Men get a bad rap for not wanting to go to therapy or be vulnerable. This is not true of all men, but emotional sensitivity and vulnerability are typically seen as women’s characteristics. This makes it harder for men to seek help due to shame around being seen as ‘too sensitive’ or not ‘man enough.’ Working hard on emotional openness is the key to overcoming life’s challenges, including addiction. To work at being more vulnerable, it takes some time to get there with the help of loved ones and a good therapist. Try these tips to help yourself or another man in your life seek help.
Men Are Not Sick
There is an old adage that says if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sometimes men see themselves as invincible and nothing is really wrong with them. Until they are broken, well and truly, they are not likely to seek help. Men may go to a therapist or ask for help if they are compelled by someone else or get into trouble, but have difficulty identifying exactly when or where things went awry. Men often don’t experience intimacy and connection as enjoyable and are not sure how to find it outside of sexual relationships. Seeking emotional connection to women and other women can be helpful in finding hope in recovery.
Many men are afraid of losing who they are if they are seen as vulnerable. They need a tough exterior to make it through work, hit those goals, make the strides with their boss, or hit it hard at the gym. Any sign of fear or vulnerability is seen as scary. Men are raised to think, in some ways, to keep people happy by being successful.
They might think, ‘happy wife, happy life,’ but if the woman is not able to get through to him she is not okay, he has no clue things are not okay. Feeling respected is important for men so they need to look for other ways to shore up their identity other than work, in others, and in the things they accomplish to push past this barrier in recovery from addiction.
Men Want Better
It takes courage to seek help, of any kind, much less seek therapy. Going to treatment for addiction and mental health issues takes vulnerability. The real challenge is for men to understand who they are at their core and to push past fears to embrace who they are so they can find hope and healing. There are many layers to healing, including past trauma, neglect, abuse, and other issues that take time to resolve but it starts with one step.
This usually starts with a loved one noticing something is not okay and suggesting they seek help. Men may be reluctant to go alone but would go if they knew someone else is on their side and helping them out. The key for men is to stay away from disconnecting to others and isolating in times of difficulty. A man who taps into his inner world and finds a new perspective will often grow and become healthier than ever thought possible.
Alta Loma is a place where men can let their guard down and find healing. We are here to support you on the journey of going from dual diagnosis to hope and transformational growth. Call us to find how to get started: 866-457-3843.