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Aspects of Anger: How Men Experience, Express and Own Their Anger

Posted by Kurt on Nov 16, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships, Resources, Work

Anger is not primarily a masculine emotion, search doctor but it certainly seems to be one that men have easy access to.  Even the guy with the most limited of emotional repertoire will be well acquainted with anger.  There are rather primordial human reasons for this, recuperation but anger is also used as a shield by many men: they feel (fill in any softer emotion), order but it is safer to switch to anger.  And, in some circles, this may even be seen as more acceptable.  It is a way guys can try to be strong, but, ultimately, it just leads to a very limited (and possibly destructive) way of experiencing their lives.

Regardless of where it comes from, anger is often an issue for many men.  They can often vacillate between trying to contain (sometimes unsuccessfully) too much expression of anger and trying to live up to the postmodern notion of being the “nice guy” and not show it.  Struggles with anger with men can hurt relationships, lead to health problems, hold guys back on their personal development, and even land them in jail.  This is certainly a topic that could use some more discussion.

For the rest of this year, The Men’s Group will focus the blog and meetings to this important topic.  There are many ways to approach anger in men’s lives and we will take time to look at it from a few different angles.

Stay tuned!

(And, if you have any thoughts on this subject, please add your comments or contact me and I will try to include them.)

 
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Are you and your partner starting too look too much alike?: Knowing who you are and what you want matters.

Posted by Kurt on Oct 30, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships, Self, Work
Mr and Mrs Vader On The Town

I wonder if she picked out his suit? (could not resist borrowing this pic from: http://www.vivaboo.com/at-long-last-lord-vader-gets-himself-a-wife/)

The Problem:

Something weird can happen to guys when they are in a relationship for a while: they get comfortable.  They stop doing “I” things and start doing “We” ones.  They stop making decisions and start “I’d better ask my wife…”.  They stop being themselves and start being whatever helps the relationship run smoother or what their partner wants.

Comfort is not a bad thing (and, refractionist physician for the record, more info neither is checking in with your wife for important decisions), but it is important not to lose yourself in the process of developing relationship. It can make your life easier at times to “go with the flow”, it can keep the peace and even keep your partner (somewhat) happy.  However, a part of you will start to feel neglected and resentment can build.  David Deida describes this issue well in “The Way of the Superior Man” (1997, p. 18):

If a woman suggests something that changes a man’s perspective, then
he should make a new decision based on his new perspective. But he
should never betray his own deepest knowledge and intuition in order to
please his woman or “go along” with her. Both she and he will be
weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and
the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as
their capacity for free action.

The Way Out:

The simple answer to this conundrum is to be yourself.  However, this is often easier said than done.  One simple practice is to make a commitment to consciously make decisions each day.  Even if you would like to get someone else’s opinion about something, ask yourself what your decision is first.  Then, like Deida says, you can use your (tentative) decision and anyone else’s thought on the matter as raw data for a final decision of your own later on.  Some decisions don’t really need to be brought to committee, so try making a few more each day on your own.  If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your old ways in a week or so… so give it a try!

Ironically, making more decisions will make your life run more smoothly.  Your partner may like you to agree with their ideas (who doesn’t like having things their way?), but, in the long run:  A) you may pine for the “old days” when you could do what you wanted and/or B) your partner will start to forget who the “real you” is (the one they fell in love with) and resent you for it.  Your partner may not agree with every decision of yours, but they certainly will respect you more for being a person who is confident in and true to themselves.

Other Manifestations:

These dilemmas are not just the realm of love relationships.  Any interpersonal environment can bring about this sort of “group think”.  Many work environments tend to build up norms that are really just old, unquestioned habits rather than actual preferences.  So, be mindful of how you show up at work and with your friends then too!

_____________________

We’ll be discussing this topic at our next meeting.  Anyone local or those who don’t mind the drive (or flight) are welcome to come.

 

 
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Men’s Group Meeting: Integrity @ Relationships: Radical Repsonsibility

Posted by Kurt on Jul 30, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships

Question:  What are you really committed to doing in your working life?

When we think of integrity at work, clinic buy we may think of being an honest, upstanding guy, doing the “right thing” and keeping our nose clean.  It can be that, but it is most often much more subtle.  Integrity creeps into work in our day-to-day completions of our goals and tasks: our commitments.  And, our commitments often get dropped because of “competing commitments”.  Consider this:  You say you are committed to doing [insert goal/task here], but what you really end up doing is [insert some other less important goal/task/distraction].  Sound familiar?  What’s standing between you and your true commitments are these competing commitment.

Let’s talk about this and look at some ways for us to step beyond this vicious circle and towards meeting our conscious commitments…

_________________________________________________

When:   Monday, July 18;     7 – 9 pm

Where:

Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre
5720 Forget Road, Wyebridge
(Get directions here.)

Cost:    $20 is appreciated or pay what you can.

_________________________________________________

Resources
:

You may find these resources interesting for this meeting:

#1

 

#2

Audio DownloadPsychjourney Podcast:  Immunity to Change   
(click on link to listen or right click and select “Save Link As…”)

  • interview with Dr. Lisa Lahey (co-author of Immunity to Change, with Dr. Robert Kegan) on how to identify and work with our unconscious commitments.

Yes, rehabilitation at the request of several of the members who had trouble making it to meetings, we have added another night per month for The Men’s Group.  We also are making it more central for some of you and holding it at the Grounded Coffee Co. (in downtown Midland).  (Thanks to Nicole, at Grounded, for the space!)  Here are the details for the new meeting night:

1st Wednesday of each month

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Grounded Coffee Co.
292 King St., Midland

(Get directions here.)

The meeting on the 3rd Monday of each month, at Sugar Ridge, is still happening – you just have one more night to choose from to come!  We will certainly send out info on any future changes, but you can always check for updates by going to the About or Calendar pages.

Hope to see you out at one of the meetings!

A Man of Responsibility Question:   

Can you take full responsibility for your life?

I heard a while back that an human adult should not need anyone else to get their  basic needs met.

The way I take this is that this is not permission to be a lone wolf or promoting anti-community sentiment.  What it is about is personal responsibility: radical responsibility.

Integrity in our relationships means “showing up” as our truest, information pills best selves in the service of the relationship.  It means not treating others in our lives as extensions of ourselves, sucking our needs from them or using them as a scapegoat when things don’t go the way we want.

The “seven year itch” is said to originate from this basic, dysfunctional  premise:  if both partners come into the relationship with unconscious notions of their own boundaries and needs (i.e. poor self awareness) they will unconsciously ask, cajole, and fight to get these needs met by their partner.  Since the interaction is “below board” there often are no overt demands made.  After about seven years (give or take a few) one or both partners get frustrated with trying to get “what they deserve” from their partner and come to the conclusion that the other is not right for them, possibly go look for it elsewhere (i.e. affair or separation/divorce) or resign themselves to being unhappy in the relationship.

Again, what if we took the bold step of saying, “I am going to be responsible for my own life.”?  Something goes wrong, you take responsibility for it and ask what you could have done differently.  You need something done, you look into it.  Does this mean you should never ask for help or everything is actually your fault?: NO.  There’s an attitude change:  you take responsibility for ensuring your needs get met (overtly) and take full responsibility for outcomes in your life….. yes, even if others appear to be at fault.

This is a tall order and I am sure it is worthy of some meaty debate, but I believe it is doable.  Come out to the next Men’s Group meeting and let’s talk about this….

_________________________________________________

When:   Wednesday, August 3;    6 – 8 pm

Where:

Grounded Coffee Co.
292 King St., Midland

(Get directions here.)

Cost:    $20 is appreciated or pay what you can.

_________________________________________________

Resources:

Hendricks Institute Blog:  Radical Responsibility

I really like Katie and Gay Hendricks thoughts on how radical responsibility is foundational to a healthy relationship.

Tags:

 
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A Summer of Integrity: Are You a Super-Man of Integrity? How do you show up in your work, self and relationships? Join the discussion…

Posted by Kurt on Jul 9, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships, Resources, Self, Work

SELF relates to anything your do for your personal health, cardiologist more info wellness or development.

We all know that working on ourselves is a life long project. Here’s our list of resources to help yourself.
Super-Man of Integrity

Integrity

is a concept of consistency of actions, order values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness that is a verb or accuracy of one’s actions.

(ref)

 

We are going to spend the the rest of the summer talking integrity.  Guys really tend to struggle with this, so we thought we would spend three evenings talking about integrity in our in working lives, our personal development and in our relationships.  We’ll take a different angle on it each night, with new talking points, different exercises and great resources for you to really get a handle on integrity in your own life and start making a difference.

 

More details will follow soon about the meeting a week from now.  But, if you are wanting more now, check out these two very cool bits of media with Brian Johnson, a guy who has really nailed this whole integrity thing….

 

RESOURCES

 

 

Brian Johnson Interview at the Ultimate Men’s Summit:
Living with Integrity and Mastering the Fundamentals of Optimal Living

(click picture to download audio)
Brian Johnson at the Ultimate Men's SummitBrian Johnson at the Ultimate Men's Summit

 

 
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Maybe “Nice Guys” Really Do Finish Last … or at Least Unhappy.

Posted by Kurt on Jun 22, 2011 in Relationships

Blog Newsletter

  • Sign up for The Men’s Group Blog Newsletter and be notified of all the latest postings to the blog.  This will also be the “home base” for new information about the group.


FaceBook


  • ‘Like” us on FaceBook and connect with other guys.


Twitter

  • Follow our tweets for up to the minute updates.

Click on the above icons
and pick one or several ways to keep in touch with what’s going on with The Men’s Group.

Talk to you soon!

Kurt

We had a great discussion at Monday’s meeting about the pitfalls of being overly accommodating in our relationships with others: i.e. being a “Nice Guy”.

 

A few thoughts came up in the discussion:

  • Nice Guys are not trust-able because you never know how they feel about things. They are emotional chameleons, artificial always wanting to please and be accepted.
  • They often have “covert contracts” – or un-voiced expectations for reciprocation of their helpful acts – with others.
  • These issues can also show up at work when you have a job where you have little control over your day-to-day activities and/or you are very invested in not “rocking the boat”.  In both cases, pancreatitis you may end up cramming down your real thoughts and opinions, again, just to please and fit in.

 

Take Aways for Recovering “Nice Guys”:

  • The inverse/”cure” to being a “Nice Guy” is being an “Authentic Guy”: make your expectations and needs known. You really do matter!… and you will be happier and less stressed for it.
  • Make yourself a priority; don’t always put your needs aside to please others.
  • When faced with a decision, make up your mind of what you would want before asking others for their opinion. You can still discuss options with others, but now you have an opinion to weigh against theirs.
  • Be open to others disagreeing with you. They aren’t necessarily against you. They just have a differing idea about it. Don’t ‘back-peddle’ your opinions just to please. In general, people will respect you more for having an opinion and standing behind it.
  • Take time daily to practice lowing your stress and anxiety. “Nice Guys” are often anxious and need to practice keeping centred, so as not to succumb to un-resourceful reactions. Breathe!

 

Many men have “Nice Guy” tendencies to varying degrees and they can be very debilitating to not only our relationships, but also to our own basic sense of integrity, self worth and happiness. The key is not to wallow in the guilt of doing it, but to make some small, authentic steps of power in your life, experience how good it feels and repeat!

 
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How much will you give trying to make others happy?

Posted by Kurt on Jun 11, 2011 in Meetings, Relationships

Blog Newsletter

  • Sign up for The Men’s Group Blog Newsletter and be notified of all the latest postings to the blog.  This will also be the “home base” for new information about the group.


FaceBook


  • ‘Like” us on FaceBook and connect with other guys.


Twitter

  • Follow our tweets for up to the minute updates.

Click on the above icons
and pick one or several ways to keep in touch with what’s going on with The Men’s Group.

Talk to you soon!

Kurt

We had a great discussion at Monday’s meeting about the pitfalls of being overly accommodating in our relationships with others: i.e. being a “Nice Guy”.

 

A few thoughts came up in the discussion:

  • Nice Guys are not trust-able because you never know how they feel about things. They are emotional chameleons, artificial always wanting to please and be accepted.
  • They often have “covert contracts” – or un-voiced expectations for reciprocation of their helpful acts – with others.
  • These issues can also show up at work when you have a job where you have little control over your day-to-day activities and/or you are very invested in not “rocking the boat”.  In both cases, pancreatitis you may end up cramming down your real thoughts and opinions, again, just to please and fit in.

 

Take Aways for Recovering “Nice Guys”:

  • The inverse/”cure” to being a “Nice Guy” is being an “Authentic Guy”: make your expectations and needs known. You really do matter!… and you will be happier and less stressed for it.
  • Make yourself a priority; don’t always put your needs aside to please others.
  • When faced with a decision, make up your mind of what you would want before asking others for their opinion. You can still discuss options with others, but now you have an opinion to weigh against theirs.
  • Be open to others disagreeing with you. They aren’t necessarily against you. They just have a differing idea about it. Don’t ‘back-peddle’ your opinions just to please. In general, people will respect you more for having an opinion and standing behind it.
  • Take time daily to practice lowing your stress and anxiety. “Nice Guys” are often anxious and need to practice keeping centred, so as not to succumb to un-resourceful reactions. Breathe!

 

Many men have “Nice Guy” tendencies to varying degrees and they can be very debilitating to not only our relationships, but also to our own basic sense of integrity, self worth and happiness. The key is not to wallow in the guilt of doing it, but to make some small, authentic steps of power in your life, experience how good it feels and repeat!

How much will you give trying to make others happy?

Maybe the personal costs are getting too high?

How much is too much?
Question:

When is being helpful, malady accommodating or generally a “nice guy” hurting you more than it helps others?

At work, diagnosis we have all been taught to be ‘team players’ and sensitive to others.  In our romantic relationships it can seem the “right thing” to do or just easier to defer to our partners.  We should all aspire to being socially sensitive to others, but there can be a certain pathology to being a “nice guy” if you are repeatedly selling out on your personal opinions and wants just to avoid conflict.

Come out this month’s gathering and discuss this important, relationship topic with us.

_________________________________________________

When: Monday, June 20;     7 – 8:30 pm

Where:

Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre
5720 Forget Road, Wyebridge
(Get directions here.)

Cost: $15 is appreciated or pay what you can.

_________________________________________________

Resources:

You may find these resources interesting for this month’s discussion:

The Secret Lives of Men Podcast: No More Mister Nice Guy – Interview with Robert Glover
(can also be downloaded in iTunes)

OR

The New Man Podcast: No More Mister Nice Guy – Interview with Robert Glover
(the interview is of the same author, about the same book, but may have a few different ideas on the subject.)


See you soon!

Kurt

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