Last week Kate made a comment on Rule #2:
‘Grrrr the rules make me so mad! especially the word ‘conquered’ and how not being conquered is detrimental to the feminine. probably because it’s got so much truth in it.’
Kate, before I submit my rebuttal, you need to know that the word conquered does not come out of The Rules. It comes from how I think about the masculine with regards to the feminine. Damnit, jargon! I always question the intelligence of ‘experts’ who use common words to describe a subject other than it’s common definition, then don’t explain themselves. So, I’ll explain myself.
Hot words like conquering, possession, mastery, winning and domination are either used to describe war, or have been relegated to the dirty, kinky sex you might never have. I think it’s the connotation of war that first comes to mind, which then invokes images of ego, force, violence, corruption etc. What I’m talking about is deeper than having power over somebody. I’ve redefined the words to be associated with the feeling of being contained by someone who knows your very needs better than you know them yourself.
It is not so much defining the word, but getting the sense that the feminine needs to feel safe to deeply embody her feminine is containment… but the word containment doesn’t seem like it could really hold the intensity of a fully unbridled woman. So, I feel that a stronger word is in order. The feminine must be possessed by, mastered by, dominated by, won, and conquered by the masculine in order for a romantic polarized relationship between them to exist. And not just once. Over and over. Daily. Even hourly if necessary. If not she can’t be the incredible being of love she is, so she goads the masculine – picks at him, pushes at him, irritates him until he possesses her. This is going on all the time and nobody ever talks about it! So lets talk about it.
What ‘containment’ looks like in a single woman
The dance of the masculine and feminine is happening all the time, even when you’re single. There is always a masculine force and a feminine force. In my parents day, the masculine was the father, and then the husband – you moved out of the safety of your father’s home into the safety of your husbands home. Today though, we have the freedom to live alone, which means that we have to provide our own containment. We have to be both the masculine force (taking care of food, rent, physical safety, problems that arise) and the feminine force (rest, inner listening, maintaining social connections, emotional wellness). What usually happens, unfortunately, is that by the time we have done all of the masculine tasks, we barely have the energy to stay awake while doing some personal reflection in the tub, let alone keeping up with a social calendar. With practice and attention wearing both hats gets easier, but we desire the ability to move more deeply into the feminine… one of the reasons (I think) we crave intimate relationships.
What ‘conquering’ looks like in a relationship
So, after holding it together on our own for so long, naturally the first thing we do when we get into an intimate relationship is test just how unbridled of a woman this man can handle. Usually, we learn pretty quickly that we have to reign it in or we get hurt – too much emotion and he shuts down, or tells you to calm down / be more rational / stop being so crazy. This is not conquering. Conquering is a containment of your energy at the same time as it is an understanding of how your energy is best used for you to more deeply embody your feminine, AND how he can serve you in directing it.
How does the masculine conquer the feminine?
Ideally, what happens is that there is genuine tension between the couple that comes from two people who are equally grounded in their respective polarities. The feminine can be completely present with her emotions, responding moment by moment to the masculine, and the masculine can see through the emotions to what she needs to feel safer, more open, more embodied and responds accordingly.
Let’s take a real life example, imagine that your man approaches you and tells you that your date has to be cancelled because his parents, who are coming from out of town, are arriving a day early. As the feminine, you have two choices – you contain yourself, or you don’t. The natural reaction is to let it flow and express some sort of discomfort ‘But I was really looking forward to it just being us! Our dates always get trampled!’ As the masculine, he can choose to take it personally and say something like ‘It’s not my fault, you’ve cancelled dates too. And I only get to see my dad twice a year. Why do you have to make everything so difficult?’ or he can be a container for your emotions, wrap his arms around you tightly and say ‘I know, I was too.’ Which reaction would make you feel safe to feel your emotions completely?
As you can see from the example, the main parts of conquering are threefold for the masculine:
- Receive the feminine response
- Understand the underlying need within the response
- Respond in turn by directing her own energy toward that need
So, what about the feminine?
When I first began this work, I was uncomfortable with expressing my emotions in front of a man because of how men had responded in the past, so instead of requiring conquering, contained myself and acted conquered. I subdued my feminine and mystery to a manageable and approachable level by giving the response I thought he wanted to hear, so as not to scare him off. In the above example, I would have said something like ‘oh, that’s alright, we can reschedule, right?’ Then, I would have harboured resentment about both not being able to express what I really felt and the fact that we frequently cancelled dates. That resentment would build and then come out in little ways like nagging, bitterness and selfishness.
Instead, what we need to do is practice feeling the first thing that comes into us after an event takes place – the emotion beneath all of the thoughts. By expressing the emotion, the feminine invites the masculine in to herself – she is vulnerable and flowing, and the masculine, with his gift of containment can do something with that! He cannot begin to do anything with your disappointment hidden under ‘it’s alright’ alongside a solution that you’ve conceived to make yourself feel better about not expressing your emotion. As the feminine, you need to trust that if he can’t handle your way of challenging, he’s not the man for you, so that he can begin to trust that you will give him the straight goods.
This takes practice for both parties. It is scary for women to be fully expressed before a man and risk being called crazy, or irrational, just as it is scary for him to trust that you won’t hold back. It is hard to trust one another. Regardless, that’s conquering on the simplest, day to day level. It’s obviously kind of complex and requires that we get into all sorts of conversations – nice guy syndrome, demonizing male sexuality, the continuing evolution of feminism, etc. But there’s plenty of time for that and we don’t want to be spoiling the rest of the rules!
Untwisting the Panties
By looking closely at what The Rules are saying, we are uncovering what is happening under the surface of relationships, which not many people are talking about. The truth we find buried there doesn’t fit into the over-simplified, equal-rights jargon we’ve slathered on top of the false modesty of the victorian age for all of our existence. Consequently, whatever we say about relationship dynamics is going to sound demeaning, oppressive or whatever else we’ve taught ourselves to believe until we find a way to talk about it that reflects the deeper meaning. It’s not an easy road to walk, but it’s unavoidable in achieving the calibre of relationships we long for, so I’m grateful for your company!
Thanks for commenting Kate.
Photo by Sherry Hislop
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