If a man was to step back and reflect on his life, he may see that he generally finds it hard to be himself around women. There are then going to be moments when this is not the case, but this will be the exception as opposed to the rule.
Upon closer inspection, he may see that this is how he has been for as long as he can remember. Therefore, while it may be crystal clear now, it can be something that he has been semi-aware of for quite some time.
When he is around a woman, he may find that one of two things usually take place. He could end up experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety or he could end up losing touch with how he feels.
If the former takes place, he could end up coming across as very submissive (the fawn response) and want to get away (the flight response). If the latter takes place, he will have disconnected from himself.
By being overwhelmed by his emotions, it is not going to be possible for him to assert himself. It will be as though he is a small boat on an ocean; he will be tossed all over the place.
When this takes place, he can act like the stereotypical “nice guy”, being only too happy to do whatever a woman wants. Behaving in this way can also be a way for him to try to experience emotional control.
By disconnecting from himself, he will be physically there but emotionally absent. As a result of this, it won’t be possible for him to embrace the moment or to truly connect to the woman.
Only a small part of his being will be there and this will mean that he will essentially be a very watered-down version of himself. The woman might sense that he is there yet he is not really there.
Due to what is going on, his true-self is rarely going to see the light of day around women and it could be as though someone else typically shows up. Instead of feeling secure and strong, he will often feel extremely vulnerable and helpless.
He could see himself as weak and incapable and could believe that other men have something that he himself doesn’t have. If this is so, he could put certain men on a pedestal and he may even wish that he was another man.
If he was to talk to other men about this, he might not receive the type of support that he is looking for. He could end up being criticised and told that he needs to “man up”, for instance.
Then again, he could be told that he needs to reach out for support and that his life doesn’t have to stay this way forever. If this is what takes place, he could end up looking into what he can do to change his life.
This can be a time when he will be told that he needs to change his thoughts, with this being put forward as the reason why he is unable to be at ease around women. Managing his thoughts will then prevent him from needing to shut down and, thereby, enable him to be present.
This advice will be coming from the view that it is all about the mind and that, by changing one’s thoughts, one can change one feels. In other words, their thoughts will be seen as creating their feelings.
After he has been applying what he has learned for a number of months, he could find that his life gradually changes. By being mindful and replacing his “negative” thoughts with “positive” thoughts, he may experience more emotional control and find it easier to be present around women.
At the same time, he could find that this approach is not very effective. If this happens, he could end up feeling even worse and come to the conclusion that his life will never change.
The big question here is: why would he feel so uncomfortable around women and even need to shut down in their presence? What this can show is that he is in a traumatised state due to what took place during his early years.
This may have been a stage of his life when he was abused by his mother and his father. Having a mother who was abusive - she may have been physically, emotionally and verbally abusive - would have caused him to create a negative inner model of women.
A Survival Mechanism
How one woman behaved would have been generalised, being seen as how all women behave. This would have been something that took place automatically and this association would have been put in place to keep him alive.
He wouldn’t have seen his mother as someone who was kind, nurturing, loving and safe; he would have seen her as a threat. Feeling anxious, fearful and terrified and shutting down around her would have been normal.
A Brutal Existence
Thanks to how she behaved, he might not have known what she was going to do next. Being on edge and hypervigilant would have been a way for him to try to prevent the unpreventable.
And, if he didn’t please her, she might have encouraged his father, who may have served as an enforcer, to punish him for no apparent reason. This could show that she had a sadistic streak to her and enjoyed inflicting pain on him and others.
Many years will have passed since that stage of his life but his body won’t have moved on from what happened. This part of him will carry most, if not all, of the trauma that he experienced and the model that he formed of his mother will define how he typically sees women.
If a man can relate to this and is ready to change his life, he may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.