On treating men
Recently, I’ve been trying something new. Any woman who’s been hurt by a man or objectified by a man will be tempted to believe something insidious. That would be a little lie that goes like this: “All men are that way. No man can be trusted.”
I understand. It happened to me.
Oddly, I never had to leave the church to be objectified and hurt. Men are men everywhere, and just because I found them in a church didn’t mean they were safe or holy. (I have gotten the same looks from a man with a hymnal in his hand as I’ve gotten in the produce section at Walmart. That’s what I’m trying to say.)
The problem–and I speak for myself here–was that my fear of nearly all men, based on my experiences, caused me to build walls. To be suspicious. To jump to judgment faster than Usain Bolt running 100 meters and snagging gold. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right, and I held many innocent men at arms’ length for the sins and faults of others.
There are valid reasons for my distrust. What others did isn’t mine to own, period. But my hurt and my fear now? Those I must own, and it’s my duty to find healing and freedom from both.
It is my husband who has worked very hard with me on this issue. He, being a man, has been on the receiving end of coldness and judgment from women. And even though he understands the likely reasons for that, it doesn’t feel good at all.
Men carry many wounds. Women do, too, and we could go on forever, hurting each other until someone decides it’s enough. Today, it will be me.
It’s been a long journey, but what I am practicing now is very simple. It is already effecting a change in my heart for the men that I meet and don’t know. Now, when I pass a man in the course of my ordinary life, I try to look him in the face instead of scurrying by, and I smile. “Hi!” And then I am gone.
I want to be a safe, kind presence for men around me. A bright, little light that says to someone else, “Not all women are hard. Not all women are cold. There’s a woman who sees me and cares.”
To all of the men in my life that I so dearly love already and with whom I feel safe, thank you. You are the greatest blessing to me. I see you. I love you. I care.
For kindness and love,
The Curly Head
Thank your lucky stars that you’re married with a good husband. Try being middle-aged and single and all the single people in your age group have been through bad relationships and are jaded, bitter, and suspicious of the opposite sex. It’s a brutal world and much of it because of hurting, unhealed people.
Kudos to you for your willingness to be a shining point of light, it might not change the world that much but it will surely do a work in you.
It pains me to hear this, Paul. One thing I’ve learned, and learned well, is that the only thing I can ever control is me–my choices, my attitudes, my healing. The more healing and freedom I find, the greater satisfaction and inner peace I have. Like Jesus said, He came to give us abundant life. It will draw some folks and repel others.
Thank you for seeing us men and for those kind words….your influence will have much more impact this way! Judgement and scorn just aren’t that helpful!
Love your beautiful heart!
Thank you so much, Marlin. I appreciate your words.
Thank you so much for such insightful news and I am humbly appreciative of the fact that you personally acknowledged my comment as I’ve told the story many times although it is by and large mostly male acts against women, unfortunately for a number of us the roles are reversed. As a result of being taken advantage of at a tender age of 9 I grew up believing all women were monsters. And after the acts I was forced to perform on her I was unable to innocently find puppy love as a teen nor true love through the early part of my adult life. I became a heavy drug user and was always in a defensive posture within myself. Thankfully a bear death experience bought me to seek help and I was taught the difference between how health people act versus degenerates taking advantage of innocent kids.
Thankfully that was 19 years ago and finally at the age of 66 I have found love, am able to love and be loved and Lord willing we will be getting married next year. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses but I’m thankful that I shared my past early on and she has been very patient and understanding through it all
Sorry to have rambled on with this synopsis of my life but reading things like yours empowers me and gives me continued hope for the future