Love & Relationships

Harrison Thompson Explores Rejection Sensitivity in Men

In a recent Wife HER! Live, guest speaker Harrison Thompson shared powerful insights on rejection sensitivity in men and how we – the women who love them – may be, knowing or unknowingly, causing relationship trauma.

The one hour conversation began with Thompson exploring how societal norms and stereotypes can shape a man’s identity – leaving him feeling like he has none. #ThatPartThough

Men have internalized this idea that they have to be someone else before they can simply be.

Harrison Thompson

Thompson cautioned that emotional issues cannot be dealt with intellectually – as is often the approach – but instead must be dealt with emotionally. He also noted that our actions aren’t necessarily what is most damaging in relationships. Instead, it is our ignorance and lack of sensitivity towards how are actions are perceived that cause the most damage.

Where women typically fear being unloved, men typically fear being held in contempt aka disrespected.

Harrison Thompson

Women often value and insist upon emotional expression and validation without care for a man’s need to pause and think. We #reject his need for time to pause while showing preference for our own needs over his.

Thompson noted that the goal should not be “Happy wife, happy life!” but “Happy spouse, happy house!” Selfishness is exhibited in the former, while care and love is exhibited in the latter.

By forcing “our way” upon our men, we can unknowingly transform them into our rival verses our partner. They will default to combat mode thinking they must constantly defend themselves in interactions with us. #OuchHarrison

We cannot expect ourselves from our partner.

Harrison Thompson

Our small ways to motivate and help our spouses or boyfriends may not be internalized as helpful. They could actually be adding burden to the relationship and diminishing intimacy.

You can’t build intimacy when the goal is to be right.

Harrison Thompson

Thompson proposes that women should not consume themselves with trying to change the men in our lives, but instead focus on where we have been ASKED to help, in the way we have been ASKED to help.

Rejection for men can manifest in two types of problems: situational rejection or character rejection. Thompson proposes that the latter is the greatest issue for intimate relationships. The “tiny” ways in which we reject men can pile up into a full on explosion.

Situational rejection: sometimes our comments to men about their driving can be viewed as rejection of their leadership.

Character rejection takes place over a period of time and involves the pattern of rejection being interpreted / believed by one’s self to be a character flaw. Men can begin to feel like failures because of repeated patterns of rejection. Thompson notes that this is not the kind of rejection that you can just love away. Love won’t cut it in this zone!

Only a man [such as a father, brother or friend] can speak to character rejection in a man.

Harrison Thompson

For other great nuggets from this session, watch the replay below.

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