Anger & Mistrust of Men: Have Your Walls Become Your Prison?
Do you ever wonder if divorce and/or infidelity have ‘hardened’ you? I don’t mean ‘hardened’ as in “made you stronger.” I mean as in, “encased you in a shell of mistrust and bitterness towards the opposite sex.”
Cause that’s what happened to me; I wasn’t even conscious of it at the time. Truth is, to this day, I still sometimes struggle with it. And I find it kind of scary – cause even though these feelings are a natural part of the grieving process, I can see how it would be easy to get stuck in them for too long. Some people never move beyond them… right?
I started building ‘walls’ between myself and men somewhere around eight months into my divorce. I’d already been out there dating for a few months by that point – which was more like me running around with my heart on my sleeve trying desperately to find a ‘replacement partner.’
But by the eight-month mark something shifted in me. I’d become more comfortable with the dating scene and realized I didn’t need to ‘panic’ - I even gave myself permission to fully ‘explore’ what the dating/sex scene had to offer. At the same time, however, I began processing my divorce/infidelities. And my ‘walls’ started going up – with ANGER and FEAR OF BEING HURT AGAIN acting as chief foremen.
My Anger proclaimed that I’d never again be a man’s doormat - not even for a moment – as I had in past relationships and in my marriage. Never again was a man going to rip my heart out by fucking other women behind my back; he’d never get close enough for me to care. Never again was I going to be the one who chased men, who spent hours daydreaming over ‘what might be’ – hell, figuring out men was a waste of my time and an insult to my purpose for being alive. I resolved that if a man wanted me, if he was TRULY worthy of me, he would not only pursue me with every ounce of his being, he’d have to be brave enough, strong enough, to blast through my walls and swoop me up…
And I’d laugh…God there were times that I’d laugh at and criticize men . I felt like I’d finally learned the truth about them; that I’d inflated them to be these magnificently evolved creatures when in fact, most were simple-minded, penis-lead duds who didn’t deserve the time of day. I felt like I’d been stupidly fooled and manipulated into believing that when a woman offers a man her heart, he’d treasure it, protect it, cherish it – not drop it on the floor as soon as a finely-dressed pussy walked by.
I even felt angry at our partriarchal society at large – for I’d spent my whole life hearing men comment about how women are ‘too fat”, “too old”, “her boobs are too small” etc, and every wounded part of my Woman Soul wanted to scream at them to get their priorities straight, to go home and look after their children, to work hard and pay support because it’s the right thing to do, to stop blaming us for everything, to open up their mouths and communicate for once from their souls, to evolve into who I THOUGHT they were, who they CAN be, if they’d just take their brains out of their pants…
(Shaking head)…Again, I wasn’t even aware of what was happening inside me. I was blaming the entire male species for the horrible transgressions done to me by a couple of men. Higher and wider the stones on my wall grew. I felt safe. Empowered. I had complete ownership of my heart in here.
But then…then the universe usurped control of my fortress: it sent in a Good Man when I wasn’t looking. And it was he, this Good Man – a man who was but a written voice on my computer, a man who I made jump through hoops to earn my trust and friendship, who announced: “You’ve got these huge walls up around yourself,Delaine. And I understand that they’re there to protect you…
But you’ve built them so high that you set men up for failure before they even start. And I’m warning you to be careful. Cause the Woman inside those walls is absolutely beautiful…but she’s blocking out any chance she may have at love and happiness; she’s becoming her own prisoner.”
One day months later, as I sat looking way up at the walls I’d constructed, I began to see the truth of his words. Slowly, hesitantly, I began dismantling them. And strangely enough, the more blocks I pulled down, the lighter I began to feel; it was like fresh air blowing through a room in my soul. Moreover – why lookee here at who had shown up: standing in my courtyard and reaching out to me were MORE Good Men. And I smiled, thinking: Ah.. a few Brave Men were sent to coax the Angry Woman out of her fortress.
I’m not going to say my walls are totally gone now; a couple of recent ‘mishaps’ have shown me I definitely still have work to do. Plus, a part of me still kind of needs the walls - to ward off the simple-minded, penis-lead-duds – I mean, ‘less suitable” men out there in the dating trenches.
But I’m aware of when I’m being defensive; I’m aware of when a trigger has been hit and I’m falsely blaming someone else for an old transgression. And on the whole, I’d have to say I’m happier and lighter within my relationships with men AND myself than ever before; I’m getting there.
And so I hope that my insane story lingers at the back of your mind to serve you somehow. May it comfort you in your Dark Phase if that’s where you are now. But may it also remind that you’re to be there only temporarily. Cause you can’t build up walls that shut out the other half of the species without you serving a painful sentence yourself.