I haven’t cried this much while reading a book in decades.

I cried over the perpetuations of pain across generations, the relational mutilation of the men I know intimately and love, the pain their pain brought to our relationships and me, I cried over all the wasted energy in attempting to understand, help and support when the men were too blind or afraid to truly face their truth and do their work, I cried for the friends I see flee from healing and the masked unhappiness they hold themselves in. I cried for the painful and long journey a man has to undertake to get to a state of being capable of relating in any healthy or meaningful way.

I cried over all the ways I misunderstood and couldn’t relate to my father and him to me, for the pains of his childhood that caused his covert depression and fear-inducing presence and cold absence in my life, I can see now why he teeters on wanting to reach out and then deciding not to. I cried for the shame and self-rejection I carried for him and my grandfather too. I cried over the patterns of trauma, active and passive abuse that run in my family clans and the way they keep an unhealthy hold on self esteem, self love and interpersonal relationships.

And I looked deeper into the abyss of relational dysfunctionality seeded with the pathology of patriarchy suffusing our culture and subconscious minds. 

Realizing more why relating has grown ever more difficult as I proceeded in my healing journey. Understanding with more clarity why my system rebels when a man unconsciously expects or demands me to mother him, tests me incessantly to affirm the belief of his unworthiness, lashes out and keeps hurting me whenever my love became unbearable in the hell of (un)conscious self hate and rejection. 

I understand why my intuition tells me to retreat from men whose relating and “love” is self referential (I love you for what you do for ME, for how you make ME feel. No value is given to the other beyond the fulfillment of a role to serve their needs). I can see how much of a journey of healing and integration lies ahead of them and how incompatible we are due to the work I have already invested into my integrational self work.

This has been an unexpected and deeply cathartic journey into aspects of my past and subconscious I rarely got to illuminate. Simply by being open, empathetic and reading a much needed and valuable work on male psychology.

I shall never fully understand people who denigrate book knowledge and think it useless and dead. Books have been some of the most potent catalysts in my life. Authors can become wise ancestors to our lives and journeys when they distill the treasures of their journey and make them accessible to us.

If you are curious about the book I read, its title is “I Don’t Want To Know” by Terrence Real and I cannot recommend it enough. Regardless of your gender or feelings towards men, this work of heart will bring unexpected healing insights and expansive perspectives to your life and experience. Especially if you are striving to relate consciously with the people in your life this will be a valuable and insightful resource.

Photography: Rachida Brakni & Eric Contona by Gianluca Fontana
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