Breaking Ties With Toxic Masculinity: There is a hyper-sexualised alpha-male who becomes obsessed with a docile, seemingly quiet female who attracts his attention by simply breathing. The constant surveillance, hooliganism, bouts of rage, violence as love, are supposed to mean the intensity of love that these two are into. But why?
From being phlegmatic and exhibiting megalomania to traces of narcissism and violence, men are seldom defined by these outworn and unfounded stereotypes which create an unhealthy and unreasonable understanding of what it means to be a man in today’s society. In this battle of decisive prejudices, these men cannot afford to hold the panoply of gender expressions, sexual-cultural orientations, or for instance feminine strength intrinsic to any pluralistic society. Whatever the cause, the response is almost always a form of violence. Violence almost transpicuous, and unmistakable, envisaging numerous traumas, the intrusion in her physical, mental, and social space, and contrasting to features as bereft of self-restraint, emotional, soft-hearted and wimpish. In regard, this conformed masculine behaviour would even discourage moderate beliefs, and accustom them to engage in risky rather than helping behaviours such as heavy drinking, using tobacco and drugs, pushing themselves to their physical limits, reeling with lust and gratitude, and moreover romanticising the doe-eyed female passiveness.
Instances you may now understand as toxic masculine are:
- They will lash out at you and project their feelings onto you, all the while thinking that you’re the one causing their malaise. They seem to be temperamental and have no control over their emotions. Therefore, their consistent deliberations of being harsh and unapologetic at most times.
- Dementors that suck people’s souls out of their bodies, leaving them merely as shells of humans. They feed on human happiness and thus generate feelings of depression. In this way they strategically, would spice you, treasure, nurture, live and surveil you until they blame, complain, and dump your existence.
- You can usually tell when you’re hanging around self-absorbed people because you start to feel completely alone. This might leave you feeling a little selfish or guilty. So, they would keenly believe, trust, and succumb into you and your world, until they finally administer/ control you.
- Victims actively push away any personal responsibility by making every speed bump they encounter into an uncrossable mountain. They do not see tough times as opportunities to learn and grow from; instead, they see them as an out. They choose to suffer every time. They would exit temporarily at ease and let you be until you feel the expected guilt and anguish, to fill themselves enough to abandon, irrevocably.
- Deriving deep satisfaction from the pain and misery of others (i.e., adults who experience schadenfreude, although they conceal it). This is where they would first stare you in the eye and console you, and then come closer to witness you tremble and bleed in pain.
- Instead of appreciating and learning from people who are different from them, judgmental people look down on others. Explains how decisive, disturbed, and agitated they would be in lieu of any minimal intrusion in their physical, mental and social space.
- To envious people, the grass is always greener somewhere else. Even when something great happens to envious people, they don’t derive any satisfaction from it, the reason being them measuring their fortune against the world’s. Thus, effortlessly in constant praise of themselves and in pretence of how well-suited they long to be, even for your own.
- Arrogance is false confidence, and it always masks major insecurities. An instance is that of them never owning their mistakes. This is where aggression, bouts of rage replace violence, hooliganism, drug abuse and lack of consent.
- Manipulators always want something from you, and if you look back on your relationships with them, it is all take, take, take, with little or no giving. They know how to use our buttons and offer sympathy, but not with sincerity. Elucidating the yearning desire to meet their needs, pour themselves in some affection and slowly, slowly kill you.
Helping Behaviour as a Measure
Societal pressures, expectations from family and sexual partners, and even from religious identities can be burdensome to a man seeking out his masculine identity. Men who view themselves as more masculine are less likely to engage in helping behaviour. Helping behaviour or a kind of prosocial behaviour such as sharing, comforting, helping, and familiarising oneself to female strength and qualities that may put less pressure on men to act a certain way.
And women, lest you drain yourselves, targeted at power!
10 Powerful Steps to Combat Toxic Masculine Behaviour
- Avoid playing into their illusionary reality. Do not get drawn in and invest emotionally.
- Do not blame yourself or feel guilty/at fault. That is how easy they make it for themselves.
- Learn to firmly say no, well just remember, you aren’t alone.
- Talk to them about their behavioural traits. Expanding and integrating new concepts into an individual’s definition of masculinity may help them better accept themselves and others.
- Set boundaries/avoid spending your most time with them. You could readily change your routine, be unavailable, or distantly empathetic. Be clear with what you are open to.
- Maintain your calm and put yourself ahead of all the mischief/triggers. Always pay attention to how they make you feel.
- Understand but do not forcibly fix them.
- Be in constant touch with your therapist.
- Do not fool yourself thinking you have the perfect one. This is a flawed understanding of life and what it entails to offer.
- Encourage them to get help. This would reveal as to why they act the way they do.
Rukmani Monga is a Research Scholar at Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. The views expressed are the author’s own.