I get it, sometimes your man seems like he’s an emotionless robot. Your child falls and he stands there. You have a problem and he launches into fix-it mode. But, this article will tell you the truth that he’s not quite allowed to say and hopefully, help you understand his side of things. Your man needs some patience.
You see, in our society, men are living in a persistent state of repression. Through the constant need to “look like a man, act like a man, and feel like a man”, society prohibits them from showing many feelings, at all. Often, tied to emotions that are anything but MANLY, is intense shame. One tear and your guy might feel like this strong man he’s crafted has broken into tons of pieces. Talking, crying, and just, you know, being a human, can be strictly frowned upon for men. But, there is no shame to emotions, all are healthy and necessary. Women know that for most emotions but anger, but guys may not know that for any emotion but anger. Odd, I know. Here are some different ways your guy might be expressing deep emotions that society doesn’t want him to show. Really, he does care.
CONVERTING ONE EMOTION TO ANOTHER
Our society loves stereotypes and genders. Everything is a feminine or masculine thing. Pink is feminine. Blue is masculine. Cooking is feminine. Grilling is masculine. It’s unclear why cooking indoors is feminine and cooking outdoors is masculine, but, I guess fresh air has something to do with it. But, how would that work if we put the stove outside?
Anyway, feelings are also put into gender baskets, and most people adhere to them. Sadness and vulnerability is feminine, while anger and pride is masculine. Men may avoid more “feminine” emotions and convert them into more stereotypically acceptable emotions like anger or pride. This may be why men seem so angry. They are converting emotions that aren’t socially acceptable to other emotions that are. Often, when they are able to express their true emotions, a lot of this anger dissipates as they cry, talk, and be vulnerable. So, if your man seems mad all the time, it is, most likely a more “feminine” emotion that he is experiencing.
CHOOSING A NEW ARENA
Often, you will see men express open emotions in different scenarios, like at sports. Here, you will see men smiling, laughing, and just being vulnerable. This is a safe place that allows them to express their true emotions. They’re allowed to cry when their team loses, become extremely exuberant when their team wins. In sports, you may see the losing players break down and cry because they worked so hard, wanted it so bad, and they’re devastated. Especially when the score is close. In addition, you will see, in these few situations, that men are allowed to express affection toward each other. Football and hockey players, the extremely “macho” men, slap each other on the butt, and no one thinks twice about it. Why? Because, there’s nothing to think about. Here, in this space, men are allowed to show how much they mean to each other. They can hug and high-five. This is important because touch is needed to cement and strengthen bonds. In nearly all other contexts, men are expected to be buttoned-up, stoic, and uncomfortable.
Men may often experience physical ailments that are actually related to their emotions. They may have headaches and backaches. Men may have headaches during weekends or backaches during vacation. For most men, this happens because they have nowhere to direct their emotions. Work allows them to avoid all of these feelings and keep everyone somewhat distant. When unstructured time comes, like the weekends and vacations, all of these feelings and unexpressed needs surface. Because men don’t know how to process them or express them, due to lack of practice, they may show up as physical pains.
THEIR EMOTIONS ARE REJECTED
Many men feel like they are in a double bind in regards to their emotions. You love him and may encourage him to express his emotions, but due to society, men may feel scared when you do. Why? Because they’re afraid you’ll reject them. You may not be aware of how deep, strong, and repressed the emotions are.
Studies have shown women are often taken aback, and sometimes frightened, by how powerful men’s true emotions are and don’t know how to handle them. As you aren’t used to seeing men’s vulnerability just like men are not used to showing it, this may lead you to want to see certain emotions and in specific doses. Again, this is related to the repression that is put on men in society. For you, his emotions may feel like a volcano erupting because you’ve never seen them and he is trying so hard to hide them. This is the first bind. The second bind is society, as a whole. If a man does choose to express his emotions, i.e. go against traditional notions of masculinity, he is deemed “less of a man” or other, more emotionally damaging words. This undermines him and his poor treatment encourages other men to hide their feelings. When men show how they really feel, they are judged harshly and considered to be poorly adjusted.
In truth, the repression of men’s feelings is evidence of a society that is poorly adjusted to its men.
In conclusion, it’s very important for men to express their emotions openly in order to eliminate the repression. The more they express their emotions without repercussion the more they will be able to enjoy their lives, have less physical pain, and cultivate better relationships.