This is a really deep topic. I’m glad you took this on and really explored the depth this issue provides. I read this I sat and thought about my own life and the depression I faced. I try to think back to the source, prior to those rough years. How was I, who was I, where was I? When did I learn that hidding my emotions meant people can’t hurt me anymore? I’d say grade school. When I look back at punishment recieved from my father it was very straight forward. I told you to do X you didn’t do it give me 50 push ups. It was hard but I understood the message. With my step mother and teachers the punishment was different. There was an emotional stripping, like it’s not enough to punish you but I have to emasculate and embarrass you in front of whomever as well.
That’s where I learned what she doesn’t know, can’t be used to hurt me. This is not the type of relationship boys should have with thier mothers. Sadly I’ll take it a step further. Sharing deep dark either pains, fears, or secrects with a gf and the next argument we have she fires that shot right to the soft spot I showed her. This will make any man clam up. My problem I don’t know what to say to a man who was betrayed like that. I’m not going to tell him to keeping being vulnerable to her.. He’ll nah. I’ve seen women do this to each other for years. I’m like why do you keep putting yourself in this position? Why do you keep trusting or forgiving this person? I’ll never understand it.
When I adopted the mentality of what she doesn’t know can’t hurt me. That though process began to extend to all of my friends. I reached a place where I didn’t know who my friends were. Men don’t share thier emotions as a means of protection. Were not made of stone, and were not trying to be. While I was in that rabbit hole the trade off appeared worth it. I’m not exposed and I won’t get stabbed in the back. I’m also not experiencing true friendship. By the grace of God I stumbled upon this revelation and got into therapy. I’m still queasy about full disclosure with women based on my childhood. I will say there were/are some women out there that I’ve been able to be truthful with and they did not use my vulnerability as a weapon against me. I want to point out I don’t think it’s a male vs. female thing. I wanted show how I ended up on the path to loneliness and depression.
There is another component to this and I won’t go too far into it. As a boy I always felt I had to prove that I was a good kid good guy as an adult. Looking for approval and trying please everyone set me up to fail. Now I’m exposing who I am to everyone for approval and they rejected mr, shamed me and ridiculed me and it hurt. Eventually I started to believe them. It was a 5 year climb out of that hole. They key to all of it for me... Self acceptance. I tell men your worth it, you are valuable and a part of my life would be missing if you were gone. I tell men who struggle with addiction and asking for or receiving help. Your special and you have to believe it. When you believe you’re special that’s when you can receive what you need to live your best life. I’ve sat and cried with a lot of men who just don’t believe they are worth it. They believe all of the negative messages thrown at them and it breaks my heart to see it.
Thank you for this, thank for not being another writer pointing at men claiming their the problem.