Many men are numb about their feelings. Our culture does not encourage men to explore their feelings. In a relationship if the man does not express his feelings both his partner and any children will feel shortchanged and confused. The confusion arises from his inability to communicate his feelings with anybody. So they are there and ultimately get ignored. Twenty years later this same individual when challenged to look at his feelings with regard to his family is totally lost.
He will say “I don’t know how I feel.” Conversely when it comes to work he is involved and he has strong feelings. He gets engaged about being praised, acknowledged, gets upset when colleagues are messed around by the bosses. He is insightful as to cause and effect in how feelings (or emotional intelligence) operates in work. He may have learnt that from dad, and also that dad and mum didn’t have much interaction, it was pretty flat between them.
The difficult truth is that he doesn’t have much motivation to be more open with his family. Intellectually its sounds good, but I reality it is only words with no meaning. Where can he go from here? He has a dead relationship at home. In anger management we always say look at the consequences to be motivated to cool it, to reduce the damage. The consequences for his family are an unhappy partner and alienated children. Why would he want that? So initially it is an effort to be engaged and a bit meaningless. Yet motivation is the key to shifting gears. From no feelings to feelings from involvement is a shift that will only come from sense of why try. Don’t try and nothing changes, make the effort with a goal in mind can unfreeze this dead zone in a man’s life. Nigel Turner