How to help men express feelings ?

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Gisella, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Gisella

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    As a woman i know that most of us have no problems expressing ourselves, we share , analyze , etc - we are in touch with our feelings and learned early in life to be expressives ( i did...)

    But most men are different as we know - and some cultures are harder in them because seems they cannot express emotions that would not fit with masculinity or whatever...

    How can i help a man that said to me: " I have many feelings that i cannot express".

    I did not ask for it or pressure or did anything for him to tell me that and i thought he had almost everything under control & figure out - (he seems so secure and et !!!)... But now a see a "crying for help" ( i cant resist be helpful ) and i can not let him down as he shares what he wants and need too. Because he is a very precious person that i care very much & can not mess up his "openning".



    Please give feedbacks.
     
  2. NewAgeDesire

    NewAgeDesire New Member

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    I'm going to assume that these feelings are more negative than positive. Negative being the cry for help. Positive being "I have feelings for you or someone else"

    I'd say you're correct in not pushing the issue. If he is secure in most other things he'll probably open up to you when he feels that same security between the two of you.

    It's also possible that he is just looking for someone to vent to. And was using his "cry for help" to see if you are that person. I'd encourage you to listen, but not to try and fix his problems. Most likely he'll ask for suggestions or feedback on his situation if he wants it.
     
  3. RideRocket

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    Men tend to have problems expressing emotions because it's a sign of weakness - that they're not 'macho'. Men will think that their woman thinks they are weak. Some men won't open up because they think what they are feeling is weird, perverted, absurd, etc. Others won't share their feelings because the women they are involved with will hold those comments over his head.

    Regardless of the situation, just tell him you are there for him. Don't pressure him, and let him know that whatever he says is okay. And don't hold it over his head in a future conversation/argument.
     
  4. Gisella

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    Thank u guys!!!

    I have just to bite my tong and remember that he is a man not a woman (it seems obvious but i cant "jump" in blablablas the way i do with my girlsfriends..because he may shut up and hide...) and he is from i different culture and up bring and et...

    I have to listen and make him confortable and secure to share what ever he "needs and want" too. Im kind of nervous...what is coming ??? Well...

    :redface:

    Just Thank U & kisses !!!
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    Men are just not socialized to be expresive in this way. From childhood they are taught to NOT cry and BE A MAN. I have fought hard to overcome this and even now, will sometimes shut down and be less emotive that I should be (less that is "healthy").

    A few years ago I read a fascinating book called "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood" that talks about the way young males are socialized in America and how that damages us into adulthood and hinders us from being truly expressive and emotive.

    Also, here are two interesting links about emotional expression and the sexes:

    Emotional Expression in Men and Women

    What's Wrong with Men?


    RideRocket's points were also very good, especially not using things against them later.

    Good Luck.
     
  6. invisibleman

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    Get your man to pay attention to how he feels. Get him into writing in a journal. Start by getting him enrolled into a local journal writing group. Or if you're computer-saavy, there are blog groups online. Where people write things.

    If you really want to get him to express how he feels, you really ought to establish an open communication policy. Sometimes people don't really feel open to say how they feel if they feel threatened or belittled. Sometimes what we say may not be what you want to really hear. It is better to hear all out from both sides. Everybody is different. You have listen objectively. Arguments are not communication. Anger and frustration will kill any chances of talking. So, you better learn to positively say how you feel without being demeaning.
     
  7. Gisella

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    Thanks again guys...

    Thanks Lex for the very useful article & the part about "Men and stoicism".

    We are from different sex and cultures and makes me little insecure in how to "deal right" w him because of that too.

    :confused: Than what i perceive as a "cold" culture is a "stoic" culture...and what a stoic culture perceive as an "emotiona"l culture is a less stoic one...(i think...)

    At my home growing up men were very masculine and patriarcal but did not avoid strong feelings , cry open and show strong emotions too. Never lost respect for them because of that.


    "Stoicism ~ a man does not share his feelings, grieve openly and he avoids strong feelings"

    "Regardless of age, boys tend to be ill-prepared for the challenges along the way to becoming an emotionally healthy adult. Stereotypes of masculinity and toughness deny a boy his emotions and prevent him from fully developing a full range of emotional resources. Hence, boys are left to manage conflict, adversity and change in his life with a limited emotional repertoire."
     
  8. mgtihlah

    mgtihlah Member

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    You've gotten great feedback, which I'm not sure I can add much useful info, but I'll throw in my two cents.

    I've been trying to re-open myself up to my wife, after several years of the two of us talking past each other. One of those things I am working on is expressing my emotions / feelings. I've found this difficult to do. It's not that I haven't cried in the past, I just don't do it very often (usually if someone close to me dies). It's not that I don't get sad or depressed - certainly that happens to all of us. And overall, I tend to be a positive upbeat person.

    What I've discovered lately is that when I express emotion, it is frustration and the inability to connect with my emotional mind releasing largely anger (perhaps due to testosterone? Not sure). In any case, me expressing feelings has resulted in me getting angry - sometimes over stupid stuff, sometimes valid reasons. Overall, it frightened me that I had that much anger inside me, so I've tried to temper that emotional expression - I think to a large degree because I didnt' understand how to express what I was feeling.

    I think most men don't know how to express feelings since they don't have role models (typically) to know how - unless they continue to work at it. So to answer your question in a roundabout way - be careful, and go slowly with him. This guy may want to express his feelings, but if he doesn't know HOW, the results could be unnerving, unsettling, scary. Be patient - let him know it's okay, and go slow.

    It'll take time, in all likelihood.
     
  9. Matthew

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    There's a concept taught in classes for men who want to stop being abusive to their partners called the "Male Emotional Funnel." It's exactly what you just described - we (men) often turn a variety of difficult feelings into one: anger. The good news is that we can unlearn that.

    Click Here for More

    (Matthew--your link broke the post table so I fixed it *Lex)
     
  10. mgtihlah

    mgtihlah Member

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    Well, then I'm "in process" currently. :smile: Thanks for the info - much appreciated!!
     
  11. steve2727

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    Am I the only guy who actually quite liked the fact that guys weren't expected to express their feelings? I'm a fairly introverted private person who doesn't share his feelings with people much. More and more it seems that people (mainly girlfriends but also platonic female friends, even guys these days) expect me to always be sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings. I realise a partner has a right to expect a certain amount of openess but I don't think it's too much to expect that they accept this isn't something I like doing and that they will probably never going to know exactly how I feel about everything at all times.

    Then people say I'm 'incapable' of expressing my feelings, wrong, I'm a perfectly articulate person who has no problems expressing how he feels if he has a mind to, I just don't WANT to. Seems that if you don't wear your heart on your sleeve then that's a problem, that you can't be a well balanced individual. I have my little issues and neurosis just like everyone, but think I'm reasonably balanced.

    My friend always just put's it down to me being 'too English' (she's French), don't know if there's anything in that.

    Anyway rant over, the above obviously isn't really relevant to your specific case Gisella, where the guy clearly has something to say and is having trouble doing so, just thought whilst we were on the general topic of men expressing their feelings I'd see if any other guys feel the same way I do.
     
  12. ClaireTalon

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    I have worked with men for nearly all my life, and for a lot of those years I've been men's superior, so this is nothing new to me. Guy or girl, at some point we all get to have some trouble that has to be talked over and involved expressing feelings, which is, as Gisella, RideRocket and others state, difficult for guys, because they feel like exposing their throat to enemies if they admit weaknesses. However, if the problems have to be discussed, I've found several tricks to get guys doing those; in my experience they will rather talk it out with a woman than with another guy.

    The above-all rule is not to be obtrusive, or try to force it. Men will lock up faster like a clam if you try to push them to talk about something. The correct thing is to be persistive, let him know he can talk to you, without pushing it. My experience is they will accept the offer eventually, if they know it's there.

    The next is, get him in a one-on-one situation, allow for some privacy. Not only for the discussion, also when you make the offer. In front of others, the offer usually ensues a lot of questions, nasty comments and other unconstructive shit. I know that's a game, I have plaid it, but it won't help anyone here.

    If you get him to talk, have something fuel his tongue, in the most literal of all senses. Don't put up a drinking spree, but offer him a swig or two so he will feel comfortable, and drink with him, also and even if you're a woman. I don't know how to put it, but that's a usual bonding ritual, and it works. Maybe he won't open up at first try, but then offer him to come again for some drinks (and not sex). Repeat your offer.

    These three rules have proved to work with most of the men I got to know. So, men DO express feelings, but you have to get behind their defenses to see them do it.
     
  13. Love-it

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    I have found that women only ask how a man "feels" as a semi-polite way to begin telling about how her day went. On those rare occasions that a man gets to speak, the woman quickly segues into how she feels, including any insecurities triggered by her mans abbreviated discussion of his "feelings".

    I hear about my wifes day, every day, and every year or so I suggest that she should ask how my day went and when she asks I always say "Fine".
     
  14. Gisella

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    Please do express how you feel !!!:wink:
     
  15. Gisella

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    Thank u Claire!
     
  16. Gisella

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    Yes! I agree with you that some of us tend to run over when he is talking or starts to talk and begin to talk about ourselves! I had been in this situation and felt very frustrate and not being heard by men who talks too much too.

    We need to learn to speak less and listen more.

    Have you told her about how you feel about that ? Its hard to not get to speak and be listen.
     
  17. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    sometimes when I have something I want to say I WANT someone to push me to say it. It might only be then that I'm comfortable expressing whatever thought it is that I have on my mind. I may say that it's something I don't want to talk about and maybe I'll really feel it's better that we don't in the long run, but at the same time it's always good to get shit off your chest and in these cases the only way I would talk about it is if someone was consistently encouraging me to do so even in the face of whatever discouragement I was giving them. If they were that persistent then it would be easier to open up... some of the pressure of the decision to talk about a difficult issue could be shifted to them... since they are the ones pushing for it. I would also feel as though they were genuinely interested.

    On the other hand, I'm usually pretty good at expressing how I feel. I know I'm not typical.
     
  18. Shelby

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    I'm right there with you Steve. Thanks for putting it so well.
     
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