Leave a review to help other dads find the show and become better men and fathers: Leave Review
Today’s guest is Karen Brody.
We go deep talking about:
- How to repair your intimate relationship and build trust again
- As a man, learning to see and appreciate a woman for who she is rather than trying to fix how she functions
- The difference between emotional dumping and emotional sharing
- Why it’s vital to join a men’s group, locate a coach, or even seek professional help
- Proper communication methods with your partner in your relationship
- Allowing your wife to participate in your development as a man and being as transparent with her as possible
- Accepting that, despite her forgiveness, it may take your wife years to process the hurt you caused her
- Recognizing the types of limits/boundaries you need to place to be good and trustworthy for your feminine partner and to honour her fears as well
Karen Brody is a Man Coach, and the best-selling author of Open Her, Activate 7 Masculine Powers to Arouse your Woman’s Love & Desire. Karen’s mission is to awaken the hidden potential and power in men to lead, and to give a woman what she truly craves in and out of the bedroom.
Mentioned on this episode:
Find Karen Online At:
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the dad work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 70 How dads can rebuild trust in their intimate relationships with my guest, Karen Brody. We go deep today talking about how to repair your intimate relationship and build trust again, as a man learning to see and appreciate a woman for who she is, rather than trying to fix how she functions. The difference between emotional dumping and emotional sharing why it's vital to join a men's group, locate a coach or even seek professional help proper communication methods with your partner in your relationship, allowing your wife to participate in your development as a man and being as transparent with her as possible. Accepting that despite her forgiveness, it may take your wife years to process the hurt you caused her and recognizing the types of limits and boundaries you need to place to be good and trustworthy for your feminine partner and to honor her fears as well. Karen Brody is a man coach and the best selling author of open her activate seven masculine powers to arouse your woman's love and desire. Karen's mission is to awaken the hidden potential and power in men to lead and to give a woman what she truly craves in and out of the bedroom. You can find Karen online at our website, Karen Brody coaching comm or on Instagram at Karen Brody coaching. You can find all of this in the show notes at Dad.Work/Podcast. Guys, I am very excited for this episode, I read the book open her, which was written by Karen Brody and I had to reach out, I thought this is such an impactful book for me to understand how to operate as a masculine man inside of a relationship with a feminine woman. And I reached out and I just asked her, could you please talk about some of this with my audience because this sort of work this, perhaps polarity, if you will, in a relationship has changed my marriage for the better in an extreme way. And so to be able to talk to her directly, specifically about how to repair trust and rebuild trust, if you have spent the last number of years in your marriage or relationship, potentially breaking that trust by acting in certain ways that are not emotionally sound that are not emotionally available. Guys, this episode is going to be mind blowing for you. So please get ready to take notes. It's that good. And make sure to check out the book open her by Karen Brody, I highly highly recommended. Before we get into the episode, I want to let you know that in less than two weeks, we'll be opening the doors to the village. This is our training and brotherhood community for fathers who are doing their work together in this intentional online community. We will be having regular community calls regular question and answer periods with me. Every month we'll be hosting an expert led workshop. There are worksheets there are meditations. There's all sorts of training resources, including my course conscious fatherhood, you can get the entire thing as part of this monthly membership community called the village and men there's so much more member led men's groups, an online community that you can get access to 24/7. And eventually we will be putting together in person groups when we have enough men to make that work. And this will be perhaps the best way, the best container in which you can do your work to become a better man, partner and father. If this sounds like it's up your alley, and if you are willing to invest less than 50 bucks a month to become the man that you know you can be why don't you head over to dad.work/villagevillage and sign up for the waitlist. Like I said, we'll be launching in less than two weeks, we're going to have a very limited number of spots for this particular intake. This is a brand new community I am being supported by my friends, my coaches the men in my men's group, and we are going to be launching in less than two weeks. So go to Dad.Work/Village Head on over to the website there and sign up to join the waitlist because you will be the first to know before everyone else on the mailing list knows which means that you will get first access ahead of literally 1000s of other dads Dad.Work/Village will be launching in two weeks. Would love to have you join us. With all that being said here is episode number 70 with Karen Brody of the dad work podcast. Here we go.
Alright, Dad's Welcome back for another episode. And I'm very excited to have with me today Karen Brody, the author of open her, which is a book that I devoured I think I read it in two or three days and took copious amounts of notes. So first of all, please pick up the book because it will change your relationship dynamics 100%. And Karen, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time. I was very thrilled that you agreed to come on with us today.
Karen Brody 4:28
Oh, you're welcome. I'm thrilled that you love my book. And thank you for having me.
Curt Storring 4:33
Yeah, of course, I want to start just with a quick overview of polarity because this is part of my work my life. It's really changed my relationship as I stepped more into mature masculinity truly, and allowed my wife to flourish in her feminine. And I wonder if you can sort of outline the general idea behind this because it can seem strange for men to get a grasp on what this truly means. And it's just going to inform the rest of the conversation, I believe. And I wonder if there's like a polarity one or one that you can sort of guide us through before we get into how to repair relationship and build trust again.
Karen Brody 5:13
Okay? Well, because I don't teach polarity one on one, let me just tell you how I approach it in my sessions. Because I think it's easier for men to understand is I teach men how to see women as women. And this is a really important thing, because we look through our particular gender lens, you know. And so, for example, in my history, I used to look at men as sort of deficient women. And until I learned to see men as actual men, and to appreciate what they bring to relationships and what they bring to the world. I wasn't really in a state of appreciation, when I made that switch. And I dedicated myself to really seeing the beauty that men bring in the gifts that they bring to life and women, everything changed for me. So that's what I teach men to do is to see the feminine as the feminine doing what the feminine does. And this is what the polarity is, it's our capacity to see how we complement one another, and what a gift that actually is in our lives.
Curt Storring 6:24
Thank you, and what are some of the things that the masculine does? And what are some of the things that the feminine does so that we can recognize that in ourselves and our partners?
Karen Brody 6:34
Well, one of the things that women do in terms of communication is we communicate more passively. men find this frustrating naturally, because men are generally more direct. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. But men will often say to me, Why can't women just say what they want? You know, why can't they just be more direct? And every guy would love it if he got his partner into bed. And she said, this is exactly what I want you to do, right? Well, women being passive by nature, don't do that. So one of the things that I teach men to do is just accept women as they are, you could spend your lifetime trying to change woman's nature, or you can simply learn to accept this is how she operates. So we communicate more passively meaning for example, I might say to you, Curt, hey, what do you want to do for dinner tonight? Well, I'm not as much interested in what you want to do for dinner as I am being inclusive. This is how women tend to communicate with each other and also with men. So rather than saying, I'd like to go to dinner, I'd like to go out for sushi, I'll ask you what you would like to do. Because that's what I do by nature, you might find that frustrating. Or you can just hear it as what a woman tends to do, we also tend to rather than ask directly for what we want, because that seems a little bit too forceful. Is will suggest what we want, or we might gently complain. Now, I don't love complaining, I'm not proud of it. I'm not proud of the fact that women do this often. But we do. And it's our way of saying I need something from you. So again, you can try to change that and a woman or just sort of notice, like, wow, she's trying to sound an alarm and let me know she needs something from me. And maybe I could just be attentive in a way that makes her feel heard and seen. Concerning men. I think men are, by nature, more direct, they're more independent, they're less likely to want to share what's going on for them emotionally with a woman. For a couple of reasons. I think, oftentimes, men are not experiencing their lives in such an emotional way as a woman is. That's one thing. And another thing is, a man is feeling like to express what's going on for him emotionally positions him as too vulnerable or weak. And so he's not interested in opening up in that way. Women tend to want to push men to open up. Because we feel like if you open up to us, you trust us, because this is the way we communicate with other women. Sometimes we suffer with this with our male partners, because we so want to know what's going on inside of you. One of the ways to recognize this polarity or this difference is to know that men don't often appreciate being pushed in that way. Now, there are exceptions. There are some men that I work with who love to open to their partners emotionally. But for the most part men tell me it causes them more stress than it does relief. Women actually experience relief in talking about what we feel. So these are huge distinctions in the way that we communicate. We don't understand that we can cause each other a lot of tension or this feeling of not being seen.
Curt Storring 10:06
And so, yeah, totally makes sense. It seems they're in as though the masculine is more of a leading role, with the assertiveness and the direction. And I'm curious if there's a way to bridge that gap between, you know, the feminine wishes for the man to perhaps open up, express the emotions, he doesn't feel comfortable doing that? Is there a way for him to do that in a way that doesn't make him feel so stressed? Or is it simply a matter of understanding the differences and accepting them, instead of being so stressed that there are differences in the first place?
Karen Brody 10:43
Well, I think for the man accepting that he's different is huge, different from her. Because I think often men feel this pressure to be emotionally fluid with women, because the woman is demanding it. And sometimes she's even saying, there's something wrong with you. You know, why won't you share with me? Why don't you open up? What are you hiding? And this is, this causes shame, and men because they feel like, okay, I'm not online with you emotionally. So accepting that you're different is huge, and I teach men to tell their partners look, you, as a woman, likely get a lot of relief and talking about what you feel, you know, it causes you to be able to empty yourself, and that's positive for you. For me, it doesn't necessarily do that. In fact, sometimes talking about what I'm feeling when I've had a hard day is more stressful than not. And so you can teach a woman to appreciate that you are different, and that you're not actually hiding anything from her. There's just nothing there to share. And in the moment, you can say, you know, in this moment, I'm really not feeling anything. Because a woman will often push and say, a command, you must be feeling something, what are you feeling? Well, really, it's more what I'm thinking about. And if women can be more accepting that this is more likely the way the man wants to communicate, she's going to get a lot further with him and create more trust with him.
Curt Storring 12:09
Okay, and it seems, then that the part of the job as the masculine partner then is to feel into the moment rather than necessarily himself. And just be very honest with here's WhatsApp and the communication feels right to me, when I hear that it's not closing down. It's not making excuses. It's just like, hey, here's what's real. And I'm not willing to go any farther. Is that an important part of this?
Karen Brody 12:33
I think, yeah, definitely. I think if you're not feeling shame around it, you're not inclined to be defensive. So when a woman is pushing you, and you're feeling shame, like, Hey, I'm just not that emotional, you know, and you're feeling shameful about that, then what you want to do is defend yourself and get angry. But if you just accept that there's nothing here right now. And you share that and you teach her that, then she learns to just accept that that's what it is. Okay, and
Curt Storring 13:04
something that's coming up for me is, with men hear this, it might give them permission not to ever go into the emotion, which is like, Oh, well, nothing's ever coming up and like Stop badgering me. And in my experience, there has to be some ability to move into the emotional body and not stay there. Definitely not stay there my experience, but to have the ability to go there sometimes. And share sometimes, is that what you've seen as well with a man has to have at least a bit of emotional awareness, openness, intelligence, so that he can meet her sometimes? Or is it always just like, I don't feel like going there? That seems a little bit closed off to me.
Karen Brody 13:42
Definitely. I think the emotional intelligence is really important in men and I teach men to be with what they feel, so that they feel powerful in this realm, particularly if you want to navigate a woman's emotions, you have to know how to navigate around, you have to be able to sit with yourself and say, What am I feeling? You know, men are often afraid to offer what they feel because they feel like if they allow that it'll be some sort of delusion, you know, and it'll overwhelm the woman and she'll become afraid. But men who are attuned to what they feel are able to sit and say, Hey, what's going on for me? Why am I so angry? Or why am I so disappointed? And they're able to get their answers, then when you share that with a woman, it's coming from a place of power, because you've taken ownership of what you feel and you've made sense of it. This doesn't scare us at all. In fact, it has us looking at you with great respect. So I think Yeah, another piece of telling them on what you what you feel that I feel it's really important is if you don't sensitize a woman to the fact that you can be hurt by her. What we tend to do is we tend Once again, hard and pushy, because the sense we get is that you're impenetrable. And we want to penetrate you, we want to be felt. So so I feel like sometimes when women get pointed in angry, and pushy with minutes, because they're like, feel me, you know, or share with me what you're feeling like, Give me something here. So being stoic, pretending that you don't feel, I don't think creates much trust, or that it comes across as very powerful. I think what comes across as more powerful is, I know what I feel, I share what I feel like feel, you know, sharing, and I, I withhold the things that are private to me.
Curt Storring 15:48
Interesting, there's almost a permission there to navigate the emotions with nuance, which I think is missed in so much of this teaching. It's either all or nothing. And then nothing leads to the pushing, at least to the disconnection in relationship and the all leads to this sense of shame, vulnerability, openness, that doesn't feel natural, perhaps. And so what I'm hearing is like, there's this nuance, which requires a first of all this self awareness, and then the choice as to what and when you share, and a lot is coming up for me with like, emotional dumping versus emotional sharing. And where else might a man find a way to emotionally dump that's not on his woman, so that he can then share what's important. Rather than like, I've got nowhere else to share this, I have to just share it now. And then I feel ashamed. And so one of the things that comes up for me is like men's group I have experienced as being incredibly important, or coaching or have professional help to find a way to maybe dump so that you can then be more discerning with what you bring to your wife or your partner. And I wonder like, do you help men learn how to identify those emotions? Are there ways to notice and get skilled at that, that you work with men on
Karen Brody 17:00
I really just use a couple of practices that I find work for most of my clients. One is to sit in silence and feel into what you're feeling, you know, that might start with sensation. A lot of guys are like, they're not, they don't have quick access to their emotion. So they might feel sensation. And then if they feel into that sensation, they're able to get to the emotion, which might be, you know, sadness or anger or what have you. Or journaling. Journaling is super powerful to just ask, you know, what's going on for me, why am I so pissed off, or sad, or whatever it is. And then once you know that, you can go to your partner and say, This is what's happening for me. And again, you come across as powerful. I liked what you said, in terms of nuance. I think that's it, I think, to take the reins of your power emotionally and know that you're not handicapped in this regard, you're different, right? And she's different from you. And the way that you choose to express what you feel is yours to express. Or if you choose not to. You talked about dumping, I think women to need to be more aware of dumping. You know, I used to be someone who would just vomit all over my partners, because I got this idea that if you felt it, it was okay to share. And what I came to learn is you can destroy a lot of relationships by not harnessing what you feel first and really taking responsibility for it. Just because you feel it doesn't mean it's not going to harm other people when it comes out on you know, unprocessed. So, and I'm also aware that we women, sometimes we need a space where we can just dump and I think it's good to ask your partner, is that okay? You know, could we take 10 or 15 minutes? And I think that's more responsible than just sort of expecting that he should do it.
Curt Storring 18:57
Yeah, no, that's very good. asking for permission. And I hear the same thing from women sometimes, which is, you know, when when a man comes into relationship, he's often trying to fix the emotion or whatever's coming up. And it can be helpful for a man to say, Would you like me to listen or to fix? And it's almost always going to be to listen, and just communicating that it seems so basic. And yet it's like, changes relationship when you can communicate and ask the need, and then the boundary? Like, I need to be heard right now. Do you have the space? And then you can feel into it like, not right now? Or like, yes, let's put a 1015 minute on it. I will just hold the space. And we'll go from there. And what you're saying about like, learning the differences that seem to change everything in my own relationship. I've been married for almost 10 years now. But when I learned that it was just the way things were rather than like, Oh my God, why is this happening again? It was like I could have way more compassion for my wife, knowing that she was simply operating in the feminine, where it was more flowing where the emotions had to be worked through, and I could hold space for that, knowing that it wasn't about me. And I think that's a big problem for a lot of guys. It's like, Oh, my goodness, everything's wrong with me if you're coming at me, but it's not typically about the other partner, is it? Like, it's usually just the woman has to go through the feelings to, you know, process or whatever is that what you have experienced as well?
Karen Brody 20:21
Yeah, absolutely in this is, you know, part of how we're different is that oftentimes men are hearing it as about them. And it's really difficult for them, and women aren't taking responsibility for what they feel. So the way that it's coming across as if they're blaming, I like the fact that you, you actually ask your wife, you know, do you want me to listen or fix because that expresses for you a boundary, you're letting her know that my attention, my time and my space are valuable. And I want to know what we're about to do. I don't think men should feel that they have to sit for a woman if she doesn't take responsibility in some way if she's not attentive also, to his time and energy, and his feelings, right. And again, if she were to say, you know, what I'm about to share is gonna be really kind of hard. It's gonna be difficult, but I need to get it out. Do I have your permission that's very different and respectful.
Curt Storring 21:26
Yeah, that feels so much easier to get into and be like, oh, like, thank you. Like, sure. Now I've got space for it, rather than just like, Ah, here's everything. And that reminds me like, I heard this story recently about a man who had a partner who dumped on him and was in a fight, basically, but went for hours and hours. And his thinking was, well, I'm just gonna keep being in this relationship, I'm going to feel what I feel I'm going to hold space, but it kept going on and on. And my thought was, like, I wonder what the boundary there is like, you can hold this space and practice being in your masculine container, if you will. But at some point, it almost feels maybe not abusive, but overwhelming in a way that like my boundary says, I don't want to do this anymore. Like, stop harassing me. And so is there like, I don't know if it's a gentle way or not. But is it acceptable for a man to be like, hey, look, this is not cool with me, I need you to stop and I'm going to walk away. Now, unless you can, X Y, Zed. You know, whatever that looks like.
Karen Brody 22:24
I think there's a lot you can do before you walk away. And I think you want to pay attention, one to your energy. So if you're starting to feel drained, and resentful, it's probably time to offer a lead. One of the things women do is we talk around our feelings. So just because you're talking or processing doesn't mean you're actually feeling what you feel. And so we can go on and on. Because, like men, you know, we're trying to avoid vulnerability. One of the things a man can bring is leadership in this regard. So imagine that she's circling, and you're able to say, Hey, I'm noticing that you're not really sharing what you're feeling. And I get the sense, you do want to tell me what you're feeling. You want to tell me why this particular incident was significant for you. And she'll be like, oh, yeah, you're right, I'm going on and on. Well, tell me what you're feeling. Tell me what the emotion was for you concerning the situation. And then she'll say, I was really hurt so and so said, this thing, I feel like my works not being appreciated. And that kind of thing. And then what you've essentially done is helped her get to the heart of what she's trying to share by you being the masculine witness.
Curt Storring 23:44
I love that I love the not necessarily the script, if you will, but just that there is a way to communicate this, because it's so not what we have seen in our relationships, growing up watching our parents, or anyone else, and to just get so clear that like, you can just say what you need, and set your boundaries and it like makes everything better for everyone, it seems. And I I want to make sure we get to sort of the the core question that I'm interested in here, which is repair. And I'll just speak from personal experience, like I was very angry as a young father, young husband, and I would take it out on those closest to me, my wife, my young sons, and it would be scary, you would be mean, there would be a lot of you know, yelling. And in my journey along the way, I came to a space where I was no longer feeling the hurt that was causing the anger so acutely. And when I came to my wife and said, Look, I'm willing to be here now like I get it, I can open my heart to love I'm willing to let you in. The response was not what I expected. Instead of like, Oh, thank goodness, like we can be close now. She's like, Yeah, right. Like, I don't believe this for a second. And what I learned there was like, I think I had to build trust again, because as I look back like Man, I was breaking trust every single day in the relationship. And I wonder if you can talk about, like, what does a man do when he's on his growth path? And he's like, Hey, baby, I'm here now. And she's like, Yeah, right. Is that, I guess is a normal thing to be tested by the feminine to get that trust back? What does that look like from your perspective?
Karen Brody 25:22
Yeah, I think it's absolutely really common. Oftentimes, it's a story similar to yours with my clients, where the man was sort of checked out when they were raising their kids. And so 20 years in, he's saying, I want to be close to you. And she's saying, well, it's too late. You know, you had your opportunity. I told you for years how lonely I was, and how difficult it was for me to do this on my own, or that's how it felt to her. Right? And you weren't listening. And now I just can't open my heart to. So I think the most important thing is to let a woman in on your process. I think what men often do is they just say, Well, I'm different now. Things are going to be different. Why can't you just accept that. And what they don't give a woman a window into is what they actually went through, which helps us to understand logically why you did what you did. It seems really simple. But you'd be amazed at how many men just miss this piece. So I think, like in your case, you know, I'd want to understand what was making you so angry, and why couldn't you express that with me? And if you could give me some insight as to what you were going through why you were so blocked, it would help me feel compassion for you. Is that something that you found yourself doing? We're sort of skipping over?
Curt Storring 26:48
Yeah, no, in my case, I was just like, now I'm here. Like, we talk a lot personally about like, here's what's going on for me, here's why I'm feeling anger. I don't know how to fix it. And then it was just like, oh, this is so nice. I feel good. Now, like, let's go, we'll create this marriage now. And, you know, along the way, I probably have gone into that. But it's taken years to get fully there into like, this is what was real for me, here's where my blocks were, here's why it felt so bad. And so yeah, my assumption was just like, I'm good. Like, can he see this.
Karen Brody 27:18
And for her, it felt like a really big abandonment. And now you suddenly want her to open her arms to you and say, Come on in. And she needs to understand the only way she can feel compassion for you is to really understand what your process was, and why suddenly things are different. Because if you can say, well, you know, I was really in a state of crisis, I wasn't trusting myself, I was afraid, I was afraid of you. And I came to know these different things about myself and about you, then maybe she could trust that things could be different. Not that you're suddenly deciding they're going to be different, because you're afraid of losing her.
Curt Storring 28:03
I see. Okay. So again, communication, and in this case, almost an added level of vulnerability. Indicate in a way that might not be appropriate every other time. But when you are asking for that trust back, it seems as though it's so important to be fully transparent. And it was interesting to hear you say, you know, the logical reason why this would be different, because I go like, Oh, that seems like a very masculine thing. Why would you need to know that. And that's just, you know, my blindness at realizing it's just a human thing. Like, we all operate in the emotional and the logical brain and the body. And so yeah, just sharing that and sharing what's real. I missed, totally missed along the way, and sort of have made it up as I go. And thankfully, you know, we got to that space. But I hear from a lot of guys who are doing this work with me now. Like, okay, my wife is like really testing me. Like, I thought it would be easy. And I think, is that what she's going for? Then she's like, let me see now, because you're not telling me why it's different. You're gonna have to prove why it's different. Is that sort of a reasonable assumption that she might do in in lieu of you sharing what was real for you?
Karen Brody 29:14
Yes, because you suddenly made a pivot. And typically that pivot is made when there's a fear of losing her. And so she's been knocking on that door forever saying, Look, things are bad. I'm scared here, we're not connected, you're not paying attention and hearing me. And then suddenly, you get the sense that she's thinking of exiting, and you're like, Hey, I'm good. I'm different. Now. Why would she trust that? You know, in her mind, you're just, you're just moving in that direction because of your concern of losing something. So it's like for example, if your if your partner had an affair, and she said to you, it was nothing, you know, it meant nothing to me. Why would To trust that she wouldn't do it again. You know, but if she were to say to you, this is what I went through, I was feeling so insecure, I was so uncomfortable in my body, I was feeling so lonely, I didn't know how to communicate with you. And I was desperate, and I did this thing. You know, it might cause you to feel more compassion for her than otherwise.
Curt Storring 30:22
Right? Okay. Yeah, that's such an important point. So I'm glad you brought that up. Because that's, in my experience, like the missing piece. And as I'm trying to tell Matt about this, you know, I experienced challenge I experienced a trust needing to be rebuilt. And that almost, I don't know stops it in its tracks. In a sense, there's going to be a lot of work to be done after that to repair and rebuild that trust. But like, from the place of compassion, rather than just, I don't know, I feel like two walls coming up against each other. And I pulled a quote here, which is actually relevant from from your book, and I'll just read it quickly, maybe get your thoughts on, it says if you offer her loving direction, she will most likely respond with receptive surrender, though she's not used to feeling your direction, she may initially not trust it, and test your resolve to offer her direction. If you give her something solid and strong to hurl her passion at, she will most likely relax into softness. And so I wonder how this relates in you know, this is, again, going back to the sort of the masculine, the feminine dynamics, what does it mean, to be strong and solid to hurl against does that mean, we have to, you know, forego our own boundaries, like we were talking about before, what does a strong masculine container look like such that we can both take the challenge, and then the feminine partner is that receptive to us being there and accepting the challenge that she's flinging at us.
Karen Brody 31:44
I think the number one thing that prevents a man from feeling like that solid container, or that place that a woman can lean into and feel safe, is his defensiveness. And so oftentimes, when women are communicating in the way they do, and men don't see them as women, they feel like, she's trying to break me down, she's trying to destroy my sense of myself as a good man, I can no longer listen to her, or I just go on a, you know, a big defense with her to try to save or preserve the way that I see myself. And so I close off to her. And when this happens over time, she absolutely loses trust that you can be that solid container for her, because the man who can be that can hear whatever she's bringing forward, and can hear it coming from a feminine person. He may not like what he's hearing, he may be triggered by it. But he's willing to engage with her in a way that causes her to feel reassured by him. If a man cannot be reassuring, he doesn't feel protective. And therefore he doesn't feel solid. And typically, it points to his taking everything personally, rather than seeing well, she's a woman, she's scared, she doesn't feel supported. And so she's acting in a way that's letting me know that things are getting bad for her.
Curt Storring 33:16
Right, yeah, and my initial instinct upon sort of reading and learning more about this was, you know, she will think I'm dismissive, if I don't take the full brunt of what she's saying. And I learned that it's not about that, it's, it's just holding that truth. Like, this is how she as a feminine partner is going to express. And I guess she then has to trust that I can see that. So it's, I almost feel as though and I would love your thoughts on this. Like, I sometimes say that the masculine holds much of the power in relationship and not power over, but power to influence. And it almost seems unfair when guys are like, Why do I have to be the one who's so strong? And it's like, Dude, that's who you are, like, you have the capacity to do that she might not. And so I wonder if you think that's true as well, where like, we as men have a lot of power over the direction of this and we can breathe that love and the life in the joy back into the feminine partner when she's swirling in the sort of tornado of negative emotion.
Karen Brody 34:19
Yeah, I definitely feel that men have a lot of power in the relationship. I coach men and I see this every day, you know, I'm only working with a male partner. And so when he's more trustworthy, when he trusts himself, when he brings a kind of leadership that causes her to feel safe and to relax with him, things shift in a huge way. But I'll tell you also, if I were working with the female partners, I think we'd get the same kind of results. I think whenever somebody is focused on cleaning up their side of the street, really taking responsibility for the relationship, you're going to get tremendous results.
Curt Storring 34:58
Right. Okay. Thank you for that and I I wonder if there's any repair that is specifically able to be done by men beyond sharing what was real beyond withstanding the trust attempts or the you know that the intentional triggers, if you will, Should men be going back into the sort of celebration that you mentioned in open her? Should we be going 100% above and beyond to prove or does that seem disingenuous? Like, what is the repair process after you've had these conversations?
Karen Brody 35:32
I think it differs a little bit for each situation, but we can look at sort of the building blocks of it. I think, that once a woman says that she's willing to forgive and she is open to, you're expressing her yourself with her differently.
Let's say she's lost trust in you. That you will do what you say you will do.
I think what tends to happen is the woman being hurt, and that hurt not being resolved, she'll often bring these things up time and again, when she's under stress. And men find this really frustrating. And they go into this place of feeling like I'm never going to be trusted. And that's not a powerful place to go. When this starts to recur time. And again, what you need to do is actually put boundaries into place. So you need to say to her look, we've decided to move down this path where you're going to work with trusting me more, and I'm going to work with being more trustworthy. And for that reason, I need to express some boundaries and have some agreements with you that will contribute to our success. Because if she keeps throwing up the things that you've done, it breaks you down, it creates a split and your connection and such. And some of those agreements could be that she's not gonna throw this thing in your face. You know, however, if feelings are coming up for her that feel Ron difficult, and she needs to discuss them with you, you can say, I'm open to that. I'm open, I'm open to what evolves for you emotionally around this healing. So let's say there was an affair, you know, you cheated on your wife, she gets scared, she, you know, she starts throwing in your face, you're late. This is feeling like it felt before what's going on with you, I'm not trusting you. If you have an agreement in place, you can say let's talk about your feelings. And then you can sit down and really hear what's going on for her. A lot of times with a man Juan says he wants to make that pivot, and then he wants full trust. And he doesn't want to deal with these reemerging feelings that come up for her from time to time make some really uncomfortable makes him feel like he's never going to be trusted. What you've got to realize is that it may take her years to process the hurt that came about for her when you retrain her, or wish when she when she lost trust in your capacity to be there for her. And so you can have in place, we're not going to throw these things in each other's face. So you can have in place boundaries, like you don't go behind my back and look at my phone or my email accounts. However, you might have another agreement in place that if you were to ask me permission, and say, I'm really scared right now, you know, can I look at your phone, I can decide if I want to let you look at my phone. You know, so I think a man really needs to feel into what kind of boundaries do I need in place to be good and trustworthy for her and also to honor her fears, and the various feelings that arise for her in the healing process.
Curt Storring 38:57
Hmm. And as you're saying that in this, this specific instance, or simply that, you know, like me, you're angry and yelling and scary and didn't have the Open Heart for her. I feel like there's a level of responsibility that the man needs to take, you know, this is your burden for having acted that way. And it sucks because especially when you have done the work to heal yourself in a large part, you might feel the need, or the desire to then be done with all the things that you were used to deal with. But the truth is like there's going to be repercussions. And in this more healed state if that's where you are, you know, that's now your work is dealing with the burden that you created. You don't just get to walk away from it scot free. So I think there's a lot of power and taking that sort of radical ownership for like, Yes, I did these things even though I'm feeling better now. My work is to take the onslaught of the responsibility that came from that and like deal with everything that I caused and be part of the repair rather than being so passive and hoping it's just gonna They do better.
Karen Brody 40:01
I'm so glad you brought that out. That's so absolutely true that if you sort of half assed responsibility, she's gonna know, you know, you know, mean it. What came to mind when you were talking about responsibility was that you could create a ceremony where, for example, you would say, I want to take complete responsibility, and you would talk about your process, and then what you imagine it created in her, you know, for example, your anger, fear, fear that she couldn't bring things up with you that she had to tiptoe around, etc. And then you could invite her to talk about extensively, what went on for her, you know, just in her daily world, what she was feeling, what she was thinking, what kinds of actions she was taking to protect herself against it, etc. And then you could say that this ceremony was aware of really holding that space for it, and also releasing it with the acknowledgement, that emotion around this, and the fallout of this will still be present in some ways. And we're also going to make space for that we're gonna, if that's true, rather than, you know, you're throwing it in my face rushing you to sit down, and we're going to process it. And we're going to see how it's evolving as time goes on.
Curt Storring 41:22
Yeah, that feels really, really good, feel safe, it feels seen, it feels like something I could do, rather than being overwhelmed when it comes up randomly, to make that intentional space for it. And one of the other aspects that is coming up in some of the men who are in our groups, is what if I'm doing the work, and my partner's just not. And I am becoming resentful that she has, in my opinion, given up perhaps, you know, like, I have spent the last two years working on my anger, I've done this, I've done that I've joined groups, and my judgment is you have quit, and I want the best out of you, I want your best, and you're not coming along for the ride. Is there a way to encourage your partner to come along for the ride, if you will? Or like are their boundaries need to set? What do you see in this situation?
Karen Brody 42:17
See, when I hear that, oftentimes, it's coming from men who feel or who want to be acknowledged for their efforts. They're looking for validation. And when they're not getting that validation, they're frustrated, because they're not sincerely committed. I'm not saying this is always true. But it's often true. And so when we really look at it, they're willing to admit, yeah, okay, I was trying some things out. And when I didn't get the response that I wanted to get, I collapsed, I lost my energy for it. Because they're not really committed to being the best man they can be. They're, they're only committed to trying it out, and seeing how it works. However, if you're really doing the work of bringing your fullest self to the relationship, and doing everything that you feel contributes to a beautiful connection between you and all of that, and she's not expressing interest, I do think you need to sit down and say, Do you want to do this? You know, because I'm not feeling you invested in the relationship. And I think you have every right to do that. Okay,
Curt Storring 43:36
and is there any? I mean, perhaps, it's simply what you said that commitment to being the best in the relationship versus like, just seeing how it feels? Is there ever a time and maybe this is one of those things that you suggested almost with like a ceremonial sit down, which is like I need to be very real with you hear are my needs, here are my fears, you know, I need the best in you. And I need to be acknowledged, I need to be seen for all this work I'm doing and I feel resentment building up when I see that you are not doing this, and maybe open the space for her to be like, what's real for you? Is that something that you can do with someone who seems to be checked out from the man's perspective?
Karen Brody 44:20
Definitely, I think oftentimes, the woman's checked out. She's embroiled in resentments. And she feels like I gave and gave and gave, or I asked you for attention and love and you weren't there for me. I can see you're working but you're going to have to work while longer because I still feel like you own me. And so I do think you want to sit with her and and ask, you know, what's, what's still in the way? You know, what's preventing you from meeting me here? And she's gonna let you know what it is. Um, It may be that she still heard it may be that she doesn't trust you or she feels that your efforts are half hearted. And it may be that she's just simply not interested in investing herself anymore. And then you have to look at is this what I want?
Curt Storring 45:14
Right? Yeah, that brings up the very difficult decision in the boundary, that I imagine is a hard place to get to, because you've invested all this. And then you have to go like, well, what am I willing, if if you're playing Fallout, as you said, What am I as the you know, the partner who's doing the work willing to take in relationship, and I see this play out a lot, where men especially perhaps, at least, that's who I work with, don't have a boundary with what they're willing to accept. And then they keep trying, they keep trying, they put so much energy into it, and they don't get anything back. And it could be that they're not, you know, skilled necessarily in doing this work. But you know, a lot of guys also have this idea that, you know, we got to stay together forever, and all this kind of stuff. So is, I don't even know exactly what I what I need here. But like, is it? How do you set a boundary with which is like, I need something from you. And if you're not willing to go there, then like I need to leave? That feels hard for me to bring up because I don't like the idea of not being able to work through something personally. But like, How can a man set that boundary? What does that look like in your experience, where it's like, I need this. And if I can't get it from you, my life is not going to be okay. For me.
Karen Brody 46:21
I think the boundary needs to be a bar for openness. Because if you're trying to rebuild trust, and there's no openness, it's not going to happen. You need to know where she is in any given moment. So if she's felt betrayed by you lost trust and your capacity to love her, protect her, you need to know where she is. And if she says, initially, I'm in for this journey with you. I would ask that, that the two of you commit to an openness about that, that you're each going to be doing your part, she's going to be doing her part to trust you, and to open to you to the degree to which she can in any moment. And you're going to be expressing yourself as trustworthy as you possibly can. If she's unwilling to tell you where she is, or she insists on withholding, and insists on being closed off to you. What she's essentially saying is, I'm not really open to this process, I'm more interested in holding on to my resentments. And being right, than I am this path of learning to trust you again. So I think you have to insist on an openness and communication.
Curt Storring 47:41
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you. Have you worked with men who are parents, and the journey of motherhood in the female partner has almost, I don't know stopped her from moving on. Because in my wife's case, we've talked about this recently, she felt with a lot of change in her life that her old self had to die, in a sense to be reborn, as you know, the mother, whereas she had a job before she, you know, we finished university before she had friends before she's doing all this stuff. And it took her a long time to let go of that loss, and to fully grieve the life that was before motherhood. And I wonder if that's something you've dealt with men who are like, How can I bring? How can I be the space in which my wife can do that, because it's a very hard process, I imagine.
Karen Brody 48:32
What often what I'm hearing is that the men don't know how to deal with a woman's resentment and having lost her former self, or the sense in the woman that he can't appreciate what she gave up. And then the man goes into this place of well, we chose to be parents together. And you said that you wanted that, which doesn't really acknowledge that her feelings are not logical. So what she really wants from the man is sensitivity and compassion for the fact that this is a difficult emotional journey for her. And sometimes she's feeling a lot of conflict with it. She is yearning for the days when she could walk out the door and not have kids. But she loves her kids. So I think in this case, really knowing how to tune into what a woman is feeling and encouraging her to share those feelings can go a long way toward her being able to get through these difficult passages.
Curt Storring 49:40
Okay, so I'm just getting this general sense from this conversation that open communication needs expression, boundaries, space to hold each other's reality is like the underpinning of good relationship. You know, it seems like it's so hard when you're in the moment and you've got your own circumstances, but I'm getting a real sense and even In a lived sense, in my own experience that these are very fundamental, and you just have to commit to them. I want to be aware of time here. But is there any final thoughts that we didn't get to that you think would be useful to share? Otherwise, it'd be happy to have you share where men can find you.
Karen Brody 50:22
I will say that around trust, because it also pairs with all the things we've been talking about, as far as a woman's emotions, is we really want to feel that you have our best interests at heart. And if there's been some kind of betrayal, rather than trying to run from that, or be defensive around that, that you really take responsibility for trying to attune to what someone who feels betrayed needs. So rather than her having to bring it up, like, you're going on a trip, and I'm nervous, you know, you're coming to her and saying, I'm going on this trip. And I imagine it makes you a little nervous. You know, is that accurate? She's like, Yeah, I'm feeling that. What can I do to help you feel safer? You know, so I think it's hard sometimes for women when they're not feeling the trust, and there has been some sort of betrayal or loss of trust, that we don't want to have to keep bringing it up. And yet, we're feeling it. And so we feel like we have to, like, we have to let it go. So that if you bring it up, you know, you're really magnifying the trust that she's feeling in any moment because you're taking care and taking responsibility for the thing that you likely created. Beautiful.
Curt Storring 51:58
That's a fantastic last tip. Thank you so much, Karen. Okay, where can men find your work or work with you?
Karen Brody 52:06
Well, my website is Karen Brody, coaching.com. And then they can pick up a copy of my book on Amazon called open her.
Curt Storring 52:17
And I highly recommend that you do. I really, really loved it because it took for me, you know, the polarity work of David data and stuff like that, and then combine it with the archetypes which I was like, Oh, yes, these are like two fundamental menswear pieces coming together to help me navigate this like spectrum of how I show up in relationship. So even having done a lot of this work, I read it probably two, three months ago now. It gave me this like rejuvenation, of commitment into my own relationship. So I really appreciate that you wrote it. And yeah, highly, highly recommended to pick that up. And I'll put that in the show notes as well. So Karen, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Karen Brody 52:54
Thank you so much.
Curt Storring 52:55
Bye that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod. That's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL dad.work/pod To find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Leave A Review – The Highest Impact, Lowest Cost Way of Supporting the Show
Are you enjoying this podcast? Do you want to say thanks, and help more fathers find this episode? Please leave a review for the Dad.Work podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Ping me at email@example.com or on Instagram @dadwork.curt and send me a link to your review and I’ll give you a shout-out on the podcast!
More Resources for Dads
Free 14-Day Email Series
Join our free 14-day Better Man, Better Dad email series to learn the most impactful tools, tips, practices, and wisdom I have learned on my journey to becoming a more conscious father:
Join a men’s group for fathers and be seen, heard, supported, and challenged by a group of fathers who have your back unconditionally:
The Village Online Training + Brotherhood Community
Not able to commit to a weekly men’s group? Join us in The Village, our online training + brotherhood community of other fathers doing the work together. Get access to our course, monthly expert-led workshops, 24/7 online community forum, member-led men’s groups, and community calls and become a better man, partner, and father alongside other intentional dads.