Eating Disorder Therapy

When A Man Says, “I’m Weak”

Male, men, man with depression and anxiety

When you see a guy struggling, often the first reaction is to tell them to get over it and move on, it’s ingrained in us.  “Guys can’t feel this way. That’s not how they are supposed to be.”

“Suck it up.”

 Just yesterday this happened to me. I immediately reacted and said, “there’s no way you can stay like this, come on now!”  I started giving examples when suddenly…

I stopped myself.

Everyday incredibly strong men, both young and old go through doubt and pain. They feel something is off and the only way they can describe it is by saying something isn’t working.  They avoid the world. Yes some are brave enough to recognize there’s something going on, an experience the opposite of being strong.. something feels broken. Ruptured. The pressure to figure it out. To be successful, powerful and in control feels like a far reach for many of our guys. More and more the concept of being a guy has become like a magical idealism that’s impossible to uphold and living up to the pressure is making it all worse.

Many guys give up, or they obsess trying. They just can’t see a way of getting through.

Deep down, many guys feel this way. Something is wrong. Standing up every day to talk about what is going on, is not good enough. It goes against the guy code.

Strong man, holding strong, dominoe effect, bricks falling, keeping it together

Are Men Weak?

Men are not weak when they talk about their emotional and physical pain. Many men wait until it’s intolerable. The worst part is that when it comes to being a guy pain can only be expressed in specific ways, otherwise it is not allowed. It’s taboo. Many guys don’t want to fathom weakness, we build a facade around it. Is the sense of being a man protection from not feeling safe in the world?

What if, at the right time, we can own it. Just say, “fine, I failed.” Or “I’m not doing well in this situation.” At the end of the day, isn’t weakness a place you learn to toughen up?

What if you shifted towards this pattern of thinking? 

Getting better can happen.

If we need to tell men in our lives that they have to be strong, can we redefine what strength actually is? Does it have to be all the time?  Why do men need to be reminded how to “be a man?”  As men, we struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, isolation, even anger. Men are Human. Guys are Human. Boys are Human. We are all Human.

Societally, we aren’t talking to men like any person deserves to be spoken to. We don’t know how to talk to men. Our adolescent males are living at a time that the chains of masculinity are being challenged and there seems to be a void as to how one can identify their internal life. Immediately thrown at them are polar opposites of existence. Black and White idealism in which neither extreme wins.

  • Identifying the problem helps set a feeling of control.
  • Masculinity can’t always be negative, right?
  • Are we checking in with them?
  • Is there a language and a support that is outside of the norms of toughening up?

When we don’t find these things, we ignore the signs. We are doing everything we can to help them succeed and yet missing all the points. Since when did self control equal success which then equals happiness?  Can that be overdone in our world?

I have to admit the old-school way doesn’t work anymore. 

Why being strong all the time doesn’t work!

What if being strong is a defense mechanism?  We are learning about the countless college kids that are coming home before, during and after the pandemic. This isn’t anything knew, this is only getting worse. The need for building skills around making connections, reading the room, social executive functioning, trust, emotional life, and belief in value need so much help.

Men need to learn to build a relationship with the world around them, academic, learning for life. Lets not put our values on external appearances, trying to understand that body and food has to be over-controlled. Learn limits and how to handle anxiety.  Heck, mood instability can be regulated and stable with the right opportunity to just speak up.

Imagine being able to create a sense of stability and internal trust without bringing everyone down, everyone else gets to be fine too.  If the guys in our lives can’t do this, there must be something wrong. 

These occurrences are common. They are easily challenged and can be changed with owning up to the quest for courage. But being just “strong” isn’t going to answer the problem. 

Mental Health Concerns in Men is Increasing Because:

  1. There’s pressure to “man up” or be a man in a new environment, leaving you to have to figure it out on your own.
  2. Medical professionals ignore isolation and anxiety as a signs of struggle. In fact, they don’t even ask!
  3. Being a man is just “understood” and behavior is expected.
  4. Strength and masculinity is associated in contradictory ways. If you don’t have muscles you may not be seen as a “man” and yet on the other side of the spectrum, if you do have muscles then you can’t have emotions.
  5. Magazines such as Mens Health and GQ are teaching our kids to cut the fat, intensify exercise, adhere to strict meal protocols and when a male can’t meet these impossible demands, they feel compromised.
  6. Emotions mean you are weak, you should not share.
  7. Creativity, expression, softness – all are not characteristic of being masculine.
  8. Being a “Man” feels as though you have to always be a leader.

We have many article throughout our website that help expand how to support the Men in our lives.

Articles

If you’ve read this far, it’s time to call.