"Real Men Don't Cry," Then They Commit Suicide?
The strongest men in the world are committing suicide. These are better men than me, you, and all the manly men who claim “Real men don’t cry.” What is going on and how did this happen?
Men survive Hell Week and then die during the Hell of Life.
A charity my family supports helps get veterans treatment with plant medicines, and they’ve opened a discussion that you hear on podcasts like the Shawn Ryan Show. Why are men killing themselves?
These aren’t weak men, although all deserve our love. This isn’t a contest on who “deserves” what. It’s more like an objective observation. How can you do “real stuff” and then get broken enough to end it all?
Courage comes in many forms, as Aristotle explained thousands of years ago in the unfortunately forgotten Nicomachean Ethics.
Physical courage is what we traditionally associate with classical masculinity. Can you push your body when others quit? Will you fight when others run away? This virtue matters in war and peace, especially in business where you’re in a state of conflict nearly every day.
You wouldn’t think that a Navy Seal, Ranger, SF or even someone with traditional civilian success would find themselves staring at the barrel of a gun that they’ve pointed at themselves. It’s happening right now. Someone has a few empty bottles of Jack next to them and a loaded gun.
What is going on?
A man’s greatest weakness is being afraid to cry.
Crying as a man is a complicated topic because there are some harsh realities to it. If you cry too much, you’ll be seen as weak. Your romantic partner will have monkey DNA triggered and become convinced you can’t protect your family. This is largely at an unconscious level. It is real. Women say, “Why won’t men be vulnerable?!” Well it’s because you’ll hop into another man’s bed if yours is. Don’t get offended by me. Ask a man if I am telling the truth. (He might be afraid to agree with me.)
What women don’t understand about male vulnerability.
This is the running conversation every man has. You get your ass kicked. Your wife or girlfriend asks what happened. You tell her. Then she has an emotional response. Now you’re dealing with whatever hit you and also her reaction to it.
This is all true. You can try to cancel me for it. I don’t care.
This is due to the other side of the toxic masculinity (yes that’s a real thing) coin, which is toxic femininity.
Somethings you’re supposed to hold space for someone. That means it’s not about you. You may have your emotional response to a situation, but you do not center yourself. (Centering yourself when the other person should be placed first is the essence of both toxic masculinity and toxic femininity.)
If you’re a woman reading this and you won’t why your man is closed up, ask yourself if you make your emotional reaction the center of the conversation. And be honest about that, too.
To cry you have to face your own trauma.
Somewhere along the way life hurts you. It could be family trauma you face from birth. Or maybe you lost a friend and have survivors guilt. No one comes out of life alive or without scars.
I’ve come to personally learn that a extremely high percentage of men you consider tough (and they are) were victims of child sexual abuse. Often this is repressed and only comes up during certain treatments with plant medicines.
It makes sense though, doesn’t it? When you’re hurt, all you want to do is become the kind of person who can never be hurt again. This is why people are breaking. The pain and abuse are still there. As a new book title explains, The Body Keeps Score.
We all realize this and we can’t talk about it.
You hear the voices. What are you - some kind of pussy? Talking about your feelings is GAY (as if that should even be a problem).
Look at how perilous this conversation even is. If you say you don’t want to cry because it’s “gay,” people will call you a homophobe when that’s not even what you’re getting at.
You can’t even express why you’re afraid to be vulnerable because then you’re dead, too!
Feminized society says that men must become more like women, because this presupposes that getting into your feelings isn’t manly.
Men can’t really talk about these issues from a male perspective.
One way men cope is doing camping trips and making jokes. It’s still running from the problem.
David Goggins gets all of these props for being a “hard man.” Look at him run!
How many people actually read his book?
I was totally unprepared for it. I had it on Audible during the gym. I had to stop lifting and go find myself a corner outside at the YMCA. I was crying. His dad beat the shit out of him. He was treated terribly by racists in his town. He speaks on this in such detail, and it explains his life arc.
When people hurt you, get tough. Then no one can hurt you again.
We all love to hear about how you get strong and overcome that stuff. But it doesn’t go away. The pain is stuck in muscle fascia and scar tissues. You’d holding onto that stuff.
All you and we do is put armor on to run from the real pain. We hide from ourselves by becoming stronger.
The real work is inside.
Do you know how many guys who went to combat are afraid of ayahuasca? Absent some documented medical issues, psychologically healthy men who have been screened can handle it.
It’s the fear of going deep, of reliving painful experiences. It may be that you forgot or repressed really tragic stuff that happened to you.
No I’m not saying go do ayahuasca or anything like that. Don’t miss the point.
You’ll kick a door down and face gunfire, but you’re running from yourself. You have success in business and what’s it matter if your kids don’t run up to hug you?
What do you do when “being tough” isn’t the solution?
Your kids don’t need a hard ass. Yes, it’s a father’s role to provide boundaries and leadership, but if you’re pushing them to “not be weak,” is that for their sake or is that your way of avoiding your own fear of what you experienced as a child?
Do you even have the courage to open your heart up to them? To patiently explain life?
The courage needed today is emotional courage.
This is a bizarro world without clear rules. You have to figure out how to make money, learn what a mortgage is, and deal with office politics. And that’s only one aspect. From there you go home and deal with a partner and children and yourself.
Holding onto Trauma is weak.
You think you’ve done something in life and then you drink the tea. Whatever we encounter (and some Christians have strongly held views on what this is, that’s a debate to have but not here) shows us quickly who we are.
During one session with my eyes closed I didn’t like what was in front of me. I took the mask off. What I saw then was worse. “You are running from yourself.”
I began to understand that even the “admirable” success I had chased my entire life was a coping mechanism. If you “do things” in life, your ego is protected. I’m a lot of things but not weak or unaccomplished (in a secular material sense).
“You are weak, that’s why you won’t go deeper.”
That’s the language I needed to hear and other men do, too, and it was communicated to me via a superintelligence.
There’s nothing tough about being afraid to cry. You’re not cool or a bad ass when you leave defective and self-defeating software of trauma unresolved. Instead you’re all of those labels you’d apply to a "man who cries.”
Ending cycles of trauma.
If you asked me the meaning of life before, I wouldn’t have had an answer.
Certain experiences has shown me that our human existence should be devoted to closing off cycles of trauma.
Your dad or mom beat the shit out of you or yelled or were inattentive. You don’t fix them, you don’t blame them, you end the cycle with your children. You got bullied or cheated in life. You can forgive the psychopaths for your own good if you like, but what matters most if you end it.
If we hide from our own pain then we won’t even realize we are inflicting it on others as the sickness in our spirits is “normal” to us. If everyone is sick, no one realizes he or she is sick.
Don Miguel Ruiz, in Beyond Fear, asks us to imagine that we are all poisoned. We believe the only way to rid ourselves of this poison is to spit it out at others. Whether metaphor or real, doesn’t that make sense? There’s even an English idiot about how people spit out a serpent’s venom.
Paulo Coelho talks about these subjects as well: “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.”
We are supposed to have hearts that love. This is why Jesus centered love in his ethics, and even the Orthodox Christian tradition focuses on sanctifying the self to have love. Theosis is when man joins God and this is accomplished through sanctification and love. (No ayahuasca required.)
Love is freedom.
Yes I can be a grouch on Twitter or maybe my tone in this article is not proper New Age or Christian form or whatever. Or maybe I write in a way that men who have some poison in themselves can relate to.
All I can tell you is that a lot of people think I’m a scary person and not nice or whatever. I’m not even here to deny that or defend myself.
Assume the worst of me is true for the sake of this argument.
I am telling you it’s not merely OK to cry, it’s virtuous to heal your trauma. You’re not some impressive or tough person because you’re running from yourself. You’re the opposite.
How can you learn to cry?
That’s a conversation for another day….