So often, when I’m speaking about relationships between men and women, I mention the importance of a man providing ‘containment’ for the woman he is with. As it turns out, many men and women both are confused about what containment even is, much less how to provide containment for someone. For this reason, I’ve decided to write this article entirely about containment.
This article must come with a warning however because the topic of containment relative to men and women will come up against many erroneous, but currently deeply revered belief systems about perfect sex equality. As well as many erroneous, but currently deeply revered belief systems around power/freedom and the sexes. This means try really, really hard to keep an open mind and try to separate your own personal wounding and triggers from this intellectually objective conversation about men and women. Also, this article is about something men provide for women in a relationship. So, this particular article mentions nothing about what women do for men in a relationship. And as a last disclaimer, keep in mind that you can do your relationships any way you want, if it works for you. As we say in the West, you don’t need to fix what ‘aint broke. But you really have to ask yourself the question: Does the way I’m currently doing my relationships really work for me and the other person? For a lot of men and women, the answer is no. And for a lot of them, lack of masculine containment is the reason why.
The first thing that must be said, but that I can’t believe I have to point out, is that women and men are different and therefore, are not the same in many ways. If this were not the case, even on a physical level men and women would be physically designed the same. Until we accept that women are men are different, we will never be able to create a healthy relationship between the sexes. This is critical because many of the people who fight hard for gender equality erroneously do so by fighting for gender ‘sameness’. In other words, they try to establish equality of value or equality of power or equality of whatever else by trying to prove that men and women are the same. Because they are not, this is a losing strategy.
Containment is something that women need from men in order to feel good in a relationship. If you want to understand this even more in depth, watch two of my videos titled: 1. What Every Man Needs to Know About Women and 2. Why Women Like Assholes. The bottom line is, a woman can’t feel good in a relationship without containment.
A big group of women who act like they don’t need as much containment from a man, are actually getting containment from somewhere else (usually it is still their family or origin for example). Another group of women simply ‘seem’ like they don’t need it (because they seem to be able to fend for themselves) when in fact, they have simply had to compensate for, acclimatize to and normalize the lack of containment. Contrary to the first group of women who act ok without containment from a man, these women don’t act ok. They tend to seem feral, displeased, controlling, anxious and uptight. And women who go so far as to resist containment (or who worse, say they don’t need it) have trauma around things like being negatively controlled by a man or being seen as being weaker or less than by a man etc. They too, in their behavior, don’t seem ‘fine’. Instead, they also display the negative behavioral characteristics associated with lacking containment.
To conceptualize of masculine containment, imagine that in a relationship, a man is a clam shell and a woman is a pearl inside that clam shell. This is a healthy symbol for divine masculine and divine feminine. This masculine clam shell is creating a safe, nourishing space in which the female can exist or occur. It enables a woman to be soft, open, receptive and to grow. If you imagine removing that masculine shell, the female immediately contracts, goes rigid and into a state of defense. It is a coping mechanism rather than a natural feel-good state of being. She is forced to compensate for the lack of that masculine shell by becoming masculine herself. And this, causes a ‘flip’ in polarity, which is to blame for so much of the dysfunction between men and women today.
With that image in mind now, let’s look deeper at containment. To contain a woman, in this context, is to actively (not passively) create a safe space of wellbeing for her. The healthy masculine energy creates a container in which the feminine can truly exist and thrive. To do this, a man must take positive ownership of a woman. Many people have a negative association with ownership. This is because they ‘threw out the baby with the bathwater’ relative to ownership. The reality is that a woman actually wants to feel owned. She just doesn’t want to feel oppressed, controlled, looked down on or limited. And these are all things she’s been taught to associate with ownership. To be owned is the opposite of to be stray. Women do not do well with being stray. Here’s the thing, to truly own something is to see it as part of yourself. If you see something as part of yourself, it becomes impossible to hurt that thing without hurting yourself too. You cannot usurp its free will without harming yourself. Therefore, in true ownership (which is for something to be a part of you and therefore to belong to you) the best interests of that other thing is of the utmost concern. This makes a woman feel happy in a relationship. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Own People! (How to Take Ownership of Your Relationships).
Many men who don’t understand what it would practically look like to contain a woman, are benefitted by thinking of containment in terms of ‘fending for a woman’. When a man does not contain a woman, she has to fend for herself. To fend for herself is to look after, protect and provide for herself without help. When a man fails to provide containment for a woman, she ends up feeling like she has to do it all herself and fend for herself. This means, a male who lacks the skill of containment inevitably makes a woman feel like she is all alone. Not just all alone, also unsafe, starved of needs and as if all the pressure is on her. This will make a woman become controlling, anxious, hard, cold, masculine, bitter, angry and resentful. It will cause her mental, emotional and physical health to corrode.
If you want to provide containment for a woman, don’t let her (or expect her to) fend for herself on a mental, emotional, or physical level. Instead think: How can I fend for her in this situation?
Many men create a way better container for the car they drive than the woman they are in a relationship with. A man who takes positive ownership, and who therefore creates containment for his car, acts in the best interests of that car. He doesn’t let the car fend for itself. Some men rub their car with diapers to keep it clean and protect the paint job. They appreciate the hell out of their car emotionally. They put energy and effort into the upkeep of their car. They keep the oil tank full and rotate the tires and learn all about the engine and lock the car doors so no one steals it. And doing so, actually makes them feel good.
So, what might providing a container for a woman, where she feels positively owned and fended for, translate to on a physical level? I’ll give you a few examples, of which there are so many more. It could look like:
- To energetically put your energy around her, no matter where she is in the world
- To take responsibility for her wellbeing (the positive form of claiming her)
- To create safe, supportive conditions and a safe, supportive environment where she can grow and expand. Rather than expecting her or encouraging her to grow and expand by virtue of her not having those safe and supportive conditions/environment
- To do things that create a feeling of ‘security’ on any and all levels for her
- To provide for a woman in terms of resources (this could be financial or otherwise)
- To take it upon yourself to create improvement in her life, without being asked to do so
- To take charge of a situation by taking the lead
- To be ‘reachable’ and available to her
- To be initiative relative to her
- To be active relative to her wellbeing instead of passive
- To protect and defend her physically
- To protect her emotional wellbeing
- To do things like open doors for her or pick her up in your car or pour water into her glass or have her take your arm when walking down the street
- To reassure her
- To remember important dates and make those dates special
- To attune to her mental, physical and emotional state so that you know what is ‘right’ to do or not to do relative to her. For this, you must put considerable energy into understanding not just women in general, but her specifically
- To do things that take pressure off of her, without her having to ask
- To organize a date with all the details totally under your control
- To take charge of logistics
- To initiate repair if rupture occurs in the relationship
- To put effort into meeting her needs and wherever necessary, to help find ways for her needs to be met outside of you
- To be physically with her, or to make sure she is ok when she is not with you. In other words, to make sure she does not have to fend for herself when you are not around to fend for her
- To not put her in lose-lose situations
- To not put her in dangerous situations
- To deliberately create regular time to be present with her and totally focused on her.
- To appreciate her
- To be communicative and speak your mind as well as listen to her
- To caretake the relationship itself
- To be and to act committed to her
- To do things that cause her pleasure
- To make decisions, especially tough decisions
- To take responsibility for your decisions and actions
- To romance her
- To figure out what needs to get done and actively get those things done
- To take responsibility and initiative for facing and resolving problems you might become aware of or things you might need to heal within yourself
- To provide containment for any children you might have together and/or she might have from another man
- To be in your masculine energy and power
- To help her face the parts of herself that are resistant to being contained, rather than to simply stop giving her containment, when she resists it.
Keep in mind that it isn’t a great strategy to simply try to memorize and do all these containing things. The containing things that a man does naturally, come as a direct result of first deciding to ‘contain’ and ‘fend for’ a woman. This means if you are a man, your actions naturally follow suit and you don’t have to think hard about HOW to provide containment. It is second nature.
In the past there used to be a saying… “Over the mysteries of female life is drawn a veil, best left undisturbed.” Sorry but in order to provide containment for a woman, you’ve got to throw this saying in the trash can completely. In order for men to contain women to the best of their abilities, they’ve got to put energy into trying to understand women in general. In order for you to contain a specific woman to the best of your abilities, you must understand that specific woman. Those of you who love cars know that containing a Ferrari entails different things than containing a Ford Taurus. Women are very much the same in many ways and are still very different in many ways and because of this, you’ve got to start trying to understand her. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Stop Trying to Love Them and Start Trying to Understand Them.
Women… face and resolve your resistance to being provided containment by a man. And men… face and resolve your resistance to providing containment for a woman. A feel-good relationship, depends very much on this. As you do this, keep in mind that containment has nothing at all to do with being oppressed, controlled, looked down on or limited. And if a man does any of these things to you, he is in fact NOT containing you, as he is not acting in your best interests at all. That is not positive ownership at all.
In a homosexual relationship, there is still need for containment. But there is usually more struggle relative to power dynamics in the relationship. This means things simply get much less straight forward relative to containment. Usually, the partners do best when they communicate openly, honestly and freely so as to mutually and consciously decide what containment they will provide each other in the relationship and to what degree. There is often a higher degree of “flip flopping” relative to who is containing whom and in what situations and why. And these decisions that define the how and when one person is containing the other, is largely based off of what makes each party feel like they are in their personal power. And personal healing aside, in a homosexual relationship, this mutual process of defining containment within the relationship obviously has less to do with gender. There must be intense honesty however about what roles each person wants to play for the other, rather than slipping into the shadow of ‘no roles’.
Containment is not something that is only natural for a man to give a woman that he is in a relationship with. It is something that is natural for a man to provide for any woman, whether she is his partner, a friend, a sister, a mother or a daughter. And it is natural for men in general within society to provide this containment for women in general within society. In generations past (especially in tribal societies) this was something that men expected from every other man towards the women in society and in fact held other men up to the standard of. So young men would first be taught how to contain by being contained themselves and later, stepping into adulthood, they would be directly educated about how to contain by other men. They just didn’t use the specific word: Contain.
It is at this point that I must make you aware that the modern single-family household, especially the broken single-family household, is one of the unhealthiest societal structures to have ever existed. It is also to blame for so much of this lack of containment that people experience. So many men who struggle with providing containment, struggle with it because they never got containment as children. They did not get the opportunity to learn by example, or to be directly taught by other men. So it is, in essence, a developmental trauma. For this reason, men with this wounding often look for containment from the women in their life and subconsciously enter into polarity flipped relationships.
And all this being said, this is what I will leave you with: Providing containment is not only something that makes women feel good in relationships. When men are healthy, they love the feeling of providing this container. In fact, it gives a man a huge feeling of purpose, value and self-confidence to do so.