Another important point to name here… is that it is imperative that you stay connected to your body during these emotional release practices.
It’s all too easy to eject out of our bodies and/or get lost in our stories when doing deep emotional work. Instead of staying connected to the movement of the anger/sadness itself, you might start picturing the painful events of your past and focus too heavily on them. If you get lost in your head during emotional catharsis work, then this doesn’t actually move the energy through you… it just keeps it stuck and the cycle perpetuates.
If you need to, pause if it feels too overwhelming. Above all, you want to stay in the felt experience of it.
Having given your pain some breathing room, it’s now time to move on to the next step. The following steps are where we start to take ownership of some trickier parts of our mind, and this is where the real work begins (so don’t be surprised if your ego resists some or all of the following four steps). Steps 1 and 2 are likely to be the parts of this process where you have the most practice… and steps 3-6 are the ones where we start to wake up from our pain cycle and move into real healing.
3. Make a list of all of the things that you have ever done to men
Again, this is where the ego can start to kick up and you might experience some heightened resistance. The ego, that wants to maintain separation and be correct about its stories, craves the satisfaction of living behind the perpetually pointed finger. ‘Men are the problem! I have nothing to do with this!’ Alas, nothing will come of this story aside from a life lived behind a wall of projection and fear.
Now, take out several pieces of paper and write down all of the ways in which you have been unkind to men. Victimized them. Taken advantage of them. Knowingly hurt them. Abused your power with them. Said things to make them hurt.
The more thorough, and honest, you can be in this process, the better off you will be for it (and the easier the following steps will become). If a part of you wants to skip this step and stop reading here, then I promise you that you will always be at the mercy of your mind’s stories.
Defenses do what they would defend against.
When our pain is left unchecked for too long, we often start to become the monsters that we are doing battle within our own minds.
So it is an imperative step that you take ownership of all of the things that you have done to men, whether you rationalized it as a justifiable response or not.
4. Write down a list of all of the (difficult) ways that you see yourself as being similar to men
Having taken ownership of the ways in which you have hurt men, it is now time to bring it home and take a deeper level of ownership.
On a separate piece of paper, write down the sentence, “Something that I see in men that I see in myself is…” and then complete that sentence over and over again until you have exhausted your truths.
There is no healing with the enemy until we integrate with the enemy. This is why the most classic stories of all time (Star Wars, The Matrix, etc.) all end with the protagonist seeing himself in the enemy that he has been battling. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Some examples of what you write down could be:
“Something that I see in men that I see in myself is…
– A propensity to abuse my power when I know that I can get away with it
– I have knowingly said vicious things in order to hurt men
– Competitiveness with women
– I judge women and uphold sexism, in my own ways, frequently
– I have punished men by weaponizing my words, emotions, and thoughts towards them, which I’m sure has been felt by them on many occasions
– I sexualize women and make negative comments about other women’s bodies/personalities/etc.
– I can be controlling, deceitful, and dismissive”
You finish this sentence stem, over and over, until you feel complete. And, a friendly reminder, this process shouldn’t necessarily feel easy. Sure, you may feel some relief when you take ownership of certain themes, but in general, taking ownership of such difficult psychological content will likely be quite painful and draining at times.