Note: Blog post subject matter is discussed in more detail on the Athalonz Podcast.
As part of my recovery from being sexually abused as a child, I participated in several group therapy sessions. Most of the group sessions were me and a bunch of women. I realized that I had the same emotions as these women and struggled with them in vary similar ways. This was news to me.
I was raised to believe that a man should be tough, physically strong, emotionally expressionless (except for anger and disgust and never cries, especially from sadness or happiness), doesn’t talk about his feelings, completely self-reliant never asking for help, and commanding of respect due to status, fear, intimidation, power, and/or money. Anything less is a sign of weakness, which can be exploited. This image of what a man should be was, and still is for the most part, promoted by television, movies, commercials, and many social conventions.
Yet more therapy I did, the more I realized that men and women have the same emotions; but social conventions dictate which emotions men can express and how they can be expressed.
It’s my opinion that men and women have the same six basic emotions, which are:
scared, anxious, insecure, discarded, overlooked, rejected, threatened, pessimistic, worry, untrusting, scarcity;
betrayed, resentful, humiliated, disrespected, ridiculed, indignant, violated, mad, jealous, aggressive, hostile, withdrawn, numb, annoyed, skeptical, dismissive;
judgmental, embarrassed, disappointed, awful, detestable, horrified, hesitant, distain;
lonely, isolated, abandoned, vulnerable, grief, powerless, guilt, ashamed, remorseful, depressed, empty, inferior, worthless, hurt, disappointed;
playful, content, free, joyful, interested, proud, successful, confident, accepted, respected, valued, powerful, peaceful, trusting, sensitive, intimate, optimistic; and
startled, dismay, confused, disillusioned, amazed, excited.
There is also a belief that being emotional (e.g., shedding a tear or choking up) from sadness, joy, compassion, or empathy is a weakness and adversely affects one’s ability to think clearly (i.e., clouds their judgement). Yet, there is no such negative connotation about being angry or disgusted. In my opinion, I think we have it backwards.
While this is only anecdotal evidence, consider how many crimes are committed out of anger and/or disgust (e.g., distain for another person) by men or women. Compare that to how many crimes are committed out of sadness, joy, compassion, or empathy. It seems to me that anger and/or disgust cloud one’s judgement much more than an emotional expression of sadness, joy, compassion, or empathy.
As I’ve discussed before, I’m passionate about “stopping abuse of kids”. The only practical way I see this happening is for abusers to stop abusing and for potential abusers to never become actual abusers.
This is no small order considering that most abusers where themselves victims of abuse and that a majority of abusers are male. The only way I know how to heel from the trauma of being abused as a child is to feel the feelings, talk about the feelings, and get help from others (professional and support groups).
There lies the problem. With most perpetrators being men, most of them being victims of abuse, and our society views it unmanly for a man to talk about his feelings, express his feelings, or seek the help of others; men don’t heel and get the cycle of abuse going.
We must change the image of what it is to be a man if we are ever going to substantially reduce the rate of child abuse. We do need men to be strong; but in different ways. We need men to have the strength to feel their feelings, including crying. We need men to have the strength to talk about their feelings; and we need men to seek help of others to deal with their issues.
This is a tall order and requires an undoing of centuries of male stereotyping. But it can be done, even if it’s only one man at a time. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, it will be ok for a man to show some emotions, to be vulnerable, to seek help, to shed a tear, and to heal from damages that might motivate him to act inappropriately towards others. When this happens, it will be a great time for humanity.
I am the CEO and Founder of Athalonz, LLC., I am a founding partner of the patent boutique law firm of Garlick & Markison, I am a survivor of child abuse, and I am an inventor on over 300 patents.
Athalonz is a technology company based on Mesa, AZ. It develops and sells athletic footwear, which incorporates its patented technology that leverages the laws of physics to improve athletic performance. Website: athalonz.com
Garlick & Markison is a patent law boutique firm that assists clients in building a patent business within their business using proprietary tools and techniques. Website: texaspatents.com
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Today was a good bit of climbing. A little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Not as much as day 1 or day 2, but not trivial. I am really enjoying traveling through the small towns. The people have been friendly, the service has been good, and the food has been excellent.