TheConfidante In the Media
What’s the most common reason couples seek relationship counselling? You guessed it, poor communication and conflict skills.
Last week I raised the concept of the non-clinical condition, alexithymia, being unable to identify and express or describe your feelings. These individuals who have difficulty accessing their inner emotional word is said to feature in 10% of the population and yes, more likely, but not always men.
Stereotypically, men don't seem to express their emotions as easily, as well, or as much as women do. Interestingly, the unbridled emotion is commonly found at the footy or the cricket when it’s completely acceptable to passionately scream and wave your arms around. It is essential to note that not all blokes shall be tarnished by this same brush. I’ve also encountered many exasperated men struggling to extract the verbal complexities of their woman’s mind.
Unfortunately, the blokes characteristically leave the relationship stuff to the women however love and connection is more of a learned team approach. When it goes pear-shaped, the guy will just want to fix it and move on. Interestingly, there is “normative male alexithymia” which is said to be derived from socialisation that “everyone knows real men don’t cry”. Many Aussie boys are raised being emotionally undermined with the messages of stoicism throughout media that masculinity is all bravo and grunt. Talk emotions and you’re a weak sissy. Whilst I believe this is improving, it explains the alarming high male suicide rate.
Thankfully, I frequently encounter the effects of this social conditioning when blokes front up for marriage therapy when the relationship features loneliness, disconnection and repetitive conflict. How do we approach this?
As we move toward encouraging a generation of expressing instead of repressing, we also can’t label men as “feelingless gender”. Emotions are in there.
We collaboratively normalise the ideal that we are all built with emotions and we can all access them. Like any new task, it requires repetition, consistency, positive reinforcement then a wonderful transformation occurs. Not so say, reversing a strongly held socialisation pattern takes time. Men show up with the best intentions to be their woman’s hero, to take action and protect. When women can appreciate and display admiration for these inherent traits are men more likely to be vulnerable to sharing their inner world. Witnessing those magical moments are one of the greatest gifts for a marriage counsellor!
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, radio co-host, workshop facilitator, guest speaker and weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Visit www.relationshiprejuvenator.com for your head start to reviving your relationship or contact Jo at www.theconfidantecounselling.com. Listen in to her podcast discussing these articles and more, "Is This Love?"
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.