Men and Women are from the same planet
By Robert Burney

"In this society, in a general sense, the men have been traditionally taught to be primarily aggressive, the "John Wayne" syndrome, while women have been taught to be self-sacrificing and passive. But that is a generalization; it is entirely possible that you came from a home where your mother was John Wayne and your father was the self-sacrificing martyr."

"As a child, I learned from the role modeling of my father that the only emotion that a man felt was anger. From my mother, whose definition of love included the belief that you cannot be angry at someone you love, I learned that it was not okay to be angry at anyone I loved."

"The point that I am making is that our understanding of Codependence has evolved to realizing that this is not just about some dysfunctional families - our very role models, our prototypes, are dysfunctional.

Our traditional cultural concepts of what a man is, of what a woman is, are twisted, distorted, almost comically bloated stereotypes of what masculine and feminine really are. A vital part of this healing process is finding some balance in our relationship with the masculine and feminine energy within us, and achieving some balance in our relationships with the masculine and feminine energy all around us. We cannot do that if we have twisted, distorted beliefs about the nature of masculine and feminine.

When the role model of what a man is does not allow a man to cry or express fear; when the role model for what a woman is does not allow a woman to be angry or aggressive - that is emotional dishonesty. When the standards of a society deny the full range of the emotional spectrum and label certain emotions as negative - that is not only emotionally dishonest, it creates emotional disease.

If a culture is based on emotional dishonesty, with role models that are dishonest emotionally, then that culture is also emotionally dysfunctional, because the people of that society are set up to be emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional in getting their emotional needs met."

Quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Men and women are not from different planets. Anyone who is trying to explain male - female relationships without taking into account the impact that culturally programmed emotional dishonesty, generational shame about sexuality, and centuries of patriarchal supremacy have had on how human beings relate to their own gender and sexuality - let alone to romantic relationships - is focusing on symptoms. It is not possible to bring about fundamental change or true understanding by focusing on symptoms. Just as it is not possible to understand our romantic relationship patterns without starting to see how our childhood wounding and programming was causal in producing those patterns.

Men and women are different of course, but not nearly as different as the emotionally dishonest, comically bloated stereotypes of normal male and female behavior - that have been the prototypes for society - would have us believe.

As I have shared elsewhere, we are only a generation or two removed from cultural treatment of both women and children as property. It is only within the last 15 years or so, that such things as healthy parenting classes existed to acknowledge the reality that though we may have to get a license to have a dog or drive a car, there are no such requirements for becoming a parent.

We learn how to relate to our self, our own emotions, our gender, our sexuality, our bodies (all distinctly different relationships though intimately interrelated) in early childhood from the role modeling of our parents - and the messages we get both directly from them and society, and indirectly from how their behaviors wounded and affected us. It was our parents - who were wounded in their childhood - who role modeled for us how male and female emotional beings act, and how they relate to each other.

This is the first of a series of articles in which I am going to be focusing on how important it is to learn to practice discernment intellectually and emotionally in relationship to issues of gender, sexuality, romantic relationship, and related topics. There are enough facets and levels to the issues that come into play in a romantic relationship that this series will probably be running for the rest of the year.

Although the primary focus of this series of articles will not be emotional and intellectual discernment, the articles will be an attempt to help you to practice discernment in relationship to your own inner process - and all the levels of wounding and dysfunctional programming that come into play in romantic and sexual relationships.

Romantic relationships are the greatest arena for spiritual and emotional growth available to us. It is when we start opening our hearts to another human being that our deepest wounds come into play - that our codependent defenses have the most power. It is not possible to see our issues in romantic relationship with any clarity until we start seeing our own inner process with more clarity. And then it is necessary, not just to start to understand the dynamics of our wounding and codependent patterns, but to start intervening in our own inner process to set boundaries within.

To start being healthier, we need to learn to set internal boundaries - not only with the critical parent voice as I have spoken of in several of my recent articles, but with the various emotional wounds / inner child places within us.

In the articles in inner child healing section of my web site, I discuss some examples of the inner child wounds and how to start relating to them in a more Loving way, including: how to set a Loving boundary with the magical thinking child within; and how I learned to set a boundary with the 7 year old within me that wanted to die.

In my last article, when I talked about choosing between instant and delayed gratification - making that choice is setting a boundary within. As I mentioned there, we have archetypal energies - like the rebel - that we react out of dysfunctionally because of our wounding and programming. (The article mentioned is: Intellectual Discernment - Choices, not "shoulds")

One of those archetypal energies that has caused most of us a lot of grief over the years is the romantic.

"The romantic within is a wonderful, magical part of us - the idealistic, dreamer, lover, creative part of us that is a wonderful asset when kept in balance - and can lead to disastrous consequences when allowed to be in control of choices. In our unconsciousness, many of us swung between the extremes of letting the romantic within be in control of our choices - in which case we cast the wrong person in the part of our Prince or Princess and then because we wanted the fairy tale so badly we denied any evidence to the contrary and ended up heartbroken - and reacting to our heartbreak by slamming the romantic into an inner dungeon and believing we will never find love." - Inner Awareness - Internal Census

In this series of articles, I will be discussing issues ranging: from setting boundaries with the maiden archetype within (and the male counter part - which in emotionally dishonest and immature men involves being stuck in a horny teenage perspective of women) to the genetic species programming that provides one grain of truth at the heart of the comically bloated stereotypes of masculine and feminine; from concepts such as monogamy and marriage to the effects of sexual abuse and emotional incest: from the scapegoating of Eve to the Masculine and Feminine Principles of the Universe. It will probably be a pretty interesting series. ;-)

Next in the series: The Maiden and the Horndog