The Men in my Life

 I never learned how to have functional relations with men, nor did I get to experience what unconditional love and support from a man would feel like. In our home, my grandmother ruled the roost and my mother was a divorced, self-supporting woman. From watching these two important female figures, who were different, yet were both gutsy women in their time, I learned how to be a strong woman.

The men in my life were: my dad, an alcoholic who was physically and emotionally gone, my grandfather, the family patriarch, who did not pay much attention to me except when I misbehaved, and my mother’s only brother, who instead of embracing me, was aloof and even harsh at times.


I knew my grandfather and uncle were loving, because I watched them praise and embrace my brother and my cousins. However, I never felt I was one of the accepted and approved children in the family. I remember how excluded I felt on many occasions, especially when it came to choosing godparents for my uncles’ children.  I was the only one not chosen, so I believed I was not good enough or special enough to be a godparent.  That wound felt like barbed wire wrapped around my heart.

Because I lacked positive attention from these significant men in my early life, I never learned how to relate to the opposite sex. My concept of men became one of thinking they were judgmental, unkind, and closed to intimacy, especially with me.  I longed for nurturing and acceptance, but I did not receive that from the three major male figures in my formative years.

As a child, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, or what I needed to do to be approved. On an unconsious level, I think I saw myself as a pariah. I longed to fit in, but I didn’t know how. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I internalized my sense of being a misfit. I buried the pain and kept the lid on it. Occasionally, I’d taste the  gall that was festering-but I had no name or expression for what I tasted.

I was in my late fifties before I could identify my basic belief about men, whichwas that they were unavailable and could not be trusted with my heart. That was the gall that was eating away at my core.

As I’ve walked my path, I’ve learned a lot about my true self and my desires in life. I’ve begun to see clearly what drove me to make the choices I did in forming relationships with men. I unconsciously picked men who were not available, who were the opposite of what I longed for, and who represented the men from my childhood.

In 2000, I left my second husband and lived alone for the next six years. I chose a life of celibacy and consciously decided it was time to learn to be independent and self-sufficient, and to see if I could make inroads into healing my men issues. I needed to find out who I was, so I could figure out how to have healthy relationships.

During that time I learned that I not only had unhealthy relationships with men, but I didn’t know how to relate to women either. Over those years, I was able to uncover a huge part of the root of my lifelong dysfunction, and begin a deep process of healing.

 In 2006, before I met Paul, I had a brief fling with a European man. After knowing him for about one month, I saw how much he was like the men in my childhood.  He was emotionally unavailable, harsh, and judgmental of me.

About six weeks after I met him, we were sitting on my front deck having a glass of wine.

Foto einer Glühbirne (an),

Image via Wikipedia

  We started our daily round of arguing and in the middle of the fight, I took a step back and looked at him. In that moment the light went on.

I saw myself mirrored in his behavior and attitudes. He did not like nor trust women, and he had a need to put them, and me, down most of the time.

It was clear to me that I approached relationships and treated men the same way. In my hidden rage towards them, I had to find a way to put them down and make them feel less than me. I was usually on guard and on the offense, so I could get them before they got me.

Seeing myself in that man, was the impetus I needed to pull away from the insanity of the dance I was doing.

I was cracked open and able to see the wounds inflicted by men, from my childhood to the present. I stayed with the pain and sorrow for a couple of months, and kept nurturing myself…and writing. I wrote page after page as the cobwebs parted and I found a way to make sense of my journey with men.

Brenda and Paul

Then I met my beloved Paul. Our relationship is not perfect, but it is awesome, and due to my lifetime of healing that is yet to be done, there are occasional hiccups in the road.  However, the difference in my relationship today is a clear vision of how I relate to my husband.

I’ve learned to step back and look at what I’m doing. When I get out of control and feel the need to create drama in the relationship, I can usually see whether what is festering within me is about the present or about my childhood wounds.  Ninety-nine percent of the time it has nothing to do with the present. 

Paul is very knowing, quiet, and oh so wise. He sees me, and he is able to listen carefully when I talk. He nurtures me and holds me when I’m sad, and lets me know how special and loved I am. Through him, I am seeing men in a different light, and I am redefining my thoughts about them.

As I continue to live this relationship with my incredible husband, I get to heal my childhood wounds in the middle of a partnership. I trust I will stay open to seeing those dark shadows that lurk in my core, and that I will continue to look at them and give them a name. I’m coming home to the self I left, and it feels sane.

I need to say that I hold no malice or blame towards my dad, grandpa, or uncle. They just were who they were, as was I. We all came to walk our specific path, and though they are all dead, when I think of them, I bless them and send them thanks for helping to create and support my path in life.

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About brendamarroy

blogger, and author
This entry was posted in Awareness, healing stories, Reflections, Relationships, spiritual and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Men in my Life

  1. That was priceless. I relate to it all. Same experiences. Same responses. Same conclusions. Thanks for sharing. I so appreciate connecting with people that understand. XO

  2. Brenda, this seems so much like me. The only man in my life is my step-father, and he was mostly out of the picture when I was seven. I grew up with a very judgmental grandmother after leaving an abusive home situation with my mother (her demons were legion). I’ve been married three times, and I think for this time, I have found my “Paul”. He had a stable childhood, but he has an infinite amount of patience seemingly.

    P.S. It seems fated to have discovered your blog, because there are so many similarities. I have only begun my healing process in the past two years, and your posts resonate within me. Thank you for being wise and wonderful.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Dear Amberr,

      I’m finding a multitude of women who have been where we have and who are in the process of healing similar issues. Isn’t universal energy wonderful, the way it brings us together so we can grow and learn with the support of the sisterhood? Aren’t we blessed to be able to identify and heal our wounds?

      Meeting my husband and sharing this incredible relationship, has been such an adventure. I never dreamed I would find this place and that life would be as it is. I’m delighted to know that you are in a loving relationship also.

      Love and hugs to you and thank you for your kind, gracious comment.

      By the way, I think I’ve met many whose demons were legion.

  3. turukai says:

    I was sent to read this today and as I read through I felt a sadness creep deep within me .
    “Paul is very knowing, quiet, and oh so wise. He sees me, and he is able to listen carefully when I talk. He nurtures me and holds me when I’m sad, and lets me know how special and loved I am. Through him, I am seeing men in a different light, and I am redefining my thoughts about them.”

    This statement hit me hard as I realise that I have never felt this from any man in my life and that I am again in a relationship where I have to fight to be who I am, a battle I felt like I was loosing for a little bit.

    thank you fro sharing this gorgeous journey


    • brendamarroy says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind comments. You know, no one should have to fight to be who they are. We are who we are, and it behooves us to find people to share life with, who appreciate our being. I trust you will have that in your life.You deserve to be loved for the magnificent being and beautiful woman you are. Blessings to you. Thank you following my blog.

  4. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    you held up a mirror here
    and I am still trying to figure out what to say…
    but i will…
    Good Post…
    Take Care…

    • brendamarroy says:

      Dear Maryrose,
      The beauty of this journey is that we really don’t have to respond, do we? All we need to do is “get it” and be present to it.
      Isn’t it amazing how the universe works? How through loving, benevolent energy we consistently hold mirrors up to each other. Sondra Ray said it best, “Love brings up everything unlike itself for the purpose of healing.” We’re all on our path, and because I follow your blog, I have no doubt that you are consciously following yours.
      Namaste to you, and you matter also.
      P.S. Thank you for putting You matter at the end of your posts. It’s a message many need to know and hear.

  5. giannakali says:

    My husband is a Paul too…and he, too, was the first male (partner) in my life that treated me with deep respect. (I was lucky to have some good male friends for many years and now too, but I was unable to bring a decent man into a partnership until I met Paul)

    thanks for sharing…your post resonated.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Good for you Gianna. What I’ve come to know is that most of the men who have passed through my life over the years, were really okay. They just were not okay for me because they could not be present to the relationship.

  6. brendamarroy says:

    You’re right Rosie. Little did I know all was working for my development into who I came to be.

  7. Roseann T. Kriebel says:

    Very wise of you to set up the conditions and people in your early life, so it could be a tool to pass on wisdom with your writing.

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