Since sixth grade, I have had good male “buddies,” but when I needed to share deeper feelings, it would be with a woman. With men, sharing feelings, being vulnerable, is almost always something of an uphill battle. When there is difficulty within a male-to-male friendship, both parties often fail to resolve the problem. Relationships break apart, with nothing said or communicated about the breakup.
It's happened to me and to others.
This “men's issue” experience has been discussed for years. There have been consciousness-raising groups (the so-called Men’s Movement) since mid-to-late ’70s. Charlie Kriener led magnificent men's workshops for the Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling communities in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Robert Bly wrote eloquently in Iron John about men and deep wounding. Terrance Real addressed unrecognized depression, isolation, and lack of soul full communication in I Don’t Want to Talk About It.
Yet it remains hard to make meaningful connections with other humans. We may fail to speak the full truth about ourselves, and our experience. False pride keeps us stuck within an acceptable persona. This has been true for me and—I'm learning—for many others. We may not even know that we are doing this.
At Kavod, I have been leading men's groups for years. I need to talk with you about what I see and have been learning. Working with the disease of addiction gives me the chance to know about deep falsehood. There is plenty of work remaining for men to do. This is long-term inner work: Looking and knowing within.