Friday, October 12, 2012

Accountability, agency, and acceptance

SarahsDaughter demonstrates why the maxim of never taking advice on intersexual relations from a woman is a rule that has exceptions.  She explains how solipsism is the root cause of the often-observed tendency of women to repeat their sexual and relationship mistakes over and over again:
Women, through a solipsistic perspective, falsely assume that indicators of attraction from men can somehow contribute to a positive self image or are reflective of who she is when it's really no more than a sexual urge that is in no way unique for just her. This all becomes readily apparent after she wrongly chooses to have sex with him and it displays itself in regret, self loathing and embarrassment. So why would she do it again? Because the regret is not associated with the solipsistic euphoria. The regret is tied to the specific guy she had sex with. That is why she would never talk to THAT guy again.

Guys, you will never shame solipsism out of women. I think that has been well established. Women can learn how to pause and think outside of themselves but it is not what her brain first does. Information is received through an "all about me" lens and is usually not filtered past that.
There are two important lessons in there, one for women and one for men.  The first is for women to stop looking at their feelings as the result of actions by another party rather than the consequence of their own actions and decisions.  In other words, accepting accountability is the necessary step in acquiring conscious agency and the elusive empowerment that so many women seek.

The second is for men to stop thinking that speaking negatively about solipsism to women will somehow affect the degree to which a woman is solipsistic.  Solipsism is a female attribute but it is a male issue!  Complaining about a woman's solipsism is like a woman complaining about a man's height.  You cannot expect her to do anything about it, you can only learn how to deal with it.  Whether you do so in a manipulative manner that makes it useful to you or a sacrificial manner that permits you to endure its vagaries with complete equanimity is irrelevant.  The only point is that you have to accept the fact that it is what it is and it is never going to change.

Yes, a woman can learn to control her expression of it just as a man can learn to wear high heels.  But such superficial actions aren't going to actually change what is occurring underneath.

20 comments:

RTP said...

The first is for women to stop looking at their feelings as the result of actions by another party rather than the consequence of their own actions and decisions.

Not that it would do any good, but I have seen this play out with the ex. We didn't have an unhealthy relationship, but she had untreated, but twice diagnosed, mental illness. She always laid it on me that I was the cause of her feelings (depression, paranoia). I reacted by trying to get her to get back on meds and into therapy, which she always construed as me manipulating her. It was no win and even at the time I knew it was no win. Still, I never really factored in solipsism...mainly because I didn't know about it at the time.

Point is that this has applications beyond sexual relationships, as VD said. It's a female attribute, but a male issue.

Daniel said...

Whining about solipsism is like trying to stop a car by stomping on the gas:

a) It is unmanly and therefore unattractive. All it does is focus her solipsistic lens on your whining (His objective but whiny "solipsism is too hard" sounds like "oh, he's PMSing about ME, again..")

b) It is a strategic misfire: if you want a woman to be happy with what you are doing, it is fairly easy to help her to see how your success or objective is about her because she's already prone to assume it is! Instead, trying to iron out her solipsism is just a disruption to that opportunity. You are basically saying, "Yeah, this is what I'm going to do, it'll be great, and I think you have nothing to do with it" every time you try to separate her self from the objective.

c) It is useless: she's going to see things through the lens of the self, no matter what, and her self is not static. Much better to:

1) Do what needs to be done.
2) Acknowledge her for her contribution to the success.
3) Ignore her take on it, because it is only really relevant to her.
4) As long as she is happy and you are doing what you want, what do you care what she's thinking? It's like the weather - its going to change anyway, and there's not much you can do in the meantime.

Well put, SD.

Cryan Ryan said...

Daniel,

Your points are well taken. If I could, I'd like to tweak your #3 (to ignore her take on it).

Ignoring my wife's take on it sometimes causes more angst than this preferred method...

Sometimes when she tries to paint me into a corner, I explain to her that she has put me in a lose/lose situation. If I do things the way she says she wants them done, there are negatives. (which I go over several times)

I further explain that if I simply ignore or over-ride her opinion, there are negatives. (which I go over several times)

When she takes time to think about it, and realizes I'm trying to consider her "feelings" and at the same time am trying to do what is best for us, she usually comes around.

Go for the win/win.

Bob Wallace said...

I've always been under the impression that repeating things, for both men and women, is repeating the original trauma in order to set it right.

SarahsDaughter said...

Look no further than Genesis 18. With God present...GOD...the big guy...the Almighty, she laughs and snarks to herself: "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then, she lies about thinking that...to GOD!

I humbly confess, I do not posses more ability to control solipsism than Sarah and it goes without saying my husband is not God.

When God asked Abraham why Sarah laughed, it wasn't a question it was a rebuke: "Abe, here's a quarter, buy some leadership in this place and get that sassy old lady in line."

Wayne said...

4) As long as she is happy and you are doing what you want, what do you care what she's thinking? It's like the weather - its going to change anyway, and there's not much you can do in the meantime.


Why care if she is happy? That too will change like the weather, and nothing you do will have any effect lasting longer than a moment. Stick to steps 1 through 3 only.

Wayne said...

When she takes time to think about it, and realizes I'm trying to consider her "feelings" and at the same time am trying to do what is best for us, she usually comes around.

This describes a temporary escape from solipsism. At best, it will be a rare exception. The win/win will be equally rare.

Sean said...

Solipsism IS. Alphas accept it, use it, work around it, but don't care or complain about it. They don't try to get rid of it. For cryin' out loud, don't try to negotiate with it.

When presented with a lose/lose choice, choose door #3.

Another One said...

"The win/win will be equally rare."

But the lose-loses will be many.

On an unrelated topic (but still related to feminism/game), I'm about to start teaching a Sunday School class on Esther. My, what a wonderfully politically-incorrect book. Queen Vashti openly shuns the king's request and then everyone knows what's up...women everywhere will do the same to their husbands. Solution: out goes Vashti, in comes a new queen.

I can't imagine how Esther would play out now. Everyone from the feminists to the pop culture icons to conservative evangelicals would be cheering "Vashti, you go girl!"

I'll end the week with a quote from the 1800's Southern Calvinist theologian Robert L. Dabney:

"It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation."

ajw308 said...

When presented with a lose/lose choice, choose door #3.

Sometimes door #3 (I'm assuming this "Exit Stage Left") is the best long term choice, but as Cryan Ryan pointed out, talk to her about it.

But I'd take it a step more gamey (i.e. effective). Don't just tell her that she put you in a lose/lose situation, tell her a story about her and how she'll be disappointed with one outcome and sad with the other. Then tell her a story about her where she's happy and loved for ever after with a path that's reasonable with things that you can and should do. It's really that easy. I've been there and done that.

Daniel said...

Wayne
Why care if she is happy? That too will change like the weather, and nothing you do will have any effect lasting longer than a moment. Stick to steps 1 through 3 only.

If you accommodate for (NOT accommodate) solipsism, she will always be happier (as it relates to you - and by happy, I mean fewer fits and games, regardless of her actual mood), it is easier to accomplish what needs done and you won't get lost in her emotional wild.

Perhaps "happy" was the wrong word. "In line" is what I was thinking, but frankly, a woman in line (both from my own solipsistic purposes and from an objective view) is, at heart, a happy woman.

After all, who was the "happier" woman - Martha, who ran around multitasking to feel good about herself, or Mary, who sat down and relaxed to pay attention to the Alpha?

I'd argue it was the woman who remained submissive and in line.

But I've gotten off track. Acknowledging and understanding (and, yes, accepting) solipsism isn't about win-win and lose-lose. After all, training anyone, man or animal, becomes infinitely easier as soon as you understand and accept what it is that they really want. It doesn't mean you have to deliver what she wants (or what she thinks she wants). But stop shooting in the dark based of her blind calls.

Ted D said...

"The first is for women to stop looking at their feelings as the result of actions by another party rather than the consequence of their own actions and decisions. In other words, accepting accountability is the necessary step in acquiring conscious agency and the elusive empowerment that so many women seek."

Isn't this something that a man can help his SO with learning? To me it seems that teaching her this would be a leaders role, in the same sense that being a good manager/boss is teaching your subordinates how to do a better job.

I suppose the problem is that coming from a husband/SO, this type of "criticism" would be cast in a negative light, and since she parses all of this through how she feels, and who "made" her feel that way, you become the bad guy by default?

Anonymous said...

SD, You're pure gold on this thread.

Solipsism is very old and can't be eliminated. It has to be managed. With practice, a man can see it coming every time, and head off trouble.

I've learned how to translate to/from my wife, remembering to phrase things in a way that relate directly to HER feelings. Problem solved. I get what I want and she's happy. It's the elusive win/win.

When she's talking, I use the same lens. She's projecting her thoughts onto EVERYTHING around her, including me. I apply the filter and it all makes sense, once again. I act on the reality and don't obsess over what she's saying.

We're both happy with the results. Visiting her head is like traveling to a foreign country. Learn to speak a little of the language and "when in Rome..."

Sarah said...

"Martha, who ran around multitasking to feel good about herself, or Mary, who sat down and relaxed to pay attention to the Alpha?"

How do you know that this was what motivated Martha?
How do you know it is even correct - theologically - to see Jesus as an Alpha? Does it not seem to you as a form of anthropological solipsism, considering that He is the Son of God?

SarahsDaughter said...

"Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" - Martha

Sarah, when you realize your priorities are out of whack, what do you conclude is the reason it has happened?

taterearl said...

Personally I think God has all of the male and female attributes. He just split them up when he made man.

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