So what is “men’s mental health” really about? Many unfortunately get stuck in the “what he doesn’t do enough of” mode. It’s actually more about his natural masculine thinking style, which he does do often, but just doesn’t let us in on it.
The discussion surrounding male mentors (refer Rotarian Life feature article) highlighted the important process of masculine influence. Men and boys often observe, consider and contemplate – internally and in silence. This is reflective of how men process information generally.
Men don’t often say it or talk about it. Drives women nuts!
Quite simply, women are more verbal in their processes. Men just don’t have the need to do the verbals as much as women do, sometimes to their detriment if they forget to include other people in their decisions.
It might sound obvious and logical on paper. Yet the typical communication tensions between men and women show that logic, without emotional processing or the inclusion of key people, only gets you so far.
Women tend to work through the problem verbally, typically out loud, in potentially never ending conversations. Women have to watch they don’t get caught on the verbal mouse wheel and forget to actually get to the point or reach a resolution.
Men’s internal cave of consideration sees verbalizing as an optional extra! The masculine tendency to compete and compare themselves with other people can help or hinder. If it’s not looking “good”, that can be shaky ground for retreat, isolation and depression when other risk factors are present.
Food for thought for women, cull some of the context to what’s relevant and get to the point sooner. Beware of your expectations on how much he verbalizes, he’s not meant to behave like a woman.
Food for thought for men, work back from the point you’ve clearly decided on internally and highlight some of your considerations leading to that point, so she gets a glimpse of what you’re thinking!
If the frustrated “Tell me what you’re thinking!” is any indication, she’s not always the mind reader clear on your internal thought trail.
Women think outward…men think inward. So, what do you think?!
Dr. Elizabeth Celi, PhD, MAPS
Psychologist and Author
Author of “Regular Joe vs. Mr Invincible – The Battle for the True Man”