Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You Limp-Wristed Son of a Fetid Donkey's Bottom!

My apologies to Monty Python.

What is the state of masculinity in the Western world today? Is society becoming more and more feminized?

I ask these questions because I really want to know. In generations past, did men allow their wives/girlfriends to hit them over the head with their emotions? Were women allowed to express themselves through the dramatic? Did husbands/boyfriends put up with women's shenanigans? Do men today have the cojones to stand up to their wives/girlfriends, or do they take the path of least resistance? Are men afraid of the hysteria that many women seem to be able to drum up at will? If men were to stand firm, would women realize that hysterical rantings will not advance their argument?

Most men use their father as a role model. How the father reacted towards the mother may determine how the son will react towards his wife. In my case, father tended to be passive to my mother, who was domineering and a lot like Sybil. I cannot tell you how many times Sybil has remarked how annoying my mother is, and I cannot tell you how many times I have had to bite my tongue and keep from telling her how similar they are. If all a boy sees is a father that bows his head to his domineering mother, then that boy may grow to be a man that will bow his head to a domineering woman. The cycle will be repeated.

What about the man that was raised by his mother? What male role models does he have? How will he cope with a woman's hysterical rantings? I suspect that he will be even more misogynistic. He may come to view all women with a jaundiced eye. Since my parents remain married to this day, I do not have any experience in this situation. My guess is that either he will shirk from his husbandly/fatherly responsibilities, and/or he will have a dim view of women in general.

Sadly, we see it even in powerful, supposedly, confident women. Remember Hilary Clinton's little break down? If a man had an emotional breakdown, everyone would rightly be questioning his leadership abilities. Like many women, she used her emotions as a tool. And it worked like a charm. Like so many husbands/boyfriends that are faced with a similar situation, the voters rewarded her with more votes. Instead of rolling their eyes at a woman's hysterics, they voted for her. Again, like so many husbands/boyfriends facing a similar situation, her tears were rewarded with a kind of a head bowed, glum, "yes, dear." If she is one of the most powerful women in the country, is this what we have to look forward to?

I don't have any answers. Like everyone else, I am tainted by my own life's experiences. My life has been filled with women that use their hysterics to create drama and keep everyone off balance. I mean, come on, how many men create an hour-long fight on how to fold undershirts?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What's Wrong with Me?

Well, I've been putting off this post. The intent of this blog was to "vent my spleen." I was not feeling that I had anywhere else to go to vent the frustrations of my marriage. I have shown the spotlight on some of Sybil's failings and our marriage's failings. In this post I'll try to shine on my failings. This is difficult because it will force me to look into those dark nooks and crannies that we all have.

Let's get started.
  1. Procrastination. I really would rather not do it today. This is a pretty bad thing because it causes friction in my marriage. Sybil wants to get it done right now. I tend to be more lazy...er... laid back about things. I can give a lot of excuses (worked all day, I'm tired, it can wait, etc.), but the cold hard truth is I just don't want to do it. This leads to my next issue.
  2. Avoidance. If you haven't guessed it by now, I am an avoider. I am not one to make a fuss about something that is bothering me. I dread the inevitable drama that seems to accompany confrontation. This drama must be avoided at all costs. The biggest down side is that things tend to come out when least convenient. One time I was listening to a comedian describe this. He tells about packing away these irritations. "Pack, pack, pack!" was his mantra. He admitted that this created times of sudden unpackage. A sudden trigger that makes all of that packed stuff come out. I know this is an area I am the weakest.
  3. "Open mouth; insert foot." I am famous for saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. Since I enjoy making people laugh as a way to fill that void, I will saying just about anything to get that laugh. I've learned that the more outrageous the better. Naturally, Sybil lives in mortal fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. This makes for some lively discussions.
  4. Insecurity. I think just about all of us are insecure at least about something. I am, definitely, no exception. See #3. I try to make people like by making them laugh, for instance. Other things that reveal my insecurity are coming below.
  5. Trouble with criticism. This definitely goes back to my insecurity. Since one of Sybil's best attributes is critiquing me, that also makes for some lively discussion. I find it very hard to divorce myself from the criticism and focus on the whether or not there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Also, I find it very hard to take criticism from Sybil for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I care about her opinion of me. If she is criticizing me, then I feel that I am not living up to her expectations. This emotional response triggers my insecurity and causes me to become defensive. Secondly, many men yearn to be perceived as a "knight in shining armor." If my "fair maiden" finds fault, then how can I live up to that ideal. Again, insecurity comes into play.
  6. Focus. I used to think I had a form of ADD. However, I now believe I have tremendous focus. Unfortunately, it rarely coincides with whatever Sybil is focused on. Many times it takes a great deal of effort to keep my mind from wandering elsewhere. I find myself tuning others out. Since this is one of Sybil's pet peeves (to be tuned out), it causes a great deal of consternation. Although focus has its advantages, it is truly a double edged sword.
I think those are big ones. The two biggest faults are avoidance and insecurity. They seem to be twin sisters of most of my problems. I have a daily struggle with them. Sometimes I actually win.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Hate Post

My first intention was write a post about my failings. I'll spare you, gentle reader, from being able to poke at me. Instead, I want to write about something Digger said in one his posts. He posted about the author, Schnarch, and his writing about relationships. One of the things mentioned was how spouses can start to hate each other. This hate is not, necessarily, a bad thing. Many tend to believe that the opposite of love is not hate but apathy. If hate exists, then maybe something positive can arise. Working on changing negative feelings to positive, that kind of thing.

That thought struck home with me. It has rattled around inside that empty space that my hat rests upon. I have pondered that idea a lot. I came to the conclusion that I may hate Sybil. There I wrote it. I hate writing it. Oops, I wrote it again.

We don't like to think we hate the one we are supposed to love. We are not supposed to hate them. However, what other word can be used, when I dread having to spend time with them? I dread knowing that so much time and energy will spent on petty bickering and fighting. That is how I feel right now. Whenever Sybil and I spend any time together, it invariably leads to her constantly pointing out all of my failings or some little slip will trigger not annoyance but rage (yesterday I forgot to check for any text message from her). Kind of coaching from the easy chair. Never been in the game. It's kind of hard to take that. I have pointed out that giving instructions from the sidelines is not the same things as actually doing it. Mentioned on more than one occasion. Doesn't seem to help.

The possibility of hating my spouse goes against what I believed to be the natural order of things. That is the real conundrum. I'm not saying that I believe in fairy tales with everyone living happily ever after. I do believe that one should love one's spouse, period. Sadly, for the past few years, I have started to dislike Sybil. Maybe even hate. Although it isn't fair to her since I haven't spoken of it to her, I am afraid that opening that Pandora's Box will lead to a lot more pain than any happiness. Somehow I have lost that deep emotional connection to Sybil.

Communication may be important, but it doesn't always work. I am wanting Sybil to make some pretty fundamental changes in her personality. I would resent someone asking that of me (actually, I do resent Sybil). I have tried to be patient with others, because I feel that I am a deeply flawed individual. Yet, I feel that I do not get the same treatment from my wife. Communicating the problem will not solve it. I have talked to her, with her, and at her at length. She will not bend.

I realize that she has issues with me, and I am not the easiest person in the world to live with. I was planning to do a post about my failings. This post had to come out. I'm not sure if any good will come of it. May be some things should be left in the dark closet.