The Sulking Man Syndrome

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This is a copy of the previous post DearCupid.ORG relationship advice with a different title to emphasis the issue of the Sulking Man

Tonight, I put this into the google search engine to see what came back “my husband goes off for days and then comes back like nothing has happened” and it lead me to the DearCupid.ORG relationship advice website.  It is a great site and has all sorts of advice for common and not so common relationship issues.

From what I saw as a result of my search, men going off sulking after a fight, during a fight or discussion or just because they can’t express themselves is very common!  This is scary and from my reading, see my response on the site, it is passive aggressive controlling behaviour – it is unacceptable and should have been stamped on when these men were little boys.  I have seen it so many times, a mother treating their son like he is a god, like he is better than better and can’t do anything wrong.  Well, it is these little boys that many of us now have as husbands and partners and they expect to be treated the same way as their mothers treated them when they were young.  That is:  like they can do no wrong, that the sun shines out of their bottoms, that they can not be criticised and they are just “wonderful” and should be ‘appreciated” for just being.

You just would not accept that your child or teenager would walk away from you when you were talking to them so why do we accept this behaviour in our grown men?  It creeps up on you.  A little bit here and a little bit there – slowly over years you start to lose your self-esteem.  Slowly you start to change your own behaviour to avoid the nastiness and slowly you start to lose yourself in a world gone mad.  He may tell you that it is “you” – “you just keep on at me and I can’t think”, or “you just keep coming after me” or “its you that doesn’t listen and it’s you that treats (him) badly.”  All of this because you want to be loved and listened to, you want to be near and dear to your partner so you ask him to treat you in ways that are good for you, or you ask him to not do something that upsets you and then all hell breaks loose.  You may as well have asked for the moon with jelly on top and of course if he got that for you – “you wouldn’t appreciate it anyway”.

Hmmm, why are we doing this to ourselves?  I think it is because as Changing Women we are stuck between the “old” view of women and the “new” view that we know to be true, that’s the one where we know we have choice and we know that we are worth more than this, but we can’t help slipping back in time to the sameness that we knew as children.  This is the sameness that is often replayed on television and in movies, the one that reinforces the “old” version of what women should be, and then we are trapped….but we don’t need to be.

It is hard to break out of this cycle of abuse, but we can all do it.  Just look forward to what can be and start planning the life that you can have.  No more plans thrown into disarray because of a fight, no more pretending to be OK with friends when your heart is breaking on the inside and no more feeling alone in your own relationship.  Look forward and seek support from others and you will be OK, more than that you will be better than OK – you will be wonderful and know your full potential!  Live now and support the Changing Women.

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9 responses »

  1. I recommend all Changing Women should read ‘Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps’ by Allan and Barbara Pease, an international best seller written in 1999. I came to this book too late to save my long-term marriage.

    If I ruled the world? I’d add this learning to all school curriculums and have these topics running alongside the main academic subjects – maybe then we will know how to communicate and behave around one another and our societies could live in a truly
    ‘civilised’ way.

  2. While I enjoyed reading that book, I do feel that books (and other sources) that state that our behaviour and gender roles are pre-destined due to our sex can be quite dangerous. People that tend to follow this argument can often reinforce those stereotypes that women are not capable of things that men are.
    The theory of pre-determined gender roles continues to keep women down and stop them from fighting the injustices against them in our society today. Unfortunately we see way too much of it these days in everything from the scientific studies and research the media chooses to report on, tv shows, films, portrayals of politicians in the media, advertising etc.
    The more we are surrounded by the message that the reason why we have so few women in powerful positions in our society (who could make some powerful changes) is because they are not inclined to do so BECAUSE they are women is very damaging to us and any positive progress we could be making.
    For an interesting book that explains in very well-researched detail which scientific studies have been reported by the media and why pre-determined gender roles is so popular in our media today, I would highly recommend reading “Living Dolls” by Natasha Walter.

    • Thanks Grace. I also think that we put too much emphasis on what is male and what is female behaviour. Part of my vision for Changing Women is to help women and men embrace the attributes of what we see as inhertinnately male-ness or female-ness and help people to understand that these are attributes that are available to all humans. We don’t need to restrict ourselves because of gender and that means men don’t need to restrict themselves as well.

      I think that by looking at ‘people’ through new eyes (the eyes of the Changing Woman) we can design new paradigms for society. This includes new ways of viewing the female form, new ways of designing fashion and new ways of designing business structures so that a shift occurs in society. I don’t think that any behaviour is pre-destined because of your sex, this perception has only limited us all and I think has been a way to control us. Not just women, but men as well. Our business structures, like board member criteria are so stepped in tradition that there is little space for women. This is just one area where I think we can change the paradigm by changing the value system used to select board members. Whilst a lawyer or financial person has value on a board, why is that value any greater than a stay at home parent (male of female) who may bring loads more common sense to decision making? Many women who are qualified in the traditional sense just don’t want to participate in leadership roles because it means that they need to work within the strongly male structures and most just aren’t interested and so it continues.

      It is important that we do stand up and voice our opposition when we are told that “it’s just because you are a female”, or (my favourite), “don’t get emotional” when you are arguing the point. There is nothing wrong with “getting emotional’, it just means that we are passionate and we haven’t yet learn’ t a more proactive way of voicing our opposition which will addressing this easy dismissal. It is because we are women and we have experienced injustice that we are able to change! We are more powerful than we know.

      • Hi Suzanne, I studied at Ruskin College, Oxford (the home of Feminist meetings) a two year course called ‘Women’s Studies’. I found it both fascinating and amazing – but ‘aggressively’ tipped to portray women as victims and men as insufferable bullies.
        Up to that point I had a long-term relationship (30+yrs) and marriage (20+yrs), which I threw down the pan with my outraged rantings. It wasn’t his fault that the world had evolved as it did. He couldn’t fix it for me (which is what men want to do) and he became distant and depressed, not understanding why I became like this. He began avoiding me, then after living in a very stressful way together, he found a nice giggly feminine
        woman to be with (they are still together after 5+yrs). So my
        warning is – knowledge can be
        a dangerous thing, if a rounded
        approach isn’t taken. I’m not fulfilled and happier now, I’m just very lonely instead.

      • Thanks so much for sharing this Sousa, your post will help many people, both men and women. I agree that a rounded approach is needed, and I think we need to be inclusive of the “Changing Man” as the world is changing for them as well. Much of the feminist movement’s legacy is seen by younger women as negative and I think that it is very important that change is approached in a positive way, at the pace that is right for the individual. My first husband and I split after 5 years or so because he admitted that he really wanted someone that would do as they were told in the traditional sense. Wash and clean, cook and make him feel like a million dollars without him having to do too much. He finally ended up with a pretty blond and they have been together for about 20 years now, but he never found someone that would do as they were told. I don’t think he is happy, in fact pretty bitter, but I am glad that I didn’t live that life. You have learn’t so much from the experience and you just never know what is around the corner for you! You may be called on to do and participate in ways that you never expected! And maybe sooner than you think!

  3. Pingback: About my last post…..sorry :( | melanie's blog

  4. This post is exactly how I feel and know about My husbgand. I have to put up with his sulking,tantrums and nasty behaviout. A couple of days ago just for making a joke with him he smashed the coffee table infront of me and scared the life out of me,then went off to sulk and hasnt been talkking to me for days nore,, its like raising a child,iam sick of it . I really want a child but now am not surte if I want it from him.

    • This is a form of abuse. Get away from him unless he gets some counselling because he is not likely to change. It is a form of control but far worse than a child’s tantrum.

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