The Sexuality Blog: Teach your sons to learn to deal with rejection, our very lives depend on it

In the last 10 days, two American men have killed a total of 18 people in cold blood. Their reasons/justification for taking the lives of innocent people; their wives/girlfriends decided to leave them. Two eight year olds have been brutally murdered in the last 10 days because an abusive man who treated his significant other terribly couldnt handle her deciding she was done with the abuse. And it is all our collective faults.

Men are not taught to handle rejection in general. But comfortable in skin heterosexual men in particular are never taught to process and regulate their emotions. There is always a woman available to do that for them. The Yoruba are legendary when it comes to emotionally coddling men; ¬†mothers to wives to daughters, women are taught to kneel and grovel, to anticipate a man’s needs even before he has them, even before he can make them. Children are called ‘Oko mi’, my husband and in more conservative families, gender outranks age and experience in matters of deference and respect. This kind of insulation from any kind of negative, painful emotions always harms women in the end.

This is part of the reason why in Nigeria, there is so much pressure to get married, for men to find another emotional regulator before their mothers are too frail to do so. It is a frantic exercise that becomes even more desperate the older a man gets. Most men cannot care for themselves physically, mentally or emotionally, and because toxic masculinity and pervasive patriarchy forbids men expressing any emotion that is introspective, these handicapped men deal with loss/rejection by inflicting pain on others.

I shudder to think how many acts of violence against women in Nigeria can be traced back to this. We all need to do better. Our very lives depend on this.

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