Chapter 11: Learning How to Be a Man

Boys learn how to be non-relational early in their lives. Numerous books including “Real Boys” and “Raising Cain” began exposing the acculturation of young males. Studies revealed that by the time a boy was five he had learned not to cry or show his emotions. I found it almost stunning how the experts failed to project the research on boys into male adulthood. Every parent knows that being relational and showing their feelings is what girls do and hence, will be the last thing boys will do. Not surprisingly males grow up learning to distance themselves from the emotional realm and define themselves in any way that is “not female.”  Why are we surprised when we realize that most males never really do outgrow their discomfort with feelings? No wonder men are so defensive when their partner asks them how they feel. The fact that males have such great difficulty with emotions, however, has been the best kept secret. When this secret door is opened, she is often shocked and, because she has no other framework, takes it personally. He is typically defensive and filled with dread, which further compounds her misperception. Worse yet is the fact that males who have been hurt or abused rarely process these feelings.