Peso RateWeatherPhilippines TimeJoin Our Mailing List

Men

The predominantly vulnerable areas among the male patients have to do with their passive, feminine wishes, their tenuous controls over their aggressive instincts and their ambivalence towards success. As with the women patients, these same critical areas, when properly handled, give the individual in the culture his main source of self-esteem. Thus, the Filipino male is one who is self-assured to the point of smugness, about his masculinity. He regards as pure jest the occasional potshots directed against his masculine armor. His mastery of his aggressive impulses renders him a virtuoso in the art of “smooth interpersonal relations.” Should he explode in violence, it is because he is forced to, in defense of his manliness, a justification which is accepted by all. He is generous and gracious in his success; in failure, the culture is generous and gracious in helping him save face.

One may say, therefore, that perceived threats to masculinity strike at the very foundation of his pride and self-esteem. Of these threats, the passive, feminine components in his personality appear most frequently to trip him. The outstanding demonstrations of these tendencies are seen in his regressive patterns. To be nurtured and protected by a strong, understanding, and loving person is the essential purpose of his regression. It is not primarily to retreat so as to reassemble and recharge his emotional resources, to regress, “in the service of the ego,” but rather to avail himself of the gratifications of the passive, dependent position.

These tendencies are labeled “feminine” in psychoanalytic language because they seem more intrinsically a part of the female character structure. In the Filipino culture, they are not necessarily ego-alien when found in men. The usual cultural norm for masculinity is firstly, the ability to perform sexual intercourse and secondarily, freedom from marital controls in a man’s activities. The cultural ego-ideal is the strong and helpful wife, who manages the household and children efficiently, gives effective emotional, and if possible material support to the husband, and above all, is permissive towards him. A man could therefore depend on such a woman and not be any less masculine. In emotional illness, however, these passive-feminine tendencies get our of hand and are behind the failure of the ego to overcome stress, face up to challenge, or to bounce back after an emotional defeat. Like most neurotic patients, they will risk all in order to be gratified.

For these strong passive-feminine tendencies, one cannot avoid implicating the male patient’s outstandingly gratifying emotional experience as a young child with a maternal figure. As a matter of fact, the relationship never really starts to attenuate until he enters adolescence. Male patients who complained that mother was cold, distant, or cruel recall that she was once upon a time devotedly or sporadically affectionate with him, but that she had turned to another sibling later on. If one were to generalize about Filipino mothers from what patients in this study say about their relationships to their mothers, one might say that the Filipino mother counts on her daughters to fulfill mutual dependency needs, but it is with her Sons that she feels a good deal of pride and vicarious self-esteem.

In childhood, the relationship, as recalled by these patients, was much more uneven and sometimes stormy, as compared with mother-daughter relationships. (Either these male patients repressed less or they were more likely, as children, to give mother a hard time.) Teasing by the mother, teasing back by the boy, his spells of crying and rolling on the floor, her attempts to soothe and comfort him, his efforts to nag and pester her until she gives in, and his alternately defiant and submissive attitudes constitute some of the tumultous aspects of mother-and-son interaction especially during pre-school days. These were moments of utter frustration and moments of great gratification.

One may look upon these vicissitudes as attempts of the boy not only to cope with the strong libidinal stimulation from the close relationship but also to detach himself sufficiently and thereby gain more autonomy. The struggle had uneven results. The end balance indicated fixation in the dependent position so that long after these frustration-gratification games have receded, he continued to be frankly needful of the security and gratification from a nurturing figure.

This was one important reason why the male patients in this study found it much more difficult than the girls to negotiate adolescence. The other reason was a highly unsatisfactory relationship with father. The distance between father and son had widened over his growing years and to establish or re-establish an “instant” effective relationship was impossible. The biologic pressures of adolescence, the cultural emphasis on manliness, and the lopsided parental relationship all combined to put the young man in an emotional bind. He perceived the biological, psychological, social, and cultural demands that he be a man, almost overnight. Even in the adolescent who is better prepared for adult life by child-rearing patterns which emphasize autonomy, the transition is never easy. How much more with those handicapped by a prolonged dependent relationship!

This is not to say that the prevalent sexual identification among these patients was not masculine. The family and culture delineate rather sharply what a man is and what a woman is, what a man does and what a woman does. It is not difficult for a growing boy to pick up these cues from the surrounding culture. What be missed our on, in the faulty relationship with father, was the necessary self-confidence to fill this masculine role effectively in a changing society.

The predominantly vulnerable areas among the male patients have to do with their passive, feminine wishes, their tenuous controls over their aggressive instincts and their ambivalence towards success. As with the women patients, these same critical areas, when properly handled, give the individual in the culture his main source of self-esteem. Thus, the Filipino male is one who is self-assured to the point of smugness, about his masculinity. He regards as pure jest the occasional potshots directed against his masculine armor. His mastery of his aggressive impulses renders him a virtuoso in the art of “smooth interpersonal relations.” Should he explode in violence, it is because he is forced to, in defense of his manliness, a justification which is accepted by all. He is generous and gracious in his success; in failure, the culture is generous and gracious in helping him save face.

One may say, therefore, that perceived threats to masculinity strike at the very foundation of his pride and self-esteem. Of these threats, the passive, feminine components in his personality appear most frequently to trip him. The outstanding demonstrations of these tendencies are seen in his regressive patterns. To be nurtured and protected by a strong, understanding, and loving person is the essential purpose of his regression. It is not primarily to retreat so as to reassemble and recharge his emotional resources, to regress, “in the service of the ego,” but rather to avail himself of the gratifications of the passive, dependent position.

These tendencies are labeled “feminine” in psychoanalytic language because they seem more intrinsically a part of the female character structure. In the Filipino culture, they are not necessarily ego-alien when found in men. The usual cultural norm for masculinity is firstly, the ability to perform sexual intercourse and secondarily, freedom from marital controls in a man’s activities. The cultural ego-ideal is the strong and helpful wife, who manages the household and children efficiently, gives effective emotional, and if possible material support to the husband, and above all, is permissive towards him. A man could therefore depend on such a woman and not be any less masculine. In emotional illness, however, these passive-feminine tendencies get our of hand and are behind the failure of the ego to overcome stress, face up to challenge, or to bounce back after an emotional defeat. Like most neurotic patients, they will risk all in order to be gratified.

For these strong passive-feminine tendencies, one cannot avoid implicating the male patient’s outstandingly gratifying emotional experience as a young child with a maternal figure. As a matter of fact, the relationship never really starts to attenuate until he enters adolescence. Male patients who complained that mother was cold, distant, or cruel recall that she was once upon a time devotedly or sporadically affectionate with him, but that she had turned to another sibling later on. If one were to generalize about Filipino mothers from what patients in this study say about their relationships to their mothers, one might say that the Filipino mother counts on her daughters to fulfill mutual dependency needs, but it is with her Sons that she feels a good deal of pride and vicarious self-esteem.

In childhood, the relationship, as recalled by these patients, was much more uneven and sometimes stormy, as compared with mother-daughter relationships. (Either these male patients repressed less or they were more likely, as children, to give mother a hard time.) Teasing by the mother, teasing back by the boy, his spells of crying and rolling on the floor, her attempts to soothe and comfort him, his efforts to nag and pester her until she gives in, and his alternately defiant and submissive attitudes constitute some of the tumultous aspects of mother-and-son interaction especially during pre-school days. These were moments of utter frustration and moments of great gratification.

One may look upon these vicissitudes as attempts of the boy not only to cope with the strong libidinal stimulation from the close relationship but also to detach himself sufficiently and thereby gain more autonomy. The struggle had uneven results. The end balance indicated fixation in the dependent position so that long after these frustration-gratification games have receded, he continued to be frankly needful of the security and gratification from a nurturing figure.

This was one important reason why the male patients in this study found it much more difficult than the girls to negotiate adolescence. The other reason was a highly unsatisfactory relationship with father. The distance between father and son had widened over his growing years and to establish or re-establish an “instant” effective relationship was impossible. The biologic pressures of adolescence, the cultural emphasis on manliness, and the lopsided parental relationship all combined to put the young man in an emotional bind. He perceived the biological, psychological, social, and cultural demands that he be a man, almost overnight. Even in the adolescent who is better prepared for adult life by child-rearing patterns which emphasize autonomy, the transition is never easy. How much more with those handicapped by a prolonged dependent relationship!

This is not to say that the prevalent sexual identification among these patients was not masculine. The family and culture delineate rather sharply what a man is and what a woman is, what a man does and what a woman does. It is not difficult for a growing boy to pick up these cues from the surrounding culture. What be missed our on, in the faulty relationship with father, was the necessary self-confidence to fill this masculine role effectively in a changing society.

 

bisaya, cebuano, cebuano lessons, bisaya lessonsRomantic Tagalog

 
 
 
Copyright © 2017 Living In The Philippines. All Rights Reserved.