The Male Mode of Depression, Part 4: Where a Man Can Find Help

We have found that once men stop depriving themselves of human connection and instead form authentic relationships with other people, their conventional presenting problems often disappear.   ~ Charlie Donaldson and Randy Flood

In prior articles, we’ve looked at several aspects of the way men typically experience depression. To recap, we’ve looked at how depression is expressed by a man (here), how it develops in a man (here), and what wake-up calls a man might experience that motivate him to get some help (here). Now, we’re finally ready to explore some ways that men can get effective help for their condition. You’ll see that the great majority of these methods involve gaining greater experience, competence, and enjoyment in connecting with other people. Over time, this tends to do the trick, as they say, although it’s not an instant cure. A lot of times, however, men will need to work their way up to these methods due to the last gasp efforts of the internalized Man Code to interfere with the process. Let’s see how this works. Continue reading

The Male Mode of Depression, Part 3: What Causes a Man to Get Help

The cure for covert depression is overt depression.      ~ Terrence Real

In prior articles, we’ve looked at what men’s depression, sometimes called “covert depression,” looks like (here) and where it comes from (here). Given that men typically hide their depressed feelings (overt depression) from themselves and others (hence, “covert), it takes a bit of doing for them to come to a place where they seek help. Most often, men don’t seek help without a major “wake-up call” in their life. This is much like (or the same as) when an addict hits “rock bottom” and admits they are powerless over what’s happening in their life. The word “powerless” describes a condition in which few men want to find themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the situations that push men into this condition. Let’s also look at how to speed things along (a good thing; really!). Continue reading

The Male Mode of Depression, Part 2: Where It Comes From

The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy is when he’s told to “be a man.”         ~ Joe Ehrmann

In part 1 of this series of articles (here), we found out what male depression looks like. I started there because I wanted you to know what we’re talking about and to have an idea of how it differs from so-called “clinical depression.” Armed with that knowledge, we’re now ready to explore how men get that way. If we know that, then maybe someday preventative measures can be put into place. In the meantime, let’s start our exploration by picturing a young boy standing in front of his father, step-father, brother, uncle, grandfather, coach, male teacher, priest, minister, or any other significant male figure in his life. Picture him hearing, over and over again, the words, “Be a man.” Continue reading

The Male Mode of Depression, Part 1: What It Looks Like

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.     ~ Henry David Thoreau

The official diagnostic criteria* for depression include such symptoms as a sad mood, loss of interest in things, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, and so on. These symptoms are pretty obvious, so we might say that someone who has them is “overtly” depressed. Further, it’s interesting to note that statistics show at least twice as many women get diagnosed with depression as do men. Does that mean that women are more depressed than men or is there something else going on here? We’ll see that it’s not so obvious when most men are depressed, thus the term “covert” depression gets applied informally. What does this male mode of covert depression look like? What makes it “covert?” Let’s find out! Continue reading

Inside the Head of an Abusive Man

Abusiveness is not a product of a man’s emotional injuries or of deficits in his skills. In reality, abuse springs from a man’s early cultural training, his key male role models, and his peer influences. In other words, abuse is a problem of values, not of psychology.                ~ Lundy Bancroft

Contrary to popular belief, abusive men are typically not clinically mentally ill, deranged, or have so-called personality disorders (Narcissistic, Antisocial, etc.). Instead, they simply believe that their behaviors are perfectly OK and justified. In this article, we look at the beliefs the abusive man has, his mentality you might say, and offer you an opportunity to gain some perspective about someone you might know (husband, father, grandfather, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, boss, priest, minister, President of the United States, etc.). Continue reading

The Man Code: What Is and What Could Be

Abstractions and programs about gender always miss the mark, because gender, genuine and full of blood, can never be separated in real life from individuality.

~ Thomas Moore

Most boys in our culture, somewhere around three to seven years old, have imposed upon them something called the “Boy Code.” In its shortest form, it reads as follows: “Don’t be a girl.” Later in life, this evolves into the “Man Code” (also called Male Code or Male Agenda or Guy Code), essentially “Don’t be a woman.” There’s a bit more to it, which I’ll get into, but you get the idea. Both codes involve a so-called “negative achievement,” in each case a rejection and renunciation (as well as devaluing) of what our dominant culture deems as feminine.

Below, after some review of the situation and the damage that’s being done, I propose a new, improved Man Code. This new code does no damage, actually leads to psychological health, and does not require boys and men (or anyone else for that matter) to go through life constantly trying to prove a negative (which is impossible).

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The Patriarchy and Me: We’ve Agreed to See Other People

In order to lead men and women into happiness and intimacy — intimacy with others and really a good relationship inside your skin as well — we have to lead men and women out of patriarchy, because the old rules were not built for intimacy and happiness.                                ~ Terence Real

It’s been a long and rocky relationship between me and the Patriarchy, starting way back in the mid-fifties, when I was about three years old. Like many relationships, it’s been on again/off again. It’s worked for me in some ways. In other ways, it’s caused great pain. We’ve tried to make it work, but at long last I’ve discovered that my motivation to continue is just not there. It’s time to say goodbye. While I’ll probably keep in touch with that part of me, we’ve finally agreed to see other people, other parts of me. While the Patriarchy is probably not happy, I know that I am. This is where I want to be.

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Book Review: How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.

Authors: Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

I have a lot of books on relationships, marriage, and other related topics (“Hi, my name is Dan and I’m a bookaholic”). This one I recommend above all others.

The title got me hooked and the content kept me reading. I’ve worked with many couples where the husband and the wife look at talking about their relationship from vastly different perspectives. The wife believes that talking about the relationship is essential to its health. The husband would prefer to do anything but. In this book, we find out why and what to do about it.

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How to Save Your Relationship by Understanding the Opposite Sex

Have you heard that I have heel marks in front of my office door? They’re from the shoes of a husband being dragged into couples counseling by his wife.

The wife complained about things that the husband neither understands nor has abilities to change, in many cases. The husband and wife just don’t understand each other – and rightfully so! How many of us have had training in how to understand the other sex? Although men and women are Continue reading