Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
Among men, sex sometimes
results in intimacy;
among women, intimacy
sometimes results in sex.
While men make up about 10 percent of patients with anorexia and bulimia, both sexes struggle almost equally with binge eating. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of the estimated 10 million Americans who binge eat are men. Binge eating is defined as consuming large amounts of food within a two-hour period at least twice per week, combined with loss of control. Those struggling with this disorder often consume thousands of calories in one sitting, followed by an overwhelming sense of shame and self-loathing, which leads to further binging. The causes and underlying mechanisms of binge eating are similar to other eating disorders. Binge eaters may suffer from low self-esteem, past trauma or weight-related bullying, or use food to numb emotions and cope with stress. One factor that differentiates binge eating in men and women is that it is more likely to go unnoticed in men. Even if they are overweight or obese, as an estimated 70 percent of people with binge disorder are, eating more and carrying more weight are more socially acceptable for men than women. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other weight-related health conditions are common, as are mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating, like other eating disorders, can impact a man’s career, relationships and every area of his life. Compounding the problem is the reality that many men do not seek treatment for fear of appearing weak, strange or like less of a man. Although men may not reach out for help as often, treatment is equally effective for men as it is for women. There are also support groups and eating disorder treatment programs, some of which have specialized tracks for men. From an article by Carolyn C. Ross, M.D., M.P.H http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201210/binge-eating-in-men-0
We have it in our head
that if we fill our stomachs,
we’ll fill our hearts.
Men often convey feelings via actions, not words. Divorce often represents the loss of the one person a man feels comfortable verbalizing his emotions to. This may contribute to the fact that during a divorce men are less likely to seek emotional support from family members or a mental health professional, and are more likely than women to act on their feelings about divorce instead of verbalizing them. For example, loneliness may be expressed by increased social activity and avoiding an empty apartment at the end of the day. Other common external expressions of grief include working too much, having casual sexual relationships and even developing physical ailments. In the United States, societal expectations that men will quietly “tough it out” might also contribute to the tendency for men to express emotions non-verbally. Men, if you find your self developing strange physical symptoms or acting in a way that is unusual for you, stop and ask yourself, “is it possible that this is how I’m grieving?” Get professional help if you start expressing your grief through drug use or drinking. Having a delayed, less-direct means of expressing emotion does not equate to a lack of mourning. Though men seem to convey their feelings differently than women, they still need to process painful emotions in order to heal, grow, and move on after a divorce. While it may feel like going-against-the-cultural-grain for a man, seeking professional help can ease the grieving process and provide a confidential setting. From “For Men: Mourning the Divorce?” by Dr. Tom Rogat http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/effects/emotional/for-men-mourning-the-divorce.aspx?artid=394
The only thing more unthinkable
than leaving was staying;
he only thing more impossible
than staying was leaving.
Recognizing depression and the feelings associated with it is culturally more difficult for men than women. Marianne Legato MD, expert in gender-specific medicine, notes “I have long been convinced that depression is under-reported, under-diagnosed, and under-treated in men, largely because of the way they’re socialized.” Men are taught directly and indirectly not to cry in sadness or pain. The message internalized by too many is not to talk about feelings – not to talk about depression. As one marine who had tragically covered his pain with alcohol described, “I was trying to be the tough marine I was trained to be — not to talk about problems, not to cry . . . I imprisoned myself in my own mind.”
- Rather than seek help, men have a tendency to self-medicate or avoid the anguish, sadness, guilt or self-doubt associated with depression. This can manifest itself in many ways, including sexual acting out, alcohol or substance abuse, risky behaviors (like reckless driving), escapist behaviors (like internet addiction to porn), or being overly involved in work or sports.
- The result is an escalation of emotional pain desperately driving more avoidance, risk, substances, suicidal thinking and a downward spiral of personal, family, and job functioning.
- Self-medication for depression puts men and those around them in harm’s way.
Unlike other illnesses there is a tendency to associate depression with weakness, vulnerability, laziness and withholding. There is a tendency to feel shame and self–blame even as one is suffering. Men often suffer alone. If they stop to consider that their physical symptoms and behaviors might hide depression – they may be able to step out of danger. If they reach for the help of a partner, a buddy, their primary physician, a mental health professional, or a spiritual caregiver – they will have taken the first step. By Suzanne Phillips, PsyD http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/men-and-hidden-danger-depression
Behind my smile, is a hurting heart.
Behind my laugh, I’m falling apart.
Behind my smile, is tears at night.
Given that women are twice as likely to suffer with depression as men, there is a tendency – even in clinical diagnosis – to associate depression with symptoms more likely reported by women. These include sadness, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, loss of interest in people and activities, and suicidal thoughts. According to the STAR-D study, there are physical differences in the overall pattern of depression symptoms between men and women which may go unnoticed: Whereas both men and women may report low mood as a symptom of depression, women are more likely to gain weight while men are more likely to lose weight; women report symptoms associated with anxiety while men report symptoms associated with obsessive –compulsive disorder; women feel less energetic and men typically feel agitated; and men are more likely to develop alcohol or substance abuse in conjunction with major depression. In his cross-cultural research on depression, Jules Angst, MD found that both men and women reported stress as a cause of their depression. Whereas women cited family as the primary source of stress, men were more likely to cite work and unemployment.
- Whereas women choose to share and disclose their stress as a way of seeking help, men are far less likely to disclose stress to others. More common in men than women, depression is often reflected in stress headaches, stomach problems and chronic pain – Something missed by men as well as the people around them.
- Also more common in men is the masking of feelings with anger, irritability or changes in behavior, such as becoming controlling and, in some cases, abusive or violent. It is unlikely that a partner will move closer to support someone whose pain is hidden by angry put-downs or abuse. By Suzanne Phillips, PsyD http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/men-and-hidden-danger-depression
about as close
as you get to
Why Do People Bottle Up Their Emotions?
* They are unable to fight back in an argument situation (eg the “opponent” is more dominant or it is someone of authority that it may impact their employment).
* They think that if they show their emotions it is a sign of weakness.
* They believe it is not normal to be feeling a certain way, so try to conceal their emotions from others.
* They are afraid of what other people might think.
* They feel that they have to deal with their emotions or problems on their own because “no one else will understand”.
* A situation may have occurred that has placed someone in shock and they just don’t know how to deal with it or they just block it out because don’t fully understand it makes them feel (or don’t feel) a certain way.
* They feel they have to be “the rock” for others.
* They don’t want to be hurt so they swallow their emotions back down.
What Happens When You Pent Up Your Emotions
* You can become crabby to be around & start snapping at other people for now reason.
* You get to a stage where you have bottled up your emotions to the point you “explode” – often the victims are loved ones, friends, co-workers.
* You turn to escapism (alcohol, drugs) for short-term solutions, to avoid confronting your emotions.
* You become depressed and numb and don’t know how to get out of the situation.
* Often the pent-up emotions will manifest themselves physically in the form of diseases…
* Some people commit suicide because they see no other way out. http://marcofratelli.hubpages.com/hub/Ways-To-Release-Your-Bottled-Up-Emotions
Man is not what he thinks he is,
he is what he hides.
We have all been there… found ourselves disoriented by some form of emotion. Sometimes it is a wave of sadness that crashes over us that seems to come from nowhere, yet sweeps us up nonetheless. Sometimes it is a rumbling storm of frustration and irritation that shakes and stirs us into an internal frenzy. Sometimes it is a longing so desperate that it haunts us. Sometimes it is our inner voice calling out for us to listen to what it has to say. Yes…we can all relate to these myriad emotions, and most unfortunately, we can also all relate to doing our very best to ignore and stuff them. Why not? Stuffing seems easier, right? The problem with stuffing and ignoring our feelings is that this prevents us from ever truly understanding and processing them. If we don’t know where the sadness comes from, how can we know that the wave won’t come in day after day…and how do we know we are not projecting our pain onto the wrong source? If we don’t address and name the disquiet in our spirit, how can we be freed from it? If we don’t embrace our fears and face them, won’t we by hiding forever? If we can imagine ourselves as having an emotional “inbox” it is likely that the damn thing would be stacked up to our eyeballs. Yet, if we can start processing the stuff that gets dropped in there daily by life and keep the inbox light, we will be able to handle the big assignments that come our way. It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to manage our own emotions… don’t let them cost you more than you can afford or are willing to pay. Erin Williams http://erinwilliamscoaching.typepad.com/erin_williams_coaching_bl/2012/03/process-your-emotions-instead-of-stuffing-them.html
The more you hide your feelings,
the more they show.
The more you deny your feelings,
the more they grow.