Updated: Jan 15
So, you know the back story of Empath to Empath. It was developed in lockdown with a view to starting a group to send out positive vibes to all. Empath For Men came out of something very different. EFM was inspired by some of the male friends in my life.
I have always had this crazy connection with males, much to my husbands chagrin. I think it is because I was raised with boys, act like a boy and know more about cars and sport than most guys haha. I was always in their presence as a kid. On the train tracks, with my dad at football, in the pubs waiting some type of sport to come on the tv. I blame my dad for me being such a tom boy, he actually treated me like a lad. I can defend myself put it that way, even being 5ft 4in.
My dad is fab, and I wouldn't change how he treated me, because I love everything boys do and some of my best friends in the world are men. They talk to me like a lad and I have to stop them sometimes as it is just too much information. I'd like to add I'm all girl though, can just do an oil change, and kick a ball like any lad!
Without going into individual stories (just out of respect) I started to notice some real signs of anxiety and depression this year with a couple of friends. Guys who were once fun-loving and care free, were down in dumps, and this bothered me. I also had tough discussions with a friend who had suffered psychological abuse at the hands of his partner. Being in a friendship with someone going through this is extremely difficult. And to be honest, I had seen it coming a long time ago. It was subtle and he never saw it as he was completely and utterly head over heals in love.
It all came to a head this year, when he ended up being severely depressed and showing major signs of alcohol abuse. This is when friends intervened and told him the truth about the subtle things we had been seeing for years. The story ends well, as he is now away and doing ok, but this inspired me to help other men who maybe feeling certain emotions they feel they can't talk about.
Empath For Men is a great group in its eighth week. It was developed to help offer support and encourage a safe space for guys to connect with others and talk about tough issues they are not able to talk about with people close to them. I believe it is time that men felt comfortable with expressing their emotions, but believe this will not happen overnight, it takes patience and small steps.
The group so far has been successful in terms of connecting with people and just getting to know them. It's a beautiful community and I'm attached to many within the group.
The biggest subjects that men struggle to communicate.
We are all human, so why would it be so strange when a man shares his emotions? It is astounding that in 2020, men still feel that they can't express their emotions and have them received in the correct way. This is a stigma that is so dangerous to mental health problems which are on the rise each year. It should be ok for guys to express, cry and talk about their feelings openly. It is so important that awareness is raised. We should be filtering these messages in schools and to our own children, that it's ok to cry, it is ok to be sad. The whole 'man up' phrase should be left in the last century where it belongs.
If you feel you can't cry, the trigger is talking about painful experiences, unlocking the emotion and expressing it to someone you trust. Ripping the plaster is a must.
Talking to a mental health expert / clinician - for more complex issues is recommended and could help you unlock these emotions.
2. Toxic relationships
Guys tend to hide their experiences as there is a feeling of weakness. You find that they keep these feelings to themselves, often to protect their image and partner. This is pointless and things will never change if you do this, for you are not fixing the problem, you are only applying a plaster. From my experience the guys I have encountered are victims of emotional and psychological abuse and they either see it but have no confidence to deal with it and talk about it, or they don't see it at all.