“Boys don’t cry” – a big lie that hurts men deeply

“Boys don’t cry” is an enduring lie told to boys which ends up crippling many men’s ability to handle emotions – all of them!

The lies men are fed about themselves

When boys are told they can’t cry or aren’t supposed to cry, they start to stuff down the emotions which make them feel anything that could trigger the tears. When they “dry their tears up” they learn to stuff their emotions deep down so that no tears will ever betray their “manliness”.

They do it to win the approval of the people who perpetuate these lies, but the personal cost is having all their emotions shut down.

When boys and men are told they can’t cry, they aren’t being taught how to handle the emotions which trigger the tears, whether it’s a disappointment, fear, anger, pain, or even joy.

Men are struggling to find their “place” in a world where women have been “liberated” from their confining roles once imposed upon them, but men feel left behind.

Men were once considered to be the breadwinners and the protectors of the family, while a woman was supposed to serve and nurture.

Women now feel free to live in ways that reflect who they are, and we receive a lot of direct and indirect support to do so.

Men are still being fed the old lies which keep their emotions prisoners deep inside of themselves. Men are still being made to feel they’re “weak” or “feminine” if they cry or show emotions.

This has given rise to much of the toxicity and anger we see within relationships, for men aren’t taught that it’s okay to experience all of their emotions, nor do they have much practice or opportunity to practice if they’re in families and communities which perpetuate these standards which are robbing men of the richness of life!

Men are taught to see emotions as weak, and because women are “allowed” to experience and express all their emotions, they are by extension weak too.

It is this writer’s belief that because many men have been shamed into not experiencing their emotions, there can be resentment towards women which gets expressed as hostility.

Yes, there are other factors playing into this mix that feeds men’s anger or resentment towards women. Let’s for a moment focus on this one thing.

I feel I created a safe space for both of my husbands to express their emotions, to cry if they were sad. I didn’t see them as being less manly when they did; I saw them just being vulnerable with their feelings around me and experiencing life as a human being.

So this resulted in my daughter seeing her father cry. Did she feel less safe because of it? No, for in the moments he cried there was sadness. She learned that it was normal for a man to express his feelings.

In turn, she is raising her son to be able to feel comfortable expressing his emotions. His twin sister has been influenced by people on her father’s side who scoff at men crying, so she has made fun of her brother. We’ve spoken gently to her to teach her that it’s okay for a male to express his emotions.

The dangers of having men suppress emotions

Suppressing those emotions leads to deeper feelings of despair, even anger, while a healthy release allows each of us to shed our grief or sadness and then be able to move forward.

If someone is being trained to suppress certain emotions, they don’t learn how to handle them in a healthy way.

Unfortunately, the only socially acceptable way for a man to release those pent-up emotions is through anger and aggression.

While venting anger isn’t seen in a good light, it’s still seen as being preferable to crying!

When something gets suppressed, at some point it wants to come out!

When men aren’t allowed by their families or communities to cry, the build-up of suppressed emotions over the years can lead to depression, anger issues, and possible addictions, for the mind needs to find a way to deal with the emotions.

Can we be both strong and vulnerable?

In a word, yes!

Our emotions are there for a reason, they come up naturally in life, and are very normal.

Men have been dealt a huge disservice in our societies that tell them to suppress a part of themselves, to hide part of who they are in the mistaken belief that strength and masculinity cannot live comfortably showing emotions.

If there’s a situation where tears are called for, time taken to honor that moment is actually really good for our mental health.

Those moments of being able to feel our emotions in the time we feel them help build our resiliency, for we learn that we are able to pick ourselves up and bounce back from a setback or life event.

How can we help change the cultural mindset? What can we do?

Why shouldn’t men be able to feel the whole range of emotions we have? Why do men need to continuously suppress their feelings at the expense of their mental health and emotional growth?

For men to feel comfortable feeling and expressing their emotions, they need to feel safe to do so without the fear of judgment or being belittled or mocked.

If you, as an individual, feel men should be comfortable feeling and showing their emotions, I encourage you to speak up. I encourage you to help to create a safe space where the men and the boys in your life are able to do so.

When men cry it doesn’t make them less manly or able to be strong and capable in life, any less than it is for a woman!

Let’s empower our boys and men to feel comfortable with all their feelings!


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18 thoughts on ““Boys don’t cry” – a big lie that hurts men deeply

    1. Thanks so much Michelle!! My 14 year old grandson is grappling with this issue now. Even though my daughter and I have helped him navigate through his emotions, he’s bumping up against social expectations for how he “should” act. It’s tough!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, Tamara! A difficult age. I imagine it is very challenging. My daughter was guarded with her emotions too. How wonderful that he has you two to help him through it. Best to you and your family. 🌻

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So true! My ex was going through something (with his family) and he’d keep lashing out on me because he wasn’t able to express his feelings. When it got too much, I told him that I couldn’t deal with him anymore and he started crying. He cried for a bit and just let out his feelings and stopped lashing out after.
    It’s unfortunate that men aren’t free to express their feelings and I hope we’re able to build a safe space where they feel like they can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? You’ve just given a very true account of what happens! Your ex isn’t the only man experiencing this! Most men are going through this exact thing, to one degree or another!

      It’s my hope that we can give each other permission to feel and express our emotions in healthier ways, instead of them just boiling up and out!

      Like

    1. Thanks! Yes, the world of men has very tough rules for men to follow!

      I believe it’s important to start having these discussions within families and communities, so we can see that each person has had a role in perpetuating this myth, whether we have realized it consciously or not.

      While men suffer the consequences of being forced to stuff down their emotions so they don’t cry, they still perpetuate it with each other by calling each other names or mocking someone who doesn’t live up to the “manly” standards.

      Many women continue to perpetuate this myth when they expect a man “to be a man”.

      There’s much room for change to happen!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In my observations of people and relationships, this plays an ENORMOUS role! When anyone doesn’t have the emotional tools and knowledge to navigate their lives, drama ensues.

      I believe that by teaching boys and men they are able to express their fears, anxieties, and other triggers of difficult emotions without being branded or judged, this will help men to navigate their lives and relationships better!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said dear lady, men have indeed been brought up with cutting that inner emotional place off…and really don’t know how to handle those emotional places. So much so that when all those emotions come to the surface they do indeed get expressed in so many difficult ways. And because a woman has been dealing with it through their lives and go to share that with a man, all the man wishes to do is ‘fix it’ like all else he has been brought up to do, instead of just listening. Listening doesn’t get it ‘fixed’ and because this frustrates a woman and she responds with that frustration it backs him into a corner not knowing what to do. They both need to learn to talk…and listen. Maybe it should be part of the curriculum in school ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve encapsulated it all beautifully! You’re right, we need to learn to talk WITH each other! I disagree about teaching this in schools for few people understand this! It needs to be taught, for sure, but probably in a traveling seminar which could visit adults in all types of settings, I. E. churches, prisons, plus other places of growth and healing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be totally honest dear lady, it is a part of finding our fears and through that to understand self love. But first the stumble (usually many relationships), to understand its wisdom so that our hearts will finally be free. And you are right about not teaching it…I mentioned this to Spirit once and the silence was deafening, so after much thought I realized that it could not be taught in schools…simply because in wanting to teach children this it would be so against their parents. I’d probably be lynched 😂 🤣 So, as you say, it just needs to be a support during life…wherever it may be needed ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I totally see that! Many therapists are recognizing the importance of teaching men to cry and to connect with their deepest emotions and fears. This is a quiet revolution. Unfortunately many families and communities still don’t support this, they promote the toxic masculinity as the only viable option to being a “real man”!

          Mind you, Tucker Carlson seems to have found a totally new remedy for men! 😜😜

          Liked by 1 person

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