Tackling Feminism and Feminization, Part 1

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.

There’s Nobody there to take the Wheel

Let go and let God.

Jesus, take the wheel.

It’s in God’s hands now.

At various points in my life, when the chips were down and I was struggling with whatever the seemingly cataclysmic issue or event, I would receive the above advice. Usually delivered lovingly and with a sense of profundity, these platitudes never really helped. With a sigh of long suffering, I would accept that the problem, whatever it was, was not in my control, god knew what he was doing, and I was to renew my focus on staying obedient to him and everything would work out. Whatever the result, it was god’s will. Pray fervently for the strength to endure, and the wisdom to know what to do. Pray for god’s will to be done. Don’t fall into sin, or god will remove his blessing. The outcome may be worse.

Any natural consequence can be explained away as god’s will. He gets credit for the good, and is absolved of the bad. The underlying belief is that god is in control of everything, and he is working all things toward some master plan that we cannot possibly comprehend. Our suffering, in the meantime, is for his glory – our character is being built and shaped. We may not understand what he is doing now, but we will in time, even if that takes until we go home to glory.  When we get to heaven, we’ll finally know why all those children had to die of cancer. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.

There have been times in my life that I trusted and obeyed, as well as I could, given the labyrinth of scriptures, doctrines and commandments one has to navigate in order to pursue holiness. Then there were other times. I got trapped in a cycle that went like this:

  1. When things are good, I must be in the Lord’s favor. Rejoice!
  2. When things are bad, I must be out of his favor, because of some sinful condition. This phase was accompanied by crushing shame, depression, and hopelessness.

What I started to notice as the years stretched on is that the only tangible result of any given behavior was its natural consequences, whether good or bad, helpful or hurtful. Both good and awful things happened to me regardless of the status of my faithfulness or faithlessness. In fact, I started to see that many of the decisions I had made in the past, out of a sense of duty to obey god’s will and commands, were resulting in unnecessary present day pain and consequences. I made a lot of decisions over the last thirty-nine years based on a sense of duty and obligation; decisions I never would have made had I been true to myself and viewed all the details and considerations rationally, as opposed to seeing them in a Christian funhouse mirror that others had built and put in front of me. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, especially when you take off your blinders.

It took a surprise, high-conflict divorce after fifteen years of marriage, with three children, to realize I didn’t even know who the person closest to me really was. To acknowledge that I was in an abusive and treacherous situation, with a liar and a cheat. I was so wrapped up in what should be, flogging myself for my failures, that I was blind to reality. That is a dangerous place to be. During the divorce, I reviewed how I had felt since year one of my marriage. I felt trapped already, at the outset. I wanted out. I got married for the wrong reasons – I felt a sense of obligation, because my wife and I had become “one flesh” already. The marriage was a mistake. Not all in the Christian community would have counseled us to get married, so it was MY mistake. I believed I had a responsibility to this girl, and to god.

We could have corrected the mistake easily, shortly after we made it. But divorce is biblically forbidden, except in the case of adultery (although some would argue it’s forbidden even then). Being in the marriage wasn’t good for me, and it wasn’t fair to my now-ex-wife, either. But hey, the Bible says we do this no matter what, so let’s hang in there until kids are involved and it gets much worse!

If I had been honest about who I was and what I really wanted – if I sought truth instead of submitting myself to authority and dogma early in life… Things would be much different.  I would have made decisions that were healthier for me and others, and saved a world of hurt. The best thing to come out of all this is my wonderful kids – but they have experienced the pain, too. They continue to experience it. I wish that wasn’t so.

Some things are good to let go of. Bitterness, anger, resentment, control over things you have no control over. Let those things go.

It’s the “let god” part that I have no faith in anymore. There is nobody there to take the wheel. If you trust god to tell you who you are, make your decisions, clean up your messes, bring all the right people into your life and work everything out in the end, you are likely going to be brutally disappointed, and probably highly deluded. You just might waste the only life you’ve got.

I reached a point where I couldn’t stand the cognitive dissonance anymore. I had to become intellectually honest. I had to let go of god, and embrace the responsibility that comes with freedom. I do not regret it for a moment.