With all the wins, struggles, and rejections we have experienced, we may feel like we’re damaged in some way. It’s normal not to know how to embrace and come back home to your true essence. So, we have Amy Killingsworth to remind us that it’s possible to feel peace again. She shares deep insights on feminine and masculine qualities and stereotypes and healing gender polarity dysfunction. Amy explains ways to apply this to your life and benefit from it to gain a greater degree of fulfillment and feel at home again. Healing ourselves is essential for us to have great relationships with others too. Learn how to accept our differences and treat each other as equals. Amy dives deep into setting your boundaries and understanding the mystery of men and women.
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Healing Gender Dysfunction To Have Long Lasting Relationships
The gender divide or gender dysfunction as I call it is one of the greatest sources of pain and lack of fulfillment in our personal lives, in our families, and in society as a whole. In this episode, I’m wrapping up a miniseries on gender polarity. I started out talking about what polarity is then I covered femininity and masculinity. I’m going to tell you how to interact with these concepts to begin to heal this and to experience the benefits of gender reconciliation in your life. Welcome to season 2, episode 12 of the show.
In this episode, we are talking about healing gender dysfunction. This is episode number four on a little miniseries on gender polarity. It would be great if you were to go back and read the prior three. In the first episode in the miniseries, which I believe was episode number nine, I did an overview of polarity and original design as it has to do with genders and what it has to do with your healing and your purpose. In episode number ten, I did femininity. In episode number eleven, I covered masculinity. Those are all highly conceptual.
What I wanted to do in this episode is talk about how do you apply this to your life and benefit from it to heal your own self and your relationships, to gain a greater degree of fulfillment, and be able to feel like you’re at home in your skin because this is a big piece that is missing and that is painful when you find yourself operating in opposite of your original design, not knowing how to embrace and come back home to your true essence. With that being said, we’re calling this episode Healing Gender Polarity Dysfunction.
Remember that healing is a return to your original design. You were either a masculine person or a feminine person. That doesn’t mean that you don’t display or access the opposite qualities. It means that you have a place where you’re at home according to your original design but what happens is we go through life. We put masks upon masks. If you’re a super feminine person and you get hurt, we all have, you are integrated for your femininity, you’re not able to succeed in life or get the promotion or excel in sports maybe because of your femininity. Also, you start to see that as a roadblock to getting what you want, to getting love, being acceptable or pleasing, then you begin to put on masks and you develop this style of relating.
What I deal with a lot as a coach or even feedback when I teach this is that’s the way that I am. There’s the true you, the God designed essence of your original design where you will be happy, fulfilled, be able to access your purpose, and be who you were created to be in the world. That’s the zone of genius. There’s your personality or your style of relating. That is all of the characteristics that you have picked up that you’ve mimicked, that you have decided, that you’re going to implement, or how you’re going to be. It happens on a subconscious level. It’s not a conscious process but we can be, in our 30s, 40s, and 50s, be like, “That’s the way that I am.”
Masculine And Feminine
It’s your style of relating. Often, your style of relating is what is keeping you stuck in life and what is causing you a lot of pain. What we want to do is to be able to return to our original design by taking those layers off. The process of healing overall is to return to how we were created. Our original design before life taught us to be different in order to be loved, acceptable, successful, or pleasing. We’re going to start here between the genders or masculine and feminine. You’ve got the gender dynamic of what is your physical gender? Are you a man or are you a woman? You have the qualities that go along with femininity or with masculinity.It’s painful when you find yourself operating opposite of your original design and purpose. Click To Tweet
I covered this in great detail but the main characteristics of masculinity are protection, provision, and presiding. Protect, provide, and preside, which means that preside is directional. It’s strategic. It’s creating results, strategy, and execution. Think of a president of a company or a country. They’re in charge and they’re making things happen. Protection and provision. Women, females, femininity qualities are intuition, nurture, softness, receptivity, and creativity. Does that mean that a man can’t be creative? No. Does that mean that a woman can’t be strategic? No.
We have to be able to access those other realms of qualities to be able to be successful in life but the skill that we’re trying to develop is to know where we live. That opposite energy is like a tool. Think like, “I’m a feminine person. My hand would be like this is my femininity. It’s who I am. It’s part of me. I might pick up a hammer because I needed to pound a nail in and that might be a masculine quality that I picked up as a tool but as soon as I get that nail pounded in, then I needed to set the tool back down and use my hands. I don’t want to take the hammer around and try to comb my hair with it or eat with it.” We need the appropriate tool to be able to get the job done. We need to set the tool back down, be ourselves and not be encumbered by carrying around a hammer, a fork, a hairbrush, and have all this extra weight instead of being able to be free and being ourselves. I’ll talk about that a little bit more.
Same with men, the opposite is true as well. They need to be able to access creativity, nurture, and the emotional realm in order to be able to connect but they live somewhere else. They are at home somewhere else. Also, we could take the example of you live in your home city but maybe you want to go visit somewhere else to have a new experience, to maybe get a job done or meet with some clients but then you come home to where you live, you sleep in your own bed, and you’re surrounded by familiar things. It’s nice, fun, and productive to go somewhere but you always want to come back home. You don’t want to just be wondering in this foreign land all the time.
Equalization, Not Homogenization
The first thing we need to talk about where gender is concerned or masculinity and femininity is equalization but not homogenization. We’re different. We need to define those differences and celebrate them. That’s one of the things that feminism started out great. It was the idea that women are equal and they need to be paid the same amount of money for jobs that are the same type of work. They should be able to vote and have a say in political matters. Yes, to all of that, but what it turned into feminist activism is a war on men, how men are inferior to women in some way, and how feminine qualities are superior.
It’s just as far out of balance than what feminism came to create. We need both equally elevated to properly express the image of God and society. We need men and women running corporations, churches, government, and homes. We need mothers and fathers. We need masculine and feminine to adequately express the image and the nature of God. What happens is that when women are showing up as men, we may have a biologically feminine person in a position but if she’s operating in her masculine, she’s not operating in her zone of genius to be able to bring femininity to that situation. I hope you’re seeing how this works. We need women to show up as women and be powerful. They need the space to do that but we also need to open up the space for men to show up in their power and be celebrated for that.
Defining differences and celebrating them, equality but not homogenization. We don’t want to look like and be the same as each other. Our genius is when we’re not, when we are operating how we were created and designed to operate. I believe that this is a huge key in unlocking solutions to the major problems in the world, certainly marital problems, organizational health, declining church attendance, teen suicide, and pretty much anything that you can look at that is tragic. Our culture and our society will come back to the relationships, a family support system. I’m not saying that if you don’t have a male or a female in your home that your kids are doomed. I’m saying that for a culture to exist in health, it needs equality but not homogenization. It needs a feminine influence and a masculine influence equally but not the same.
I covered this but I’m going to say it again because it’s so important. We need to make a commitment to stop emasculation. Emasculation is reducing or eliminating someone’s ability to produce results by complaining, criticizing, or taking over. The word means castration, which means to cut a man’s balls off. Excuse the abruptness or maybe the harshness of that. I know that’s a disgusting and confronting concept. When you take a man’s masculinity away, you’re taking away his virility and his ability to reproduce, produce results.
We do this by complaining, criticizing, or taking over like, “You’re not getting it done fast enough and well enough, I’ll do it.” That is very emasculating but we don’t just emasculate men or romantic partners. We emasculate our bosses and each other as women. Men emasculate each other. We emasculate little boys and little girls. We do this when we reduce somebody’s ability to create results by criticizing, complaining, or taking over. If we look at the show framework, it’s about emotional healing and solving the problem of blame. Blame is at the root of complaining, criticizing, and taking over. We need to see this for what it is and commit not to emasculate, especially men, because masculinity is their gift that they bring to the table but each other as well.
Stop Denigrating The Opposite Gender
The other thing is to stop denigrating the opposite gender or your own. What I see all the time is I know somebody who every time she finds a design flaw in a kitchen, if you have to reach over the sink to get to the garbage disposal switch, she’ll be like, “This was designed by a man.” The implication is that men are never in the kitchen and they don’t know a function in the kitchen because they don’t cook and they’re not smart in that way. That’s funny but it’s denigrating the opposite gender. Women are bad drivers or women are crazy. It’s denigrating the opposite gender may be funny. It’s a little bit of a release valve for quite a bit of pain. It causes pain as all expression does. We’ll handle this in a different episode in how we heal emotions.
It’s important to make that commitment to celebrate and honor the opposite gender as well as our own for its qualities. Remember, there are healthy men and women, and there are unhealthy men and women but just because a man is unhealthy and he doesn’t operate according to his original design, doesn’t mean that’s a man quality. It means that man is unhealthy and he needs some healing. Here is some specific application. This is where I wanted to take this because I hate to offer complex concepts without being able to improve your life with it and your relationships.
For women relating to men, this is where it gets a little bit sticky because women are raised with an idea that we need to be pleasing. If we’re hungry, we need to not ask for food, not eat, or not be hungry. We need to suck our stomachs in, be pretty, be smiling all the time, and forgo our own needs for the sake of being pleasing, usually to men because our survival depended on it. We are programmed from our ancestors to need men to survive, to go out, kill the wooly mammoth, and bring food back, or in the 50s to go out and earn a living while we take care of the kids. It’s not that way anymore. We don’t need them to survive but this is programmed into us from birth. We need to forgo our own needs, truth, and reality to get our survival need met.
The question is, should you dishonor yourself or be inauthentic in order to honor men and be pleasing to them? The answer is not. That is not what I’m saying. That is what has created a lot of backlash. That has a lot of women feeling bitter and enraged for years of trying to stuff themselves into a box to be able to be acceptable in a man’s world or successful in a man’s world. That’s not what we want. That’s the opposite of what we want. What do we do? How does this look to us as women that want to empower and honor men and to stop emasculating them but still be authentic and honoring to ourselves?Men and women are different, but we need to define those differences and celebrate them. Click To Tweet
The first thing is that we need to learn to set boundaries and ask for our needs to be met in an empowering way. Usually, when we feel threatened, our claws come out and we go for the groin. That’s when emasculation happens. We go to bring him down, to bring his strength back. That is the exact opposite. We have to move away from that instinct because when you go after his strength, he’s going to be protecting according to his design but he’s going to be protecting himself from you instead of protecting you. What you want is him to be activated in his original design to be protective of you, not self-protective from you. We need to learn to set boundaries and to ask for our needs to be met in an empowering way. No complaining, criticizing, and taking over.
The other thing that we need to be aware of is demanding. Demanding is offensive to the masculine. Here’s why. It’s because demand has only two responses available to it. When you demand something of someone, they either can submit to you or defy you. When they submit, that is yucky. Submission is yucky to a man. I’m not going to go into all the reasons for why that is, but he’s fashioned and wired to preside. Submission to a man is like death before dishonor. Think Braveheart, “They can take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom,” like the masculine values freedom. When you put them in a position that they have to submit to you, it’s gross and he hates it. If he does submit to you, you hate him. You have a lot of contempt for that. It’s bad. You lose respect for him. You may get what you want but you damage the dynamic between you. We want to be able to ask for something without demanding it.
The other option and this is honestly, if a man is very masculine, this is where he will go 100% of the time. It’s defiance. When you demand something, his options are to submit. It goes for women, too. Pay attention if you’re a parent because this is hugely applicable in the way that you deal with children. The masculine person will go into defiance 100% of the time when you make a demand on him. What that looks like is it could be passive-aggressive defiance or it could be outright like, “I’m not going to do that.” You’re in a fight and then you’re in manipulation. It’s a downward spiral. What does this look like? What does defiance look like?
The classic example is that he won’t pick his socks up off the floor, he won’t take the trash out without being asked, or he won’t put his dishes in the dishwasher. He just expects me to clean up after him all the time. You’re nagging and demanding him and he’s defying you. That’s a passive-aggressive way of defying you. The way that you ask for your needs is by appealing to his wiring to protect and provide. You ask him, which gives him a choice and that choice needs to be authentic. Any requests need to have the option to say, “My son is famous for this.” It’s a joke in our house with my oldest son. I’ll say, “Could you unload the dishwasher?” He’ll say, “Do I have to?” My answer is always, “You do not have to do that.”
He knows that if he chooses not to, there’s going to be probably some fallout from that but he has a choice at least. It might be a narrow choice but he has a choice of whether or not to unload the dishwasher. I have a choice of whether or not to give him the Wi-Fi password. He knows that he has a choice and at least if he wants to make the choice, he can make the choice and deal with the consequence in the fallout from that. That’s not a manipulation. That’s where the boundary comes in. With boundaries, you teach people how to treat you. That means that if they cross your boundary, there’s going to be a consequence. It’s not a threat and it’s not a manipulation. There’s a fine line there.
We need a whole episode on boundaries, which I’m going to do. To be clear that when you set a boundary, it’s not a manipulation. It’s just like, “This is my standard for what I need in this relationship or to live in the same house with you. You have a choice if you want to respect that boundary or not. If you don’t want to respect the boundary, then here’s what I’m going to do.” Often, that’s damaging the relationship or that’s going to create distance between us.
You ask for your needs and you set your boundaries in a way that appeals to his wiring to protect and provide for you. When you ask for him to do something, you tell him what it will provide for you or what it will protect you from. With the idea of the socks on the floor, being able to communicate to him that you have a million things that you’re dealing with and you’re trying to juggle all of these balls in the air. You see the socks on the floor and like it’s that one more ball in the air that feels like it’s going to crush you.
Please make a mental note, put a reminder on his phone, or whatever he needs to do to get his socks in the laundry that would be protecting you from that overwhelm. It would be providing you space, the ability to breathe, have your mind organized, and be sane. You can also connect that to a benefit. I do this with my kids all the time. It’s like, “Do you want a happy and peaceful mom? Do you want a mom that’s fun and that wants to go do fun things and to take you to do fun things? Do you want a mom who’s productive in her job and makes money for us to be able to have the life that you want to have? In order for me to be happy, at peace, and productive, here’s what I need from you. That is a give and take. It’s an exchange. We’re partners together in this.”
It’s not a manipulation like, “You owe me to be happy. You owe me to give me peace but here’s what I need. Here’s the living environment that I need to be able to be my best self. When I’m in my best self, here’s how you benefit.” That’s different than making a demand like, “Pick up your socks.” It’s a completely different thing. It takes practice and emotional intelligence. That’s why we have the show. I’m going to say it again because I can’t say it too much. Don’t emasculate him because then he will go from protecting you to protecting himself from you and that is not a good dynamic.
Men relating to women. The first thing I can say to you, I’m not a man but I can tell you from a female’s perspective, understand that we are very different but don’t mock us or put us down because of our differences. Our differences are genius. In order to be with a woman, you need to be okay with mystery. We’re not going to make sense to you but you can hold this space open in your mind to be like, “They’re weird. I don’t understand them but they’re awesome. They bring so much beauty, joy, and delight to my life.” That’s the worldview with women. That is a mystery but it’s a good thing. It’s something that I honor.
Behind that, the second most important thing is to make her feel safe. Remember, she’s tempted to emasculate you when she feels threatened. You are bigger than her. You’re stronger than her probably. You need to understand what it’s like. Put yourself in women’s position. We are constantly under threat. We are constantly being pursued by some type of a predator or that’s how it can feel sometimes. We’re physically weaker. We have something that people want that they can forcibly take from us. We’re constantly on our guard to see our surroundings. We feel vulnerable in the world.
If you can make her feel safe, not just physically but also emotionally, she will have a much easier time pulling those claws back, taking a deep breath, not emasculating you, and going into those self-protective claws out space. In protecting her, sometimes you need to protect her from herself. Men do, too, but women have very strong emotions and sometimes we get swept away into our emotions. You need to not allow yourself to be pushed around by those strong emotions. Think of the wall masculinity in the hurricane. Women love to be pleased but they hate a pleaser. This is super critical.Blame is at the root of criticizing, and it's at the root of taking over. Click To Tweet
A pleaser is someone who violates their values to be loved, accepted, or to get someone else to not be mad at them. That will breed contempt in a woman to watch you. Even if it’s something that she’s pushing you to do, if you violate your values to please her so that you can be acceptable, that will breed contempt. When I say that sometimes you need to protect her from herself, it’s by standing strong in your values and only pleasing her when you can do so without violating your values. It’s great. It’s super sexy for a man to live to please his woman but not be a pleaser.
If you can please her in line with your values, it’s great. If not, then you need to set your own boundaries and protect her from being able to push you off of your direction and your value because then we don’t feel safe. We feel safe when you are rock solid in your decision, in your execution, and when you’re protecting, providing, and presiding, when we can knock you off of that. We try. I don’t know why we do this because deep down, we don’t want you to be able to be knocked off of your values or your position but we try to do it. It’s testing. It’s like kids. It’s the way that kids test authority.
You need to be able to stand strong in that and to be pleasing. Not be obstinate for the sake of being abstinent but be pleasing without being a pleaser. The real caveat of that here is that when you are being a pleaser, that’s about you doing whatever you have to do to get loved, accepted and to make her okay so that you can be okay. It’s codependent but when you are pleasing her, it’s like you’re taking pleasure in her pleasure. Women love it but they hate a pleaser. They hate when you are pleasing her so that you don’t have to deal with whatever she’s dishing out.
Allow yourself to be influenced by her intuition. This is one of the greatest benefits women bring to the table. When I say, “Don’t be knocked off of your position,” a little bit of a caveat on that is to take into consideration and allow yourself to be influenced by her. Allow your decisions and your position that you develop to be influenced. Take advantage of her intuition because that’s one of the benefits of femininity that you don’t probably have a lot of access to and it will be a mystery to you but most women have highly tuned intuition, even if they don’t know what it is. That is an incredible benefit.
Women reconnecting with femininity. We want to make sure that we understand men reconnecting with masculinity. If you find yourself in a lot of masculine energy and you’re like, “I’ve developed this style of relating. I don’t know what to do about it,” we need to understand what the feminine and masculine qualities are. We need to develop a self-awareness around when we are accessing the opposite energy. Be intentional about it. It’s like the tool. You pick the tool up and you use it. “I will pick strategy and execution up and use it but that’s not where I live. I live in beauty, creativity, nurture, and softness. Sometimes I have to be hard. When I am maybe disciplining a child or talking to an employee, there has to be an edge there but that’s not where I live.”
Wrapped In Softness
The whole thing is wrapped in femininity. An analogy of that is it’s like the iron fist with the velvet glove or the velvet hammer. The whole thing is wrapped in softness. Even when I’m taking a strong position, I can still wrap that in softness and be my true self, even though I’m accessing the tool of a masculine quality. The opposite is true, too, for men. You need to access creativity and feeling an emotion to be able to connect. To be able to raise a family, you have to be able to access those but it’s a tool that you access but it’s not where you live. It’s informed by your masculinity. I’m giving a broad overview of it but I hope it’s making sense and it’s helpful.
Apart From Sexual Attraction
Finally, and I’ll close at this, we want to be aware of this in romantic partnerships. What I’ve covered so far is pretty much across the board, mothers, sons, fathers, daughters, coworkers, boss, employees, brothers, sisters, church, congregants, where you have to deal with the opposite gender. That’s all applicable but there are a few little nuances with romantic partnership. One of them is that for sexual attraction, you need to be as far apart on the spectrum as possible. Super feminine and masculine is going to have the most magnetic attraction but in order to raise a family, nurture children, and run a home, you have to come together on the spectrum. He has to access feminine qualities and she has to access masculine qualities. You need to develop the scale to be able to come closer on the spectrum to be able to connect and nurture but to be able to move that apart at the appropriate times for sexual attraction.
One of the reasons we love as women being around our girlfriends is because we can talk and they understand us. They were so emotionally connected. We love that about our girlfriends. We want that from our man sometimes. That’s great for him to show up in that way for us but it’s not going to foster. It will put a damper on sexual attraction. Same with men. Sometimes men need their feminine partner to show up, help him get a job done, the strategy and execution but not super sexy. For sexual attraction, you need to have the skill to be able to back out of that and go back home to your original design.
For a woman who needs to be masculine at her job, it’s a skill to be able to put down that masculinity when you come home, to fall back and to intentionally return into femininity. Women, if you find yourself in opposition with your man a lot, it’s probably that you’re in your masculine or you’re being manipulative. Manipulation is an unhealthy feminine quality. That’s not the true divine feminine and original design. Manipulation is offensive to masculinity. Don’t be strategic and manipulative. If you find yourself butting heads, that’s your clue that you’re probably coming at him, whether it’s your son, your husband, your boyfriend, or whatever you’re coming at him in masculine energy.
Men and I’ll close at this, live to please her and light her up without being a pleaser. Protect her, provide for her, and please her but don’t violate your values or direction in order to have her not be mad at you or have her to approve of you. Believe it or not, women love to be stood up, too. I may lose my woman card here but it’s true. A healthy woman might not like it but she’ll like it. She’ll respect you for it and she’ll feel safe if she can’t push you off of your position or direction with her strong emotions. Let’s be honest, if we can push you off of your direction and your position with our strong emotions, we’re all going to die. We need the anchor to hold in the hurricane. This is your permission to be that strong, loving protector and provider who is pleasing to her but not a pleaser. That’s it for this episode. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you next time.
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Are you a Prisoner or a Queen? (or something in between)
The four archetypes help you distinguish between your true identity and how you might react in times of stress or out of unhealed wounds. Your identity is defined as: a) The condition of being a certain person and/or b) the characteristics by which a person is known. How do you see yourself? How do others see you? Who does God say you are? By understanding the prisoner, slave, princess (prince) and Queen (King), you can be intentional about choosing to show up as your true self and stepping away from patterns of dysfunction.
You were born to reign. But you have to know who you are first. In this free download, I explain the four Rise to Reign Archetypes (Prisoner, Slave, Princess & Queen). Self awareness creates the ability to shift in the direction of your wildest dreams instead of your worst fears.