Adult Male Influences Upon Boys
These comments date me, I know. Each of us as men can recall some experiences that were formative during boyhood. While growing up the men that I first saw on television were the cowboys: Gene Autry, Hop-a-long Cassidy, and Roy Rogers. My favorites were Marshall Matt Dillon, Cheyenne and the Lone Ranger.
They shared characteristics like being good guys who especially responded to people who needed protection and justice. They got the job done. Consistently they were the heroes. They were likable, admirable men as well as loners. While each had a sidekick, they seemed to mostly keep to themselves. The men who were exceptional had a special relationship with a woman. Roy was with Dale and Matt hung out with Kitty,
These cowboys were mighty stoics. The strong, dependable, silent type, who didn’t show their feelings about anything. Physically, mentally, and emotionally tough enough and absolutely self-sufficient with no apparent need to ask for help. How they were as men shaped my idea about masculinity.
As it turns out, by unwittingly imitating these characteristics my maturation as a man was significantly impeded. Maturing is a process of developing awareness of oneself, an ability to recognize the pulsation of one’s emotional life including the uncomfortable feelings of sadness, fear, isolation, resentment, disappointment, hurt, and the like. Whether aware of this or not, trying to live with numbed out feelings is a misery. Not being able to ask for help when you need it deepens one’s misery.
How about you?
What do you remember as formative experiences during your boyhood? Which characteristics are worthy of claiming now as a man and which interfere with your personal life and relationships?
When to seek professional help
Some signals: Stressed out. Overloaded. Prolonged sadness. Too much alcohol or drugs. Not much happiness or energy. No relationship with a significant other. An unhappy relationship with your significant other.
As a male therapist I will help you sort through and identify what’s bothering you and help you find healthy and meaningful solutions. While working together we will talk about goals of counseling and a plan to get where you want to be.