I don’t trust you.
I don’t trust men.
This is ironic since I am one. I wonder if this means I do not trust myself?
Men have done terrible things to me and around me my entire life. Men have abandoned me in the form of father. Almost every single woman I have ever met has been sexually and/or physically and emotionally abused by men. I have been sexually abused by men in positions of authority over me for years as a child/teen.
Now – over time, I have learned to compartmentalize things. For instance in my professional life I do not allow this inherent distrust to affect decision making and interaction with partners and peers etc. It is in my personal life where this distrust works itself out the most.
I feel safe with and around women. Women represent nurturing, life, love, beauty, compassion, empathy, acceptance, partnership and strength. Men represent abandonment, ugliness, abuse, weakness, conflict, hate and anger. I know this is not fair.
For these reasons I do not have many deep male relationships. Frankly I do not have many deep relationships overall but this likely relates more to social awkwardness and a tendency toward relational introversion than anything else.
I trust my sons.
I have two amazing sons (and an amazing daughter) and I trust them and love them unreservedly. My hope was to ensure (for my part) my sons would grow up to be the men I never knew but wished I had. I love that I can look at my children and honestly say I want to be like them when I grow up.
I think my lack of trust has made it difficult for me to show affection for the men in my life. I have overcome this with my sons (I hope) but absolutely am triggered by past traumas when it comes to men in general. I couldn’t even handle having a male doctor until a couple of years ago. When I went to therapy going to a man was absolutely out of the question as well.
Men in general elude me however. I never knew how to be one which is fine really. I decided a long time ago I would simply be me. I don’t seek to be Manly Me, just me. I am a complex combination of experience and biology. My mother was my primary caregiver and example. I’d like to think I am a little like her.
When I sought out and joined things like boxing, Judo, Cubs, Scouts, Air Cadets, the military, etc. it was not to reinforce, develop and shore up manliness in me – it was to pursue things I found genuinely interesting. Gender was never something that factored into it for me.
To the men in my life who may have sought genuine connection with me and failed I apologize…I will employ the proverbial “it’s not you it’s me” statement here.
Now as I approach 55 years old I can finally say with some level of confidence that I don’t miss men or the “male mystique” or whatever. In the early part of my life I hunted down this thing called masculinity and men that I thought was missing because well meaning people told me it was (mum, society, etc). I sought men in God, faith and religion; I sought them in mentors (or maybe MENtors lol).
This kind of seeking did a disservice to those things because what I was looking for they could not provide and so my experience and use of those things was twisted I think but I did as well as I could in those spaces.
I am now in a place where I am happy to be what I am. I feel complete as me regardless of the absence and abuse of men. I would help men who are like the ones that hurt me if I could if only to prevent and mitigate such hurt in other lives.
Still the distrust lingers and in some way is now almost instinct. The pain of the past visible in the scars of the present I suppose.
In the end I hope when people see me they see nurturing, life, love, beauty, compassion, empathy, acceptance, partnership and strength – every amazing thing I see and have learned in and from the women I love.