We are on a threshold to change by supporting the emotional life of the men in our lives.
It is imperative to give our men, our personal man space to breakdown if need be and held. ( by that I mean space, to be witnessed rather than doing anything, i.e. wipe his tears or even hold him physically until he is done.- you will know. ) I remember when my love did, a few times, rather than correct him, wanting him to be stronger or felt any disgust toward ‘his lack’ of masculinity. I recognised that he needed more than anything to let it out. Like an internal purging, emotional vomit…As women, we need to ask ourselves ‘what is in me that requires him not to show his emotions?’
We were brought up by the false notion of what a man is supposed to do, look like, what our expectations are – be our hero, smarter, make more money, be the perfect husband, not allowed to show their vulnerability, God forbid they do!
It is no wonder they turn to drink, get into addictions and in some cases, commit suicide. Heart attacks and heart ‘dis-ease’ also…
The pressure to achieve, get to the top, be the best…The shame so great when they don’t. They find themselves unable to open up ( as they would be letting people around them down: their partners, business partners, dads, moms). -The image they held for so long, as it’s not brave enough to confess that he feels his life to be shit and falling apart: afraid because he does not know where to go and who to turn to. We all know what a stigma there is in going to seek counsel or a therapist?
Men have not been raised as most of us know to be open, vulnerable and show their emotions. Grown to be fighters, protectors, doers, providers you name it. We’ve all had dads, partners, uncles any male figure be driven to supply, provide and hold their family.
Added to that with the feminist movement men have also been robbed of their sense of maleness, (natural evolution of the times ). Women have striven to hold an equal place and measure in their choice of rank, ambition, determination of career, pay, ability, place in the home, as earners etc. While it is not equal yet in many ways, the point here is we need to equalise the emotional support men need and are beginning to see the need and importance of this. The times are calling us All for this, and the balancing of the feminine and masculine also pertain to men.
Women need to be carriers and space holder. Yes, some might say, we already do more and enough. And we do. We need to recognise that many men are in pain, and need to feel safe in being supported. We are as women fiercely strong. But we must break the spell of old that they are cold, mechanical and uncaring, without feeling, ( more likely they’ve had it beaten or drummed out them as young kids.) They are filled with feeling just as much if not more, for not having the safety to express…I’ve had female friends who were turned off by the males’ vulnerability, tears and the men have shown, – for not being strong. Can’t Blame us either if having the notion of fairy tales rammed our pretty little heads. Much of their anger and volatile behaviour are stemmed from great old pain and fear.
Saying things like, don’t be ridiculous, comparing them to another man friend, an ex, or simply swatting away their complaints – Which by the way is no different to women needing to share their emotional life, as we know, they still need to be supported in different ways.
We can improve our relating to men. But with everything, it needs learning and practice. We must restore and mend the sense of community between men women. And for us to start with being space holders without needing to fix or do anything. Holding space in itself is a good start.
The Men We Never Knew: How to Deepen Your Relationship with the Man You Love by Daphne Rose Kingma is an excellent book to begin the journey of deepening our connection to the men we love.
© Rafah Sabbagh 2019
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