Context: The roles or being a ‘protector’ and ‘provider’ have a traditional impact on many men. Most men value some expression of these roles, but rarely discuss how they make decisions about appropriate responses. It is the assumptions in these situations that encourages inappropriate choices and incubates abusive actions. The decision to keep others safe in life, needs to negotiated and agreed to by all parties, otherwise the protection starts crossing the line, as it only reflects the man’s insight and needs.
When to use: This exercise is used when practitioners work with men to deepen their understanding about the decision to protect others and when this becomes abusive or controlling. Self reflection by the practitioner is valuable for modelling and providing wider perspectives.
Conducting the exercise:
Discuss what protecting others means, how they keep other’s safe and when it crosses the line to being abusive. Ask the following questions:
Who do you protect or keep safe in your life?
How do you protect or keep others safe in your life?
What happens when the protection of others is misused?
What is the difference between keeping someone safe and controlling them?