What does it mean to be a real man? ...a real father?
For many men, the healthy expression of negative feelings can in itself be a challenge. The typical male tends to rely more heavily on a “logical or rational” approach to most emotional or psychological issues. Often from childhood, men have been accustomed to think that emotional vulnerability equals weakness and should be avoided as much as possible. Given this mindset, it is understandable that for many men it may be objectively difficult to share with others how they are truly feeling.
For some, it may even be difficult to read their own emotions correctly, to know for themselves how they are really feeling about certain issues. Interpersonal issues can arise that may require an adjustment of these beliefs and attitudes, as for example in the inability to connect, to open up in relationships, or in knowing how to be sensitive.
When negative emotions are routinely avoided, repressed or denied, some problematic behaviors can result. Mismanaged emotions and feelings often produce addictions, compulsions, and avoidance. Some of the most common ways of expressing hurt or emotional pain are through anger; working longer hours to avoid relationship challenges; engaging in superficial intimacy rather than genuine connections; or resorting to addictive substances and compulsive behaviors to “take the edge off” or avoid the full experience of negative feelings.
There are many ways of addressing men’s issues. One approach that is generally successful seeks to coach men towards the identification of and the working through avoidance, repression and denial in a way that appeals to men's desire to approach issues in a logical, rational and goal-oriented way--while providing guidance toward learning about the values and benefits of high emotional intelligence.