Male and Female Differences

The differing time-scales of male and female development are found at the axis between the Lover and the Warrior. Young females are flooded with Lover energy in adolescence while young males are flooded with Warrior energy at the same age. However - men and women pass each other at mid-life on this axis. This is the source of so many divorces and so much inter-gender misunderstanding. Just as the woman at mid-life is powering up into her aggression, her Warrior, a man is discovering the opening of his heart, his Lover. They pass each other in the night, literally pass each other in the night. I want you to think about how this difference is enormously significant.

The Geography of Inner Space in Relation to
Theodore Millon's Mapping of Psychopathology

After Dr. Moore published his series of books with Douglas Gillette on the four archetypal structures, David Gutmann's (1987) book, Reclaimed Powers, was pointed out to Dr. Moore. This cross-cultural study of men and women through the life cycle showed this movement of women to more aggression at mid-life and men to more passivity is a universal human fact. It is in the hard wiring.

It follows from this that the trajectory of personal development is radically different for men and women. There are a lot of women who have contempt for their husbands because their husbands have moved into a mid-life limbo, the Lover energy, and are confused and disoriented. When women get to mid-life, they say to themselves, "I've had enough of this servant stuff for other people. I've learned about boundaries now. I've figured out how I have been taken advantage of. Now I'm going to get very clear about what I want, and if this pitiful excuse for a man that I'm married to doesn't get his stuff together, I'm going to leave him." And they are ready for that. They have Warrior virtues at the point where their husbands have lost them.

It goes like this. She says, "Just do it, and stop whining." He says, "But I feel, but I want, … couldn't we…" Then she says, "Just get out of the way. I've got stuff I've got to do." So she decides to take the helm. She is not feeling wimped out and she is not overwhelmed with feelings of "Oh, this is painful," or "This is uncomfortable," or "What will they think?" or "Will he leave me?" When she comes up she has that Warrior energy that says "Let's get the job done. I know what I want. I know where I'm going. If you can't come along, then I'll find somebody else." This is radical asymmetry.

When you look in the world, and when you look at Gutmann's book, you notice that women elders are not having as hard a time facing their responsibilities. They are still having a difficult time, but not as hard a time as male elders. Why? The female initiation is not in much better shape than male initiation. According to Gutmann they do better because they are not in a pool of feelings when challenged with responsibilities, while males at mid-life are in the Slough of Despond.

Gutmann, D. (1987). Reclaimed powers: Men and women in later life. New York: Basic Books.

Moore, R. (1997). Masculine initiation for the 21st century: The global challenge. The New Warrior Handbook.

The Quartet of Books: The King Within, The Warrior Within, The Magician Within, The Lover Within.