We have a generation of men struggling to understand their anger, who act out in dysfunctional ways.
Many men are conditioned to be “nice guys” from a young age. They’re raised with a sense of over-responsibility to caretaker the emotions of their parent figures.
This can look like this:
• Being the man of the house
• Showing a brave face
• Not looking for or receiving emotional comfort
• Not talking about their own emotions
• Projecting a false bravado
• Being told they’re strong for pretending to be ok or unaffected.
Nice guy syndrome creates a situation where men don’t understand their own needs and how to get those needs met. This leads to manipulative or dysfunctional behaviors to get the needs met. It’s also why so many men are emotionally unavailable, emotionally immature, and unable to connect or soothe their romantic partners.
Young men often get this modeling from their fathers who engage in emotional repression or who condition them to be ‘tough” at all costs.
With a lifetime of nice guy syndrome can come:
• Anger or rage cycles
• Acting out behaviors in relationships: infidelity, sabotage, impulsive behaviors
• Hypermasculinity: a coping mechanism where a male creates a false self of being a “macho”
• Violence: acting out in ways of violence to their own emotions as an inability to self-regulate
It is clear that our society has men who are deep in emotional suffering. Nearly 80% of suicides are men.
It’s a myth that men are less emotional and not surprising that repressing their emotions and not understanding them causes issues.
Research from Harvard shows male children are actually more emotionally expressive than female children by the age of six.
We must teach young boys that true strength is about vulnerability and understanding what they’re feeling, learning to express it, learning how to emotionally connect with other people, and how to cope with anger.