I just had an epiphany of sorts...not that this is anything knew...but coming to a speculation I've had for years in an understanding of it better. The epiphany...is within this possible new understanding.
I'm posing this as a possible answer to something that I have been aware of for many years that is a real stumbling block to understanding between myself and most women I've known including my own immediate family. The key that helped me figure this out was from Brene Brown and her discussion of shame and vulnerability and how there is definite schism that is created by this defined "difference" that seems apparent between men and women. Not all....but in varying degrees from one to the other depending on many things I believe. And from that schism....comes a different language and each one has a different meaning or understanding of the same word as it is used. I've been testing this theory with my wife...and so far...it seems to be playing out as my theory seems to holds true to a certain degree. This is speculative mind you and is only my personal theory based on what I have observed. I'm saying that to make sure I establish my own objective stance in order to see this and there is no judgment, opinion or personal feelings attached to it in a more scientific approach as a researcher...not a participant. Just the facts maam....as I see them.
The word adversary can be seen from two different perspectives:
1) As the enemy
2) As an opponent
Depending on which one you see this...will change your relationship to it.
From a possibly more male way of seeing this as the first pick of the two. An opponent...is just someone who is on the opposing side of any game, sport or challenge when the objective is to win. In a game or sporting event....that is the objective. But your opponent is not your enemy.....it could be...they might even be your best friend.
In my own life....this was exactly the case. My best friend growing up....was on my sports team. In fact....most of all my friends growing up were on sporting teams of some kind. Off the field, pool, or gym.....they were my friends. On several occasions and one in particular.....my very best friend was doing something that mad me so angry....that I punched him in the face so hard...it rang his bell for a moment and stunned him to the point of almost going unconscious. Within minute of this event....we were right back to being best of friends. Even after this event...he wasn't my enemy...and I wasn't his almost immediately after.
The same thing with all my friends who were involved in the same way. As soon as we were side by side playing against each other as opponents. Our friendship had nothing to do with the fact that I was going to try my best to win and beat them as best I could and no holds were barred to get there. There is politeness or courtesy involved when you are playing to win. Your opponent...could be your best friend or even someone you hated...and it doesn't make a difference. You separate them from any personal feeling you have....and you pour everything you have against them in order to win as your opponent. It is the very nature of competition and the competition itself...is what you Love and enjoy about it. This is a competitive mind set...that is clearly separate from any personal feelings you have for the other person.
And as soon as the game ends and is over....you go right back to being best friends whether they beat you or not. Winning and losing...is part of competition and this you learn from a very early age when you learn to play sport or in the world of growing up as a boy. It's just part of it and you learn this from a very early age and .....for some like myself....you learn to love this relationship and enjoy engaging in it as often as you can because you Love being in this kind of adversarial relationship.
As I thought about this....I went yes.....I Love adversarial relationships like this and seek them out when ever I can. I love competition and I love playing because....this is where I find the most rewarding experiences that make my life complete in the world of recreation and play. Winning or losing is irrelevant....it's being in this kind of adversarial relationship itself is what is the best part of it.
So to say I have an adverse reaction to being adversarial is completely false. Looking at it from this perspective.....I Love being adversarial in terms of recreation and fun. I don't mind losing at all...since losing is part of the game. In fact....there can only one winner in each event....which means...mostly....you lose more than you win anyway....it's just part of it if you want to play.
But what if?
You hate to lose. And don't have any drive to win anything? You don't like competition. You aren't competitive and get nothing out it...in fact....you don't like it at all? You don't like to be adversarial at any time even for recreation. You don't like the feeling or idea of trying to beat your best friend and win at all costs. And you certainly don't like the fact that your best friend has this thinking about you that they will beat you as soon as you slip up or make a mistake at your own expense and they are purposely trying to beat you...not be your friend that you can trust to let you win just to be a good friend if your down. Of course not. You're an opponent silly. And their your opponent in turn.
As I'm seeing this....there is difference between playing a game for fun and recreation....and serious competition. Serious competition....is a mind set that you learn in how to separate yourself....from your any friendship and loyalties you have off the field. As soon as you walk of the field....no loyalty or courtesies extended you by your friends exist any more.
And you learn the only way to beat your opponent....is your ability to see them as your adversary with no personal feelings extended to them what so ever. In the world of serious competitive sports it's always 'Kill or be Killed" whether it's your best friend or not.
So in that what if scenario....and this all sound horrible to you and you cannot understand why anyone would even want to do this or get anything out of it...and how could you want to willing go against your best and closest friend in this way and then just forget about what just happened...... and be perfect friends again in a matter of moments after they or you just did their best...to not be your friend in any way possible and do everything in their power to go directly against you in every way?
And if... you cannot understand the difference between recreational sports for fun and enjoyment.....and serious competition like I just described where it is not fun and games and serious business?
The I think....you might have a completely different relationship with the word adversarial and opponent....and the word competition.
And if that's the case.....these words and how you feel about them....will have a completely different meaning.
Like I said.....I Love competition....both for fun and in serious competition in sports and in recreation. Love it...Love it...Love it
I hate to be competitive otherwise especially in personal relationships. I hate it....hate it....hate it
Competition only has one acceptable place as far as I can see it......business and sports. No other place.
Adversarial relationship however....happens in personal relationships all the time, every where you go....but it's not competitive in the same way as it is with serious competition. The goal is not to win...the goal is for resolution. This seems to get very confusing for some as far as I can? I might say win/win win/lose or use those terms....but it's not a competition...it's a way to describe whether something is good for you or bad for you or to describe whether it good for both people by using those definitions to make those determinations.
The only reason I'm even including this at all...is from what I have discovered more recently with my wife.
I have a clear and well understanding about everything I've just read. Each one different....and each one has there own specific place and there are no over laps or confusing them. The are all completely separate concepts and within them .....a completely different set of well defined and understood rules to follow. There is no confusion in my mind what so ever between each distinct category.
Yet....the words to describe all the categories....are exactly the same. Yet each word....having multiple meanings and understandings.
And as I am coming to better understand with my wife and how she sees the word adversarial....it only has one meaning to her.....enemy. And you can't Love or even like....your enemy...let alone...have one as your best friend.
Where that leaves me in all of this....is trying to find a completely different word or way to say the same thing I know...to have the very well defined specific meaning that I know....but my wife can't understand how a word like adversarial can mean anything other than associated with all things bad, evil and no good and completely negative.
How could anyone Love to be adversarial? There must be something wrong with you? You must be of evil mind and the enemy?
I don't know how to give someone my experience to tell them they're wrong?
Conclusions (based on my own personal witness to this schism? )
As I see the difference between men and women in society...the most defining thing that stands out to me is.....women are in competition 24/7 with each other. This is a sociologic phenomenon due to the inherent place or order in which they are born and where they see their value as an individual and even within society. As seen as a commodity....a woman's inherent value lies heavily on their appearance outwardly. Not just physical appearance...but appearance in relationship to their environment as a home maker, as a wife and their desirability to men. These are all things external rather than internal.
If I draw from this conclusion...one would associate competition as either being wanted or unwanted due to this kind of class distinction or "case" system that is created by this. In other words right from the get go.....comparisons are being made as to physical appearance and sexual desirability right from the get go. Look at those kiddie beauty pageants for an example of this. (my personal opinion for what it's worth? yuck!! ) But it does fit the model and to each their own.
And for that matter....look at the big girl beauty pageants:
bathing suit competition:....gotta get a good look at that body you know. (and those hooters...don't kid yourself )lol
talent competition:...singing, dancing, and musical instruments mostly. Hey...if your going parade yourself around naked....lets add some entertainment while we're at it boys.
compulsory competition: "All I want is world peace" Sounds good to me....next!!! lol
enough said there...lol
Back to the topic. So I see this....woman are born into competition with each other whether they like it or not.....and with being born into it....they are born with "talent" as used in a derogatory demeaning kind of way.
I think they say that the % of woman born to be Super Models is like 4-5% or all woman. Where does that leave the other 95%....in shame for the rest of their lives? I think so. Which is not something that you can just overlook or ignore. This is not by choice
This is either something that the 95% who are not Super Models to sort out and contend with on their own. Even if you don't buy this or join into it....it's still there whether you like it or not.
I see this.....woman...are their own worst enemies not as individuals....but to each other. And if I didn't make it clear that I can see this or understand it....you'll just have to take my word for it.
So now if you apply what I said about a possibly more male perspective as they experience competition and being adversarial? This does take on a different meaning. Not all men like sports or were serious competitors like I was and there's nothing wrong with that. But there's also nothing wrong with enjoying it and liking to be adversarial and aggressive like this either. As I've said....by nature....I'm more passive....but not in competition and in the arena of sports or being adversarial. Nature does not automatically trump nurture and they can co-exist splendidly and are not in competition with each other as defined.
You can be both or neither and it makes no difference at all.
But as I am saying all of this.....if you disagree or it doesn't sound right? I'm wondering if the reason why you feel that way has anything to do with not being able to see the difference or even realize that this exist?
Men for the most part....are pretty equal from the get go. Not until you get older and start having to prove things like this on the playing field or in your job or business do the same kind of things really start coming into play as they do for a woman but....as soon as you walk off the playing field or return home from your job. That competition between men...pretty much disappears completely.
And because I can see all of this pretty clearly....I've also experienced weird times my life where I had this feeling like someone was trying to compete with me...where it didn't seem to fit one of these defined categories and following those well defined rules that boys learn early in life especially in the world of sports and competition. It's like...."why are you competing with me? Where's the goal post?"
In my theory.....I think what I'm saying is the reason why?