Dear Confused Man,
Can you remember the last time you really let yourself cry? It was probably because something really big happened in your life. Maybe it was a divorce, a death, a birth, or some tragic news? It must have been so abrupt, unexpected, or life changing that you couldn’t hold it in. You were unable restrain your body as the emotion ripped through all the walls you’ve built to protect yourself from feeling weak or vulnerable. What did it feel like as it was happening? What happened afterwards? Did you feel raw, embarrassed, or confused?
You’re not alone. This is a common male experience. We may spend years bottling up our emotions only to have the cap blown off during some of the biggest moments of our life. The force is so great that it can completely wipe us out. After it happens, we may need time to crawl back into our shell and shut out the world for a while. It’s fucking intense!
It’s no wonder that we resist these feelings, positive or negative. We have very little experience here and what we do know is that we lose all control. That’s scary for a man…
Consequently, we judge others for their emotion, big or small. We believe they are “too emotional”. Why can’t they just “get over it” like we do? Why can’t they see the bright side? Why does everything have to be so serious?
What we may not see is that we are looking into a mirror. We judge others in the same way we judge ourselves. We do everything in our power to not let those little things bother us as we stuff more and more into our container of unresolved feelings. This masculine imbalance may show up as an inflation of self, such as bullying, irritability, frustration, or anger. We may react to this by attempting to aggressively “fix” the problem or blame.
We may judge, hurt, or shut out the ones we care about as a way to keep ourselves protected. However, the confused man is unaware of what is going on in the background. No one has every pointed out his strategies in a way that he can absorb them. He is confused. He doesn’t know why he his intimate partners don’t feel safe with him while his friendships feel so easy. The difference here is that the closer we get to someone, the more vulnerable we are.
What the confused man needs to know is that his confusion, irritability, judgment, and relational struggles are all here to serve him. They are pointing him towards his heart. Without the discomfort and pain, he could stay in his pattern, bottling up and exploding, shutting out his partners, and not experiencing the depth and richness of life.
The confused man must welcome in the confusion and feel it so that he can get at what is underneath. He must do things he has never done to get results he’s never had. There are no shortcuts.
Your sometimes-confused fellow Man,