Men Don't Cry. 

When we deny to men the right to cry, we deny them the connecttion with their own feelings, and consequently

their connection with the feeling of others. 

Men don't cry.

Men must to do what must be done.

This is not a men thing.

Be a man!

Who does not beat, catches.

Better beat than catch.

 

 

These are just a few examples of phrases used in the education of boys, and that persecute them for a lifetime, but after all, what does it mean to be a man? What do these messages convey?

 

I do not remember a single case where this issue has not come to the fore, during the care of male clients of all ages, and different sexual orientations. Charging them to remain in this posture pursues them throughout their lives.

 

Crying, a legitimate and first manifestation of sadness, of discomfort, should be suppressed, swallowed up, or at best transformed into action, and by action that is understood aggression. Have you ever heard the phrase "better to react than to cry around the edges"? Yes, boys, teenagers and grown men have heard this so many times, that the voice has often internalized.

 

The crying was linked to weakness, as if feeling sad, sick, tired, frustrated, were inadmissible feelings to men. Thus, the humanity of being is removed, transforming them into "machines" of performance, of war, of domination. But at the service of what, and to whom?

 

The importance of crying

Crying is the first expression of feelings that we are capable of. We cry at birth, we cry of hunger, of cold, of thirst. We cry to ask for lap, care, attention, finally, we cry to be attended to in our needs, to be seen and recognized.

 

 Fragility makes us human, brings us closer, but also makes us susceptible to the other, to their gaze, their recognition, their affection and care.

 

When we deny to the men the right to cry, we deny them the connection with their own feelings, and consequently their connection with the feelings of others. Or at least its formal manifestation. In addition, the crying, or the legitimate sorrow manifested by crying, is repressed and tends to become a psychic defense, such as denial, sublimation, or other defensive reaction.

 

The fact is that a sadness not legitimately lived will have to be experienced in some way, be it depression or unconscious aggression. Often what we have presented as a symptom in men is a subliminal depression, this is, the depression manifests in a way we are not accustomed to observe, but a depression hidden by symptoms of anxiety, inadequacy, and a great restrained anger, which tends to manifest in an explosive, unconscious way, leaving everyone around perplexed by the irrationality of the triggering factors.

 

 Another manner of hide a depression is denial the problems and conflicts, pretending everything is going well and under control, a mask of happiness and wellbeing could surprise us with a sudden and inexplicable suicide, which occurs very often with men.

 

Boys are charged, from the beginning, the performance, the success, to be the winners, no matter which competition. The boy is taught individuality, but the competitive individuality, in which the group has the meaning of team, where we all compete against some other, or against our own losing self.

  

Regulating emotions 

Unrecognized and not elaborated sadness can become harmful, self-destructive, or even depression, anxiety, or in an anger I do not know about what or towards whom, in a longing, a lack, a feeling of incompleteness. Yes, depression brings a great deal of repressed aggression.

 

However, when this aggressiveness is not suppressed, it may be deregulated, expressed in an inadequate way, since the individual has not learned to "regulate" his own emotions. By regulating one's own emotions I mean getting in touch with emotion, assessing whether it is in accordance with the present situation, if so, wondering how best form is to express this emotion to be understood. In the case of an emotion is not in tune with the situation, or in reasonable proportion to the triggering factor, we must assess whether the current situation may have revived some past situation or emotion, which has been "reactivated" by the current situation. In this case, we would be reacting not to the current situation but to a reactivation of past trauma or emotion.

 

To regulate the emotions implies in take distance of the situation, trying to analyze the triggering situation, but without disrespecting the validity of the emotion or feeling.

Not recognizing the legitimacy of sadness and crying implies not recognizing the essence of being, and almost obliges him to identify with them, made him prisoner of that anguish, whose sadness is not legitimately lived and is transformed by the defense mechanisms.

 

The same society that educates submissive and passive women, educates dominating and aggressive men.

 

If we want a more just and egalitarian society, we must also be fairer and more egalitarian in the education of boys.

 

Today we have children educated in a misogynist society, where women, many times, are the perpetrators of misogyny, educating their male children to be cold, competitive, "superior", isolating them in this way, and disturbing their capacity for true love relationships. Many misogynistic misconceptions are learned at home by abusive and disrespectful relationships between women from the same family, not just by the men.

 

Disrespect is learned at home.

 

Women complain about men's lack of feelings, but what I see every day is men filled with feelings, often full of love, with no idea how to show this love.

 

How can we teach boys to respect women, their feelings and needs, if we do not respect their own feelings, while at the same time we do not show respect to the women who surround us daily?

 

Love weakens people, leaves us vulnerable, but how to "lower our guard" in an affective relationship, if what we have learned throughout our lives is that the emotions must be repressed?

 

For many centuries the responsibility for marital relationships was left to women, as if it were possible to attribute the responsibility of a relationship to one person, since for any relationship at least two people are necessary, it is not possible.

 

Man has been taught that success lies in emotional detachment. Women have been taught that they are pure emotion, and that they must conform to the masculine "coldness" if they want to maintain the relationship, that "man is like this" or that "woman is like that".

If we conform to this social construction of men and women having different emotions, we will not move on. Demonstrating emotions in a different way does not imply having them more or having them less, only that they are demonstrated differently.

 

Sadness does not have to turn into anger to be acknowledge. It is not necessary to swallow the crying and become an aggressor, it is not necessary to defend ourselves from our own feelings, they do not exist to demonstrate strength or fragility, they are only expression of the human condition, or even instinctive, since animals also express emotions and feelings clear and spontaneously.

 

Summing up:

Man cries.

Man does not have to do what must be done if this is not his will, letting him to hurt his feelings or dignity.

There is no such thing as a "man thing," or "woman thing," especially when it refers to feelings. Feelings are universal.

It is not always necessary to react, often the best action is non-action.

Who does not hit, is not aggressive.

 

It is necessary to change paradigms, to eliminate prejudices, and to give more room for the authenticity of each being to become who we really are.

 

The human being is much more complex than these tiny labels that we try to attribute to us.

Article originaly shared in Portuguese,by the website MundoPsicologos.com

Solange Bertolotto Schneider 

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