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How Hating Men is Fucking Up My Relationship

…and what I’m doing to fix it



Well — *deep breath* — yes. I am, and it is.ime of trauma has made long term romantic relationships particularly painful, stressful, and triggering for me – and dozens of you responded to say you resonated!



So today I want to follow up on that, and share some of the work I’m doing to heal this pattern, and some of the insights I’ve had about it since.


To begin this story, let me take you back to around 2014, when I discovered one of my favorite compliments from men was actually hella problematic (and secretly fucking my life up): “you’re not like other girls.”


I had always loved when men said this to me, because it affirmed and validated a belief I had about myself – that I was not only different from other girls, but actually better. Every time I heard it, I sort of high-fived myself internally, and felt amazing.


Looking back I know I felt this way for a few reasons:

  1. Gender identity. As a non-binary person, I didn’t have the language or concepts available back then to describe or express my gender – so hearing that I was “different from other girls” made me feel seen.

  2. Misogyny. I’d absorbed sexism and misogyny from the patriarchy, without even realizing it, and unwittingly held a lot of false and negative views of girls, women, and femininity in general. Even though I had plenty of women who were smart, funny, strong, and deep, I saw them as the exception to the rule, because society had taught me to think of “most girls” as dumb, boring, weak, and superficial. Naturally, it felt great to be identified as different.

  3. Superiority as a coping mechanism. I learned to call up superiority and self-righteousness in the face of unbearable pain, fear, and helplessness. This was an unconscious survival strategy that I developed at a very young age. Anytime I felt scared, hurt, rejected, or powerless, I could always comfort myself with the idea that I was “better than other people.”

That first one is valid, but solved by being out of the closet. The second one fell away the more I learned about feminism, and learned to dismantle the patriarchy inside myself. The third one, however, I worked through and healed through nothing short of psychic death.


It took a shit-ton of dark and painful work, but I was eventually able to embrace the ways in which I am normal; the ways in which I am exactly like “other girls.” I was eventually able to build a sense of myself that didn’t require me to be better than anyone else in order to be worthy of love and belonging.


That work cracked my life wide open in the most incredible way. For the first time in my life, the constant stream of judgment, criticism, and nit-picking of other people in my mind disappeared. For the first time, it was easy to be vulnerable and open-hearted. And for the first time, I connected to myself as truly good enough.


The thing about this story, though, is that I was single at the time.


So even though I felt like my heart was completely wide open to the whole wide world — and that I had completely “healed” this pattern — it was only an illusion. For several years I was happily single, thoroughly enjoying the kind, loving, and non-judgmental version of myself I had become. I thought I would feel that good forever.


That’s why, when the illusion eventually came crashing down, I was gutted.


Upon getting back into a romantic relationship with a man, it was like a switch inside me got flipped. The open-hearted, loving, and accepting version of me seemed to disappear out of nowhere (at least when it came to him), and in its place was the old snarling beast of judgment, meanness, self-righteousness, and superiority.



It was like my whole heart went cold, full of nothing but derision and frustration. I looked down on my partner like he was some stupid, worthless neanderthal; he was no longer even a human being worthy of love and respect in my eyes. He’d become “just like other men” to me, which meant he was inferior, undeserving, and repellent.


Fucking men.


I have good reasons for holding such a low opinion of men. You probably do, too. At best, men under patriarchy tend to be disappointing, and at worst… *sigh*


Like most of us, I’ve experienced a lifetime of trauma at the hands of boys and men. They’ve hurt me in both big ways and little ways for as long as I can remember – yes, even “the good ones.” Naturally I called upon my default coping mechanism to make myself feel better, regain a feeling of power and control (that men had so often taken from me), and separate myself from everything I hated about them: I made myself better than men.


I decided men are inferior beings, undeserving of my care, kindness, or respect. More than that though – men deserve to be punished; to be hurt, as penance for all the harm they’ve caused. And in order to justify hurting them (or wanting to), I did what all people do: I stripped them of their humanity.


Not all men, of course. There have always been wonderful men in my life. Men who I love and respect. Men who are worthy and deserving; friends, brothers, and clients whose humanity I see and cherish. But those individual men couldn’t shake my belief about men, because I always saw these men as “exceptions.”


And more importantly, none of these men was my partner and partnership is where my coping strategy has the most power.


That guy and I eventually broke up (for many reasons), and I took advantage of being single again to heal, soften, and return to a place of non-judgmental open-heartedness. Then I met my current partner, and the cycle repeated.


To be fair, Drew and I have had to face an absolute shit-ton of other relationship obstacles (like a global pandemic, for example), but my coping pattern has definitely caused us both an immense amount of pain and suffering.


The difference however is that this time I can’t write Drew off, and I’m not willing to let him go.



His heart, his mind, the way he treats me and shows up for our relationship; it's different this time. There is always at least a part of me who believes Drew is a whole and valid human deserving of my kindness, acceptance, respect. So even when I’m triggered AF, my nervous system is scrambled, and all I want to do is push him away or hurt him, I still try with every cell in my body not to.


That — and possibly that alone — is why Drew and I are still partnered. No matter how cold, critical, disrespectful, or mean I get, he knows I’m doing everything in my power to fight it – both in that particular moment, and in my life in general (through therapy, etc).


Early on, when moments of judgment and superiority started popping up, I told him about my pattern. I told him how out-of-control I felt in those moments, like I was being hijacked Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde style. I described how, once Mr. Hyde took over, I felt a powerful urge to criticize, dehumanize, or punish him. How the urge to shoot an arrow directly into his heart was so strong in those moments, and it took all my willpower not to. How I was just barely managing to aim the tip of the arrow upward at the last second.


“That’s ok,” he replied, always a pillar of love and compassion. “As long as you keep trying to fight the urge, and your arrows keep missing, we’re ok.”


The problem with this beautiful sentiment is, of course, that a person can only handle being shot at so many times before they start to think you must really enjoy shooting them.


Anyway, I’ve been working my ass off to break this pattern, and a few weeks ago I connected my partnership pattern to the way I used to say “I’m not like other girls.” It’s the same pattern of protecting myself with superiority and self-righteousness. Only this time I’ve been saying “I’m not like men.”


Oof.


To be perfectly honest, healing it this time is gonna be a lot harder. Because even though I love Drew and I desperately want to be my kindest and most open-hearted self with him, I really do not want to “be like men,” because after so much trauma I still hate them.


Patriarchy has taught me to hate men the same way it made me hate women: by making me think of them as a population, rather than as individuals. A population of incompetent, entitled, and mediocre babies. A population of dangerous, controlling, and abusive monsters. A population of emotionally ignorant robots, users, and perverts. A population of people either incapable of or uninterested in seeing me as a whole worthy human, or treating me as equal.


So, do I want to be like men? Absolutely the fuck not. Fuck men, they’re everything that is rotten and monstrous in this world.


But also am I like men? Am I sometimes all of those things I just accused them of? And is my pattern of triggered behavior in partnership very fucking similar to all the things I hate most about men?


Well — *deep breath*— yes. I am, and it is.


And that… phew. That is such a brutally vulnerable, uncomfortable, and shame-y thing to share… but I’m sharing it with you because it’s real. And more importantly, because I know I’m not the only one.



At some point in our work together, the vast majority of my clients bump into a hatred of men too. Because even though we all have different coping strategies, trauma at the hands of men under patriarchy affects all of us. And listen, I suppose it could be argued that I’m the last person on earth to tackle this topic, since I’ve had beef with men for as long as I can remember. But actually I think my history is exactly what qualifies me to tackle it, because I’ve been thinking about this for a long fucking time.


Anyway, it feels to me like maybe the time has come for us to reckon with this as a society. Hatred and fear of men has been hitting a sort of fever pitch in recent years, and for good reason. People are hurt and hurting, trying to heal from traumas caused by men both past and present, and many of us – especially those of us partnered with men – don’t know what to do with it all.


We deserve to face and heal this as a culture. And while I sometimes have a hard time acknowledging that men as a population deserve better, I know for absolute sure that all of us non-men do.


So while this topic is huge, and complex, and painful, that’s what I’m focusing on right now.


  • I deserve to feel open-hearted, accepting, and compassionate toward my partner — and so do you.

  • I deserve to feel light, free, juicy, and loving in my partnership — and so do you.

  • I deserve to experience a partnership based on mutual kindness and respect, where we feel like equals rather than rivals — and so do you.

  • I deserve to receive my partner’s love and care without suspicion or retribution — and so do you.


As always, I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to DM me on IG and share your thoughts.


So much love,

Jessi


PS: I would love to help you reckon with this… or anything else that’s getting in the way of you living your biggest, juiciest, and most open-hearted life! Apply for coaching here to find out more!

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