Based on questions from women who have attended author David Deida's highly acclaimed relationships seminars, this must-have book puts male behavior under the microscope. Included are chapters on sex, work, relationships and communication. Interspersed throughout are sidebars that shed light on the many faces of men and help women grasp what makes them act the way they do.
|Publisher:||Health Communications, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)|
About the Author
David Deida is known internationally for his transformative work in personal growth and intimate relationships. He completed advanced graduate work in psychobiology, sexual evolution and theoretical neuroscience. He also has more than 20 years of training in hatha yoga, tai chi, meditation and tantra. He has taught and conducted research at the University of California Medical School, San Diego; University of California, Santa Cruz; San Jose State University; Lexington Institute, Boston; and Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France.
Read an Excerpt
Why Are Men So Difficult?
Most women, at one time or another, have wondered why their man was so difficultwhy, on occasion, he behaved like a jerk. The answer is easy: Most men "give out" masculine energy. This, at times, is offensive to most women. What do I mean by "masculine energy"?
Every man and woman has both masculine and feminine energy within them. In about 10 percent of all men, these energies balance. Another 10 percent of all men demonstrate more feminine energy than masculine. But about 80 percent of all men demonstrate more masculine than feminine energy. These men can often seem like jerks.
These men are difficult for most women to deal with in intimacy because masculine energy is very different from feminine energyand about 80 percent of women are naturally more feminine than masculine. Intimate relationships between a masculine man and a feminine woman often seem like a struggle between creatures from different planets. They try to communicate with one another in a language neither understands.
Many men seem like jerks to many women because feminine energy is frequently confused, offended and hurt by the masculine, just as the masculine is by feminine energy. Once understood, the differences between masculine and feminine can become gifts men and women offer to one another in passionate love, rather than wrinkles to be ironed out.
One masculine quality is modality, the ability to focus. Masculine energy tends to focus on doing one thing at a time. It moves on a single track. Have you ever tried to interrupt a man while he is absorbed in a project? Many men just won't notice you or else they will become angry and resentful.
The feminine is much less modal. It's not stuck on a single track. It flows easily from one thing to another. It's much easier for a man or woman using their feminine energy to do several things at once. When men use their masculine energy, they may feel everything is falling apart when they are called on to do more than one thing at a time, or when they are suddenly pulled off a project.
In both sexes, masculine energy is a vehicle of focus and accomplishment. This energy eliminates distraction and focuses on what needs to be done.
For instance, when most men watch TV or work on a project, the rest of the world ceases to exist. That includes their intimate relationship. Even if the project is as mundane as waxing a car, masculine energy will focus and shut out the rest of the world.
Masculine energy has the ability to focus. It's a strength, but a strength that can turn to weakness when it's used to avoid an intimate relationship.
Feminine energy is quite good at flowing and relaxing. If your feminine energy is at work while waxing the car and your partner wants to talk with you, you can easily shift your attention and focus.
Men often find it very difficult to shift, because they are stuck in their masculine energy. It's not easy for most men to break what they are doing, shift their attention to you and then flow back again. For women who are comfortable with their feminine energy, this ability to shift happens almost automatically.
Many women might feel, Why isn't he paying attention to me?, What's his problem? You could take it personally, believing he's choosing to neglect you.
If a woman friend were to neglect you it would send a definite message. Most women are very aware of relationships. But for men, absorption into a project or TV is rarely designed to send a message. It's just how they do things. That's how masculine energy works.
Women often ask, "Can't my man learn to go with the flow? Can't he be more flexible? Why does he have to be so rigid and single-minded?"
Men may wonder, "Why does she get hurt when I'm busy? Can't she understand it's not personal? What a hassle! She gets hurt every time I'm doing what I like to do. Can't she change?"
If you want to trust your man to get the job done, try to accept his need to focus. Without this quality, your man might not carry through with projects he starts. You would begin to feel like you had to do them yourself. You would lose trust in him.
You can't expect a man to get things done and not be focused. For a man to drop this quality he has to move into his feminine energy, where he may lose his focus and fail to get the job done.
When your man is hard at work, it doesn't necessarily mean he's shutting you out. He's not being insensitive, turning away or avoiding participation with you. When he's focused on a project or a task, that becomes the whole world to him.
Men are either in one mode or another. For instance, a man could be having problems with his wife yet still enjoy an outing with his male friends. On a fishing trip a friend could ask, "How are things at home?" He'll say, "Man, it sucks. Wow, look at the size of that fish!"
For most women, or anyone in their feminine energy, the intimate relationship touches their lives no matter what they're doing. It's difficult to drop the relationship, get absorbed in something, enjoy it completely, then go back to the relationship.
A man who temporarily "forgets" his relationship may not be avoiding his feelings. The same thing may happen to you when you are in your masculine energy. When the masculine energy focuses, everything else disappears.
If you were in the midst of an emotionally charged thought or feeling and your partner said "Can you get the catsup for me?", it would disrupt your emotions and probably frustrate you. When you inject your emotional mode into his action mode, it feels the same way to him.
Men don't exist so much in a world of flow and feelings. To a large extent, they exist in a world of problems, functions and challenges.
Most archetypal myths of men involve battling demons, enemies, war and conquest. They involve breaking free and winning. Most archetypal myths about women involve love relationships. Men and women play in very different domains. If you want to be married to a masculine man, as opposed to a feminine or more neutral man, then part of the package you get is his modality, his ability to focus.
When your man thinks your emotions are wrong, it can throw off the whole relationship. Emotions can't be wrong, they simply are. In the same way, his action mode is not wrong, it just is. But this doesn't mean you can't gift him with your feelings, sensitivity, intuition and wisdom.
Two of the biggest gifts you bring to your man are your sensitivity and intuition. He can learn a lot from your world that is foreign to his. And you can also learn from him.
Don't disown your feelings. If you really feel it's best for him to be interrupted, then interrupt him. Just remember that you may encounter some initial resentment, because he's stuck in one mode.
When your man gets involved in something and doesn't pay attention to you, it hurts. He probably doesn't feel he's turning away from you. He may not be aware of it at all.
When your man turns away or becomes involved in something else, you could say, "Did you notice that half an hour ago we were making love when the phone rang? Since you hung up you haven't even looked at me." He'll look puzzled, and mumble "Yeah, okay."
You could also say, "I felt a sudden shift in your attention. One moment we were passionate, the next moment nothing. Our hearts were connected, and now they are not." It will seem bizarre to you that he doesn't feel any of this, but he usually doesn't.
When I lead men's groups, we spend a lot of time talking about this. I try to convince the men that women do feel the shifts in a man's attention. The men don't believe it. They'll say, "You're kidding, right?" I'll say, "I'm serious. If you're with a woman and you suddenly turn away and begin to work, she feels it in her body. She feels your attention moving away from her. She feels hurt." The men will usually respond, "How are you supposed to live with that?"
Men often have no idea they've hurt you. When you tell them, it helps if you understand their perspective. Talk to them as if they've fallen asleep and reawakened. So rather than criticize their actions, tell them how it makes you feel. Say, "When you picked up the phone I felt hurt," rather than "Don't pick up the phone when we are together." You can tell them how it makes you feel. Then they can handle it.
But if you expect a man to know they've hurt you, they'll say, "What hurt you?" They don't sense the turning away is as hurtful as it is to you.
At their core, most men feel constrained by life. It is a struggle for men to simply enjoy life. Most everything feels like a constraint and an obligation to them. It sometimes feels this way to women also, but for most men it always feels this way.
Have you seen the bumper stickers that say, "Life sucks"? That's the masculine motto. That's why all men are driven either to escape or conquer life. They may do this by becoming absorbed in the newspaper, watching TV, making a lot of money, using drugs, or even by practicing meditations which promise to help them transcend daily life.
Daily life. Being in a body, having relationships, caring for children, needing to eat. Existence seems like a burden or a challenge to most men, something to work on or escape from, something to conquer.
Because a woman is so connected to life, it's hard for her to understand the need to conquer or escape it. But for most men, even being in a body is a problem. If a man is the conqueror type, he will attempt to push his body and make it do what he wants, applying his energy to push toward victory in the affairs of life.
For a man life seems like a constraint, be it his body, his relationship or his workuntil he learns to practice love. Just like Jesus on the cross, most men feel crucified by life. A spiritually mature man learns to love in the midst of this crucifixion. Even so, he may still feel like life is a sacrifice.
I'm overstating this to make a point, but men are always attempting to do something with life, because they are not at home in life. Rarely is a man capable of being love in the midst of life, submitting to the crucifixion, suffering life's limitations, and yet bringing love into his relationships.
Some of your special gifts to your man as his chosen woman are energy and attraction. You attract him toward life by your radiance, and give him the energy to endure the crucifixions of life through the power of your love.
Your gifts of energy, of radiance, of attraction, may take the form of your genuine smile, the look of love in your eyes, your touch that enlivens him, anything that fills his body, mind and emotions with energy, love and life. Then he feels you as his source of delight in an otherwise burdensome world.
Men, or anyone in their masculine energy, typically seek perfection. It could be the perfect wax job on the car, or the perfect wave to surf, or the perfect touchdown. Women, of course, also seek perfection at times. But the feminine priority, in man or woman, is usually the desire for love.
If you, as a woman, are suffering in a poor relationship, how much will you enjoy the "perfect" wax job on your car? Many men, however, become totally obsessed with things like that even in the midst of a painful relationship. In fact, they particularly become obsessed by things like that during painful times. It's their little way of engaging in the perfection of unblemished consciousness, consciousness that is always perfect.
Our masculine and feminine ways are not only rooted in our biological roots, but also in our spiritual depths. As it has been said in many spiritual traditions, the first thing created was light. This light is the true source of our feminine energy, and the void in which it shines is the source of our masculine.
That's why many women are concerned with their radiance. They identify themselves as sources of light or energy. They want shiny hair, glossy lips, blushed cheeks, glowing skin, radiant eyes. The feminine in each of us feels akin to life force itself.
The masculine in each of us feels more akin to the void in which the light shines. Most men would rather watch women dance than dance themselves. They want to witness feminine radiance. Thus, men identify more with the witness, with awareness, with consciousness itself.
This consciousness never moves, while the feminine energy always moves. This consciousness never changes, while the feminine energy always changes. Men who stand firm and trustable in their deep truth are more sexy to women. Women who move their bodies freely in radiant energy are more sexy to men.
Men seek perfection in the external worldin their philosophies, golf games and a centerfold's bodybecause they intuit the perfection of deep and eternal consciousness. But they misplace this desire for perfection. Deep consciousness, or divine consciousness, may be perfect, changeless and unblemished, but life is not. Life is the play of energy. Life is feminine!
Anything that is alive is not perfect, though men try to make it so. They try to perfect their golf game. They fantasize over perfect women's bodies. They try to understand the perfect philosophy. Men seek perfection because they intuit the nature of consciousness, which is unchanging.
Changeless perfection is irrelevant for the feminine. The feminine is interested in love and life, and life includes birth and death and change. Life is not unchanging and perfect all the time.
For consciousness purists, however, change is anathema. Men, especially when feeling threatened by the feminine, want to retreat from the changes of life into perfection, voidness, or unchanging abstraction.
They become immersed in a newspaper, or in TV, something that removes them from the problems of life. Or, they become focused obsessively on perfection in some trivial form, because that's the closest they can get to the perfection of unblemished consciousness. Men are most at home in projects, sports, philosophy and ideas outside of the daily ups and downs of life.
If a woman is obsessed with perfection, she has probably rejected her own feminine. For some reason, she has identified with her masculine energy. Just as men must learn to embrace life and love in order to become whole, perfectionist women must learn to embrace the feminine part of themselves and others. This begins with an embrace of the body itself: a sensuous appreciation for the body, for bodily pleasure, for the body's wild energy, for the body's beauty, for a full, sweet breath, and a soft, open heart. This embrace of the feminine is also the cure for a man's obsessive perfectionism. If men don't embrace the fullness of life, of feminine change, then they become one-sided. Men need to learn that if they want light, radiance and energy in their life then they need to embrace all the changes and so-called "blemishes," too.
The primary masculine fear is the fear of failure in life. The primary feminine fear is the fear of rejection in a relationship, the fear of the loss of love. These fears motivate you and your man differently.
It's a masculine obsession; men love to solve problems. If there is a problem, all your man's energy will go into solving it. If you, as a woman, are also in your masculine energy, you will be aligned to solving problems, too. But in your feminine energy, you'll feel him turn his attention away from you toward the problem.
Imagine that your man gets a call from the bank telling him his account is overdrawn. For him, this becomes an immediate priority. His whole mind and body abruptly turn toward the problem and away from you. Even if you were making love the moment before he got the phone call, suddenly he has a problem that needs to be solved. You will feel his attention swiftly moving away from you. You may react by withdrawing from him, assuming that he is consciously turning away from you.
But these responses are simply the feminine and masculine energies at work. You are in your feminine and are sensitive to the relationship. You're afraid of losing his love. He is sensitive to the problems that have to be solved in his life. He's in his masculine mode of analysis and action. He's afraid of failure.
He's not acting the way he does to send you a message. He's acting this way because it's the way his masculine energy moves.
You're not responding the way you are in order to hurt him. Yet the fact remains, you both feel hurt.
You may feel his attention to problem solving is a rejection of you, a betrayal of you. If this causes you to pull back from him, he will feel your withdrawal as rejection. He might think: "Here I am, taking care of my life, and she's pulling away." He doesn't know you feel hurt and rejected. He's unaware of your inner feelings. But he is aware of whether you are supporting him or withdrawing from him.
The masculine energy looks to the feminine energy for life-giving, radiance-giving, love-giving support. He needs your support most when he gets into his world of problem solving. If you feel rejected and you close down or withdraw, he will feel your withdrawal of energy as a rejection of him, just like you felt his withdrawal of energy from you.
You are withholding because his attention went elsewhere. He may then withhold because he feels unsupported. Suddenly, you each feel the other withdrawing. Suddenly, there is a tension between you. You both feel unloved and unsupported.
When your man turns away from you to solve a problem, realize that is his need. It may even be his way of supporting you and serving you. Notice if you are responding to his absorption in problem solving by withdrawing yourself, feeling rejected or angry. All too often he is not consciously turning away from you at all; he may even feel that solving a problem is one of the ways he cares for you.
Your man should learn to communicate his needs to you in a loving way. He should learn to take your heart connection into account, so that his need to solve problems doesn't violate your need for love. But in the meantime, understanding his fear of failure will help you deal with his abruptness.
Emotionality is not the same as love. Masculine love is often silent, discriminative, penetrating or unwavering. Feminine love is often tearful, excited, wild or joyous. Love is love; it can be expressed in many forms.
Many women experience strong emotions from day to day, often triggered by other people's love or rejection of them. They often assume that men must experience these same emotions. Some men do, but others don't. Just as men must stop demanding that women always analyze their feelings, women must stop demanding that men always express themselves through emotionality.
The true obligation in relationship for both men and women is to transcend the changing flow of emotions and thoughts and directly give love. This is the key to the daily practice of intimacy. No matter what you are feeling or thinking, practice giving and receiving love. Feminine emotionality and masculine analysis are merely two styles of communication. One is not more loving than the other.
Whether you are willing to open and love is more important than the style by which you express yourself. Instead of obliging your partner to be more emotional, locate your true heart. Breathe from your true heart. Locate your true heart, the depth of your authentic being. Relax into your true heart. In your true heart there is no reactivity, no withdrawal, no need to punish others when they are not loving. Your true heartthe deepest core of your beingmay be wounded, but even so, it still wants to give and receive love. Through the beauty of your open heart, your man may learn to relax more into his true heart, whether his style of loving is more emotional or not.
The quest for freedom is most important to the masculine energy. That freedom can be financial, professional, artistic or spiritual. The most important priority for the feminine energy is relationship and love. When your man turns away from you, you may instantly feel, "I must be doing something wrong. I must be doing something wrong or he would want to spend more time with me."
Most men, if forced to make a choice between an intimate relationship or their art/profession/spiritual path, will choose the latter. When a woman is in her masculine energy she will make the same choice: freedom over love.
If you are in your feminine, love and an intimate relationship is at the core of your life. But at the core of your man's life is his quest for freedom from constraints. He will do anything to continue on his quest. If he imagines your relationship is going to limit his quest, he will not want to commit. He'll want to keep things open.
When men enter more deeply into a relationship, they feel their attention being more absorbed in love for you. This may scare them. They imagine that their freedom is decreasing, and they react by pulling out, or by refusing to make a commitment to the relationship, especially following an increased period of depth of intimacy.
You may feel that your man is not vulnerable. You may feel that he has built walls around himself. Indeed, he may not want you, or anyone else, to enter into his life. He may be very rigid and invulnerable. But there may also be something else happening.
It is possible that what you call vulnerability is the feminine form of vulnerability. Masculine vulnerability is quite different. When a man is vulnerable he may not talk about his feelings as much. When a man is vulnerable, he usually talks about his vision, or his lack of it.
The most vulnerable place of a man's life often has very little to do with the same emotions that are central to a woman's life. A man's vulnerability has more to do with considerations such as, "Am I living my life fully?" "Am I following my highest vision?" "Am I going in the right direction?" "Am I wasting my life?"
"I'm feeling bad in this relationship," is rarely a central issue for a man. He may question his relationship, but more as a part of the overall scheme of his life rather than its central issue. A man's most vulnerable place has to do with his direction in life. When he feels vulnerable, he may question whether he is living his truth.
Sometimes your man is truly not open to you. But perhaps what you call "open" is different for you and your man. Entertain the possibility that when he speaks of his direction in life he is being most vulnerable. If you do, then you'll appreciate his openness as a man. When men talk about their direction in life, they are opening some of the most central parts of themselves to you.
1997 David Deida. All rights reserved. Reprinted from It's a Guy Thing by David Deida. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heterosexual men and women will find something interesting here. The writer does something interesting, which is, instead of just talking about "men" and "women", he talks about Masculine - Feminine, degrees of each that both men and women possess. In this way, this book talks to the variety of degrees we are all masculine and feminine and the energy each of those carry. These are both GIFTS but we clash when we don't recognize the gifts being handed to us -- and we don't use our own gifts effectively. So, it's not just about men VERSUS women, but, rather, how men and women can get what they most want from each other in personal relationships, by each learning to understand more how the other works. Author Deida is point blank at times - saying, simply, leave your man if he's lazy, abusive and doesn't give you what you want or need! You can do this and still LOVE him. Deida also helps you prepare for finding the right man for you. I think the problem for women, sometimes, is that they were told all about themselves and nothing about men. Be open-minded and rip the bandaid off, my fellow females. You can always reject anything this author says that doesn't resonate for you. But if want to save yourself years of finding the wrong guy for you, Deida's book shows you how to avoid the traps that stem from your misunderstanding of men. If you are already in a relationship, you can take a better direction and feel good about it.
I thought some of the examples the author provided on the behavioral differences between men and women was very realistic. I think his message was simply that we should understand that our focus and the way we relate to each other as males and females does differ. I don't believe that any one gender should have to adjust their natural inclinations or cater to the other. In order for us to relate effectively as partners, business associates, teams, etc., we need to understand that genders do differentiate us. Many of those differences are based on current societal double-standards which the author points out. I think unrealistic expectations within relationships can be better tempered if we put more emphasis on the fact that external and modern-day societal influences can cause relationships to be one-sided.
I truly hated this book. It has ideas and suggestions that will fit perfectly for any couple living in the 17th or 18th century. I found his comments very offensive towards women. The author basically asks women to forget every accomplishment of the feminist movement.