904. Ego vs. Feelings — Hurt and Otherwise


Their Highnesses Anonymous and Lady Carmen asked for clarification about hurting the feelings and ego of men. In real life they are often intermixed, but this post explores them separately. Feelings have to do with his emotional identity. Ego protects and defends his sense of significance, his personal identity.

Hurt feelings work much the same as with females with some notable exceptions: Men don’t easily detect offenses, so they don’t hurt as easily or deeply. Men also lack keenness for detecting subtle offenses or detecting underlying meanness. Plus, they more easily forgive offenders and forget offenses.

Men see hurt feelings as accidents of life, including where meanness is involved. On the other hand, females learn to hurt feelings as a weapon especially against their natural competitors, females. When they use it purposely against men, they’re disappointed that results don’t prove out as well as with women.

(I suspect part of their disappointment lies with this thought: Purposely hurting her man’s feelings contradict her affection for him, and she sets up confusion within herself. Or, she learns to disrespect him, because unpredictable reactions to her repeated hurts keep her frustrated and unappreciative of who and what he is. IOW, manipulation works against the manipulator.)

 As for the male ego, think of it as belief about his significance in the world. Challenge that, directly or indirectly, and she inflicts ego damage. She generates unpredictable results out of a man, when she challenges, posits, or argues that:

  • He’s not the man he thinks he is. She knows many better.
  • He’s not so great as competitor and shaper of human events of interest to him.
  • He’s not as good, kind, loyal, thrifty, courteous, brave, consequential, influential, popular, etc. as he thinks.
  • His accomplishments are not all that great, especially not as great as he claims.
  • His dreams are irrelevant, impossible, or unachievable at least by him.
  • His missions in life aren’t that big a deal.
  • He can’t do what he says he can do.
  • He won’t do what he says he will do.
  • His fears or weaknesses disclosed for her empathy are as bad or worse than he claims. Such disclosed secrets signify desperation and need for ego stroking rather than solution or lecturing.
  • His friends are a bad influence on him. (They may well be, but she should find a way around rather than stating it. However, bad or harmful the situation may be, his significance is solidly reinforced by friends and what he perceives as their continual endorsement. By bringing up the subject, she puts herself directly in the middle and severely weakens her influence.)
  • He overstepped his role or her boundaries. And so, she belittles him in the mistaken belief that she can advance her agenda by hurting his feelings, since she’s so well intentioned. (She’ll do better finding some way other than belittle him.)

Negative feedback about a man’s sense of significance disrupts his beliefs about himself; he fights back, and she takes the damage.

Question or presume wrongly about a man’s current emotional state, and you hurt his feelings. Question, tamper, or assert against a man’s sense of significance, and you hurt his ego. Ego and feelings differ in intensity and consequences.

CAUTION: Ladies, remember these two thoughts: Before marriage, a little gamesmanship can help girlfriend or fiancé. Without going so far as to damage his ego, she can indirectly make him suspect that he’s not quite good enough for her as he is. It’s not HIS world that he’s not good enough for; it’s her and only her. But after marriage, she should never try to play that or any other game.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “904. Ego vs. Feelings — Hurt and Otherwise

  1. Denise

    Good list to be midful of. We as women can easily be blind to the way that we come off to men. But do you have any tips on recognizing character flaws in men that make things unnecessarily difficult–such as insecurity, over-sensitivity (which admittedly is relative and subjective) and the like?

    I see how easily a woman can blunder by transgressing in the above ways. But it also seems that in a relationship you’ll not go so far as 2 feet’s distance without having to extend grace and understanding to the other–men and women. Men more easily forgive and forget, but does this also apply to slights received from a wife or girlfriend? How does a woman recover here?

    Your Loveliness Denise,
    You may have already seen the relationship series Beware Red Flags, #765-769. That’s the closest to what you ask. I will, however, study the possibility of a post more directly aimed at “recognizing character flaws” on the job.
    Guy

  2. Linda L

    Dear Patient and Ever Helpful Sir Guy… What (or how)is ‘stroking a husband’s ego’? (“Such disclosed secrets signify desperation and need for ego stroking rather than solution or lecturing.”) Maybe your Darling might have some examples to share too. Thank you for all you do.

    Your Supremeness Linda L.,
    Stroking his ego means to build up, confirm, and add new dimensions or new views to a man’s sense of significance. A few samples delivered sincerely:
    + I love your parenting style dealing with the children.
    + You fill my life, you fulfill our relationship. We’re so lucky, and you make the major difference.
    + The kids and I have wonderfully well-protected, well-provided lives.
    + I love your jokes. You keep me entertained with them.
    + You seem to have so much patience lately. Have you been trying to improve yours too? I have.
    + Your steadfastness of character adds stability to our life together.
    Those kinds of statements impact the sense of significance of most husbands. I wish you luck and joy.
    Guy

  3. Linda L

    Our Dear Guy, Thank you so much for those wonderful specific examples; very helpful indeed and very much appreciated.

  4. reader

    I think pro-male interpretations of psychoanalysis are a great idea. Psychoanalysis, and the theory of the ego, have been used long enough by feminists, such that “male ego” has automatic negative connotations.

  5. T

    Thank you Guy for all the advice written here on this blog. I was a staunch feminist before coming across your blog, and am gradually seeing the error of my stubborn ways.

    I would like to inquire if one has managed to damage the male ego, is there anything that can be done to rectify it? I had said some awful things to a very dear male friend of mine (who’s usually quick to forgive arguments with female friends), but has yet to completely forget ours, and things are still very weird and awkward between us. I didn’t understand why that was, until I read this article about the difference between ego vs. feelings. I already apologized but at the same time, I don’t want to overly try to appease him in case I lose his respect. Any advice on this matter would be most appreciated, and again thank you for all of your work.

    Your Highness T,

    Welcome aboard. It’s a great day when another pretty woman joins us on this cruise to WhatWomenNeverHear.

    May I suggest you find ways to admire him, tell him about it, and do it gently, patiently, smilingly, and in bits and pieces. You will find many ideas at post 1349.

    Let me know if things don’t turn around pretty fast.

    Guy

    • T

      Thank you Sir Guy for your advice. I will give this a try the next time I see him.

      There is something I am a little confused about. Please correct me if I’m wrong. By admiring him, would I not give the impression that I’m afraid to lose him? “The one most fearful of losing the other will yield to the other”. I must admit that I possess some romantic feelings for him, but I really don’t want to give him that impression since we are neither married or dating. I don’t know if I’ll ever get him back, but at the very least I want to keep my dignity intact.

      Your Highness T,

      No, I don’t think admiring him gives the impression that you’re afraid of losing him. Unless, of course, you do it with smothering admiration that makes you appear desperate.

      If you’re concerned about it, follow up admiring comments with departure signs. For example: “I’ve always thought your smile to be so friendly and courteous. Well, I hope to see you again soon.” And don’t explain reason for departure.

      Guy

  6. REALY HELPFUL SITE

    Your Highness Harsha,
    Welcome aboard. Its a great day when another pretty woman joins us on this cruise to WhatWomenNeverHear.
    Guy

  7. Hi Sir Guy,I have complexed problem,my children father left me and the children for another woman,who he was smitten with. “The problem is she left him for another man and he haven’t been right since that happened to him”. “Did that damage his ego”? “He act like he have lost his mind”!

    Your Highness Soul4real,

    Welcome aboard. It’s a great day when another pretty woman joins us on this cruise to WhatWomenNeverHear.

    As you describe it, his sense of self-admiration hinges on what and how women think of him more than on manly accomplishments. That’s very adolescent. Also, his sense of significance has been ‘damaged’ as you put it, because his internalizing about his present life keeps him focused away from future accomplishments. He was probably jerked up and now he probably can’t grow up.

    Guy

  8. Sarah

    I casually mentioned to my husband that I had read that men don’t get their feelings hurt the way women do. “No,” he agreed, “But you can hurt a man’s pride, and then he can get pretty nasty.” I was speechless and then pleased to see that you, Sir Guy, are EXACTLY right according to my man!

  9. “Men don’t easily detect offenses, so they don’t hurt as easily or deeply. Men also lack keenness for detecting subtle offenses or detecting underlying meanness. Plus, they more easily forgive offenders and forget offenses.”

    From the above, I’d guess that a man who is easily offended and grudge-holding or vindictive might be one to be wary of?

    Your Highness Denise,
    Yes, it’s a red flag signifying that he has a high degree of self-loathing or self-hatred.
    Guy

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