Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Help for the Male Midlife Crisis

Today’s blog is fourth in a series on men and the unique way in which they experience the midlife crisis.  In yesterday’s blog, we explored the ONE CAUSE and ONE CURE for the male midlife crisis.  Today, we explore specific tools to help men in their journey through the midlife transition.  Ironically, these tools are similar to those which are helpful for women.  When the midlife crisis is navigated in the ways presented here, the outcome is the birth of the Soul – the uniquely creative way in which you have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in your life and through which you are called to contribute to the betterment of the world.

male midlife crisis

Fear

The NUMBER ONE obstacle to successfully navigating the midlife journey is FEAR.  This is true for men as well as women, but for men, this is especially problematic because of the patriarchal, hierarchical paradigm which tells them that they cannot be afraid and if they are, they had better not show it to anyone.  This is especially true of the fears that arise in midlife because many of these fears are connected to men’s fear of being vulnerable.  Whereas fear is shunned in the patriarchal paradigm, vulnerability is condemned.  Men are NOT allowed to be vulnerable.  The successful navigation of the male midlife journey includes learning how to identify, confront and transcend fear – especially the fears that are shielding your deepest, most intimate truths – and learning how to acknowledge vulnerability and then, God-forbid, ask for help.

Vulnerability

In a culture where men are supposed to be strong, confident, in-charge, have it all together, be successful, virile, athletic, etc. etc. etc., vulnerability is a “no-no.”  In this paradigm, vulnerability is either buried under a mountain of denial, or out-right rejected and demonized as something that needs to be eradicated.  As such, men often develop an antagonistic relationship with vulnerability, the reaction to which is often violence and rage which then gets projected outward.  The voice of the subconscious sounds something like this, “This does not feel good to me and makes me feel weak.  I cannot be weak, and I cannot be vulnerable, therefore this feeling must be someone else’s fault.”  Out of this silent voice then often comes raging, attempts at controlling the situation, temper tantrums, or the opposite, withdrawal and punishment by silence.   None of this does anything to address the underlying vulnerability, which then begins to fester, eventually leading to another outburst.  (Please note, women are equally guilty of this.)

The Only Way Out is Through

The only way out of the painful symptoms of midlife is through.  In order to successfully navigate this transition and enjoy its promised gifts, you have to learn how to listen for and hear the voice of your truth, and then have the courage to be vulnerable enough to be present to these truths – many of which might be painful.  Then, you have to find tools to help you heal from the buried truths of past hurts, disappointments, losses, abuse, failures, etc. Once you have begun to move through the wounds of your past, the voice of your Soul will begin to speak.  Through the whispered voice of your Soul, you will discover the uniquely creative way in which you were gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in your life – and how your Soul is calling you to enjoy the next stage of your life.  Then you are invited to seek tools through which you can transcend the fears that will now begin to arise in response to your Soul.  Your Soul wants you to be your most magnificent and authentic self.  Your ego, your false-self, however, wants you to remain in a place that is familiar and does not want you to disturb the status quo with dreams of magnificence and freedom.  As such, the ego will start the battle of your lifetime by throwing up every possible fearful excuse for why you can’t possibly have the dreams of your Soul.

Authentic Freedom

This is where Authentic Freedom comes in handy.  Authentic Freedom is a process that I have developed to help men and women identify the fears which are serving as obstacles to the birth of their Soul.  Through the process of Authentic Freedom, you are provided with effective tools for identifying and transcending these fears.  Stay tuned for the next blog which will outline the philosophy and practices of Authentic Freedom, thereby setting you on the road to living the life of your Soul – meaningful, fulfilled, abundant, contented, joyful and free.

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women through the midlife transition.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth to set up an in-person, Skype or phone session. 

Posted in Being Human, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Solving the Male Midlife Crisis

Today’s blog is part three in a series on men and the midlife crisis.  You can read Part I here, and Part II here.  In today’s blog, I present my theory on the cause and cure for the male midlife crisis, which ironically, is the same cause and cure as solving the female midlife crisis.  🙂

male midlife crisis

The Cause

The cause of the male midlife crisis is ONE THING – the silenced voice of truth trying to be made known Ironically, this is the same cause for the female midlife crisis, but today, we’re giving men the stage.  It is also important to point out that the extent to which the midlife transition is painful, is the extent to which you have suppressed, ignored, repressed or silenced your truth. 

Contributing Factors

The reason the male truth has been silenced is two-fold:

1) Family Conditioning:  If you grew up in an environment where truth was not modeled or where your truth was silenced, ignored, criticized, condemned, or simply not allowed, then you develop coping mechanisms which continue to silence your truth.  You learned that truth was either a lie or unsafe, and you learned to ignore or suppress it.

2) The Patriarchical/hierarchical culture: While this cultural paradigm can benefit men this provides a double-edged sword.  There are certain expectations of men that arise out of this cultural paradigm (see PART II of this series for more on this) which disallow the wider expression of truth available to men.  Certain truths are either not allowed or are at the very least held as suspect within the patriarchal paradigm.  Additionally, the very roles that are held up as “male” within this paradigm disallow certain truths from even being acknowledged, let alone lived.  Most commonly, this arises in relation to work and relationship.

a) work:  The work challenge usually goes like this.  The man feels trapped in a job that he doesn’t love, possibly never really liked, but this is the job that provides for the needs of his family. The cultural paradigm tells him, “It is your job to provide for your family….and it doesn’t matter if you like it.” As a result, he feels trapped, imprisoned and probably secretly resentful (because remember, in a patriarchal culture, men are told not to feel).

b) relationship: The relationship piece looks like this.  While women have their common complaints against their male partners, men have their own list of complaints:

  • She doesn’t appreciate me
  • She doesn’t need me
  • She never wants to have sex
  • She’s always trying to control me
  • She’s always telling me what to do
  • She is always telling me how to do what I already know how to do
  • I work all day and then she wants me to help with the housework, kids, homework, etc. there is never time for me.
  • I hate my job but I can’t tell her this because we need the money
  • I feel stuck, trapped, stifled
  • I never get to do what I want to do
  • I feel like I have to beg to spend time with my friends, and then I feel punished when I do
  • She’s never satisfied, she’s always wanting more from me
  • When I get home from work, I just want to chill, and she always wants to talk, then she gets mad when I just want to be quiet

Sound familiar?  Now, before everyone gets their undies in a bundle, I will remind readers of this one VERY IMPORTANT TRUTH:

The extent to which another is unable to hear, understand, be present, open up to, spend time, be compassionate to YOU, is the extent to which they are unable to do these things for themselves. 

And this goes both ways!  If you are having trouble in your relationship – BOTH parties are to blame.  Both parties are responsible for disharmony, lack of communication, needs not being acknowledged and met, intimacy issues, inequitable distribution of labor, etc. etc. etc.  And both parties are responsible for unhappiness and dissatisfaction in your relationship.  If you want this to change, BOTH parties need to do something about it!

The Cure

The cure for the male (and female) midlife crisis is ONE THING – to be open to hearing the voice of your truth and doing something about it.  This is easier said than done, and sometimes dangerous.  Hearing the voice of your truth means first, that you have to take time (and the risk) to listen.  Secondly, it means that you need to have the courage to face what your truth has to say. Before you can get to the truth of our SOUL – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives, you have to move through a whole lot of painful truths:

  • Unhealed wounds, including past traumas which may include sexual abuse (1 in 6 men have reported being sexually abused before the age of 18…this does not account for the abuse that has gone unreported!)
  • Ungrieved disappointments and losses
  • Unacknowledged shame
  • Unmet needs

You also have to take responsibility for all the situations in your life where you have intentionally or unintentionally harmed another human being.  In addition, in order to get at your truth, you have to silence the voice of judgment ( including the voice that is attacking you for the physical changes that accompany midlife), condemnation, criticism, blame, as well as the voice of societal “shoulds.”  In a nutshell, in order to not only survive but thrive in the midlife crisis, you have to learn how to be vulnerable.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog in which you will have an opportunity to learn some tools to assist you through the midlife transition – specifically, the tools which will help you move through fears which might prevent you from listening to and heeding the voice of your truth.

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women in their movement through the midlife transition.  To set up a face-to-face, Skype or phone session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

In Defense of Men – but not letting them off the hook

In yesterday’s blog, I celebrated the gifts of men and the unique way in which they are possessing of these gifts for their own enjoyment, but more importantly, for the benefit of all.  Today I continue to focus on the midlife discussion on men and the unique way in which they experience this life transition and the ways in which their partners can be supportive of this process, while at the same time, holding men accountable for doing something to support themselves through this transition (other than having an affair or buying a sports car).

DikseeBelleDameSansMerci

The Complaints of Women

In the past twenty years of mentoring women (mostly) and men through their journey of birthing their Soul, I have heard an enormous amount of complaining from women about their frustrations with their (mostly male) partners.  While this discussion is not limited to men (lesbian partners are equally guilty of this), it will be the complaints against men that I will share here.  Here’s is what their female partners are saying:  “He doesn’t hear me.  He won’t spend time with me.  He’s too busy with work to care about what is going on at home.  He doesn’t understand me.  I want him to open up to me.  He doesn’t understand that when I say no to sex, it isn’t about him, I’m just so damn tired.”  Sound familiar?  For all the guys out there….before you throw your hands up in frustration and stomp off, refusing to read the rest of this blog….hang on….I’m about to cut you a break.

In Defense of Men

Ladies, here is something you need to know about your partners:

The extent to which they are unable to hear, understand, be present, open up to, spend time, be compassionate to YOU, is the extent to which they are unable to do these things for themselves. 

Most men are not jerks, and most men DO want to be able to be and do these things.  The problem is that we live in a culture that does not give men permission or teach them how to do these things for themselves let alone how to do them for another.  Of course many men are really good at all these things, but based on the complaints I hear from women, it sounds like many are not.  The good news is that this is in the process of changing, but we still have a long way to go.

The Male Dilemma

I believe that there is a deep longing in every man’s heart to be able to be vulnerable enough to open up to another person and to enjoy the same depth of intimacy that women often enjoy with each other and want from their men.  Unfortunately, the patriarchal, hierarchical cultural paradigm puts men between a rock and a hard place.  Instead of empowering men to hear the quiet whispering voice of their truth (which includes the voice of their REAL needs, their hidden hurts, their past wounds, and their unacknowledged shame), they are taught to listen to the patriarchal voices which say:

  • It’s your job to work.
  • It’s your job to protect and provide for your family.
  • It’s your job to make money.
  • It’s your job to compete.
  • It doesn’t matter if you like what you are doing, because what matters in the money and the work.
  • It’s your job to be in charge, the boss, to have power over those around you.
  • It’s your job to know it all.
  • It’s your job to know how to do everything.
  • Don’t ask for help.  Don’t show vulnerability. Don’t feel.  If bad things happen, get over it and move on.
  • It’s your job to be the best and in anything less than this, you have failed.
  • It’s your job to be a “manly” man.
  • It’s not ok to be afraid and even if you are, DO NOT admit it.
  • It’s your job to be strong in the midst of EVERYTHING.

Nowhere in this patriarchal formula is there room for the man’s TRUTH, how he really feels, what he really wants out of life, how he really wants to spend his time.  There is no room for the deep longing to know oneself and to be known.  There is no room for loss, disappointment, grief, failure, fear or pain.  And if a man dare to question his truth or say what he really needs, there is the every-imposing risk of losing his man-card.  And ladies, we are not helping!  Every time we step in and question the way our partner is doing something that is in his area of expertise, we just kicked him where it counts.  When we scold him in front of others for a mistake or failure, we have castrated him.  When we fail to appreciate him for the work he is doing to provide for and protect our families, we have insulted him.  When we mock his need for competition, achievement and to just plain be silly, we are emasculating him. We need to let our men be men, and get the heck out of their way.  That doesn’t mean, however, that as women we can’t model compassion, empathy, vulnerability, naming and claiming our needs, setting healthy boundaries and encourage our partners to do the same.  But, all our whining, complaining, scolding and chastising is not going to wake him up to the person he really wants to and is capable of being.  No, men typically have to find this on their own.

Men, you are not off the hook!

Before holding men accountable to their truth, I want to offer an enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS to those who have learned to silence the voice of the imprisoning, patriarchal culture and have learned how to listen and heed their own voice.  Way to go for listening to your deeper needs and learning how to ask for them to be met.  High-five for coming to know your deepest vulnerabilities and another high five if you have found someone with whom you can freely share your vulnerability and for the support you have discovered in doing so.  The difficult truth, however, is that many of you had to have the rug pulled out from under your feet, or the ceiling fall in before you were willing and able to do this.  Maybe you lost the job of your dreams.  Perhaps you were diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness.  Maybe your wife left you.  Perhaps you had a devastating injury which changed the course of your life.  Maybe you lost everything and had to start anew.  Now, what would happen if instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out, you learned another way of being – one that transcends the patriarchal, hierarchical paradigm without undermining your inherent gifts as men?  Ultimately, I believe it is this call that is the cause of what we often refer to as the male midlife crisis, and the topic of which will be covered in my next blog.  Stay tuned for more…..