Fear and shame result from messages that men are not doing the job – in the work place, or at home. And the job is increasingly difficult to accomplish today, because the man as sole bread-winner is unrealistic in this economy. In a sense, life was much easier for men in the past, when they were simply hunters and warriors. A complicating factor is the male tendency to fear any “feminine” aspect of their personality, behavior or feelings. Men, who are raised predominately by women, are afraid that certain emotions, and their need for nurturance, means they are not masculine. If they are emotionally vulnerable, sensitive, or dependent on others, they feel ashamed and out of control. A man who is shamed by childhood abuse or enmeshment with an overprotective mother may become emotionally hypersensitive and subject to narcissistic injury (any perceived insult, complaints, criticism, or unmet entitlement needs lead to excessively hurt, angry feelings). There are many challenges for boys learning to be men today, particularly in families where effective male role models are not fully available. In too many families, distressed parents are angry, rejecting, or even abusive. The male brain often adapts to these circumstances, and can result in defensive role rigidity, anger and rage. Boys learn during childhood to suppress emotion – for boys becoming men, feelings and their expression can be considered shameful. To complicate this situation, boys are not generally socialized or taught to connect, bond, or develop meaningful, emotionally supportive relationships – especially with other boys and men. Boys are physiologically and neurologically oriented toward action, tasks, and playing with objects – not toward relating interpersonally. Raised primarily by women, boys get most or all of their emotional needs met by women without any required reciprocity on their part. This results in emotional, narcissistic injuries as adults when their needs and expectations are not met. Anger develops as a coping mechanism. William Pollack (1995) says that anger is their “way of weeping” – the way they express their emotional pain. From article by Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, PA http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-men.html
Children have never been very good
at listening to their elders,
but they have never
failed to imitate them.