My horrific divorce, wrapped up in February 2016, opened my eyes to some hard realities. In the midst of crippling emotional, psychological, and legal anguish, I sought to understand what was happening and why. I read countless books on how to save your marriage, fear of intimacy, personality disorders, passive-aggressive behavior, anger, healing a marriage after your partner has cheated, and the like. Nothing I was witnessing and experiencing made any sense to me, and all this reading was not only an effort to distract myself, but an attempt to bring some order to chaos; if things at least made sense, it would be easier for me to cope. There would at least be some predictability to things, fewer surprises.
The lights finally came on when I discovered some resources dealing with borderline personality disorder (BPD). I’m not going to tackle what borderline is in this post, but it is one pillar in a haunted house that many men navigate every day. As I moved through the divorce process, coming into contact with attorneys, judges, marriage counselors, and clergy, it became clear to me that in addition to personality disorder, there was another problem affecting me: most of these people were operating from a place of marked bias. I knew the reality of what was happening in my marriage, but none of the people who had input into the outcome cared what I had to say. My feelings and concerns had no value (exact words from a therapist), and if the marriage was falling apart, it had to be my fault – the man’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, I had my own issues to confront as anyone does in a marriage, but it seemed to me that everyone around me had preconceived beliefs about the way things are, and they were seeking any information in the narrative to reinforce their worldview; which in this case, meant believing the lies put forward by my wife and rushing immediately to her defense.
To see the lying, the cheating, the debauchery, the emotional terrorism, the verbal abuse, the withholding, and the callous lack of concern for our marriage and lack of empathy for our children on a daily basis while everything was falling apart, and then to see my wife put on a different mask to elicit sympathetic responses from friends, family, counselors and such, was crazy-making. To open my mouth in defense of myself was to appear defens-ive and be accused of acting out of guilt. Every word out of her mouth, however, was received with total acceptance and support. I was viewed with suspicion. I was guilty from the moment she said so, and there was no convincing anyone otherwise.
How could this be? I wondered. Why was everyone predisposed to single me out? Were these awful things true about me, and I was just too blind to see it? This is the frame of mind I held for some time, with anyone in authority assuring me that I was the problem. I believed them. I questioned myself. I examined my heart and mind daily. I was convinced that my heart was deceiving me (a very biblical notion), and that I couldn’t trust my own thoughts and feelings. But I knew deep down that something was very wrong. People who really knew me, my closest friends, couldn’t believe the things I was saying about myself. They looked at me as if they knew something that I didn’t, with a hint of hope that someday I would open my eyes and see. They knew that I was doing what I thought was the right thing to keep my marriage and family together, including believing things about myself that weren’t true. They also knew that I would have to discover this on my own. I am so thankful for these friends. They know who they are – and they know who I really am.
What in the world does all this have to do with Feminism?
The entire globe has been affected by feminism, or more accurately, “feminization”, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Feminism/feminization have resulted in necessary and justified positives, but they have also resulted in cognitive, social, political, and religious toxicity that effects each one of us more than we realize. This truth is easy to ignore, and you may never realize what a problem men have in this day and age unless you are one, and your life becomes subject to the bias of the people and systems surrounding you. Or, you have watched one you love go through this. Like frogs slowly coming to boil in a pot without knowing it, our values, identities and institutions have slowly been usurped to the point that we are unknowingly dysfunctional. The outsiders who wield power in our lives, the ones whose authority we are subject to (voluntarily/involuntarily), are rather dangerous in this regard.
It is infinitely interesting to me how we arrived in our present condition; gender wars raging, common sense out the window, women initiating upward of 70% of divorces at will (no-fault), the nature of masculinity warped, and a deaf ear turned toward men’s issues. American institutions, including the churches, are under the influence of something most folks do not understand or acknowledge (or mostly, care to know about). Ignorance is bliss, but after experiencing what I have experienced, I feel a personal responsibility to speak out. I do not want our sons to fall into complacency and wind up at the mercy of systems and ideologies that threaten their very lives and identities. I do not want our daughters to unwittingly propagate the same. The tide is starting to turn, but we need a lot more momentum, exposure, and action.
I believe in real equality – equal opportunity for all, equal treatment under the law. This is not what we have today.
My hope with this series of posts is to illuminate some of the less obvious effects that feminism and feminization have had on American institutions and individuals, and illustrate those effects through tangible personal experience.
Onward and upward.