How many times have you heard some woman or man parrot the old chestnut:
“Men aren’t good at expressing emotions. Men don’t have feelings.”
This is utter nonsense.
Men have emotions. They have plenty of emotions — even if they appear numb and shut down — there are still lots of emotions underneath the surface.
Human beings, that includes women and men — all of us — are born into this world complete with a full range of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, joy, anger, rage, contentment — all of it.
Just observe infants. They may not be able to articulate their emotions because they’re pre-verbal, but babies can express emotions night and day and at the top of their lungs if need be.
As babies grow into toddlers, they become socialized. Good enough parents teach their sons and daughters healthy ways to express their emotions and get their needs met. They allow their children to have their feelings — even if it inconveniences the grown-ups — and allow their kids to learn how to self-soothe and how to acknowledge and honor their feelings. Good enough parents also teach their kids how to reality test their feelings.
Then there are other parents, whom I believe mean well, but aren’t able to feel and express their emotions in healthy ways. Consequently, they aren’t able to teach their children the skills and range of affect that they themselves have yet to master. They may also buy into social stereotypes that facilitate teaching boys to ignore their feelings.
These are the parents who tell children, little boys in particular, “Don’t cry. Big boys don’t cry.” When their sons get hurt playing or have an accident they say, “That doesn’t hurt that bad. Quit being such a baby.” If their kids aren’t hungry when it’s meal time, they force them to eat; or tell them they’re not hungry when they are.
Many of these parents have a different set of rules for their daughters. Little girls are often allowed and encouraged to marinate in their feelings without being taught critical thinking skills while their sons are told to ignore their feelings. Boys and girls and men and women need both critical thinking skills and emotional awareness to function as healthy adults.
Men come into this world in touch with their feelings. They are taught to ignore and mistrust their feelings as boys and often ridiculed or shut down for expressing their feelings as men.
But it’s not just parents who teach boys to ignore and bury their feelings. We’ve made many of the very natural and healthy male emotions, impulses and behaviors bad, wrong, scary or pathological.
Coaches tell J.V. football players to ignore their pain and get back on the field. Men are supposed to be able to “take a punch” and not flinch.
Rambunctiousness in boys is pathologized and medicated. Incompetent teachers who won’t or don’t know how to handle rambunctious boys insist they be screened for ADHD and parents medicate their boys with mind altering drugs like Ritalin and Adderal.
Colleges and universities are poised to do away with due process for male students in rape allegation cases. Male anger is viewed as scary and bad, while female anger is viewed as empowerment.
Men’s pain is either ignored, minimized or the object of scorn and ridicule.
Misandric female sitcom characters kick and punch men in the groin, slap them, hit them with objects and throw things at them — all to the sounds of a guffawing laugh track. This summer, the women on The Talk thought it was oh so funny when Catherine Kieu Becker cut off her husband’s penis because he wanted out of what I can only imagine was a nightmare of a marriage.
We’ve all heard, “Women are so much stronger than men; men can’t handle pain.”
Again, this is nonsense. I see so many men who swallow their pain in silence while their female partners and exes rage, throw temper tantrums when confronted with their bad behaviors and, in extreme cases, call 911 because they can’t manage to place an order for a Whopper at Burger King without keeping their emotions in check.
Having out-of-control, non-stop emotions and pitching fits like a 2-year old with a behavioral disorder doesn’t mean you’re better at expressing your emotions. It just means you’re prone to emotional diarrhea.
Boys who are taught to ignore or mistrust their feelings often enter into relationships as adults in which they have to disavow and bury their feelings. Their partners complain, endlessly, that their man “won’t share his feelings” or “can’t express emotions” or “doesn’t have feelings” or — gasp — the most grievous of sins, “doesn’t care about her feelings.”
In some cases, this very well may be true. However, the reality is that some women simply don’t give a rat’s ass about their husbands’ or boyfriends’ feelings — especially the ones who complain about it or berate their partners for “not having feelings.”
Oftentimes, when these women complain, “My husband doesn’t have feelings” or “He isn’t good at communicating and expressing his emotions,” it really means, “I want my husband to feel the same emotions as me and he isn’t” or “My husband isn’t telling me what I want to hear, so I shut him down and then complain that he’s not a good communicator.”
We’ve told men that that they need to be “sensitive men;” men who aren’t afraid to cry in front of women. Maybe there are some women out there who really mean this, but most of the women who buy into this bit of feminist tripe, feel revulsion and contempt when they’re up close and personal to male tears, pain and suffering.
Maybe a man get away with crying in front of a woman if, for instance, their child dies, other than that, forget it.
The mixed signals we give men are so staggering, it’s no wonder the easiest emotion for some men to get in touch with is anger. It’s been my experience that the kind of woman who places a great deal of importance on their feelings, don’t know what to do when faced with someone else’s feelings — especially a man’s feelings. So she tells him his feelings are wrong because they’re not a mirror image of her own feelings.
What these women should be asking is, “Why doesn’t he feel comfortable sharing his feelings with me?” And before this type of woman starts pinning it on his childhood, which may also be partly true, or that he doesn’t really love her or that he’s hiding something, she should be asking herself, “What am I doing that is causing him to feel unsafe or unable to share his feelings with me?”
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I’ve read, some management books (and, come to think of it, those were written long ago, before “political correctness” etc. etc.) about managers (a proxy for “men” at the time) to have emotions under control…but…not to deny them or discount them. One indicator of full maturity was the ability to put one’s emotions completely on hold (not discounted or suppressed), then later confront them at a convenient time/place (e.g. if informed at the office one’s child just died, have the presence of mind to realize there’s nothing to do for some time & maintain composure & not ‘dump’ on others…drive home…then when safe have a good cry. Really, men could cry!). People who have survived very trying circumstances, especially in the wilderness, consistently appear to have this kind of emotional maturity/capability. If I recall that book I’ll pass it along.
A LOT of closed male-only clubs (e.g. Skull & Bones, etc.) have such support arrangements for their members. The US Marines (USMC) is surprisingly attuned to emotional health issues, e.g.: http://www.usmc-mccs.org/leadersguide/Emotional/GriefLoss/index.htm
Just recently I read somewhere (Washington Post??) about a program the USMC has just recently (this year) initiated to help the soldiers get in touch with certain feelings & emotions associated with deployment stress. Couldn’t find it at the above website, and it has a ‘catchy’ (?) name. Apparently its a bit ‘touchy-feely’ for that audience, but word-of-mouth due to its effectiveness has it spreading. If anybody knows what that is I’d sure like to read about it more.
What is clear is that many high-level managers, and the US Marines, have long figured out that the more emotional baggage a person can resolve the greater their ability to handle stress and perform.
Speaking of the USMC, since this is Veterans Day, please allow me to thank all our veterans and active duty military for their service.
Agree 110% about the issue of good managers exhibiting emotional control. So do good clinicians.
Unlike many women, I have little trouble with the idea of closed male only clubs…yeah, I might sometimes feel a bit like there are risks if there is a particularly charismatic leader in the group, that the organization can become toxic, but mixed gender stuff ain’t going to protect from that.
I am not surprised to read about what you say about the US Marines. I was so thrilled to hear my Dad had joined the “Men’s shed” organization this year, because I was so worried about his isolation with his CB. It does appear to be doing him some good, and she ain’t figured out it is a support group!
+1 re the veteran’s day/remembrance day reminder here. I will be playing in the service on Sunday at the church and at the memorial in a small rural town in England. It is a small part I can pay to acknowledge the sacrifices made for me and others to be free.
Thank you for this, Dr. T. I was under the impression that self-restraint and the ability to maintain one’s composure were good things, and signs of emotional maturity, not something to be ashamed of. I have to wonder if the canards that “men don’t have feelings” or “men aren’t good at expressing their emotions” are just a way to shame men into accepting the “emotional diarrhea” you refer to as normal and healthy, rather than calling it out as the unacceptable and immature behavior that it is and refusing to put up with it.
I was under the impression that self-restraint and the ability to maintain one’s composure were good things, and signs of emotional maturity, not something to be ashamed of.
Self control does not mean not having feelings and expressing them in a manner appropriate to the situation. I would love to be able to say to my STBXW “what you just said / did hurt me and has made made me very angry” instead of bottling it all up. Unfortunately it’s not possible. To do so would result in an hours long tirade of recounting every time iv have transgressed – real or imagined. It is not possible to have a calm rational discussion with her. I did catch her out last night though. She asked if I was going to toss her ass out in the cold. I said stop trying to make me feel guilty. Her reply was “I’m not trying to make you feel guilty it was just a question.” A bit later she says “so you would turn me out and not feel guilty” I said “I thought you weren’t trying to make me feel guilty”. Red faced embarrassment was her response and no response. Busted big time being manipulative?
I agree, and I didn’t mean to imply anything different. I was trying to make a point about the contrast in behavior and the responses to it, although perhaps my point wasn’t made as clearly as I would have liked.
Iron John says
“Male anger is viewed as scary and bad…”
It sure is, at least by the modern western woman. I think it is for two reasons:
1. In my experience, many women associate the idea of the male anger with violence. A lot of them seem to act as if a man gets angry then violence is sure to follow. It is as if the two conditions are inseparable from one another in their minds. I would imagine that men being portrayed as rage filled beasts in pop culture along with the constant drum beat of DV nonsense young women are deliberately exposed to has something to do with it.
2. Loss of control. Women expect men to behave without emotion under all social
circumstances. As long as he does, then they are considered cooperative, even docile. However, when a man gets truly angry the woman temporarily loses all sway over him. Once a man reaches the point of actually boiling over, his internal emotional state has reached the point where he can no longer contain it. Once this happens the woman is completely powerless over him. Furthermore, since men are discouraged and shamed from expressing anger in this culture, when volcano finally erupts, it is all the more horrifying to those who have been sheltered from ever seeing it before. The result? Complete paralysis.
My son HATED kindergarten and 1st grade because his teachers decided he was ADHD – I knew he wasn’t and refused to medicate my child. They were so cruel to him. I went to a teacher conference when he was in the 1st grade and left in tears. That BITCH teacher didn’t have 1, NOT 1, positive thing to say about a 7-year old CHILD. I left in tears because she told me that on top of being a behavioral problem, my son “played with himself through his pants”. I started crying and couldn’t stop but I guess God had mercy on my son that day because I had raised enough hell prior to that meeting that the school district had an older, much more experienced (female) teacher sit in on the conference. She immediately took over the meeting by saying “ENOUGH”. She informed his 1st grade teacher and myself that all children masturbate (which I already knew) and it is the adults responsibility to gently inform the child that it is ok but people do it privately. She told his 1st grade teacher that she has been teaching longer than she’s been alive and has gently communicated this with many students and never felt it was necessary to make a big deal out of it. I couldn’t go on with the meeting because I felt like his teacher was calling my innocent 7-year old son a pervert, and I really believe the older, more experienced teacher felt the same way based on her spirited reaction. The good news is that it all ended well. His 2nd grade teacher (female) decided my son was a “good” kid and simply would not let him fail. She kept in CONSTANT contact with me and we finally discovered that my son had a severe vision problem, which made it very difficult for him to focus for obvious reasons. Once his vision was corrected with very strong prescription glasses he was able to focus and sit still. She then worked with my son to make sure he caught up to his grade level. She was truly an ANGEL. My 7-year old son was not ADHD or a pervert – he was vision impaired. He is now in the 3rd grade, on level, and his teacher says he is doing just fine. Maybe my rant is off subject but the comment “Rambunctiousness in boys is pathologized and medicated. Incompetent teachers who won’t or don’t know how to handle rambunctious boys insist they be screened for ADHD and parents medicate their boys with mind altering drugs like Ritalin and Adderal”, really struck a personal cord with me. By the way, I did speak with my pediatrician about ADHD medication. He told me that he does believe “some” children have ADHD but he also believes that medication is not the answer to lazy adults in a child’s life. He told me that he will not hand the medication out like candy just because a parent “thinks” a child might have ADHD because it should only be used as a LAST resort. He went on to explain the possible long-term side effects (stunted growth, addiction, etc.) and I decided that if my child was truly ADHD then he would receive the proper medication but I was going to make damn sure that was the problem before I put him on mind altering medication. I am not a lazy parent and his 2nd and 3rd grade teachers are not lazy either. Little boys don’t need drugs…
<<<>>>*** (that is a big hug for you followed by some masculine slaps on the back – it is a wee joke I have with myself about the appropriateness of sharing hugs on what is a men’s site)
I am so glad you had people who supported you on those issues with your son…so many times the fear of what a teacher says sticks and then the child is labelled and “bingo” you have problems and years of grief.
Like you, I believe some kids have ADHD – and this is because two men who are important in my life have both finally got their ADHD diagnosed in their mid-40s, and now treated. It is a different game when an adult is treated, they can tell you if it is working and what the side effects are.
Recently in the brass band I play in, one of the young lads has started to sit next to me. I was aware from the beginning this kid needed very focused and clear information, and I would always turn to him and make sure he was paying attention before I spoke to him. He now will turn to me if he misses the conductor’s requests and I will clarify what he has heard. Several people recently have been commenting on how much better behaved he has been since sitting up next to me…and one of the older women who knows his family finally came and said to me on the quiet “Have you got experience with children with ADHD, because that is his diagnosis and I have never seen him respond to an adult and be so well behaved before.” No one in that band is a lazy person, but very few people “get” that there are simple things one can do if a neurodiverse person in your life is struggling to help them, and then they can learn to help themselves.
@: “Men aren’t good at expressing emotions. Men don’t have feelings.”
This is utter nonsense. Nonsense.
Absolutely, it is nonsense. Unfortunately, most women either don’t grasp that, or refuse to grasp it to justify themselves.
I think I can explain part of the reason women think men are “numb.” Most women understand that there is something unfair about sexuality. Men can flaunt a variety of sexcapades, whereas a woman doing the same is often dismissed as a slut.
Well, the reverse is how it works with emotions. Women can flaunt their feelings quite freely, whereas a man doing the same is often dismissed as a pussy.
In other words, women hide their sexuality to avoid being called a slut, whereas men hide their feelings to avoid being called a pussy.
Very poignant observation: “women hide their sexuality to avoid being called a slut, whereas men hide their feelings to avoid being called a pussy.”
My exgf told me I had a quick temper. She said, “You get mad pretty easily but you never stay mad. You vent and 5 minutes later it’s totally gone.” She would let things fester and erupt, like a geyser. They were never violent or viscious, just intense. She said she like my way better. I told her that she’d never seen me really angry. She came back with, “I’ve never seen you as angry as I think you could be.”
Oh my lord, all I can say is AMEN !!!
This article hit dead center for me to one of the main themes my Ex practiced while we were married and still tries to practice now that we are divorced.
In her words I have no empathy for others, I never show emotion, and I have a violent dangerous temper that she fears. None the funny thing is to everyone else in the REAL world I am nowhere near that description.
Of course she based all of these claims on one event that occurred way back when we were first dating where I was physically injured and when I tried to leave in my car to get medical attention I found someone had double parked me in and I became the tiniest bit angry and showed it for a moment by slapping my hand on the hood of the car that had me blocked from leaving.
She carried this one instance, this one moment of anger for the next two decades and was now basing her entire description of me on the fact that I showed anger this one time and that in her memory I hardly if ever showed any other emotions to her.
Never mind the times over our marriage where I was happy at the end of my day, but because she was sad or mad I had to suppress my happiness because she was the one who dictated how everyone in the house was supposed to feel.
She even went so far as to put up a little plaque/sign in the kitchen area that read something like “A happy wife means a happy life” or some such drivel. I guess it was supposed to give me a clue that it was my job to make her happy always or else my life was going to be a living hell. Well since it was a living hell I guess I failed at that one. Of course I know that you can’t make someone else happy since that is up to them.
Of course our kids had exactly the experience described above from their mother. If my son couldn’t sit still and a teacher complained that he talked too much in class it meant that there must be something wrong with him. She even tried to start him on the drugs, but I put my foot down and stopped it. Of course she will never admit that the drug idea was a mistake and that he was normal all along because it seems that neither her nor the other women at the school have any idea that eliminating recess and social time for the kids and locking them in chairs to listen to an adult drone on an on could in anyway be the real source of the problem.
Without getting to descriptive, it is amusing that the kids now gravitate toward me instead of their “emotional” mother apparently because of my even and steady demeanor. Her constant thrashing about raging from one emotion to the next and her obvious demands that people around her feel the same way lead to immense stress and turmoil for the kids. She fails to have any empathy for how others feel and cannot tolerate others feeling different from herself. Many times this manifests in an expression, action, or tirade that in many ways would be similar to that of a small child.
All that being said, this article is another keeper in my list and another dead-on from Dr. T !!
Thank God you put your foot down about medicating your child. For your EX wife to reflexively believe something negative about her child just seems like a complete lack of maternal instinct. No child is perfect but parents usually have to wrap their minds around something that is imperfect with their child. Reflexively believing negative things about your child is disturbing.
It started when the school he was attending, the teacher complained, that our kid would not sit still and be quiet when he was supposed to sit still and be quiet. She had taken him to the Public School evaluation where the idiot counselors there practically labeled every frickin’ boy as having ADHD. It blew my mind to see how many kids, mostly boys, were automatically labeled without any real evaluation, just a cursory look at the kid and if he was too active then he must have it.
When I heard about it all I blew my stack. Kids being kids is not ADHD. Just because a little girl can sit still and play in one place quietly while a boy nearby is up running around and making noise does NOT mean there is anything wrong with either one. It seems like these days you could find a school where they might label the girl autistic because she is too quiet and the boy as having ADHD because he is too active. In reality there is nothing wrong with either one.
It has really become a sick place out there where uniformity is demanded by school. What I find most amusing is that many of the people demanding this uniformity come from a generation (the 60s) where uniformity was supposedly shuned. I just love “professional teachers” who know very little about their subject nothing about child psychology or mental health and almost nothing about teaching, but then try to act like experts in all of it. Sorry if I offend any teachers out there, this is just a sore spot with me.
It seems like my son’s school also tries to label an unusually high number of boys as ADHD. What amazes me is the number of parents who are willing to medicate their children with mind-altering drugs and not take the time to really look into what is going on with child. Like you said, many times it is kids being kids. In my child’s case it was a vision problem. You seem like a reasonable human being and if your child REALLY did have ADHD, I am sure you would have made sure he received the proper medication, but like me, you had to make DAMN sure. My pediatrician convinced me that ADHD medication is a last resort AFTER the adults have researched all possible reasons OTHER THAN ADHD. A nurturing, grounded parent KNOWS their child and has a responsibly to be that child’s biggest fan and advocate. After the birth of my first son, my Mother told me this – “Every child needs to feel like there is one person in this world who ABSOLUTELY ADORES and BELIEVES in them. Make sure you are that person for your child.” I try very hard to be “that person” for both my children and I can see that you are “that person” for your child because you saw in your child what others were missing and you fought for your child. Your Ex wife probably attacks your parenting but you should know its nothing more than projection. You are a good parent and you did the right thing for your child.
Thanks Marie, I like to think I am “that person”.
Having been away from my Ex for a time I did come to realize that many of the “problems” with our kids were not the kids as much as my Ex projecting her problems onto them. If she obsessed over something she read she would suddenly see it in one of the kids when in reality it only existed in her own mind. It is projecttion as you said, just a different form of it from what she did and still tries to do to me in projecting her own bad deeds onto me.
Thanks again for the kind words. I love what your Mom told you. It really puts in concise words how every parent should view their child.
Oh my God. She actually put up a sign that says “Happy wife, happy life”? I thought that phrase was coined by men to show how much they care about their wives. For the wife to use it herself is just so self-serving and wrong.
Even when used by men, that phrase just serves to promote the myth that it is a husband’s job to keep his wife happy. I’d like to see a wife put up a plaque in the kitchen that says “My husband has a right to his emotions too.”
Oh and her other favorite that she also had a sign for was; “Home Sweet Home, get over it” with a picture of a dirty home and a grimicing women. In other words don’t complain about the mess because it is the way I want it. And I was not allowed to move anything or clean up anything lest I “lose” something she needed. It was some much fun living in that….
Life is so very much better now that she is my EX…
All this time I was laboring under the illusion that “a happy *couple* is a happy life.” Silly me. And it doesn’t rhyme.
“happy wife, happy life” what a crock! Also the phrase, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!” My ex set the tone for every day. If she was happy, a sense of relief washed over me and the world looked good. If not, well, my day was edgey. That’s my fault tho. I let it happen….a willing participant in my own misery.
“Never mind the times over our marriage where I was happy at the end of my day, but because she was sad or mad I had to suppress my happiness because she was the one who dictated how everyone in the house was supposed to feel.”
this describes my wife to a tee.. If she is sad/mad/whatever it is, I can’t be happy. IF she has a good day, where she is happy about something in her life, I can’t share a happy moment or good news from my day, lest I steal her sunshine.. And god forbid if I mention something bad about my day or job on a day when she is bitching about hers… that is totally not acceptable.
it is truly amazing how much I have learned on this website since finding it a few weeks ago…
I had been so emotionally numb until I opened up to a friend about my situation several months ago. I have cried more in the past 6 months than in the past 30 years… it actually feels good to know I am still have feelings… Just waiting until I can find some of the happy ones..
thanks to all for sharing your stories and experiences…
During my divorce, I met regularly with a very good (female) therapist. She would ask me the the requisite, “How does that make you feel?” And most of the time I would answer, “Angry.” She told me that I felt emotions like a man, and that I needed to realize that anger is a secondary emotion. And then she gave me a piece of paper with primary emotions on them and had me choose from one of those. Most of the time the actual emotion was “Hurt.”
I think that men (and some women) are not allowed to admit to hurting, and eventually convince themselves that they don’t hurt. Hurt is weak. Anger is strong. I believe that this displacement of emotion manifests in relationships, as the man feeling strong when a woman angers him. Feeling the actual emotion (hurt), should have served as the catalyst a person would need to make a change. But when the emotion is masked, so is the warning.
Dr. T (and most others),
I’ve been following for almost two years now, and have chimed in many times. You’ve posted so many great thoughts, facts, ideas and threads. This particular post has gotten to me because of its truth. I’ve been saying for many years a different version of this post. This is not an attempt to bash women, but please allow me my side as i see it.
I grew up with a dad that was abusive in literally every sense of the word. He went from Catholic school (not bashing Catholics here), to the military and then to the police force. So i was raised in an extremely manly-man household. I never have, and never will, understand the manly-man attitude. But since i was a sensitive boy, i caught Hell in every aspect. I told my older brother once (who adopted my father’s style of what defines a man for a lot of years until he decided it was bullshit), dad may have practiced on you, but he perfected on me (meaning the abuse). I was told, and it was beaten into me, that any type of feeling contrary to what he thought (what was “manly”) was wrong. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and – yes – sexually abused by this man. If any of that makes a man, then i don’t want to be THAT man. I used his example of what i did NOT want to be, and i never became that man. My father died when i was 38. For 38 years he tried, in some form or fashion, to get me to be like him. I’m 45 now… and i still refuse to be that man. THAT is NOT what a man should be. I was a meth addict for 10 years (ten years clean) and almost died, twice. Trust me, I’ve been thru Hell and back… and i’m still standing, still smiling, still trying my best to be a better man, live a better life.
You’ve known me, and others have known me thru ASFM, to know of my struggles and triumphs…
I am a good man. I am a sensitive man. I have not carried the things that I was taught into any relationship. My man card is firmly intact. I love hockey, MMA, boxing, horror movies, the Military Channel, heavy metal music, and those things that are “typical male”. I also love the theater. I volunteer at an animal shelter. I give flowers to my fiance’ for no reason other than to say “I love you”. I write poetry and short stories. I’m very much a gentleman. People who know me say i’m all heart. That is not to say i’m a push-over. I have pretty good limits, and overall i’m a healthy, happy, and high functioning individual – – especially given all that I’ve been thru.
Which brings me to how my story coincides with your post.
I am also an honest man. I am emotionally honest to the best of my ability. In many ways – i will not break my arm patting myself on the back – i am the guy that women say they want. I am a man that is strong, yet vulnerable, confident yet humble. I am a man who can tell you he is upset, tell you why, and takes responsibility for his emotions. I am personally honest, period. But i have found that in every single relationship with a woman, the sensitive man that women say they desire just isn’t true. Women seem to want a man that is sensitive to HER NEEDS, but not really in touch with his own. i Am that guy that will talk about his wants, desires, fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, and all that stuff that women say they want. But when – as a man – you do all of the things we’re told women want, the strangest things happen: we’re now labeled as wimps, not strong, not MEN.
But another underlying thing happens as well… we become equals. I am an equal in this relationship. My emotions are equal to hers. My hopes, dreams, thoughts, desires, fears, insecurities, etc become equal. Women don’t seem to want this type of equality. I have had to have this talk with every single woman that i’ve ever dated seriously, because they seem to think they are entitled to any emotion they want (no matter how bizarre and unfounded) and we’re entitled to only those emotions they want us to have at a given moment. UI have had this conversation that goes,”look, as a woman i don’t know if you can ever fully understand what i’ve been thru. I had a father that beat into me everything that i did that wasn’t masculine was wrong. He was abusive, cheated on my mother any chance he got, and he abused me like nothing you could ever comprehend. Anything that wasn’t deemed as “manly” that i did i was called (please excuse the graphic content) “a faggot”, or that i would “suck dick and take it up the ass for the rest of my life” or that i was a rotten excuse for a man and would never amount to anything. Its taken most of my life and everything that i am as a man to define FOR MYSELF what a man should be. I am a good man. But its also taken most of my life and everything that i am to be someone i like, that i love, that i am proud of, and that is worth having. You are never responsible for anything that ever happened to me before we got together. But you asked me to confide in you, to be honest and tell you my secrets, and i have. And God damn you for using that as a weapon”. And many of them have used this info as a weapon to hurt and/or get their way. Now please understand that i’ve used many much more light-hearted ways of getting this point across, but to no avail. Too often, it seems, women want to short/sweet version, so that they can get back to having their needs met. But what i ask for in any relationship is honesty, integrity and equality. I have needs and wants too. My needs and wants are just as important as hers. Mine are NOT greater, but they are not less as well. I don’t understand the need/desire to emasculate any man for wanting their needs to be equal. I WILL be an equal in any relationship, or the relationship will not continue. I’ve been told many times that i keep score. My answer is “yes, i DO keep score. i do it because you DON’T keep score. and if i don’t keep score you’ll just keep taking and draining me. i keep score because i have limits on what i can and should give until i receive. there’s nothing wrong with asking for reciprocity. and do not demand what you can not or will not give in return. love is a two-way street and i AM an equal in this relationship”. But instead i get told i am needy (when i am actually one of the most independent people i know). I get told that i am hyper-sensitive (when i put my foot down on shit like “you’re not man enough to be in this relationship” when she’s flying off the handle and acting like an idiot). Usually the one who complains about score-keeping is the one who doesn’t want to be called out because the score is in their favor. I give because that is who i am. Nearly every single woman I’ve ever been with gushes on how well i treat them. I treat them like they’re important to me, because they are. But when you ask for something simple in return, they’ll act like you’re a burden. As i told women before during or after a fight “you can have the buffet, but i do want a sandwich from time to time”. And there’s nothing wrong in asking for that…
When we finally pop, we’re evil, rotten men. Go figure… Rather than saying to themselves “hey, maybe – just maybe – i finally pushed him too far”, they’ll jump on the you’re too sensitive/needy/unmanly bandwagon and try to run over us… full speed ahead. And when we fight back, we’re unfeeling, selfish rotten bastards who only care about themselves. Go figure…
We’re all different but me and many men I know DO NOT WANT TO EXPRESS OUR EMOTIONS!!! It is who we are and not something that society or a messed up childhood did; we just don’t “feel” tears coming out or jabbing over and over about something. In my case, I DO — for example in my divorce I went ape-sh!t in the gym, re-entering competitive bodybuilding in my mid-40s and doing surprisingly well. That was how I got out my “emotions” not by crying, not by gushing, not by “feeling” in the sense I see so many counselors tell me I should grief. YUK! YUK! YUK! It just doesn’t feel congruent. So please, readers, and I read a lot of men on this blog who DO seem to emote through “hugs” or “tears” or “verbally dumping”, not all of us do that and it’s just the way we are.
@RecoveredAlpha – I have mixed thoughts on this. On one hand, I think men have an instinctive warrior or protective mentality that says don’t show weakness (emotions). Also – does being expressive (not stoic) mean we’re ’emotional’? I’m an expressive guy and have a lot of emotion and passion on many things, but I’m not a weepy-teary type.
On the other hand, I think society shames men into hiding their emotions and stuffing them inside. This is very unhealthy, and damaging to men. These stuffed feelings come out one way or another, via aggression, frustration, anger, depression, suicide etc. Men are humans and all humans have emotions. Its something we have to accept and deal with. We end up shaming each other based on fear, and, incredibly enough, feminism, that teaches men to shame & battle each other to win the affections of the Golden Uterus.
I’m going to put a question to you guys. I have a friend who is living with his ex “for the sake of the children”. He wanted a “normal” family life, which she agreed to, but has been back for around 18 months and no sex. Periodically he breaks contact with me because of “personal pressure”. How can I get him to open up? I don’t pressure him. When he says he needs to break for a while, I just agree and let it happen. Then when he’s ready he rings up and we start chatting again, but he never explains what happened. I have told him that I would like to share the good and the bad, but he seems to prefer to not do so. I am wondering what it is that I am doing which is causing him to feel unsafe or unable to share his feelings with me. Then I wonder if it’s not really me at all, but rather his way of dealing with his emotions. One thing he has said to me is he does not “do” anger. I think this may have some relation to the fact that his parents used to be physically and verbally abusive to one another and as a kid he never knew which one he could turn to in order to feel safe. Just wondering. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, the ex is supposed to be timid and shy. But they have 2 kids, so she obviously wasn’t that reticent at one point. He also may have made a mistake by telling her that she could have anything if she just returned with the children. He won’t bad mouth her in any way, but I know he is not happy, even though he claims to be. Honestly, “personal pressure” and “happiness” do not equate when there is no intimacy, or maybe I’m the one who’s crazy….