Moments without words can be as intimate (if not more so) than verbal ones, says Armin Brott.
Armin Brott Tribune News Service
Dear healthy men: I always try to talk to my husband about health, parenting, our relationship and other things. But it seems like we can never have a decent conversation. Why are so many men unable to communicate their feelings?
A: While I would love to be able to answer your question, I can’t, in large part because the question itself is flawed. Men are not only able to communicate, they always do. The problem is that few people see the communication of men (and boys) for what it is, or simply do not understand what is being communicated. As Dr. Salvatore Giorgianni, senior scientific advisor for Men’s Health Network, puts it, “it’s a recipient’s problem, not a sender’s problem.”
At the core of this blindness in men’s communication, especially when it has to do with emotions and feelings, is the dominant view that women’s way of communicating is the right way. As a result, non-feminine forms of expression are considered flawed or simply erroneous. There is no need to look beyond the standard tools used by mental health professionals to detect depression and anxiety in patients.
Stereotypically female symptoms (such as crying, feelings of worthlessness, self-guilt, and guilt) are red flags. But stereotypically masculine symptoms (such as working longer hours, social isolation, anger, and risky behavior, including substance abuse) are not and often are ignored. As a result, a woman with depression is more likely to be referred for treatment, while a man is more likely to go to an anger management program or be sent home and told that “Take off”.