A look at men and emotions 2

Young men need to learn that they don’t have to compartmentalize or contain their emotions — that it’s normal to feel and express feelings. 

“We need to be raising emotionally literate youth,” Ed stated. Ed said he sees a lot of men who have contained their emotions their entire lives and experienced trauma, then those emotions explode in destructive ways, like through addiction.

“Men have this deep-rooted fear that, if they access an emotion, it’s going to consume and destroy them, but it does anyway without them necessarily realizing that’s why,” he said. Men can confuse the surface-level conversations and relationships they’re taught to have with friends as true connections. 

“If the more people that I associate with in my life means that I’m safer, then to be safe, I need to stay on the surface,” Ed said. “To stay in that space of safety, I shouldn’t share vulnerability, worries, or fears.” 

Teaching Men to Express Emotions

So how do men have a healthy relationship with their emotions, retain their sense of masculinity, and still have intimate relationships?

Balancing these roles and expectations is a huge internal conflict for many men. It’s easier for men to numb themselves than to have kindness and compassion for themselves as they work through their feelings.

Men need to spend time with themselves to better understand their emotions and their relationship with their emotions, Ed said. He said that learning how to get in touch with emotions, build connections, and have the right people in their lives begins internally. 

“Am I giving myself enough time to feel something, or am I just hopping from one distraction to another?” is a critical question for men, Ed said. Men need to have a way to tap into their thoughts and emotions, Ed said. For him, that’s journaling and meditation

“I better understand an emotion by sitting with it and processing it and looking at it from a different angle,” he said. “I start to recognize that the worrisome emotions can come and go.

Once I’ve made peace with the fact that this is something that happens, and I’m sharing it with somebody in a way that makes sense, I’m not at their mercy. Their interpretation of my feelings doesn’t dictate my survival.”A Look at Men and Emotions

Another important point is to associate yourself with other men who are comfortable expressing all types of emotions — who have the courage to be authentic. Community fosters connection and healing. Many people think emotions are gender-dependent.

Women are supposed to be emotional, and men aren’t. This stereotypical view of gender roles related to emotion results in many men attempting to suppress their feelings and thinking emotions aren’t manly. When men do this, it can create real problems with their ability to create intimacy in their relationships.

Ed Tilton, Regional Director of Integrative Life Network, sat down with Tom Gentry on the “Men Who Talk” podcast to discuss how men are socialized into believing that women feel and “real” men don’t and how this false belief affects close relationships.

Men, Women, and Emotions

It’s difficult to pinpoint where the idea of women as emotional beings and men as the opposite began. Regardless, women tend to be more emotionally literate than men, but that’s more because of how they’re taught to behave than how they actually are.

The idea that men and women should behave differently emotionally is socially constructed. As a result, men tend to think that having feelings means something is wrong with them and that they should hide those emotions.

These ideas become dangerous when men suppress emotions because they fear they may be ostracized, criticized, or bullied. Ed said men seem to think there are rules they should behave by.

“A lot of a man’s understanding of himself is how other men interact with him,” he said. Men talk about positive things and share views on things like sports, traffic, or the weather, keeping their conversations on a surface level where it feels safer.

Being an emotional boy or man is seen as a negative thing by others, Ed said. He said he was an emotional or sensitive child and received the message early that he would need to curb his emotions because people wouldn’t like it.

He had to unlearn this behavior as an adult. Many men never do, suppressing their feelings and thwarting true intimacy their entire lives.

Men and Emotions

A considerable part of men learning to show emotions is determining who they can trust. Who can they be vulnerable and safe with?

“You have to have people in your life that you can be intimate with in terms of having an established safety and a sense of self in a relationship,” Ed said.

Begin Again Institute Helps Men Connect with Emotions

Begin Again Institute helps connect men with others experiencing sex or pornography addiction and other intimacy disorders. Trauma is the root of most addictions. Trauma also is deeply connected to emotion, memory, and behaviors. 

By connecting these men in a 14-Day Men’s Intensive, Begin Again Institute helps them understand that they are not alone in their problems and creates a safe space for them to connect authentically with others while they begin healing their relationships with emotions. 

Contact and visit Begin Again Institute today to begin your road to recovery and healing.

  • Category: Mental HealthRelationships
  • By Begin Again Institute
  • November 24, 2022

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