Whether you’re a man or a woman, your experience of the “masculine” within you has two important archetypes that must be engaged and related with so conscious evolution can occur. If an individual can’t moderate these archetypes they are doomed to the shadow masculine’s expression in their lives.
Your Inner Child
Often shows up in men as the “Hurt Little Boy;” in women it can show up as a Peter Pan figure—an emotionally wounded trickster, street-wise character.
The Hurt Little Boy causes you to feel strongly, uncontrollably enraged sometimes, and you act out immaturely and inappropriately to the circumstances at hand. Your anger can be directed at the woman in your life and women in general.
The Hurt Little Boy comes from psychic imprints of experiences in childhood where “masculinity” was being demonstrated in its negative, immature and insecure, “shadow” expression. This could take the form of an angry and abusive father or tormenting older brother(s) or cousins who bully and pick-on the younger child.
The Hurt Little Boy is also affected by how the “mother image” (reflected by the female caregiver(s) in his life) reacts/responds to the “father image” (the significant males present in his life) —as well as the relationship the female caregivers have with their inner masculine (animus) which can produce a detached and emotionally unavailable—or, a critical and emotionally smothering mothering experience.
The circumstances contributing to the Hurt Little Boy provide a ready-opportunity for abuse to occur, which often does, reinforcing insecurity and contracted awareness—producing feelings of separation and fear.
When the Hurt Little Boy heals and returns to wholeness a remarkable thing occurs: his exuberance and youthful vitality and excited participation is reactivated. His life-force energy, Eros, can be directed into goals and projects—producing new energy and vigor in living. Everything is kicked up a notch with more excitement and expectation of good things.
Introspection and Integration
To begin working with your Hurt Little Boy you’ll need to be able to observe your thoughts and feelings and be willing to consider that there are parts of you that hold a “memory” of feeling that has a unique perspective on experiences and has adopted conclusions and beliefs; and these can contain strong emotion.
In other words, your Hurt Little Boy will have his own story about past experiences and affirming anecdotes that support a position or view of life. He could be angry, upset, hurt; he can have an agenda, cause or purpose that may seem at cross-purpose with your conscious self’s life perspective and goals. These split-off, disparate pieces of you happen when there is an inciting incident of overwhelm and/or abuse.
Incidents of abuse and overwhelm are highly subjective; besides overt and obvious physical or sexual abuse or assault, additional wounding may come from mental or emotional abuse or even from what is otherwise considered innocuous experience (tickling, embracing, doctor exams, familial closeness and affection, potty training, etc.).
Without thorough inner-work, counseling and integrating as continuing care for survivors these pieces languish as autonomous “selves” within the psyche.
Relating with your Hurt Little Boy by opening up to him and trying to understand his anger, rage, scars and wounds, will eventually restore him to wholeness and re-integration within the “community” of the psyche.
Healing the Hurt Little Boy can involve any of a number of forms that are able to reach him and hear him out—and then begin to integrate him into the rest of one’s awareness.
- The first and most important thing is to realize his presence and when he is acting-out.
- The more you acknowledge him, the more you can be “at choice” regarding him. He is most powerful when you are unaware of him.
- Meditation, introspection, “active imagination,” and soul-retrieval journeys are some ways to meet and dialogue with your Inner Child / Hurt Little Boy.
When the Hurt Little Boy feels safe and “part of the crew” he heals and “grows up” —providing his gifts of: vibrancy, male Eros, excitement, fun, expedited accomplishment, exuberance, and a grounded and related use of power. Naturally and organically the Hurt Little Boy turns into the Exuberant Youth—the epitome of health and vitality, feeding the psyche with vibrant energy and potential!
Anima and Animus: identified by noted psychiatrist Carl Jung as contra-sexual aspects existing in the psyche of a man and a woman.
- Anima/Animus represents the initiatory aspect of entelechy —the urge to evolve, develop, and reach for or strive towards a new potential.
The Anima/Animus exerts its influence during “initiatory” periods in a person’s life that prompt psychological and developmental growth, change, and transcendence and elicits new experience and awareness. As Jung points out, there seems to be a different manifestation of this for each sex that takes typical forms (of course there are exceptions, and variety exists). In either sex, the Anima/Animus will prompt them to make changes or initiate them into new awareness.
This is your contra-sexual self—as a man its your inner woman or “feminine side.” Some men are afraid of becoming less masculine if they open up to their feminine side.
The hyper-macho messages in today’s patriarchal society encourage: competition, dominance and control; and tell men to “leave being feminine to women” and focus on beating your opponent in: business, career, religious dogma, politics, national prowess, and personal material gain.
The irony is, that the more a man denies his inner feminine aspect the more his masculinity becomes unbalanced and oppressive—which has the countervailing affect of deteriorating his relationships with women.
A man isn’t taught how to connect with his inner feminine and relate with her—and is certainly not encouraged to let her express herself through him! However, unless he is able to do exactly that he is doomed to be fighting against himself and distorting all of his relationships with women (who will eventually get tired of his immaturity).
Learning how to relate to your inner women directly corresponds to your ability to relate easily with the externalized expression of the feminine—the women in your life.
The denied, or suppressed, inner feminine will seek recognition and expression despite any attempt to limit her or “keep her in her place” by the immature male psyche. She is an unstoppable force that will break out of any container she is put in. This often takes the form of unexplained and bizarre circumstances that abruptly change your reality—as if someone had reached out and shook your world to say “Hey, I’m here, deal with it and relate with me—or else!”
When you achieve a relationship with your inner feminine she will stop “acting-out” in your life by creating crazy circumstances and explosive consequences!
When you work in harmony with her you get her stellar gifts of: inspiration and creativity, brilliance of insight, intuition, and felt guidance.
To be in right-relationship with a woman, a man must be able to relate with her—and to relate with her he needs to know and express his feelings while being able to understand and accept her feelings as equally sovereign as his.
By achieving relatedness with his Anima, all of a man’s relationships with women will improve—especially the most intimate ones. He will begin to understand the mystery that is Woman by relating to the “woman” inside of him. Through this intuitive bond a man can find himself more synchronistically aligned and flowing with women instead of battling with them and failing to get what really matters most to men: to be accepted and loved—expressed through deep and meaningful communion.
Evolving the Masculine
By accomplishing right-relationship and deep understanding with both these archetypes (Inner Child and Anima/Animus) a man can evolve his psyche to maturity, balance, and harmony.
Masculinity is not a monolithic identity but has a broad range of expression and manifestation. It is a mystery different than the mystery of the feminine. What is important to unfolding and understanding this mystery is to proactively relate with these two key archetypes in a conscious way through the inner-work of introspection and meditation—and developing a close relationship with each one.
A man who undertakes this process will be richly rewarded in how he feels within—and in how he feels in his relationships with women.
Counseling sessions with me are helpful to achieve clarity and inner transparency to feelings and archetypes that men need to understand and relate with in order to emanate a healthy, awakened, evolved masculine. To request a session, or receive more information, please fill out this form: