Emotionally Handicapped

On a recent Facebook post, a question was posed to the group.  Basically asking, why is it that men have so much difficulty with expressing their emotions.  This was one of the best questions I had seen in the group yet.  I have struggled myself as a man to find the answer for many years. The questions has also molded and directed the majority of my relationships in both positive and negative ways.

I immediately jumped in to answer the question. As I see the problem, men are all handicapped from a early age. You see, we as males, are told not to cry. We are told that there is something wrong with us if we show emotions even before we start talking. Boys are supposed to be tough and strong. We learn to equate emotions with weakness. As we get older, these ideas are often pushed even further so by the time we are adults and in the world on our own, we are mostly train wrecks!

It doesn’t take large and long studies to show what I am saying. We know behavior is learned. We also know that it is difficult to unlearn. We know that what our parents and peers impress upon us in our formative years will affect us throughout our entire lives. When we really examine how we treat young men in the society today, I wonder why anyone is ever surprised.

From the time boys are in diapers we basically are teaching them to be jerks! So why are we surprised that men are emotionally stunted? So many women that I talk to or hear say they don’t understand why men are the way they are. No one looks at how we are teaching the boys to behave in the first place. We are creatures of extreme and just do not admit it. While many are starting to realize the issues, many who do see go to far in the opposite direction.

As a man, I struggle on a daily basis. I love my family and friends. I also know that the majority of them would be extremely uncomfortable with my expression of love. Why do I say this, I see it every day. I have recently suffered the lost of my partner through divorce. It has devastated me emotionally. It has hurt in ways that I did not actually believed that was possible. Months later I feel as if it has just happened even though I am now so happy that it has happened.  Even though, I realized that it may have been the best thing that has happened outside the joy of my children, both natural and the step-children.

All of this said, as a man, I wouldn’t want one of my sons to suffer what I am suffering.  Having feeling that you do not  understand is difficult. Having feeling that you cannot speak to anyone about is horrendous. It is a shame to think of all the little boys walking around in Adult skins with no hope of  finding someone to understand them . Not feeling safe to seek the help to understand themselves. This is why men choose to suffer alone. While sitting here pondering what can be done a very quick search showed me that men suffer the highest suicide rates world wide. While I am not say that this is the reason, I can say as a man, I can see how this is a great deal of a contributing factor.



Are you okay?

This is something I believe everyone ask another at some point in their life. I know i ask it of the people I care for every time I sense that something is bothering them. I get asked the same question at least 3 times a week. I think that we do it out of instinct and are not even aware that we are about to ask the question.

Lets first address that, even though it is a mindless question, it is asked out of true concern. Nobody would ask it if they did not have real concern. The reason I say that it is a mindless question is, because even though I ask it, I see it being asked and I am asked myself, not one person I know has ever been able to answer the follow up question. Which is, why do you ask. We say, you seem off or you do not seem like yourself. We never ask with something tangible.

The truth is, we have noticed that the individual is not alright. Something is wrong and even though we care somewhat, what we are really doing is pointing it out that the individual is not acting like themselves and we want them to snap out of it. I am slowly realizing that I am glad that someone has noticed but I absolutely dislike the question. It feel that it is crazy that I ask it or that anyone ask it of another.

My gut has been telling me lately to say, No I am not alright! I do not want to lie to you so if you really want to know, pull up a chair and let me cry on your shoulder. I have pain to unload so get ready! But of coarse I do not do this. Nobody does! I am also realizing, due to my experience is, if I notice that something is so wrong that a person has changed their behavior then they are definitely not alright. If I really care and want to know I should simply say how can I help you, I see that something is wrong and I care.

Now I am not saying that people do not care when they ask. I am only saying that we obviously see something wrong so we should just get to the point. We already know that the first time we ask almost everyone will instinctively state “nothing is wrong” or “I am okay.” We know this before we even answer the question. I know that I do.

In my days of gloom I suppose what I really want is a hug and for someone to actually say that they see that I am not okay and they still care for me. If I want they will sit with me until I am or they have to go. This is also what I really want to say. I see you, I love you and I am all ears if you need to talk. These are the things I really want to say. I have been able to follow it up after I asked the mindless question and I am told that they are okay.