Do we let men be real?

What happens when a guy gets tired?

What happens when a guy loses someone important to him?

What happens when a guy gets betrayed, disappointed, loses out, gets shafted, is ambushed, has one thing after another not go his way?

He experiences life as hard, that’s what.

And while we might let him cuss, yell, kick the dirt, clench his fist…will we allow him to tear up, put his head in his hands, let his shoulders slump, and sag into a nearby loving shoulder?

Chances are, he might want to…but he won’t.

Cuz life has taught him not too “look weak”, which (I happen to think) is actually a strength when one is willing to let down their guard and be truly authentic to the inner sadness/grief/devastation/depression that longs to be expressed.

Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo. " A quote by A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh

Michael Quiring, one of our therapists, has been doing a lot of thinking on this lately.  One of his special interests is working with men on their own, or with their partners, to help them figure out ways of expressing themselves more authentically.  And if you think that’s easy…it’s probably because you’re a woman, who has no idea what it’s like to be a guy.  He had this to say recently:




A lot of guys that come see us, want to connect closer with their girlfriends/wives/significant others…but they don’t have a foggy clue how…they simply have never developed the skill set of vulnerability because of the level of ridicule/danger they anticipated would occur.

As women (Carolyn writing here), we need to make sure that we don’t participate in the work of expecting men to be strong, capable “knights in shining armour” all the time…that is part of who a guy is, sure…but he’s also someone who has parts that struggle, get hurt, and long for tender connection.  Do we allow guys to expose the softest parts of themselves in ways that are validating and encouraging?


  • Darrin klassen

    What if you’re a man who gets called a pussy or the chick in a relationship cuz I can communicate and express and she is either freaked out by it or just doesn’t seem to care how I feel? I never recognized it as mutual partner violence, I always wore the devil horns. I’ve recently discovered I’m not actually an asshole though I’m sure many would argue that. I was mentally ill and undiagnosed. Now as I change, I see and feel all the hurt/damage I caused and that was caused to me. I haven’t even kissed a girl in almost 5 years, let alone have sex or a relationship. I need help from someone like Sarah. It hurts when you acknowledge you were wrong despite what they did to you and nobody gives you credit. They all say deal with it or grow up or suck it up. I was bullied my whole life, including sexually so the skeletons in my closet have skeletons. Helppppppppppppppp, my brain is drowning in fuckery

    • Carolyn Klassen

      Hi Darrin…you raise a good point. We need to hold space for men who acknowledge that they have messed up and want to do better. The other part of this is recognizing that there are outcomes to our behavior, and that sometimes people draw boundaries that are painful to live with. We know that hurt people hurt other people…and as a culture, need to get better at recognizing that it is woundedness that creates hurtful behaviors. We also need to be accepting that when people have been hurt, we actually need to care enough about them to want them to do what they need to do to keep themselves healthy–even if that is inconvenient or painful for us. Thanx for your comment…and I’m glad you’re reaching out for help. Pursue healing and wholeness, please! We are rooting for you. Sarah is no longer practicing at our offices, but we have other qualified and competent therapists that have appointments available.

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