While I was researching my Ph.D. I worked in a recovery unit just North East of L.A. I was responsible for a group of people who had abused some type of substance, or had suffered some sort of mental crisis.
It was mainly men, about a dozen, and a handful of women. Most were referred by a mental health worker or family.
The men, with scarce exception, loved me like a sister. I showed them respect, was present for them, sat with them as they cried, listened to their hopes.
Yes, men cry. They have loss, regrets, rejection, grief, just like women do. Crying somehow helps healing.
Healing is a mysterious process. We all go through it differently. We each are unique. Our stories are unique.
Men respond to respect, or Unconditional Positive Regard as taught by Carl Rogers. It is not regard, it is not kindness. It is a model used in counseling and other therapeutic relationships.
Men respond to being heard, validated for their positive traits. In the last two generations men have lost their role. Faced with feminism, often militantly, they feel displaced and emasculated.
Often coming from single mother homes they have lacked a good male role model. These men grow up with no clue how to relate to women appropriately.
Men respond to appropriate trust. Compliments on a task well done. Being asked to help with some thing practical.
Women should not teach men how not to be misogynist, unless they are the mother. Men need to learn for themselves and then help other younger men or sons.
Men are far more intelligent than most women realise. They just need the right tools to learn. Men’s brains are different to women’s.
Men and women are compatible but men need friendships with men first. Men who lots to offer in being a good man.
Male friendships are more straight forward than those of women. They can handle some constructive criticism, some ‘hey man, you messed up big time there’. Not all the time though. They need strokes too — compliments.
If a man can cry in front of me, he can most probably cry with a close friend. Never jeer. Never tease tears. Value them like a diamond.
I don’t have all the answers for healing. It is a mysterious process and takes time. I have seen so many processes, none the same.
We need to make room for men. We need the good ones. We need more to learn from men how to be good men.
Published in The Good Men Project
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