067: A Man’s Ego

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. This show is about a very interesting topic and that is the concept of the male ego. To start off the show, Rob wants to remind everybody: we are bad asses! He is a very healthy male with a very healthy, large ego. Rob’s ego serves him and the universe well because he has worked on it. But he didn’t always have such a strong ego. Rob had a lot of negative viewpoints about himself growing up. An overweight kid with low self-esteem, he used a lot of techniques and tactics to look for external approval. There was always a chase to like himself.

A lot of people live in this world where they don’t love themselves. If that’s you, then that’s something to look at and explore. To move around in this world in a healthy manner is extremely important. If you don’t have a strong ego, then you’re looking externally for validation. That’s where everything fucked up begins because on some level you’re looking for external sources to feel good about yourself.

The topic for this episode came about because Morgan commented to Rob recently, “Most men don’t really know how to touch. Why don’t you teach men how to touch anymore?”

Rob cofounded an organization called OneTaste, which taught a practice called orgasmic meditation. Orgasmic meditation is taking the most dexterous part of the human body—the index finger—and stroking the most sensitive part of a woman’s body—her clitoris—for 15 minutes. When Rob started he was a bumbling idiot, and through 15 years of practice and 11,000 oms, he learned to touch.

During that tenure, Rob also taught many thousands of people to touch. He has taught and seen more undeliberate touch in this lifetime than he would like to see. He has had many experiences of watching a man touch a woman that made his soul cringe. So the first problem in that space is the undeliberate touch.

Stop touching so hard, slow down, what are you doing?

Through many experiences, Rob would actually show them how to touch. The man has an ego. So his response to Morgan’s suggestion that he teach this skillset because men need it was: “Do you understand a man’s ego and how challenging it is to teach a man to touch? Do you get the depth of challenge?”

The second problem is that women refuse to tell men the truth when they’re touching inappropriately. When the woman doesn’t tell the man the truth, the man thinks he’s got this handled. The man’s ego gets reinforced by the woman not telling the truth, and the woman gets less and less interested. And then we have a society of undeliberate touch happening in this world.

Men are a pain in the ass. For the record, Rob admits he was one of those men when he started his training. He is thankful for the patience of the teachers and the women around him who told him to slow the fuck down, get out of his head and pay attention to them. That’s what he had to go through for his transformation.

For men to learn to touch and learn to pay attention to a woman, it has a large affect. But it is possibly only by his willingness to bend and morph his ego to learn to pay attention.

What is ego?

  • Ego in Latin means I. The very basis of the concept of ego is that it’s I/me. It was coined by Freud, in his reality principle.
  • Ego is the mediator between the superego and the id. The superego is the conscious ideal person, the Godlike Rob. The Id is the one satisfying the basic needs, the deviant Rob. Ego is the person that is holding the conversation.
  • A strong, healthy ego is one who knows when to let the superego run the show, or when the id to run the show.
  • In terms of ego, gender role plays a very huge part in how healthy the ego is. The world is changing in terms of gender roles. A big piece of what’s happening with man’s ego is in the change: we don’t quite know who we are.
  • The last chapter of Rob’s book is about this. Men want to know their place in the world. It’s a really important piece. We want to know where we stand and what our purpose is.
  • In the rapidly changing world of gender roles, it gets harder and harder to know who we are. We are scared, but because our gender role does not allow us to be scared we are actually arrogant, forceful, sometimes cruel and undeliberate.
  • Because of the change of society. It’s getting more and more intense for a man to know who they are in the world. So the ego is acting out more and more in their id, satisfying their own needs, rather than in their super ego being the best version of themselves.
  • Men are taught as part of our gender roles to be very stoic and to suppress our emotions. This is changing with the millennial generation, there is more permission to embrace the feminine side of themselves. But because the male ego is taught to be stoic and suppress our emotions—“men don’t cry”—we’re getting messed up.
  • The male ego has been described as fragile. Rob thinks this is a true statement. At the same time as we’re suppsed to be strong kind of powerhouses, we’re actually quite fragile. Rob’s favourite example for a fragile male ego is The President of the United States. The Leader of the Free World has one of the most fragile egos Rob has ever witnessed. As soon as it’s poked, it pushes back hard and lies and confuses.
  • As much as this should be irrelevant, it’s extremely relevant. Because the man at the top has a fragile ego, it’s going to go all the way down to the bottom of the chain.

What do we do?

We have to acknowledge that this is happening. The world is changing, men don’t know their place, their egos are in a twist and we have to actually open up this pace for the man’s ego to be seen, held and considered. The only way to change someone is to hold them and contain them. Offer them comfort and say they’re doing it right. And in doing it right, you can do it better and better and better.

Rob lists the dangers of a fragile male ego.

  1. Men won’t take a “No”. They think no is a reason to increase the sensation or intensity of the game. Rob’s modification to is this: No means No but a No can change to a maybe or a yes somewhere down the line if you’re not an idiot. Take the no graciously and accept it, somewhere down the line it might change. You need to know that ‘no is not a rejection of you, it’s a rejection of the offer.’ For some reason we take no as a rejection of our self, not just in personal relationships, but also in business. We need to learn to say, “That offer was not on the mark. I can learn from that feedback and not do the same offer in the future.“
  2. Men’s egos also have a sense of entitlement. Think they deserve or should get something because of who they are in the world, or because they provide, or take someone to dinner, or say something nice. It’s not like that. If you do something nice for a person, do it for your own pleasure, not for a result. Don’t give to get. Give to give. Give so you can feel the desire and power in yourself of the ability to produce.
  3. If they’re feeling sad or weak or curious or something inept inside of them, the male ego will often compensate by being brash and rude and arrogant and taking.
  4. Detach from emotions. This will have them live inside their ego. Be careful of a man who can’t feel his sadness or fear. He is going to act puffed up and slap everything around. Watch that.

Rob does have suggestions for ways to handle the male ego:

  • Have curiosity, first and foremost. When a man is in his ego, acting undeliberately or inappropriately, get curious into what’s happening, what’s motivating him to be in the spot where he’s not on the mark. Get into his world, think and feel into it, ask questions. What happened today, what has him feeling this way? The greatest thing you can do is to put your attention on them so they can feel seen and heard and considered.
  • Have patience. A lot of patience. P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E! Especially around things around touching. Your ability to be patient and say ‘you’re moving in the right direction’ is important. It’s helpful for a man for him to feel your ability to stay with him through some rough times.
  • Tell the truth. Tell the truth! This is the thing that most people will not do. Tell the truth. When you lie, you fuck over a man like nothing else. Most women are lying a lot to their men. This is the greatest crime you can do, because every single time you lie, he wants to believe it and he gets more into his ego.
  • You don’t always have to tell the truth in the exact moment, though Rob does recommend it.
  • If you think he can’t handle it, that’s a lie you’re telling yourself. It’s not him unable to handle it, it’s you—the woman—not able to handle his ego. Which you can.
  • Your ability to tell your partner the truth is the most important thing you can do because then we all have a chance to see the parts of ourselves we can’t see, to improve in the ways our partner wants, and to become better and better men. That truth is not easy to hear for a man, but wouldn’t you rather know the truth than question in the back of your mind?
  • Acknowledge and approve is the final step. Be willing to say ‘I am so happy, my man, that even though this is challenging for you, you are willing to face it.’ That is the greatest thing you can give a man, acknowledge and approve of him. Remember approving doesn’t always mean liking the behavior. But you’re still approving of the person in general. And that is the greatest gift you can give, for a man to move from his ego into connection with you and the world.

Rob coaches Lion, who was impressed and touched by this topic, but also feels very defensive about the subject because he likes his ego and the feeling of pride it gives him. Rob likes his ego too, and thinks it’s amazing.

  • Lion feels defensive a lot, not personally, but as a man he feels picked on a lot. On Facebook there seems to be an endless stream of “protect the women and be aware of the bad man, he’s everywhere” posts. There are constantly articles about how men need to do it right, and how they’re doing it wrong and they need to do it right. E.g. On Elephant Journal and Good Man Project, whenever they’re talking about women it’s praising. The message is explore your sexuality, be all you can be, you’re here for the desire, you’re the blessing to the world. Whenever it’s men, the message is in the punitive mode, the corrective mode, the military mode. Be an authentic man, etc.
  • Rob says, “I could validate you with the bias in these articles, it would give you some reality, some validation, saying ‘yeah that’s fucked up man’ but it would just inflate your ego. I wanna go option number 2, what about that triggers you? What about that has you feel that uneasy feeling. What about that bugs you?”
  • It makes Lion want to cry. He hears a message that women are better than men, that women are constitutionally, in the genetic code, superior. But he hears a message for men like ‘you’re a drone, the purpose of your life is to please women.’ Lion feels sadness about that.
  • Rob’s impression is that it sounds like Lion feels invalidated by these articles as a person. Lion says it’s deeper than that, and it feels more like a harsh reminder of reality. Some part of him believes that he’s less than women because he’s a man. These articles are constant reminders of a doubt and insecurity that you have that’s inside of him.
  • We can say ‘fuck you’ to all the articles all we want, but the more important thing is to look at what that viewpoint says about your beliefs. You create your own reality because your viewpoints make up your reality and how you see the world. Lion thinks he’s less than women, Rob explores that with him. Who taught him that?
  • Growing up he wanted sexual contact a lot but was taught that it’s wrong and he had to protect. There was a part of him affected by his education, listening to these messages, not getting his needs met.
  • Rob loved eating sweets. He had huge desire. His mom has issues around body issues and weight that were passed down to her, and she passed them on to Rob. She could unconsciously ridiculously shame him for his desire for food. That shaming of his desire for food translated into shaming himself for his desire for women. His entire young life, Rob lived in an incredibly amount of shame around his desires.
  • Lion grew up in a society that shamed and that taught that desire to touch these interesting things called girls was wrong. Part of him still to this day feels shame for desire. All he can do is love that part of him and figure out what it needs now, which is to feel loved and accepted in all aspects, including the sexual self.
  • Your desire is right. It doesn’t mean to act on your desire is appropriate. It’s important to make that distinction. Your desire for all aspects of sexuality is right. The next step is to get consent with it. Before you even go to that, in action, or looking, you have to know that your desire is right.
  • Lion has heard so much messaging about that men are here to serve women and women are here just to desire and be, that he has a lot of hostility for that message. Reciprocity on a deep level is really important to him. He is not okay with a contract in the universe that women are here to desire and men are here to please women. That will never be okay with him as a bedrock foundation.
  • Rob totally support having alternative viewpoints. Teachers, books, movies, cults, religions and cultures: all they’re doing is offering viewpoints. If you have a strong enough ego structure, you can go in and say ‘yes, yes, no, maybe, huh?, yes, no, NO’ You can have this world any way you want it. But you have to start with knowing your desire is right and the rest are just options.

Always remember your desire is right. Find someone who wants to explore that with you. If they don’t, say “thank you for the experience. I gotta go.”