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Tag Archives: assertiveness
I had a narcissistic mother and it was a complete disaster for my boyhood sense of self-confidence and the way I saw myself as I grew into a man. A narcissistic mother can leave deep emotional and psychological wounds that get triggered in our daily adult lives, undermining our self-confidence and making life extremely stressful. The impact is most pronounced in our relationships with women, leaving us feeling disempowered and emasculated around women until we get our narcissistic mother wound healed.
Narcissists carry a lot of internalized shame and project their own unhealed emotional wounds onto everyone around them, especially their children. As a boy we were powerless to deal with our narcissistic mother and may still carry this sense of powerlessness along with her paranoid world view unconsciously into adulthood.
It's easy to recognize a narcissistic mother because they typically:… Continue reading…
I was visiting my parent's place on the weekend and seeing some relatives from interstate who I don't often get the chance to hang out with. At one point we were all sitting in the lounge room listening to my father describe the apocalyptic nightmares he's been having lately, while my controlling mother kept interrupting, talking over him, "correcting" him and just generally dominating the conversation.
I've always found my mother's domineering behavior annoying, but I used to be far too scared of her to stand up to it. This time though I casually lent towards her, put my hand on her arm and said "Mum, could you be quiet please. I want to hear what my father is saying".
She moved her arm to brush me off dismissively in a way I've always found infuriating. This time though rather than feeling powerless and simply capitulating, I channeled my anger into assertiveness: "Don't just brush me off!", I said, "I want to hear what he's saying."
I grew up in a family where emotions weren't expressed cleanly; especially challenging emotions like anger. Everyone feels angry from time to time, but growing up I got the sense that there was something wrong with this basic human emotion because nobody talked about it. My parents never seemed to say directly that they felt angry; but it was obvious when they were and their anger came out in ways that I found very frightening and destructive.
Everyone around me seemed ashamed of their anger. Over time, I learned to feel ashamed of my anger too. I denied, suppressed and internalized it as though I was doing something righteous and noble. But the repressed rage built up inside me until eventually as an adult I developed overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks, depression and even a physical illness.
This forced me to wise up and realize that there was nothing noble about denying my anger. But with poor role models for expressing anger constructively in my family of origin and in society at large, who was I to turn to for help?
My answer came in the form of enlightened therapists who understood that anger is a perfectly normal emotion whose purpose is to motivate us when our needs aren't getting met.… Continue reading…
Many men have mother issues that undermine our self-confidence by stopping us from really growing up and fulfilling our true potential. Unresolved mother issues cause us to remain emotionally and developmentally immature; a boy in a man's body. If we had a critical or controlling mother we're particularly prone to having mother issues. Add in a passive father and a lack of tribal structure with initiation rituals in modern society to force us from the cozy comfort of our mother's breast, and it's easy to slip from childhood into adulthood without ever actually growing up.
This leaves us forever unconsciously seeking comfort and reassurance from our mother, and our neediness ends up projected onto any woman we come across; which is a disaster for our relationships with women.
In normal human development, we individuate from our mothers during adolescence as we grow into being our own man with our own set of values different from hers. This is a time of rapid brain rewiring and emotional upheaval as we alternate between feeling emotionally connected with our mother, and separating from her to explore the world and our place in it.… Continue reading…
I've noticed a consistent pattern among myself and my coaching clients: we all have a history of not standing up for ourselves when other people behave in ways that we don't feel good to us. Most of us had parents who weren't willing or able to teach us how to deal with our emotions, to self-soothe our nervous system when we were in distress, or to stand up for ourselves when our emotional or physical boundaries were being violated. Often the person we most needed to stand up to was one or both of our parents themselves, and that rarely goes well when you're a distressed child trying to stand up to an adult who is being unreasonable because their wounded inner child is running the show.
All of this is a recipe for ever-increasing anger, resentment and frustration. We end up overcompensating in a desperate attempt to get our needs met. Internalise that toxic cocktail and it's no wonder we end up anxious, depressed and lacking self-confidence.
Behavior patterns learned as a child tend to stick even if they never really worked well, and coping strategies learned as a child rarely work well in the adult world.… Continue reading…
I get my fair share of hate mail on the Internet, which I find unpleasant but not entirely surprising. Many people aren't good at expressing their anger cleanly, and some of them choose to channel it into hate mail directed at me.
Being on the receiving end of somebody else's hostility can be stressful, so it's important to be assertive with these people to stop their stress from entering our emotional boundary.
He's an example from a few weeks ago: I got an email from a female ex-friend who I initially met through a blog I run, which began:… Continue reading…