I Can't Do It: Feelings and More
I Can’t Do it – Feelings and More
When I say to myself and/or to another person (or
other persons) the simple words:
“I can’t do it” – it can mean a variety of
My memories of early childhood are very minimal! Mostly, I remember things that were told to
me as an adult about my childhood. My
mother told me once that as a baby, I had to be constantly reassured. My brother evidently could just “chill”, but
I needed to be held a lot and soothed.
I don’t remember that, of course!
Relatively late in her life, my mother told me a story
of myself at age four. Weekday mornings
I was the first boy to arrive at the childcare center. I played happily alone with
toys until other boys arrived. Then, they
took most of the toys away from me.
There was no adult intervention. My mother told me that they wanted to find
another, more suitable, childcare center for me. I told them that I wanted to stay there, and
In retrospect, I feel that this was a part of my emotional
isolation; my detachment. They could
compare the pros and cons of the choices.
I was limited to my narrow age four view. I lacked the capacity to make an “adult”
decision, which was their responsibility.
As a child I never bonded with either parent or anyone
else. I was an Aspie though I didn’t
know this until December, 2019. My
mother never bonded with her mother. In
December, 2019, my partner and I also first realized that my often boundaryless
mother had been an Aspie (also). She
could embarrass others and me, without shame.
She died in 2014.
My childhood homelife was a “Mecca” of book learning
and intellect. It was a “desert” for me
to be aware of, and to express my feelings.
Reading books at the dinner table was only not appropriate for
our Friday, Sabbath supper. The only
expressed emotions I recall were my father exploding when his worktime
was interrupted by me being too loud.
We were very, very different!
Television was big in most American homes of the 1950’s
and early 1960’s. Television for me was
limited to watching Wide World of Sports at the lounge tv in the Purdue
Union. Television would detract from
our reading. By the time we got a portable
tv in 1965 (the year after my father’s death), I only had minimal interest in
My clothes were hand-me-downs from the H’s older son, as well as the cheapest stuff from Sears and Penneys, hardly places for “fashion”. Other boys had the paisley shirts, when they came into fashion, and new clothes as the weather changed by season.
I loved participatory and spectator sports. My brother and parents had no interest in
We weren’t allowed to have squirt guns, because they
We were in a Civil Rights march in Lafayette, Indiana
in the summer of 1961 or 1962. Neither
parent ever attended a little league baseball game I played in (only two years)
or anything sports related when I was a high school athlete.
I dreaded, but faced, bullying by three boys, two
years older than me, who lived nearby. I
didn’t complain to my parents when one or more of them punched me. I never thought about it! I felt powerless.
I was the last boy chosen for kickball, during recess. I was big and clumsy. Boys were scary! Girls weren’t “dangerous” like boys, but they weren’t friendly, either.
My childhood memories of friendships include a period
of perhaps a week to a month in first grade when I hung out with a neighboring boy
and girl. The boy – somehow – had access
to a large appliance box, and we showed each other our “privates”. I remember my seventh birthday party, where
I was the only boy who didn’t eat his candle.
Summer camp, after second grade, I remember the ridicule from other
boys. I remember a different camp later
on, where I wasn’t ridiculed, but had no friends. I remember the summer of 1964, at Stanford University,
when there was a group of four or five of us, who hung out together.
During my Junior year I had my first girlfriend
Carol. I picked her up in our (old) car
and we went on dates for seven or eight months. I held her hand, but never
kissed her. We didn’t talk on the phone
or otherwise share together. I found out
that we’d (evidently) split up, when I heard from another boy, that she was
going out with someone else.
My father died on Friday, the 13th, when I
was 13 years old! I didn’t cry then. After that, when I felt sadness, I said to
“How does this compare to the loss of my father?” My next tears came when I was in my second
men’s group, and had already attended my first men’s gathering. I was then 30 years old!
I became a pro-feminist activist co-founding Men
Stopping Rape, Inc. and doing anti-rape work in my early to mid-30’s. We talked
lot about the importance of our feelings. I still, remained distant from my own
feelings! When facing emotional
challenges, commonly, I minimized them in my mind. I distracted myself with reading and later
on with being on the internet.
My first depression seriously hit me when I went away
to the University of Wisconsin at age 18.
Depression hit again after I transferred, due to unhappiness, to
Macalester College, the following fall.
That didn’t work – and I came back to Wisconsin. The following summer I had classic “speed
freak” manifestations – alienating others around me. I wasn’t on any drug though!
My therapists over the decades dealt with the surface
problems of the moment. I never began
making progress with them until January, 2020.
For the first time, I had a therapist, who was and is a fellow
Aspie! She can relate to me and I to
My first real “Friend” was my ex-wife. She was my first girlfriend who lasted more
than briefly. I was not a good life
partner! Emotionally, I wasn’t in touch
with myself. It is hard to give to
others, when one lacks insights about oneself and doesn’t accept oneself at a
I am most ashamed about how bad a father I was to my
son, who was born on my 36th birthday! In important ways I was the “bad parent”
that my parents were to me. Though I
went to all his games, and most of his practices, his concerts, and more, emotionally
I (also) wasn’t there for him. Today –
he can’t hear me- beyond a narrow, surface level – significantly related to my
I’ve also struggled with my (current) wife! The only way I knew how to relate seriously
to her was through physical touch- superficial, sensual and sexual. I have repeatedly hurt her in ways that cut
to the core of her life concerns, seemingly never learning from my mistakes.
In November, 2018, after a major betrayal, ironically I began a serious growth process, for the first time in my life. I immediately realized how I used dysfunctional tit-for-tat logic to justify bad behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve made serious mistakes again several times since then.
Moving Towards Closure:
I’m finally, slowly learning of the importance of:
within my heart, not my head,
within my body – experiencing my physical and emotional pain,
that I’m a very emotional person,
my feelings – being in them – when they are more than very minimal – not rushing
my tendency to feel both negative and positive feelings intensely- “making a mountain out of a molehill” ,
– reacting –immediately emotionally -fully taking in my feelings, reflecting,
then deciding if to respond, and if so how,
that anger is big in my life – on a vast continuum. Previously, I rarely felt my anger as it is!
Most of my life is amazingly good! I hope to learn (asap) multiple ways to be a better life partner! This is most important!
What does “I can’t do it” mean?
I can’t do something. Example: I can’t avoid – reacting strongly inside when
I feel put down. It doesn’t matter
whether I really was put-down. My
feelings matter. Until I do my own work –
I can’t accurately see the intent of the other person.
I can’t do something. Example: I can’t
sleep more than 2-3 hours, without waking up and needing to go to the
bathroom. This relates to my prostate,
me being an aging male.
Most of the time, I
really “can” do most things (despite my resistance). This may be:
the thing is very emotionally challenging.
recognizing my full physical potential.
resistance to trying – usually related to past failures.
– emotionally alone – my pain, loneliness, and desire for human
connection feel threatened,
am (otherwise) scared – something in my past – particularly from childhood –
immobilizes me, at least at first.
don’t want to do something – related to a variety of feelings.
I have multiple life priorities. Feeling – really – deeply – heard – is primary
here! My feelings relate to the impacts
of others’ words and actions. Often, the
impacts aren’t the same as what the other person intended. Here – I must work on myself. Important things include: How I present, When
and how I ask for support, as well as How I take in the words and body language
When I say: “I can’t” or “I must” or “I need” – to myself
(as well as to others), I often alienate others. I need to minimize harm!
I’m a weird person!
I’m seriously involved in a lot!
I enjoy sharing common interests with my life partner! It is important that I listen deeply to her
and be consistently present. I need to
do better! I need to be less emotionally
dependent on her.
Starting to build a few intimate friendships with
fellow men helps a lot. This is
challenging and important. Oft times, I
talk far, far too much, when feeling unsure of myself, or otherwise
unsettled. This can easily sabotage my
A lot of my “work” is important. I write and publish at: www.GeorgeMarx.org
. Some of my writings are also – readable on Medium – such as at: https://marxgeo.medium.com/a-primer-for-today-and-tomorrow-bfb28f6f4eb1
. Several are published also through The
Good Men Project (https://goodmenproject.com/).
My mutual aid work is precious!!! When I don’t have time conflicts, I work at
a church serving meals on Thursdays, do bag preparation for Saturday food (and essentials) distribution on Fridays, and help with the distribution on Saturdays. I learn – a lot from the mostly much younger
people – who similarly – support radical systemic change. I struggle with repair – when I mess up. Not infrequently, they feel to me like they
are “in” with each other, and I’m way outside.
Caring White Men Sharing Together – www.CaringWhiteMen.com – is one
meaningful group I co-founded and co-facilitate. Organizing White Men for Collective
Liberation (www.owmcl.org) is both helpful,
and at times frustrating. I am actively
involved in it nationally and locally (through its Chicago Chapter). There is also more political work~!
Duplicate bridge is “fun” – though I have little time
for games much of the time. Reading –
and writing reviews – is important. My
beloved mini-golden doodle – Zoey – gives me a lot of pleasure, along with some
frustration at times. Our walks are an
important time for me to be really out of my head.
Heart and spirit growth is challenging! I’m trying and will continue to try! Thanks!