The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

The opposite of masculine rape culture is masculine nurturance culture: men* increasing their capacity to nurture, and becoming whole.

The Ghomeshi trial is back in the news, and it brings violent sexual assault back into people’s minds and daily conversations. Of course violence is wrong, even when the court system for handling it is a disaster. That part seems evident. Triggering, but evident.

But there is a bigger picture here. I am struggling to see the full shape emerging in the pencil rubbing, when only parts are visible at a time.

A meme going around says ‘Rape is about violence, not sex. If someone were to hit you with a spade, you wouldn’t call it gardening.’ And this is true. But it is just the surface of the truth. The depths say something more, something about violence.

Violence is nurturance turned backwards.

These things are connected, they must be connected. Violence and nurturance are two sides of the same coin. I struggle to understand this even as I write it.

Compassion for self and compassion for others grow together and are connected; this means that men finding and recuperating the lost parts of themselves will heal everyone. If a lot of men grow up learning not to love their true selves, learning that their own healthy attachment needs (emotional safety, nurturance, connection, love, trust) are weak and wrong – that anyone’s attachment, or emotional safety, needs are weak and wrong – this can lead to two things.

1. They may be less able to experience women as whole people with intelligible needs and feelings (for autonomy, for emotional safety, for attunement, for trust).

2. They may be less able to make sense of their own needs for connection, transmuting them instead into distorted but more socially mirrored forms.

To heal rape culture, then, men build masculine nurturance skills: nurturance and recuperation of their true selves, and nurturance of the people of all genders around them.

I am discovering a secret, slowly: the men I know who are exceptionally nurturing lovers, fathers, coworkers, close friends to their friends, who know how to make people feel safe, have almost no outlets through which to learn or share this hardwon skill with other men. They may have had a role model at home, if they are lucky, in the form of an exceptionally nurturing father, but if they do not have this model they have had to figure everything out through trial and error, alone, or by learning with women rather than men. This knowledge shapes everything: assumptions about the significance of needs, how one ought to respond to them, what closeness feels like, how to love your own soul, and what kind of nurturance is actually meant to happen in intimate space.

Meanwhile, the men I know who are kind, goodhearted people, but who are earlier on in growing into their own models for self-love and learning how to comfort and nurture others, have no men to ask. Growing entails growing pains, certainly, but the way can be smoothed when one does not have to learn everything alone.

Men do not talk to one another about nurturance skills: doing so feels too intimate, or the codes of masculinity make doing so too frightening. If they can’t ask and teach each other – if they can’t even find out which other men in their lives would welcome these conversations – then how do they learn?

Men have capacities to heal that are particularly masculine and particularly healing. They often are not fully aware of this deep gift and how helpful it can be for those close to them, whether family or close friends.

To completely transform this culture of misogyny, then, men must do more than ‘not assault.’ We must call on masculinity to become whole and nurturing of self and others, to recognize that attachment needs are healthy and normal and not ‘female,’ and thus to expect of men to heal themselves and others the same way we expect women to ‘be nurturers.’ It is time men recognize and nurture their own healing gifts.

In Ursula K. Leguin’s book Gifts, an entire culture lives by the rule of what they call ‘gifts’ – powers to do harm – possessed by certain of its members. Some families possess gifts of Unmaking, where they can turn a farmer’s field into a blackened waste or a puppy into a sack of dissolved flesh. Some possess the ability to create a wasting illness, or blindness, or the gift of calling animals to the hunt.

By the book’s end, the child at its centre has struggled, against all signs in his culture, to realize something profound and fundamental. The gift they call Unmaking is actually a gift of Making, turned backwards upon itself and rendered unthinkingly into a weapon. The gift of calling animals is turned into a way to hunt them, when it is meant to let humans understand animals and live in balance with them. The wasting disease is the backwards use of a gift of healing illness and old age. He finally asks his sister and closest confidant: what if we are using our gifts backwards? To harm instead of to help? What if they were meant to be used the other way around?

Nothing in the boy’s culture would tell him this is so. His entire society has been built around fear of these gifts used as weapons. Yet he has seen his father use the gift of Unmaking ‘in reverse’ to gently undo a knot or mend a creaking gate. His best friend’s gift of calling animals also gives her an aversion to hunting them, an aversion she must overrule in herself to meet her culture’s expectations. These images knock on the door of his mind until he makes sense of them; he has to struggle to see the truth without a single signpost or mentor to help him find this knowledge. Nothing in his world reflects this reality back to him, and yet it is real. He at first can hardly believe it or understand it.

Something odd happens when you google ‘man comforting a woman.’ Many of the top hits are about women comforting men. (try it.) The ‘suggested search’ terms too: ‘how to comfort a guy, how to comfort a man when he’s stressed, how to comfort a guy when he’s upset.’ Apparently lots and lots of people on planet earth are googling how to comfort men… and fewer are googling how to comfort women. Strange, isn’t it, since this culture views women as ‘the emotional ones’ and men as the strong ones. Perhaps something is a bit backwards here.

I tried to find an image that would capture the way men have actually comforted me, which for me is the most intimate image of holding me in their arms, skin on skin like a young baby, rocking or singing, letting me be at my most vulnerable, held safe. There when needed, when it matters. I could find only one image that looked remotely like the real thing.

Could it be that a lot of men have no models for how to nurture, comfort, soothe, and thus strengthen people they care about? If you happen to not have a highly nurturing model at home, where would you learn how to nurture? A top search hit is a bewildered humour piece about how utterly terrifying and confusing it is when a woman cries and about how men have no idea what to do. Could it be that the things that come naturally to many of us – hold the person, look at them with loving, accepting eyes, bring them food, hot tea, or medicine – that these are unfamiliar terrain for some, can’t even be imagined, let alone acted on consistently?

These things seem connected to me. And here is where my friend Rebekah, a drama therapist, comes in, who one day handed me the books Hold Me Tight and A General Theory of Love, and blew my mind. This is where attachment theory comes in. Bear with me, as this takes a little background knowledge – a quick summary of these books – before I can go on.

Attachment theory: cutting edge neuroscience

According to Hold Me Tight and A General Theory of Love, current advancements in neuroscience have completely transformed understandings of human relationships, from birth to death. What used to be called Freud’s ‘unconscious’ is actually located in the body, in a knowable place. Specific understandings of how the limbic brain work have replaced old ideas about love as a ‘mystery.’

Apparently about 50 percent of the population, people of all genders, have a secure attachment style: they were raised by responsive, attuned parents, who recognized their need to go out and explore as well as their need to come back and be comforted, and responded in a timely, attuned way to both. According to A General Theory of Love, this experience of attunement – having all their developmental needs met by attuned parents – literally shapes their limbic brain.

These folks as adults find closeness comfortable and enjoyable, they easily desire intimacy, and they know how to create a secure attachment bond in which autonomy naturally emerges and daily nurturance is the norm. This shapes the brain in material, physiological ways. This is how you build secure attachment: through daily attunement to the subtle cues of other people, and lavishing love and care while letting them come and go as needed. In this kind of connection, you know your home base is always there for you, so you feel comfortable going out into the world, taking risks, trying new or scary things, because you can return to safe arms when you need to.

Securely attached people know how to comfort and be there for one another when they need each other, and so they naturally know how to create healthy autonomy and healthy intimacy, which emerge in balance as they get comfortable with one another and create trust. Securely attached people are comfortable being vulnerable; they have had positive experiences of trust. There can be no joy of trust without the risk of vulnerability, letting your true self show and experiencing others catching you, mirroring you, liking you, and letting you go, when you are all there, visible, open.

Just like the first time you walk on ice or sit on a new chair, at first your muscles are clenched, waiting to see if the ground under you is secure or about to fall away. If the ice has always been solid, or you have never had a chair break under your weight, you may assume that you can relax quickly into your seat, or head out onto the ice and skate. You have no reason to think otherwise. If, however, you have had a chair break under you, you may think hard about sitting down again, and may take longer to relax into the secure base. If the chair has never been there for you at all, you may decide you simply don’t need chairs and prefer to stand. These are insecure attachment styles.

Secure, Anxious, Avoidant 

Attachment science also has learned that about 50% of the population has an insecure attachment style; this breaks down into about 23% anxious and 25% avoidant styles, which are apparently both physiologically insecure styles, but look and feel different on the surface. The avoidant style breaks down further, into anxious-avoidant and dismissive-avoidant styles. A very small percent of the population, around 3%, has a style called ‘disorganized‘ which is a mix of the other styles.

People with an anxious attachment style actively seek closeness and are afraid of losing it, and have a harder time trusting and knowing their partner will be there for them. The chair may have broken for them many times, or in a formative early relationship that was significant. Their limbic brains and entire autonomic nervous system is built differently than those with secure styles. They need extra reassurance and comfort to get secure and enjoy lots of closeness, especially with a new trust figure – though they have the same need for autonomy as anyone else, and it emerges as they become secure. They engage in ‘protest behaviour,’ i.e become upset, to try to seek closeness if they cannot receive it by asking directly. However, once they are secure and feel safe, they become exceptionally loyal and loving nurturers and feel immense gratitude and loyalty to those who give them this safety.

People with a preoccupied-avoidant style crave closeness but are afraid to show it, and will show it instead through sulking or silence, hoping their partner will guess. They can come to name their needs with a secure loving partner, but will struggle to do so.

People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style also have a need for intimacy – every mammal has this need hardwired in our limbic brains – but at a very early age they complete a transition to a belief that they are autonomous and do not feel their need for intimacy. They decide if the chair isn’t going to be there, they will just stand, thank you very much. They can come to open up and become secure as they come to recognize their distorted beliefs about intimacy, but they need lots of time, space, and compassion about how difficult this is for them.

Having thoroughly repressed their attachment needs, these folks may have learned to act ‘fine’ at a very young age in order to keep a dismissive attachment figure close, or may have learned to create constant nonverbal barriers in order to keep an unattuned, invasive or dismissive attachment figure at arm’s length. They may feel suffocated or trapped when people get too close, and will unconsciously and involuntarily use ‘deactivating strategies’ – body language and facial expressions – to tell even their most intimate people to ‘back up’ even in the most intimate moments.

In other words, the nonverbal cues that other people use with strangers on the subway to maintain distance are the daily communication that dismissive-avoidant attachers use with their closest family members, often without even understanding they are doing it, which may feel very confusing both to them and to those close to them. They may feel that no matter how hard they try, those who depend on them never get reassured. They may blame this on the other person and call them ‘needy’ without ever realizing the nonverbal distancing cues preventing secure attachment that are leading to the signs of ‘neediness’ in the other person.

Nurturance, the literature teaches us, recognizes and responds appropriately, in an alive, moving dance, to the other person’s need for intimacy and need for space, learning how to engage in nonverbal limbic communication that comforts, reassures, and breathes. In addition to talking openly and honestly, the quality of care that creates a feeling of safety happens in a moment-by-moment way through mainly nonverbal cues. The limbic brain does not use language but reads the small muscles around the eyes, the set of shoulders, the breathing, the posture, of other people.

‘Earned Secure’ attachment: where nurturance creates growth

It is possible to change your attachment style by creating an ‘earned secure’ attachment as an adult. It is possible to create an ‘earned secure’ attachment between two insecure attachers, but it takes a lot more time, effort, and compassion: both have to recognize nurturance is entirely good and expected.

Of course, nothing can replace talking things over and calibrating with people you are close to. No one should be a mind reader. But it takes more than talking to change these patterns. The avoider has to risk opening up and letting their true self show in order to give and receive nurturance, and the anxious attacher has to trust and let go more, knowing the avoider will be back. Both of these changes are difficult; limbic responses happen very, very fast, below the conscious level and often outside of language.

The easiest way to form an ‘earned secure’ attachment is by being in a relationship with a secure attacher, and learning healthy intimacy from them, in which needs are responded to as they arise. However, secure attachers usually date a few people, then pick one and settle down early. They know how to create a big warm home bond. Avoidant attachers tend to prefer anxious attachers, and anxious attachers tend to be drawn to avoidant attachers, because each reinforces the early ‘rules’ about ‘reality’ – actually just haphazard chance, what happened to be going on between them and their caregivers at the time – laid down in their limbic brains before the age of three.

Shame and guilt over which kind of attachment style you have are completely not appropriate or called for, as one’s attachment style is wired in from an age when we are much too young to choose. It is no one’s fault. However, shame and guilt can be quite convincing even when completely uneccessary, as is the nature of shame. It can be incredibly convincing to the person experiencing it even when it is completely absurd.

What does all this have to do with assault?

That summary – above – is what the books say. But like the boy in Gifts, many of us are fumbling into an even bigger picture, trying to see a pattern that is just coming clear. Our culture does not give us many signposts. I’m trying to put things together.

Fundamentally, a healthy, secure attachment style is what lets people effectively protect and care for the wellbeing of others. It allows for the skill of attunement: recognizing when someone wants to come close and when they want space, not only by asking but also by reading subtle nonverbal cues.

Attachment styles can land in any gender, of course, and people can combine in any combination.

However, when attachment styles land in particularly gendered ways, we see certain patterns emerge that are all part of the bigger pattern, and, maybe, they can be understood as part of the ‘answer’ to the question of violence.

People with secure attachment styles are better at recognizing and being comfortable with this dance of approach-and-retreat, better at supporting others while letting others do what they need to do. They know deep down they are loved and loveable, and thus are more likely to be loving and nurturing towards others, both to be there for them when needed as sources of strength and solace, and to be able to recognize and honour when someone does or does not want to be touched. Shame prevents this skill from emerging.

We misunderstand shame

Attachment science tells us that human beings need mirroring and containers in others. Whatever is in us that does not get mirrored, or held in a larger container of acceptance by others, becomes a source of shame, simply for not being accepted. And if you have shamed something in yourself – like a normal need for intimacy – so early and so completely that you don’t even notice you are doing it, you will interpret that same need as shameful when you see it in others. Shame is entirely subjective, in this sense. This is all happening in the body, below the conscious level, not in a vague ‘unconscious’ but in a recognizable region of the brain: the limbic brain, which does not have language.

Shame and guilt unhealed and unaddressed remain powerful and, like a volcano, rise up in surprising ways. For instance, shame can lead men to shut down and run or blame women or act defensive instead of offering comfort and nurturance when someone they care about needs them. It can, alternately, lead men to ignore signs that someone does not want them close.

These are two sides of the same system, and must be understood together, because in a culture that does not expect men to show up for their own emotions, women get blamed for unaddressed male shame. 

In other words, it seems possible that shame and guilt, left subterranean, interrupt attunement, and can lead to an inability or unwillingness to properly respond to the needs of others, whether for nurturance or for space. I mean the really deep, structural kind of shame, that is so old and convincing, it doesn’t even appear as anything in particular. It just appears as ‘the way the world is,’ laid down in patterns in the limbic brain. This kind of shame hides, appears as nothing in particular, until questioned with compassion and curiosity, deeply, in safe company.

Anxious attachment styles and the mystery of human relating

In a patriarchal, misogynist culture, both of these imbalances (which are common to all humans), when they appear in men, are laid in women’s laps as blame and misogyny when men do not do their own emotional healing.

I am making sense of this, bit by bit, seeing the pattern emerge. For instance: men with anxious attachment styles may feel distress when an attachment figure seeks to back up a little, or a lot, and may not develop a healthy capacity to recognize and respond appropriately to someone’s nonverbal cues communicating the need for space.

They may come closer or become upset as the other person signals their need to disengage. If a man who happens to have an anxious attachment style does not know how to understand and accept his own needs for nurturance, he may attack a woman for rejecting him. The typical ‘hello, cutie,’ on the street followed almost instantly with ‘fine, be that way, bitch’ is an example many of us will be familiar with.

They may not notice or register or in extreme cases be concerned that someone they want to touch has frozen up, is giving off signals of paralysis or distress. Thus we sometimes find men who don’t think of themselves as ‘bad men’ who nonetheless rape and assault: their partners, girlfriends, wives, or women on a first or second date. (This is how the majority of assaults happen, of course: the ‘man jumping out of the bushes’ while more spectacular is much more rare.) They may resort to seeking power-over and dominance, because normal intimacy needs, when distorted and denied, come out in distorted ways. They are caught up in their own pain and can’t name it, or find appropriate avenues for it, and given the larger social norms that centre men’s experiences, this imbalance doesn’t get addressed as an imbalance but instead gets projected out into the world. A society that actively, financially, politically, socially, privileges traits it deems ‘masculine’ – nonemotionality, strength, independence – and actively disparages traits it deems ‘feminine’ – interdependence, nurturance – has few ways for these patterns to be openly loved, addressed, and changed.

In another example, those with a preocuppied-avoidant style – who feel the need for closeness but have a hard time asking and do not expect others to be there for them – may sulk if they feel rejected, putting silent pressure on women they are with to meet their demands. Perhaps the sulking partner who turns away in anger when sexual desires aren’t met may be having a limbic attachment experience that needs to be addressed as such, in a mature way, a way that takes ownership of the experience and works to heal it rather than project it outwards onto women.

Avoidant attachment styles: holding trust

Those with a dismissive-avoidant style may simply need to develop attunement in order to hold the trust they are given. They may want women to get close to them at first, and begin to build trust, but not actually know how to maintain trust once it begins, which can create destabilizing and confusing experiences for everyone involved.

When men happen to have a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, they may simply not know how nurturance and comfort looks and feels. They may have a very difficult time recognizing and loving their own deepest selves, and not even be aware of what they have lost. Thus they may blame women for being ‘too needy’ out of not recognizing their own needs for closeness and nurturance of self and others, having learned early that closeness is suffocating and that needs are to be denied.

They may not recognize their own body’s needs for comfort and connection, which result in elevated heart rate and changes in neurochemicals just as it does for anxious attachers, but in a way the avoidant attacher does not understand or recognize as they learned early on to repress these needs completely in themselves and others. They may not know how to meet their own and other people’s needs simultaneously, a highly developed nurturance capacity.

Even if they do not act in invasive ways, their style may inadvertently interrupt the creation of deep, honest, nurturing relationships, in which women they sleep with or get close to can feel emotionally safe with them.

In striving to be good people they may make ‘rules’ (like ‘a good man doesn’t touch,’) and have a very logical approach to checking if a woman wants to be touched, but have a harder time responding to her nonverbal cues or even sometimes responding to verbal cues for comfort and reassurance, creating an odd gap feeling.

The attachment needs are still there, but they may transmute into other more recognizeable things: instead of giving and receiving nurturance they may seek sexual connections while feeling utterly bewildered about how physical love relates to intimate or consummate love. They may experience immense, paralyzing guilt and shame when someone needs them to be comforting, and lash out, freeze up, or run. They may hurt people they care about by having sex with them in a strangely cold or distant way, without even knowing why they are doing it.

If a man with an avoidant attachment style experiences internal distress when someone he cares about expresses nurturance needs (such as the need for trust, reliability, availability, closeness, responsiveness, attunement) he may blame the woman for ‘being too needy’ instead of dealing with those intensely confusing feelings of shame.

Men with avoidant attachment styles may not notice the confusing nonverbal signalling they are actively doing very early on that prevents safety from happening with women they want to nurture and support, who may become more and more imbalanced towards them in response.

Since ‘absence of nurturance’ is just an absence, it can be hard to recognize early. When early avoidant responses to requests for closeness are not noticed as such, attachment science teaches us, ‘protest behaviour’ – the distress when needs aren’t met – may get louder over time, in ways both people are contributing to and neither understand. It becomes all too easy in a patriarchal culture that values rugged individualism over interdependence to call an anxiously-attached woman ‘crazy’ without noticing the parallel avoidant responses that are contributing, that are ‘crazymaking’. In other words, it takes two to enter into the avoidant-anxious trap, but patriarchal culture normalizes an avoidant style and stigmatizes an anxious style, wherever it appears.

None of this is worthy of shame; fundamentally, all of the insecure styles are based in an unquestioned belief that people will not be there for them and that nurturance is somehow a problem rather than wholly desireable and good. Avoidant attachers ‘know’ from an early age that the ice will break, the chair will collapse, best not to try. Insecure attachment styles are not chosen, are not conscious or intentional, and it is an understatement to say they are not easy to change. They deserve understanding, compassion, and empathy.

And yet living without loving, secure attachment bonds is the loneliest experience in the human repertoire.

Community care and cultural transformation

The solution to this is not to pile on more shame and guilt. This is really tricky, because insecure attachers have limbic brains structured by shame and guilt and may hear accusations where there are none. The solution is not to shame people for feeling shame. Instead, the solution is a complete transformation of social relations to allow wholeness back into our world. Yes, models of healthy interdependence exist if we know where to find them and how to recognize them. But no one stands in a shining circle of light and no one lives in the dark abyss; it is time we finally abandon these Eurocentric, western dichotomies.

What we need is a model for slow self-love that brings the shame up into the light, and reality checks with others who accept you unconditionally, hold you accountable, and aren’t going anywhere. We need a model of justice that recognizes the lived reality of interdependence and learns to do it well, not a justice of shame that frightens us all out of looking at our shadow sides or weakest selves in a world in which most men are expected to cut off parts of themselves from the time they are quite young.

The solution, in tangible terms, is community care and a great deal of awareness of how most of us did not get our needs met at key developmental stages, which means we did not move out of those stages and must do so now. Collective healing is possible. We can heal when we can finally be our whole, unguarded selves, in human community, without shields or guards, and be liked, accepted, seen, held. This is systemic change, spiritual change, at the core levels of our culture, lived each day.

Once shame can be reduced to more manageable levels, both personally and culturally, people can become more able to openly expose their raw spots trusting they will be accepted, and can respond to the needs of others rather than freeze and become defensive, invasive, or paralyzed.

Turning the gifts around: masculine nurturance culture

The answer to all of these difficulties is to openly discuss nurturance: how it looks, how it feels, how men can learn to practice it from the men who already know how in addition to communicating through women or fumbling around for years learning by trial and error.

Simplistic answers gleaned through this fumbling do not help: for instance, some men may actually avoid nurturing or protecting women out of fear of ‘white knighting.’ But ‘white knighting’ isn’t synonymous with ‘all forms of protection.’ White knighting means acting ‘protective’ in ways that aren’t attuned. Paternalistically telling her what she needs instead of listening to what she says is white knighting. To stop white knighting, don’t stop protecting; just protect while you also listen and believe. Protect her, actively, in the ways she actually wants protecting, and not in the ways she does not. Protecting people you care about – in ways that are attuned and responsive to their actual needs – is a normal, needed, and healthy part of nurturance. Only in the wasteland of guessing and fumbling alone would this confusion even be possible.

Why is there no high-profile institute for men teaching nurturance skills to men?

Men need to do this work with other men – not alone, not instead of doing it with women, but in addition, in accountable relationship with and to women. In other words, keep learning in the ways learning is happening now – but then share that learning with one another. Our institutions need to count this work as valuable, rewardable labour: fund it, give it high prestige, give it speaking tours and jobs in teaching nurturance. Read that line a few times. It sounds so impossible, doesn’t it?

The absurdity of that line suggests it may be a long time before a nurturing masculinity is recognized and rewarded socially the same way an abstract intellectual masculinity currently is.

In the meantime, men need to do this healing work every day, behind the scenes, reaping the rewards of having women and people of all genders feel safe with them, and of growing their own self-love and love of one another.

The wonderful reward of creating safe bonds is that in these places of trust, a warm glow of meaning and purpose emerges.  An inner circle of trust and vulnerability allows movement and rest: it lets the bees come and go from the hive. It creates shelters of chosen family and beloved community from which action, challenges to racism, sexism, institutional violence, can arise, a safety net to catch each other’s bodies and souls, the foundation that allows risk.

The opposite of masculine rape culture is masculine nurturance culture. This is men’s work to do, and yet it is needed by people of all genders who have men in their lives. The rewards are waiting.

Are you a nurturing man? Do the women in your life – partner, daughter, sister, friend, coworker, parent – tell you or show you that you make them feel unusually safe and close and cared for? If so, how did you learn? How do you open up spaces for men who want these conversations to begin to have them?

Every single man I asked this of said, “both men would need to want it.” Fear of closeness, masculine codes of interaction, the lower-level lizard-brain signals that men send one another, are real and are part of the picture. But many men are struggling with these questions, locked alone in their own little boxes.

Men have to do this with other men, despite the difficulties in doing so, for three reasons. For one, men understand what it is like to be a man much better than women do, and they can teach one another while understanding what it actually feels like and having compassion for one another. Men must also do this with other men because, frankly, women cannot be responsible for healing men while they also protect themselves from male violence and neglect, which is still endemic and thus a daily part of women’s lives. Finally, one of the great distortions of the human spirit in our culture is that each man lives in solitary confinement, thinking they can and should solve problems alone, that they shouldn’t need others. Jumping the barriers that keep men from talking about emotions with other men is itself a fundamental change, one that reduces shame and confusion.

So how do you know when men around you – the friend you just met for drinks, the colleague you have collaborated with on projects for years, the hockey buddy – may actually be quietly confused and thirsty for this kind of learning?

How can you signal your availability, to let men in your life know you are doing this yourself, so that those men who want to learn about nurturance can find each other? It’s as simple as starting a men’s discussion group based on this article.

It can be as simple as sharing this piece, and asking, “does this ever come up for you?”

It can be as simple as sending someone you know this piece, and saying “I’m available.”

It can be as simple as posting this piece, and saying “I’m here.”

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Resources:
Hold me Tight, Sue Johnson
Wired for Love, Stan Tatkin
A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon
Attached, Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller
Bell Hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love

Find out your attachment style with this quiz.

Read more: Own, Apologize, Repair: Coming Back to Integrity

“On whatever axes we experience oppression, our best qualities are fed back to us as weaknesses to disguise our own tremendous power and size from ourselves. Because of the nature of structural violence, which creates the conditions in which these acts land in our bodies, this undermining of reality does not need to be conscious or intentional in order to cause significant harm.”  Read more: On Gaslighting

Want to dig deeper? To cultivate nurturance and build strong secure bonds, practice recognizing The Tricks of Shame and Hope

How can male allies empathize with the experiences of those they try to listen to and support? It helps to understand Five Ways Psychological Abuse Affects the Brain that Make it Difficult for Survivors to Speak 

I love hearing from readers! Reach the author at nora.samaran@gmail.com.

I apologize that I may not be able to respond to each request individually, but I read every email that comes in. 🙂

Sharing this link around is always welcome. However, I prefer people share it by linking directly to this page. Some sites in aiming to gather traffic have done this thing where they lift whole text articles and copy paste them onto their own pages, which hurts my blog because it draws traffic away. I’m not getting paid for this work; readers and visits are a big part of what make this work rewarding. Please do not lift or copy content without the express permission of the author. Thank you!

I love this Bay Area Transformative Justice pod mapping worksheet so much that big, dramatic, hyperbole feels called for. ie I wanna shout it from the rooftops and say it again and again: if you consider yourself a feminist man, or you allow others around you to let you walk around with this identity and you enjoy having that reputation, or if you find you get laid or get dates or partners because of this reputation, and if you have not yet mapped out your pod of people who you would want to call you on it when you act in abusive ways, then do this right now. like today. like right away. Because it is everything, it is wonderful: https://batjc.wordpress.com/pods-and-pod-mapping-worksheet/

For a world in which everyone can feel safer, including those who harm and those who cause harm. Thank you.

This is an incredibly on point and insightful piece from Everyday Feminism I highly recommend you read and act on right away:  Abusive ‘Feminist’ Men Exist — Here Are 6 Things Men Can Do to Stop Them

*men: I want to be clear here that I am using this term in a trans-inclusive way, referring to masculine-identified people. I have chosen not to write ‘men and trans men’ etc in the piece above because I’ve been told and understand trans men do not need their own separate signifier as that suggests they aren’t already part of the main signifier. I recognize there are different opinions on how to do this well; as a ciswoman I’m no expert, am open to feedback so let me know if this works. For now until I hear otherwise, I’m going with the approach that made the most ethical sense to me when I heard it.

Puung image used with permission by the artist. See more here: http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1/illustration.grfl

Also feel free to join the Nurturance Culture and Masculinity Discussion Space online to connect with other men (and people of all genders) doing this work.

Do you love speculative fiction and social justice? I am working on a speculative fiction project that deals with the transformations our planet is undergoing, and the undoing of cultures of domination. Cipher is currently seeking collaborators, advisors, an agent, and a publisher. Learn more about Cipher here.

Men’s discussion groups all over the world have gotten in touch to say they’re discussing this piece. If you start a men’s Nurturance Culture discussion group please let me know. 🙂

Dating Tips for the Feminist Man was originally housed at the Media Coop, and is archived here

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396 thoughts on “The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

  1. I don’t buy this at all. Many women tell me they feel safe with me, I have dozens of deep intimate relationships, I have many life-long friendships. My wife told me for 20 years that I was a good man and a good husband…

    And then ran off with a wealthy, violent, Harley driver.

    I am a ‘nice guy’. I have no trouble making friends with women. Last trip I was on I easily picked up a strikingly beautiful woman 25 years younger than me to travel with… But we did not sleep together, and that’s the norm. I have had one 72 hour period of sex in the last 9 years.

    Nice guys nurture – jerks get laid.

    I’d still rather be a nice guy – it’s in my DNA, but I certainly would not recommend it to others.

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        1. nope. i might believe that you have convinced yourself people think you’re nice for the sake of your fragile ego, but i don’t believe other people perceive you as a nice guy. you probably come off as skeezy to most people you encounter.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. “Last trip I was on I easily picked up a strikingly beautiful woman 25 years younger than me to travel with… But we did not sleep together, and that’s the norm.”

      sorry, did the ‘strikingly beautiful” woman 25 years younger than you agree that what was happening was that you “picked up”? Does ‘not having sex with a woman 25 years younger than you” make you a ‘good guy”? Are there any reasons to hang out with “strikingly beautiful” travelling companions other than having sex or not having sex with them? Do you think it reflects on you in some way that you were “able to pick up” a “strikingly beautiful woman 25 years younger than you”? Rather than simply being a pleasant experience to meet another human being while travelling? Does ‘getting laid’ indicate that you were ‘being nice’ by not ‘conquesting’ the woman 25 years younger than you? The series of assumptions here are breathtaking. But they seem invisible to you, so we’ll leave this at that.

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      1. “Do you think it reflects on you”, yes indeed. It indicates that I am very attractive to women – but only as a friend. “picked up” – agree – poorly worded – I think she would agree that we enjoyed travelling together. “not having sex … make you a ‘good guy” not at all. The point is that she was not interested in having sex with me, and deep down, no woman would – because I am a beta.

        I am a good guy because I am nurturing and empathetic and always put the needs of others before me.

        I think what I’m trying to say (poorly) is that based on my experience, the experiences of the 5 guys I have known since childhood, and talking to dozens of woman in the 35 to 75 year range, the approach of being a nurturer is flawed.

        We have a wonderful veneer of society over our base impulses. We are generally supportive, we try to help and heal the weak and the vulnerable. We continue to refine our morality to be more inclusive and fair. That is all awesome and I fully support it.

        But in the area of sex the veneer is useless because (and this is the important bit) “We can choose to not hurt someone but we can not choose to be attracted to someone”

        So if you are a beta/nurturer like me you will have many wonderful/deep/meaningful friendships, you will hold your friends hand when her mother leaves this life, you will spend hundreds of hours listening to peoples problems and providing emotional support, you will find wonderful traveling partners.

        But you will fail in marriage – because you are not attractive. You will hear the words “I wish I was attracted to you but I am not”

        So my advice to people starting out now – don’t make my mistakes.

        If you are an alpha male with integrity, don’t change your nature. Lead your marriage with the same dominance and leadership that you use in business, and your wife will still adore you 30 years from now.

        If you are a woman considering a partner, and you are not sure but he “seems like a nice guy” RUN! If you have a chance with a truly attractive man you will be sure, and you will turn your life upside down to be with him. Choosing a beta will just lead to heartbreak for both of you.

        If you are a beta man like me, get a hobby. Or if you really must follow the path of romance, accept that you will be discarded regularly, and an Alpha may easily take your mate at any time.

        I suppose it may be possible to become an Alpha, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.

        So that’s my observation based on 50 years of life experience.

        Thanks so much for responding 🙂

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        1. something in this is deeply disgusting and squicky and i cannot get clear on what. as someone who EXCLUSIVELY DATES what you seem to call ‘betas’ (what kind of fucking language is that anyway, we are not gorillas), something is amiss here. something is wrong. i will let others figure it out because i feel gross even coming near this. likely something else in how you think or interact is the real cause of whatever is getting in between you and the relationships you would clearly like to have. it isn’t being ‘beta’, whatever the fuck that even means. there is a world view distortion here that may be unsafe or unattractive for women, and that could be an entirely distinct cause than the one named here. i almost didn’t post this comment because something in it is disturbing and makes my skin crawl.

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        2. it might be the MRA / PUA framing. or something about the concept that it would take manipulation to ‘get’ women. or maybe the sad sack poor me stickiness that is hard to get off your skin. there is something damp and disconnected in this. my life is full of beautiful careful so called ‘beta’ (wtf?) men who have loving connected secure partnerships because they do not project all this wierd shit onto women. the problem is the projections. that could turn anyone off.
          i left this here because it feels like a good example of the kinds of wierd distortions that the paradigm shift we are working through can figure out together. maybe others can figure out what the awful gross feeling is in this framing. i can’t.

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        3. Sorry to make you uncomfortable, but I do think discomfort generally indicates growth. That growth could be either processing contradictory ideas, or growing your ability to deal with creepy imbalanced people.

          Either is good I think.

          I understand that I came across as “poor me”, that was not my intent. I think I lead
          a spectacular life. There is nothing wrong with abstinence, and I would add that the
          women I respect most are also “long term single” https://cyclingdutchgirl.com/ (In my personal life too). It’s plausible that I have an unhealthy fear of romantic rejection, but I think I more than compensate with my rich network of relationships – my POD is double digits.

          “there is a world view distortion here that may be unsafe or unattractive” agree it’s possible that I am uniquely dysfunctional. But I’m basing my position on more than just my experience. Of the 5 guys I mentioned, 3 are still happily married at 25+ years – they are not the ‘nice nurturing’ ones of the group.

          “we are not gorillas”, In most areas no, but some remain. Business, mating, and the prison system (which has specific prisons for the safety of inmates who – quote – “are lower on the pecking order”). Remember “we can not decide what we are attracted to” – and that makes us gorillas in the area of mating.

          “the problem is the projections” I respectfully suggest that I am observing, not projecting. I talked to a woman last year who had this story. “When we were young, X was interested in me and I would use him for emotional support, but reject his advances. One day he said ‘If this is not going to become a romantic relationship then the emotional support ends, and we are no longer friends’ That was the day I started seeing him as attractive.” Their marriage is only 12 years old, but they seem happy.

          I don’t think I would ever say that to a woman, but it’s the point I am trying to make. If you focus on being a nurturer and don’t look out for your own interests people will not respect or be attracted to you.

          “take manipulation to ‘get’ women” I may have missed something, can you quote the line you are referring to?

          You said you tend to date betas, I’m curious if you also notice a pattern of loosing interest in partners after 36 to 72 months?

          Thank you again for posting – it takes real fortitude to discuss deeply held beliefs – I respect you for continuing this.

          And yes please – anyone else want to jump in?

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        4. there are SO MANY ASSUMPTIONS in this i can’t even engage. honestly. we have completely different frameworks and worldviews. cognitive biases, whatever, something underpinning this entire framework feels horrible. I can’t express it, but I’ve learned to trust my hunches. We learn in logic and composition classes that when making a cause-effect argument, in order to make sense, one needs to check two things:
          -does this cause that
          -are there other possible causes

          Either of those could yield answers to the q of why relationships aren’t working for you. Including this whole gross idea that we ‘give’ emotional labour in order to ‘get’ laid. i can’t tell you how many times over my life I’ve had a ‘good friend’ who once he got clear that we weren’t going to hook up, became abruptly no longer a friend. (The most hurtful one I’m thinking of was arguably ‘alpha’ in your reckoning – he had lots of women who wanted him, he just wasn’t my type – see ‘mainly go for ‘betas’.). I can guarantee you that if a close guy friend of mine gave me that ‘i am giving emotional support out of a hope of getting sex, and so the emotional support ends if sex does not begin’ ultimatum I would lose all respect and trust and interest, stat.

          “You said you tend to date betas, I’m curious if you also notice a pattern of loosing interest in partners after 36 to 72 months?”

          no, that has not been how things have gone in my life. nor in the lives of those close to me, who are for the most part all geeks and nerds of one stripe or another. They become close friends, they date, they get married or commit, they have kids, they relax into good long term partnerships. That’s who I’m close to in general. I have exactly zero humans in my life who speak or think in gorrilla hierarchies and I wouldn’t touch men who think that way with a ten foot pole. I genuinely think this is likely your issue. I’ve had former partners who were low sexual desire who found good partners who matched their low sexual desire. i’ve had partners who became friends after who ended up on powerful committed poly relationships and are in triads and dyads and all manner of ads. None of the men I’ve known think of themselves in terms of ‘beta’ and ‘alpha’ and the only men I hear speak that way have MAJOR ISSUES that make them not good partners.

          I’m not going to engage any further in this conversation because something in it feels gross and violating. I hope something in here has been useful for you. If not, all good.

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        5. I think this article triggered me because I was raised to be a nurturer, and I was told that I was doing a good job, and then she left me for someone who was the complete opposite of what she said she wanted.

          The rest of my life blossomed after the divorce, but romantically I am stuck. I think I have gone from being a Feminist (in my 20s) to a mysonginst in my 40s – and I don’t know how to get back. I have many close female friends, but never want to go beyond friendship anymore.

          Thinking further there is nothing wrong with being a nurturer if you set healthy boundaries. I did not. By the time things started to strain I did not want to get help, I just wanted out.

          “does this cause that, are there other possible causes” very good point – there are dozens or hundreds of factors. Did your parents divorce, are you religious, how big is your support network – etc. We had many factors against us.

          Another point I thought of today. Everyone is different sexually. They can be attracted to any gender, any physical condition, even ferbies and car crashes, so it’s ridiculous to conclude that all women are attracted to Alphas.

          “I’m not going to engage any further” – see that’s setting good boundaries – something I wish I had understood much younger.

          This actually made me feel gross too, so that’s something for me to think about.

          A secondary reason for my OP was my theory that comment sections have become a lot more constructive since last time I looked (2011), I was poking to see what would happen (trolling). I think you were very constructive, and that’s really quite exceptional.

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        6. 1. Re: Lorne’s story. Personally I would see that neither as an “Alpha” dominance move nor as a quid-pro-sex demand, but the kind of honesty that leads to healthy, balanced relationships. X clearly communicated that he was interested in her as a potential partner and that he was investing a commensurate quantity/quality of emotional energy and time. And he acknowledged that she had the full right to say “Yes I’m interested” to move towards that, or “No I’m not” to just be friends – but in that case he would be scaling down his involvement to ONLY being a friend. I have seen a few of my friends dangling after people for months – or even years! – unable to make room in their lives for a healthier love interest because they kept dancing attendence on their crush. It’s not healthy for either person to be in a lopsided relationship like that, and just vanishing or cooling off with no explanation would have hurt her feelings, so I think being upfront like that was actually a good way to handle it.

          2. Lorne, I’m sorry to hear that your marriage ended so abruptly Unfortunately, even when we do everything “right” we still aren’t guaranteed the results we want, because other people have to make their own choices too. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

          Though on the other hand…

          3. Have you ever gotten angry because you put four quarters into the vending machine but it didn’t give you your Sprite? And then you realized whoops one of those was actually a nickel? Well when I hear someone upset that they weren’t valued in a friendship/relationship as much as they felt they should have been… My first reaction is to wonder what their nickel was. Because sometimes what we think we’re giving and what they’ve actually been receiving are two very different things.

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        7. Spiraling! Thanks very much for #2, a very long time ago my counselor said I was all awesome, and no need to come back, but I don’t think I was/am. I am very good at faking being okay.

          #3 yes we figured that out, but not until after she was spectacularly in love with Mr. WealthAndPower I know my love languages now, and I have met people who matched mine and were interested in me, but I still chicken out.

          #1 My mistake was not making it clear that my needs were not being met, so it was exactly that kind of lopsided relationship. I was too “nice”. A few years ago a woman said she didn’t trust “nice” people, and I was completely horrified, but she was right. Now I would rather be with someone straightforward and honest than someone “nice” (who – like me – might be very good at faking being okay)

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        8. A few more follow up thoughts.

          “feels gross and violating”, at first I thought this was a dishonest attempt to gain an emotional advantage by invoking guilt. After all this is a safe anonymous space and we can all block each other – except that it isn’t for Nora – by responding to me in her own blog she lost the (relative) anonymity benefits that the rest of us have. It’s not a safe sparing space for her. More importantly my premise that “All women are attracted to Alphas” is a categorizing statement, so very likely received as sexist. So it’s very reasonable to feel violated by the premise and I do apologize to her, and anyone else reading.

          “had a ‘good friend’ who once he got clear that we weren’t going to hook up, became abruptly no longer a friend”. I can certainly empathize with this. Solutions -> make friends with monogamous couples, or people who are “long term single”. If someone is recently single, or telling you how bad his/her relationship is, enjoy the connection, but assume it will be of limited duration. Given time we develop intuition and learn to read the signals. If a woman is constantly looking at my lips, chances are she’s not looking for friendship. If she is sharing unusually personal information, chances are she’s not looking for friendship.

          “I have gone from being a Feminist (in my 20s) to a misogynist in my 40s – and I don’t know how to get back”
          When first divorced I followed the recommendation to wait 2 months per married year before trying again (40 months). That caused a dissonance between my conscious and unconscious desires. Adopting a misogynistic (NCFM MTGOW) world view (specifically the belief that any woman would loose interest after 36 months) eased the dissonance and provided a safe place for me to wait it out, but it was damaging once the time had elapsed. If I am going to begin pursuing relationships, restoring my Feminist world view would be a wise prerequisite. Throwing the misogynistic world view before a group of feminists and watching it burn may have been a step in making that transition.

          We often get caught up in determining the most accurate world view. I don’t think that’s realistic – better to choose the world view you wish to have and stick with that.

          This was a wonderful thought experiment. Thanks everyone for the feedback. Even the “I don’t think you’re nice” sparked some interesting thoughts 🙂

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        9. good luck figuring things out, glad this was helpful. i don’t do ‘dishonest invokings of guilt’ – if that’s something that you’re accustomed to doing or hearing maybe that’s part of what’s odd in this. there are layers of something gross in this whole thing. clear out something in this and that might get you to a clearer solution. that’s all i can say about this. have a good night and good wishes with your next steps.

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        10. “she’s not looking for friendship.” WTF NO”
          I consider this a reputable source? Item #3 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201607/5-reasons-we-tell-people-more-we-should

          “i don’t do … accustomed to doing or hearing” hmmm I think that’s about as falsifiable as “I’m a nice guy”. We are never 100% self aware. But it’s clear from this whole exchange that I jump to the worst conclusion first, and that’s not constructive.

          Nice bit on overcoming biases

          “good wishes with your next steps”
          Thank you so much!! I hope all goes well for you too 🙂

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    2. Just adding my two cents. I agree with Lorne. No one would describe me as nice or particularly empathetic, more often distant, cold or brisk, but I’ve never had a problem getting laid, nor have I struggled to find myself in relationships. My more empathetic and in touch with their

      Like

      1. …. more obviously empathetic and in-touch-with-their-feelings male friends, however, are generally the ones who struggle most with their relationships, which is kind of sad, because they’re nice dudes.

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  2. Wow, I’ve been so waiting for just this article and info assimilation.Thank you so much for your voluminous mind and writings, a candle in the dark. Gratitude too for all the comments that help me wrap my heart around the soup that is hue-man-ity. For those of us who are older, it’s a miracle that these conversations are flowing, hopefully inviting an ocean of openings into integral communion
    .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a really beautiful piece, and put a mirror up to me in ways that feel helpful. My friends and family consider me a very nurturing person, especially for a man, but I also recognize in this article, myself as an anxious-attacher—and I think it is this, as much as being nurturing, that makes me feel somewhat out of step with typical patterns of American maleness. Mostly, I just want to say thank you SO MUCH for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a nurturing male. My father was an affectionate loving man who could also be abusive and controlling when he didn’t get his way. I did not want to emulate him in my marriage and have succeeded but it was a difficult conscious struggle for many years. Early in my marriage I found it difficult to understand how to be a husband. I would go to work and compete and achieve then come home and have to not compete and achieve but relate and support my wife and our infant son. I felt torn – on the horns of a dilemma – no role models to show me how. Should I give in to what my wife wants and feel emasculated ? I slowly started to realise that many of us have a false view of male power and masculinity. There is an unconsious belief that as a man I should be able to get what I want in a relationship – sex, freedom, a wife to tend to my needs and if I am denied the things I want then I am weak – not a real man. The truth is that real male power is not about getting what I want but about what I contribute into the lives of those I care about the most. I came to realise that every decision I make has power – I need to seriously consider how each choice impacts those I care about. I sought guidance from a higher power and came to understand that my calling in life was to be a husband and father. If we could raise our two sons and daughter well then that would be a far more important contribution to humanity than any career. After 31 years of marriage we have achieved raising our children well. I understood that my boys would imitate me so I sought to treat their mother well and they are now excellent husbands. My daughter waited for a man who was strong and caring and found that in her husband.
    Every morning I hug my wife and tell her that I love her. We go on dates and I often buy her flowers. I am by no means perfect and am still working on my calling.

    The article says that nurturing is the opposite if rape culture but I believe that my nurturing comes from my personality being an introverted intuitive feeling type. There are males that are not touchy feel like me who may not be nurturing types but are able to also represent anti rape culture by using their male power in ways that honour, protect and care for their wives and other women. I taught my sons that when they are in conflict to ask themselves “How am I using my male power? Am I using it to get what I want or am I using it to care for my loved ones? ” The other thing I taught them was to use their power to set their wives free to get the best they can be.

    I often speak to other men about caring for their wives as the most important part of parenting. Get that relationship right and we set a powerful example for the next generation.
    It is working well for my family

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  5. “Violence is nurturance turned backwards.
    These things are connected, they must be connected. Violence and nurturance are two sides of the same coin. I struggle to understand this even as I write it.”
    This statement by Nora is poignant. This is also the underlying premise of the film “Crash”. Our need to be in connection is so frustrated by the false premise of individuality taken to isolating extremes, and our unskilful abilities to deal with mutual needs, in general, that, currently, we often will hurt others just to be in contact.
    The need for Nurturance is probably the only Universal we can find and base any ethical code on. Ethics lie behind any decision we make and we make so many decisions for ourselves, one another, and others that a truly functional apolitical, secular, overarching premise about humans and all living beings would be of enormous service. We need it for our children, we need it for those who raise the children, we need it for those who take the time to create services to support both the children and those who care for children. And then there are the elderly at the opposite end of the spectrum. In between there are those with physical challenges, which in turn challenge the premises of ableism. Let’s not forget, there are also the inevitable times when we are all ‘indisposed’ in some way or other. Nurturance, care, and caring is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ feeding all those around, where violence is the ‘burn that keeps on burning’ deconstructing all it touches. We need lots of the first and very small doses of the second. We need skills in administering both, in recognition of their chemical nature. Both genders need to feel competent in nurturing and dismantling, making and undoing, bearing and sharing the responsibility of knowing of our mortality. Knowing how to care/nurture is something we learn, through receiving meanwhile, learning how to care for others. (how many plants have suffered our bumbling efforts to care for them?) One of the first steps is listening, with our eyes and ears; each individual, in different moments needs something just that little bit different. We learn to listen to our complex, and occasionally contradictory, inner needs and nurture ‘them’ by learning to listening to others empowered by our attention to speak frankly. Self-harm, a pernicious violence, would fade. Statistics show how skilled we are in harming ourselves, which DOES harm others through our innate interconnectedness. It could be that violence is at the other end of the spectrum of nurturance/care, but we need more care than violence; it takes more energy to maintain a form than undo it (mortality’s entropy gnaws on form) All of us need more care. How about doubling up and doing it together, at the same time. #EthicsofCare (Joan Tronto, Virginia Held, M Barnes, T, Brannelly and more )

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  6. You got it right there. I believe you said it already in your article but I am just offering my two cents as a different way of describing this growing epidemic of violence over both our sisters and brothers which has infected our entire collective human consciousness. I’m sure you would agree that the shadow of denial of the extent that it has become so endemic must be brought out of the shadow and into the light through more awareness and the compassion of both men and women for each other. We as human beings are all apart of the problem and we also must all be a part of the solution – together! One bright note is my belief that we are about to reach the bottom with this problem and just as often it takes the alcoholic or addict to reach the bottom, to admit that they have a problem and to say that enough is enough in order to begin their own recovery. We cannot force a solution, but we must have as much compassion for the perpetrators of violence as we would for anyone who has a physical or psychological disease for which they are not responsible.. Namasté

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  7. Thank you Nora. This is what I have been trying to articulate for years with only moderate success and many tears of frustration. You stated it perfectly, with empathy, understanding, and solid, scholarly knowledge. I sent your article to my Dad and it reached him in a way that nothing I have ever said to him has. It helped him understand himself and his relationships with his wife and children better and gave him the courage and a vehicle for opening up to me a little more. Please keep up the good work you are doing and never stop!

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    1. hi thank you, i appreciate the interest and support. i prefer that people who like the posts however just write a little recommendation in their own posts and direct people to read it here. would that be ok? i have a note at the bottom of the he post expressing not to lift while articles without expressly asking first.

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