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I was talking with a former lover and the conversation turned towards some of her recent experiences with men.
She expressed some discomfort about the way she had been treating one man who had been wanting to date her.
Somehow when he was around she felt uneasy and often found herself snapping at and being bitchy towards him. As she is usually a friendly, positive and loving individual she did not feel good at acting in this way. We dove into this and explored it more looking into what was causing her seemingly reactive behaviour.
As we unpacked the details of their interactions together, it became obvious that there was a way in which he was needing more from her than she was willing to give. The subtle feelings from this neediness coming from him was unpleasant to her and as such she was falling into behaviour that she hoped would drive it away— either by having him take a stand and show up in a more centred way, or by having him go away completely.
This discussion had me begin really reflecting on all the times women in my life had acted in a bitchy way towards me; suddenly I felt my heart surge with a newfound level of compassion and understanding for the whole thing.
Nothing brings out a woman’s inner bitch like a needy man.
The phrase popped into my head and stayed there for the next few days rolling around as a contemplation.
There have been many occasions in my life, either with women I was just meeting or even girlfriends I had been with for a while where I was on the receiving end of her being bitchy and cold towards me. Usually this was a certain look on her face that would instantly sink my heart deep into my belly, or it may be her snapping at me, her ignoring me or being stand-offish.
The experience always hurt.
As I go back and reflect on these encounters I discover that absolutely, in all instances, I was acting in a way that I now identify as needy.
What this means is that I was wanting something from her and either not owning that want (i.e. expecting her to figure it out and give it to me without me having to ask) and/or was way too attached to getting that thing that I wanted to the point where I would be upset if I didn’t get it.
Perhaps this thing was affection, perhaps it was trying to get a date or have a woman enter into relationship with me, perhaps it was trying to get sex, or perhaps I even wanted her to somehow make my life better.
I totally understand though how unattractive it is for a man to be coming from this place. It speaks of a lack of confidence, a lack of certainty and quite possibly even a fear of the woman.
How could a partner be inspired by this?
At the very minimum it suggests a man that will never be able to open her to the fullness of love she yearns to experience, and at the more extreme end it also points to some instability of character that could quite well be dangerous.
If a man is going to be upset when he doesn’t get what he wants from a woman it isn’t much of a reach to see the possibility that he could potentially become violent one day. Why should a woman settle for any of these circumstances?
I actually feel sad at the thought that many women, and men, live incredibly reactive lives full of drama and pain.
And so beginning to see and understand this dynamic I discover myself with a sense of softness, compassion and space for a woman’s natural tendency to protect herself. I feel all residual resentment and anger drain away and I can see more of the picture.
I really don’t think any woman wants to be bitchy or do things to hurt others; in fact I think it is actually more likely that a woman is secretly cheering us men on, hoping that we can show up as strong, confident and centred so that she can relax and open feeling safe and empowered.
If she is single it is quite possible that she is hoping we can be that man who will light her body and soul up with butterflies and excitement. If we are in relationship with her I am sure she is hoping we can again be that solid man that has her feeling ever-increasing levels of love and turn-on.
However as humans wanting to grow and evolve we can always find more elegant ways to work with ourselves and each other.
Tips for Men:
Cultivate compassion for women, learn to understand that she is only protecting herself and that if she becomes bitchy she is actually reactive and likely not even enjoying the way she is acting.
Use this as an opportunity to look more closely at yourself, are you being needy? Are you wanting something from her?
It may hurt to be rejected in this way and while it is personal, it’s also not. It’s not that there is something inherently wrong with you, rather there is an opportunity to do more self-work and cultivate a solid love of your own life and detachment to needing women to fulfil you.
Women of the world want you to succeed, truly. Most don’t want to hurt you, yet they are human beings too, doing their own work, wanting to love and be loved, and have natural defensive mechanisms to keep them safe. Sometimes these mechanisms are going to appear harsh, but it is possible to embrace it as part of our training as men and learn to create a rock-solid, grounded and unshakeable centre.
This is what seems to turn women on.
Don’t you want to be the kind of person that inspires the depths of love, joy and arousal in your partner? I certainly do.
Tips for Women:
Women can also cultivate compassion for men here.
If you are able to work through your reactive tendencies when a man, particularly if he is actually a really nice guy yet just lacks that “oomph” you probably want, comes across as needy you might actually be able to help him out on his journey.
Responding with curiosity and love doesn’t mean you will now be obligated to go on a date, get into a relationship or have sex with him. If you notice yourself becoming cold and/or bitchy it may be possible to pause and look at him through another lens. See if you can notice the part of him that genuinely wants to be a great man and get curious about what it is getting in the way right now, perhaps after expressing your boundaries clearly first.
How about something along the lines of “I am not feeling attracted by the way you are acting towards me right now, it seems like you are overly attached to wanting me to like you. Is that true?”
While this kind of thing may run counter to how you want to interact with a man, and it certainly is vulnerable to speak in this kind of way, consider what you want in the world. Do you want your interaction to leave a man thoughtful on the ways he can grow and someday become a great man for someone else, or do you want to leave him resentful, hurt and bitter towards women by being rejected harshly (probably yet again)?
My last thought in this article is to say that even though I wrote about this dynamic from the needy man and bitchy woman perspective, I did so from a place of this being my most common experience. This same dynamic can show up in the exact opposite way with a needy woman invoking a man’s inner a**hole.
Many great spiritual teachers teach of positive detachment, and I believe that this lies in all realms of our experience.
Cultivating detachment to needing another to be responsible for our own happiness and well-being is essential in the path to liberation, joy and healthy, mature relationships.
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Author: Damien Bohler
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Mariana Amorim at Flickr