by GEOFF LAUGHTON
Today’s article is about pain and the prescription for it, all rolled into one! First, let’s talk about the pain.
I hear all kinds of complaints about men from women. I hear frustration, genuine concern and fears that mostly centre around the fact that they don’t feel they’re getting what they need. From men, I also hear frustration, that they’re feeling stuck and bored, and like they’re just going through the motions
What’s behind these feelings? More importantly, what can we do to begin to make a difference? In my experience, a lot of these issues stem from emotional pain. Everybody has pain. If you don’t, you’re completely tying yourself in knots to avoid it.
Today’s we’re going to look at men’s emotional pain. Women may feel that something is “off” with their guy and ask “Are you okay?” The problem is that lots of men are going to say “I’m fine, don’t worry.”
Here’s why that happens, and what needs to shift if you want to heal your relationship and experience greater intimacy. As men, many of us have deep pain that we’ve been holding since we were knee high to a grasshopper!
I remember going to school as a little kid and getting my feelings hurt, then coming home in tears. One or both of my parents would say “That’s not worth crying about, stop crying” or at worst “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Now as you can imagine, a little boy’s emotions come freely, and you go to what’s supposed to be the safest place to be real, and you’re told things like that. As a result, you’re conditioned as a young boy to suppress feelings and to be tough, and this continues into adulthood.
So, when women feel their man is a bit “off” but can’t get them to talk, that’s why. Many men were trained to keep their pain to themselves. If a woman asks what her man is thinking and does get him to talk, but then tries to fix him, or ends up coming across as shaming or judging him, he’s either going to get angry or shut down.
The emotional pain doesn’t go anywhere, and you’re not going to heal your relationship until it’s out. If men are willing to share their pain in the right place, relief begins to happen.
I have two key points here:
1. Men are carrying unbelievable amounts of pain. Many of us keep it under wraps, do everything we can to try not to upset anyone, or act out. Note: I’m not excusing inappropriate behaviour, but simply want to offer an explanation!
2. Men need to talk about their pain, to let it out and get it out, even though many are very reluctant to do that. Healing can happen when men are talking to other men with whom they feel safe. That can be with a therapist or a coach, or a men’s community that meets regularly to support one another.
I’ve been leading that kind of work with men for 19 years. If you’re with a man and anything I’ve said here is resonating with you, or if you’re a guy and you’re relating to this, here’s my invitation.