Yes you have to heal. No you’re not invincible. And that’s perfectly okay because we all have to. But most of today’s fights are related to unhealed men perpetuating thousand of years of toxic behaviours. And it needs to end.
We all have traumas and experience traumatic events. Some of us more than others. But still, part of how we develop ourselves as individual is through our hard times. They shape us, they’re like the pressure that transform our raw, innocent self, into something closer to who we want to be. Or sometimes further. Because we’re not always conscious of the way we change, that’s why healing is important.
What’s trauma ?
To put it simply, a trauma, in its psychological acception, occurs when we’re confronted to an overwhelming uncontrolled emotional charge that we cannot directly deal with. For exemple, death, sexual agression, break-up, accident, moral harassment, violence… even poverty or humiliation can be traumatic experiences. They can be a one-time event, or over-time constructions that we will not be able to properly deal with.
Trauma can be generated by many situations, general, and unfortunately widespread like the one stated before, more subtle one, like constantly being shamed for something you are or do, or even systemic trauma that will lock us up under a specific label.
Why does it matter ? Because as men, we have to live up to what society is expecting from us. Most of us grow up in a toxic environment with integrated ideas of what men should be and it creates an internal confrontation between what we want to be and what society wants us to be. It even leads us to turn against each other. We’ve all seen or lived a man being mocked or dragged down, because he was different. Not man enough. Too sensitive, too feminine, too much of what is not a man in the eyes of this patriarchal society.
How trauma manifests itself
Trauma can bear many forms as we do not all have the same way of living it, and expressing it. As an unconscious mechanism will take place, somehow as a defense mechanism to avoid us being overwhelmed again by a situation similar to the original traumatic one.
The response will depend to the person, and to the trauma. Someone who has lived moral harassment at a young age could now be know for using fear and terror to be heard. Heart-broken people can over-compensate by being cynical, or even mean to others, not letting themselves being vulnerable anymore and so on. Usually, the response to the past trauma will be visible as a pattern in our life. Each similar situation will have us react in the same way. Most of the time, unconsciously, and immediately.
We also develop coping mechanisms alongside experiencing a traumatic event. Because it leaves scars. It hurts on different levels, that we try to overcome, not by facing them, by understanding them, but by putting a nice bandage on it.
And there you find non-confident harassed — not-that-chubby — boys becoming bodybuilders. You find men spending hours and hours at the gym to avoid facing their thoughts and feeling (I’m not saying sports guys are traumatized, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a question of balance and intentions). Male hitting the gym right after a break-up is to much of a widespread pattern to not be approached. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this story of a guy having his heart shattered into pieces, then hitting the gym 2h / day — 6/7 days. Just to avoid feelings. To avoid the thoughts. In order not to cry. And to deal with it like a man.
Further away, and in some cases we have adult men who develop a superiority complex and can’t take a no. Because they need to feel powerful, and strong, and nourish their egos because they won’t be victims in their own life ever again. So they’ll just make someone else their victim. We have adult men who will assault my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters because they’ll feel threatened and confronted to their own incapacity of harnessing their individuality in the face of the patriarchal requirements.
I’m not saying that some men aren’t just malevolent and have bad intentions. Just that some are perpetuating traumas. Because of the Imago of what a man is supposed to be : strong, unbreakable, straightforward, clear-minded, a conqueror, a force of nature…
I hate to break it to you
But we’re humans after all. Whatever our gender, we’re humans.We have a psyche, we have thoughts, we have feelings. We might all experience life in a unique way, but we have to experience it. That’s how we get closer to ourselves, to others, to the world around us. By feeling. By understanding. By trying.
So gentlemen, brothers, fathers, sons, you are allowed to cry. You are allowed to feel, to like being pampered, to feel pretty, handsome, sexy. You do not have to be a lumber-jack version of yourself (unless you want to of course). You are allowed to feel whatever you feel, to think whatever it is you think. There is nothing you could do or say that would make you less of a man.
Now please. Sit with yourself. Let’s all sit with ourselves. Let’s face our behaviors. Understand our deeds and how what we’ve said or done could have been wrong or harmful to someone else. Let’s identify our patterns, recognize our wounds and how we’ve dealt with them our entire life so that we can start to heal. Start to apologize and altogether improve things.
I’ve felt uncomfortable around other men for most of my life. I’ve been mocked, harassed, threatened, I have been made insecure about myself by OTHER MEN. It’s time we end that shit and we just work together. We have nothing to lose in helping each other out and rely on each other.
That’s actually how we’ll take a huge step in humanity’s history. By working altogether.