I dedicate this article to all people who have been hurt by the notion that "There are no good men."
A male client, around 20 years old, came to me and others for support. His struggle was being male. He felt awful about himself because he grew up around women who believed that “there are no good men." He internalized this belief, and in turn, he felt miserable about himself and was enduring self-hatred. He had never hurt a woman in his life. Yet, regardless of his innocence, he felt shame and guilt simply for being male. Though he had never harmed a woman, he had been wounded by the women in his life, and it was a deep wound that infiltrated the core of his being. As a female practitioner, it felt essential to honor this young man, to remind him of his worth, sacredness, and goodness.
I was saddened by his experience but not surprised. I have met countless women who hold the notion that there are no good men. Some women have emphasized that we have lived in a masculine-dominated world for quite some time, and now the pendulum is swinging to the opposite extreme. These women have mentioned feeling empowered by this pendulum swing and believe it is time to put the masculine "in their place." They think it is time for women to rule, not just to lead better than men, but to use their upcoming reign for revenge, to overpower men when possible, and cast them to the side. Some stereotypical perceptions of the masculine form they hold are that men are only suppressors, oppressors, and villains and that there is nothing good and sacred about them.
From the perspective of these women, I have been given every right to declare all men as the filth of the earth, and yet I believe I have no right to do this. I am grateful that somewhere in my soul, I knew I could not subscribe to this notion. Through my trauma and subsequent agony, I could have been entrained and entrapped into a collective story that men need to be dominated and put into their place; that women need to be victors over their perpetrators and, as an extension, all men; and that women are safer when men are suppressed. Yet, if I aligned to this, I would have done so from my woundedness, not from standing in my truth.
Why label and lump?
Though I do not know where the notion of "there are no good men" originates, I can imagine how such a belief can form in an individual. As it is commonly understood, we can form conclusions from our past experiences, especially when a heightened emotion is associated with an event. These conclusions become beliefs. Beliefs are notions of truth. Through the notion of truth, we create perceptions. If not careful, we conclude that our perceptions are the absolute truth, and by doing so, we confine our experience to our perceptions. Our perceptions influence how we see others and can paint a picture of them that is not entirely accurate. Our conclusions, and subsequent beliefs, can manufacture a perception that feels so accurate that there is no need to question it. We may unconsciously expect a person to exist as the picture painted in our minds.
It is well known that, as a people, we can be conditioned by our past and then project this conditioning onto people we know as well as people we will meet in the future. New information about a specific person/group can be blocked when our thoughts are governed by our emotional states; if new information does not match our emotional memory associated with a person/group, the information can be rejected.
Along with the abovementioned conditioning, our subconscious programs can create symbols, such as men symbolizing something horrible. If the symbol we made in our minds is negative, we can experience more and more separation. From this sense of separation, we can create stress hormones, which narrow our focus and create more beliefs about "those kinds of people" who hurt others. By doing so, we may move away from unity and towards separation. The statement, "there are no good men,” is expressed as an absolute because of the word ‘no.’ When our minds think in absolutes and do so consistently over long periods of time, we may create more concrete divisions between ourselves and those we deem ‘other.’ The moment we define something as the absolute, it is the moment we have confined the experience. This applies to the way we may perceive people.
What I have witnessed in female clients who lump all men into any demoralizing, dehumanizing, demonizing, or degrading category is that they have a strong negative emotion that infiltrates their perception of all men. The stronger the emotion, especially when the feeling is linked to trauma, the stronger their sentiments about all men, and their perception leaves zero room for any alternate perspective. I have observed that women who are adamant that there are no good men are often not open to receiving any information that contradicts their beliefs. I have seen how this can lead them to unjustifiable assessments of all men based on their strong feelings. Facts are not only dismissed and overlooked by them but can be entirely rejected and pushed away because their perception that there are no good men is impenetrable. These are extreme cases, yet, quite frequent.
A female friend came to me recently with a struggle I know so well: being stuck in one’s past. I mentioned to her that Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work has been super helpful for me to rewire my brain and to live from present moment emotions versus the emotions from the past. She said, “His name sounds familiar. I don’t know his work, yet I can’t deal with any man in the wellness industry.” As she spoke, she moved her hands to illustrate the complete rejection of all men in alternative health. As she continued to share, she seemed appalled by all men and wanted to hear nothing of how even one man could offer anything of value. While holding space for her without judgment, I witnessed how her strong beliefs created a wall of protection from men as well as a rejection of men.
Many of the female clients I have worked with, who lump men into a degrading category, seem to do so, in part, as a trauma response where they are trying to keep themselves safe. I always ask, “Is this true safety?” If the sight of men, or even the mention of men, is triggering, one’s nervous system might be activated into fight/flight/freeze, which, in turn, sends signals to the mind to think of threats and alerts to the heart to feel scared. Their perceptions can manufacture a fear response and not a sense of safety. I understand that our brains will wire for survival, but if not cautious, our brain's wiring can keep us alive while preventing us from really living.
Human brains naturally label and categorize, and much of this is done unconsciously. Categories and classifications are ways our brains naturally organize and make sense of the world. What might take conscious effort is to examine the meaning we assign to any group and where that meaning originates. This is especially important when how a person feels about an individual, or a select few in a particular category, ripples into the entire category. This can be harmful not only to the group being negatively categorized but for the person holding the perspective.
All the women I have spoken to, who believe there are no good men, have a painful history. Just because all the women I have listened to, who believe all men are bad, have a past trauma related to men does not mean that all women in the world, who say that there are no good men, have been traumatized. I must be careful not to place all women who believe this notion into a category because my thinking in absolutes about women who think in absolutes about men is not helpful to anyone.
Regardless of where the beliefs of women who think there are no good men originate from, I am concerned about the impact their thoughts have on them and others around them, including men and children exposed to this paradigm. We can entrain others, especially young children, into perceiving the world as we do. Young girls can grow up perceiving boys and men as some version of horrible, which, in turn, might negatively influence their lives. Young boys can internalize such a notion and develop a belief that there is something inherently wrong with them.
I have met men who grew up internalizing the notion that there are no good men. This notion didn't rally these individuals to be the best version of themselves. On the contrary, it had the opposite effect; it created an internal battle and self-hatred in them, a low sense of self, as well as the feeling that they don’t have a legitimate place in the world. It is not just that their masculine energy was not valued by some women in their lives; it was considered intolerable. They had to sort through mixed messages of being told their masculine energy was not good, while being told not to be too emotional like girls (suppress their feminine qualities), and “man up” but don’t be too manly because that is toxic. My heart sinks when boys are the collateral damage of the pain of the adults in their life. Imagine being a boy who’s been told, “You are just like all men; irresponsible, unreliable, and cannot be trusted.” What impact may these words have on a child's development into manhood, especially when they are repetitive? What happens when these boys grow into men, continuing to think their masculine qualities are toxic, and become fathers to boys?
My perspective is not to disregard the pain women have endured but to question what pain they are creating from their distress. What may be the impact of a collective of women creating a cultural story that all men are bad? As women marginalize men, they can affect the community of men around them. When enough women think and feel the same destructive way, they can hurt the collective of men through psychic abuse.
There is a significant impact group thinking/feeling can have on the collective consciousness, and subsequently, individuals. The collective consciousness is considered to be a unifying force joining the consciousness of humanity, including shared beliefs, feelings, mindsets, and perceptions. I have met people who feel responsible for what they contribute to the collective consciousness. Knowing the link between themselves and all that is, they are mindful of their thoughts and feelings. They have meditation practices where they send love to the collective consciousness.
Again, I am not disregarding women's pain but expressing concern for the women who approach me with the consciousness that all men are bad. It seems like they believe that harming men is helpful to them in their evolution, yet, causing harm to others can bring struggles to the people they are victimizing as well as themselves, the ones inflicting the pain. Some women who speak this way seem unable to focus on their recovery because they are intensely focused on their negative views of men. The more they perceive men as drastically different from women, and the more alike they believe all men to be, there is a corresponding polarization, which seems to create even more separation, opposition, and divergence. This group of women seeks liberation and true empowerment, yet, I worry they are not alchemizing their pain and suffering into freedom. Additionally, when they stand so firmly against masculine consciousness external to them, there seems to be a correlating rejection of masculine qualities in themselves, creating an internal divide.
It is important to emphasize that I am in no way dismissing or denying any pain women have endured or continue to endure that has been caused by a man or men in their lives. Likewise, I am not excusing abusive behavior from men. Like many women, I have suffered at the hands of some men, including being molested as a very young girl and enduring sexual abuse in my teenage and young adult life. Additionally, in my 40s, I was preyed upon by a sexual predator disguised as a shaman. The experience was so horrific that I wrote a book titled “The Devil’s Yoga: A Woman’s Journey from Entrapment to Freedom” to help anyone who endured a similar experience. I have been equally hurt by some women, just in different ways. Regardless of trauma caused by one gender or another, the more I take responsibility for my healing process, and the less I focus on them, the healthier I feel.
In addition, I am not overlooking or denying the pain that some women have caused others. Statistics state that men commit more crimes than women, but that does not excuse the crimes women have committed, including mothers who beat and/or molest their children, or women who feel justified in cheating on their husbands to get back at men who hurt them before their marriage. Using crime statistics to make a claim that all men are bad, or to dismiss harm done by women, seems to ignore the pain, misalignment, or desperation any sex is enduring to commit crimes in the first place.
My concern extends to women in spiritual communities who seem to use the notion of the “Divine Feminine Rising” as their vehicle for revenge against all men to pay for the hurt a few men have caused them. The Divine Feminine is considered to be an increase of feminine qualities in humanity, regardless of gender. Some women speak of the Divine Feminine Rising as their divine right to triumph over and conquer men. They seem to lump men into a degrading category from a place of anger, pain, and revenge, all while firmly believing that this is healing for them.
Several women I have met who use the Divine Feminine to justify their belief that there are no good men have expressed to me that they believe that marginalizing men, even if that inflicts pain upon them, brings about their healing and empowerment. These women think that the way to move past the masculine domination they perceive in the world is to suppress men. Some have shared with me that they wish for men to feel unsafe in the world, just as they have felt unsafe. They claim to be liberated, but it seems like their view is constricting them because when they hold men as less than, they are using the same mentality they are accusing men of; the mindset of one gender is less than while posturing the other is superior. When these women do this, they seem to have embodied the same thinking and violent consciousness they are standing against. They are using the same strategies of oppression they are fighting, thinking these strategies will lead them to freedom.
This reminds me of a quote from Paulo Freire in his book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”
“The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.”
It feels like women who align with the belief that the Divine Feminine is rising to back their war against men are cultivating a collective story in their spiritual communities that women need to dominate at any cost to men, and by doing so, women will not just be liberated but divinely liberated. They seem to be projecting their genuine and painful 3rd-dimensional struggles onto the higher dimensions, believing that the Divine is participating in gender-based battles. The use of the Divine Feminine to justify their retaliation seems to be their way of claiming that the Divine backs their violence. I speak of something similar in my article, “The Energetics of the Empath/Narcissist Dynamic and Pathways of Recovery," which touches upon “Spiritual Narcissism.”
There is a good chance that this paradigm (Divine Feminine is rising to back women’s war against men) arose from wound consciousness, not wisdom consciousness. To me, the Divine honors. The Divine doesn’t conquer, hate, oppress, or reject. There is nothing divine about loathing the masculine. Therefore, I don’t believe the Divine Feminine is rising on earth in order to suppress men. It seems that it is one's wounding, not their divinity, that can lead one to have generalized animosity toward men as a collective.
I believe I am suppressing my divinity and denying my sacredness when I reject the divinity and sacredness in anyone. I cannot claim any sacredness in me while believing others are not sacred. I cannot be in the light while holding others in darkness. As a collective of women, I believe that we cannot oppress men and think we are freeing ourselves of our oppression because no one is totally free as long as someone is oppressed. Therefore, I don’t resonate with any notion that men need to be marginalized, disempowered, or dethroned and that it is our turn to take the throne, especially with a consciousness of revenge or marginalization. As a woman, I am not here to triumph over men, to conquer men, but to challenge the paradigm that there are no good men and unpack the potential harm this notion may have on all sexes. This does not mean men who hurt others should not be held accountable for their actions.
I believe that the divine aspect in us is here to bring balance, to bring unity, and to bring the glory we can experience from unity. I believe it is my responsibility, regardless of my gender, to witness, to the best of my ability, the divinity in all sexes and honor the unique wisdom of all sexes. I believe that as much as we need women standing in their power, we need the masculine and all sexes to stand in their power and thrive to their potential. I have witnessed and firmly believe that women can support men on their journeys to be the best version of themselves and vice versa. When we help one another remember our true essence and honor each other, we empower each other.
I do wonder where we, as humanity, are heading. Do we need to swing the male/female pendulum over the millennium, or is it time we dismantle the pendulum? I ponder this because I can’t imagine reaching a new level of consciousness while we are swinging on a pendulum of duality, patriarchal versus matriarchal, or through continuing the patterns of oppression and marginalization of any sex. Balance and harmony between all sexes and a true advancement of humanity can arise, I believe, through the alchemy of our pain and differences.
Moving forward, individually and collectively, might entail overcoming negative beliefs/feelings about ourselves and others. Thoughts, emotions, and our physical bodies are intrinsically linked. Our physical bodies react chemically to the thoughts and emotions we create. Since the mental, emotional, and physical levels of our being are inherently connected, overcoming negative beliefs can sometimes feel like an overhaul of our whole state of being. Though this may be challenging, it is doable and worth the effort.
Setting a firm intent to change may be essential to help overcome any habitual thoughts and emotions embedded into our personality. Some people find it motivating to change when they realize the frequency and duration of the negative thoughts/emotions they experience; the frequency is often daily, and the duration can be years. They acknowledge that this pattern might continue for some more years to come if they don’t make a conscious choice to change.
Adding to the motivation to change is the realization that the negative emotions they are feeling are hurting them. Acknowledging that they are navigating some areas of their life with the consciousness of hatred, disdain, or other negative emotions toward another and that feeling negatively impacts them can add to the impetus to change. When their well-being starts to take precedence over their dislike of someone else, the incentive to disrupt and deconstruct old and familiar patterns and construct new ones increase.
One day, I looked back over the years and realized that numerous men helped me heal the very wounds that other men in my life caused. It was a profoundly significant realization that came to me, and as it arose, tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes. It was not just healers I had requested formal support from, but dear friends, teachers, and fellow Sundancers, as simply being in their presence and relating to them brought a sense of internal restoration. Thank you to all these men, as well as all the wonderful, amazing, magnificent, loving men in my life! Thank you for the joy you have brought and the wisdom you have shared.
To all men, thank you for your presence on this planet. Thank you for being a fellow soul who took on the masculine form this go around. Thank you to all men: who work endless hours to support their families; who not only provide financially but emotionally and spiritually to their loved ones; who are excellent fathers, some of whom play both the mother and father roles for their children; who are protecting and defending the dignity of their loved ones; who sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others; who have created space for women who have been injured; who are honorable and have lived a life filled with integrity and reverence; who are wisdom keepers; who are honest, kind, strong, compassionate, caring, responsible, dependable, faithful, patient, passionate for life, generous, and amazing listeners!! Thank you!!