Men are simple creatures
I have had this conversation so many times with female friends who have tried to work men out. The answer is simple – we are just not as complicated as women. All we want is the quiet life. Men just like the simple things. We like a routine that we can recognise and plod on with. Men don’t like complicated things that women seem to enjoy. We can be showered and dressed in a matter of minutes whereas women take hours. Women like lots choices which can over complicate things. Men just like ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. I can go into a shop and purchase a single item, whereas women can spend all day visiting every shop in the town to buy the first blouse they found 8 hours previously. Women can bitch for hours about other women. Men either ignore them or have a fight and its over with.
Men and women are so different it is amazing that we get along at all. However, this difference is killing men and yet we fail to recognise it. And why is that? It’s because it’s easier not to admit there is a problem than to address the problems head-on.
I don’t know when it happened but men seemed to have lost their way. I have previously mentioned, in earlier blogs, that my father acted in a way expected of his generation. Whereas, my son acts in his. The two are very opposite but they seem to be equally as happy about it. But somehow, my generation have found itself squeezed into the middle. I am 45 and its seems that my generation are stuck between the stiff upper lip, hard and unemotional view of my father and the more liberal open mindedness of my son. So, what do we do? Well it appears that men of my age group just sit there and do nothing because we don’t actually know what to do – and it’s the easier option than making a fuss.
Men are rubbish
My observations have found that men are rubbish at; taking medications and rubbish at admitting any form of medical conditions (especially depression and anxiety – men are not allowed to have depression vis-à-vis to be seen as weak). Furthermore, men are also rubbish at admitting problems at home and even worse at realising that we are victims of domestic abuse.
There are two sides to what I have just said. Firstly, as stated, men fail to either admit or recognise when they are the victims of domestic abuse. But equally, I have met men who also fail to admit when they are the abusers. Both stances are dangerous and toxic.
It is no surprise, therefore, that there is a lack of male refuges or support for men because, it appears, (because of our lack of admittance) that the problem does not exist. I’m telling you now it does exist and it is as real as that experienced by our women folk. When I was planning to escape I initially found no-where local that was willing to take me because I was a male victim of domestic abuse.
Perhaps men need to speak up about the abuse we experience at the hands of a violent partner. We equally need to accept that there is no shame with suffering depression. Yes, it is a mental health problem but I would have no problem admitting to you if I had broken my arm. As a man I have no shame telling you I was a victim of domestic abuse by my female partner. And yes, I have depression and PTSD. However, I would never had admitted that 12 months ago. But I have, and it feels good to share it with you.
“I FIND myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed,” declared Doris Lessing, whose novels turned her into a feminist icon in the 1960s, in a speech earlier this year. “Men seem to be so cowed,” she continued, “that they can’t fight back, and it is time they did.”
According to a recent British government report (Dr Clare, the British psychiatrist 2009), men are more likely than women to commit suicide, suffer from coronary heart disease, have a serious accident or drink too much alcohol. But even though we all know that, we are still willing to sit back and do nothing. If I ever visit my doctor it is only because a woman has told me to go. The only reason I am taking anti-depressants is because a female told me to go. Therefore, the only reason I am still alive is undoubtedly because of a woman (and she knows who she is). I therefore, thank women for being what they are. Perhaps us men need to take a leaf out of their book.
“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, but women can do anything.”
Females have become proficient at their art. Along with their developing successes in the work place, women have also won social acceptance for their right to reject work in favour of motherhood. In other words, women can hold the briefcase, or the baby. But at least they can choose.
Men are having to be encouraged and bribed into becoming teachers for very young children. Obviously, this is because men fear being suspected of having paedophile tendencies. Yet there is a rise of women being charged with sexual offences against children. But we still see no problem having female teachers in younger years classrooms.
I won custody of my sons (from a previous relationship) when he was very young. One of the first things that was asked of me was how was I going to manage both working and being a single father? The reality was that I had no choice; I had to do both because that was expected of me as a male. I attended ‘mother’ and toddler groups, only to be told that it was for mother’s only!!!. I’m pleased to see that this has changed and that my son (who is now a father) never faces the prejudice I felt.
There is nothing new in the idea that men are conditioned to suppress emotions. Generation after generation of men have been taught not to show their feelings. This was expected of me during my period of growing up. I can never recall my father crying, even at his own father’s funeral. Yet, over the last 3 months I have shed buckets full of tears. I was taught to suppress any feeling or emotions as this ‘gave something of my identity away’ and was, therefore, an element of weakness that as a male was unacceptable. But I am now questioning this self-sacrifice as I had fallen into an abusive relationship and expected it to be ok. This lack of emotion also led (I would argue) to my long history of depression and ultimately self-doubt.
I want my children to be equal but not the same
As a father, I don’t want either of my children (both son’s and daughter) to feel second class as a parent or partner. Equally, I don’t want them to be weak and to become an abuser or abused. But I also want them to celebrate their differences. I am proud to be a male and equally proud of my female friends.