Helping Men to Express Their Feelings

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“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.” ~ Carl W. Buechner

Women often complain that men are out of touch with their feelings, or cannot understand how women feel. There is no doubt that there are some differences in the way men and women experience emotions, but there does not have to be such a great divide.

If we want to change this, we must look at the way we raise boys from the time they are little. Many men were raised to think it is weak to show emotion. The only emotion that seemed acceptable for a man was anger. They did not learn to talk about sadness, disappointment, insecurity, fear, jealousy or the other myriad emotions that all humans experience.

Consequently, men were left with two options when emotions came up for them: either block them to keep the peace, or get angry or defensive.

Women, on the other hand, are emotional beings. They have many feelings, and they want to talk about them. This in turn can cause an emotional reaction in the man, and he often feels backed into a corner because he does not have the vocabulary to talk about what is going on for him. It seems easier to get angry about it, or to tell the woman to forget about it.

We can begin to shift this by doing a lot of talking with our sons. More importantly, it helps to do a lot of listening. Talk to them about how they feel when they are upset. If they do not know, help them by describing what you think it might be.

Let them know their thoughts, feelings and opinions are important, even when we may disagree. Come to think of it, maybe it would encourage more communication if women would do that with their grown up partners.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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