Sons & Mothers

Rich Zubaty’s Web Site:

Esther Vilar, in The Manipulated Man, says that the manipulation of men begins when they are born:

Mothers, with some fantasy cut-out in their heads of what boys are like, and suffering from the deficiencies of their husbands, set about to make junior a perfect little man. He is such a “good little boy” when he learns to pee pee inside the round white hole and resists smacking the cat with his toy bulldozer. Mothers love their daughters, but they wax with pride over their sons. They immediately set about trying to make them into everything the husband is not…

The mere fact that a man is accustomed from his earliest years to have women around, to find their presence “normal”, their absence “abnormal”, tends to make him dependent on women later in life. Dad is a character that comes and goes, but mom is the rock in junior’s life. He learns from her that taking directions from women who act like they know what they are doing is normal. It is almost impossible to underestimate the psychological power of this early social dynamic. A man’s whole notion of security and safety throughout life comes from giving himself to this dependent relationship. Like an imprinted gosling he spends his whole life looking for a certain shape to attach himself to.

We spend our marriages trying to wrest the same affirmation from our wives that we got from our moms, way back when, before we could even “think”. Our wives accuse us of trying to get them to mother us and it’s true, we are, that’s how we were trained. I know a phone-sex vendor in Chicago named Valerie Craft who stated unequivocally that her entire business consists in comforting men in the manner of their mothers. Astounding! But not really.

Says Vilar:

“One of the most useful factors in conditioning a man is praise. Its effect is better and much more long-lasting than say, sex, as it may be started early and continued throughout a man’s life. Furthermore, if praise is applied in the correct dosage a woman will never need to scold. Any man who is accustomed to a regular and conditional dosage of praise will interpret its absence as displeasure.”

Most jilted male lovers and husbands have an explosive mental melt-down at their beloved’s infidelities, which is vastly out of proportion to what they are being deprived of. It feels to them as if they are being torn away from their mother’s bodies, and indeed, that’s just what is going on down deep in their psyches. They are losing the basic unit of security, the emotional lifeline ingrained in them when they were still peeing in their pants. That’s why men rage and want to beat people up when their lovers leave them. That’s why most break-ups involve women leaving men rather than men leaving women. Why would a man leave? After years of adolescent drunken degradation and self-abuse he has an hour-glass-shaped praise-giver back in his life again. That’s normal. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s what mom showed him.

Says Vilar:

“Training by means of praise has the following advantages: it makes the object of praise dependent (in order for praise to be worth something it has to come from a “higher” source, thus the object of praise exalts the praise-giver to a superior level); it creates an addict (without praise he no longer knows whether or not he is worth something — automatic existential shame — and he forgets the ability to identify with himself); praise increases his productivity (it is most effectively meted out not for the same achievements but for increasingly higher ones). Only mothers and wives, not other men or women, dispense the hugs and praise that men so crave. A boy, like a monkey, will repeat the actions that called forth endearments and, if at any time recognition is not granted, he will do everything in his power, bar nothing, to regain it.”

He will climb mountains or work in coal mines or eat shit, allowing himself, like a junkie, to be totally shamed. And, says Vilar, “the happiness he feels when praise is restored will already have assumed the proportions of an addiction.”

Shame, that deep feeling of worthlessness and helplessness, is precisely the result of withheld praise. Regarding my own mother I’ve always referred to it as “withdrawal of love”. Even now, 43 years after the fact, she can set off an awful, depressing, manic, physical grinding in my stomach simply by withdrawing her love. Clearly she trained me to respond that way eons ago, before I had any sense of how anything works. In its way, it is sheer brutality. Dependency training is like teaching a puppy to come on the word “go” and then sending him off on a walk with a total stranger. The entire phenomenon of praise, and shame, and withdrawal of love is a very distorted garbling of signals imprinted in babies’ heads. God says surrender your ego. Mom says hang onto your ego so I can continue to use it to shame you into doing what I want. Who do you want to believe? God or mom? Do you wonder why so many more men than women drink and abuse drugs?

Here is the substance of addiction. We were strung out on praise early in life and without regular doses of praise we hurt so bad and feel so useless we have to try to kill the pain somehow. Ah, that first glass of beer, that first joint, how it took the pain away!

Responsible older men used to be available to initiate younger men away from this bondage to women. Without the mental break-down that accompanies initiation men remain enslaved to female praise. It’s a fact, and an outrage. We are letting them rent free space in our heads…

Says Esther Vilar:

“No matter what labor saving devices arrive a woman’s demands on life will always be material, never intellectual, never spiritual.”é