Growing up, I always heard about ‘what a man should be.’ My dad would talk about it, TV and movies would preach it, and other kids in school would talk about it. Generally, a man should be the strong, silent type who never complains and takes care of their own personal problems.
This was an ideal that was widespread throughout the 20th century. While the intentions of the men sharing it with younger generations were good, it was terrible advice in hindsight. In the past few years, a phrase has been coined to describe it, ‘toxic masculinity.’
When men are raised to believe that they need to take care of their own problems and not show weakness to anyone, as it can destroy them over time. I truly believe every human being on this planet NEEDS at least ONE person they can be completely transparent with. Someone who they can turn to and inform what is really going on inside of them.
Toxic masculinity tells men, younger and older, to hold their true emotions in and not let anyone know. Basically, put on a mask that looks like everything is okay and suck it up; go figure it out yourself.
But this is awful advice! Especially if you are in recovery!
As a result of this widespread relief, it can be hard to tell if a male you know is truly struggling or in need of help; here are some things to look for that may be a sign they are crying for help.
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Anger and Male Emotional Expression
Anger is a complex emotion; if somebody comes off as acting angry towards you, there is an excellent chance that they are not actually mad at you but at themselves or something traumatic from their past that is being triggered.
Anger also happens as a result of frustration; if an individual is trying to carry some significant weight on their shoulders while making it seem like everything is okay, there will come a time when it is too much to handle.
This is something men themselves need to take note of but also partners, siblings, parents, etc. If someone in your life has been having angry outbursts lately, it most likely has a much deeper meaning than whatever caused the anger at that moment.
Of course, even men who have been angry for decades are really crying for help.
Some potential core reasons the anger may be occurring include:
- Not getting what they want but are unable to communicate it in a healthy manner.
- Feeling unappreciated or unloved
- Mental exhaustion from relying on themselves to solve their problems
- Past trauma that has never been addressed
- Feeling misunderstood
- Feeling dismissed
Men, as they grow up, are told to hide their emotions, and take care of stuff on their own. While growing up, there is a broad spectrum of things that can significantly impact their lives, but most just sweep it under the rug and ignore it.
By the time many of these types of men reach adulthood, there inevitably have been life-altering things that they are still hung up on but never opened up to anybody about. If they only knew how therapeutic it would be to get completely honest with themselves and with another human being can be.
For many, the male ego refuses ever to let that happen.
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The Importance of Male Emotional Support in Overcoming Mental Health Stigmas
In my personal story of recovery, I remember a massive turning point when I finally decided to open up to someone about what was really on my heart and my deeper fears. It took such a weight off my shoulders.
Of course, it took life beating me down and breaking me for it to happen.
Before I ever did that, I would feel like there was this role I had to fulfill. I had to be a tough, strong individual who never showed weakness. It was total bullshit. The mental masturbation that would go on inside my head while playing that role (while my life was falling apart, mind you) was incredibly tiring and challenging.
In learning how to be honest with myself and others, I learned how to communicate with others about an issue I had with them, with someone else, or with myself.
Looking at all the potential core reasons for the anger I listed above, they all more or less have to do with poor communication skills.
Good communication means letting others in your life know what is going on in your life currently and being vulnerable. If you are angry, be able to self-reflect and calmly speak to a loved one about the issues you are having.
If you struggle with anger, if you struggle with opening up, remember you don’t need to share your inner thoughts with the entire world. You only need to open up to one single, solitary person. Whether it be a professional therapist or someone close to you who you trust and believes can give you good feedback and direction. There must be someone men can quit the act with and get real.
Once you give that a try, you will see the benefits instantly.
All men cry for help; unfortunately, most of the time, it is shown through the one emotion men are genuinely comfortable with — anger and rage. If you are a male and reading this, what are you hiding? Is there anyone in your life that truly knows what is going on? Do you need help?
The first step is simply asking for it.