Men and receiving help
When you look at movies such as Rocky or the Lone Ranger, you start to see that many men have been fed this message that we have to go it all or mostly alone. What I mean by that is that many men are raised being told, “Don’t be sad”, “Don’t cry”, “Just do it”, “Figure it out”, “You have to be number one”, “If you’re not first your last” and “Losing is not an option” etc. Some of these messages and similar ones were given to us by our fathers, mothers, coaches, teachers, grandparents, and the countless movies/television shows we saw growing up. In some cases, we have even learned these messages from the internet with popular websites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Now, I am not proposing that we should place the blame on others and not take accountability for our current actions, but rather asking you to do some reflecting on where you learned these messages regarding not sharing/feeling your emotions and not getting help when you are struggling.
I am also not saying that every kid should receive a trophy for just showing up or participating or that boys should never learn responsibility, perseverance or how to deal with adversity. However; the research shows that all children need a level of nurturing, positive reinforcement, being heard and being accepted as they learn to mature. They are then better able to handle difficult situations, thoughts and emotions as adults. This in turn helps with their relationships with their significant others and children. They are also more likely to get help proactively from friends, family and professionals when needed.
As a therapist, I have heard many men tell me that they do not do well with sharing their emotions or asking for help. They have also told me that they have trouble dealing with failure, criticism and not knowing what will happen in the future. I totally understand what they are saying. It makes sense to me, as I myself am a man and can relate to some of these thoughts and struggles. However, my question for you is, do you feel that by not opening up, you may be causing more problems for yourself and those you love?
In my clinical opinion, this has less to do with being a man and more of the effects of how we are raised as these experiences can affect both sexes. Men and women can both struggle as adults if they were not nurtured and bonded properly with their parents or care givers growing up. They may also have trouble with being open and seeking help as adults. We see that with the research that came from Dr. John Bowlby and Dr. Mary Ainsworth. Please see this introductory article to learn more about attachment and what these researchers found: https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html. Also, see this video below to learn more about how kids are affected by how they are bonded:
So, why is all of this important for you? If you are struggling with work, relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, anger, addiction or something else, it may be related to how you were raised and how you continue those life scripts today. The good news is you can get better which can help reduce some of your challenges and improve your mental health, problem behaviors, work and relationships. If you would like to learn more, stay tuned for part 2 of this article.
For more information contact, David Sanchez, LPC, LCAS, CSAT, EMDR Trained Therapist. David Sanchez is a licensed professional counselor, a life coach, a licensed clinical addictions specialist, a certified sex addict therapist and an EMDR trained therapist. He practices in Charlotte, NC but can see individuals that live in the state of North Carolina or South Carolina through counseling via in-office, phone or secure video conferencing. Mr. Sanchez is also able to see someone that lives in the United States or abroad through his coaching and consulting services. If you would like to speak to him or one of his associates, please call 980-263-9608 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.