is one way to begin the process of reshaping anger’s effect upon us. If every man and boy can be trained and be tested in basic conflict resolution we may be able to see a decline in violent disputes, the vast majority of which occur within the family home.
Just as men must complete safety training or drivers training to progress in society, so too we must insist that men complete anger training. Anger management is not a clearly defined description of how men can provide protection for their loved ones.
A man must train his body and mind to know when he has become angry and to use his own resources to negotiate out of the conflict without resorting to violence. Every man must assume that he will eventually become violent without using emotional regulation techniques; techniques that can easily be learned and taught.
Anger should never be ‘managed’, it must be regulated. Men must be ready to take the lead. Science can lead us on the right path and every man on this planet is more than capable of raising the status of women by acknowledging his susceptibility to aggression when the time comes to settle domestic disputes peacefully.
For those men who might still cling to the apparent higher ground of the nonsense that is #notallmen – please consider the standard habit of men ignoring his wife or girlfriend’s complaints and to denigrate her role in the household. It is almost universal for men to gaslight a woman in this way, labelling her as crazy or ‘the ball and chain’ instead of honestly dealing with the complaint. An example such as this is clear emotional and mental aggression and quite understandably makes women angry.
Consider also the status we award ourselves in doing less of the unpaid labour at home.
Another clear example is men’s failure to underpin a mother’s authority in setting boundaries with children.
If you, as a man, reading this article, think you are not guilty of these things it might be time to think again. Ask your wife and be ‘man enough’ to listen and consider what she has to say—from her perspective—without being defensive or aggressive. I challenge you. Choose a public setting where you can still talk privately and be ready to chain your angry dog.
This Post Has 23 Comments
This hit me hard reading it:
“For those men who might still cling to the apparent higher ground of the nonsense that is #notallmen – please consider the standard habit of men ignoring his wife or girlfriend’s complaints and to denigrate her role in the household. It is almost universal for men to gaslight a woman in this way, labelling her as crazy or ‘the ball and chain’ instead of honestly dealing with the complaint. An example such as this is clear emotional and mental aggression and quite understandably makes women angry.
Consider also the status we award ourselves in doing less of the unpaid labour at home.
Another clear example is men’s failure to underpin a mother’s authority in setting boundaries with children.”
Interesting linking passive aggressive and aggressive in this way. Well done.
To drill down into the specific ways men undermine women in the home, and to be honest about the conflict that it breeds is difficult to communicate. I appreciate that you listened and heard me. It means a lot to me that you commented 🙂
Good insights. What kind of “ training” are you suggesting where men can have “dress rehearsals” to learn how to manage their anger ?
Any training schedules that are created need to have a professional and clinical approach. I don’t personally have the qualifications to carry through on my own. One motivation I had to write this article was to hopefully find the right people or organisations to build the training modules.
Men need to feel the raw emotion of anger in order to reshape behaviour. My idea is to have a safe space (not exactly a padded cell, but something similar) where men’s aggression can be assessed and regulated with professional oversight. It doesn’t take much to make men angry, but it will take some thought and research to ensure the right people are conducting the training.
My email is open for suggestions 🙂
Dear Steve and Kim –
When I first started following your work together , I was in the middle of the worst of it all , unfortunately , although my family crumbled apart , it seems to be still alive from a scattered distance . I always thought – Kim, just give it up . Neither of you did , love is winning the losing battle somehow in your world , and I am going to ask you both to look into what is the root of the turning point in the battle ? For myself, I realized how so much of MY upbringing basically accepted the male persona as a violent idiotic immoral mad paralyzed man who had somehow gotten to sit in the drivers seat – someone that I must just somehow let pass by without getting run over . And in that , somehow work , make a living , have my children , care for the aging and sick , and somehow actually get to laugh every once in a while . This letter from Steve , first of all , is extremely well written and concise . Second of all , its like the recent Baltimore Orioles game where the pitcher pitched a no hitter , not sure if you know USA baseball, that means not one batter got a hit on a perfectly pitched ball . During the entire game .
Lastly , it is a call to accountability . Violence begets violence begets violence and only by understanding it can we manage it , and USE it in healthy ways . Like inside of powerful oration or writing –
The US president Abraham Lincoln was amazingly clear in his ability to destroy old ways of thinking and bring into the new way of peace – a song I am working on now is including his words ” The Better Angels of our Nature ” which he used in a speech about coming into a time of peaceful resolution between the two warring sides of the Civil War . I may actually like to use Steve’s phrase ” CHAIN YOUR ANGRY DOG ” in that song too , as at the end of his essay , those words rang out like a trumpet in my heart .
I would like to say that – yes , get rid of Freud . Alot of times the reverse of his theories is what is true . Anger expressed towards woman is not because the woman is hated or troublesome , but the woman is a SAFE place to express the anger . Because she will not fight back , because she is emotionally invested in the growth of the angry person, be they a child of hers or a husband or lover . Because she is “mother ” – the feminine structure is essentially a figure eight of energy , action , and softness . Of course a logical rationale is then created to explain “Why ” this happened , but I can tell you , I do not think that people actually have a connection with MEMORY when they are in – DINOSAUR mode … or as you write , “Angry Dog .” I also think that there are some people who have authentic violence and others have habitual violence . Almost like they are going through these actions because that is what men do to handle being stuck .
I have as a strange hobby , ( I was raised in a house with a mad man for a father ) which is to study situations like when Mike Tyson the boxer bit the ear off his oppenent , or when a criminal is on film going to rob a general store , and there is a gun or bat involved . These films fascinate me , as I like to watch the motivational energy . IN the case of most criminal stories , the perpetrator is totally calm, they are using violence as a calm and cold action of logic . In the case of Tyson , oh that poor poor abused little boy , his violence is based on fear and survival . He is actually in a state of – well , reptilian , its a space in the brain way low , where the smell of blood causes rage .
I would like to challenge you both to create a curriculum book – call it CHAIN THE DOG , and if you did it like the book ” The Artists Way ” which is a book about getting into your inner artist , but this would be about understanding the events involved in domination and protection via anger . I would buy a copy and send it to the children’s father . He continues to have emotional disturbances , even inside of total freedom and living in his dream location , doing whatever he wants . The children had always been told that I was the cause of it . Of course , the alienation has been horrific for me , but I persevere by being clear and also learning as much as I can .
In a way , my son’s watching the crazyness means that they are not going to copy that , plus they have healthy outlets for their huge male energy ( Men have stronger bodies and more power in them ) My daughter chose a man who is very gentle and passive , and my other daughter has cleanly left boyfriends that do not act comfortably for her . My children’s father came from an old country story , with a mother who was German and a father who fought in the Spanish Civil War – violence and killing were an undercurrent , strict concrete walls and a lot of servants to control him as a child . I did not raise my children like that , and although they are not close to me , they are close to their own self knowing , they are all happy and active , and also they are aware of their own expressions . I want you both to know that your work through these years was the ONLY lifeline to a sanity that I knew must be in there somewhere , and I thank you both for persevering and for sharing your growth .
I would like to recommend to Steve the book ” The Art of War ” by Sun Tsu , it is ALL about knowing the dominance possible, and the restraint – the chain on the dog – that allows for the best possible outcome . To me , removing that power from the man is what they are doing here in the USA , and it is NOT GOOD . If you were able to really look at this story , with your honesty , and speak into the beauty of the male force , and the management of it – that would be the book I want to send . Many people said to me when I was young ” You think too much .” I knew that my thinking had kept me alive , and allowed me to go forwards in life . I really mean it when I say to you , do not suppress the anger , learn to use it artfully . Discover into it , and through it . It is a part of the real beauty of what a real man is .
That is why I like the phrase Chain the Dog , Its not Kill the dog , or don’t feed the dog , Its Chain the Dog . If I do get the song together , I wonder how it will co inside with the phrase from Lincoln , the better angel of our nature . Again , I thank you for keeping on in love and outreach . – Jennifer Arnold
This article doesn’t give any actual solutions to the problem. First off both men and women exert aggressive behavior. In men, that behavior can actualized in a physical manner. In women it tends to be name calling, smearing and reputation bashing. I can see where women aren’t comfortable around an angry aggressive man, especially if he has no control. But the same characteristics of aggressiveness, disagreeableness, physical strength are attractive to women.
Cancel Frued… not so fast.
Freud was the pioneer of psychology. We often take for granted what he actually got right, and focus on what he wasn’t able to fully articulate. However his errors were made in a way to best explain the phenomenon at this point. His work has been continued and his theories refined by later minds. Case in point, Carl Jung. One of Jung’s many breakthroughs are the incorporation of the shadow. To explore all of the ways that we can and will be a monster and to embrace them and incorporate them into our personality and in doing so we put them in voluntary control. Dr Jordan Peterson furthered this point in his lecture the necessity of virtue. (Link in the website box). A rabbit isn’t virtuous but rather harmless because all it can do is get eaten. But a man who knows that he is a monster but chooses not to be is virtuous. He is also quoted as saying, “A harmless man is not a good man, A good man is a very dangerous man who has it under voluntary control.” Incorporating these elements of the shadow make men successful in the world. Ability to negotiate, willingness to take risk, drive to explore and create and protect. Men need to exercise discipline and control themselves, rather than try to suppress these things that make them men.
Hey Justin, Steve will be home soon and I am sure he will respond. I just wonder if you clicked through on the link and read the article I wrote about Freud. Many high profile academics have been cancelled for much less than the misogyny and sexism this article exposes. Cancelling all of Freud’s influence would of course be impossible, addressing the damage his work did to women and particularly mothers status is the point.
I did read your article about Freud. Freud correlated from his observations the relationship between mother and child in development and socialization. He was able to correlate the problems formally. However he is not the first(while he was the first to document it in the psychological realm) many fairy tales and old stories detail the horrors of the “Oedipal Mother” ie Hansel and Hretel, sleeping beauty, and Snow White just to name a few. None of these stories are considered sexist. They are archetypes. It’s not sexist or misogynistic. It’s a warning.
Freud just clinically connected the dots. He did so in the spirit of furthering the development of psychology. This is not hate on mothers or women nor is it a blanket blame. But rather it is a warning to women and mothers just as the aforementioned stories were as well. This behavior is bad and will do detrimental things to your children. So take heed and don’t behave this way!
I am not a fan of cancel culture. I believe it goes against the fundamental fabric of western society. Freedom of speech allows us to think properly. Canceling and censorship is dangerous. Ideas that are not valid do not survive for long. Hopefully cancel culture does not as well. However the fact that an Oedipal mother is an archetypal figure in humanity means that we must be aware of it and avoid those behaviors lest our children will suffer.
Before I reply Justin I will definitely watch the linked video you provided. I do enjoy Jordan Peterson’s insights and trust he has something valuable to say that is relevant to your response. Thanks very much for your reply, it is very rewarding for me to have this feedback.
I appreciate your message and did take the time to watch the Jordan Peterson presentation you linked. Thank you, I enjoyed it.
I definitely agree that both men and women are capable of violence, the distinction I am trying to make is that it is men that must take the lead in addressing their own behaviour. We can’t keep expecting women will be patient while such little progress is being made.
Freud’s work was indeed enhanced by Jung, but I would like to draw your attention to how Freud’s work was used for nefarious purposes, particularly by his daughter and nephew. Freud’s contribution will never be ‘cancelled’, but we can use our intellect and capacity to review data in a way to see how psychology is used against the population. We (the population with disposable incomes) are primed with uncertainty, scarcity and anxiety in order to influence our purchases. In addition, a male-dominated profession such as academia, will resist acknowledging women’s authority.
I am not at all a fan of DIE, but I do challenge men (and challenge myself) to accept that women’s power and authority threatens the position in society that men cling to. I blame Freud and his legacy for that.
Men can do well to accept the suffering of existence that Jordan Peterson describes in your video, but men have a knack of offloading a great deal of suffering onto their wives, mothers and daughters. We can do better than that, surely. Steve
Fabulously expressed. Wow!!!! Thank you both for this! This crazy anger caused a divorce after 30 scary years of marriage. The anger grew year by year.. Now after 12 years my X husband is terrorizing my boys. I will send this to him anonymously.
Hugs from America.
Thanks Deborah, if you can share this to as many men and boys as you can would be fantastic. The time for change is now.
Great post. I would dispute the claim you make though that men are the physically dominant gender. It’s skill, not strength, that creates physical dominance. And skill comes from intelligence not muscle. I taught self defense to women for a while. A boyfriend hit me once (not knowing my job). I’ll never forget the look on his face as he sailed across the room, all his assumptions about women and his ‘physical dominance’ wiped from his mind, completely unable to understand how a woman half his size had kicked his ass. It was the face of enlightenment.
Also – you’re gonna get old one day.
Great point Rebecca. It’s a goal for Kim and I to promote basic self-defense and martial arts training to both men and women. Recently we have embarked on training ourselves and already Kim’s strength and focus have improved. I was told once that the distinct advantage for men is ‘reach’ when it comes to hand-to-hand combat as you mention. “Physically dominant”, is perhaps an oversimplification, but it just seems statistically valid to make the case that men have a physical advantage over women in the most basic sense. It is wonderful that you have confidence in your abilities to protect yourself, we need more of that. If you would be happy to share some of your training history here on the blog would be fantastic.
Thanks Steve, will do – I did the women’s basics course with this organisation when they used to be called Impact Personal Safety, they are now called Resolve NM https://resolvenm.org/
I really recommend them. The whole focus is on boundary setting with the physical skills element following on from that. I think that’s really important. I did the course when I lived in the USA but maybe they have a chapter/association in other countries too. Many thanks for what you do! Rebecca
Thanks for the lovely message of support. It sure is nice to wake up to a reply that understands where I am coming from.
Chaining the dog is crucial. We will struggle as a society without doing so.
I have a great deal of empathy for your husband’s regressive upbringing. The pattern of abuse is going to take a generation or two to heal. We should start the healing process NOW.
I have read the art of war. Yes, it is all about understanding the power one possesses. I am hoping to work with a martial arts instructor in the next year or so about this very principal – I will share more about that soon. Men need to be aware of their destructive capacity.
I hope to hear more from you and your family. Much love, Steve
It is a wonderful idea to create A space where anger can be unleashed under observation but I believe an important aspect of this would be to film the person in his or her angry state. People who rage have no idea how they look when they’re under the spell of anger. To actually see yourself as others do might be therapeutic. The person who is expressing anger feels of power of it and really doesn’t appreciate how miserable he or she looks. There are some societies that actually banish people who express anger. They view anger in a societal evil and isolate the anger person until he can learn to control it. Unfortunately, in the United States, we have the problem of guns and this deadly combination continues to plague our nation with mass killings combined with suicide. It continues to be worse on a daily basis.
Thank you for the work you’re doing and the articles you publish, and I read them always and send them off to other people.
I think you are right, filming the sessions would be a fantastic method to enhance understanding. I was speaking with Kim about the mindset of anger this morning and it’s clear that anger changes our approach to conflict, making us feel ‘validated’ to use aggression when we are angry. Our feelings of our own status in society is threatened when we are angry, and aggression is one way to overcome that feeling of being threatened. I wish there was an easier way to discuss the pressing issue of male violence, but it’s a complicated process. Feedback (like your suggestion of filming the session) is common in most other training protocols. I remember being filmed in a media training session many years ago and I had no idea that I came across as condescending in my session. It really helped me learn about myself. Very powerful. Great idea!
I did finish the poem /song – every single person who has looked at it LOVES the phrase “Chain the Dog ” – In a song , the whole song is a collection of comfortable phrases that bring forth memories , and this is then a platform for one NEW phrase , which is introduced into the song to introduce a new paradigm – in the christian bible , the psalms, it says ” sing a NEW song unto the lord ” and that is because we are supposed to constantly think in new fresh ways . Anyway , I am writing again so as to tell you that the ring of “chain the dog” really hits people in a great way , and contrary to one of the comments above , I DO think that it is the crux of the solution . Because people know exactly what that means .
For me , I think of my friend’s dog Koda , he is such a crazy bully , he will bend metal fencing to get out of the yard – once , she took him and Snowy to the park , via car . So they are in the back seat , and Koda chews off Snowy’s collar , and his own leash line , so she opened the car door , and they had no restraints on them at all ! I thought it was interesting enough to share here — Chain the dog AND his friends ! Ha ha —
I want to say something else here , which is that we want men to be great atheletes , business men , lovers , and sportsmen , inside of intensity and energy , but then, drop the ball when it comes to emotional coaching inside of their OWN interaction with Self . I really mean it when I say the rage thing can be triggered by the outside story , but it is a internal relational event . So much of raising boys is about outwards connection , and so little about the inner work . I do think that Martial Arts , yoga etc all have a more balanced approach to external PLUS internal experiences .
I love the bible, but not as it is usually translated into , a big god in the sky , looking down , women being turned into a removed rib … born to submit and serve . The story line puts not only an unrealistic idea on what it means to be a female , but also what it means to be a male . It is time to write a new reality for ourselves and for our children –
I also want to say clearly , that as a recipient and witness of rage – the male raw power inside the upper body , is beyond argument . I never ever would suggest to a woman to attempt to fight with a man no matter how trained she is . Get away – do not attempt to fight .
In songs , there is a thing called a “Hook” – there is a book “Hook Point ” by Brendan Kane , about the use of the hook inside of marketing . It is the action word – it connects the business with the client .
Again I repeat myself , your term ” Chain the Dog ” says it all . Brilliant .
PS , Yesterday , my son married his dream girl – the wedding was a civil ceremony , private between them – but they came to visit me here last month , they live far away , and they sent me photos from yesterday , but the most amazing thing was what he said to me ” I am going to build her a beautiful house ” – Again , thank you for growing together , and growing forwards . Jen
I’m so pleased to have this feedback. Society’s expectations of men are in urgent need of review. Another comment on this blog linked to a Jordan Peterson video which I quite enjoyed, and in that presentation Peterson said something very similar about “chaining the dog”. He said something like “a loaded gun”. If we are aware of the loaded gun within us (he wasn’t particularly singling out men in this case) we might then be able to accept our power and act accordingly. Our power is to be capable of destruction. The Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment that he mentions highlights our vulnerability to destructive behavior. We cannot escape that reality.
I hope your son is able to build a beautiful and safe home for his new wife, hopefully they can have a long prosperous life together, with emotional intelligence and peace.
Sorry Steve I disagree. This is not a gendered issue. Being quite a gentle person I’ve sometimes been on the receiving end of violence from other boys and men and sometimes branded a “coward” or “weak” or even “gay” for not hitting other boys or men back. Women sometimes use emotional violence- the saying “sticks and stones…” isn’t entirely true. Also, some women are physically violent to their male partners – and they get a free pass from the legal system and society in general these days. I have the following personal observation – as he grew bigger, my Mum used to manipulate my elder brother to be violent to my (physically passive) Dad as well as towards me. Statistics show that the most violent type of relationship is lesbian couples. It is said that false accusations are rife and men are increasingly being stripped of their rights to defend themselves in court. Women also have much power to manipulate other men to be violent against their male targets. They also use weapons – one of which is the police or the threat to call the police on false pretexts. I’ve experienced all of these first hand. Why did I stay with her? Because I loved her and believed that wasn’t her true intentions and she was acting out because of past traumas and I was the easiest target. If I could help her to heal, we could have mended our relationship. I also stayed because I had hope after reading Kim’s article on the beyond the looking glass. As it turned out, that hope was false. I followed Kim’s advice carefully and even once sought police assistance when she smashed windows and threw furniture around (so she can see the seriousness of being violent from people in authority) only to be told by the police that it was not a serious issue because I was a man and to stop causing her more pain by involving the police. So that strategy backfired spectacularly! The message may be getting through for men to not be violent towards women but not for men to not be violent against other men. You’re never going to stamp out domestic violence until you address the latter issue as well and women have a role to play in this. Why on earth are women attracted to violent men in the first place and why do they typically friend-zone non violent men who show romantic interest in them? When they do that, they’re implicitly giving the message to men that they find violence “sexy” are they not? Women need to start to take responsibility and lead in this area by making better relationship choices as well. The problem is not violent men, the problem is violent people of both genders with benign attitudes to violence.
Hi Steve and Kim,
Did you receive my post disagreeing with this article and how I think statistics show that women can be pretty violent in relationships too, how some women find violent men “sexy” and that they too have to share some of the responsibility in discouraging violence through poor partner selection and bad example to their sons, violence by men against other men is also domestic violence (or violence) and is equally to be deplored, how this is a blind spot of the legal system and how I think both women and men have a responsibility to prevent domestic violence? I think this discussion needs to be had. I hope you didn’t delete it. I have been following you for about 10 years now and it would be extremely disappointing if that was the case. If you did delete it, I would much appreciate at least a private email telling me your views.
I do agree that men have to be the one’s who correct the bad behavior of other men. I believe that the way to do that is voluntary acceptance of responsibility and with that discipline. I think that Jordan Peterson also demonstrates this by stating her your act together and clean up your room.
Kim your book got me through a toigh time. I have married two narcissistic women. I have used the principles in through the looking glass in order to manage my relationships with them. So thank you.
I would ask women to accept the same responsibility for their own sex. Push the role and importance of femininity Take the lead in policing your own and pushing responsibility and accountability for women as well.