Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Listening to Men Goes a Long Way

May 31, 2024 09:31AM ● By Tony Reigle

photo credit: pexels-cottonbro-4100672

In today's increasingly vocal society, where we seek to understand the unique challenges faced by various groups, the dialogue around men's mental health is gaining volume and vitality. This shift offers a beacon of hope for deeper comprehension that could lead to tailored training and more effective support systems.


Research dedicated to men’s experiences is expanding while insights are shedding light on the nuanced struggles men endure, and suggest a variety of interventions that might alleviate these burdens.


Historically, societal norms have painted vulnerability in men as a weakness, equating it with both emotional and physical peril to themselves and their loved ones. This perception stems from ancient instincts similar to those in the animal kingdom where displays of strength serve crucial roles, including attracting mates.


However, this perspective has led to a problematic assumption: if men do not express their emotions in a conventional manner, that is often interpreted as a lack of emotional depth or maturity. This misinterpretation not only hinders men’s emotional expression, but also reinforces the obstacles they face when seeking support. It creates a vicious cycle, where men’s genuine attempts at communication are dismissed as flawed or deficient by society and even their closest partners.


Perhaps the issue is not that men are unable to feel or articulate their emotions, but that the way they express themselves is simply different. Maybe we could shift our focus from trying to change how men communicate to understanding the unique ways they do. For instance, considering their actions and their own words as valid expressions of their feelings might open new pathways for connection.


Working with couples has indicated that despite different communication styles, the underlying emotions between partners are often strikingly similar. Recognizing this could transform relationships. Recognizing men’s efforts to express themselves in their own way is possibly the key to breaking the silence that too often surrounds men’s mental health.


If we can commit to truly listening and striving to understand men’s perspectives, we may find ourselves not only acknowledging, but also effectively addressing the silent struggles they face. This deeper understanding could foster a more supportive environment where men feel seen, heard and supported.


Tony Reigle, Ph.D., LPC, CCTP-II, is an Air Force and Air National Guard veteran and CEO of the Reigle Therapeutics Group, located at 160 S. Progress Ave., Ste. 20, in Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-425-8685 or visit