The Male Manifesto: 7 Rules Men Live By That Hurt Relationships

(The following article is one of several in my Relationship Help for Men article series. At the end of this article there are links to a few of the other articles).

Some men live by rules they may not be aware of—rules that dictate what their emotional lives should look like, rules that constrict and hamper rather than expand and enliven—rules that ultimately disempower men from realizing potentials that go beyond the need/desire for power, control or achievement.

A portion of these rules are handed down from grandfathers, fathers, uncles and the other male role models in your life—males you’ve emulated and identified with (even if you didn’t realize this was occurring). One’s culture also plays a significant part in setting up the conditions deemed acceptable and off limits to one’s maleness.

Here are 7 rules that continue to negatively impact many men—let’s call these the “Thou shall not” rules of maleness.

Thou shall not:

1. Look or feel foolish, stupid, or idiotic (without covering up these feelings by acting in ways that usually make us look foolish, stupid, or idiotic);

2. Feel vulnerable (without an action plan to quickly obliterate any feelings of vulnerability ***see counter-vulnerability action plan below***);

3. Feel helpless (see counter-vulnerability action plan);

4. Hug another man without pounding the other guy’s back so hard that the display of affection looks like a mugging;

5. Cry, feel afraid, uncertain, timid, contrite or have any of these feelings/reactions in the presence of others (without getting irrationally angry at said other if s/he happens to be in our presence when we tear up, appear afraid, etc.);

6. Ask another guy for a hug, advice, or a tissue (unless the tissue is used to cover a gaping wound caused by a power tool);

7. Feel like a wimp, failure or loser (without immediate initiation of our best counter-wimp, bravado posturing—even if said posturing leads to an ass-kicking, loss of employment, failed marriage/relationship or time served).

***Counter-vulnerability action plan:  Any feigned sense of confidence when practiced over an extended period of time seems to do the trick in helping men ignore any feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. Please note that used for extended periods of time, the side effects of male feigned-confidence includes exaggerated, self-destructive behaviors, extended periods of brooding and hostility and a stressed/tensed appearance that is obvious to loved ones, coworkers and empathic strangers.

To read other (more serious) articles on the challenges men face with commitment, intimacy and love, click on the article links below—a new window will open for each article:

Relationship Advice: Why Some Men Withdraw from Intimacy

Men and Intimacy: 5 Damaging Myths About Men and Intimacy

Men and Intimacy: Why Some Men Struggle as Husbands and Lovers

Until next time,

Dr. Rich Nicastro

(Featured [top] image Security Officer” by Stockimages/

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