Anyone who is over fifty has watched the feminist movement sweep through this country. And from this manís perspective, it did not happen soon enough. However, like any mass movement there is a vacuum created, and we all know that nature hates a vacuum. The obvious result has been an equal and opposite empowering of men as they tried to get their bearings to this new mindset and culture. The resulting shake-up has caused men to struggle in areas from workplace politics to bedroom romps.
Men have very real and specific challenges that are unique to them. At Bayridge we respectfully acknowledge these issues and compassionately respond. From over twenty-five years of experience of working with men we have organized them into several broader categories.
The Developmental Male Issues
These are issues that all men must navigate through in order to go on to become a fully developed functioning male, husband and father. We all wrongly assume that because we are over 21 and hold down a job, we are adults. The stress of work, marriage, children, family finances, and sexuality over a lifetime is, frankly, just enormous. It is amazing that most of us survive. But it is also not surprising that we screw up with affairs, addictions and other comfort behaviours, or experience significant anxiety and or depression.
It is important that we do the work of each developmental stage and then courageously and successfully navigate through the transition periods. In our generation, unlike previous ones, we as men are distant and detached from other mentoring males. It is critical that you and I do the work required in each developmental stage. There is no skipping of grades or classes if you and I want to become fully adult, fully male.
The Relational Male Issues
Relational male issues surround the issues of identity, power, trust, respect and love. Unfortunately, we either received these skills from our parents or we need to get them from someone else. Counselling is a place in which we can experience the mentoring, mirroring and care-fronting in a safe and supportive environment.
Many of us see ourselves as compassionate men, until we ask our wives. We often struggle with effective communication skills. We wrestle with emotional and relational intimacy issues. Other men just let the women do most of the work in the relationship and become passive or passive aggressive. Then they are totally surprised when they donít get the respect they think they deserve.
Many men feel powerless in relationships where they are just out-skilled and out-matched. In order to succeed in these relationships they must up their game. We have some excellent therapists that understand the tension and the challenges for men.
At the same time it is important that we take ownership of our part in a shared history of abuse and misuse to our counterparts Ė women. Abuse that we are involved in is not just a womanís issue but a manís issue as well. We need to call to call it what it is. We need to learn new skills and strategies to navigate through our relationships with women and children, while never apologizing for being male. Why? Because we just canít live without them! They are too important to us. If we disrespect them, we automatically shame ourselves.
The Inside-Out Male Issues
The inside-out issues of men are all about Ďturtlingí and hiding. While most men work hard to be integral, they seldom let other mentors or family and friends into their private world. Hence, they sabotage the success that they so long for. In short, they think they should be able to do it alone. Mistake number one.
Mistake number two - most men suck at asking for help.
Men are often so busy conquering their world that they pay little attention to their internal world. Mistake number three! It is no wonder that by the time they reach midlife they wonder how in the world they ended up in this place. They are not happy.
At Bayridge Family Center we help you learn to listen to your inner self in order to keep your life pointing towards true north. Counselling with men is such a rewarding experience because for many men it takes such courage to admit need. But when they actually look at the man in the mirror and experience what counselling really is they are quick to giddy-up. Men are men! Men need men! If you are a man, whether young or old, you need other men. Why donít you man up and address the issues that you know you need to face. I will be there for you!