Have you been hurt by your ex-boyfriend, ex-husband or other men in your life? Do you swear you’ll never give yourself completely to another man?
Have you heard of the term “misandry”? I’m not surprised if you haven’t. It means the hatred of men.
Have you ever heard or said:
“Men only think with their dicks.”
“A man wouldn’t understand.”
“Men just want a hole to put it in.”
“Be a man.”
“Men are womanizers, man-whores, man-sluts”
“I’m not going to put up with a man’s crap.”
“I don’t trust men.”
Many otherwise enlightened people seem to think that putting a man down by shaming him for the transgressions of all men, men in their past, or for his inadequate physicality is a sort of privilege or entitlement.
Does fearful mistrusting behavior push good men away? Of course.
How is this behavior identified?
1. When a man does show an interest in you, you hold him at arm’s distance or further.
2. You might feel threatened or undeserving of his respect and attention so you act out with fearful, insecure and irrational behavior.
3. You throw up a wall to protect your emotions and you reject him before he can reject you.
4. Potential suitors back away from you after sensing you are not opening up.
5. Men who become involved with you drift away because it takes too much work to tear down your self-protecting walls.
6. With each failed relationship you become more and more mistrusting and cautious of men. This becomes a reoccurring pattern.
As more women join the #metoo movement your fears are supported with stories from other women about bad men. Where are the stories about good men? Are there any?
I believe, clearly, that most men are not bad people and would never harm a women. If you can agree to that, then can you take it one step further and say that most men can be trusted? Let me make a case for and give you some ways to build trust with men.
The truth of the matter is that in any relationship – one that involves healing from trauma or not – trust needs to be built.
To build trust you must start with a foundational understanding of the behaviors of a trustworthy man.
Here are 5 tests you can being applying immediately.
1. Do they lie to themselves?
Example: If he constantly says he does not get angry and is seeking harmony, but his behavior is disruptive, arrogant, and confrontational.
2. Do they accuse you of behaviors that they are exhibiting?
Example: If he knows you are going grocery shopping and you come back with groceries, but he accuses you of taking too long and that you must have a “man on the side”.
3. Do they breach confidentiality?
Example: If you have been talking about a major life changing event like moving to a new city and you wanted it kept in confidence, but when his best friend comes over you discover he knows all about it.
4. Do they lack empathy?
Example: If when you go to a restaurant, he treats the wait staff with disrespect and is talking about them behind their back.
5. Does their emotional state fluctuate wildly (flip flopping)?
Example: If he tells you I’m taking you on a vacation and then soon after tells you we just can’t afford it quickly retracting his promise.
None of these five behaviors make someone a bad person, but it can make them an untrustworthy one.
Do all of us exhibit some of these behaviors periodically? Yes. People make mistakes and errors in judgement and you can certainly “call them out” when they do.
Are you seeing 2 or more of these behaviors consistently? If so, you have found an untrustworthy person. Your temptation may be to fix these behaviors, but that's because you understand the value of trust. What you're dealing with is someone who does not. My advice is to walk away.
Conversely, if he does not exhibit these behaviors, I challenge you to take a leap of faith that he is worth investing your time in and worth taking a chance in opening up to.
This can be a difficult and challenging time as you evaluate your capacity to trust again. Though my counseling practice, I can help you to open your heart and find a place for a good man in your life. Trust me on this one!