Help for Men: Understanding the Growing Hostility Towards Straight White Males

Maybe you find it alarming that a bunch of women dressed like dudes are now being able to join you in public bathrooms and gym locker rooms that are clearly marked as being for men. Maybe you feel very repulsed when a “man” who is obviously a woman faking being a man tries to get you to interact with her as if she’s just “one of the boys.” Maybe you’re disgusted with how all your favorite movie action heroes are being turned into women–often homosexual women who drop male bashing comments while they make out with their lesbian lovers onscreen. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated by the fact that you can’t seem to watch a new film without having to sit through a scene where two men are fondling each other. Maybe you’re getting fed up with hearing your female coworkers rip on men and act like anything nice you try to say just proves you’re a chauvinistic pig. Maybe you find it alarming that child molesting characters in movies are predominantly played by white men, and that most of the mug shots put out by the media of recently arrested pedophiles seem to be white guys as well, thus making you feel like you can’t even give your daughter a fatherly cuddle without some stranger looking at you like you’re a sick pervert. Maybe you’ve noticed how often the supporting casts in new films are a careful mix of one black, one Asian, one Hispanic, and one Middle Easterner, with usually one of them being gay and another being a transsexual. And while everyone’s doing their part to complete the ethnic rainbow and exalt the alpha female lead, there’s often a white straight male character thrown in who acts like a bit of a dolt.

These are all valid reasons to feel picked on, and if you’re to the point where you’re ready to shout “I don’t just identify as male, I am male and I’m NOT a monster!”, then this post is for you. All the frustration you’re experiencing is due to the fact that you’re getting caught in the middle of five major cultural shifts that are all trying to happen at the same time. First we’ve got a bunch of angry women trying to earn the right to freely trash on men under the banners of “feminism” and “equal rights.” Second, we have a bunch of folks with non-white skin who are sick of being picked on for having non-white skin, so they’re trying to get white to be relabeled as a bad thing. Third, we have gays and bis fighting to get the same level of cultural acceptance as straights because they claim that their sexual desires are as natural and normal as heterosexuality. Fourth, we have transsexuals working very hard to get legal permission to operate as if they are a different gender than they are, or to be recognized as having no gender at all. Fifth, we have an aggressive effort to raise awareness of how dangerous pedophiles are, and to make them all out to be active child molesters who really don’t give a darn about who they are hurting.

As you can see, none of these groups are acting friendly towards you. The feminists hate you because you’re male, and to them “male” is a synonym for “woman hating jerk”. The non-whites see you as a racist bully who is trying to block them from advancing. The gays and bis see you as their enemy because you are straight, and straights have a long history of bullying gays and bis. The trans don’t like you because they see you as an obstacle for getting the social acceptance they want. As for the pedophile thing, well, you fit the stereotype, don’t you? You’re white and you’re male, so that must mean you’re kinky about kids.

So now what? With five groups treating you like their enemy, what is the best way for you to respond to this? The natural instinct is to get mad and start returning hate for hate. All of this hassling of straight white males who aren’t doing anything wrong is driving a lot of those guys to start joining groups of extremists who are trying to promote an attitude of “only white is right” and declare war on anyone who has qualities they don’t like. But this isn’t what you should do. You should take the higher road by making an effort to look past all the hostility and understand what’s really driving these five agendas. Understanding breeds compassion, and compassion is far more helpful than hate. So let’s get educated.

The Illusion of Majority

Suppose you’re pushing a grocery cart with one malfunctioning wheel. That single, frozen wheel is making the darn thing very difficult to maneuver, and that one wheel is getting all of your attention as you grumble and struggle your way through the store aisles. The other three wheels are doing exactly as they should and not causing you any problems at all. But you don’t think about those other three wheels because you are so busy focused on the troublemaker in the group.

If you’re going to avoid becoming just as bad as the folks who are making you feel like it’s a crime to be who you are, it’s vital to realize that the five agendas I listed are being spearheaded by a small minority of folks in each of those groups. Most women do not hate men. Of those who do have issues with men, most are not going to scream about those issues in public marches or be comfortable playing roles in which they are told they have to rip on men. Just because an actress acts like a twerp in a movie doesn’t mean she agrees with how her character behaves. Acting is not at all the fun, glorious career it’s made out to be. Desperation, legal threats, and career pressure make many actors and actresses feel forced to promote agendas that they don’t personally agree with.

When five female coworkers sit around ripping on men in the office breakroom, it is quite unlikely that they all share the same view of men. What usually happens in these scenarios is only one or two of the women genuinely view all men in a very dark light, while the rest are just pretending to share this view so that the two haters won’t pick on them. Hate is an intense, intimidating emotion, and when someone goes on a public rant, most people will be afraid to counter the ranter for fear of escalating tensions.

There is a big difference between having your own beef with someone versus imitating the behavior of someone else. I’ve had several black clients who grew up in homes where they were taught to hate whites and blame whites for all of their problems in life, but they personally chose to reject this view. The fact that a man grows up in a racist culture doesn’t mean he will choose to embrace that culture’s values. With media outlets shamelessly trying to promote tensions between races by always reporting the color of everyone’s skin when an altercation happens, it takes mental effort on your side to not fall for the lie that people of different colors must automatically dislike each other. While some people are making an epic fuss over natural pigmentation, you can choose to treat skin color as the irrelevant issue that it is.

The psychological factors that cause the sex drive to refocus onto same sex targets do not also turn someone into an obnoxious, rainbow waving bully who intentionally hunts down straights who are obviously uncomfortable with gays just so he can make them more uncomfortable by flaunting his sexual desires in front of them. These gay couples who march into bakeries run by straights and demand a double groom wedding cake to be made, only to then destroy the business when the owners decline for moral reasons are not representing the attitude of all gays. Plenty of homosexuals are very pleasant, respectful people who are content to live and let live. Of course no one wants to be picked on for qualities about themselves that they can’t change. But the fact that homosexuals feel legitimately upset about getting horrifically bullied by some straights does not also mean that those same homosexuals will decide to start bullying back. Some go this way, but many do not, so you don’t want to let a few jerks taint your view of the whole group.

Transsexuals are grappling with a particularly miserable kind of mental hell which I will explain in more detail in this post. This strong push for the entire world to stop focusing on gender is a search for safety. Is it realistic? No, because gender is a critical issue for humans and always will be. Essential topics like medical care, procreation, social communication, and psychological health are directly linked to the issue of gender and there’s simply no way to get around this. Even if we stop calling a woman a woman, at some point we will all have to acknowledge that she is female before we can properly diagnose the problems she’s having with her uterus. Transsexuals are hoping that merely changing labels will help downplay the significance of a concept that will always remain significant. So it’s a mess. But they are in a desperate situation and grasping at any kind of help they can find.

When it comes to pedophilia, people are just plain terrified. This is because scores of people have learned the hard way that a single incident of childhood sexual assault can royally screw you up for your entire life. Since it is wrongly assumed that all pedophiles are child molesters, and since it is impossible to identify a pedophile simply by looking at someone’s physical appearance, people fear them to the same degree that they fear terrorists. So it’s a big, snarly mess. And at the heart of it all are two things: ignorance and unresolved trauma. So now let’s dig deeper.

Developing Compassion For Feminists

On paper, feminism claims to be fighting for equality between the genders. But in practice, feminism has the effect of making it a shameful thing to be female, and this pins feminists into the stressful position of doing the very thing they claim to hate: devaluing femininity as a bad thing.

So how do women get themselves into this awkward bind? The problem often begins in the childhood years with little girls feeling like their gender is being used as an excuse to attack them. There are many ways for this message to be communicated. No one ever said to little Vanessa “You suck because you’re a girl.” But in trying to understand why her father favored her three brothers over her, showering them with the attention she craved while giving her emotional ice, she drew her own logical conclusions. Dad was obviously rejecting her because she was a girl. Therefore, being a girl must be bad.

Being rejected by those we need is brutally painful, and humans instinctively express pain as anger. As Vanessa grows up, she changes from being a heartbroken little girl to being a very angry woman. She then focuses that anger on her father and brother–the ones who she sees as primarily responsible for hurting her.

When trauma is not addressed properly, our minds leap to all kinds of wrong assumptions as they try to make sense out of what is happening. Vanessa is already grappling with shame for being female, but she is making other assumptions as well. Since her primary antagonists were all male, she makes the logical leap that all males are jerks who are just looking for opportunities to hurt women.

Our beliefs drive our actions, and Vanessa’s dark view of men causes her to treat every man she comes across as an enemy. When she reads literature about feminism, she is intensely attracted to the idea of joining a group that will finally affirm her for being female. The hope is that receiving such affirmation will heal the pain she’s carrying around from her father and brothers. But when Vanessa immerses herself in a feminist community, things don’t work out the way she was hoping. For starters, the other woman she’s building friendships with are so angry at men. No one seems to be healing, instead they all seem to be on a warpath to tear men down. There is constant talk that women can most certainly do everything that men can do and they have to prove it by acting male. Well, Vanessa doesn’t want to act like a guy. She doesn’t want to act tough and unemotional. She doesn’t want to have to keep straining to hide her emotions or avoid showing any interest in “girly” things so that those interests aren’t used as ammo against her. Vanessa joined this group to feel free to be a woman, but instead she’s still feeling like it’s shameful to be female. She doesn’t want to shoot guns, pump iron, and fight her way to the top of male dominated industries. She just wants to be able to express her femininity without feeling put down.

So what’s the real solution to this problem? Women who feel immensely threatened by men need to recognize that their hatred is a mask for fear. They then need to trace that fear back to their original traumatic experiences and deal with those experiences directly. Until the root causes are identified and properly dealt with, traumatized minds will keep clinging to coping methods that don’t work.

The key point for you to understand is that the feminist movement is being driven by very real, valid pain. So the next time you hold a door open for a woman and she bites your head off, realize that she thinks she has logical reasons for assuming the worst about you. Also realize that her hostile behavior is being driven by the fear of being hurt. Hurting people are not showing you their best side, but just as you would be patient with a friend who gets snippy with you when he has a splitting headache, it will help everyone if you try to be patient with man haters.

It’s very stressful to try to press on in life when you secretly believe that half of the human race is out to get you. Fear warps our view of life and causes us to imagine our fears are being confirmed when they’re really not. Being gracious towards women who hate men is the best thing you can for both them and you. Being gracious has nothing to do with agreeing that you’re a jerk. You know that you’re a nice guy, and you know that you aren’t out to trash women.

Women who hate men desperately want to feel like it’s okay to express their true selves. But while they tell themselves that men are the ones stopping them from doing this, the truth is that they are doing far more damage to themselves than men could do. Often these ladies were once trapped in situations where hiding their feminine side seemed like an important self-defense strategy. But for many, those battle situations ended a long time ago yet they’re terrified of coming down from emergency alert. Kindness is a far more effective tool in these situations than criticism. And once you understand how fearful these women actually are, it’s easier to find the patience to be kind.

Developing Compassion for Angry Minorities

Suppose a country decided to make everyone report what their shoe size was whenever they applied for a job, enrolled in a school, sought medical help, or requested government aid. Suddenly everyone begins hyper-focusing on a detail that no one cared about before the new law was passed. And what happens when we start treating shoe size like a big deal? Well, naturally we’re going to start comparing with each other. Then we’re going to try to figure out which sizes are the most common and we’ll label those as “normal”. Then we’ll figure out which sizes are rare and we’ll call those “freak” sizes. Next we’ll start assigning a value to each size, declaring some to be “good” while others are “bad.” Soon we’ve got people getting into heated arguments with each other over an anatomical detail that is totally irrelevant. And of course no one likes being picked on for something they can’t control or change, so those who are being told they have “freak feet” are naturally going to feel hurt, and that hurt will be expressed as anger. Soon the freak feet are physically attacking the good feet, and on and on we go until things are a royal mess.

How would you go about fixing this sort of issue? Should you make movies in which you have each actor casually mention his or her shoe size somewhere in the script? Can you get everyone to calm down by demonstrating that you’re being careful to equally employee the freaks and the normals? Such an idea sounds logical, but in practice it doesn’t work. The reason it doesn’t work is that, despite your good intentions, you’re still encouraging everyone to keep focusing on an issue that should be getting ignored. It shouldn’t matter what size a person’s feet are. Such a detail should have nothing to do with how you assess his skills, character, or value. The same is true for skin color and ethnicity. Such details should be getting treated as the trivial things that they are, not constantly harped on. As long as you harp, you will keep encouraging division and hostility. This is just the way it works with people.

If you feel like ethnic diversity is getting rammed down your throat on all sides, it is. For many, this is a sincere attempt to encourage peace among humans. For others, it’s a critical opportunity to disprove negative stereotypes that have been hounding their ethnic group for a long time.

Now it’s a fact that the world is a fascinating mix of colors, and it’s also a fact that familiarity breeds attraction. What this means is that the more exposure you have to a variety of ethnicities, the more comfortable you will feel around them. Humans are highly adaptable creatures who are constantly redefining their definition of normal. So unless there is negative interference, increased exposure to a variety of ethnicities should have the effect of getting everyone over the whole issue of skin color.

Now sometimes you see people fighting hard to resist the way their minds are designed to work. Some of the better known examples are the white extremist group Ku Klux Klan, American Indians, ethnic Jews, and the black extremist group Black Lives Matter. These groups work hard to keep the hate alive from generation to generation by teaching kids to see all members of certain ethnic groups as their enemies. While American Indians and Black Lives Matter tend to focus their hate on whites, many ethnic Jews are taught to feel like the whole general world is out to get them. Now again, these are minority cases, not the majority view. Plenty of folks reject the mentality that they are “born victims” and they go on to develop into well-balanced, classy adults. But when Mom and Dad threaten to withhold their approval and affirmation unless you parrot their views, it can feel like you have no choice but to give in to the brainwashing. As a result, we end up with a mix of folks who are accusing you of looking down on them just because they aren’t white. One group is reacting to their own unprocessed trauma based on real life experiences in which they felt viciously hurt by whites. And then we have a bunch of folks who haven’t had any traumatic experiences with white, but they have embraced a racist attitude in order to please people who are important to them. The end result is the same: a bunch of aggressive behavior towards whites (or whoever the hated color is) and an intentional effort to interpret your behavior in the most negative light.

So what’s a good way to respond to this mess? Once again you will find that being gracious in the face of rudeness is far more effective than escalating things. Being gracious has nothing to do with groveling or agreeing with the guff that there is something inherently nasty about whites. Skin color is nothing more than an artistic feature that God threw in to make the human creation that much more zesty. The fact that we are all such different sizes, shapes and colors only enhances our collective beauty and complexity.

Developing Compassion for Homosexuals

Homosexuality occurs when a traumatized subconscious intentionally reroutes a person’s sex drive to fixate on same sex targets. When this rerouting occurs before puberty (which is common), it’s quite likely for people to have no experience with feeling sexually attracted to their opposite sex peers. And once a teen boy can’t recall ever feeling sexually attracted to girls, he logically assumes that he was born gay. Was he? No. But this very wrong assumption has largely been accepted as fact today.

Now there is a surprising array of experiences that can trigger homosexuality. What they all have in common is the subconscious locking onto gender as a significant factor in trauma. While being sexually assaulted as a child can easily result in homosexuality, many cases get triggered without any history of assault.

Now I could pepper you with a ton of examples to show you how many different kinds of situations can trigger this, but let’s keep it simple by focusing on the mental strategies that drive various homosexual pairings. Once the mind decides that gender is a critical factor in resolving its trauma, it will either decide to go towards that gender, or avoid that gender. Both strategies can result in homosexuality, but the homosexual will behave differently depending on what his mind’s core motivation is.

The mind’s underlying goal determines what kind of gay partner will be sought out. The stereotypical gay man who acts dramatically girlish is actually roleplaying a woman in his relationship with his gay partner. In the same way, the “butch” partner in a lesbian relationship is roleplaying a man. In these scenarios, the two gay partners are trying to imitate a straight relationship.

Now if you study the above diagram, you can see how it would possible to wind up with two gay men who both act effeminate, or two gay men who both act masculine. Different minds have different agendas, and the goal in any couple pairing is to have an arrangement where both partners feel their essential needs are getting met.

All children have a core need to receive a lot of affirmation from male and female guardians. It is also vital that that affirmation be expressed in verbal and physical forms (such as the parental hug). When children do not receive enough attention in any of these areas, a psychological crisis is created. The more deprived a child feels, the more obsessed the mind becomes with getting that core hunger satisfied.

Attention deprivation isn’t always intentional. Sometimes one parent is simply absent from the child’s life due to death, divorce, illness, career demands, or some other reason. In some scenarios parents who are grappling with their own unprocessed trauma intentionally distance themselves from their kids or lash out abusively. There are many possible scenarios, and many ways for the mind to react to the stress of having its core needs unmet. Homosexuality is just one way that some minds try to correct this issue. Other minds will respond to the same problem in ways that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

So what about bisexuals? A true bisexual is someone whose sex drive has been revised to seek out both genders. The fact that someone sleeps with male and female partners does not necessarily mean they are bisexual. Acting bisexual is not the same as being bisexual.

Like homosexuality, bisexuality is once again caused by the subconscious intentionally rerouting the body’s sex drive to steer it towards strategic targets. Some forms of bisexuality are essentially mild forms of homosexuality, with the mind adding an attraction to same sex partners while still keeping the normal heterosexual drive in tact.

In a strong form of bisexuality, both genders will be equally desired, and there will also be a need to rotate between them. In other words, sticking with just girlfriends or just boyfriends won’t do. This is because the mind feels both genders possess resources that it needs to resolve its current crisis. A simple example would be the child who grows up deprived of the attention he needs from both his male and female guardians. Such starvation causes an acute psychological crisis which can be equally intense whether the guardians were physically absent or present. In such a case, the child can easily grow into a man who feels a desperate need to experience both male and female affirmation. He then seeks out both male and female sexual partners to try to satisfy this need.

Once puberty hits, it’s very common for the mind to begin to seek out its core needs in sexual forms. Sexual physical interactions can feel very comforting to minds that feel starved of non-sexual parental affection. The fact that the mind is pursuing sexual interactions often makes people misinterpret what its true agenda is. If you’re really upset because you didn’t get enough daddy hugs, why are you now trying to fix that problem by having sex with men? While this can sound like a mismatch, to many minds, it makes perfect sense. One way to understand the logic here is to consider the issue of intensity. To a child, the parent’s affirming hugs, kisses, and cuddles have a very powerful impact on him. Among adults, sexual interactions often seem like the only kind of touch available that can have a similar impact. A friendly hug between two adults just doesn’t have the same power that a father’s hug has to his young son or daughter. The subconscious is a brilliant analyst, and it quickly figures out that sexual interaction is the best substitute available to try and satisfy its hunger for missing parental affection. So it adjusts the sex drive accordingly. It’s really quite genius when you think about it.

RESPONDING TO HOMOSEXUALS & BISEXUALS

Now sadly, the psychological mechanics I just explained don’t get taught. Because it is very common for the subconscious to have already rerouted the sex drive before puberty, and because it usually hides its deeper agendas from its conscious counterpart, many homosexuals and bisexuals consciously believe that they were born the way they are. They also quickly find themselves in a whole new kind of crisis when other people start using their abnormal sexual appetites as excuses to bully and shun them.

Now your subconscious wants to protect you, and it gets very stressed when other people start picking on you for any reason. Add some badly taught religious folks into the mix who promote the absolute lie that God hates non-straights, and now the gay person’s soul is thrown into a crisis as well.

Well, what now? A gay man who is being told that God hates him for a quality that he thinks he was born with is naturally going to feel spiritually depressed. He’s already in a psychological crisis which is why he’s gay in the first place. Now his problems are being made even worse by a bunch of folks who tout that “God is love” while making him feel like God is glaring down at him in disgust. Meanwhile, he’s being mocked, hassled, and threatened by a bunch of hostile straights who each have their own reasons for feeling threatened by a man craving sex with another man. Our gay man could be the nicest fellow in the world, yet here he is with his stress levels going through the roof.

Once a man’s soul accepts terrifying lies about God, it usually starts demanding instant change. Here is where our gay man feels like he must somehow find a way to magically become straight. Well, how is that supposed to happen? Without even understanding why he’s gay in the first place, and with his own soul calling him immoral scum 24/7, our man doesn’t have any hope of fixing anything. If any progress is going to be made, he needs to get educated about what is actually causing his homosexuality, and he needs to realize that this was not a choice on his part, but a process that his mind automatically triggered in an effort to help him. He then needs to unlearn many of the lies he’s accepted about how God views him so that his soul can calm down and start expressing compassion for his mind’s problems.

But let’s say that none of that vital education happens. Now what? Our man is totally stressed out and feeling despaired about ever getting anywhere with God. His efforts to “turn straight” are totally fruitless, because his subconscious is refusing to give up on its pursuit of what it needs. Remember that homosexuality is about the mind trying to chase down needs that it feels are critical for survival and happiness. In such situations, the subconscious usually won’t back down just because the soul is getting agitated. Instead, the subconscious will often dig its heels in and step up its efforts to get its own agenda accomplished. As a result, a gay man forcing himself to date a woman will probably find his desires to date a man grow even more intense.

What a relief it is to our gay man when he finally gets some gay friends who are accepting him and helping him get what he feels he needs, which is a boyfriend who matches his subconscious’ priorities. When two people with similar trauma issues connect in romantic relationships, the resulting bond often feels very deep very fast. So is our man going to be willing to dump his boyfriend now that he is finally feeling some relief? Of course not. He’s going to embrace the LGBT community and all that they have to offer. In return, the LGBT community will teach our man to utterly reject the theory that he wasn’t born gay. They’ll also teach him that anyone who tries to suggest his gay desires aren’t totally “natural” is a homophobic jerk. Can you see why it gets a bit challenging for counselors like me to help gays? I have immense compassion for this issue, but today gays are being intensely pressured by their fellow gays not to seek help or ask certain kinds of questions.

Now it’s a shameful fact that historical efforts within the psychological community to “cure” gays have ranged from ineffective nonsense to absolutely horrific forms of torture. So do gays have good reasons to fear straights? Of course they do. Wouldn’t you shy away from a group of folks who you think will make you feel like a spiritual failure, get you imprisoned, or worse just because of some quality that you honestly believe you were born with? The abuse of homosexuals within many countries and religious communities around the world has been ignored and accepted for far too long. Today, they are trying to get global acceptance so that they can stop being picked on. Sounds reasonable, right? The problem is that the fastest way to shame people into leaving you alone is to try to take the moral high ground by arguing that you’re being unfairly hassled for a trait that is perfectly “normal.” And yet there are very negative ramifications to labeling symptoms of serious psychological distress as “normal,” because then we end up making it a crime to offer people the help that they need. Today new laws are passing which are making it illegal for licensed counselors to suggest homosexuality is a sign of psychological distress. To be honest, most counselors don’t understand what really causes homosexuality anyway, so when they were calling it a “disorder” they were doing more harm than good. And yet once we start passing gag laws, even those of us who do understand how to help gays in positive ways end up getting blocked. Of course some of us are refusing to cave on this issue, because there should be a safe place for gays, bis, and anyone else to voice their concerns about what’s going on in their own minds. We aren’t doing gays any favors by teaching them to deny that they are having problems. But we aren’t going to be in any position to help them if we don’t first get educated about the deeper mechanics of this particular trauma coping method.

So what does all of this mean for you? Well, once you understand that homosexuality and bisexuality are psychological coping methods which are automatically put in place by the subconscious, you can see that this really isn’t the moral issue it’s being made out to be by many religious communities. Just as having a broken arm is a physical problem that needs physical remedies, homosexuality and bisexuality are psychological problems that need psychological remedies. These things become moral issues when the trauma coping method results in people doing harm to others. For example, many rapists feel an intense need to assault others due to the ways that their minds are trying to grapple with intense distress. The desire to rape is not something a man chooses–it’s something that wells up within him as his mind tries to push him into situations that it thinks will help it resolve its own problems. Certainly we want to take action to protect people from being attacked by others. But when two gay men choose to be in a relationship with each other and no one is being abusive, then where are the grounds for acting like a terrible crime is being committed?

There is plenty of room to recognize that homosexuality is a sign of psychological distress without also attacking those who have it. Stacking hundreds of newspapers in your house is a sign of psychological distress. So is taking ten showers a day, having recurring nightmares, and being unable to sit still for more than a few seconds. If we start labeling every symptom of psychological distress as an immoral crime, we’ll all be guilty. Before we start overreacting, we need to consider the bigger picture. Is harm being done? Is someone being forced to do things they don’t want to do?

Just as recovering alcoholics can find recovering a lot easier if they can hang out with folks who share their same struggles, many homosexuals will have a greater chance of resolving their underlying distress if they can be in relationships with those who struggle in similar ways. In these situations, helping people resolving their mental distress should be the main goal. Meanwhile, there should be patience with trauma coping methods that are not causing direct harm. After all, many alcoholics get in cars and drive after they are intoxicated, yet we’re not rushing to shut down all public bars, are we? BDSM is a very destructive trauma coping method which often results in people giving each other serious physical injuries, yet today this practice is being encouraged, not shunned. Societies choose to openly accept some trauma coping methods even when they are doing harm, while they ban others that are much less problematic. These are useful points to consider when we’re trying to use a few lines from religious texts to make gays feel like criminals.

Developing Compassion for Transsexuals

Transsexualism is a particularly hellish problem to have because there’s no way to satisfy your agitated subconscious without getting other people involved. In this trauma coping method, the subconscious is focusing on physical packaging as a critical issue, deciding that life would be drastically better if the person could simply change their physical body to appear as the opposite gender. Depending on what kinds of beliefs the subconscious is grappling with, the discomfort transsexuals feel with their own bodies can range from mild to extreme. The more severe the discomfort, the more relief is experienced as progress is made towards looking like the other gender.

This particular issue can take many forms. Your body has many parts and pieces, and the mind can link a whole host of concepts to any of those parts. The term transsexual gets reserved for cases in which the mind fixes on body parts that are considered to be gender identifiers, such as the privates or breasts. But it’s helpful to realize that many people are dealing with intense forms of anatomical repulsion. The girl who gets severely bullied school because of her large nose quickly learns to feel ashamed of that part of her body. Every time she looks in a mirror, her eyes go right to her nose, and the sight of it triggers strong feelings of self-disgust. Because the nose isn’t associated with gender, this girl won’t be called a transsexual, but she’ll be grappling with the same basic issue of feeling desperate to change a certain physical feature of her own body.

Now every time I explain the psychological mechanics of transsexualism, there’s at least one transsexual who is in mid-transition that writes in to tell me how other people might develop this issue because of trauma, but that’s certainly not the case for them because they’ve never had anything terrible happen to them. The problem here is in how we’re defining trauma. Trauma is caused by the mind (or soul) developing very negative beliefs that it finds unbearable to live with. Sometimes these traumatic beliefs develop instantly, such as in cases of molestation where the attacker helps the victim form beliefs by saying things like “You want this” or “This is what you deserve.” In many cases of child abuse, abusers try to pressure children into interpreting the abuse a certain way. The father who is beating his son might say, “You deserve this because you’re trash.” The mother who emotionally shuns her daughter might say, “I’m not wasting my love on a child who was a mistake.” This kind of belief shaping is especially effective on children, because they don’t have enough life experience to realize there are other ways to interpret what is happening to them.

When there is obvious abuse or other dramatic negative events, people focus on the events as the critical issue. And yet what happened is never as important as how your mind interpreted it. Many traumatic beliefs are formed in loving homes where family members are trying to support each other and no one is trying to do anyone any harm. You don’t have to have some big, terrible, dramatic incident in your life before you can develop trauma. In many cases, trauma sets in much more subtly, as children begin leaping to negative conclusions about what’s happening around them–conclusions which they never voice, and so no one has the opportunity to correct them.

Because transsexualism often sets in very early in life, many transsexuals honestly believe they were simply born in the wrong bodies. But, no, this isn’t what’s going on. No one is born thinking “male is better than female” or “it’s bad to have a penis.” These are learned beliefs. First, you must learn what gender even is. Then you are taught through experience how to judge the value and attractiveness of your own anatomy. As these processes unfold, there are many ways for you to start picking up negative messages about your gender or anatomy.

On a conscious level, many transsexuals are only aware of a strong feeling that the other sex feels like a much better match for them. But on a subconscious level, there is more going on. The intensity of distress that transsexuals feel about being trapped in the wrong bodies is due to fear. That fear is being caused by the subconscious forming logical associations between certain body parts and concepts which have nothing to do with anatomy. Once your subconscious links your penis with the concept of being socially rejected or physically attacked, you will develop a conscious aversion to that part of your body. The greater the perceived threat, the more intense the surface fear becomes. For some people, merely undressing and seeing certain parts of their anatomy makes them feel physically ill. And once your mind is feeling very agitated by your privates, a necessary task like going to the bathroom suddenly becomes very stressful.

Now there’s no way to “convert” your physical packaging to look like the opposite sex without going through a lot of misery and scary procedures. The body really suffers as this particular trauma coping method rolls out. A calm subconscious is normally very protective over the body and invested in keeping it physically safe. Yet in cases of transsexualism, we see the subconscious being willing to sacrifice the body’s safety and force it through all kinds of hell in order to get its own agenda done. Anytime you find one element trying to sacrifice another, that is a clear indication of severe distress (see Self-Harming: Understanding Your Body’s Dilemma).

Now as is the case with most trauma coping methods, the conversion process transsexuals undergo doesn’t fix the subconscious’ underlying problems. Take the girl who subconsciously believes it is a shameful thing to be female, because females are intrinsically worth less than males. On a conscious level, the girl feels a desperate desire to pass herself off as a boy. Eventually she goes through a full conversion process, and every time she sees herself looking less female, she feels a very real sense of relief. This kind of relief is similar to the relief you feel when you run into a closet to escape a snarling wolf who is trying to attack you. Once the door to the closet is closed and you feel confident that the beast can’t get inside, you feel great relief. But as time wears on, you realize that you still have a problem, because that wolf is still out there, waiting to pounce.

The conversion process transsexuals go through provides them with a temporary sense of refuge. But even though our transsexual girl is now going around in convincing male packaging, she still knows that she was born female, and she still believes that females are intrinsically flawed. How long is her costume going to help her keep her fears at bay when she is very aware that it is in fact a costume and not the real deal?

How much relief conversions bring and how long that relief lasts depends on what sort of traumatic beliefs are being grappled with and how often those beliefs are being triggered in the transsexual’s daily life. The more terrifying the beliefs are, the more intense the relief often feels in the early days of conversion, and this of course makes transsexuals very resistant to the idea of not converting. Many feel convinced that there could not possibly be a more effective way of resolving their distress than to convert. And, like homosexuals, transsexuals are being taught to take offense at the idea that the issue they’re so obsessed with is a clear indication of psychological distress and not the result of some chromosomal mishap.

Gender conversions take time and a lot of resources to pull off. Many can’t afford to do the entire process, so they compensate with anatomical props, clothes, and make up. Regardless of how far along they are in the conversion process, they are very anxious to be publicly accepted as the opposite sex asap. The need for other people to give them a new gender label is another reason why this particular coping method is such a hassle. Some trauma defenses are things you can do by yourself, such as watching porn or getting drunk. But transsexuals need cooperation from other people in order to get their minds to calm down. Remember that this is a fear driven issue, with very upsetting beliefs being linked to physical body parts. When a man feels a desperate need to become female, but other people keep referring to him as a man, the fantasy world he’s trying to hide out in keeps getting torn down. It’s extremely frustrating, and causes spikes of distress in an already agitated mind.

Once you understand that transsexualism is an attempt to cope with strong psychological fears, you can appreciate why some members of this group are fighting so hard to eliminate situations in which society forces them to declare their true gender. A man who needs to be a woman wants to be able to function in society like a woman: to go into women’s bathrooms, wear women’s clothing, participate in all women clubs, etc.. If such a man goes out dressed like a woman, only to then be forced to walk into the men’s bathroom, he is being forced to tear down his own fantasy world. The other men in the bathroom are going to react negatively to him, but if he knows his costume is weak, he might get booted out of the women’s bathroom as well. See the problem? Transsexuals are in legitimate distress, and their minds have locked onto solutions that are extremely difficult to pull off.

So how far should we go to accommodate trauma issues? Should we start pretending genders don’t exist or start treating them as irrelevant so that certain people can delude themselves? No, this really isn’t a great solution, because gender does matter and we shouldn’t start punishing people who are connected with reality so that unhealthy delusions will remain unchallenged. But that said, anytime the mind is going to extreme lengths to escape some aspect of reality, we will only make things worse by attacking its fantasies harshly. Why can’t there be a compromise? We already make “family bathrooms” and “handicap bathrooms”, both of which are open to any gender. There are ways to be kind to those who are panicking over gender without demanding that everyone else stop talking about the subject.

Developing Compassion for Pedophiles

Like homosexuality, pedophilia is a case of the subconscious rerouting the sex drive to feel aroused by abnormal targets. But while homosexuals can be positively aroused by each other, the kind of arousal pedophiles experience around kids is negative. Rapists and some kinds of torturers also experience a negative form of sexual arousal. While physical reactions can seem the same in cases of positive and negative sexual arousal, very different psychological processes are at work.

Pedophilia is best thought of as an add on to the sex drive more than a full rerouting. While many homosexuals totally lose their ability to be turned on by opposite sex partners, pedophiles often retain their natural heterosexual drives, allowing them to function in normal straight pairings. But a strong psychological link between sexual activities and children often result in pedophiles being unable to have sexual relations with their opposite sex adult peers without their minds bringing up images of kids.

Now suppose the first time you ever went for a walk in a forest, you were attacked by a huge bear. After that terrifying encounter, you find it impossible to go into a forest, see pictures of a forest, or have anyone talk about forests without your mind instantly thinking about bears. This kind of negative association is what’s happening with pedophiles. Back when they were kids themselves, they went through some kind of situation in which they felt that they were being sexually assaulted. At the time, their minds latched onto their own age as a significant factor in the ordeal. Due to their own experience with assault, sexual interactions are extremely stressful for pedophiles, and they find it impossible to enjoy healthy sex without their minds pulling up images of kids being sexually assaulted. Not any random kids–but kids within a specific age range.

Every pedophile has a different trigger age range. Children who appear to be within that range feel threatening to the pedophile because the children feel like symbols of himself. Being around those kids causes terrifying memory files to get activated in his subconscious. Essentially, the kids trigger a memory “flashback.” And because the initial assault felt sexual (even though that might not have been anyone’s intention at the time), the pedophile experiences his trauma based terror as sexual arousal.

Now this kind of issue happens across both genders and all ethnicities. Contrary to what many assume, pedophilia is not a male issue. It’s not a white issue, either. Any time humans go through an assault experience (or any other experience), their minds will automatically latch onto certain aspects of that experience and turn those aspects into a kind of memory marker. Think of it like the Eiffel Tower coffee mug that you purchase to remember your vacation in Paris. You could have picked anything–no one made you pick a mug. It just happened that for you, the mug was the thing that attracted you most in the souvenir shop. Your friend came into the same shop with you, only he chose to buy a shirt for his souvenir. There is no right or wrong in these situations–you both picked a legitimate item to serve as a symbolic reminder of your trip. When you and your friend then have lunch in a cafe, your mind takes special note of the window coverings while your friend’s mind notes the style of the tables. As you move through life, your mind is constantly choosing to highlight certain details of your life experiences, and it then keeps those details more readily available than others. You might think of this process as the mind’s way of tagging memory files much like people tag their posts on social media. A woman might write on Facebook: “Another perfect beach!” #Hawaii. And when a boy is sexually assaulted, his mind says: “Viciously attacked in my privates!” #Age6. When age is the factor the mind chooses to focus on, the mind then becomes obsessed with that age until the original trauma is resolved. Our boy grows into a man who finds himself feeling negatively aroused anytime he’s around six year olds. This is a fear response on the part of his mind. It’s the mind’s way of saying, “That kid is the same age I was when I was horribly attacked! I still haven’t found a way to deal with those awful memories!”

Now I’m keeping things simple on purpose. In real life, your mind highlights multiple aspects of your life experiences. You don’t just remember the window coverings in the Parisian cafe; you also remember the floor tiles and the waitress. But you don’t remember the style of the tables and chairs nor the fonts used on the menus. Every mind chooses certain details to focus on and others to ignore. In cases of pedophilia, children who match more of the details that the mind originally focused on will cause a stronger fear response in the pedophile. Remember that the children are reminding the pedophile of himself. A male pedophile who was assaulted at age 6 may be distressed by all six year olds, but extra distressed by male six year olds. A female pedophile who was assaulted at age 11 might find all pre-teens distressing, but she will likely feel extra aroused by females because they are her same gender.

When the mind can’t resolve a problem, it keeps going over that problem again and again. It also tries to come up with new ways to resolve its problems. For many pedophiles, watching child porn feels like a calming mental activity, but a very stressful spiritual activity because their souls view their behavior as immoral. Contrary to how they are often portrayed, many pedophiles have a strong moral code and deeply care about pleasing God. Just as a man can have cold and still be a kind, classy guy, a man can have pedophilia and still be a very pleasant, kind, caring person. This is not a character issue, it’s a psychological issue. It’s also correctable. When pedophiles get enough help in dealing with their own distressing life experiences, their minds stop panicking at the sight of kids. As the panic stops, so does the negative arousal. The pedophile is then freed up to experience normal positive arousal for his peer romantic partner. He is also able to engage in positive sexual interactions without having his mind bring up images of kids.

Now before pedophiles get the help they need, their minds keep trying to work out solutions for their problems. Suppose there’s a complex math problem that you’re trying to solve. You’re not going to make much progress unless you look at the numbers, right? In the same way, minds want to focus on the problems they are trying to resolve, and for pedophiles, this often results in an intense need to study images of kids being sexually assaulted over and over and over. While the mind will manufacture its own fantasies of kids being molested or raped, it will also be very drawn to external sources of such imagery. This is why so many pedophiles feel addicted to child porn. The attraction to the porn is an attempt to review certain aspects of their own trauma over and over again (see Deviant Porn & Your Subconscious: Understanding the Appeal). The need to keep going over it is caused by the absence of any real solutions. The mind is searching for answers in these moments–actively looking for ways through which it might help itself.

So what about child molestation? Many pedophiles will never get hands on with kids. The risk of pedophiles actually molesting kids has been blown way out of proportion by folks who don’t understand this problem.

Suppose some rude person cuts in front of you in a grocery store line. When you protest, the guy tells you to shove it. More rudeness. Now you’re very mad. But how are you going to act on that anger? Are you going to punch the guy in the nose right then and there? Are you going to grab your heaviest vegetable and start beating him with it? Are you going to storm off to a different line just to get away from him? Are you going to stand their seething and wait for Mr. Jerk to get through the line and out of your face? Are you going to turn around and vent to the sympathetic customer behind you? Some of these options sound more appealing to you than others, don’t they? Now think of what your friend or sibling or boss would likely do. Humans do not respond to stress in the same way. Some are quick to respond with violence, while others will avoid violence at all costs (see Freezing vs. Fighting: Two Strategic Responses to Assault). Some people get verbal when they are upset while others become silent. If you’re the sort of fellow who would avoid violence and stay quiet, you’d find it more than a little upsetting for people to say that you’d obviously try to attack your grocery store antagonist. You would resent being painted as a violent, dangerous, short tempered guy when you’re really patience personified.

Many pedophiles find the idea of actually molesting a child to be truly horrifying. Certainly if this condition is left untreated for too long and it grows too severe, people can become so desperate that they will behave in ways that they abhor. But in real life, many pedophiles will never molest, nor will their minds view molestation as a helpful option to explore. There are only some minds that push for actual molestation, with some demanding this very early on, which is when we find kids molesting other kids. As is the case with all trauma coping methods, child molestation is more complex than it appears on the surface. Minds can want to molest for different reasons, depending on what methods they are trying to use to corral their own fears. (If you want to know more about these mechanics, I’ve written a book for pedophiles that discusses these issues in depth.)

Education is a critical to dismantling false stereotypes. The next time someone tries to imply that your normal fatherly affection is kinky, you might say to them, “I understand your concerns given how much pedophilia is being misrepresented by the media, but if you understood more about what it actually is, I think you’d feel less alarmed.” Then send them here so they can learn.

Conclusion

When people are misinformed, they react to that misinformation in logical ways, and that often results in people attacking each other out of fear of being harmed. But if we can gain a more accurate understanding of the kinds of struggles and fears that our fellow humans are grappling with, then we can respond with grace and compassion. Today the growing hostility towards straight white men is based on a combination of fear, pain, and ignorance. By continuing to be a kind and classy guy, you help counter negative stereotypes. Education and kindness are the most effective ways to correct negative social trends.

To learn more about how the mind forms negative associations, see Understanding Bestiality: Real Answers for Those Who Struggle.

For help dealing with abnormal sexual appetites, see Trauma, Masturbation & Dark Sexual Fantasies: Real Help For Those Who Struggle.

To learn more about God’s involvement with pain and evil, see The Sovereignty of God: A Critical Truth for Calming Fears.

This post was written in response to a request.