The Body House is a blog dedicated to helping men relate better to women. That’s why I’ve written this post – Could Entitlement + Self Pity = Ego Identity Which Leads to Violence?
However, it’s hard to stay silent about the shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.
The incidents highlight some male characteristics that need to be tended to.
Specifically, the characteristics of Ego Identity, Entitlement & Violence… not to mention a good dose of Self Pity.
The Minnesota and Louisiana Shootings
Many consider these shootings to be based on bias and racism, as they were perpetrated by white police officers against black men.
However, I believe it speaks to a much deeper issue than racism. It concerns how men in general, relate to anyone they see as “a threat.” This includes women.
To be up front there is A LOT we still don’t know about the immediate events leading up to the shootings.
However, it’s hard to deny the vulnerable position the victims were in just before they were shot.
Earlier this first week in July in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was handcuffed and on the ground when officers shot him.
The very next day in Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot while in the passenger seat of the car his girlfriend was driving while a baby was in the back seat. WTF is going on?
In both cases, the police drew their guns when the victim clearly did NOT have anything in their hands.
Although, news reports say they both had hand guns on them. At least one of the men had a permit to carry which he stated before being shot.
Somehow the officers felt threatened enough to pull their guns. The laws even support this type of flagrant error of violence.
A police officer is permitted to draw and shoot his weapon at a suspect if the officer “feels threatened.”
The law also discourages the second-guessing of an officer’s nearly instantaneous decision to shoot in what they may consider a life threatening event.
Lots of room there for a judge to find a fellow law enforcer acting in self defense.
The Common Denominators
The common denominators, that impelled the officers to the use of deadly force seem to be this;
- both victims were in vulnerable or compromised positions
- the victims were carrying weapons, but neither were holding it at the time they were shot
- both men were black.
These circumstances strike me as familiar.
Men often feel impelled to use force (in its varying degrees) toward women in these circumstances too;
- female victims are often in vulnerable or compromised positions (or at least seem to be)
- have the potential to use force (verbally, physically or otherwise)
- are easily identifiable as being a threat to a man’s sense of himself
In my experience on this Earth, which now spans almost five decades, I’ve learned situations like these are fueled by a gross distortion of thinking.
All originating from what can be summed up as E-G-O identity.
The EGO Identity
Ego identity is that irrefutable internal force that all human beings struggle with.
The ego drives us away from inclusion and harmony.
When it’s strong enough, the ego can drive us to evil and make us feel completely justified in doing so.
I believe if these police officers had less ego identity and a more rational, balanced and free mind their humanity would have lead them down a different path when facing these two situations.
They would have been more closely inline with their own instincts instead of slaves to their fear and prejudice.
A calm, clear mind (not to mention common decency) will not allow you to justify killing a man who is handcuffed on the ground or sitting in a car with a child.
I also believe the “trigger” for such an egregious display of violence is the distinct combination of self pity and entitlement.
We see it everyday. A very simple (and common) example is when a man says “hello” to a woman on the street.
It seems innocent enough on the surface.
The trouble is, any response a woman gives (whether positive or negative) or no response at all is most often taken as an invitation or a rebuff.
A man then feels justified to either insult a woman because she hasn’t responded the way he wanted or to engage in further conversation.
Whether she likes it or not. This with the expectations of gaining some form of sexual gratification. Even if that boils down to a few minutes of flirting.
Self pity and entitlement. A deadly psychological combination that is rampant mostly within the minds of men.
The World Is Changing
There is no doubt that the world is changing. As with any transformation there is upheaval.
This is still a man’s world and mostly a white man’s world at that. Perhaps the ego identity can feel itself dying.
Consciousness is changing.
In the age of the new millennium, we drift in the wake of severe psychological and cultural shifts.
Fifty years of self-help wake up calls and more than a hundred years of mind-blowing, society altering inventions has forced the fabric of humanity to either adapt or rip apart.
It’s a crap shoot on a rocky boat of consciousness, but we’re all doing the best we can.
ANY force within Mother Nature will fight to keep itself alive. That includes psychological forces.
Let’s find a way to channel this upheaval in a more constructive manner.
For example; Sports. Competition has kept man busy, physically fit and sharp minded since the Neolithic era.
Or art. Some of the most memorable music, paintings and writings have been born out of suffering and massive change.
Spiritual leaders, including the Dahli Lama, have suggested that suffering is part of the human condition.
Here is the Dahli Lama’s exact quote on suffering:
“In accepting that suffering is a part of your daily existence, you could begin by examining the factors that normally give rise to feelings of discontent and mental unhappiness.”
So, let’s all do some more examining before causing more suffering. This is the part men can be really bad at.
At the risk of ticking you guys off and driving you farther into your ego identities…
Please get over any feelings of attack on your manhood and examine the triggers that lead you to violence.
Toward women and others.
Our culture, our world and women in particular are counting on you to do so.
We need you to muster as much strength, compassion and self awareness as you can at this point in our evolution.
Women Learn About Ego Identity Early
Women understand this type of ego identification well.
We learn as little girls that you don’t tick daddy off or challenge him in certain ways.
Why? Because he will do one of two things; Either leave you or take it out on you.
Why? Because daddy’s ego felt “threatened.”
Eckhart Tolle (spiritual advisor & author of The Power of Now & A New Earth) suggests never engaging with the ego.
Which he contends is a separate and negative force apart from the individual’s true nature. Good advice.
Violence, confrontation, revenge… they are all ways the ego tries to protect itself.
In essence, the ego is a strong psychological sense of identity that will do anything to stay alive.
A man’s ego identity can become dangerous in regard to women. God help us if we disagree with you or serve up a bit of attitude.
Or perhaps we are just too independent and free thinking for you. Many of you turn us into bitches at that point, right?
I think of Malala Yousafzai as an example when I write this. Check out more info on her here.
This brings us back to the laws that support police officers in life and death situations.
When a police officer “feels threatened” they are permitted to draw and shoot their weapon. This sounds like a law written and voted on by men for men.
The law, as it is written, reflects how many men feel they can behave toward women if she doesn’t give them the kind of response they were expecting.
As it stands now, if a man feels “threatened” or “intimidated” then they are perfectly justified in lashing back.
Background, ethnicity or financial status has little to do with these feelings.
It has everything to do with ego identity which is triggered by that combination of self pity and entitlement.
Here is a quote from Ms.McCleary-Sills at mic.com on how women are caught-between-a-rock-and-hard-place scenario everyday.
It goes like this:
“As women, we get used to the idea that we have to prepare ourselves, that we have to respond ‘appropriately’ to men’s advances. A man calls out on the street, and you decide: Do you want to ignore him and risk hearing what he says, or give a half-hearted smile and hope it’s enough?”
Now that we’ve established that it’s the ego identity and the emotional trigger of self pity and entitlement that allows it to rear its most ugly head… maybe there’s room for self awareness and some self evaluation?
I know that’s doesn’t sound enticing to many of you.
So, think of it this way; Do you want to get more out of your relationships?
Take a closer look at your own thoughts about women and your own manhood. Things can only get better if you do.
Look the ego identity beast in the face every time it snarls. You may be surprised what you find there.
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