I come across a lot of defensiveness in men when coaching them.

Of course, they don’t see how defensive they are. And, they don’t see how untrustworthy it makes them look to their partners.

They also don’t see that this defensiveness is secretly robbing their partners of what they most need from them: to feel contained and safe.

This issue of safety for women is being talked about a lot by a lot of teachers. But, the conversation should not be about men becoming less manly, or conforming to women, in order to make them feel safe.

What the conversation wants to be about is men taking real ownership in their relationships.

David Deida got it right when he talked about a woman’s desire to be claimed. This pissed off a lot of women. It pissed them off because they misunderstood the message. What David was trying to say was, not that a man should control a woman, as if she were his property, but rather, that he should claim her as a part of himself.

What we claim as ours we feel a responsibility to care for — and in caring for that thing, we love it as we love ourselves.

Men being defensive in relationships is the opposite of this: It sends the message, “Hey you’re on your own. What you need is or what you aren’t getting isn’t on me. You’re feeling unsafe or insecure is not my responsibility.”

This only conveys to a woman the thing she most dreads to hear and feel: that she is alone, left to fend for herself. That her life, her needs, her hopes are all on her.

There’s a lot of information out there to suggest that a couple is really just two individuals sharing a space. But this is a terrible set up for the woman – even if it’s what she thinks she wants. It leaves her feeling “uncontained,” that there is no one holding her, or keeping her safe. She, therefore, has to beg, plead, bargain or manipulate to get her needs for support and safety met.

This causes extreme tension in her, a hardening of her physical being. No one wants to be touched when they’re feeling that way.

When a man is defensive he’s saying: you’re on your own, woman. This is on you. He has lost sight of, or never understood, that the feminine craves to be contained, in the same way a turtle needs a hard shell to protect her soft inner body.

Women carry a lot of fear in their DNA, period; you can’t change that. When you are a solid “shell” of protection, containing her, she has less need to create her own hard, impenetrable exterior.

What is defensiveness exactly? It’s spouting out a bunch of excuses when a woman is calling you out on overlooking her or being insensitive to her. It’s making a case (using a bunch of evidence) for why you are not WRONG – rather than addressing what she is saying and the pain she is in. Sure, sometimes there are valid reasons for your oversights, only you know the difference!

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