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The pressure on Man to remain tough no matter leads to many emotional issues

27 Jan 2016

“It is harder being a man than a woman in this country” said Shyam to his sister who was going on an explorative vacation. For all he’d knew, he could not go. He was the ‘man’ of the house; he could not be lazy or confused. He had to be stern and mature, he had to be protective and organized, he had to be responsible and ready. For all he’d knew, he was 24 and suffering from ‘manhood’.

Shyam was a happy, naughty child till he was suddenly asked to ‘grow up’. His fights with other boys were considered ‘shameful’ and his spontaneity in terms of pranks was his ‘immaturity’. He soon learnt that he is born to a gender of silenced issues. No one talks about the pain of not being able to cry or the pressure of earning well or the struggle to take care of your family. No one talks about the breakdowns that remain within, over and over. Shyam is now a successful manager at an MNC. He earns well and is respected enough, just smiles less and talks lesser. With each of his paycheck, he hopes to get back the space to be ‘him’.

 

Signs of Emotional Numbness

  • Lack of Excitement- Life comes to be yet another passing day with no particular excitement or anything to look forward to.
  • Social Isolation- Parties and get- together become nothing but a struggle to get ready and smile. People don’t seem to make you happy or meaningful anymore.
  • Feeling of Dissatisfaction- while you have achieved all that you could, you still feel certain dissatisfaction with life. Perhaps, you don’t know what is missing but it just doesn’t feel good.
  • Inability to hold Relationships- you meet and lose people at quick intervals. Perhaps, you don’t seem to understand what goes wrong and people say you don’t understand them.
  • Consistent Sadness- no matter what you do, at the end of the day you go back with a low mood and tons of tensions in your head. Perhaps, it is always about the ‘future’ and planning it right.

 

Unfortunately, this is what we had made of ourselves and the men around us. Covering them with multiple responsibilities and expectations, we force them to grow much before their age and will. To add to the misery, converting them from spontaneous children to ‘strong men’, we again expect them to become sensitive partners and caring father. Alas, no one talks about this confusion of ‘how to be’ and the struggle of being a ‘mature man’. This is what we do, together, each day.

 

Tips for Family

  • Sensitive Rearing- often parents rear their sons as their future investments and put too much pressure on them to be good and worthy and mature. This makes them grow much before their age and what could be a milestone of life, becomes a duty to be performed. It is important that your sons have the space to know and explore themselves and grow with experience and not through enforcement
  • No Comparison- as rudimentary it may seem, families continue to compare their children to the more successful ones. This may be in terms of their ‘good behavior’ or the salary package or the car they own. This comparison initiates and idea that these are the only things that matter, while emotions and feelings are only a luxury of the women.
  • Healthy Communication- It is important to have a space of sharing and expressing, wherein one can speak out one’s mind. Men should not be judged for being too ‘womanly’ or ‘weird’, if they dare to be different from the mainstream ideals of manhood and express their pain or vulnerability.
  • Big Brother Issues- almost innocently families tell their sons, whether young or old, to be protective and cautious. They ask them to accompany the sisters to the market or expect them to carry heavy things. Perhaps, already instilling an idea of how men are supposed to be. While it is okay to an extent, this should not be the only understanding of manhood.

 

Tips for Men

  • Pay Attention to Yourself- often in the rush to be the ‘ideal’ sons and husbands, we forget to look back to what we want or how we feel. It is important to be in touch with yourself and know your feelings.
  • Talk it Out- you are not obliged to keep things within you. Perhaps, your pain and struggles also deserve a listener and you have the right to share it with someone.
  • You’re just Human- it is okay to fail and disappoint and make a mess, you’re just human. There is no way you have to be too harsh on yourself because of your gender; you’re just a person with your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Be Aware of your Body- while we manage to control our emotions and anger, our bodies do manage to give us a sign of our psychological discomfort. You may feel that you are not hurt or angry, but your body will be able to highlight your feeling by being fidgety or warm and so on. Use is as a language of your emotions.
  • Therapy- we have come to be stern and silent all our lives that despite many efforts, this frozenness doesn’t break. People call us introvert and insensitive, and what we really feel is hidden from them and even us at some points. It is hence best to find a listener who can go beyond your words and help you find yourself.

 

Being a man is neither a privilege, nor a pain. Perhaps, you should be able to enjoy and grow as a person without the potential stereotypes around your gender.

It is only when Shyam could cry out his frustration, that he found peace at being a ‘man’. He is now a sensitive husband, caring father and better human being.

 

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Tags: #men #women #tough #emotional #issues