Male* Vulnerability | READ

😡 Is your ‘anger’ fuse getting shorter?

😳 Being ‘told off’ by HR for your negative language/behaviours towards others?

🤢 Drinking too much, not sleeping well and generally not taking good care of yourself?

Maybe some or all of these triggers are whispering to you, “hey, you need some support.”

I was recently chatting to a fabulous female HR Director who works in a male dominated industry (yes, there are lots of those still!) and we were discussing our findings as to why so many males are not able to ask for help when they most need it. They appear to be suffering from feelings of anxiety and worry manifesting in insomnia, feeling overwhelmed and continually exhausted. We agreed that generally men are not taught the habit of self compassion and they certainly are not told that they can either ask for help or admit that they are feeling insecure and vulnerable.

Often the ‘cry for help’ can go unrecognized; the person is labelled a ‘dickhead’ privately or as a ‘person to move on’ professionally because we only get to observe or be on the receiving end of the impact of their negative behaviour.

From my 30 years of experience of studying and working with human beings, males and females, from all around the world I have found that there is usually an underlining emotion of fear driving anger.

Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of imposter syndrome, fear of not getting it right. And an amplified critical inner voice reinforcing those inner feelings of lack of self worth and self esteem every time they ‘fuck up’. Whilst going to the bar/pub after work and expecting your male mates to help you deal with your issues, is like going to a nunnery and expecting rampant sex. It might happen but it’s highly unlikely.

Many of the issues that trigger us negatively come from our childhood conditioning. As Tom Grover the Coach for Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant said in an interview with multi millionaire Steven Bartlett:

“You have to take a trip to the darkness or it will be a guest forever.”

Perhaps the younger you had to deal with a traumatic situation that made you shut down your emotional self. You had to learn how to not show any ‘soft’ emotions or behaviours to others – a basic need for survival in a threatening situation.

Were you the young boy who got sent to boarding school or had to change schools at a tender age – an age when belonging was more important that being the real you?Were you the young boy whose Dad died prematurely and overnight you were expected to be the ‘man’ of the family, needing to make sure your siblings and live parent had one less worry to think about?

Were you the young boy who grew up in a male dominated family, where the first sign of ‘girly’ weakness was rewarded with a thump from either your male parent or sibling?

What better way to survive feeling sad, lonely and lost than to push any uncomfortable emotions away until you had built a psychological armour around you, protecting you from those stabs of not feeling good enough. And then, as you get older, anger becomes the habitual go to emotion for demonstrating your unhappiness as you haven’t learnt yet the self communication tools of self love and self compassion.

Coldness and lack of emotion is socially accepted, in fact in some cases, the ability to dissociate from the reality of emotions can be extremely beneficial. Many millions of people get handsomely financially rewarded for it – Lawyers, Doctors, Investment Bankers, to name a few. That is fabulous, however, if that’s the same strategy you are using to develop and maintain both professional and personal relationships, it’s a painfully flawed approach.

I’m not certain that anyone can always understand why they are behaving the way they are unless you’ve been fortunate enough to have a therapist or a Coach. A Coach can raise your crucial self awareness but also critically improve your self regulation. As Daniel Goleman explained back in the 90s with his classic EQ Model:
As Dr Joe Dispenza says,
“If you want to create change, you have to do it from a level of energy that is greater than guilt, greater than pain, greater than fear, greater than anger, greater than shame, and greater than unworthiness.” 

Any male asking for support demonstrates huge courage, an appetite for growth and a real opportunity to break negative habits. This man has decided that he’s not going to let his past conditioning affect his present and future self and opportunities. Otherwise, it’s like driving a car looking in the rear view mirror. Think about it. There is a reason why the front screen of your car (looking towards where you are heading) is bigger then the rear view mirror (looking at where you’ve come from).

Dr Brene Brown, who talks about the Power of Vulnerability in her 60 million watched Ted Talk describes vulnerability as

the emotion that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” 

If want to replace your anger triggers with self compassion then change your communication with yourself and others, improve your sleep and be healthier, happier and able enjoy this miracle called life.

Go ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and get help removing the ‘darkness guest’ that is causing you the most limitations in your private and professional life.

Or you could go seeking the nunnery…

If you’d like some help to break free from your past conditioning, contact me for a confidential consultation.

*I have used the terminology for males here but please replace it with any pronoun that suits you better.