Old tapes / Traditional beliefs and gender roles for Men and Women
By Robert Burney

"The act of suppressing emotions was always dysfunctional in its effect on the emotional, mental, and Spiritual health of the individual being. It was only functional in terms of physical survival of the species."

"Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met - our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs. Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves."

"We live in a society where a few have billions while others are starving and homeless. We live in a society which believes that it is not only possible to own and hoard the resources and the land but one which can rationalize killing the planet we live on. These are symptoms of imbalance, of reversed thinking."

Quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Yesterday one of my phone counseling clients was telling me about her brother's beliefs about the difference between men and women. He told her that women want to settle down with one man while men want to be with a lot of women - and that it went back to the days of cave men, so there was nothing to be done about it.

The very thing that I touched upon in last month's article - except for the "nothing can be done about it" part. That was part of my point in the April article about the Maiden and the horndog - we can do something about it. I was trying to point out how stereotypes arise from a grain of truth that has gotten twisted and distorted over the years - and that we don't have to be the victim of those stereotypes.

The very programming that helped the human race survive is now threatening to destroy the planet. We do not have to be the victim of genetic survival programming that is no longer necessary for survival - nor do we need to be the victim of our codependency.

Just as codependency is an emotional defense system that helped us survive childhood and results as adults in breaking our hearts, wounding our souls, and scrambling our minds - so too has the survival programming of our early days on the planet brought us to the brink of destroying the planet.

Human beings have the capacity to grow. Any time someone says anything to the effect: "That is just how it is." "That is just how I am." "I can't help myself." etc., they are making a victim statement.

We as human beings individually and collectively, not only have the capacity to grow and change, we will destroy the planet if we do not. That is one of the reasons that it is so important to be willing to question traditional values, roles, and beliefs - to be willing to change the old tapes.

As I point out so often in my writing, our attitudes, definitions and beliefs - the intellectual paradigm we are empowering (consciously or subconsciously) - determines our perspectives and expectations which in turn dictate our emotional reactions and relationships.

We do not have to be the victim of our childhood programming. In terms of the inner child healing process, we can learn to set boundaries with the Maiden and the horndog within so that we do not let the feelings arising from those parts of us dictate our attitudes and behaviors.

We also do not have to be the victim of tradition - of the programming from our days of living in caves, or any traditions that have developed since that time. The "traditional" context for viewing male and female roles (to say nothing of such areas as "family values" and marriage) in this society is patriarchal supremacy. As I say in the second article of my inner child healing series (Inner child healing - Why do it?) that I first published here on Suite101 in June 2000:

"Modern civilizations - both Eastern and Western - are no more than a generation or two removed from the belief that children were property. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the belief that women were property."

It is the underlying belief system that makes our perspective of men and women so dysfunctional - and has caused so much of the dysfunction in the human condition.

I spoke in last months article about how traditionally in our society: "men were programmed to be codependent (define self and take their feelings of self worth) from their work, their ability to produce. Women were programmed to be codependent on their relationships with men." and how in a dysfunctional society a man "can be a really unpleasant and nasty human being - and still be considered successful and worthy of admiration if he is a success in the realm of money, property and prestige."

Men are programmed to be emotionally dishonest - which causes them to be cut off from connection to their heart and soul. It is an emotionally dishonest patriarchy focused on material "success" in cultures whose value systems do not honor and respect individual dignity and worth, that can justify war - that has brought us to the brink of destroying the planet.

Women have a greater capacity for love - and more respect for individual human life - than men because that life grows in their bodies. This capacity for love and men's overwhelming attraction to the Feminine is part of the reason that men have feared, and attempted to subjugate, women in "civilized" cultures for thousands of years.

The Women's Movement caused many great and wonderful changes in society that have allowed women to start owning their individual worth and dignity - and has helped women to start seeing themselves as more than just extensions of men. Like any change that takes place however, there were both positive and negative affects. One of the negative affects of the Feminist Movement for many women is that they now feel that they are dependent on both relationship and career for their self worth. Many women feel that unless they are both successful in career, and in a romantic relationship, they are failures - because they are still looking externally for self worth.

The even more devastating negative affect of the Women's movement in my perspective, is that women who inherently are most heart connected because of their ability to give birth - have been given the right to compete with men who have never been heart connected in an economic system that does not honor the heart. In other words, women have won the dubious right to be more like men - in the emotionally dishonest, human doing prototype of traditional accepted male behavior.

A healthier trend that is also unfolding because of these changes, is that many men are becoming more like women in terms of owning their emotions and connecting to their hearts. When I say becoming more like women, what I really mean is that more men are connecting to their own feminine energy and owning their humanity - they are becoming healthier and more balanced as human beings. Women have been more in touch with their humanity in the history of the world than men who have been emotionally cut off from their heart and soul. Men who are blocked from accessing their own heart and souls are out of touch with their own humanity and thus able to act in ways that are inhumane.

For the men who are getting emotionally healthy and heart connected, acting out of the horndog within to have sex with many women with no emotional connection does not work. I believe that men who are learning to be emotionally healthier also tend to want to settle down with one person - like the Maiden archetype. This will lead us into next months topic: monogamy. {Play}