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Toxic Masculinity: Dear ladies, this is why men don’t like therapy

Men are brought up to believe that exhibiting emotions is a sign of weakness. The societal expectations of how a man should carry himself have ultimately led to the era of toxic masculinity, which for the longest time now has been embraced. 

This mentality has been cultivated in the minds of young boys and they grow up believing that a man who shows his emotions is weak. 

In many societies, boys and men are expected to be strong, active, aggressive, tough, daring, heterosexual, emotionally inexpressive, and dominant. This is enforced by socialization, media, peers, and a host of other influences. And it plays out in the behaviour of many boys and men, which makes therapy an enemy of their kind.

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There have been so many misconceptions surrounding the idea of getting therapy which has led a fair number of men spiralling down the road of depression and other mental health issues.

This is more so observed among men who believe that going for therapy is a sign of weakness and a waste of time and money. What exactly about therapy makes men opt out and choose to keep things to themselves rather than open up about the issues that perturb them? 

Is it the fact that they are sharing their very private information with a complete stranger? Or could it be that opening up about their emotions makes them feel like they are not ‘man enough’? Could traditional masculinity be the reason behind men being resistant to therapy?

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Francis Kamau, 34, shares that he has never gone for therapy because he believes it’s just a waste of time and money. He argues that the way men are raised, they are taught to be tough and thick-skinned because as men they should never exhibit signs of weakness.

“Men are brought up to be protectors and providers. We have been raised to steer clear of anything that diminishes our value as men. We should not exude any form of weakness, something that crying or showing emotions has greatly been associated with,” said Kamau.

Stanley Oluoch, 29, has considered going for therapy on a number of occasions but has never gotten around to it saying that he always gets to solve his problems long before he could book an appointment.  

“I have considered going to therapy a couple of times, but I have never actually gotten around to going for one. I always find my level before I get to go for one. Sometimes as a person, you feel overwhelmed and feel like you’re losing it, and then after some time you feel better, then wonder why you need therapy if you can just deal with it,” said Oluoch.

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“It’s not really ego, it’s more like some inborn confidence. Why do I need to look for somebody to help me solve my problems? I know how it started. I can handle it. So not unless it’s something so big that it’ll prompt me to go see a therapist, in most cases I would rather go talk to my wife or girlfriend or mother,” he continued. “That’s of course if the issue is not about them. If it is about them then I have boys club for that.”

The misconstrued perception of therapy being a “soft people’s” thing is absolutely bogus. Last I checked therapy is a means for one to get in tune with their emotions and mental patterns. Getting to better understand why you react to certain things the way you do, and how you can make your habits less radioactive. 

There’s still a long way to go in curbing unreasonable societal expectations of men, but for what it’s worth, therapy is an individual decision regardless of gender.

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