Category Archives: Heroes – Mobile Book

19Dec/16

Pathological Relationships – The Rescuer (continued)

The Rescuer (continued)

Subconsciously some men are attracted to such a narcissistic woman, because it provides a welcome alternative to the women who usually make hím the nucleus of their existence. If it is all about her, then he can be the Hero, fulfilling her needs. That makes him feel good, and wow, the sex is good. However, that narcissism needs to be constantly fed, and she feeds on him. The narcissism actually camouflages a deep seated dependency and desperate neediness.

There is another neuro-psychological theory explaining the seemingly narcissistic behaviour of the damsel in distress / victim, who is solely focussed on having all her needs gratified and shows no empathy for the suffering Rescuer. The anterior cingulate cortex of our brains integrates cognitive and emotional information. It assists us with interpreting emotional signals from other people – it is the emotional intelligence part – and it activates our fear of rejection. When it is damaged, it reduces our expression of empathy.

Another part of the brain involved in directing the behaviour of the damsel in distress is the amygdala. Emotional instability and cognitive impulsiveness are behavioural manifestations of the amygdala, which reacts severely to negative stimuli. The amygdala attaches severe negative emotions to memory. A lack of serotonin in the frontal cortex inhibits the amygdala and impairs the ability to evaluate, integrate and act on cues from the environment. It also prevents both the Rescuer and the damsel in distress from ceasing responding to unhealthy stimuli and returning to healthy stimuli.

There is a psychological phenomena called disorganised attachment style, characterised by ambivalent behaviour. As children, these women were probably emotionally impoverished, which can literally cause an increase in the size of the amygdala. When the dopamine levels in the amygdala fluctuate, it causes the extreme fear of rejection, which leads to totally irrational behaviour. “I will love her more and promise never to leave her,” he reasons, but no amount of love can cure a chemical imbalance in the brain.

I ask these men their opinions about women who return to abusive men who hit them. “They are crazy to go back, it is ridiculous and makes no sense for them to go back,” is the general consensus. “Then how come you return to the woman who emotionally abuses you?” I ask. “Somehow, the moment I am with her again and I hold her in my arms, I immediately forget all the hurtful things she has done to me,” states one Rescuer. Oxytocin, the powerful cuddle hormone, inhibits some memory consolidation and increases positive social memory. This may be the reason why we forget and forgive the hurtful things done to us by people we love. Oxytocin overrides the rational neo-cortex warning us. The trick is in not going back at all and to avoid that situation where the oxytocin is released.

In an experiment involving rats, every time the rat presses a lever, he gets a food pellet. However if the dispenser completely stops giving the rat a pellet, he becomes despondent and gives up completely. When he is randomly rewarded with a pellet, he becomes almost addicted to pressing that lever. When the damsel in distress rewards the Rescuer now and again with a smile or approval, he becomes addicted to her and keeps on trying harder and harder to please her, despite not getting a “pellet” most of the time.

These women have serious abandonment issues. Sooner rather than later, he realises he is trapped and his life energy is being sapped and he wants to get out. Instinctively she recognises the alarm signals, and she grows more tentacles. Often she falls pregnant to trap him or she already has a child or two to string along. I know of one woman who has four different children with four different fathers and still the men do not catch on. Such a woman falls pregnant deliberately in an attempt to tie him to her. The moment he makes it quite clear that he has no intention of marrying her, or when he insists on a paternity test, she aborts the foetus. Some of these women have the baby, purely to have a lifelong hold and connection with the man. They will callously use the child to play on his guilt complex and to bleed him dry with maintenance. FOR EVER.

The men are just too scared to tell her outright to leave, because then the women “go mental.” The men feel like anti-heroes for “hurting her feelings”. These Rescuers then try to justify their situations by convincing themselves that the women truly need them and that it’s not that bad. It is that bad. As a matter of fact, it is worse. Then they try the bad behaviour tactic, hoping she would break up with him. Forget it. She won’t. She will just make your life more miserable. In the meantime he is still getting the incredible sex, and she gets all cuddly and cute afterwards (when the oxytocin is flowing).

Then he wakes up in the middle of the night to find her downloading all the info on his phone and transferring his computer data to hers and she sends rude and nasty messages to his ex-girlfriends and his female buddy under his name. When he confronts her she cuts her wrists, because she “loves him so much and she can’t stand the thought of living without him.” She makes him promise he will not leave her and then banks on the knowledge that he would despise himself if he breaks his word, for the sad thing is, the Rescuers are often honourable men. Terribly misguided, but honourable.

When she cuts her wrists, or “freaks out”, please take her to hospital and since she is out of your house, pack her stuff, change the locks and leave her stuff with the friend she stayed with originally. Go to hospital and tell her. She cannot commit suicide in a hospital. Inform her therapist.

Also tell her you are going on vacation, you will not be at home and you are not going to take her calls. Go to a safe place, alert a security company to look after your house, alert your friends, and DON’T TAKE HER CALLS or respond to the messages. When such people are rejected, their egos react by turning up the volume. If you can resist this turned up volume and just sit it out, they will eventually tire and turn their attentions to someone else.

Advice regarding that stray cat: Put the cat out. She will meow and growl and scratch at your door and try to sneak in when you leave a window open, but eventually she will leave and don’t worry, some other sucker will take her home.

They are locked in a deadly dance, until he breaks away. Breaking an addiction implies a period of extreme withdrawal symptoms, but eventually he will form new neuropaths and alternative behaviour, develop a sense of self worth, and attract a woman with self worth.

I agree that these women need help. Professional help. Some of them, however, visit psychologists not for the purpose of healing and coming to terms with their hurt, but only as an added bonus to elicit sympathy. Men would be advised not to get involved with these women, but to wait until she completes therapy. A professional therapist may guide her to reach a point of forgiveness, healing and maturity, where she has gained insight into her manipulative behaviour, learnt that she cannot control another human being with her own disturbed emotions, learnt to love herself, and where she is prepared to give and receive freely, without scorn.

We all encounter emotional obstacles in life, in one way or another. No one is exempt from pain, loneliness, heartbreak, betrayal, loss, rejection, abandonment, ridicule or trauma in various forms and intensities. To the women who recognise themselves in the above scenarios, please get professional help.

Find a therapist who will attend to your pain, who will walk the road with you, who will guide you to find your own true north and help you to liberate yourself from unrealistic expectations, who will develop your insight into your own manipulative behaviour. Manipulative behaviour holds no true benefit for you. A good therapist will assist you in finding the core and becoming the stable, mature woman you were meant to be. Would you not rather one day want a man who stays with you willingly, because you are adorable?

And to the Rescuers out there, please don’t waste your valuable heroism in a bottomless pit.

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07Jan/17

Heroes Getting Hitched

hitched-heroes

Heroes Getting Hitched

When a man gets married, he makes a promise to the woman he has chosen, that he will protect her and provide for her – and their children – for as long as he lives. I repeat: this is serious stuff. He is taking on the responsibility for her financial, emotional and physical wellbeing, for the rest of their lives. Therefore if he is not yet capable of the financial, emotional or physical means to take on this enormous task, he is NOT READY. “But I will work too and with our combined salaries we can make it, and we can rent a cheap apartment and share a car, or we can stay with my parents…” whine the starry-eyed young girls. “And there you go, sweetheart, telling him what to do, and planning his life for him, which is exactly the reason why he does not want to get married,” I answer them. “But I just want to be with him,” they sigh. “And what can you offer him?” I ask.I remind the girls of the Jane Austen novels. In order to get married, a woman had to be accomplished. She needed to be proficient in playing the piano-forte, singing, dancing, letter writing, prose and poetry, embroidery, bookkeeping and running a large household with an army of employees. Many things have changed since the Victorian era, but the fact that a man requires certain “accomplishments” in his wife, has not. He is not going to marry a woman just for her looks.

Men seek different qualities in a woman they marry than in the girls they date. One man told me when choosing a long term life partner a man looks for a woman with class, (classy, not sexy) she must be presentable, intelligent and original. A wife has to have dignity. She wears the crown as his queen. His friends must approve of her.

(His girl buddy too.) A man wants to be proud of his wife. He has a certain benchmark for the appearance, level of education, knowledge, image and inner qualities that he searches for in a wife. It is an idiosyncratic choice for every man.

Another said: “My life partner must have my back when things go bad. I need to feel safe with her, I can trust her. She supports me. She gets my quest. She is financially responsible.” When I asked him what he meant by having his back, he answered: “It’s not just in the big things, but also in the smaller things. She won’t divulge my secrets or vulnerabilities.

If I go to bed at 7pm some nights because I am just dog tired, she won’t mind or tell anybody. If I am self-conscious about my stomach, she keeps it a secret and buys me health food without making a fuss about it. She does not tease me about my baldness. She does not make a fool of me in public. Many women think it’s funny to tell quirks about their men at dinner parties. It is actually deeply embarrassing. If she has my back in the small things, she has my back in the bigger things too. When things go bad I need to know I can count on her to stay positive, to support me, not blame me and not leave me.”

Many of the very wealthy men I spoke to told me they are acutely aware that they can lose their fortunes in a flash. Circumstances change and the world economy is precarious. Making money involves high risk taking behaviour. This makes them vulnerable. (Not insecure). They need wives who can understand this, without taking advantage of their deep seated vulnerabilities, wives who will stick to them, even if they lose the money and wives who will trust them to come up trumps once again.

It often happens that wives’ intuition warns them regarding some of their husbands’ business deals or business partners. Unfortunately then the man perceives his wife’s warning as criticism. Please view her as a resource in your camp, with your best interest at heart, watching your back and scanning the grass for snakes. She is good at this. Heed her instinct. She is your wife and your ally, not your enemy.

Let us take an in depth look at men’s so-called fear of commitment

A wise man explained the difference between being committed and being involved. “If we have a breakfast of bacon and eggs,” he said, “the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.” That is why men are so scared of commitment.

One man explained it as follows: “When you get married it means you are willingly entering into a contract with another person, which entails you are going to have to do things you don’t feel like doing, every single day for the rest of your life. Those are the expectations.

For that kind of commitment, you want a reward. It needs to be worthwhile.” “What about being with the woman you love, about making love, laughing together and not being lonely,” I asked. “Is that a reward?” “No” he said. “I can just live with her or just have a relationship with her and still get all of that.” “Then what is the reward?” I asked. “The reward is knowing she has my best interest at heart, knowing she adds value to my life, she has my back and I am safe with her. Also every man wants to protect his woman, and to know she really needs me. She also needs to know what I am giving up for her.” “Is she not giving something up for you?” “No. She is gaining security. I am losing my freedom.”

Sometimes a man just fears committing to the wrong woman.

Expectations again

Another man explained expectations: “Expectations are like overtime at work; the first time you do it, it is appreciated, the second time it is expected. When you woo a woman, you take her out weekly, when you marry her, she expects it.” Many men have told me they resent the fact that the wives are no longer the girls they dated, because wives expect more. Perhaps the husbands are no longer the men they dated either? Becoming a husband actually entails giving up bachelorhood.

One man said men only get married and settle down because they enjoy the comfort of it. Someone tends to them. Their laundry is sorted, there are groceries in the cupboard and food on the table. Of course, he conceded, the husband does his part too. He checks her car’s tyres, mows the lawn and such. Marriage is purely the dual comfort zone that a relationship moves into. “Also, when you date, you have to work hard. When you are married you can let go a little and you are off the hook. You know she won’t leave if you relax. A girlfriend may just leave if you grow lax.” So marriage is the space where we can all grow fat and lax?

What I noticed about men’s description of marriage is the almost absolute lack of mention of romance. Men need seduction, women need romance. Maintain the balance and we have a win-win situation. One man advised: “Keep him lusting for you and he will provide the romance.”

Why do some men marry brainless chicks?

When a man asks a woman to marry him, he is acknowledging that he respects her intelligence and independent autonomous ability to make one of the most important decisions of her adult life. Yet some men tend to think the moment he puts that ring on her finger, somehow it causes a lobotomy to her cerebral cortex and she is incapable of

making decisions, or not even worthy of having an opinion on the decisions he makes for her? Some men really treat their wives as brainless chattel. Some men assume the moment he marries her, he inherits a right to condescending behaviour.

The majority of men concur they dislike a yes-and-amen girl who agrees with him all the time, yet the moment she differs from him and voices her opinion, he calls her opinionated? Men explain they like a woman who voices her own opinion as long as it is not done vociferously and as long as she can still acknowledge his point of view and does not tell him he is wrong. He is still going to act on his conviction. When she continuously differs from him on every single topic, he begins to wonder if they have anything in common and whether it is time to move on. Then she is opinionated.

A mature woman does not expect her husband or partner to report his every move to her. However it would be considerate of him if he communicates his movements to her, just as he would appreciate her informing him of her whereabouts.

It is not checking up or restricting, it is called communication and caring. If he behaves secretively, he may be the one sowing seeds of suspicion. Just tell her.

Marriage is a partnership where both parties do things they don’t feel like doing every day. When they were single they could skip doing the dishes now and then, go to bed at 7pm if they were really tired, feed the dog from the plate or wear jocks two days in a row. When married they have to consider another person sharing a very intimate space.

Sometimes it is fine in a marriage just to say: “I don’t feel like cooking tonight.” And it’s wonderful if the partner says: “That’s ok, we’ll just get take-aways.” Sometimes it’s fine to say: “Can we do the dishes tomorrow morning, let’s just go to bed early tonight.” Two adults can compromise and accommodate each other. But things change once they have children. You can’t say: “Let’s just skip bathing the baby tonight and go to bed early.” Manning-up to the task, walking the extra mile and really committing to doing something you don’t feel like doing, increases tenfold when there are children, but apparently the rewards are ten times better too. So they say.

A man has a plan

Men are much more pragmatic than romantic when it comes to marriage. Men also think and plan much further ahead than what women give them credit for. Men just don’t always tell women about these plans. They first want to see if the plans work out and surprise her, rather than disappoint her when they do not achieve what they had planned. The majority of men have a plan – many plans.

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Case Sample

Our engineer finally landed a job in Dubai. Very excitedly, he informed his girlfriend. She was happy for him, but not elated. He a sked her what was wrong.“What about us?” she asked. “You are coming along of course,” he answered.

“Arab countries do not allow men and women to live together, you know this,” she said. “You are coming along as my wife then.” “I am not going to marry you under these circumstances,” she said. He left. Later he asked her again why she would not marry him. “You only want to marry me because it is convenient for you and it is unlawful to live together.” “No,” he answered, “I planned to ask you to marry me anyway in a year’s time when I had saved up enough money. Getting the job in Dubai, just brought it forward. It is more practical this way.” She had no idea that he had plans to marry her. She said yes.

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08Jan/17

Heroes Getting Hitched – What do women want?

What do women want?

Many men ask me what women want and I have mentioned it before. Women WANT TO BE SAFE and they want attention. Once their basic needs such as a roof over their heads, food, clothes and retirement etc are fulfilled, then they prefer their husband’s attention rather than the gifts he buys her.

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Case Study

A man called me and asked my advice on how to save his marriage. From Monday to Friday afternoons he would stay in a small bachelor pad in a city close to his company’s head quarters. His wife and children stayed in another city in their mansion.

He would Skype his family every night. Friday afternoons he commuted home. H e arrived home exhausted and prefers retiring to bed early. He conceded that he was rather grumpy on a Friday night. Saturday mornings he slept late. Then he spent the rest of the day with the family. Saturday evening he took his wife to a fancy restaurant.

Sunday was a lazy day and they would take the children to a family restaurant or visit friends or family. Monday morning he returned to the other city. Once every two months he treated his wife and children to a game lodge long weekend. He also took them abroad every December on a ski vacation.

He said he only got sex during the lodge weekends or when he took her abroad. He felt his wife was only giving him sex when he spoilt her with a vacation. His wife drove a fancy car and she did not need to work. His wife was having an affair. He could not understand why. He felt he was really working very hard to provide for his family and to keep them in luxury.

I asked him if it would be fair to keep a dog locked up in the court yard and once every two months take it out for a long walk in the park. Dogs need to be walked every day, even just for ten minutes. Else they dig a hole under the fence and go visit the neighbour.

One night, when the husband was out of town, the home alarm went off. The neighbour came out and assisted and tended to the wife – who was dressed in her nightdress.

She made him coffee. He became someone she could talk to. If a woman cannot talk to a man, it does not take her long to find someone else she can talk to, and so on.

She enjoyed sex with her husband on the lodge weekends or vacations for those where the times when she felt connected to him, when she had his attention. She experienced it as a duty just to please his needs on weekends and that is why she resented it. He was not there during the week nights to lock the doors, check that the alarm was switched on, hold her and make her feel safe. His marriage did not last.

Both misunderstood the other. She felt he neglected her and he felt she was also not in tune with his quest. She was not prepared to support him and fulfil her part of the bargain by raising the kids, while he worked hard to provide a luxurious life style.

Marriage is a complicated commitment. It is not just white satin and confetti.

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08Jan/17

Heroes Getting Hitched – If it is important to her

If it is important to her

Women don’t expect men to understand all their feelings, but they do expect men to respect these feelings. I repeat, women are emotional creatures. So, if it is important to her, it should be important to the man, even if it is not logical. EVEN IF IT IS ILLOGICAL

A young couple have a baby. They are both exhausted. Saturday afternoons they play with the baby. He suggests that one of them takes a nap while the other plays with the baby and then they swap. This way they can both get some rest and the baby is not unattended. She said no, she wants both of them to play with the baby, because she misses him and wants to spend time with him.

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Case Study

A young couple have a baby. They are both exhausted. Saturday afternoons they play with the baby. He suggests that one of them takes a nap while the other plays with the baby and then they swap. This way they can both get some rest and the baby is not unattended. She said no, she wants both of them to play with the baby, because she misses him and wants to spend time with him.

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In this case he was being pragmatic, she was being emotional. There is no right or wrong. It is a male-female thing.

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Case Study

A woman was involved in a legal dispute with a man. It was settled, but the whole affair left her upset and feeling vulnerable. Later she found out that her dentist husband had taken on this man and his wife as his patients. She felt her husband was disloyal regarding her feelings about this couple.

He had a pragmatic approach and said business was business and the legal dispute had been resolved years ago, so she should “get over it.” He was not taking her feelings into consideration, and she felt betrayed.

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Case Study

A young couple moved into their first home. In the back yard there was a jasmine creeper that had overgrown the patio, obscuring the light from the kitchen window. One of the reasons why she loved the new house was because of the jasmine, but she agreed it was out of hand and they would welcome sunlight in the kitchen. One Saturday afternoon they were both pruning the jasmine.

She was happily snipping away twig by twig, until she noticed he had cut off two of the three main roots at ground level. The brand new marriage of six months almost ended in a divorce right there. His reasoning was it would take ages to prune the plant and if he cut it at the root, it would grow again. He knew it could take years to grow, but it was their first house and they planned to live there for years.

Her reasoning was if he could not respect her feelings about the plant and trying to preserve it, how would he respect her feelings about more important issues in the marriage? Her attachment to the plant was not logical, but it was important to her.

Metaphorically men can sometimes just walk all over women’s flower gardens with their big feet and not understand why her feelings are hurt. Gently guys, tred gently.

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A final word on marriage. I know a woman who was married to her husband for almost 40 years. He was a keen yachtsman. Every weekend they spent at a local resort, sailing his yacht. They retired to a seaside town where he was a member of the local yacht club. Many vacations they spent sailing the seven seas. Literally. They chartered yachts in the Greek isles, the Caribbean, etc.

Occasionally they went on safaris with the 4×4. After his demise I went to visit her. She was planning a 4×4 holiday. “Why don’t you go sailing?” I asked. “I don’t like sailing much,” she answered. “You have sailed most of your life with your husband. How can you say you don’t really like sailing?” Her comment left me flabbergasted, but her answer was even more incredible: “He loved sailing,” she said misty eyed. “It made him happy.” Now THAT I call love.

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08Jan/17

The Anti-Hero – Break-Up And Divorce

Don’t kick the bunny

anti-heroes

Remember when I said no-one kicks the bunny? Remember when I said men hate to be the anti-hero? Men tend to stay with women, not because they like her or want to be with her, but rather because leaving her would imply kicking the bunny. And that makes him feel like the anti-hero. So he is trapped in a no-win situation.

He yearns for his freedom on the one hand, but he weighs this up against being the anti-hero. Being the anti-hero is worse than staying in a bad relationship. So he stays. Often he convinces himself it’s not so bad. Often he just shuts up. He feels guilty if he disagrees with her. One man told me he stays in his 30-year unhappy marriage for if he divorces, his children and friends would find out about his affairs and that would make him an anti-hero.

Men often start behaving badly, hoping she will break up with him. Now he mistreats her, acting like an anti-hero.

Then he feels guilty about his despicable behaviour and he does something nice to relieve his guilt feelings – not due to any feelings he has for her. It’s about HIM feeling better about himself, not about making HER feel better.

She, unfortunately, sees this act of goodwill as hope for the relationship, so she desperately clings on. He tries to break up, she cries, he takes her back. Not because he wants her, but because he hates being the anti-hero who kicked the bunny. And she sleeps with him.

In effect, this woman is keeping the man attached to her by manipulative emotional blackmail and sex. We can try to fence a dog in, but the moment we give him a gap, he will make a run for it. If he does not stay on the veranda willingly without a fence, he does not want to be there. Does a woman not rather want a man to stay with her willingly, because he wants to be there, because he adores her, rather than he stays because she manipulates him? So the man begins behaving badly, hoping the woman will kick him out. Remember men don’t talk, they do. They seldom say: “I want to break up.” They behave badly, so the women will say the words. Kick him out ladies, he is begging for it.

To the men staying on in such relationships, due to some misguided sense of obligation or guilt, I ask: “Would you want a woman to stay with you if she does not want to be there? Would you want to be one of those guys who keep women tied to them by threats and fear? Of course not. So why do you allow her to keep you tied to her by manipulation?” Go.

08Jan/17

Break-Up And Divorce – Cheaters

Cheaters

Some men cheat and have affairs. Some men hope their wives will forgive them. I asked the men how they would prefer their wives to react when they find out that the men were sleeping around. Except for the one man who said he would like it if his wife joined him and his girlfriend, most of the others concluded that the wife should not feel threatened about him sleeping around. “It’s usually just sex,” one explained. “I would not want to sacrifice the stability of my family life for the girl I am sleeping around with.” A man may be sexually turned on, but emotionally turned off.

Men seem to distinguish between “just sleeping around” and having an affair. An affair is more serious and involves emotions and can be a threat to the marriage. I asked the men how they would react if their wives were having affairs. Unanimously they agreed that they would take it seriously, because “women’s emotions are involved when they sleep with a man.” Do they ever consider the emotions of those women they are just sleeping around with?

Many men cheat. Some people say it is in a man’s nature to want to “sow his seed.” Some men may cheat, but then he meets one woman whom he will never cheat. He loves her, he does not want to hurt her and she fulfils him emotionally and sexually. She is the ONE he stays true to.

Let us explore a woman’s typical reaction to her husband cheating on her. Her reaction is basically the same to any lie.

I explain to men a woman’s intuition (that little alarm that tells her when something is wrong – when something threatens her safety – for that is all that intuition is) is as deep seated as a man’s aversion to being the anti-hero.

That scares a man. For he knows that awful, devastating, debilitating feeling of being a disappointment, being the anti-hero. It is unbearable. The difference between men and women is, when he is the anti-hero, it drains his energy and debilitates him. The hero’s battery is flat. On the other hand, when women feel insecure, they get active.

Their minds go into turbo mode and they tell themselves all kinds of nasty things and then they act on those nasty things. They check his phone, hack into his emails and laptop, open his mail, track his car, follow him and hire a detective. They phone people, threaten people and sometimes they even poison people. I kid you not.

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Case Study

I listened to one man describing his wife’s paranoid jealousy and possessiveness. I asked him why he did not obtain a divorce. He said it would crush them both financially.

His wife and children were beneficiaries of a trust and it would be a very difficult process to extract his finances intact. This raised the alarm for me. “So your wife would gain more by your death than by a divorce. Are you sure she is not poisoning you?” He assured me she would not go that far. A week later he came to see me.

His face was ash white. His domestic helper had confirmed to him that the wife had asked her to procure muti (poisonous plant material) to poison him. He moved into the garden apartment on his property and only ate meals he prepared himself.

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This man did not cheat on his wife, but some men do. Men often hide the truth from women because they want to “protect” them. Believe me, she knows already, or she suspects and a suspicious, insecure woman is a dangerous woman. TELL HER.

If a man cheated on a woman, he thinks he can hide it from her. She knows. Deep down, she knows, because her intuition warned her. Some women may prefer to ignore it, because she is not strong enough to confront it, or she may believe she can’t live without him and she does not want to lose him at any cost, or she may not want to sacrifice the lifestyle they share, or she protects the children. Or she had an affair herself.

08Jan/17

Break-Up And Divorce – Tell her everything

Tell her everything

Most women, however will go into detective mode, find the facts and confront him. Most men initially try to deny it. This is futile. By the time she actually confronts him, she has the evidence. She asks him to tell her everything.

Men don’t tell women everything, because they fear her reaction. He knows she will explode and he will be the anti-hero. So he tests the water, by telling her a little, just to see what her reaction is. Then she finds out something else, or she already knows something else. That is when she will explode.

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Case Study

A wife confronted her husband with his philandering. She invited him to tell her everything and promised that they could continue the marriage. He confessed. She forgave him. Later she found out that he failed to mention that he came on to his best friend’s girlfriend. When she confronted him in a fury for keeping this from her, his answer was: “It didn’t count, because she said no.” She did not forgive him again.

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The fact that the man is lying to the woman makes her more angry than the fact that he slept with someone else. Sleeping with someone else is a major betrayal, and excruciatingly painful to her, but she may just forgive him. He will be in the dog box for a long time, but remember women put the highest premium on the love of their lives, so she may forgive him and be willing to try again. However, if he lies to her, he is negating her feminine intuition.

He is making her doubt her own safety alarm. Her safety alarm is a primitive primal mechanism. It overrules love – remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If he threatens her safety in this manner, she turns animal. Now she goes for the jugular. She goes for the money, because it makes her feel safe and she knows she is hurting one of the heroic elements – provider.

If she hurts him financially, if she makes him pay for her hurt and the emotional threat and humiliation of losing her safety and security, she is stripping the hero of his armour in public. She does not want him to be in a position to be the provider and hero for another woman. Few women are rational when it comes to divorce settlements. They do not consider their actual expenses, they want to be compensated for the emotional hurt. They feel entitled to his money (manhood), because he rejected her womanhood.

Bitter witches

When a woman divorces, she not only loses her man. She loses her protector. Now she becomes a single woman. She becomes prey to predators. She is not safe when she drives her car alone at night, mechanics and handymen are going to take advantage of her, she has to cultivate a new set of friends, couples no longer invite her for the wives fear she wll steal their husbands, and the husbands fear she will lead their wives into temptation.

She has to attend to her own financial affairs and learn new skills, she has to trust strange men, fight her own battles and heaven forbid, she may even have to work. This makes her feel unsafe and she will make him pay for it.

When women divorce, some of them lose their providers too. These women develop an indignant, self-righteous entitlement to his money. “I deserve more than what is offered in the divorce settlement, because I kept his house and raised his kids and sacrificed my own career for him,” they argue.

These are the same women who employed au pairs and nannies, who enjoyed the privileged lifestyles of manicures and tinted eyebrows and weekly hair dresser appointments, who spruced up their tans on exotic beaches and skied in the Alps, who drove fancy little German sports cars, who never smiled at their husbands, always had headaches and basically bored their husbands into a divorce. Now she is out to financially ruin him? I said it is not fair.

Women regard divorce as losing their freedom. Men regard it as gaining their freedom, eventually. But first they go through hell.

08Jan/17

Break-Up And Divorce – Man-down

Man-down

mandownFew women realise the absolute hell men endure when they divorce. I have walked this road with some of them and believe me, it is ugly. It reminds me of the aftermath of a battlefield. Women see their heroes going off to war in their shining armour, full of bravado. Women do not walk the aftermath of a battlefield. It is carnage. Men put up a brave face when they divorce.

For a week or so they have a sense of bravado, realising that freedom is a viable reality sometime in the future, but soon enough they retreat into their caves. As a therapist I have been privileged to be allowed into this man-cave. Initially just as the silent witness to their pain, and then slowly, gently to remind them of the lost hero inside them and to guide them to find it.

I have seen men remain in marriages with women who will just never ever be happy no matter his effort. Men stay, because it is the right thing to do. He suffers in silence, he pays his dues and he does not cheat on her. He stays despite her total narcissistic, deep seated, sullen unhappiness. He stays because good men do. Then one day, he says: “Enough.”

Cave mode, phase one: He walks out of the marriage, straight into the cave. No matter how much of a calculating, manipulating, scheming shrew she was, he blames himself for failing. For not trying harder to meet her standards, no matter that she kept moving the goal posts. He blames himself for leaving and walking out and being the anti-hero. He paid her a generous settlement, he gave her a house, he pays maintenance and yet he stills feels like a failure.

For three months he can’t even lift his head and look people in the eye. These men seek therapy and just sit and sob. They excuse themselves from work because they can’t cry in front of their colleagues or personnel and they sit on the couch and they just cry and cry and cry. They feel embarrassed, but they also feel safe with a therapist. Then they mumble a thank you, and they snatch their keys and they go home and take a sleeping pill. Two days later they are back on the couch and they sob. Because they failed. As providers. It was just too hard. Like a field nurse in a war zone, the therapist sees them emotionally naked, stripped of their hero armour, vulnerable and bleeding. Part of the healing process is for the man to admit that he is bleeding and to cry, because it hurts.

Phase two: Then they get angry. They need to re-establish themselves as men who are not ruled and controlled by women. This is when they fire their secretaries, cut their adult daughters’ allowances and some may go on the rebound and seek hard core sex. Contrary to popular myth, most of them don’t seek hard core sex, because their libido’s are depleted and they know it will only exacerbate the anti-hero feeling. They know indiscriminate hard core sex will actually make them feel worse. However some do go out with the boys and for some reason the boys think it is a good idea to get the men drunk and then they may allow themselves to be seduced by a woman who throws herself at them. They usually feel ashamed once they sober up and will avoid her at all costs.

(Pity the poor woman who thinks a man in this state is a good catch and that he will stay with her.)

Phase three: Then he retreats deeper into the cave for he has disappointed himself again. He is a bad man, he thinks. Disappointment and guilt are bedfellows, remember. The continuous calls and SMSes and whats-apps from his ex-wife, hell-bent on revenge, just confirm his disappointment in himself. He may be drinking too much, or sleeping too much and missing work, which exacerbates his low self-esteem. So there he sits in his cave. Smelly, consuming copious amounts of alcohol laced with self pity, which erupts into a physical and emotional hangover, feeling at his lowest ebb.

Then one day, just like at the end of his marriage, he says : “Enough.” He gets up, stretches, takes a shower and walks to the edge of the cave. There is a world out there and he actually misses being a part of it.

Phase four: He exits the cave and he gets active again. This could be about a year after the divorce, or later.

At this stage he avoids all women and fraternises with men. Suddenly he attends gym, and enters an iron man competition. He needs the testosterone to restore his depleted male reserve. Male bonding makes him a man among men once again. Then he may date here and there. Not because he is actively seeking female company, but usually because his friends’ girlfriends or wives set him up. He agrees to the date because maybe he could score sex. He would prefer just the sex with no emotional ties and the sooner the woman shows any emotion or any expectation of long term possibilities, makes any demands, tells him what to do or expects him to report to her – he is off like a lightning bolt. He seldom progresses beyond a second or third date. He becomes one of those guys who doesn’t call. This makes him feel bad. Coming up with excuses or avoiding her calls, also makes him feel bad. This triggers the anti-hero button. So he stops dating.

During this phase men begin working very hard again. Work makes men feel good about themselves. It is an action. He feels competent. Like the proverbial Phoenix, his self-confidence is slowly rising, but it is fragile.

08Jan/17

Break-Up And Divorce – Man-down (continued)

Phase five: Establishing himself as a male by working and working out may last about another year. We have now progressed two years. He has recovered in a sense from the financial blow of the divorce and adjusted his financial status. Perhaps not to where it was, perhaps better, but it stabilises. He might find a new place to stay and move out of his buddy’s garden apartment. He lives on his own, because he may not acknowledge it to anyone, not even to himself, but he is sort of going to need a place to bring a girl home to. He justifies this by saying he needs his own space.

Phase six: He is happier at work, he is fit and he is living in his own place. He has the ex reasonably under control.

He does not suffer an anxiety attack every time her name features on his cell phone or in his inbox. (He has dubbed her The Complainant.) He has learnt to cook. He is tired of socialising with his single buddies, because they drink too much and he finds it meaningless.

There must be more to life than that. His other buddies are doing exciting and interesting stuff with their girlfriends and they get sex. He does not get sex and he does not do exciting stuff, like weekends away. He actually realises he is a bit lonely. He misses the camaraderie that a marriage is supposed to bring. He would not mind seeing a girl, perhaps a girlfriend. Just for a while. As long as she does not get serious, or bossy, or expects him to report to her. So he starts dating again, discerningly.

Phase seven: Then one day, he meets a woman. He falls in love. So does she. He gets lots of sex. He is all over her. He is “catnipped”. He loves pursuing her, feeling like the hunter, like a man. He loves being someone’s hero again. He makes her laugh and they make love. She responds to his extensive attention and she assumes this is a relationship that may lead to something more permanent. And she mentions the L word… and he runs like hell.

Back to the cave

Phase eight: So he is back in the cave. He digs up all the pain of The Complainant. Because loving her brought him pain and admitting he actually may love the new woman, leads him to remind himself that he can get hurt and become the anti-hero again. So he sits in the cave reminding himself why it is a bad idea to be with the new woman he has fallen in love with. He hopes if he avoids her and keeps busy, the feeling of being in love will go away.

Meantime, the wise girl will not follow him into the cave. I asked a man what a woman should do when a man retreats into his cave. He said if she retreats and becomes distant herself, he will experience her as unreliable or tell himself that he was right to leave her because she is not interested anyway. If she follows him into the cave, she is needy and persistent and an insecure stalker. He will just retreat deeper into the cave or attack her. If she keeps herself busy doing nice exciting things, but he is not invited, she may revive his interest, depending on his level of healing and maturity.

Where he sits there in the shadow of his cave, he can see her dancing among the butterflies in the sun. If he is ready and healed, he will come out and join her. If he is not healed and still attached to the pain of the previous relationship ( I say attached to the pain, not necessarily attached to the woman who caused it) he will watch the new woman, but not join her and tell himself she deserves someone better. He may lose her, he may even lose the love of his life, but we have already been through that discussion.

Hopefully he will man-up and take her, because at this stage of his life he should realise that the right woman, who has also been tempered by life, might just be the best thing that can ever happen to him. It may just be the right woman at the right time, but he is so scared to take the plunge and risk it. He missed out on the love of his life before, does he really want to do it the second time? You do the maths. Last chance at happiness, Odysseus, wake up, nobody is perfect.

Getting back to the process of divorce

Seldom do both parties agree to a divorce simultaneously. Usually one party wants a divorce and the other does not. They may benefit from marriage-termination therapy. Few people realise divorce implies an emotional divorce, a financial divorce and a lifestyle divorce.

Emotional divorce

Emotional divorce implies that the person you relied on is no longer there. The person feels betrayed, angry, sad, lost and perhaps hopeless. This may lead to vindictive, desperate and irrational behaviour. (One woman removed the light bulbs every time the father spent the weekend with the children in the house. He retaliated by disconnecting the geyser.) Years later, people are embarrassed about how they acted out during a divorce.

Many women remain emotionally dependent on their ex-husbands. They still expect him to come to the rescue when they encounter problems and many women actually create problems to force the men to come to the rescue. They still expect him to come and help when the car breaks down. (Call the AA).

Some men remain emotionally dependent on their ex-wives and need her approval on every major decision he makes. Part of the emotional divorce is to learn to cope on an emotionally independent level, to deal with the loneliness and to find new meaning in life, cultivate new friendships and eventually to re-establish and redefine a different relationship with the ex, especially if there are children involved. It also implies establishing some sort of relationship with the ex’s new partners, respectively.

Financial divorce

Financial divorce implies maintenance, setting up trusts, changing wills, transferring ownership of cars, title deeds, selling and buying properties and disentangling often enmeshed financial arrangements. Divorce usually means a lowering in the living standards of all involved. Financial implications also imply some of the women who were dependent on their husbands, now have to learn to manage their own finances and retirement portfolios. It may imply setting up her own medical aid, car and house insurance, bank accounts, etc. This may be daunting at first, but ultimately liberating too. It may also imply returning to or entering the job market.

Lifestyle divorce

Lifestyle divorce implies breaking up the home, and resettling the various parties into new homes. It is sad to lose communal friends and the in-laws, who may have become cherished during the marriage.

Making new friends and socialising is often hard work and difficult. Separate single vacations and negotiating Christmas and New Year’s alone are milestones. Pets may be lost and missed. Learning to make decisions on your own, without consulting a partner, but also without needing the approval of a partner can be frightening, but also a relief.

Even the simple daily routine of waking up and finding there is no one to share coffee with, is a major adjustment.

BUT people do survive this, and they get over it, and they move on with their lives and they do find happiness or at least new meaning in their lives.

08Jan/17

Break-Up And Divorce – Suffer the little children

Suffer the little children

Many men do not want to walk out of unhappy marriages because of their children. I have often explained to them the best Dad is a happy Dad. Children adapt. No person is left unscathed by a divorce, but neither do the children who grow up in marriages full of strife and spite. I have met children who literally begged their parents to divorce.

It is true that primary residence is often granted to the mothers. Some women tend to think this implies that the children belong 90 percent to the mother and 10 percent, or less, to the father. They regard the father’s visitation to the child as a cumbersome irritation in their lives, as if the child is her puppy, and he is only allowed to play with her puppy when it suits her, or worse, when he pays her for the privilege.

They will make it most unpleasant and sometimes virtually impossible for the father to visit the child. Some move to other towns, some just don’t answer the phone when the father calls, some organise sports, family events or sleepovers on the father’s weekends.

I agree that some fathers do the same. One father would arrange expensive luxury vacations abroad during the mother’s allocated vacation and invite the children. The mother felt bad depriving her children of these opportunities and forfeited many of her vacations.

She had to work, because she was one of those women who got the raw deal in the divorce settlement and often that would mean the children would just have to accompany her to work during their vacations. She lost out with the divorce settlement and she lost out on her time with her children. Children grow up and eventually they uncover the truth. Now they adore their independent, gorgeous, mature mother and soon enough they will treat her to vacations abroad.

When children are denied access to a parent this can constitute Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). I have testified in a court case where the mother attempted to alienate their son from his father. The judge ordered the lawyers to fetch the child from his mother’s home and have him relocated to the father before 8pm that night and for the mother only to see the boy under supervision, henceforth.

Take note. I have also testified in a case where a father battled for five years with very expensive court costs to regain access to his daughter, after the mother made a false allegation of sexual abuse. This is called SAID (sexual allegations in divorce syndrome). The little girl had thought her father had abandoned her, because restraining orders prevented her from having contact with him. The allegations were totally false, but it took five years to disprove.

 Read more about: Parental Alienation Syndrome

I am astounded that many divorcing couples have not been advised by their lawyers to read the Children’s Act. For example, it is not just a parent who has a right of access to a child, it is the child who has a right of access to the parent, and to the extended family of that parent.

It is not up to the mother to decide whom the child will see, where and for how long. The courts will decide this. Mothers who use children as weapons by sabotaging the father’s access, do not realise in her petty attempt to spite the father, she is CONTRAVENING THE CHILDREN’S ACT.

Some mothers tend to reason if he is not paying maintenance or enough maintenance, she has the right to withhold him from seeing the child. Again, this is a contravention of the law. The child has a right to the father.

She cannot sell that right. I agree it is a contravention for him not to pay maintenance, as well, but that issue is not linked to access. It is a separate issue, for which she can sue him, or attach an order to his salary. In both cases the child suffers.

The mother may be the holder of the primary residence, but she does not own 90 percent of the child. If the child has sports activities on a weekend, the father can still fetch the child on the Friday night and take her to the hockey match on Saturday. There is no reason for him only to pick her up after the hockey match. There is no reason either for a father to return the child shortly after lunch on a Sunday because the child has to do homework for Monday.

The father can supervise the homework over the weekend. If the father arrives 10 minutes late in collecting the child and the mother withholds the child “because the decree said 17h00”, is she honestly acting in the best interest of her child, who has rights, or is she manifesting her bitterness, to the detriment of her child?

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Case Study

One woman delighted in telling me how she punishes and humiliates her ex- husband before she allows him to see their son. He had finally divorced her after having had a long standing affair, which she never knew about.

I could understand her resentment and anger towards the man, but demanding he send her an SMS explaining in graphic detail what a “low down, s**t, bast***, son of a b***, useless slug of a father he is,” every time he wants to speak to or see their son, is spiteful, childish and unlawful. This is a typical example of a child being used as a weapon to punish another parent.

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Case Study

One man explained: “When I am married, my wife and children are family and I will protect them and woe to any enemy who tries to threaten them. When I divorce, my children remain my family. I will protect them and if the ex-wife tries to take them from me or prevents me from seeing them, she becomes the enemy.”

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